morgana_0001I wrote (and published) the Shalott trilogy almost 15 years ago, but the legend of King Arthur and the doom of Camelot stayed with me through the years while I wrote the Janna Mysteries, A Ring Through Time and several other novels.  I’d become fascinated with ‘the wicked witch’ and ‘the jealous bitch’ (ie Morgan le Fay and Guinevere) and while I addressed the somewhat unflattering traditional portrayal of Guinevere in my trilogy, the magical Morgana remained a shadowy figure on the periphery of the legend. The contradictions in her actions fascinated me: throughout, she’s portrayed as a somewhat magical but inherently evil character, causing mayhem and harm wherever she goes – and yet … and yet … she is supposedly one of three queens, or maybe the only queen, who escorts the dying Arthur to Avalon ‘to be healed of his wounds so that one day he may return to save Britain in her hour of need.’  Why would she do this? This portrayal of a kind and loving woman is utterly at odds with everything else that had gone before.  So this was the question I set out to answer when I wrote I, Morgana. Marion Zimmer Bradley, in her Mists of Avalon series, took a completely different view of Morgana: a high priestess of Avalon striving to preserve the Old Ways against the Christianity creeping across the kingdom.  And that’s certainly one way to view this shadowy character.  But I preferred to work from the traditional tellings of the legend, trying to glimpse the woman beneath the damning portrayal of her (by the Dead White Males, it should be said!)  Why was she so perverse, why did she act as she did, and why – at the end – did she apparently redeem herself with a final, loving gesture? Unpeeling the layers to find the ‘real’ Morgana has been a fascinating journey. A young woman, schooled in magic and promised a kingdom, she seeks revenge after being betrayed by everyone she has ever loved and trusted.  Her journey to self-discovery is a journey we must all make sooner or later in our lives – but Morgana’s journey is by far the more significant, for her actions carry far more risk – both for her own time, and for ours. I’ve loved researching and writing I, Morgana and I’m now thinking about the sequel, and throwing notes into the file while I do so.  More on this shortly, with some exciting news ahead!

morgana cover final

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