In our new author series, we’ll be offering a clairvoyant peek behind the veil of who and what makes up TRANSCENDENT. Here’s a glimpse at Gwenda Major and her story “Stone Circle.”
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
The story was inspired by a visit to Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria in the UK, a three-thousand-year-old site with an incredible 360 degree panorama of the Lakeland mountains. My visit happened to be the day after the Summer Solstice and a pile of discarded beer cans left behind one of the stones after the celebrations got me thinking about the past and present of this amazing place….
Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?
Apart from my visit, I read online about stone circles and about Castlerigg in particular. The UK has three hundred ancient stone circles, and Castlerigg is one of the earliest, dating from the Neolithic period. Thirty-eight of the original forty-two stones remain, ranging from one to over two metres in height. The exact function of the site is still unknown. Standing in the middle of the stone circle you have a breathtaking panorama of the Thirlmere Valley, Helvellyn and High Seat.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
Carla is a woman in tune with her spiritual side. She has recently had difficulties in her personal life and has developed a habit of walking up to the stone circle in search of peace and calm.
Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is near Keswick, a little town on Derwentwater in the English Lake District. I go every year for the literary festival and never fail to make a pilgrimage on foot to Castlerigg Stone Circle. Like Carla I find the place deeply moving. It is a powerful experience just to stand in the centre of the circle, surrounded by the looming fells, watching the shadows racing across the grass and trying to imagine what happened there in ancient times.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
A sense that the past lingers and leaves traces for those who are receptive. Also that we owe respect to precious places like Castlerigg which hold unmistakable echoes of our ancient life and rituals.
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
“She held up her smartphone like a chalice.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
On books – my house is full of books, and I’m still buying more. Writers need to be readers first.
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
“Alice in Wonderland” – the ultimate surreal fantasy adventure story.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
Years ago – the problem has always been finding time to write.
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to fly – for the freedom and for the gift of being able to see the beauty and patterns of the natural world.
Gwenda Major lives in the Lake District in the north of the UK. Her passions are for genealogy, gardening and graveyards.
Gwenda’s stories have featured in numerous print and digital publications. Most recently her short stories have been published in Dodging the Rain, Toasted Cheese, Retreat West, Brilliant Flash Fiction and Bandit Fiction.
Gwenda has also written four novels and three novellas. In December 2016 her novella Offcomerswon first prize in the Open Novella Competition run by the National Association of Writers’Groups. Other novels have been either shortlisted or longlisted in national UK competitions.
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Photo Credit: (c) “Stone Circle” by Sven Bybee