Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Corinna Downes on "Ethna's Journal."

Although most of the books that the CFZ publishes are on the subject of cryptozoology, there have been exceptions, such as Jon Downes' The Blackdown Mystery (a hilarious look at the British Ufological scene and a certain "crash-retrieval" incident from the 1990s).

And another exception is the recently-published Ethna's Journal, written by Corinna Downes, wife of CFZ Director, Jon.

Jon describes the book as follows: "Ethna's Journal is the first novel by my darling wife, Corinna. Ethna's Journal tells the story of a few months in an alternate Dark Ages, seen through the eyes of Ethna, daughter of Lord Edric. She is an unsophisticated girl from the fortress town of Cragnuth, somewhere in the north of England, who reluctantly gets embroiled in a web of treachery, sorcery and bloody war. Well, of course I would have said nice things about it - whatever it was like - because, n case you haven't noticed, I love my wife, and will always support her in her endeavours. However, the book happens to be really good. It is very reminiscent, to me, at least, of Michael Moorcock, around about the time he was writing the Runestaff series, and Ethna - the eponymous heroine of Corinna's book - is considerably more three dimensional a character than Dorien Hawkmoon, and a damn sight more sexy!"

A few days ago I caught up with Corinna at CFZ HQ and talk to her about her book, the writing process, and more. Here's what she had to say:

Nick: "Corinna, I thought the book was excellent, and particularly for a first-time author. Have you had a long history of writing, or was this your first attempt?"

Corinna: "I used to write really weird poems when I was in my teens; and I had a couple of attempts at writing other things, but then gave up. But then this one just kept going, really."

Nick: "And what was it that prompted you to focus on this particular story?"

Corinna: "Well, I just love that whole era; that whole time in English history. I shoot the long-bow too, which was one of the main weapons of that time. I used to do archery at a local technical college; and one day I saw someone there with a long-bow and I thought I'd have a go, and fell in love with it. This was about three years ago. Now, I shoot in the back garden here at the CFZ!"

Nick: "How would you describe the book"

Corinna: "It's about a young woman who lives a fairly solitary life in this isolated fortress and who doesn't feel loved by her father because when she was born her mother and twin-brother died. Then this chap comes along and she suddenly gets embroiled in a journey - she grows up really, changes, and gets involved in sorcery. And so it's her journey, through her life."

Nick: "How did you find the writing process, in terms of having to get to grips with writing a full-length book?"

Corinna: "I really enjoyed it. I had no intention of publishing; I was just doing it to get what I was thinking in my head down on paper. The reason being that a lot of her is based on me, in a way: my thoughts. She's sort of me, really. So, if I felt frustrated about something, it would come out in the book, in a diary fashion. I'd often do an hour or so on the laptop before I went to sleep, and it worked well. It was pleasurable to write the book rather than just a task that I had to do."

To buy your own copy of Ethna's Journal, click here.

Even though I say so myself, Corinna's book is a very entertaining page-turner and well worth investing in. So, you know what to do: buy!

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