Since the beginning (picture twelve-year-old Jasmine munching on biscuits while writing at her family’s computer in a dimly-lit hallway), there has been Abrecan. Since my very first written words, it was growing in the back of my mind – and would only come to the forefront when I was fourteen. The first book I wrote set in Abrecan was in the Lyra Lands, a snowy land of crystals and ice and terrible monsters. I called it The Obisidian Throne.
At the time, it was for fun: about four royal siblings all waging war against each other from their own respective kingdoms which they had claimed for themselves. I didn’t realise it would turn into a four-book series, that I would still be writing it for another four years, or that one day, I would set my sights on re-writing it.
Of course, the Lyra Lands were not always the Lyra Lands, and as you can assume, the characters’ names and all the place names would change too as I grew to understand my world. The original lands for this book was called Atyth, for not much more than the fact that I liked the harshness of one saying it. It matched the relationships I wove between these four siblings. Vaguely based on England, it grew to frustrate me and soon I had abandoned what I saw as “traditional fantasy tropes”. Looking back on it now, I call them the white-vaccuum of what fantasy has been for a while now.
So Atyth became the Lyra Lands, named for a specific breed of faerie that can weave the future with their songs, their lyrics. The Lyra Lands were born, and soon the fjords were forking their way along the coast and the plains were opening between wide-reaching mountain ranges. Tamed horses became wild, and simple monsters became great beasts once banished by the gods.
Then the Neverworlds were formed, giving birth to all after.
Reflecting, this is a long time back. The four books of The Obsidian Throne (being The Golden Reign, The Silver Serpent, and The Iron Realm) spanned Mexelli (inspired by Italy, but has since become Rehmayan, a desert land where dragons roam the coast), Taleesia (now Tehrar, a mountainous and rocky Egyptian/Mediterranean kingdom), Satuk (now the Summer Lands: Delorran, Praitos, and Hrathī), and Sarune (now Sarrin, inspired by the Latin world; this is the land which has undergone the least amount of change). Let it be known I had to dig back through my notebooks to find the old names for lands which changed years ago.
After these four books, which took me into the final years of my schooling, I wrote two separate books based in Loithrax (now Lahmāru, which holds many lands inspired by those in Asia – I will note there are many Asian-inspired kingdoms in Abrecan, separated across serpent-guarded seas and drawn apart by gods who wished to keep their havens secret). These two books have been shelved for the moment, ready to be rewritten another day. And I do intend to make that soon, if the characters within will let me.
While at university, I struggled to keep a study-writing balance, and soon my writing in Abrecan became no more than scattered short stories. Truthfully, this could not have been any better for me. It was what I didn’t realise I needed: the permission to explore other kingdoms and queendoms in my world without having to dedicate myself to a months-long project. I could write whatever I wanted. I wrote stories of minotaurs falling for goddesses; of sailors crossing all the oceans to rescue souls from the Isle of the Dead, where one can walk amongst the spirits of those lost; and of faeries who collected the dying breaths of mortals to light their riverside huts. I gave myself permission to reach out and touch every inch of Abrecan – and if I’m honest, it’s still growing.
As each story comes to mind, they are always within my realm. No matter how I try to write outside the fantasy box, it always draws me back in. Like many to Hogwarts, Abrecan is my home.
In total, I have written 11 books set within Abrecan. Over the last nine years of writing, where only seven of which knew these lands, I’ve got to say I’m pretty damn happy with that. Abrecan has offered boundless inspiration, each day offering more possibilities. It’s a big wide world out there. And I hope you’ll join me on the adventure.