A Single Light
by Patricia Leslie
Publication: February 17th 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
When Rick Hendry is contacted by a federal agent to help investigate a growing number of mysterious vanishings across Australia, he finds himself immersed in a world where normal is a very narrow view of reality. The two men are joined by a doctor, an archeologist, a journalist, and an Afflür Hunter.
They soon discover that in the bush, south of Sydney, among the beach goers, walkers and picnickers, a menace grows. The mysterious Bledray monsters are preparing for a Gathering; a feast of epic proportions. Only the Afflür Hunter and Guardians can stop them, but their strength is failing and humans are needed to help prevent a second holocaust.
A Single Light is an urban fantasy tale of ghoulish monsters and non-human protectors battling to save humanity amid the spectacular and rugged landscapes of the Royal National Park south of Sydney.
Meaning of Place – Patricia Leslie
Every story has a setting; a location specific to plot and characters where adventure and drama unfurl seamlessly. Place can often be the hidden character helping or hindering from scene to scene. Setting varies from something as simple as a room to the complexity of a whole new world, and has a major part to play, for the writer, in shaping everything that happens (or doesn’t happen).
I find that usually an idea for a story and its place in the world comes hand in hand. When it comes to world-building, I choose to travel the middle path and use the known world embellished with any extras my story may need. This does not stem from laziness on my part, but from the realisation that I just don’t have the patience, time, and brain-matter to be a Creator. And also, I find our world so fascinating and full of potential that I haven’t found the need. Everything I want is right here.
Delving into the meaning of the places my story travels is as interesting to me as the characters and their history, as rewarding as researching plot, symbols, and myth. In my first novel, The Ouroboros Key, story links settings as diverse as the ancient Tigris Valley of Mesopotamia to modern Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and the Little Snake River that runs between Colorado and Wyoming. It symbolically connects rivers and valleys, mountains and caves, and each has place has meaning.
In my new novel, A Single Light, I have used a setting which on the surface appears as ordinary as the street where you live. Perhaps it’s just like your weekend destination for swimming, picnics, or hiking; ordinary towns and an ordinary recreational area. Nothing in this world is ever just ordinary. The locations I use have an ordinary history, but it doesn’t preclude mysterious disappearances, people being lost, or murders. It’s a logical step, therefore, to thread fantasy elements and explanations (my favourite things to do), expand on basic safety issues when hiking (don’t leave the trail, people!), and take advantage of the thrill of things that go bump in the night (and childhood nightmares). The result; an urban fantasy tale of paranormal horror. I couldn’t have written this novel if the tracks and trails in the Royal National Park weren’t (for the most part) wide and well trodden, and the bush, only a handful of steps away from those familiar trails, wasn’t as thick and potentially dangerous as it is. In the Royal National Park, just a hop, skip and a jump from Australia’s largest city, Sydney (or a train and ferry ride), familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. It breeds an overarching sense of safety. Buried deep in the back of our minds is the knowledge that it just isn’t safe to enter the woods at night…
And so, back to meaning of place. We know that the woods (or the Australian bush) are not safe. We know that sand dunes are easy to get lost in, that sea cliffs are high and dangerous, that isolated towns in the middle-of-nowhere can be scary places. That once, a long time ago, other people lived and walked, laughed and cried, made love, were born, and died, in the same places that we now call Home.
Place is not only physical or geographical. It’s part of our personal history and psyche. Our sense of belonging is tied to the meaning we each find in Place; our home, our country, our planet, our imagination. The journeys we take, mentally, emotionally and physically, are played out in the stories we read and write. When we recognise Place in stories, we connect. When we connect, we immerse ourselves in the world the writer has created. It’s such an integral and deeply instinctual part of us that it often enters into the realm of things that we know or feelings we have but can’t explain. This is what writers tap into, what they impart to readers; a recognition of what Place means to them and an understanding that the experience is shared.
~About the Author~
Patricia Leslie is an Australian writer of urban fantasy that encompasses time, distance, recognisable geographical locations, history, and myth. She spends a lot of time exploring her story locations; touching buildings, feeling the sand under her feet, listening to the sounds around her, and learning the history of the places she visits. Her current novel, A Single Light, a scary mix of paranormal, horror, and fantasy, is set in the southern suburbs of Sydney and the second oldest national park in the world, the Royal National Park. Visit her webpage: www.patricialeslie.net for updates on her current explorations and research into the unknown dark history of Sydney.
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