When I first began to write The Heirs to the kingdom, I wanted the story to be a simple tale that would captivate and inspire the reader. But being the person I am, and a lover of tales with many meanings, I also wanted to create a story, which could have many layers that if the reader so wished, they could strip them away to look deeper into the story and the characters.
In the heirs to the kingdom, I have employed many different techniques to add greater depth, such as word play, name meanings, and cryptic rhymes, although in most cases I have kept them very simple, but in one area more than most I have used a great deal of symbolism. The Character of Runestone comes across in the books as being a simple living, deeply caring, attractive young woman, in whom my lead character is very much in love with, and yet she is without doubt, the hardest character to write as she is the most complex of all the characters in the books.
For Runestone I have employed a huge amount of simple symbolism around her, to help reinforce whom she is as the complex woman learning to deal with the many talents for magic and life buried deep within her. I spent a long time putting her character together as I took small parts of many people with whom I had interacted over the years, and then looked for a symbol that would encompass of the qualities that fitted her. The symbol I chose was one that at its most basic level, everyone could identify with, and as I began to work on the second book, I started to weave it into her story and created the union of Runestone with the Butterfly.
I love butterflies, I am sure you do too, for me and many ancient civilizations, it is the ultimate symbol of freedom and the beauty of the wild countryside, and also the most identified symbol of Nature, all of which are important in linking in with Runestone. The butterfly can be seen almost on a daily basis in today’s modern life, as it is used in a million different ways in our culture today, such is the power of this insect for which many of us only manage to get a fleeting glimpse each year.
For thousands of years it has been heralded as the ultimate natural symbol of women, and it has been linked with the qualities of serene beauty and feminine demure. It was once thought of as the carrier of knowledge, due to the fact that it possessed the ability to travel freely within the world and evade the watchful eye of man. Runestone use it to carry messages and also her magical power of life to her grandfather, and also the high lord of the woodland. The Celts linked it with the power to transcend this world and visit other realms to explain its fleeting sightings in the summer, mainly due to the fact that its life was so short lived and therefore it was absent from the landscape for the majority of the year, and explained away as being in another world.
The most important link with Runestone and the butterfly is that of the transformation from one being into another. As the story of HTTK begins, Rune is a young girl approaching womanhood (A physical transformation) and as the story proceeds throughout the entire series, she embarks on a change from the young woman into the female magical entity her destiny has preordained for her. Nothing symbolises this more than the transformation of a plain nondescript caterpillar, into the creature of abject beauty and wonder that it becomes when it emerges from the chrysalis. It paints a potent image, and helps explain what is really going on mentally, physically and spiritually with Runestone.
One thing that has always appealed to me, is this transformation from one state of being into another, helps mankind understand that change is always possible. No matter what we do, or where we end up, we have this wonderful symbol to inspire us, and yes, we can all change if we want to.