Mythic Fiction with tree spirit elements: The white dream

Mythic fiction? What is this? It’s is literature that is rooted in, inspired by, or that in some way draws from the metaphors, archetypes, symbols, themes of myth, legend, folklore and fairytales. In the 1980s, the speculative fiction world in the USA was looking for a new term where myths or fairytales are retold. Famous pioneers were Terri Windling (e.g. ‘the wood wife’) and Charles de Lint. Other authors whose work could be seen as mythic fiction are J.K. Rowling (many names and tropes are borrowed from mythology) and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson). Tolkien’s work cannot be called mythic fiction; it’s more mythopoeia, because he invented his own legends and folklore. My latest fiction story builds a world, but it is clearly mythic fiction: I refer to existing (women’s) myths, especially of the old-Norse and ancient Greek tradition and even bible stories.

My own journey

After many years of toiling behind my PC, the necessary writer’s blocks and some ‘genius hunches’ it is finally finished and I am extremely proud of it! I have published my book through Brave New Books last winter… in Dutch (and can be bought in any online shop or you can ask your local bookshop in the Netherlands or Belgium to order it for you).

With the help of talented people, there is also soon an English translation, however, only available as an ebook on Kindle. The English version will also be split in two smaller books (with some extra material in the first book): ‘The White Dream’ and ‘the Green Outburst’. I cannot give a date for this release, but I hope by the end of 2021.

The Dutch (original) printed version

The story?

The world is terrorised by mysterious diseases, climate change, ecoterrorist attacks and challenges human’s relationship with the rest of nature. Suzanne, a Scottish woman and engineer, searches for her missing daughter, who is associated with an ecoterrorist attack in Japan. During the search for her daughter, she is confronted with her own past. In doing so, she comes ever closer to the mysterious truth of a great family secret. “The White Dream” is a book full of fantasy and adventure, which takes you to different cultures and makes you face some of life’s hard truths. This mystical eco-thriller takes you from mysterious Japan through raw Scottish nature to ancient forests in Cameroon.

This book is mainly for people who like a bit of fantasy, mythology and (eco)spiritual ideas. The themes fit almost perfectly with the themes I have been exploring in the past years via this blog (ecofeminism, nature connected, sacred trees, tree spirits, forest bathing…). There are references to ancient Greek and old-Norse mythology and biblical stories. For me, it is a retelling of the myth of Demeter-seeking-Persephone-and-her-own-growth: it is also about family and how trauma is passed from mother to daughter. Different reviewers (in the Netherlands and Belgium) noted this will be enjoyed mostly by people who like (women’s) mythology.

Original split in two Why? I am not an established writer, even not in Belgium, so marketing experts advised me to sell the first part(s) for a cheap price. In addition, the original story has two big parts, so it was easy to split almost halfway, when a first arc for the main character is closed. I added some paragraphs in the end of ‘the white dream’, which are not in the original.

In some way, the second part ‘the green outburst’ could also be read without reading the first part. To be honest, I heard from the editor and the readers that the second part is better; the first part is more a prequel and table setting with hidden easter eggs and foreshadowing. Therefore, I also feel comfortable to split up the stories, with the knowledge that the second part can become even stronger. This summer I will work on the English translation of the second part ‘the Green Outburst’.

Do you know people who enjoy reading such books?