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A novel for young teens; a timeless adventure in time
The Gates of Penseron originated with the stories told to my grandchildren, whenever they are tucked into bed. The tales are made up as we go along, and depending on how long the children are staying over, it might be a two night story, a five night story, or whatever length they demand. The hero and heroine are always called Halo and Pablo, but it is clearly understood by everyone (though not mentioned aloud) that the adventurous pair are really the two oldest kids: Jessica and Jacob.
Because the grandchildren love the stories so much, I tossed the idea about (with my wife) of writing a novel using them as the protagonists. As a result, The Gates of Penseron was created. I decided to use the children’s real first names, if for no other reason than ‘the heck of it’. The grandchildren, when the books was published in 2006, were about the same age as in the book; and Jessica, by the way, really is a little person, but in size only!
For what it is worth, the book was ‘kid tested’ before publication, on a grade seven class. The teacher made it a class project for those who read a good deal, working from copies of the manuscript. The youngsters loved the idea of ‘being first’, and seemed to really like the story, and its characters. Remarks ranged from ‘Jessica’s scooter is really neat’, to ‘I hate Tullus, I think he’s evil’. Of course, Jessica and Jake loved the story too, but it is taken for granted that more than a slight bias exists.
As to the idea of Penseron itself, I’m not sure exactly how it came about. With no pun intended, it just happened over time. I’ve always been fascinated by the mysteries of the past, and the frustrating impossibility of actually travelling there. The fabulous blue crystal of Penseron, (which eventually proves to be alive), was placed down there by someone, but who? ‘Roodi’ Roodemit is obviously one of ‘them’, but exactly who ‘them’ are, I honestly don’t know. They are obviously anthropologists, and it would appear that they like to study civilization (or is it civilizations?), at their own leisure. And what better way to do that, than through the Gates of Penseron?
Oh, and one other bit of background. I was born in York, lived there for the early part of my life, and have been back there many times. It was on one of those visits, some years ago, that I was wandering down a narrow street called Goodramgate, something I had done countless times before; this time, however, I just happened to notice a tiny alleyway next to one of the shops. Curious, my wife and I walked along it, and were surprised to find a little churchyard hidden away inside, right in the middle of the City. The wall with the vines is there, as is the gravestone by the wall, and of course the old dilapidated church, Holy Trinity, Goodramgate.
It really does look tattered and forlorn! And if that dark, ancient churchyard doesn’t really hold a mysterious gateway to some strange, hidden world, then it should.