Buy the book for your reader this Christmas-
Q&A with Robert Treskillard:
Your newest book, Merlin's Shadow, is Book two of your Merlin's Spiral Series. What about the legend of Merlin and King Arthur draws you in?
The legends of King Arthur are filled with everything a storyteller needs … action, adventure, powerful enemies, romance, mysteries, and swords! Not only that but these stories touch on the deep themes of heroism, faithfulness, and sacrificial love. How can one not be drawn to that?
Personally, I’ve loved this genre since I was twelve years old, and so to come up with a new twist on the tales in my fourth decade, write a trilogy, and get them published has been very rewarding experience.
What sets your books apart from other Arthurian tales?
My focus on the stone as the enemy. That was the only answer that made sense to me when I began to ponder why one would shove a sword into a stone. Everything flowed from there!
Two other things is that I’ve made a strong commitment to keep the story exciting while at the same time keeping it as historically accurate as possible. Whether I’ve achieved that is up to the reader, but I worked very hard on both aspects.
You are very involved in Celtic research, sword-making, and blacksmithing. How did you get interested in those things?
A combination of things came together to bring that about.
My daughter became interested in Celtic history, learned Gaelic, and started singing and playing harp at local Scottish and Irish festivals. Soon my son (playing bagpipe) and youngest daughter (a fiddler) joined in and I was roped in to play backup guitar and mandolin.
At the same time my mother mailed us box after box of old history books from the British Isles that she had been collecting. I was already a Celtic-phile, but all of this took it to a new height.
Then my son wanted to learn bladesmithing. I mail-ordered an anvil (imagine the shipping costs!), built a forge, bought a lot of books, consulted craftsmen, and began learning the craft with him. Then my sister told me that we were descended from a Cornish blacksmith.
And so MERLIN’S BLADE was born … and Merlin became the son of a Cornish swordsmith. His love interest, Natalenya, sings and plays the harp like my oldest daughter. His best friend Garth plays the bagpipe like my son. It was fun to write, and I had lots of fodder for my stories.
The Merlin's Spiral series is written for the YA audience—how can today's teens connect to Merlin's story?
First off, I made him eighteen and on the cusp of manhood. But he’s also disabled with very poor vision, so this makes him vulnerable and shy, and I think a lot of teens can relate to those feelings. Growing up is hard, and I tried to make Merlin’s journey believable and relatable.
It would be my hope that teen readers come away with a courage to face their own problems.
But I’ve also highlighted the story of Merlin’s father, Owain, and adults can latch on to his story and find their own fascinating protagonist.