Novella based on Welsh myths addresses important issues for young people

This week sees the publication of When Ravens Screamed Over Blood by William Vaughan – a fantasy novella which has its foundations in the magic and violence of the Welsh Mabinogion, Irish mythology and the Bible.

 

“One of the main characters, The Prince was inspired by a character and certain magical events in the ancient Welsh tales of the Mabinogion. The story also draws upon Irish mythology. The title is taken from a poem in The Black Book of Carmarthen, one of the icons of Welsh literature,” says William Vaughan.

 

“I wanted to write something that was thought-provoking, touching, truthful, because all stories should be these in some measure,” says William Vaughan, before adding “I 'm not a fan of fiction which is too predictable.”

 

The novella deals with many issues such as sexuality, the joys of love and dealing with and resolving conflicts in a peaceful manner.

 

“The gay relationship between Rhydian and Daire is very well handled [in When Ravens Screamed Over Blood] -  William Vaughan manages a difficult task with careful and delicate grace. The marital relationship between Anguish (a great name for a character) is also well described and detailed, stopping short of gratuitous sex scenes,” said the author and broadcaster Phil Carradice.

 

As William Vaughan writes in When Ravens Screamed Over Blood :

 

“Love, whether it is between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, is what really counts and is a blessing.”

 

Phil Carradice has described the book as of “rare lyrical quality, full of beautiful phrases and memorable characters, but one that addresses many important issues that young people on the cusp of adulthood need to understand and feel comfortable with.”

 

Writing a book that featured some of the stories found in Celtic myths and legends was important to William, as he feels that they are often passed-over, in favour of Romano-Greek legends.

 

“The book is aimed at teenagers but, like my other books, will probably appeal to older readers too. I try to write in a straightforward, if colourful, style. People have told me that reading Gold Hunter changed their attitude to life. If one homophobe's heart is softened by When Ravens Screamed Over Blood, I'll be content,” said William Vaughan.