Monday, May 23, 2016

On Wyslings and Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal

The term 'wysling' was first coined (I believe) by Charles de Lint, in his novel 'The Riddle of the Wren.' I remember flipping through the book, and I couldn't understand why nobody else had adopted the term. We have orcs and wizards and elves and goblins, but no wyslings? That didn't seem fair. In my world, wyslings are very much like wizards, except they'll tell you that 'wizards' are fictional, please and thank you. There's no specific reason I latched onto the word except I fell in love with it. It sounds whimsical. It sounds magical. It sounds just a little irresponsible (apologies to Mr. De Lint).

My wyslings are eccentric people with fae blood and magical propensities. Ordinary humans can learn a magic trick or two, but thus far, only those with fae blood have any real magical abilities. While they tend to prefer living alone, they usually can't resist taking on an apprentice or two (most of them are helplessly vain).

Aside from heritage and frequent vanity, however, every wysling is different. Female, male, introverted, extroverted - it doesn't really matter. I tend to write about male wyslings because, well, they visit me more often than female wyslings, but that's only the author's prerogative. (I have a Paper novel planned featuring a female wysling, and I'm excited for it.)

Wyslings may be fae, but there are only a few factors that set them apart from others: their ability to perform wysary, and occasionally inhuman appearances. Most of my wyslings thus far could easily be mistaken for human beings, like many fae, but we'll meet some soon who definitely break that mold.

You'll meet two wyslings in Paper Crowns - Azrael and Asterope, although throughout the rest of the upcoming series you'll meet Rastaban, Eridanus, Ras Algethi Chow, Wilhllmina, Ambrose Vernon, and a plethora of others, all with their own personalities, abilities, and styles of wysary. I look forward to writing them, and I hope you look forward to meeting them!

"So why are you here? …The old conscience giving you a turn?"
"I haven't got one," he said, his voice slightly pressed-sounding because he didn't bother to raise his head before he spoke.
"A turn?"
"A conscience."
"That must be awful," I retorted.
"Not really," he said.
— Ginny and Azrael, Paper Crowns

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

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Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

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