WOOOSH!

What started out as a dalliance to divert my fretted mind and shortly after became a ‘simple’ exercise to stretch and warm up my writing skills, has become a big part of my life… wooOOSH!

Here I have borrowed J.K. Rowling’s original character Lucius Malfoy, placing him in a sort of parallel universe of my dreams, while facing the challenge of retaining and working with the basic known aspects of the original character set by his creator. Many of my pages are inspired by real events throughout my life, blended and woven with those fancies of a magical, more perfect reality. It is a story at once both spectacular and mundane.

I first encountered my H.L.H.O.M. a little over four years ago. Luca (as I like to refer to him) came to me as a quiet fantasy, when things were crumbling around me and I was afraid and overwhelmed – a reluctant, slightly bashed and dented saviour on a grey horse. Even as an imperfect hero, the transformation will undoubtedly come as a surprise to those who know Rowling’s original character.

For many years, due to the necessities of paying my mortgage and other real-life responsibilities, I have struggled with finding the time for writing or other creative pursuits. In fact, it was largely my yearning to write that propelled me into the hideous, stupid situation I found myself in… Anyway, at the time that I started writing Angelcake, I had been writing another fantasy novel “Finding Sotheby” for a couple years – or I should say “trying to,” which would be more accurate. The story is rooted in a world where amazing actions are commonplace through an understanding and manipulation of a physical world very different to our own. Having a nerdy interest in science, some of the wild theories I had heard of in new physics gave me many great ideas. So to get a firm grasp of the scientific principles of Finding Sotheby’s world, for a couple years I had been casually studying various areas in quantum mechanics and cosmology. (I can tell that some of you are smiling at my expense at this point and I’m okay with it.) Difficult to get my head around during the best of times, but impossible when I felt like I was losing mine, I didn’t have a firm decision on certain natural laws for that world and this seemed to me essential before continuing, even if such laws cannot be proven with current technology. Moreover with my life shifted out onto a cliff’s edge, I found it impossible to be relaxed and fluid with anything; my thoughts wouldn’t flow (whereas usually, the opposite is the problem). For the first time in my life I felt completely weak, anxious, unsafe, wretched. Frozen.

I have blanked so much of that time out, but trying to piece it together, I don’t know if I had just seen the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and remembered Part 1, or perhaps I just happened to be watching Part 1 for a second time on DVD a while after I had seen both Parts 1 and 2 in the cinema. I am not even sure if I saw both parts in cinema. I think I did. It was a bad time. Anyway there is a point in Part 1, where the arch villain Voldemort is intimidating Rowling’s Lucius Malfoy and a spark struck me. I suddenly felt such a strong wave of sentimentality toward the character that I even found odd. Without yet realising it, the spark may have been the connection I felt between the Rowling/Warner Bros. character and a character [being(?), person(?)] who has been in my heart nearly all my life, whom I’ll get to later. Honestly to begin with, it might just have been how utterly gorgeous Jason Isaacs looks in that blond wig. It has to be said: I am a sucker for well spoken men with long hair – ones with beaky noses especially… But… where was I… Oh and Malfoy was dressed (I believe) by Jany Temime’s genius. Oh my jeezus! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Whatever it was, for whatever reason (or not) from that moment on, Lucius was in my head.

I should say, on a more intellectual level of course, that it occurred to me after watching the film that magic, whether described in fantasy novels or referenced in the real world (and whether viewed with delight and longing, or terror and suspicion) is really just scientific phenomena yet to be documented. The cell phones we all carry were once ‘magic’. This point is more or less what I felt was important to understand when writing “Finding Sotheby” even on an unspoken level; whatever I wrote, I wanted to write only about what I believed myself could be at least theoretically possible. It made me feel even more confident that I needed to have more developed opinions on theories I had related to challenging areas like particle physics and quantum entanglement.

But the final Harry Potter movies brought up another concern in writing and that was in regard to character development: the whole idea of who a hero is in the eyes of others –also who is ‘sexy’ and who isn’t and if that is really so important– was daunting. (You can tell I am trying to make this prelude sound as un-loony-binesque as possible right?)

Everyone has a story of what brought them to their present circumstance. And I do believe that some people are wholly horrible. I just did not and do not see Lucius Malfoy as one of these types – certainly not how I envision the character, but also not J.K. Rowling’s original Lucius. So, over the next few days I thought more and more about the character Lucius Malfoy. I wanted to exonerate him. I imagined what his backstory was and wondered about Rowling’s choices of heroes and villains – in particular her metamorphosis of Severus Snape from baddie, to goodie, then back to baddie and finally to saint. Why just Severus? No one seemed to be that interested in poor Lucius, but it seemed like everyone loved Snape. And girls (young girls!!) were in love with Snape! I just couldn’t see it. Now Luuucius on the other hand. Hehe… Okay, I know I am kind of ‘odd’ and I have never fit in with mainstream tastes (or even alternative tastes for that matter). Not appealing to the mainstream was one thing, but what if I couldn’t even write a hero that appealed to other odd people?

One day during this early, budding interest (…this is ridiculously embarrassing, but since I am going to the trouble to explain and you are going to the trouble to read, I think it is important to be open) I Googled Lucius and I mean it wasn’t so much in the sense of… I can’t even explain it, because I don’t even know what sense it was in. (I know. I know.) When the information came up, I got the weirdest flip-flop in my stomach. You know that feeling when you are secretly in love with someone and they walk into the room, or someone else even mentions their name? I know. I know. Crazy talk! I blame the stress.

Going back to the intellectual talk: I was curious of how a writer could possibly appeal to many different ages and vastly different demographics. A friend had all the books and I read them straight through in a few weeks. Truly I think I was looking for Lucius, even if he is a villain in them. I found very little on the man with the long, white-blond hair disappointingly, but I became a fan of the Harry Potter story. Previously not any more of an enthusiast than the average person, I purchased a set of the DVD’s and over the following two years watched the Harry Potter films countless times. The story and imagery was like a refuge during that terrible time. I also believed I had discovered a hole in Rowling’s story which pulled me toward Lucius in the role of hero even more. Of course, since I do not believe that a writer with Rowling’s brilliance would place this hole at such a crucial point without firmly resolving it for no good reason, it gave me encouragement that my idea of a kinder, more decent Lucius walking in the light behind the scenes was plausible. (The factor has remained a key point in constructing H.L.H.O.M.’s redemption in this fan fiction, whatever J.K. Rowling’s intent was.)

After a while (how long I do not remember) I just made my own stories about Lucius. In truth the stories were neither Rowling’s Malfoy nor the H.L.H.O.M. in my current story, but a sort of gallant real world hero with certain attributes of Lucius. The arrogance. The house. That hair! It made me feel comforted. Safe. That’s when it all started. After a couple months it occurred to me that the startling connection I felt was that the Rowling/Warner Bros. Lucius reminded me of another ‘character’ who has always been there, in the distance, since I was very young: Lucian Rochefort. Remember I mentioned a bit earlier about the “character [being(?), person(?)]” who has always been with me? That’s him –  the original Luca. The spooky thing is, is that he was originally named Lucian Montblanc and had this surname for many years, until I thought Montblanc might sound too trite and changed it to the less attractive Rochefort. Did you catch that yet: “Luci_ _  M.?!!” I may post an essay I wrote around this time about my Lucian Montblanc/Rochefort for those interested, but I am not sure if I would rather re-write it first as it’s quite gushy. Not that I haven’t already embarrassed myself enough here, but anyway…

In making the connection between Lucius Malfoy and Lucian Montblanc/Rochefort, I soon had gaps filled in for ‘someone’(?) who has always been in my life (waiting for me, watched over me perhaps) but was previously a shadowy figure. I had turned to him for comfort and wondered who he was (if I have known and loved this person in another life perhaps) but never had a very defined understanding of who his was. I don’t know why this filling-in occurred, as H.L.H.O.M. is quite a stretch from the real Lucius Malfoy, but suddenly Luca had air breathed into him! I renamed my Lucian once more to “Lucian Isholmborg” and added the concept from Rowling’s character that he was a fallen man, rather than the impossibly perfect prince charming of my 13 year old imagination, that no flesh and blood man has ever been able to live up to… After a while I decided to write down the stories my imagination overflowed with. I thought at least I could re-read them and at best, my writing would improve so that I could endeavour again to write seriously. Somehow blending my Lucian with Rowling’s Lucius Malfoy felt right and I decided to acknowledge the character’s contribution to my new character by actually writing him as an alternative version of the original Lucius Malfoy rather than a character simply inspired by him. The challenge of redeeming someone who had fallen so far was very attractive.

I soon had a basic story spanning about three years of the new character’s life and those of his new friends and relatives (plus about 60,000 words of notes on what happened in the following 15 years). I kept planning to return to stories that were completely my own when the difficult time in my life passed. Finally that time passed, but I was in pretty deep. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t give him up! (Crazy lady talk. I do know.)… Before I realised it, I had actors picked out who I imagined would play all my characters, music selections and a glossary of words; I even had various recipes for some of the foods I wrote about in this wonderful world and a growing list of well known people I had secretly ‘outed’ in my mind as magical beings. By the time I first had the idea that I might let others read it, I had written about 450 pages! I tentatively researched the implications of publishing it for free under the label of “hobby novel”, or some other sort of hold-my-hands-up, publically acknowledged derivative, with absolutely no idea that what I was writing is commonly known as “fanfiction”, or that MANY other people are involved in writing it. (Yes I pretty much live in my own little world, under a rock. It’s the story of my life.)

It is said there are no new stories and I believe for the most part that this is true. Saying this, I think many will not understand my putting everything else on hold and making such an effort in presenting a derivative I cannot sell when I could have –probably should have– written something else. I can only say that I do know I could have at least changed the names and written my own backstory (for goodness sake it would have been easier in many cases – and anyone who has picked up from another’s story will understand what I mean), but I have never considered it as an option. I have thought many, many times I would simply not make it public for fear of the social ridicule or damage it would do to any professional reputation I may have, or hope to gain as a writer, but it just feels right this way – for myself creatively and morally toward Lucius’s original author and Lucius himself. It just feels right (honest) to me. I feel a huge sense of loyalty and affection for my unofficial Lucius and all of my characters. And so I swallow my ego and that fear of ridicule and press forward.

Of all the phenomenal interest in Rowling’s original work from other fans and professional writers alike, it is telling that her pompous villain has so far received relatively little attention in comparison to other characters in the Harry Potter series. So, I know my attachment to him is somewhat rare and will come as a surprise for some. I do hope that no offence will be taken to my borrowing; although, I imagine there will be some. For this I will say that while my head is often in the clouds (nicer view) I am well aware that I am the other woman in Mr Malfoy’s life. I suppose if the original character’s story had been more in the foreground, I would not have had the accidental inclination toward making him my own by imagining so much of what could have been his life story…

In any case, with no further gibbering, here is Hyperion Lucius Hector Orion Malfoy (House of Isholmborg & Malfoy) or Lucian Isholmborg, or just “Luca”– a re-worked, empathetic-unauthorised-illegitimate-ghetto version of the extraordinary life of J. K. Rowling’s Lucius Malfoy from someone who loves him. I hope you will also enjoy him and grow to love him a little, as well as some of my original characters you will encounter along the way.

Thank you for reading!

A kiss for you,

– Christmas Eve 2014 –

*Some Notes: Although I have added and changed much with my H.L.H.O.M. and his re-imagined world, out of respect for J.K. Rowling’s original story and those fans who may read this, I have been careful when borrowing other characters and principles from the original world of Harry Potter. I have been as sparing as possible when adding background to any original characters, or changing existing truths in the world, doing so only when necessary to my story. Super-fans may notice a couple discrepancies. This is not due to blunders in research (I hope) but because of new content made public by Rowling long after I decided certain facts in H.L.H.O.M.’s parallel universe. When changing essential parts of my own story to fit certain newly released details of Rowling’s official world would have been too disruptive and where the facts seem relatively inconsequential to the official world, I have chosen not to re-write in order to remain congruous… It is likely that many more incongruities will be revealed when and if Rowling releases further details on her world.

{Disclaimer}

6 COMPLETELY {free} WAYS YOU CAN HELP ME

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I write many hours per week in between full-time paid work… My reward for this project is that people will read and enjoy it and my Luca will live! That’s all. So…

1} READ

Encourage me. Read! This story is broadly a fan fiction. I cannot sell it. In making it available to others it has taken and will continue to take a huge amount of extra work. Angelcake and the H.L.H.O.M. series started out with me just messing around, jotting down passages of the stories I told myself about a hybrid version of a character who regrettably belongs to another, very, very famous, writer. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this new and improved Lucius Malfoy and the beings he encounters along the way captured me with such a force, I found it impossible to give him –any of them– up. It has taken a lot of metal and belief in this new Lucius (my Luca) and his new friends to concern myself with and make public a derivative – especially on such a famous work. Pretty terrifying!

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(& thanks for sticking with me).

With Love, Tatyana

Who is the original Lucian Isholmborg?

Coming (maybe)… I’ll get back to you when I am ready to share.