Regarding: Tales of Tremora: The Shimmering by William Westwood Jr.
A young boy who has lost his father is a terrible thing. Now, a young boy who goes searching for said father and wanders off into a leaky, shimmering veil, deep in the forest of the Cascade Mountains, and finds himself in another world altogether can be a very, very terrible thing. And, this is how Michael found himself in the middle of a terrific adventure in the land of Tremora.
Just fourteen years of age, Michael is sent off with well-wishes from his worried mother who is on the other side of the shimmering. She watches him hike down the trodden trail with a little green man named Tracker–Michael’s guide and protector in this curious world. What Michael doesn’t hear are her final words, said to herself as a whispered afterthought, “Oh, Michael. . . . Now you’re both gone. I knew you’d choose to stay, of course–it’s in your blood. And, Megan assures me Tremora needs you. . . . But, please be careful and come back to me safely. And please, please, Michael, don’t kill your father.”
Michael follows Tracker over hill and dale. They meet up with wood elves, fairy folk, ogres, a camelop, and a wazalop on their way to the wizard’s gathering where the greatest wizard and magician of them all, Megan, will be presiding. It is here, Michael finds out the real reason why he is in Tremora—he is to save Prince Cedric from the dragon. And “finally” he learns where his father is.
I met up with Michael after he spent a couple of weeks training with the wizards. I had far too much curiosity to know how Bill Westwood could come up with such a unique world for Michael to complete his quest. Michael had a little time to kill before he was ready to head out again on this next leg of his adventure. After a brief introduction to Nova, his animal guide, and a few pats on her fuzzy nose from me, we sat down to chat about this amusing, imaginative man who was Michael’s inner guide and overall good-guy creator.
After a little thought about my musings, Michael said that Bill had spent five years in England—the mystical land of elves, fairies, wizards, and the like. Not only did he spend time with the little folk, but he met his wife there as well. It was a very important period in his life and set him on a new course to follow his dreams. Then, he added, “Well . . . it might have something to do with his background as a Russian linguist, and his time spent in the National Security Agency. I think he probably had some interesting adventures of his own.”
Those years in England provided plenty of time to conjure up a wonderful land for a young boy to travel and have adventures in. I know how it has changed Michael’s life, but another curiosity I have is about how the book an author is writing changes his own life. Does writing a book that is so involved and wildly different have any effect on him when he’s writing it or when he’s done?
Michael arched an eyebrow and squirmed a little as he thought about this. After a bit more fidgeting, he said he wasn’t sure, but he thought it had changed Bill a great deal. “He spends a lot of time in Tremora, you know. It took over seven years of Bill’s life to get this far. Did you know that he is an artist as well? He has made sculptures of just about all of us. That’s why I’m stuck here now, waiting. . . . There’s such a backlog for his artwork that he hasn’t had time to get back to “me,” and it is frustrating—I need to go and find my dad, alread!”
We talked some more about the different stories and various authors we knew. That brought me to wonder about another question. So, I asked if he had any fears that Bill would “kill off” any of the main Tremora characters during these perils. There are a lot of authors who “do in” their characters to promote more suspense into their storyline. “Bill loves us all too much, Diane, and he would never do that.”
With that, Michael jumped up, threw his backpack on, and said as he turned and walked away. . . . “Besides, I have to go and save Prince Cedric and my dad.”
If you want to have a little fun, check out Bill’s sculptures here.