In November 2011, I spent a weekend in a forest with my friends from a Dutch online forum. Those weekends, or camps, had been a tradition since 2005. These days, we no longer manage to organise them strictly every year, as having jobs and families has made it more difficult to find weekends in which a good number of us can get together, but we do still meet up (at least in pandemic-less times). The most recent camps mostly consisted of hanging out, taking walks, and playing boardgames, but the camp in 2011 still had some planned activities, organised by some of the other forum members. And the specific activity that I’m getting to here was an open mic night.
In the month before, someone posted a call to our forum for those of us who wanted to prepare an act. We’re a creative bunch in general; some wanted to sing or play an instrument, some wanted to re-enact a sketch, and I did what I thought I do best: write a fairy tale to read out loud. It had become (yet another) tradition that I would read to a group of people at those camps anyway, so now I might as well have everyone listen to it. I wrote about Knight Violet-blue, an introverted knight who was hired to slay a dragon, but who, upon finding the dragon, realised he liked the creature more than he liked his employer, and went after the princess instead.
The story was far from perfect. I’m not fond of the idea that “well, then the princess must be evil”, or of the way I’d presented her. But I did like the knight and the dragon and the interactions between them, and even though I forgot most of the story for a long time, these two characters stuck with me.
Fast-forward: I graduated from university, started writing more (and in English!), had my first story published in Unburied Fables in 2016, and with that (and the help of my friend Ether) finally figured out how to look for calls for submissions and get more stories published.
One of the first calls I discovered that way, at the end of 2016, was the “For the Hoard” call for a collection that would be published by Less Than Three Press. It asked for novella- and novel-length stories about dragons and LGBTQIA characters. I brainstormed, I plotted, and then I wrote the first draft of The Dragon of Ynys in January 2017, just before the deadline.
In May 2018, LT3 Press published The Dragon of Ynys.
In July 2019, LT3 Press went out of business, and The Dragon of Ynys was unpublished again.
From September 2019 until July 2020, I worked on revising the novella. First on my own, changing the parts that had started bugging me and those I had learned could be read differently than I had intended. Then I reached out to E.D.E. Bell, because I had had a great experience working with Atthis Arts when they included the short story I’d co-written with L.S. Reinholt in Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove. The more I thought about it, the more Atthis Arts seemed to be the right publisher for the revised Dragon. Fortunately, the Atthis team agreed and we started on revision rounds, beta rounds, sensitivity rounds, final edit rounds… And finally we were happy with the result. With a new cover by Ulla Thynell, the 2020 edition of The Dragon of Ynys was ready to be out in the world.
Today is September 15, 2020. It’s release day. The Dragon is back!!!
Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet, the local knight, makes his way to the dragon’s cave and negotiates the item’s return. It’s annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.
But when the dragon hoards a person, that’s a step too far. Sir Violet storms off to the mountainside to escort the baker home, only to find a more complex mystery—a quest that leads him far beyond the cave. Accompanied by the missing baker’s wife and the dragon himself, the dutiful village knight embarks on his greatest adventure yet.
The Dragon of Ynys is an inclusive fairy tale for all ages.
Out now, both as paperback and ebook!
Buy links: Publisher’s website – Smashwords – Amazon.com – Amazon.de – iBooks – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – Bookshop
Add the book to your shelves: The StoryGraph – Goodreads
It’s been quite a journey. A quest of its own. I’m so happy that this story can once again make its way to readers who may need to hear just the messages that I wrote because I’d needed them myself.
A big thank you to everyone who encouraged me to write, who supported me, who helped this story grow into what it is now, and of course to everyone who bought or will buy it, who writes a review and/or tells their friends or followers about this. Thank you for giving the Dragon wings and making the spiders’ job a little easier.
Lots of love,