Behind Aylosia: Introduction

These short pages are a gift to those who have signed up to my mailing list; for those who have read my work, and want to keep up-to-date with what I’m up to. It’s my way of saying thank you. Once I have completed a page for each chapter of Dreams and Shadows, I hope to pull them together into an ebook to send to all subscribers.

If you've arrived here, you’ve almost certainly read Dreams and Shadows – and that is good because there will be a lot of spoilers here. If you haven’t read it, and plan to, then it is probably best to hold fire on Behind Aylosia until you have.

My aim is to talk a little about each chapter in Dreams and Shadows. I’ll describe some of my thinking as I wrote, and how the Wisdom of Ashael that is each chapter’s epigraph relates to the story. If you have any questions, please drop me a line as I may be able to answer them somewhere along the line.

There are a lot of metaphors and symbolism throughout the book. I won’t point them all out, though. And for those that I do discuss, I (mostly) won’t reveal what they mean to me.

After all, they may well mean something completely different for you, and I wouldn’t want to spoil any meaning you have found for yourself. I'm a firm believer that meaning is glimpsed by the reader rather than imposed by the writer. Or, to put it another way, "There are lessons that must be learned, but cannot be taught."

My favourite stories are those that focus primarily on the journey of the main character, and so it was that the world of Aylosia was born in my mind as I thought of a young man, sitting alone in a small, dark flat. He hadn’t had a happy life, but he wasn’t who he thought he was. 

His journey would be that of self-discovery as he gradually came to know that his real identity was something of great importance; his ability to bless those around him beyond his wildest dreams. That journey would begin when he saw a woman in the town centre, and he somehow outpaced a bullet. That was the very first scene from Dreams and Shadows that played out across my mind. The rest of the story developed from that point.

I believe that is the story of each of us. We all have times in our lives, whether long or short, when we question our self-worth; when life’s travails become almost too much to bear. But not one of us is precisely like another. We are each our own style of unique. And that individuality means that we can uniquely touch the world around us for the better. We may not be aware of how another is blessed by our existence, and we may not believe it. But it is true nonetheless.

We are all Michael. Which is why his name is important, but I’ll leave that one for you to think about if you want to.

Ashael is an important figure in the series. A little is revealed about her in Dreams and Shadows. You’ll learn more in the second book in the series. Her name is an amalgamation of two ancient names for deities. The first part – Ash – is derived from Ashtoreth, the name of a female figure worshipped in some parts of ancient Palestine. The -ael comes from the biblical custom for naming things associated with the divine – el meaning ‘god’.

Although the Elahish don’t worship Ashael, as such, she is certainly revered. Many of her sayings have been handed down through the ages and compiled into a tome called The Wisdom of Ashael. It is from this that the chapter epigraphs come. And yes, to answer one question I have been asked a few times, they are all products of my imagination. 

Each saying is related to its chapter in some way. But as I relate my own thoughts on this, once more you may have different feelings or insights. Although I am the author, it is still just my opinion, and what I have intended as I wrote may not be what you have understood as you have read. That is as it should be.

Above all, I hope that the thoughts I express on these pages about the process of, and background to, writing Dreams and Shadows are interesting to you, and that they provide for a richer reading if you decide to read it again.

Thank you again for your interest in Aylosia. I hope that you will enjoy learning more about this land along with me.

 Jeffrey Collyer

© Copyright, Jeffrey Collyer, 2015