Enemies fall before us
Drowned in light
Crushed by the stars
Sol! Sol! Sol!’
Chant of the warriors of Mithras. Holborn, London, 2015
Mithra, Maris, Mars we salute you
Enemies fall before us
Drowned in light
Crushed by the stars
Sol! Sol! Sol!’
Chant of the warriors of Mithras. Holborn, London, 2015
Interview with L.A. Wilson @TheSilurian. Find #KingArthur here. #Warriors of truth. #Heroes of #Britain. #Avalon
I'm totally addicted to the wild hallucinogenic writing of L.A. Wilson,who I would name as King Arthur's bard and poet. On every page, in every book of her amazingly brilliant ‘The Silurian’ series there is an intense sense that the past isn’t ‘another country’, it is now, and as I read, I feel that events are actually happening. L.A. Wilson takes us into the mind and heart of Arthur’s greatest warrior, Bedwyr, living his life, moment by moment with all the heroism, tragedy and laughter that involves. Love is the dominant emotion, so much endless, heartbreaking love. So I was more than delighted when L.A. Wilson agreed to be interviewed by me.
An interview with L.A. Wilson
Author, poet and all round enchanter
Mary: Where would you like to live? Any time, any place.
L.A.: Where would I like to live? I really don't know! I love Australia; but maybe New Zealand around Queenstown or Dunedin, in the mountains; or Tasmania on the west coast, or Wales where it's remote and mountainous.
It would be nice to dream of living in Arthur's time, but the reality of that age was too harsh and savage to be happy. I like the here and now, but even now is harsh and becoming more so. Ages past were terrible times for women, so I would only go back in time to Arthur as a man (and I did, as Bedwyr the Fox).
I love landscapes that are high, cold, mountainous and elemental, like Norway, or the Fjordlands of the Vikings. The fjordland of New Zealand is so amazingly close to the Northern Hemisphere of Norway that New Zealand is very close to my ideal. I suppose!
Mary: Your feeling for these kinds of wild places comes over strongly in 'The Silurian' series. Well, more than strongly, passionately. Your vision of Fifth century Britain is a time travel experience for me. Bedwyr's voice is so strong and truthful. When did Bedwyr and Arthur first enter your life?
L.A.: When did Bedwyr and Arthur first arrive in my life? I think they've always been there in some way or other. Arthur has been with me in one form or another since I was about 12 years old, only his legend didn't really take hold till I was in my early 20s, where I became obsessed with everything to do with the Arthurian myths, and I went seeking for him everywhere.
I lived in England in those days, and I went on a tour of all the Arthurian places I could think of. I went to Cadbury Castle (Caer Cadwyof “The Silurian” books) and Tintagel etc, where I bought my very first book, a non-fiction book, about King Arthur.
Mary: Please do tell me about this book.
L.A.: It’s ‘Arthur: Roman Britain's Last Champion’ by the extraordinarily named Beram Saklatvala. It cost 3 pounds and 75 pence, and was first published in 1967: it opens with a quote from William of Malmesbury, 1095-1143:
"It is of this Arthur that the Britons fondly tell so many fables, even to the present day: a man worthy to be celebrated, not by idle fictions, but by authentic history. He long upheld the sinking state, and roused the broken spirit of his countrymen to war."
This first book more or less says it all for me in regards to “The Silurian”--a man worthy to be celebrated, not by idle fictions, but by authentic history
I read everything I could find, both fiction and non-fiction, but it was the historical search for the real Arthur of history that interested me the most. With the fiction books, I soon grew bored with the standard interpretation of Arthur's story, that being the Knights of the Round Table, 'Sir Lancelot loves Guinevere', genre that I found repetitive and too formalistic to hold my creative interest.
Before I knew it, I was writing my own novel about Arthur called "Chasing the King" (which I still have on file and dates back to the late 80s early 90s). This story was a 'stream of consciousness' experimental novel that used the Arthurian myth to an insane degree, mirroring my own personal obsession. This novel began to evolve into ‘The Silurian’ in a form not recognizable to readers of today's 'The Silurian' series.
It was the love of the Arthurian myths and legends that got me into writing in the first place, and without Arthur, I might never have picked up a pen and begun to write. I studied hard and long and painfully. I have no idea how Bedwyr came to save the day! He just began to stand out more and more as Arthur's champion, and it was Bedwyr's voice that took over the Silurian story and made it his own; and again for some mysterious reason, I could only tell this story as a first person narrative from Bedwyr's point of view. I did once try to write a third person version, which failed, and when I let go and allowed Bedwyr the Fox to take control, only then did the story begin to take its true form. I will always be grateful to Bedwyr for rescuing “The Silurian” from the world of mediocre writing that I was doing at that time. I now consider Bedwyr my alter ego, and he will always be with me, as will Arthur.
Mary: That is fascinating, L.A. As a totally addicted reader I can say that Bedwyr's voice is so powerful that I too have images of the Fox and the Bear as part of my inner life. And I'm not alone, as I can see from other people's reviews and on social media. ‘The Silurian’ seems to me to arise from a more mysterious source than imaginative research. Hmmm, I'm not expressing this well, I'll have to quote Shakespeare:
'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.'
What is your view on this?
L.A.: I do understand what you're saying. My mother in law used to say the same thing, and that I must have lived a past life in or near Arthur's time. The very first time I heard about King Arthur, when I was twelve, something seemed to have 'clicked' on in my head. Out of all the many hundreds of kings and queens that have existed in British history, only Arthur stood out to me, and that was long before I even knew of his story: it was the mere mention of his name that was enough to mesmerise me.
So, yes, maybe there is a kind of memory of something that gets passed down generation after generation: what I call a DNA memory. I do think Science has only just begun to uncover the true depths of our connections with our ancestors, a much more mysterious 'life force' that's in all of us, passed down in our very DNA and blood and bones that carries a memory of some kind yet to be uncovered (or not). And yes, there are more things in heaven and earth, and whether we will ever know of these things or not, that's another area of yet untapped discovery.
I have said that I think of Bedwyr as much more than a character in a book; to me, he is beyond doubt, my alter ego, and how this has come to be, well, that's another mystery! As I said before too, I've always known of Arthur and Bedwyr being there in my psyche in one form or another, even in my childhood, I had two imaginary male friends who were always together, a part of each other, and a part of me. I will end by saying that I am Bedwyr, but he is not me. That makes little sense, but I understand it...
Mary: Amazing answer L.A. It makes sense if you look into the further limits of research in physics. It seems to me that you live your writing. How do you manage in everyday life?
L.A.: Everyday life...that is, the way it is for me now, is that I've learned over the years to completely separate my writing life, from everyday life, and rarely do the two ever meet. Like parallel lines, running side by side, but never meeting. When I first began writing, it did impact on me far too deeply and sometimes even a little 'psychotically', sometimes to the point of deep depression that I had to struggle hard to overcome and put into a different space.
I live very much in my own head; but there's an internal, and external me. My entire psyche was and is totally consumed by Bedwyr and his world, by Arthur, but nowadays, being more mature in age and experience, I can live a fairly normal daily life, and no one would ever suspect what's going on in my head.
I do still though disappear into another realm while supposedly being in this realm; people can talk to me, and I can talk to them, but right at the same time, I'm somewhere else entirely. I've learned how to manage the two worlds somehow. I'm a very down-to-earth person who lives another life in a far, far away world with the most mightiest and brave and unusual souls you can ever meet. It is utterly strange and normal both at once! Though, I do confess, that in private when I'm alone, which is almost all the time these days, I can BE the Fox so much more freely, and will have emotional highs and lows as he does too. I can express these highs and lows when alone, but when in company, all that will be strictly suppressed. And if I should ever let it all out, oh my!!! Lions and tigers, and bears...!!
Mary: As wild as Bedwyr, L.A.! I’m extremely grateful that all this creative energy is channelled into your books. They are inspirational for me. And this interview is a gift that I really appreciate.
‘Facing the Bear’, the fifth book in L.A. Wilson’s Arthurian ‘The Silurian’ series, is less than 300 pages, but communicates a vast and epic story. Here is a true myth that has power today, stories that sing down the centuries, beauty mixed with intense suffering, notes of music on the edge of discord and perfect harmony. The narrator is Prince Bedwyr, the Fox, and his response to the singers in the hall of Dun Pendyr matches my own reaction to this amazing book and series.
‘They pulled love and mystery from the very air around us, the very air they breathed, they made mystery come alive in their songs and tunes, and I felt this mystery run up and down my backbone and over my skin and enter my body. Magic!’
This extract describes the poetic and fearless talent of L.A. Wilson to perfection.
Heroic deeds are matched by heroic suffering, intense highs are followed by matching lows and Arthur’s pain, the burden he carries of being the ‘one’ is made plain in ‘Facing the Bear’. The Battle of Baddon Hill is an experience beyond writing. I went through each moment of the fight and collapsed exhausted at the end. Two thousand warriors of Arthur’s Clan Bear face eight thousand Saxons. This is Arthur’s greatest battle, of which traces remain in historical documents.
‘...there was Arthur, sitting on his horse on the hilltop, alone and bathed in a single beam of sunlight spearing down from the clouds over him, a single ray only on him, where all the rest of us stood in darkness, and the single ray shone gold on him, on the hilt of his great sword, on the torc at his neck, and he looked a god..’
With so much danger and death, gods, goddesses and the Otherworld are always near, intense feelings heighten perceptions. The existence of Avalon is, for me, ‘a great mystery on the wind so high’ and ever present throughout ‘The Silurian’ series. It has nothing to do with religion or the Romani Christians who claim that their god won the Battle of Baddon Hill and torment Bedwyr because his life doesn’t fit their rules. I sighed over the story of Bedwyr and Sawyer. Here is love in action, such power and passion, a universal lover’s truth, regardless of gender.
Events at Dun Pendyr, the hall of Medraut, ‘so high only birds, sheep and men could reach its summit’ again stunned me. Medraut, the green-eyed blonde haired Snake, whose suffering as an abused child has broken him into pieces, hero and villain mixed, beyond his power to control. His pain cracks through the armour of his heroism and courage and twists it, so that he can suddenly strike out of nowhere, a true snake.
At Dun Pendyr we learn Lord Darfod’s prophecies, predictions that made me cry, for their power, beauty and sorrow. And truth. My truth anyway. Lord Darfod predicts that the Saxons will say ‘that Arthur never lived for he is the very one who defeated them so long ago.. and this will shame them and they will deny he ever lived...’
I dream, with Arthur, that ‘all our lost brothers are resting now and without pain or suffering, so why mourn? They are in Avalon and waiting for us.’ Arthur, Bedwyr and all the heroes of Britain, I hope to meet you there.
'Bedwyr's Loss', the fourth book in L.A. Wilson's epic King Arthur series, is compulsive reading. Never more so than after the loss has occurred. These pages are awesome writing, taking us into Bedwyr's heart and soul and deeply into his relationship with Arthur. A magical sequence in the truest sense, an alchemical union that generates healing power. For this brief time Arthur and Bedwyr are bound together in a place of love, hidden from the harsh judgemental people who force others into narrow templates, none of them Fox shaped. No wonder Bedwyr, the wild Fox, dreams of 'that land they called Avalon, the Land of Youth, where souls joined with souls and lived forever in love.'
L.A. Wilson is a word artist, using simple phrases to create powerful emotional experiences, visions of love, the kind that float past me in dreams. 'The Silurian' series makes me feel that I'm present in fifth century Britain, a place of intense passion, life on the edge of death, so much loss, constant heart breaking experiences that make everything super real. Bedwyr's words express this. 'So many times I had stood at the graves for lost brothers. One day it would be me, and sometimes, I could not wait for that day, and then on other days, I loved life so much it burned me raw and I saw the sky like a wild washed streak of blue that touched the far beyond, where at night, adamant-stones fell to earth and everything was so real, it could only be a dream. I loved it. And hated it both.'
Bedwyr's loss is also Arthur's loss. Only Bedwyr jokes around with Arthur, the Imperator, the 'ebony eyed' High King, the heroic defender of Britain against invasion and enslavement by the Saxons. Arthur, the 'wonder-boy' needs the Fox as much as Bedwyr needs him. Although Bedwyr isn't always the ideal candidate for a highly disciplined fighting force. Bedwyr just is. A force of nature. Plus the wild courage and individuality of the handsome Fox makes him heart stoppingly attractive to both men and women. Loving whoever he loves. The love making described is as intense as everything else in 'Bedwyr's Loss' and a natural part of his life. Although the Romani Christians lie in wait, scaring me with their prejudice.
The agony of separation and/or the death of loved ones affects many of the characters in 'Bedwyr's Loss'. But still there is love. In L.A. Wilson's books there is always love. 'Arthur...you are all I want, you are all I need. I love you...I love you to death and die I will for you....I love you.' So beautiful, so intense.
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silurian-Book-Four-Bedwyrs-Loss-ebook/dp/B00BGYMEBM
Interview with L.A. Wilson. Author of epic & passionate #KingArthur series, 'The Silurian' @TheSilurian #warriors #love
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I became an indie author to follow the LAW: If you want something done well, do it yourself. And this only happened because nearly all of my experiences with online publishers have been bad ones: that is, I'm one of those writers who have truly struggled to be published. For me, the road to get my books, The Silurian series, out to readers has been a genuine battle. So, after being treated like dirt by the online publishers I signed contracts with, I said, No more! The Silurian is far too important to me to just hand over to others to manipulate for their own ends, then eventually, shafting me again. I knew all along that The Silurian was independent writing right from the beginning, and would never fit the requirements of publishers, whether traditional or online.
What are you working on next?
Well, I'm writing the final book of The Silurian series: Last Man to Avalon. Yet after I have finished Last Man to Avalon, I have no idea where to go next. If at all. I've been writing The Silurian now for ten years, and I'm exhausted by the effort, the passion and pain and dedication has worn me out, almost! Yet I get ideas for new books almost every day...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Just general investigation...
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't have time to read! Well, I do, but I find I can't read other people's books while I'm trying to write my own; it's a bit like white noise interference for me to read other books. I have to be single minded to the point of obsession when I'm writing, and I can only read when I'm not writing. I guess I discover my reading matter just going and having a look what's out there, download the samples, and then buy if I like what I read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I sure do! It was a mad little tale about a couple of outlaw bikers (Two Riders?) who get into a serious life or death survival situation with a couple of 'truckies' - truckers to US readers. I still have it all in my head, along with an even better story about an English soccer player who kills a member of Parliament, and I never wrote it down, but is stored permanently inside my skull, where all good stories go for eternal rewards, the Valhalla of Lost Stories. My creative mind.
What is your writing process?
I lie awake all night long, being pestered by visual images of the prince and king of my personal myth, where they exist independently from me, that is, they tell me what's next, especially Arthur, who rules just about everything within my psyche; then, if I'm not in a terrible state of despondency, I write down what the Fox tells me to write, that is, his voice, seen through his eyes, his perceptions and his point of view. I do not write from the point of view of an author penning a standard novel, with grammar and sentence structure, etc; but I'm writing from a single idiosyncratic voice of a truly wild character. It's exhausting. I can only be a real writer when I'm editing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, I don't remember the first story I ever read, but I do remember being mesmerized by Winnie the Pooh, even locking myself in the bathroom to read "House at Pooh Corner", in the bath, and upsetting the woman who was staying with my parents at the time, with her banging on the bathroom door for me to come out, so others could invade my fantasy. Isn't childhood wonderful?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
To tell the truth, my favorite books are my own! One of my favs of The Silurian series is book 5, Longhand, White-tooth, and the Fox, as this is the book where Bedwyr really stood up as a warrior of independent power in his own right, proving his worth as a champion of Arthur's. It's also the book where he found his kilt, and being in his body, actually being HIM when he was that strong, that beautiful, that powerful was the biggest joy of being his author.
My other favourites are Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, because this story is original and fierce; it's dark, brutal, and brilliant.
The Once and Future King, by T.H. White, that is delicious all the way through.
And some others that I can't think of now...
What do you read for pleasure?
Smut of course...ok, UM, I read a LOT of non-fiction; people's life stories and travel stories. Stories of the real world, by real people who have lived a life I never will.
Describe your desk
I have a wee little folding table (that's actually meant for picnics), upon which sits my laptop. I have a book with a piece of cardboard on top of it that I use as a mouse pad on the right, and nothing on left, but a drop off to the floor. I have to stick my USB wireless receiver on the left, otherwise it gets tangled in the mouse wire if it goes on the right. I have a million books on King Arthur, both fiction and non fiction, stacked here there and on the floor...with the cat, no, actually, the cat sits on my chest, purring in my face while I try to type and actually SEE the screen, while he crushes my arms so I can't reach the keyboard, and so...no wonder my final book never gets written.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in suburban western Sydney, Australia, and it didn't influence my writing at all. My writing is pure fiction, pure imagination, existing way beyond anything from the suburbs of Sydney. I only ever write about Australia in poems and short stories, never books. The first book I ever wrote, In Blood Covenant, a Gothic vampire number, is set in England, where I was born. (My parents were 'Ten Pound Poms' who emigrated to Australia when it well, cost ten pounds to do so). I am British by blood and birth, Australian by upbringing, but it is my birth-lands and its greatest legend, King Arthur, who influence me.
Copyright © L.A. Wilson 2013 Reproduced by permission of the author
Bedwyr the Fox, snared. Words that will make any reader of ‘The Silurian’ series shiver. In this, the third part of the epic saga, Bedwyr, the wild one, the freedom loving Fox is separated from Arthur and his brothers of the Clan Bear, trapped and caged.
The emotional intensity of ‘Longhand, White-tooth and the Fox’ is high, even for a book written by the chronicler of love and obsession, L.A. Wilson. I suffered through every moment of Bedwyr's captivity, longing, with him, to see Arthur again. Each new chapter gave me hope and also tormented me, but I couldn't stop reading and I loved it in spite of the suffering. Although I could have done with some of the ‘Fairy-shit’ remedy that Bedwyr is given by a sympathetic healer. An extra large amount.
L.A. Wilson reveals the essence of the Fox, his inner strength and stubborness, his loyalty and courage plus his capacity for love and compassion. Two words. Saint Aherin. You’ll have to read the book to find out about Bedwyr’s unexpected friendship with this vulnerable and defenceless saint. There are many twists and turns in the story and I’m not revealing them here. Well, just a hint. Amren.
The last few chapters have an extra boost of hallucinogenic power. I felt I was alive in a true myth, the creation of the legend of King Arthur that still enchants so many 21st century people, including myself. Cynwrig, a wilder madder seer than Arthur’s druid Lord Darfod, speaks words of power. 'The Red Dragon will live in this land for two thousand years. I have seen it. The Red Dragon is immortal.......I tell the truth. Arthur is immortal.'
‘The Silurian’ series makes this all true for me. Arthur ‘stood within the rays of the sun, inside it, his place in the sun..he sang with power..’ Perfection.
Love, battle and death. Words of power that are fully realised in ‘Arthur’s Army’, book two of L.A. Wilson’s astonishing Arthurian series, ‘The Silurian.’
‘I wondered how the quiet of the day, beautiful and sun-drenched as it was, could be so shattered by the violent death that was to come. Away northward, hills bathed in sunlight.’
Bedwyr, Arthur’s greatest warrior, voices the heroic, tragic, passionate story of Arthur and the warriors of the Clan Bear. The reader goes with him into battle, fighting for survival and living through the pity and disgust of it all. We learn what it means to kill so that others can live in peace. A potent theme, with universal and ongoing significance.
L.A. Wilson is a rare talent, a poetic writer who creates accessible books that, for me, are compulsive reading. The words used are simple but organised into potent sentences that fly as accurately as Bedwyr’s javelin, right on target, taking us to the troubled heart of 5th century Britain.
In this book Arthur fully forms and organises the Clan Bear. How I wish I could join. Camelot. Another word of power for me, from my earliest memories, here convincingly recreated as Caer Cadwy. Home, as Arthur calls it. Arthur, unloved and abused as a child has made his own place.
Arthur and Bedwyr never forget to joke and laugh and there are moments of extreme happiness in ‘Arthur’s Army’. Arthur’s wedding is ecstatic. I’m not revealing the name of his bride but Bedwyr describes her, seated on a horse after the wedding. ‘She looked up at the sky and gave out a cry of delight and flung out her arms and laughed, while over me I saw a bird with outstretched wings soaring into the heights, up and into the clouds that burned under the sun.’
Events in the Black Mountains, at the villa in Siluria are also incredible. I cannot describe what happens as I don’t want to plot spoil, but what amazing images! This is visual writing, intense, haunting and mysterious. Arthur’s cousin Morganna shares something of his dark glamour and with her, as throughout the book, LA Wilson references Arthurian myths but makes them real. Brilliant.
Where there is power, traitors lurk. Not everyone is happy to accept Arthur’s rule. Trouble comes and so this endlessly fascinating story continues. As for the narrator, Bedwyr, the Fox, I find him irresistible and I can only quote Arthur. ‘I am going to love you, Fox. Long and hard and forever.’
I’m just so glad that this series has seven books, with another one on the way.
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Silurian-Book-Two-Arthurs-Army-ebook/dp/B00BGY1MUG
My ideal job description would be Merlin’s