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Friday, 15 July 2016

The importance of journeys in fiction

I realized something recently. Nearly all of my books include the main character going on a journey. 

In some novels, the journey is relatively short, while in others it can take up a large chunk of the story. One thing remains the same, the journey is always a metaphor for growth, change.

I've always loved stories where a journey is the central part of the plot. Ever since I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I was hooked on journeys. There's something incredibly engrossing about going on a journey with fictional characters. You see the world through their eyes, but even more than that, you see how their own characters develop.

The best journeys are both physical and internal. In fantasy, the journey is often one of 'coming of age', or 'finding courage', both of which are themes that I enjoy. However, in my historical romance novels, the journeys are all slightly different. Sometimes it's about the developing relationship between the hero and heroine; others, it's about the heroine 'growing' as a person, or getting the strength she needs to deal with what lies ahead.

The Kingdom of the East Angles series

NIGHT SHADOWS (novella): the journey is a chance for Cynewyn and Wil to admit their passion for each other, after ten years' apart.
DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT: the journey is an escape, Raedwyn runs from danger, right into the arms of Caelin, the son of the man she's trying to get away from.
NIGHTFALL TILL DAYBREAK: the journey shows Freya bringing her injured lover, Aidan, to safety, after she saves his life. The journey reveals just how much she loves Aidan, and her determination to be with him.
THE DEEPENING NIGHT: Saewara journeys from Mercia to East Anglia with her arranged husband-to-be, Annan, and along the way discovers she actually wants him - only he doesn't appear to share the sentiment. Saewara must prepare herself mentally for what she believes will be a love-less marriage.

The Kingdom of Mercia series

THE BREAKING DAWN: there are a lot of journeys in the book. The first, shows Merwenna taking fate into her own hands and going in search of her betrothed, a young man who marched off to war and never came back. The second, shows her discovering her courage and independence, as she tries to return home, unescorted. In the third, she travels to Wales with Prince Cynddylan, a man she has just defied her family to help - only he doesn't appear that grateful and seems to resent her presence. In this journey, she has to come to terms with the decisions she's made, and gather the courage to face an uncertain future.

DARKEST BEFORE DAWN: Part One of this book has a long journey, in which Alchflaed travels from Northumbria to Mercia, to marry a man whom her father has ordered her to assassinate. This journey shows her growing anxiety and fear of what lies ahead, and reveals her growing connection with Maric - the warrior who leads the Mercian escort.

DAWN OF WOLVES: In the first section of the book, Ermenilda travels from Kent to Mercia with her betrothed, Wulfhere. During this journey, she struggles with an overwhelming attraction for a man she despises. Half-way through the journey, she must face her own mother's treachery.


There you have it - many journeys, all with a strong inner-purpose!

Do you enjoy stories with journeys in them? Please feel free to share/recommend any that you loved!


  1. Yup, the journey or the quest is pretty important in a hero's journey. Besides who wants a character that just stays home all the time? :)

  2. Thanks, Mark - I love a good quest!