Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Treespeaker by Katie W Stewart

Jakan, Treespeaker of the Fifth Tribe of Arrakesh, knows from the visions he received at the SpringSpeak, that the stranger who has just arrived in his village is not the innocent, interested visitor he claims to be. As the villagers succumb to the mind-bending sorcery of the man, Jakan becomes more and more desperate to be rid of him. But when he accuses the stranger of an act of sacrilege, events take a sinister turn and it is Jakan himself who is expelled from the forest.

Sent on a journey across the treeless land outside the forest, Jakan finds himself fighting for survival – for his people and himself. Somehow he must find a man he hasn’t seen for twenty years, but as a Treespeaker —bound in spirit to the forest — his life hangs by a tenuous thread which grows ever thinner.

Meanwhile, his son, Dovan, must find the strength to carry out the new role he has been given while his father is away, for who knows if the Treespeaker will ever return?

This is not a book about good versus evil. It is a book about belonging, balance and belief. It's an adult fantasy, but suitable for anyone 12+


Katie W Stewart was born in England but came to Australia with her family in 1969. She has worked as an archaeologist, ethnohistorian and teacher and now works part-time as a school library assistant, IT Support person and freelance illustrator. She’s the mother of three children. She started writing seriously twelve years ago, but this is her first novel. She has had short stories published as well as articles.

What will readers like about your book? 
It’s different! It doesn’t include a lot of the things you might think of when you think of fantasy – dragons, elves, dwarves etc. There are no big battle scenes or kings and queens or even castles. But it does have a carefully constructed world that’s different from our own with its own mythology and history and there is magic. The characters are as real as I can make them and the reader should relate to them, because their problems are real, too. My books are about relationships, but I do like to put lots of twists into my plots and I’m cruel to my characters to achieve those twists.

Why did you self publish? 
I’ve tried going down the traditional route with my children’s novel. Each time I’ve sent it out, it has been away for at least six months with no result. I finished “Treespeaker” years ago, but never really knew where to send it. There aren’t that many fantasy publishers in Australia. In the end, I thought that it may as well be e-published and being read, rather than sitting on an editor’s desk somewhere waiting for the big decision. If it’s any good, it will be read and the bottom line is, I just want to be read.

What is your writing process? 
I don’t write in a straight line. With Treespeaker, I had the beginning and had a general idea for the end. I also had ideas for what might happen in the middle. So I wrote the beginning, wrote the scenes that I had a clear picture of in my head and then ‘joined the dots’. As I did that, the ending became clearer. Then I went back and rewrote it so that it was smooth.

What inspired you to write this particular story? 
It sounds silly, but I had a dream about a big tree that provided everything a group of people needed. Unlike the people in Treespeaker, these people actually lived in the tree. It sparked an idea and coupled with an experience I was going through at the time, the story gradually formed.


He lowered his cup and licked his lips, trying to think what to say. His thoughts spun around his head like leaves in an eddy, making it difficult to know how to start. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to start. At last, words came pouring from his mouth as if of their own volition and he immediately wished he could swallow them back up.

“What’s wrong with my father, Megda?”

The old woman sat up straight, her eyes wide. “Your father? There’s nothing wrong with Jakan, as far as I know. Why? Do you think he’s ill?”

Without really wanting to, he found himself retelling the argument. Megda listened without a word, though her face showed clearly what she thought. At first, the words stuck to his tongue like dry acorn flour. They left the same bitter taste. As he went on, however, he found that the telling calmed his own mind and the words came more easily. At last he had told her all.

Megda sat staring at him for a moment in silence. When she finally spoke, her voice was quiet, but terse. “You said that to your father? You said that to the Treespeaker? And you wonder why he lost his temper?”

Dovan felt hot all over. Why was everyone so mad at him tonight? “I told him I didn’t believe it!”

Megda’s face softened. She reached across and took his hand. “Dovan, before this Outlander came, before Kattan died, who was your father?”

“He was Jakanash, the Treespeaker. He still is.”

She nodded. “Treespeaker, yes. And did he not have the respect of everyone in this village?”

“Of course!”

“Does he still have that respect?”

“Yes, of course.”

She shook her head and squeezed his hand. “Are you sure? When even his own son doesn’t defend him against the suggestion that he has been tricking his people for the last twenty-five years? Has everything he’s done been a lie?”

Dovan felt sick. He was embarrassed to find tears springing to his eyes. He pulled his hand from Megda’s and covered his face. What had he done? When he looked up again, Megda had stood and moved towards the curtain of her sleeping quarters. She disappeared for a moment. He could hear her moving about. She returned carrying a sleeping roll; her short arms hardly long enough to go around it. With an effort she dropped it by the fireplace and turned to him.

“Well, I expect you need somewhere to stay for the night. To sleep off that mead.”

“You’re not going to make me go home?”

She regarded him, her face stern. “I’m not helping you. I’m giving your father time to calm down, without having to look on the son who has dishonoured him.”

He chewed at his bottom lip. He felt six years old again. Part of him wanted to rush from the cottage in indignation, but the other part knew that would be foolish.


My Blog http://kates-scribbles.blogspot.com/

1 comment:

  1. I recently bought and read the e-book of Treespeaker, and I must say I really, really loved it. I have read a lot of fantasy, but this novel is different. Kudos to Katie Stewart.