Local author pens imaginative fantasy that the entire family can enjoy – starring his entire family A four-book series of young adult fantasy adventure novels, The Gemstone Chronicles follow the adventures of Aidan and Maggie and their grandparents, Nana and Beebop, as they venture into the magical world of Celahir, full of elves (both good and bad), giants, witches, and an assortment of mythical creatures.
The novels were written by the erstwhile Beebop himself: local author William Stuart. The stars of the novels are modeled after his own grandchildren, Aiden and Maggie and his wife (Nana); their daughter and son-in-law make appearances as well.
YOUR INTEREST IN GEMSTONES IS OBVIOUS FROM THE TITLES OF YOUR BOOKS AND THE SERIES. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS HOBBY, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON IT AS PART OF YOUR NARRATIVE?
William Stuart: My brother John and I were looking for something different to do with his daughters and my grandson, Aidan, during summer vacation about eight years ago when we stumbled upon Gold ‘n Gems Grubbin’ in Cleveland, Georgia. Gold ‘n Gems Grubbin’ is part of the old Loud Gold Mine from back in the Georgia Gold Rush days. They sell “salted” buckets of dirt (where you will find gemstones) and they place piles of dirt (dug from the bottom of the gold mine) next to the creek that runs through the property. For a very reasonable fee, you can fill buckets with dirt, screen it in the creek and keep whatever you find. We thought it would be a fun thing to do on a hot summer day, and we got hooked. We still try to go at least once a month. After Aiden and I began gem hunting, he developed an interest in the online game World of Warcraft. I had been researching the magical and mystical properties of gemstones and when I told Aidan about them, he said I should write a book about elves, magic and gemstones. The books were born that day! Since I wanted to use the gemstones, I imbued them with some of the properties I researched (and took a little liberty with them, too). They fit the story perfectly.
YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS – PARTICULARLY AIDEN AND YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER, MAGGIE – ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS OF THE SERIES. DID THE GEMSTONE CHRONICLES BEGIN AS STORIES YOU WERE TELLING THEM?
WS: Having Aidan and Maggie as characters seemed a great start. When I started plotting the stories, I decided that each of us would be the focal point in a book. So as I wrote them, I had an idea where I was going. Originally, they were just stories for Aidan and Maggie, but after Aidan and John read book one, they encouraged me to publish it.
WITH NAMES LIKE CELAHIR, SIOBHAN, AND ELEROSSE, YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY INSPIRED BY CELTIC CULTURE. WHAT OTHER MYTHS/STORIES INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
WS: Interestingly, Celahir and Ellerosse names are from a Tolkien alphabet generator I found on line. I translated some family names for most of the characters. For instance, the Elven Scouts (Alatariel, Luthien, and Lotheth) are my brother John and his two daughters. For the Dark Elves and Naesse, I used names of people I’m not particularly fond of (and they shall remain nameless), since they were villains. I used a lot of Scottish and Irish mythology, too, as the basis for the stories. And I have a friend who lives in Ireland who used to date a girl named Siobhan. I liked the name and thought it was a good fit for the stories. The Gemstone Chronicles are available at online retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. While written at a children’s level, the series is a magical read for adults as well.