About the Author and the Stories
Joanna Vale wrote her first poem at the age of seven and has always had an inconvenient urge to write. Whilst living in Wiltshire she met Christina (Tina) Tourin who was teaching harp at a Steiner school in Bradford on Avon.
The following year, when Tina came to England again, they went to visit the impressive stone circle of Avebury and neighbouring Silbury Hill. Tina was carrying one of her small Celtic harps and, as they came close to the hill, the wind began to blow through the strings, making a very powerful hum.
As a composer Tina began quite naturally to improvise and a beautiful theme tune began to flow through her fingers. The name Jessiebelle, The Unicorn came to her then as if the Unicorn herself had trotted out of the mound and into her mind.
There are times when you cannot but respond to the magick of a place and as they sat by the sun-drenched mound, looking at the wonderful countryside around them, both Joanna and Tina felt that this was a special moment.
Joanna was already engaged in writing a short story for one of Tina’s harp tutors, (which, incidentally, are probably the most fun books on the market for youngsters learning the instrument) and Tina decided that Joanna should write a story about the Unicorn to be narrated with harp.
All went well until the story (complete at 12,000 words and exactly right for two CDs) began to re-write itself. Joanna blames Tina for this because she has the knack of getting people to unlock their creativity. Perhaps part of the reason, too, is that the harp really IS something of a magickal instrument. It has the necessary full spectrum of resonance in its strings to reach those parts that few other instruments can.
Tina is a second generation harpist who has trained and worked internationally. She has an extraordinary perception of people's responses to music and is able to fine tune the notes, keys, modes and tunes which will touch people at the deepest level. Through her Harp Therapy movement she has been teaching harpists throughout the world to help people in a host of therapeutic situations and, with the aid of the latest technology, has been able to prove and demonstrate how this works.
In due course, the story of Jessiebelle's Secret was finished, but it was far too long for a CD, so Joanna wrote a prequel to it called Jessiebelle’s Dream. This worked well because Tina wanted a story written from the point of view of the Unicorn. They recorded it together in San Diego in December 2002.
Joanna has three adult sons and now lives in rural north Oxfordshire, near the Rollright Stones, with her husband Tim, and the occasional passing stray.
The stories about Jessiebelle reflect Christina's partly Steiner approach to all things creative and spiritual. They are for all ages and celebrate innocence and trust as a counter to cynicism and the onslaught of evil in the world.
Set against the Millennium, the action of both stories takes place mainly in the upper world, our Gaian World, in which solutions often involve violence and death. But Killing the Dragon who is the offender in the story is not an option. Immortal is immortal, so the solution must be creative and co-operative at every level.
There is Magick of all sorts, 'Magick' with a 'k'! There can be no mere conjuring where two worlds intersect each other, and the world of the Portal Lands and beyond into the Deep Realm of Earthspace is very much the world of our inner life. 'As above, so below', except that Faerie psychology is very different. They are deeply emotional beings who have to deal with the fact that they cannot die and must carry their misery, the wyst-sorrow, around with them forever. These are the somewhat unstable friends of the lonely little Unicorn whose love for Rego, the Dragon, prompted her to stay with him when all other Unicorns were recalled to the Faerie World.
But humanity is resourceful and the two Hedgewitches, Amy Vizer and her feisty, fisty urchin of a grand-daughter, Sam, help her to muddle through. As well as having a sharp, cockney trained intellect and being strangely able to perform magick, Sam is nevertheless highly sceptical and prefers science to explain her world. However, she has not had an easy life before discovering she had family in Wiltshire, and she is glad of the friendship of a Unicorn who has the power to read minds and hearts and can teach her whom she may trust.
The Jessiebelle stories combine science and folklore and the language, epecially that of the Faerie people, draws upon the richness of speech of former times. You have time to say things properly in the Faerie World. Modern slang and swearing is a part of our world too; it would be unrealistic not to include it in the colour of speech, but during the dialogue it is often left to the imagination. Perhaps realistically too, as Sam finds that adults are really listening to her, getting to the point involves straight talking without additives, especially when she finds that it is all too easy to make inappropriate wishes.
We all create Myths about our own lives. True or false, they help us to make sense of things. But the content of all our separate stories often hangs around the same images and themes. Joanna has chosen to follow a Unicorn into this one and she has had a lot to teach. Real or fictional, it doesn't matter; it is not so much about belief as about finding a story to help our deep brain understand how things work.
Out of the reality comes the dream, the myth that is like a Unicorn coming out of the depths of the Forest Mind. If it is a good dream, we have the wondrous feeling that comes with pure flight of fancy. It has the passionate, absorbing reality of children's play. THAT is Magick! If it comes to you, accept it.
Book 2, Jessiebelle: The Magick of Silbury, is near to completion and four other books to complete the series are under way. They will either be published electronically or by print on demand....
ANY AGENTS, PUBLISHERS OR FILM-MAKERS WHO ARE THINKING, "This is a bit different, and actually, we OUGHT to include something highly original on our lists," AND WANT TO KNOW MORE WILL, OF COURSE, BE WELL RECEIVED.