18 Oct 2015

Hawk by Marie Powell

Hawk by Marie Powell
Genre: young adult historical fantasy
Published August 1st, 2015
Published by Five Rivers Publishing
294 Pages

Hyw yearns to join his father in serving the charismatic Llywelyn, Prince of Wales. If only Hyw dared tell anyone of his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, it might help secure his place in the royal guard. Cat, his sister, longs to inherit the magical ability that runs through her mother’s line. If only she could see her future, now that she is 13 and promised to a boy she barely remembers.
When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hwy find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy all of Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family—and themselves?
Set among the actual events and personages of late 13th century Wales, Marie Powell has constructed a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age.
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Hi Marie. Can you explain why you chose to set Hawk in 13th century Wales?
Thanks for asking me this question. Hawk really started for me on a family trip to Wales with my two kids (then 11 and 16). We went to find out some information about my grandfather. At that time, all I knew was that he was “from Wales.” So I had to trust my intuition.
We stayed for a week on a working sheep farm outside Dolwyddelan. In front of our cottage was a stone ruin, and we could tell it was a building of some kind. I asked the farmer about it, and he told me it dated from 1100. In Saskatchewan we think a 100-year-old building is old. Wow!
We bought Wellington boots and tramped around the muddy hills. One day we visited Dolwyddelan Castle, and read about the history on touristy panels hung inside it. We were struck by what happened to the Welsh in 1282-4, and how similar it was for the First Nations in Regina in the last century. Places had been renamed, the Welsh weren’t allowed to remain in town overnight or speak Welsh. My kids are Metis through their father, so we knew the stories of the Road Allowance people, and how the Metis and First Nations weren’t allowed in town overnight and had to camp at the edge of town. The similarities really hit home.
Yet everywhere we went, we saw the resurgence of Welsh language and culture. How could they remember place names from before 1282? But they did. We could see the Welsh town names painted right over the English names on some signs. How could they bring back a language that they’d been forbidden to speak for more than 700 years? But they’re doing it: Welsh is the first language in schools, and on road signs, and many people speak it again.
Also, a lot of odd things happened during that trip. One afternoon we drove to a town called Bodfari, searching for the home of (deceased) poet Anne Szumigalski, who had been a mentor to me when I was a teenager. We found ourselves driving through countryside that seemed very familiar. At one point my son looked around and said, “Where are we?” It seemed so similar to an area near Swift Current that we love. Eventually, we found Bodfari, but not Anne’s former home. Two years later, I connected with relatives I didn’t know I had, and found out they live in Bodfari. That sent shivers down my spine.
Somewhere in there, Hawk began for me. It’s set in 13th Century Wales because that’s when the invasion happened that marked the end of Welsh independence, language, and law. But it’s about how the Welsh survived that, and kept their language and independent spirit in spite of it. I knew it would be a challenge to write, and I spent about a year trying to write something else instead. But I kept seeing and hearing these scenes in my head, and finding information about that time period in the books I was reading. In my short stories and children’s books, I write about things I’m afraid of, or things that haunt me. My kids joke that we brought a ghost back with us from all the ruins we visited, but it wasn’t a ghost. It was this story. One day I spread my fingers over the keys, and the words came tumbling out.

Marie Powell is the author of 30 published books, including the young adult historical fantasy Hawk (Five Rivers, 2015) and Hawk and Crown (Five Rivers, 2016). She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and
her award-winning short stories and poetry appear in such literary magazines as subTerrain, Room, and Transition. She lives in Saskatchewan, and her writing workshops are popular across the province. Read more about Hawk and Welsh history on her Blog.
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1 comment:

Hiya! Thanks so much for stopping by the Fiction Dreams site. If you have the time, I'd love to hear from you so please do leave a comment :D xx