Natania Barron is a multi-talented amazing human. She’s a mom, a writer, an audiobook narrator, and a badass cover designer. She is responsible for the covers for Wothwood, Into the Mystic, 85 North, and a bunch of upcoming Falstaff Books releases. Go buy her shit!
Wothwood: Where did you come up with the idea?
It’s pretty corny, but the seeds of Wothwood were planted in a dream.
Generally speaking, I’m a pretty vivid dreamer. I tend to dream on an epic scale, and I’ve slayed a few dragons in my time.
This was different, though. In this dream, a son was mourning his father, a ruler of some kind. I was the son, and the connection I had to my father was intense. Unlike the cliched relationships of fantasy novels, this lord and his heir were deeply connected. That feeling was very real, the world cast in a blue twilight. I started a Pinterest board called “The Hand of the Father” and put it on the back burner for a while.
Even though I started out writing heroic fantasy, it had been a long time since I’d written one. But this idea, really this intensity from the dream, stayed with me.As the months passed, the world of Wothwood began to take shape. I was preoccupied with this concept of frontier fantasy — sort of the opposite of Tolkien where the world is moving on and feels very explored — where the edges of the world are still wild and being discovered. I wanted the land itself to have a character, and so the Wothwood itself came to be.
Next came the character of Braig, who was a take on the young man in my dream, the one that should be the hero, but isn’t. In the story, the prologue begins right after Braig’s father’s funeral. Braig is a complex character throughout the story, and has a rather villainous past n some ways, and while the relationship with his father didn’t end up in the novella directly, I wanted him to have that emotional connection in the background.
Aoda came next, and I wanted to tell a story from a woman with the cards stacked against her. As a medievalist, I have always been aware of how hard life was for many people in time without medicine and vaccinations. Aoda wears the scars of syphillis, and people judge her immediately because she’s so ugly.
Glannon started out as just a bit of a plot device in the prologue, but ended up being the third POV in Wothwood and essential to the eventual story. Unlike powerful characters in much of fantasy who spend their whole time trying to win power, Glannon starts off with the power, and thirsts for more while questioning everything around her.
Really, the emotion from the initial dream is something that I tried to wind into the story as a whole. I wanted character emotions to be as vivid as the backdrop to the wood itself.
You can (and should) pick up Wothwood by clicking on this link – it’ll ask you what kind of e-reader you want to use, and then it’ll take you to that store!