THE GOBLIN MARKET
-by Sarah Rees Brennan
-by Sarah Rees Brennan
Part of being a writer is being a reader who thinks 'Wait, I can fix this!' Most of the writers I know have things in their books that come from other books which they don't like, turned upside down: for instance in the romance novel Your Scandalous Ways the heroine tells the hero 'You're beautiful when you're angry.'
One thing that always annoyed me in books was what is called 'phantom income.' You know - how on earth do the characters in Friends afford their apartments. Way worse than that, a character who has a part-time job and the rest of the time slays monsters, and still has a penthouse? Being the star of a fantasy novel should have a serious effect on your earning power.
But then, being the star of a fantasy novel means that something scary is usually after you, so you need weapons. Many characters in fantasy novels don't immediately dive for the kitchenware. I find this hard to understand! I don't generally go armed, but if vampires/demons/evil unicorns were trying to kill me, I'd be hitting www.ineedabazooka.com PDQ. In the Demon's Lexicon series, my hero Nick is a master swordsman. Because if evil things are after you, you get armed, and you get good.
So here's a thing. Weapons are really expensive. Especially if you want them to be untraceable.
I did a lot of sums and a lot of research on this. At one point my great-aunt came to tea, and she found my pile of notes on black-market guns.
... She had a few questions for me over our tea and biscuits. I think she may still secretly believe I'm a crime lord and not a writer at all.
So I needed a place where two teenage boys could buy weapons. And I needed people who knew about the magical world I had created, and I wanted to one more thing.
Usually in fantasy world, the world is either open (everybody knows about vampires, in fact there are vampires living across the street, and the mayor is a werechipmunk) or closed (you find out about the magic world, because you're special - you've got magical powers, or a magical creature loves you very much).
I wanted a world ajar. A world where there was secret magic happening, and it was just possible that simply through being interested, you might get an invitation.
And from all this came the Goblin Market. Which proves writers also steal stuff they like!
I got the name from Christina Rossetti's poem the Goblin Market (and I tried to give her credit, though my Nick, not a reader, thinks that she's called Christina Risotto) - which is a beautiful, scary poem about friendship, death and being almost unable to resist the tempting things inhuman creatures offer you in the woods.
"We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?"
At the Goblin Market, dancers dance dangerous dances to call up demons, who give answers that are always truthful and never nice to hear. You can buy magic blades. You can buy fruit that takes all your inhibitions away. You can buy a necromancer's charm to curse someone you love, or buy a pied piper's song to make someone obey you. You can buy chimes that sing your favourite songs to you, protective charms against evil, lanterns you can put in a window to call someone you love who is wandering or lost home. You can buy a light of love, a light so small that if it glows enough for you to see by, you know the one it's glowing for is your true love.
Anyone can be invited to the Goblin Market, because the people there live on the money provided to them by tourists - by people who come to see and touch magic once a month.
I wanted to create a magic place, which said to the reader: Come in. Come buy.
And it all came from wanting teenage boys to have a place to buy pointy stuff. Not that my great-aunt would ever believe it.
**This contest is closed**
For a chance to win the audio book of the first book in the series, the Demon's Lexicon: what would you want to buy at the Goblin Market?
Contest is ends 8/1
International entrants welcome!
SARAH REES BRENNAN was born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it's not called Gaelic), but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. After living briefly in New York and doing a creative writing MA and library work in Surrey, England, she has returned to Dublin, Ireland, to write. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it.
To learn more about Sarah Rees Brennan and her books, visit her Official Website and Blog.
Read an excerpt of The Demon's Covenant.
Read my review of The Demon's Covenant.