Novel Magic returns from summer vacation with a little peek at how SciFi/Fantasy author Hywela Lyn got inspiration for her planet Niflheim from myth and reality. Read on for a quick primer in Fantasy Worldbuilding.
THE REAL LIFE INSPIRATION FOR MY PLANET NIFLHEIM
by Hywela Lyn
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being Science Fiction/Fantasy Romance writer (Apart from developing the relationship between the hero and heroine) is world building. Of course there is a certain amount of world building involved in all writing, but as a Science Fiction or Fantasy writer one gets to actually invent new alien worlds and let one’s imagination run riot. Sometimes, though, the inspiration for such worlds can come from somewhere much closer to home – in my case, my native Wales.
I used to live on top of a high Welsh hill, overlooking the sea and mountains. The view I had from my home was the sea to the west, and to the north, a mountain range, with several ranges of mountains beyond. Welsh mountains are wild and rugged and I just love the way they constantly change, according to the time of day and the season. One winter’s evening I looked out over the mountains at sunset and watched the mist rolling in, tinged with pink by the setting sun. As I watched, I realised it wasn’t mist swirling across from the mountains, but snow.
I started to play a game of ‘what if?’
What if there was a planet which had occasional falls of pink snow? What if most of that planet was so cold and inhospitable that only the most temperate parts could be colonised. What if the colonists were from Earth and decided to renounce technology in favour of a simpler life? How would the scattered settlements communicate with each other?
At the time I was writing my first novel, Starquest, which, although I did not know it at the time, was to become a trilogy connected by the starship Destiny, two of the crew members of the ship were telepaths, I realised my planet could be their home, a land of mist and cold – like the Niflheim of Nordic legends. So that’s what the settlers of my imaginary planet named their Earth colony. Those who had hitherto suppressed psychic abilities, developed telepathy as a means of communication. They their settlements and the charted areas of the planet after places and characters in Norse legends, even naming some of their children after Norse heroes, a tradition continued by their descendants.
The world that started out as a couple of lines about my telepathic crew members went on to become an important background in several chapters in Starquest, as more characters from the icy planet materialised in my mind, I even drew a map (which you can see here: https://www.hywelalyn.co.uk/niflheim.htm ) which was very helpful in keeping track of my characters and their journey.
By the time Starquest was accepted by the Wild Rose Press I had already started on ‘Children Of The Mist’, which is set almost entirely on the planet Niflheim and features many of the characters from the first book.
There were a few mysteries surrounding the planet which were hinted at in Starquest, and in the second book the history of Niflheim before its colonisation was revealed. I have to admit the planet’s origin came as a surprise to me, even as I wrote it. That’s another of the things I love about being a writer, the fact that one’s characters and the worlds they inhabit, can constantly spring surprises – just when you thought you knew exactly where they were going!
Landscape has always been an important feature in all my writing. In fact I view my settings almost as another character, so it follows that the countryside of Wales, and its myriad myths and legends, have always been invaluable in helping me create my imaginary worlds.
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Tell us what book transported you to the most memorable setting–Was it a different time? A different planet? A different country?
CHILDREN OF THE MIST
(Book 2 of the Destiny Trilogy) – all three books are complete and can be read as ‘standalones’.
Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love:
Long ago Tamarith fell for a man she knew she could never have, and she is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by the handsome young stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own.
Vidarh seeks only to find his purpose in life and to win the regard of his father. Thrown together by circumstances, then parted by an evil greater than they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely woman who captivates him, before it is too late? Will he overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy their planet – and will they find the happiness they both seek, or are they fated to live their lives alone?
Purchase any or all of the Destiny Trilogy
All three books in the Destiny Trilogy are now available as Audio files as well as eBooks and paperback, and can be found at:
Who is Hywela Lyn?
A member of the Romance Novelists Association, Hywela Lyn was born and grew up in rural Wales . The beautiful scenery and wealth of legends and folklore inspired much of her writing. She is married to Dave and they share a love of animals, being pet parents to T’pau a mare ‘with attitude’ and Choccy the ‘rescue’ dog.
Connect with Hywela
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7 thoughts on “Fantasy WorldBuilding with SciFi/Fantasy Author Hywela Lynn”
Hi, Lyn. What a great post. I love inventing new worlds, too. Some things came easily while others popped into my head as I write. Surprise! My fav part of writing, too. Best wishes!
I love the way you describe coming up with your planet, Sorcha. SciFi has always been one my favorites and when it’s mixed with romance – it’s the best. I am off to buy your book.
Thanks so much Zara – I couldn’t agree more – SFand Romance are the best combination!
Oops I just realised I didn’t thank you for buying my book – thank you 🙂 xxx
“The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley transported me to ancient Britain and mythology. The story, characters, and landscape continue to dwell within my mind. I enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind your stories, Lyn! How fascinating! Thanks for sharing and all the best!
Yes, I have the Mists of Avalon but haven’t yet got round to reading it, I must do so, and I love mythology and old Celtic legends. Thanks so much for stopping by and all the best to you too!
Thanks so much for having me as your guest on your lovely blog, today Sorchia, and I see we’re both animal lovers, too!