Before I eulogise about the stories in The Spring Dance collection, I must thank Sue for her inspiring photographs. There are some photographs that capture natural magic, rock formations, tunnels, rivers, ruins, all subjects that Sue has snapped and offered to the followers of her blog as prompts for a story. Natural oddities have been the object of wild speculation since the art of storytelling began, and Sue’s oddities more often than not have inspired me to write the kind of story that could have been told around the fire on a winter evening while the spirits rattle the shutters and the wolves howl in the forest.
Responding to these prompts has made me realise how much I enjoy the kind of storytelling that enthralled me as a child as it enthralled generations and generations before me. The Spring Dance is a collection of folk tales and fairy stories, inspired by old mossy rocks, strange paintings and folk art. I have drawn on French, Irish and Russian tales, taking traditional elements and grafting onto them new themes and taking them in new directions. They are not children’s stories, folk tales never were, but they tap into universal themes that cross cultural boundaries and never grow old.
I am first and foremost a writer of what Amazon would call fantasy and what I call stories. Stories are fiction, things that didn’t happen, but if the author gets it right, the reader will believe that they could have happened. I like to think that when you read these stories of mine, you will cast aside your natural cynicism, suspend the devil of disbelief, and at least wish that they were true.
Magic, mystery, mirth and murder fill these tales that are fresh as daisies and old as the hills. Foxes and firebirds, deer and dancers, trolls and travellers, and lots of princesses tell their stories to entertain you as the nights draw in, the fire crackles in the grate, and the wolves howl in the forest.
And for the next three days, Tales from the Northlands will be absolutely free. Don’t miss it.
Tales from the Northlands
About the author
Jane Dougherty writes stories where the magical and the apocalyptic mesh, where horror and romance meet, and the real and the imaginary cohabit on the same page.
She grew up in an Irish emigrant community in Yorkshire’s Brontë country. Her first job was with a wine merchant in London, and despite the obvious attraction of riotous tasting parties and getting paid for drinking lots of wine, she moved on to Paris where she fell under a powerful enchantment and has been wandering from French pillar to French post ever since.
Her postal address might be in South West France, but she’s rarely at home, much preferring the strange world she inhabits, where she writes the rules, creates the landscapes, the people and the magic. She also bends the rules of physics, plays Cupid and hands out happy endings to deserving characters.
Jane shares her home with husband, children, a big bad dog, and a motley crew of cats.
Other Books by Jane Dougherty
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A rickety wooden escalator carries a child from his safe, comfortable world of department store Christmas glitter to the midnight zone inhabited by legendary nightmares.
On the windswept east coast of Northumbria, a Saxon thegn avenges his murdered chief by selling his village to the sea wolves, and a ruthless war leader prepares for battle, gloating over the blood dream sent him by the wicce.
In Viking Sverige, Jussi and Solveig plan a future juggling bride price, parental expectations and the knarr they have yet to acquire, but their future falls beneath the shadow of the mountain.
Antar seems like the answer to Inna’s dream of escaping the bleak steading on the fjord, but her father and his chosen son-in-law have other ideas.
What links these tales is the North Sea that beats the coast, brings the cold and the long ships, laps the winter nights in snow, when the wind howls stories of trolls and giants. It brings the herring, the sea mews and the grey seals, and it joins a people with the same vision of the world—harsh, vivid and full of magic.