The dragon turned its head and seemed to look straight at Keira. Pulling her arm out of her sister’s, she drew herself upright and stared straight back, meeting the golden eye of the dragon before it turned its enormous body in a slow, fluid motion and lazily flew towards the mountains.
A dragon has moved into the neighborhood of Keira’s small, medieval village, unsettling the residents as they fear for their safety. All except Keira, who is fascinated by the creature, both dangerous and beautiful. But when Aaron Drake decides to take up residence in his ancestral home of Storbrook Castle, set deep in the nearby mountains, Keira finds herself unsettled by the handsome stranger. Why did he decide to move to Storbrook, almost eighty years after it was last inhabited, and does the dragon really live in the caves below the castle?
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Creating a world of dragons
by Linda K. Hopkins
From Hans Christian Andersen to William Shakespeare, Enid Blyton to J. R. R. Tolkien, mythological and fantasy creatures have been part of children’s and adult literature for thousands of years. Even before the time of printing presses and widespread literacy, story-tellers have whispered tales of mischievous elves and virtuous fairies, wicked goblins and fire-breathing dragons. From East to West, mythological creatures are scattered throughout folklore – genies in the Middle East, tokoloshes in Africa, stories of mermaids and sirens from sailors throughout the world. And, of course, dragons.
So how do you write a story about a creature that exists in the realm of fantasy, but for which there is already a mountain of folklore? How do you add your own characteristics to an imaginary being that people already know so much about?
The dragons in Bound by a Dragon are based on European dragon folklore, and it was this creature that was the starting point for the dragons in my story. Huge beasts with enormous wings that can carry them through the air for hours at a time, dragons are recognised as fire-breathing monsters with a penchant for beautiful maidens – as a meal, that is. Almost invincible, legends abound of knights who risked their lives to rescue damsels in distress from monstrous dragons. Dragons are also known to love gold and to hoard mountains of wealth, often sleeping atop their treasure in order to keep it safe from thieves.
But the dragons in Bound by a Dragon have a unique ability that is not part of this well-known folklore. My challenge was to create a world of dragons that still fit into generally held beliefs, while providing a suitable explanation for this unique ability. And right from the beginning, I knew I did not want to create a sanitized version of dragons. I wanted to retain their fearful elements even while giving an explanation for those characteristics. My goal was to describe a creature of strength and power while also recognizing their beauty and splendor. It was with this in mind that I came up with the history of my dragons, and of how they even came to be. Even in Keira’s time, their true natures were kept hidden, and it was on this premise that I built my dragon world.
“As Keira watched … she saw a wild creature, ferocious and beautiful. She … marveled at the magnificence of the creature before her – fierce and primal, silhouetted against the moon. The dragon continued to watch her as he ate, and she watched in return, with a feeling of awe.”
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