It feels like I’ve known Trilby Plants forever. She was a member of the writers group that taught me to write back in the misty days of the 1980s. I had the pleasure of publishing a true ghost story by her in Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues and one of her lovely essays on Cemetery Travel: https://cemeterytravel.com/2016/09/16/deaths-garden-history-lives-like-ghosts/.
Trilby Plants wrote her first story when she was ten. It won a blue ribbon at the Montana State Fair. She’s been writing stories ever since. Plants’ first book, Gatekeeper, is a dark fantasy about giant spiders and evil wizards. Why? Because she is fascinated by Magic, and spiders are her worst nightmare. Chaos, a sequel to Gatekeeper, came out in August. Trilby is the co-author of Double Danger, a romantic suspense novel. She also writes children’s books — not scary ones, she points out. A proud member of the South Carolina Writers Association, Plants lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, where she writes, knits, and creates video book trailers and animated book covers.
Arden McEwan journeys with her brother Kerrick Malone through a dolmen gateway from Alsium, a world of Magic, to save friends from the evil Nadra, who is bent on destroying all the worlds. But her brother is injured and returns to Alsium. Alone, with no one to help her, Arden is not strong enough to prevail. She faces spider creatures who transform humans into something other, a far worse thing than death. Arden thought she and Kerrick had saved Earth from Nadra’s clutches. She is wrong. Now Nadra is back as an eight-legged spider horror from the darkest pits of Magic, bent on tearing down the World Gates to invade Earth and convert people into spider-slaves. Without Kerrick to help her, Arden is not sure she can stop Nadra.
Arden meets Ennit Bryce, a tabloid journalist who claims his mother died more than a century and a half ago. He seems to know more about her than she thinks he should.
Far-seers have predicted she will find help. She must decide: Face the scourge and her own doom — or trust a stranger.
Did something in the real world inspire Chaos?
In the mid-90s, a friend told me about a dream she had: A woman on a horse materialized in a thunderstorm, carrying a bundle. An idea sprang full-blown in my mind. I told my friend I knew the woman’s name and what she was carrying. She’d come from another world with something in the bundle that might result in the saving of all the worlds. That idea became the book Gatekeeper, which was finally published in the early 2000s. There is magic, other worlds, and a villain named Nadra, who controls giant spiders and wants to rule all the worlds.
Here are the opening lines:
“Blue light exploded on the rocky hilltop, and thunder roared through the forest. A woman on horseback appeared in the flash where only darkness and wind-driven rain were an instant before. Her name was Lyriel, and the world she left was far away. The horse staggered, then sidestepped, gathering itself to lunge. Lyriel held the reins taut and tucked her hair into the hood of a cloak. She put a hand on the bundle under her cloak.”
You can get Gatekeeper for free here: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/Nn6E9
Gatekeeper always haunted me to write a follow-up book. It took me fifteen years, but the sequel, Chaos, is finally out. It’s available in print and Kindle on Amazon [see the link below] and will eventually be available in eBook on other platforms.
What is your favorite scene in Chaos?
There are two scenes I really like.
In the beginning, the heroine Arden arrives on Earth to save friends from a Magic storm sent by Nadra, a disgraced Magic practitioner. Far-seers have told Arden her friends must be saved. Torn between duty and friendship, she risks her life to rescue them from a power that could destroy Earth and all the other worlds, knowing she may have made herself and them more vulnerable.
I also like the scene later in the book when Arden knows she cannot defeat the evil Nadra. She entertains the idea of accepting Old Magic, the power of Unmaking, so she can win. Old Magic corrupts all who embrace it and Arden knows she will be sacrificing herself in order to defeat Nadra. In anger, poised to welcome the corrupting Magic, she gathers enough energy to destroy a town.
There is a character in the first book named Dax Navarian, who helped Lyriel in her quest to save the Earth and other worlds. His character begged for closure, so he came to life in the last chapter of Chaos.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
I first did a ton of research on Down East Maine, because it had been so long since I had written Gatekeeper. I discovered the storyline for Chaos required that I do many revisions to the first book. I spent a few months reworking Gatekeeper, then wrote a complete draft of Chaos, then went back and did another draft of Gatekeeper. I decided to give the revised first book away, hoping for more sales for the second.
I write every day, although not always on the same project. For some reason, Chaos was a difficult journey. The story taps into ideas of predetermination and free will. Wiser heads than Arden’s have foreseen future paths, but just like in real life, every choice she makes alters the timeline. The far-seers have told her she will find help from an unexpected source, but she must choose to accept it or not. Through Arden’s character, I faced what lengths I would go to in order to protect the ones I love.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of Chaos?
While working on the book, I found that help is everywhere in the community of writers. I belong to a wonderful support group, a local chapter of the South Carolina Writers Association and a small group of other writers who provide wonderful critiques and friendship.
What do you have planned next?
Over the course of the past year, I’ve concentrated on short stories and have written a dozen. One flash fiction piece was published in flashfictionmagazine.com and one I’m especially proud of appeared by The Petigru Review 2018. I’m honored and humbled that it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. It’s an old story I resurrected called “Retirement.” You can find it here: https://thepetigrureview.com/2018/07/09/retirement/
I’m currently working on a paranormal about a woman who inherits a house along with its sordid past and its ghosts, and a fantasy about a woman who must come to grips with a power she does not want in a society where magic is unwelcome. My children’s picture book, Hubert Little’s Great Wish, is about to be released. It’s about being happy with yourself.
Find out more about Trilby’s work at www.TrilbyPlants.com
Her Amazon page is: https://amzn.to/309EO2v
Or order a copy of Chaos at: https://amzn.to/2LAwRKN