From time to time there is an author that catches my eye and I just have to know more about them.
Journey to The Tethered World
An Interview with author Heather Love FitzGerald
Written by Steven A. Guglich
The literary world is an interesting place. Author’s from different backgrounds often find themselves asking the same questions… pondering the same thoughts and finding their inspiration from similar muses. In my journey to create the world of The Veil Saga, I found someone who pondered many of the same questions I did. Heather L. L. FitzGerald wondered about all of the stories with sightings of creatures such as elves, dragons, and even big foot. She dared to let those questions lead her on a journey that brought her to The Tethered World.
Like me, Heather drew inspiration from the myths, legends, and folklore prevalent in societies and cultures all over the world.
“One thing I’d already given some thought to was how folklore around the world had many similarities.” Heather said, “And this, of course, was long before the advent of social media or even printed paper. What if there was an explanation for the rumors and ‘sightings’ of elves and dragons? Well, long story short, my Larcen family took shape around the idea that maybe these creatures from folklore once lived in the Garden of Eden.”
The Larcen family are the protagonists in her three-book series, The Tethered World. The first book in the series, titled The Tethered World was published in February of 2016, followed by The Flaming Sword in November of 2016. The trilogy comes to end this June with The Genesis Tree. I discovered this author and her series only recently, but I was intrigued! I picked up a copy of The Tethered World and my son and I joyfully read it together.
The story is written in the first person through the eyes of the oldest Larcen child, Sadie. She’s sixteen and your typical teenager. She and her siblings enjoy life as a modern American home-schooled family. At first, the only thing out of the ordinary for the family is the mom, Amy Larcen. She’s a world traveling xeno-biologist who specializes in Sasquatch. For the most part, the children believe that their mom investigates sightings of these strange creatures, but they don’t actually exist. But as the tagline for the series says, “The rumors are true…the creatures exist.” This is all wonderfully brought to light from the perspective of Sadie as she and her siblings are caught up in a journey that takes them to a hidden land in our own world, a land the natives call The Tethered World.
“I chose first person for Sadie because I liked placing the reader directly in the POV of the main character,” Heather said. “Especially since she has a lot of snarky thoughts that are worth hearing.”
Not all of the books in the series are strictly from Sadie’s point of view. At the suggestion of her publisher, Heather switched things up a little in The Flaming Sword and The Genesis Tree. “In addition to Sadie’s first person POV, the other character POVs are third person and omniscient in books two and three.”
Heather’s love for literature hearkens back to her childhood, pecking away at an electric typewriter. “When I was in third grade I began my ‘first’ novel. Mashed Bananas and Rubberbands never saw chapter two because I lacked typing skills and didn’t know about White-Out. Since I couldn’t type without mistakes, I finally gave up. Does that make me a perfectionist?”
Since then she has always wanted to write a book. “There is something about the legacy it leaves…something that says ‘I was here’ that felt important to me.”
As a Mom of four that legacy had to wait.
“I didn’t seriously pursue writing for many years. Once I began to read to my children, ideas bubbled inside and I began by writing a few picture books.”
But it wasn’t until Heather and her children took a journey to Narnia, guided by the great C.S. Lewis that she really became inspired. “It truly ignited my creativity and fanned the ‘what if’ part of my imagination.” So much so that she wanted to return to Narnia. Sadly, C.S. Lewis didn’t write anymore then the seven books in the series. So, Heather began to imagine new stories based on the events in Lewis’ books. These new stories fueled her passion to put fingers to the keyboard and write this new Narnia spin-off.
However, Heather was not content with just writing a Narnia fan-fiction story. She set her vision higher, hoping that she would inherit the mantle from Lewis as the next chronicler of Narnia. In order to do that, she knew that she would need to establish herself as a writer. She wanted to show that she had her own style, her own vision, and her own stories to tell.
“When my youngest was in sixth grade,” Heather said, “I made a conscious decision to pursue publication by the time she graduated high school, as I wanted something fulfilling to do once the kids were finished homeschooling. The Tethered World was released in February of 2016 and she graduated in May of that year.”
One of the things that amazes me about Heather FitzGerald is that she was able to continue to raise and home school four kids and publish an entire trilogy in a little over a year! And not only that, but Heather’s love for fantasy fiction didn’t blossom until she and her kids traveled to Narnia. “The Chronicles of Narnia was the first fantasy series or stories I had ever read.” She says nonchalantly. “Since that time I can say that I’m not a hardcore fantasy fan, to be completely honest. It is much harder for me to get into “high” fantasy, though I absolutely loved The Hobbit… but I had a hard time getting through The Lord of the Rings series. I prefer ‘portal’ fantasy, that feels as if the given scenario could really happen because it is grounded in our world here.”
How does one write a thoroughly engrossing, exciting, fantasy series with limited exposure to the genre? Heather credits her writing success to God. She doesn’t outline nor does she do much world building. She does faith-building. “I never feel more connected to the Lord as when I write. It is a faith-building exercise to watch things unfold, and I feel like more of a spectator—surprised at the twists and turns that characters take that I didn’t see coming. It’s both terrifying and exciting!”
With The Tethered World Trilogy coming to an end this June with the release of The Genesis Tree, where will Heather’s faith-building journey take her next?
“My head is full of story ideas right now, which is actually unusual. I tend to focus on one idea at a time and have been in The Tethered World for many years! Now I have four different series competing for brain cells and I’m both excited and distracted—what should I spend my time on first? I’ve begun all four ideas, just to keep them from crowding each other out. Two are fantasies and two are mysteries, but my fantasies have a lot of mystery elements to them…so maybe the mysteries will turn out to be fantasies once the details are worked out.”
But what about The Tethered World? Will we ever get a chance to journey back there? Will we see the Larcen family again?
“Yes,” Heather says, “I can foresee a return to The Tethered World in the future. I’ve had quite a few requests from fans—one of them being my publisher! The characters have become dear friends and I would love to revisit them again.”
Then there is Heather’s dream project; a spin-off based on C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. As a Narnia fan myself, I’d love to see Heather get the opportunity to take us back to those stories. Her idea for the spin-off is… well, let’s just say it’s fantastic. That’s Heather’s story to tell. Whether its Narnia, The Tethered World, or another realm, fans of this endearing young adult series are sure to be watching and waiting to see where Heather goes on her next faith-building journey.