Heather L.L. FitzGerald
Title of book and/or series:
The Tethered World, book 1 of the The Tethered World Chronicles.
Brief summary of the story:
Sixteen year old Sadie Larcen learns that her family is involved with a world of creatures that once lived in the Garden of Eden. When her parents disappear, she has to travel to this world with her siblings to rescue them—much to her dismay.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Before the Great Flood, God moved the creatures in the Garden of Eden to large pockets in the earth, below ground. The largest, most central location is in the Pacific Northwest. Their “sky” is a giant geode that glows and provides light due to the Flaming Sword of Cherubythe—the very sword held by the angel (cherub) in Genesis, preventing humanity from returning to the Garden.
A variety of creatures from folklore and the Bible live in the Tethered World. Gnomes, Dwarves, Leprechauns, Trolls, Elves, Ogres, and Nephilim are the main denizens in book one. There are legends of such creatures all over the world because they make occasional visits “topside” (as they refer to those that live on top of the earth’s crust, rather than under it). The Gnomes are the creatures endowed with protecting the powerful Sword.
If we were to visit the Tethered World as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Walking through the Faery Meadow is a good place to start. What looks like large dandelions gone to seed are really thousands of gossamer Faeries. The Faeries are used by the Gnomes and Dwarves as an instantaneous, emergency transport. You might disappear and find yourself in the charming city of Vituvia with the Gnomes, or in the rocky fortress of Berganstroud with the Dwarves. Of course, the real luxury is across the Berganstroud mountains in Calamus, realm of the Nephilim. They are wealthy and proud and have built a sprawling city on the banks of the River Gambrell.
What dangers should we avoid in the Tethered World?
There are several creature groups that won’t be very hospitable. The Ogres of Skellerwad are particularly fond of making sport of humans (when given the rare opportunity). Avoid their island at all costs. Plus…you wouldn’t enjoy crossing the stinking Sulfur Sea to get there anyway. The Trolls are the other major danger. Their creepy castle, the Eldritch, carved into Mount Thrall, holds many mysteries and dangers. And the Trolls often employ the Dark Dwarves to do their dirty work, so stay away from them as well. Oh! And there are Sleeping Serpents that you don’t want to wake . . .
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in the Tethered World?
Vegetation doesn’t thrive in the imitation sunlight quite like it would in the real sunshine. But through the ages, the creatures have learned to adapt. The Gnomes, in particular, have hearty gardens. Of course, there’s no rain below the earth’s surface, but there is a daily dose of mist which serves to hydrate the plants. This moisture allows mushrooms and moss to become quite prolific! Therefore, you can expect many creative dishes with both of those ingredients.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in the Tethered World?
Good old fashioned hand to hand combat is still the means of warfare. Swords, daggers, catapults, and bows and arrows.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to the Tethered World?
I mentioned traveling by Faery earlier, but that is more the exception. The Dwarves use horses—many of them smaller and pony-size. The Gnomes have domesticated a creature that’s unique to the Tethered World. Clovenboars (nicknamed “Toboggans” for the way they slink across the countryside), are creepy to behold but only dangerous if you’re a Troll or Leprechaun. They have the ability to see Leprechauns that have made themselves invisible. Built low to the ground, like a panther, they’re just the right size for a Gnome. It would be undignified to put a petite Gnome on top of a huge animal like a horse. Some of the Nephilim can fly, if they were born with wings (like the royal family). Finally, there are legendary Hippogriffs that have been tamed by the Trolls for riding in combat.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in the Tethered World? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The magic is inherent to the creature in book one. Leprechauns can become invisible, Faeries can transport others in an instant. Gnomes can “interface” with animals, which makes them excellent at training squirrels and rabbits for entertainment purposes. The Elves of Willowmist are also able to become invisible, but they’re friendly—unlike the mischievous Leprechauns.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in the Tethered World.
The Dwarves will often travel topside to work, learn a new skill, or dumpster dive (“no one knows how to waste things like Americans!”). The royal Nephilim family will hire Dwarves as a form of entertainment for their parties. The Dwarves will act out shows or movies that they’ve been exposed to topside. As mentioned earlier, Ogres will make sport of humans, if they can get their clammy hands on one. Though all the creatures have their downtime activities, I only mention the two examples here, in the story.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in the Tethered World as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Yes, they are fairly connected to the rhythm of life topside. Though the concept isn’t really discussed, it is implied. The night time hours are a bit different, however. The glowing geode “sky” dims for about a six hour period, called “dusktime.” Because the creatures below are hardy folks, they need less recuperation and sleep.
Is there a particular religion practiced in the Tethered World? Please describe what it involves.
The creatures are all quite aware of their history and how they came to be in the Tethered World. They see the evidence of God’s provision on their land every day in the form of light given by the Sword. Though there are some creatures that wish to deviate from acknowledging their Creator, overall there is the recognition of God in their purpose and plans.
What is the political or government structure in the Tethered World? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The Gnomes are the guardians of the Sword, so they are small but powerful. However, they are also humble about their status and also rely on a monarch that is human to help them rule. Currently the ruler is Queen Judith (soon to retire). The queen has a cabinet of Gnomes that help her rule. The Dwarves have a chief but are loosely structured. They are allied with the Gnomes and work together well.
In the last ten years, the Trolls have had a leader come to power that seems to be part tyrant, part religious icon. The Dwarves and Gnomes are keeping a wary eye on what the Trolls are doing under his leadership.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
They say to write “what you know” so, yes, there are many things that are personally part of my life. The setting in Orchards, Washington (aka Vancouver) is where I grew up. The landmarks mentioned, including the local fast-food establishment, are places I know and love (and miss! I live in Texas now).
The main character, Sadie, has an autistic brother, Brock. I have an autistic son. With autism so prevalent, I wanted to make it a normal part of my main character’s life—the way sports or even race might be part of a character’s identity. In fact, it’s Brock’s uniqueness that gives him a special role to play in the Tethered World.
Beyond that, just about all of my characters or the towns/realms in the Tethered World are names of family and friends that have been tweaked. I love to give a nod to those that I care about.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
My main character is homeschooled. Again, it’s treated in a very matter-of-fact way, like autism. Both things have come across everyone’s radar these days. It merely supplies a backdrop to her character—the same way a character from a divorced family has that life-event that colors their decisions.
I’m a right-brained individual and have always loved anything creative, especially writing. Writing a book has been on my bucket list since before anyone called it a bucket list! Reading to my kids lead me to stories that I hated to part with. Why did the Chronicles of Narnia have to come to an end, for Pete’s sake? Same with Gregor the Overlander series from Suzanne Collins. Good stuff. I hope to write books that leave people feeling the same way.
Although I was already writing on my own, I began to blog about seven years ago. Had the privilege of being selected as a blogger/reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse magazine, online. One of the books I reviewed led the author, Susan K. Marlow, to ask if I was a writer too. She became my mentor who has encouraged me and taught me more than I could ever repay. I’ve enjoyed being a contest judge for her fan fiction contests the last three years. I’m also a member of the North Texas Christian Writers group and help to lead the Manet Writer’s group.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?
The Tethered World is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, both in paperback and eBook. I will also offer autographed copies on my website.
Where can readers connect with you online?
Through my website/blog
: (Belongs to my main character, Sadie!), Character blog
: (Sadie’s mom has a blog about legendary creatures, and you can follow it!), Twitter
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