Interview with Chris Kennedy

Why did you write Keepers of the Western Forest?
One day the story just started playing out in my head. Uninvited, it knocked at the window asking to be written down.
Who did you imagine you were writing it for?
Initially, as I said, I was writing it because it wanted to be written—to please myself, mainly. But I had long wondered if young readers today are still able to enjoy Arthurian stories set in the medieval world of chivalry.
What do you mean?
Well, throughout the centuries, tales of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table have been told and retold. Every age reinvents them for itself: the French Romances, Malory, Tennyson and so forth. Over the last 60 years or so, the emphasis has largely been on the ‘historical’ Arthur, a 5th. Century British or Romano-British cavalry leader. Would young readers today still be able to enjoy stories about 12th. Century knights, jousting, the chivalric code and faery enchantment, or would they see them as ‘all wrong’? By inventing a fantastical account of how the stories came down to us I was providing a kind of excuse to enjoy them at face value, I suppose.
So your book is for children?
Not only for children. I hope kids will enjoy it as an adventure story, yes. But as I also wrote to please myself, there is stuff in there for adults too. Readers already familiar with Arthurian literature may pick up on certain references and parallels. I also wanted to create the feeling of a half-glimpsed allegorical dimension to it all.
What about the characters in the book?
The main characters are all new inventions; some stock Arthurian characters appear alongside them, of course.
Are there any autobiographical elements at all? In the modern-day letter at the end of the book, for instance?
Certainly. Robert Westwood’s letter is full of autobiographical detail—saved me having to invent it all, I suppose! The moors and woods of my boyhood in Yorkshire are in there too; and the land of Sultan Al-din and the dolphins come from my memories of Morocco, which I visited twice, in 1962 and ’63—a time of hitch-hiking and adventure long before it became the norm for young people to go backpacking round the world with the Lonely Planet Guide. As for the scene on the cliff—that’s a real place, where I had the strangest experience…..
I can’t, really. But you could see the six characters at the cliff's edge as being elements of a single psyche. (laughs.) If you like.
H’m, I’ll have to think about that! But what does that make Brynn, who doesn't go to the island with his friends ?
He is the Peter Pan particle, left behind in Never-Neverland.
Published 2014-07-05.
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Books by This Author

Keepers of the Western Forest
Price: Free! Words: 54,870. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Adventure » Action
If people knew what I have come to believe concerning these tales, says Robert Westwood, they would declare me insane. From the day Darin leaves home for Camelot, he faces sorcery and the malice of his father’s old enemies. As dark forces gather in Logres, he embarks on a quest to find the Green Knight’s axe. And then on to the final mission—one destined to affect the world we live in.