Where the idea for “Forever Avalon” came from explained in an excerpt from “The Dark Tides”

Many people ask me how I came up with the name “Forever Avalon.” I believe this excerpt from the book The Dark Tides perfectly shows why this series has become the “Forever Avalon” series. Enjoy:

The Gil-Gamesh sat with King Gregor and his daughter, the Princess Cadhla. Though only 13-years-old, the young princess’ beauty and sharp intellect was well known across Avalon. Many of the Lords of Avalon hoped to match their young sons with the princess. But today, her interest was squarely upon the Gil-Gamesh.

“Tell me Sir Bryan, what are the young ladies like today in the outside world?” she asked. “The last Outlander I met spoke of something called a ‘poodle skirt’ and rock n’ roll music.”

Bryan laughed under his breath so not to insult the princess, thinking of the 50-year difference. “Well your Highness, things are very different in the modern world today. I have two teenage daughters, one about your age, and I never fully understood their taste in music or fashion. They wear tight pants, low-cut tops and listen to music of people speaking in rhyme instead of singing.”

“You let them wear tight pants? Like men?” the princess asked, shocked by his answers.

“Well, I can’t say I let them. They did that on their own accord. You see, women in the outside world today are very independent thinkers, living their lives as they want to. To many of them, a career comes first before marriage or family.”

“How terrible … Do you have servants then to take care of your home and family?”

“No your Highness, well some people do have servants but I didn’t. We all shared in the responsibilities around the house: The cooking, the cleaning, taking care of the kids. It’s normal in today’s modern world for both the husband and wife to work to help make ends meet.”

“How positively dreadful,” the King interjected. “How on earth do you maintain a civilized society?”

“Well, some would say we don’t, but life is what you make of it Your Majesty. If you let the hardships bring you down, then it’s not worth living.”

Cadhla didn’t mean to turn the conversation into a political discussion and tried to change the subject. “Pardon me for asking Sir Bryan, but you don’t seem old enough to have daughters as old as I am?”

“Yes well, I married very young … Here, let me show you,” Bryan said as he pulled out his pocket watch. He popped it open and showed Princess Cadhla the picture of his family.

“That is my wife Stephanie, my daughters Ashley and Rose and my son Hunter,” he explained as Cadhla took the watch and examined the picture closely.

“You have a beautiful family Gil-Gamesh,” she admired as she handed the watch back to him. “It must pain you knowing you will never see them again.”

Bryan tucked the watch back into his belt pouch, a solemn look fell across his face. Princess Cadhla saw this and realized she may have hurt his feelings.

“I am sorry Gil-Gamesh if I hurt you by reminding you of your loss,” she said, placing her hand on his.

“There is no need for you to apologize, Your Highness,” he said with a smile. “I am reminded every day of the loss of my family when I look out the window and see the beauty and splendor of Avalon. This place is nothing like the world I left behind and though I miss my family terribly, they will forever be in my heart.”

King Gregor, who listened in on the conversation between Princess Cadhla and the Gil-Gamesh, raised his goblet to him. “Well said Sir Bryan, well said!” he saluted.

“Yes indeed …” the princess added, “… and we will do everything we can to make your time here tolerable yet pleasant.”

“As a matter of fact, Your Majesty, I would like to ask your permission to end the killing of Outlanders that arrive on Avalon,” Bryan interjected. The King nearly chokes on his wine when Bryan broached the subject. One rule of politics in Avalon … Don’t discuss matters of the crown at a party, especially one where you are the honoree.

“I’m really not sure this is the appropriate place and time to be discussing this Gil-Gamesh,” the King said politely, knowing that Bryan was not familiar with etiquette and protocol of court.

“I apologize if my request is out of order Your Majesty,” Bryan said once he noticed that he may have stepped out-of-bounds with his request. “It’s just that the people coming through the barrier now are just like me and it would be very difficult to follow the rule of law and kill them outright. They should all be given the same chance that I’ve been given.”

“Well, I doubt they are anything like you Sir Bryan. From what I’ve been told, people in the outside world are self-obsessed and over-indulgent with morals so depraved that it would make a priest blush,” the King stated emphatically. “I’m sorry Gil-Gamesh, but Outlanders are not worthy of living amongst the people of Avalon.”

Most people would take this as a sign to end the conversation, but not Bryan. “With all due respect Your Majesty, I have to disagree with you.”

It’s one thing to broach political topics at a party; it’s another to disrespect the King at a party. King Gregor was quite angry now, but before he could say anything, Princess Cadhla acted as peacemaker.

“Father … I think the Gil-Gamesh is speaking for his experiences as both an Outlander and as a citizen of Avalon. I’m sure he has very strong feelings for both,” Cadhla stated, trying to intervene. “His only concern is for the safety and well-being of all people.”

Bryan saw what she was trying to do and knew he may have gone too far this time. “I meant no disrespect Your Majesty and I humbly apologize if I spoke out of turn. You see, to Outlanders Avalon is a place they could only dream about. It is a place in stories, plays, music and games. It’s not real but many wish it were. Believe me … If people in the outside world knew Avalon existed, many would give up those ‘self-indulgent’ modern conveniences and opulent lifestyles for a chance to be a part of this wonderful world.”

“Avalon is more than a place, it’s an idea, eternal as magic itself. Avalon is forever …” Bryan concluded with inspiring passion.

The magic behind the “Forever Avalon” series

“Imagination is the beginning of creation,” according to George Bernard Shaw. Where does the imagination begin and where will it take you next? For me, it started with a game.

I began playing Dungeons and Dragons in college in the early 1980s. I had always been interested in medieval fantasy, magic and the supernatural and this was an opportunity to escape the monotony of college and work by spending long weekends doing nothing but ordering pizza, drinking beer and playing D&D with my friends.

I took my books and dice with me when I joined the Navy in 1983. I found many Sailors who played and we formed a tight-knit group, playing on off-duty hours in whatever space we could find, from the mess decks to an aircraft elevator maintenance room.

This is where the Forever Avalon series began. It started as a recurring dream. I was a young Sailor, separated from his new wife and child by thousands of miles of ocean. When you combine that with 16 hour workdays and 3-4 hours of D&D, it can lead to troubled sleep.

I started having these dreams about falling overboard in a storm and finding myself on an island of medieval magic and fantasy and trying to survive in this new world. Eventually, my family came into in my dreams, as a way of bringing me closer to them during the long deployments at sea. It seemed like every time I went to sea, the dream was right there with me. Even after I stopped playing D&D, I still had the dream throughout my 23 year career in the Navy.

My last deployment was in 2001 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. It was then I decided to start writing it down. It was a long process, putting together the dream as one story.

I used my family as inspiration for the Drake family in Forever Avalon. Their unique personalities, quirks and mannerisms made it easy to create these characters. Lord Bryan MoonDrake, the Gil-Gamesh, was based on the last character I played in D&D. He was a Half-Elf Fighter/Thief/Magic User who wielded two swords, wore a cloak of invisibility with many pockets that acted like a “Bag of Holding” and a dragon as a familiar. This was the beginning of Forever Avalon.

I also wanted to fit my story into a mythology that was familiar to people. That’s when I decided to incorporate the Authurian legend of Avalon, Merlin, Percival and Excalibur, taking a “what happened next” approach in the mythos. This completed my book and, to tell you the truth, once I finish my first novel, the dreams went away and I never had it again.

After I published Forever Avalon in 2009, I immediately started writing my next book in the series. I originally wanted to do a prequel, to tell the story of Bryan MoonDrake’s life on Avalon before his family arrived, but my heart wasn’t into it. I wanted to continue the story where I left off. So I took the pages I already wrote for the prequel and used them as flashback sequences to help tell the story of The Dark Tides.

Like the title says, “Avalon is forever” and I want to continue telling the story of the MoonDrake family wherever it will take me.

Hi, and welcome!

Hi, and welcome!  My name is Mark Piggott, author of the Forever Avalon series. I’m so happy to have you as a visitor to my blog about my books and writing.  These projects are very special to me, and I hope to share some of that excitement with you here.

I’ll be using this blog to interact with you about the Forever Avalon series, specifically the newest installment, The Dark Tides, expanding on some of the topics in them and posting on some of the ideas related to my books.  This is a great place for you to get to know me, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you, too.

What did you think of the books?  What questions do you have for me?  How do you relate to my books?

I’ll be returning here frequently with new posts and responses to feedback from you.

Until next time, please tell me a little bit about yourself.  Thank you!