Friday, November 27, 2020

Willow's Way by Cheryl Headford Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQ


I have been a fan of fantasy almost all my life, starting with my mother reading me fairy tales and moving on to authors like Piers Antony then David Eddings and Tolkien to my obsession with Terry Pratchett.
The huge scope of fantasy draws me as a reader and a writer. It’s limited only by imagination.  Characters can be placed in any situation, given any characteristics you want, and inhabit any world you can create. The way characters think, feel, react, and handle situations are the same because people are people no matter what situation you put them into, but their surroundings can be anything you want.
Secret dreams of the authors can be worked out through their characters. Do you want to fly? No problem. Do you want to turn your enemies into frogs? That’s possible. Do you want to walk through fields of flowers full of tiny fairies, to woods steeped in mystery and trees that talk to you? Do you want to meet a mermaid? Talk to a dragon? See a ghost? All of these are possible.
Despite all of this I have never taken the plunge into full fantasy, although I have dipped my toe with a contemporary fairy tale Draven’s Gate published with NineStar Press. That was the stepping stone for me to jump in with both feet, and Willow’s Way was born. Even then, I started in a contemporary setting before leaping through the looking glass into a world where panthers fly and shadows take form, where cities are built on sleeping dragons and a fairy prince learns to fly.
To authors, if you’ve never tried fantasy, give it a try, it’s such a freeing experience. Even if you don’t take it all the way, write a short and let your imagination have free range. To readers, give it a chance, find a world that fits your fantasies and let your mind fly free.

Willow's Way
by Cheryl Headford
Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQ

Cale always told Tay that fairy tales were dark. But they always have happy endings, right?

Taylor Preston is a normal sixteen-year-old whose biggest worries are his GCSE exams. He’s right in the middle of them, but he has a summer of fun with his parents to look forward to after. Or not.

Despite their promise to spend the summer focusing on their one and only son, Tay’s parents, Local Authority specialist foster carers, take on one more special case.

Willow’s arrival throws more than Tay’s summer into chaos. Suddenly, his best friend is possessed by a demon, his parents aren’t his parents after all, and he’s literally living a nightmare in a fairy tale world that as dark as anything Cale ever warned him about. All he has is Willow and a burning desire to save his friend before he succumbs to the demon and Willow kills him.

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem

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