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  The Mask Trilogy: The Beginnings

One of the questions I get asked the most about the Mask trilogy is: Where did you get the idea?

I was sitting in a class at university one day and scribbling on a piece of paper. For several days, the beginnings of a story had been brewing in my head. I knew it was about a group of children in a very difficult situation. I knew they were near the ocean, mountains, and even the desert. I could see in my mind the caves and the view of the skull-like mountain where these children lived. Slowly, as I began to write, more ideas flowed into characters. The main character, who is now, Coriko, was named Sook. I changed this name rather quickly as it did not sound right. I got the name Sook from one of the ball hockey players I played with in the men’s hockey league. Reading it over several times, made me realize that the name did not fit the environment. I needed a name that sounded like the sea. Coracle popped into my head. A Coracle is a small boat often used in ancient times. The other name was Orinoco, a huge river in South America that pours into the Atlantic Ocean. I played with the sounds of these names until Coriko came into being. There have been many readers who have commented on the names of the characters from Grassland. Pippa comes from Pippin – a favorite character in the Lord of the Rings and our cat. Bran and Tia come from Old English and Welsh names. Thief is well…well he’s a thief! And one of the most courageous and loyal people I know. Feelah comes from simply playing with sounds. I wanted her name to sound musical. I pronounce it, Feeh-lawh.

Little did I know that my scribbles on that day at the university would turn into a trilogy! Some time later, while walking with my friend Jackie, I told her that I was ready to quit writing the story. As much as I loved the writing, I was sure it wasn’t any good at all. She stopped me and said: “You better finish it! At least finish it for me because I want to know what happens!” So I did, and Jackie’s name is in the dedication of book one.

Throughout the trilogy, I gathered photographs of various places that reminded me of Grassland. I have a postcard on my desk of a bay, ringed by a towering mountain. It often causes me to pause and wonder what the Grasslanders are up to at the moment. For a story can only capture moments in characters’ lives. In between the moments are thousands of adventures living in and beyond the pages. Coriko and Pippa have many adventures yet to live and I do hope that some of you will take up the task to write them down. I believe that pictures are truly worth a thousand words and can be a writer’s most precious tool.

Visit the Author Interview page to watch a video Interview and learn more about Grasslands...

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© copyright David Ward, Map © Paul Heersink / Paperglyphs, illustrations © Sharon Ward. all images used by permission website by Hoffworks