Good morning, dear hearts!
September marks my second year participating in #Mythothon – wherein, a group of us who are book bloggers, bookish tweeters and readers love to gather together to celebrate the mutual love & affection we have in discovering the Mythologically Fantastical about the artfulness of re-tellings and after canons as they parlay through origins in Mythology and/or Mythological Myths which can be from a wide net of origins.
When I signed on for this blog tour, I thought it would be interesting to host an author whose merged together two of my personal favourite canons which is Shakespeare and Camelot. Of the two, over the past several years, I’ve read the most extensively through Camelot and I will be re-visiting it again this September, as part of my #Mythothon readings this year is a Non-Fiction account of Guinevere’s life called “The Once and Future Queen”. A bit lateron today, I’ll be revealling what I am reading for Mythothon Year 2 and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has selected to entreat into this lovely new niche of interest we are celebrating!
Ahead of the conversation, I have with Ms Douglas is an extract from the first story in the duology for Merlin’s Shakespeare. The author revealled in our conversation that this is a duology at this point in time rather than a continuing series where there are more installments. I hope you’ll enjoy this introduction to the first novel and gleam a bit more insight into how it was written as you read the responses by the author herself in our conversation.
Extract from ‘Merlin’s Shakespeare’ by Carol Anne Douglas
the first novel in the Merlin’s Shakespeare series; used with permission of the author
“If you are Merlin, why would you come to our school?” she asked.
“I have my reasons. Can you imagine that Merlin would explain himself to you? Or to anyone?” He frowned. “Can you prove that you are Beth Owens?” he asked scornfully.
“I have lots of papers that say so, and my teacher will agree that I am,” Beth said, though it was clear that he already knew the answer.
“But may I ask why you honor us with a visit?” Ms. Capulet’s voice was reverent. She gazed at him as if he were the combination of a movie star and a religious leader.
Apparently the teacher’s manner was humble enough to mollify Merlin. “I came to teach Beth how to channel her magic,” the wizard said. He turned to Beth. “You have magical powers, and you love Shakespeare. Th at is a combination I need. I could use you as a researcher on Shakespeare’s plays.”
If he needed something from her, Beth wasn’t going to be speechless. “Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?” she asked. She had heard that some people believed he wasn’t the one who had written the plays.
“Did William Shakespeare really write all those plays?”
“Of course Shakespeare was Shakespeare.” Merlin looked at her as if she had said a pig was a chimpanzee.
“Some people say an actor couldn’t have known enough about kings or court life to have written the plays.”
“Of course he didn’t know enough. That was why I helped him,” Merlin said. “I saw that he had great ability as a poet, and I helped him travel to worlds where he would get the experience he needed. His plays are magic. He provided the art; I provided the magic.”
“Oh.” Beth paused to take in this information. A genius and a wizard working together. Th at made sense to her. “But how can you still be on this earth?” Merlin didn’t look like a ghost. “Are you dead or alive?”
“I am immortal,” Merlin said, looking down at her though he wasn’t much taller than Beth. “But I allow only a few people to see me.”
“Why do you think I could help you?” Beth asked.
Merlin rubbed his beard. Th ere was a gleam in his eye. “Not just because you have a talent for wizardry,” he said. “It is better to call you a wizard than a witch, I think. Safer for you.”
“Even today it is,” Ms. Capulet agreed. “Men who can do magic are seen as potentially great, but people too often think that women who can do the same thing are evil.”
“I have a task for you, Beth,” Merlin told her. He sat down on one of the auditorium seats near hers. “There is one great lack in Shakespeare’s writings. I helped him for a reason. I wanted him to write a play about King Arthur.” He paused.
“But there isn’t any Shakespeare play about King Arthur,” Beth said.
“There is not. Or there does not seem to be.” Merlin frowned. “I gave Will all he needed. Knowledge of kings, knowledge of battles. But he used bits and pieces in other plays, and never wrote the one I most desired. Or he did not appear to. There may be such a play, but it may be hidden.”
“A lost Shakespeare play!” Ms. Capulet gasped. “That would be incredibly valuable.”
“Beyond measure,” Merlin said, “especially to me. Not just any play, but the one that was to be his crowning glory.”
Beth wanted to giggle, because “crowning glory” in this instance sounded like a pun, but she refrained because Merlin intimidated her.
“If you, who are so powerful, can’t find it, why do you think I could? I’m just a teenager.”
“People might tell you things that they would not tell me,” Merlin said. “You have some magical powers—untried and unschooled, it is true—and you love Shakespeare and learn the lines quickly. You also have some talent for acting.”
“Thank you.” Beth felt proud. If she had impressed Merlin, she must be good. “But what people would know anything about this play, if it exists?”
The Merlin’s Shakespeare duology:
Merlin’s Shakespeare | book one
Beth loves Shakespeare’s plays, but does she want risk her life for them?
The immortal wizard Merlin transports high school actor Beth Owens to Shakespeare’s London and the worlds of Shakespeare’s characters in search of a missing play about King Arthur. Mercutio guides her and flirts with her, but Richard III threatens her sanity, her friends’ lives, and the integrity of Shakespeare’s plays.
The Mercutio Problem | Book Two
High school actor Beth Owens faces a new challenge: She needs to bring a Shakespearean character she loves back from the dead. But she has to become a man and risk her life to do it. Richard III still menaces her.
Genres: Shakespeare | Camelot | Mythological Re-tellings / After Canons
Young Adult | Fantasy Adventure | Time Travel or Shift