Hello, my name is (not) PJ Hetherhouse and ‘The Goat’s Tale’ is my debut novel. You have so far clicked one button to get here, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that!
The process of writing this book has finally given me the opportunity to give life to ideas that I have been kicking around for an awfully long time. These ideas, naturally, flow from the things that I find most interesting and inspiring. I thought that, seeing as I’ve gone through the trouble of making a website, I might as well write a little bit about these things and, in doing so, introduce myself to you.
I have always been inspired by the idea of astrology. I think this is because it lies on the (non-academic) intersect between my two of my main academic interests : firstly, animal lore and, secondly, the development of the human personality. The thing that has always disappointed me about Western astrology is that there is no real mythology surrounding the characters and how they came to be. I think the astrologer who came closest to bringing them to life properly was Linda Goodman – I loved her books when I was growing up.
The choice of Capricorn as narrator for my first book was an easy one. I’m a Taurus but I identify more strongly with my fellow earth sign. The biggest persuading factor was that it gave me the opportunity to use the scathing Capricorn humour that fits the character and is very enjoyable to write. I also think that the determination of a Capricorn is required for this first step of the plot. Scorpio or Taurus are just as focused and would probably have achieved the same outcomes - but I needed a character who would do it for the ‘right’ reason. As ‘the old man’ of the zodiac, it also seems to fit that he should be the de facto founder of the group.
Despite my fascination with astrology, I am still a universal sceptic. As such, my pride forces me to point out that being creatively inspired by something is entirely different to accepting the truth of it. For instance, I have also found a great deal of inspiration in the Arthurian cycle but this does not mean, to quote Brian the constitutional peasant, that I think strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is an acceptable basis for government.
As anyone who has read the book will understand, my interest in Arthurian legend and the whole ‘Swords and Spells’ thing is almost a given. It would, however, be remiss of me not to mention ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ as an important influence. These books are, in my opinion, deconstructed fantasy written for a 21st century audience (or, at least, that part of a 21st century audience who are still prepared to accept some troubling cultural stereotypes.) Reading the series opened my eyes to new possibilities, in terms of writing style and character development, for a genre that I’d previously felt to be ‘too stiff’. In my mind, Gruff is a composite of dolorous Ed (who is basically Eeyore) and Stannis Baratheon. No wonder it’s been so hard to make him sympathetic.
Religion also features heavily and will do more so as the series moves on. The way in which the purity of most religious messages becomes distorted through organised religion is something I consider to be very important. Religion is the single greatest cultural driver of human civilisation, responsible for inspiring more artists than any other topic, and I don’t regard myself as any different. I am not anti-religious and nor is this book intended to be – I think religion can be a great force for both good and evil. It should be borne in mind, however, that the protagonist is, as a Capricorn, always inclined towards doubt.If you wish to contact me for any reason, I am available on the contact form below.