Hello, everyone! Thanks to Charlie for inviting me over to talk about a strange little contemporary fantasy story I have recently released.
Life in the Land is a bit of an odd tale. Set somewhere between high fantasy and contemporary fiction, I had fun muddying the genres, but even with that in mind I didn’t set out to write a story about superheroes – oops!
The story started as a short piece with Bobby trying to connect with the magic in the family farm, so when I came to extend it, I found I was less interested in seeing Superhero Bobby and more the man behind his gifts. Initially, I did try to include some of the more traditional elements of a superhero story: costumes, big villains and secret identities, but ultimately I cut out almost as many words as I was left with at the end. It all came down to the fact that I had to write the story that wanted to be told. I know this might be a disappointment for some, but apart from a rescue that goes wrong, most of the story is about the other side of Bobby’s life. His day job working in a garden center where he talks to the plants, or trying to woo his first love, and hopefully his last love, over a beer in the local pub, and really concentrating on the magic and the plants that make Bobby the man behind the superhero.
The family farm, with its history and magic is as much a character as Bobby and his first love Mike. The carrots and hedgerows all chatter and talk to Bobby, and he has a special connection with an ancient oak tree on the farm. Centuries of Welsh mythology make Bobby Sawyer the man he is today.
So I hope I can persuade you to take a chance with my strange little tale of the man behind the magic, and his quest to convince his true love that he can be Mike’s hero once and for all.
Short Excerpt from Land in the Land
Bobby let himself be pulled toward the trunk, the roots curling around his body in a firm embrace. Nestled next to the tree trunk, he swore he could hear drumming from its core. He laid his head against the bark and closed his eyes.
Every cell of the tree thrummed with the same pulse. Behind his eyelids, Bobby could see the microscopic world inside the tree. Layer upon layer of water-laden cells made up the trunk’s innards, all jostled together as a noisy factory of life. His mind climbed the trunk and followed the path as it diverged to the left and ran across the branches. The way ahead narrowed, and he arrived into an explosion of green, the leaves humming happily. Tiny explosions fizzed and crackled as the chloroplasts trilled and sang, busy converting water into energy using the meager rays of the weak morning sun. It was beautiful. He could barely breathe as he watched, mute in amazement.
The tree’s roots began to loosen their grip, and his eyelids fluttered open.
The world before him looked fresh and new. Every detail was vivid and clear, from the petals on the drooping dandelions to the spikes of the hawthorn hedges. His long fingers wormed their way into the soil that the oak’s roots had disrupted. Bobby could taste the goodness, the nitrates and the minerals tripping over his tongue. The tightness that had sat in his chest for weeks began to unwind, and a warmth spread through his veins, radiating out from his breastbone, down his arms, and through his fingers. Slowly, Bobby withdrew his hands from the soil, and he could hardly believe his own eyes as the lines on his palm began to glow, lit up in gold. He turned his hands over to see the same golden color swim under his fingernails.
Links for Life in the Land:
Author Bio and Links:
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.