Part 7: This conversation is in ten parts.
EH: OK, so you have essentially been working on LOME since 1978. It’s now 2015 how far along have you gotten with the actual writing of the story? Or, should I say, stories?
OD: As you know, Eric, there are going to be five books in The Lay of Moel Eyris: The Saga of the Bear’s Son. Each of the five books focuses on specific adventures and revealing the magic and mystery of the islands: 1) Cael’s Initiations to becoming a maol; 2) his learning the history and lore of the islands; 3) his meeting the many and varied islanders and 4) solving the mysteries that will save the islands from the ruthless attacks by the evil Muckle Maisters.
The Overview of all five books, what the main mystery and resolution in each book will be, is written. Each of the five books has a rough outline of chapter titles and what is basically going to take place. Each of the five books is set in a particular island or region and will allow Cael, and the reader, to discover the islands together as he strives to solve the secrets that must be solved in order for him to fulfill his Destiny.
Here are the five books:
Book One: The Secret Book of Moolstery: basic plot is that Cael arrives in Moel Eyris, becomes friends with Peadar and Cuddy, and begins his twelve long years of study to become a maol, or mythographer and a fully fledged member in the Cymry of Maols—the Brotherhood of Mythographers
Book Two: The Secret of the Mool Dykes; basic plot is that Cael adds two more companions to his circle of friends, Maggie and Rinar, that bring the number of companions up to five. The five companions share the adventures and perils as they aid Cael in his quest to find the five dragon eggs. The main story line is how they discover what the mystery of the mool dykes is.
Book Three: The Secret of Morag’s Too’er: basic plot is that the five companions must make their way to the Black Rock where Morag’s Too’er stands and learn the secret that is held there that can help them in their quest to find the dragon eggs.
Book Four: The Secret of the Myvyrrian Map: basic plot is that Cael must learn to ‘read’ the Myvyrrian Map and uncover clues that will help him and his companions find the lost dragon eggs. The Myvyrrian Map is the only map in existence that shows the mysteries as well as the geography of the islands.
Book Five: The Secret of the Dragon Eggs: basic plot is that Cael meets the mysterious and ancient Atecotti, learns the location of the dragon eggs, and battles Madron-an-Faär in an epic fight that will determine whether Moel Eyris will be saved or fall under the dominion of the evil Sea Wolf and disappear beneath the sea forever.
EH: Wow! I love it! Each book has a set structure that moves the story forward and brings Cael, the hero, to his final destiny in the islands.
OD: That’s it. Of course, in each book there are numerous and interesting details that, hopefully, the reader will find interesting and will help them learn the geography and magic of the islands. Each book is designed to introduce specific characters, mysteries, and locales in a logical sequence so that the reader is kept interested and not feel overwhelmed by so much new information and words. As Cael learns the mysteries of becoming a maol he also learns the value of friendship and trust. He must make difficult, and sometimes heart wrenching decisions that not only affect him, but other characters’ lives as well. Not to mention the fate of the islands.
And, you might want to note that word “maol” which means ‘mythographer’. And maol is spelled m-a-o-l. Maols are charged with recording the history and stories of the islands as well as other world myths. “Maolt” is an apprentice maol. Again, you can see how that word ‘moel’ is being used to define one of the core concepts in LOME: The Cymry of Maols.
EH: Why is maol spelled in such an odd way? And why does it take twelve years to become a maol? Is there any particular significance to that number of years?
OD: I think I settled on that particular spelling when I came across an Old Welsh word that was spelled that way. Yes, there is a particular reason that it requires twelve long years of study to become a maol. Somewhere along the line I had read that in ancient Britain it took a bard (druid) twelve years’ study to fully become a bard. I’m pretty sure this is why I decided to have it take twelve years to become a fully fledged maol. And, of course, as with any ‘secret society’ or brotherhood, there have to be Initiations. Cael must undergo five Initiations in the course of his study at Moolstery.
Again, the five books are designed so that each one features one of the Initiations (except in Book One I think two Initiations take place). Having set up the parameter of twelve years’ study at Moolstery I had to make certain that I can cover those twelve years in five books. Book One will cover only ONE year because Cael has to much to learn as does the reader about this mysterious island world. Book Two covers the next two years; Book Three covers the following three years; Book Four covers the next three years; and Book Five covers the final three years of his study at Moolstery.
Cael is twelve years old at the start of Book One and he is twenty-four years old at the end of Book Five. To me, as a writer, twenty-four is the magical age in a young man’s life where he really makes his mark and understands his place in the world. And this is exactly what Cael does.