“Marvelous and magical. Lucy Christopher startlingly shows us how every act of love is an act of creation . . . even when it destroys. A weird, wonderful ride into an unforgettable tempest.”
“The perfect book for anyone who needs a little more magic in their life.”
“A tale of strange magic and faith lost and found that packs a wallop.”
This story starts with a dream, and its dreamer.
He was younger then, rolling in the belly of his boat, on rougher waters than expected inside those harbour walls. The first day of spring, but he felt at the end of the world. And still, the storms stayed.
In fever dream, he turned in his bunk, his hand splaying to the side and hovering in mid-air. He pressed his finger and thumb together, so gently, as if he were picking a flower. Careful, careful… he couldn’t rush it, couldn’t crush it, either. The flower was so little, more precious than any jewel. He breathed lighter, stretched a little further. There! He touched it. Just there! It left a tingling in his fingertips.
‘Stormflower,’ he whispered.
He ran his fingers down its stem – smooth, smooth, a little wet, so tiny and firm – more sparrow’s leg than plant. And, soon, the feeling came, the happy rush into his veins. No pain now. All fading back – the sharp stabs in his mind, the confusion, the anxiety when he thought about the darkness washing over the world. He could drown in darkness like that; anyone could.
William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest has been tangled inside me for years. The first production I saw of it was on a beach during a Melbourne winter; I was eighteen. It was raining and the actors were terrible, but, even so, I was entranced. With the tide coming in and the rain coming down, it had a raw impermanence. A wildness! Years later, I saw The Tempest outdoors again, in Wales, and it rained so hard that it was often impossible to hear the lines. Again, I loved it. I’ve often wondered whether it’s not the words of this play I love the most, but its’ atmosphere: its meandering between the realms of dream and reality. Its delightful strangeness.
That is what I have tried to capture in Storm-wake. An atmosphere. A state. A setting of a different kind – one that moves between reality and dream, one that is more of a feeling than a thought.
Most of all I’ve tried to capture Miranda’s – Moss’s – story. I’ve imagined what a different kind of Tempest might be like, one that focused on this (overlooked) character’s life and dreams. I imagined how this story could work in a world very much like our own and in a time very much like now. I also wanted to give power to Caliban through my character of Callan. To me, Miranda and Caliban are the most interesting and dynamic characters in The Tempest, and yet, they are the most put-upon, most dominated. What if their story was allowed to end differently? What if they could find endings they chose for themselves?
By constructing Storm-wake within a Shakespearean 5-Act play, I’m asking readers to move between being swept away in the ‘dream’ of the story, while also being aware that it IS a story I’m creating – one that invites its’ ‘viewer’ to notice this fact through the pauses between acts, in the interval, in an encore.
I hope Shakespeare would approve of what I was trying to do with Storm-wake: for Moss to realise she will be “the dreaming and the real, in one”.