Linda Kruschke’s Paint chip poetry challenge this week is for a terza rima, which has the rhyming pattern ‘aba bcb cdc ded efe fgf, etc. The poem (or individual section, called a canto by Dante) usually ends with a single line or a couplet, rhyming with the previous tercet’s middle line. But it may also end with a tercet, it’s middle line rhyming with the opening tercet’s first and third lines, making the form circular.’ (Poetry dictionary)
‘Your challenge for this prompt is to write a terza rima of at least three stanzas. In keeping with the theme of three, I would like you to use at least three of these paint chip words and phrases: blank canvas, lavender, whirlpool, seedling, happily ever after, golden, and cliff’s edge. I would also like you to use one of them as the title of your poem without actually using it in the poem itself. Since the terza rima form doesn’t specify line length, you could write in short, terse lines, or long ambling ones.’
Happily ever after?
Over the red sandstone cliff’s edge Seabirds congregate in pairs Raising their chicks on every ledge
No space for twigs, eggs of theirs Sit on the guano-stained rock Looks from parent birds are glares.
In the sea spawning fish stock The larder for days ahead; Famine could decimate the flock.
The rising sun does not shed Its light on these birds’ young chicks – But golden light going to bed.
As these birds’ future lives mix Chances – death or survival, So we should be helping to fix
Seedling hopes of revival, Offering heartfelt prayers For every new arrival
This post is part of the blog tour for Beyond the Hills, which is being launched on 18 June 2021. In my review of Maressa Mortimer’s first book in The Elabi Chronicles, Walled City, I mentioned that I cared enough about the characters to want to read the next book. The opportunity to join the bog tour arose and I read the .pdf file of the book on my phone before a review copy arrived in the post! Beyond the Hills may be ordered from the author’s website or bookshops worldwide and will also be available as a Kindle edition.
Macia Durus, daughter of the well known Brutus Durus AMP, works hard to achieve a life of honour and prestige in her beloved Elabi. When a so-called “friend” challenges her priorities, Macia’s confusion threatens her carefully constructed plans. And her decision to investigate a forbidden book could have serious consequences for Macia as well as her family, turning their lives upside down.
The scene has changed from the end of Walled City and the main character of that book is a mostly invisible influence on this second instalment. Macia was a minor character in Walled City.
Much of the story is told through her thoughts and actions. The growing influence of the forbidden book and the consequences introduce excitement and suspense. The differences between life in Elabi (the Walled City) and beyond the hills are demonstrated well through the actions and words of characters.
There is hardly any recapping of the events from the first book. The social hierarchy and strange manners may be inferred from the narrative. However for maximum enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading the books in order of publication.
Although I am not a film buff, I wondered whether this series would make a good film. It is exciting enough, although Macia’s thought-life might be difficult to include in a film.
What the forbidden book is may be gleaned from the text. It would also be possible for readers to access the parts referred to in the story.
Interview with Maressa Mortimer
I asked Maressa some questions about writing the series.
In Walled City Gax experiences culture shock. To what extent did you find British culture different from that in your native country, the Netherlands?
As time went on, I realised there were more and more differences, some subtle, some more obvious. My main struggle has always been missing the Dutch straight forwardness, as well as the speed at which things are done (like lovely smooth roads), although this comes with a lot of pressure as well. Because Dutch society is so efficient, everyone needs to be fast and efficient, so even working on the tills of a supermarket means you have to be very quick. Some people with learning difficulties can really struggle under the pressure.
Although you have created an imaginary world as the setting for The Elabi Chronicles some of the places there have similarities to our own world either at present or in the past. Were you influenced by other books you have read and did you have to do a lot of research?
I was completely new to world building, and simply designed a world that I would like to set a book in. For visuals, I used a world from Sims3, and I decided to make the food Roman (hence the garum and fish oils mentioned in the book, as well as other foods). I decided to have it set in the southern hemisphere, and thankfully, my editor is from Australia, so she corrected my timings!
Physical fitness is a requirement of citizens of Elabi. I wondered which sports you participated in as a youngster. Did you enjoy sport?
P.E. lessons in the Netherlands are mainly gymnastics and team sports. I did do a year of Taekwondo when in college. I used to cycle a lot, and went to Arnhem with friends, which was a 50 kilometre round trip.
When do you expect to publish the next volume in the series? Is it going to be a trilogy?
It will at least be a trilogy, with a book about Downstream. I have started plotting it already, but will probably make it my NaNoWriMo project!
(National Novel Writing Month is November.)
Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. Her debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published December 2019, and her first self published novel, Walled City, came out on December 5th 2020, followed by Viking Ferry, a novella. Beyond the Hills is the second book in The Elabi Chronicles, and will be released on June 18th 2021.
Maressa is a homeschool mum as well as a pastor’s wife, so her writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house once more. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life.
The Thorn of Truth by S.L. Russell was published by Lion Hudson on 21 May 2021. It is described as a contemporary novel.
I ordered it in advance from the local Christian bookshop and read it from cover to cover on 22 May.
While The Thorn of Truth more or less stands alone, there is much more background to some of the characters in Sue Russell’s previous book, The Healing Knife. The main character from The Healing Knife is less central to The Thorn of Truth, where the main character is the barrister from the earlier book. I highly recommend reading both in the order they were written.
The early aspirations and backgrounds of the main characters from the two books are introduced in a natural conversation.
The barrister’s dilemma and tensions between her professional and private lives are a source of conflict, making a gripping story.
There is plenty to think about with suspense, excitement and a serious crime to be solved. Reading group questions are included at the end. The faith content of the book reminded me of The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham.
The Thorn of Truth is well researched and well written. It has the strap-line ‘What is truth?’ – a phrase associated with Pontius Pilate. John 18:38