HOOF – the inspiration behind the Danae of the Forest

I mention in the blurb re my fantasy novels that they were inspired by the people’s fight in 2010-11 to save England’s public forests from being sold off. The ‘Environment’ (ha) minister of the day, Carolyn Spelman decided this would be her contribution to the government coffers but when The Guardian published an article about it, all hell broke loose.

Here in the Forest of Dean there is a long, long, history (I mean back to Norman times) of fighting to protect our forest and our rights and privileges so the response was instant and huge. Here’s a link to our website if you’re really keen to see what went on at the time. The highlight was a local rally where 3,000 people – old and young, kids, dogs, even horses – gathered on a bitter January day, in a snowstorm to tell the powers that be we were having none of this.

I’d only lived here a couple of years and didn’t really know anyone much, but I tracked down the local people organising the protest and blagged my way on to the Steering Group – waving my CV in their faces to show I was a good organiser! Well, we saved the forests – more than once over the next few years with other insidious attempts – and I made some lifelong friends and found myself all of a sudden very heavily involved in lots of community activities.

And the writing? I was literally walking the dog in the Forest one morning when the idea came to me of a an isolated people with a mysterious heritage living in a forest at the edge of the world – and an empire-building baddie who wants the timber. He thinks no one lives there – but when he discovers that people do live there, and which people … he’s thrilled…

It was my first attempt at writing and I churned it out over three years and loved it and learned about head hopping and dialogue tags and all kinds of things in the process. The books could probably do with a damn good edit again but they have a small but enthusiastic fan club. The prequel is half-written. It got stuck in that middle bit. I will finish it one day…

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