Who Are the Grey Ravens?

The interviews and articles are background material for The Chronicles of the Grey Raven, which couldn’t be included in the books.
Book One, Angel of Mercy is on Smashwords and Amazon and Amazon UK
Book Two The Nosferatu Project is now out. You can find it at Amazon UK and it is available on Amazon Unlimited as well.

The Grey Raven Key Protocols.

The Grey Raven Key Protocols.

Who are the Grey Ravens?
For want of a better word they’re vampires although any comparison between the Children of the Raven and mainstream vampires is venturing onto shaky ground. Yes they do need a regular supply of blood to maintain their strength, they find too much sun dehydrates them, and they are vulnerable to sharp silver objects. But apart from that they look like us, work alongside us in their day to day lives and even marry mortals, usually for the purposes of maintaining their current identity. You could be married to one and never know it. The doctor you find so helpful could be a Child of the Raven. The detective who investigates a burglary at your house could also be a Child of the Raven and you will be none the wiser unless they deem it in their interests to reveal their true nature to you. The Children of the Raven are divided into ten clans, which take their names from various colours, blue, black, white etc. Clan Grey Raven is the tenth clan and the only clan founded by a woman. All the Firstborn clan heads are dead although there is some doubt as to Amalthea, the head of the Grey Ravens as no body was ever found. I’ve used the term Clan Grey Raven instead of Grey Raven Clan as the former is the correct order of words in Scotland. The Scots put ‘clan’ before the clan name as in Clan MacGregor or Clan MacDonald although you can use either form.

Why call your vampires the Children of the Raven and not vampires?
Basically I wanted to separate myself from traditional vampire literature and create something entirely new and hopefully fresh. The raven was chosen as their totem because the raven was associated with battle. The Norsemen venerated the raven and the Black Morrigan of Celtic mythology is visualised as a raven. The Norse sagas refer to the two ravens that sit on Odin’s shoulders and gives them names, Thought and Memory, which I thought was a very apt description of my vampires because they are deep thinkers and have long memories. However the concept of the Black Morrigan also intrigued me because my vampires are warriors in the classic sense of the word.

What is The Nosferatu Project about?
The Nosferatu Project is Book Two in the series and continues on from Angel of Mercy but is written in the style of a murder mystery with a bit of international thriller thrown in. Whilst Angel of Mercy was just two back to back biographies, this is a full blown novel with all of the characters from the first book along with quite a few new ones. It starts with the discovery of a woman’s body on Glasgow Green with a stake through her heart. DS Sean Ryan gets involved because he’s also a vampire and this could very well be a Fraternity killing but when he discovers that the dead woman was a vampire’s one percenter he is forced to fall back on his clan for help. Not long after that a second woman is attacked but she manages to turn the tables on her attacker, some kind of hybrid vampire and drains his power. This strange incident sends shockwaves through the Grey Ravens and as they learn more about Fiona they begin to question some very fundamental truths.

Where is the book set?
The Nosferatu Project is set for the most part in Glasgow but there are scenes set at Morganna’s New York home and there are many scenes set at Wolfcraig on the shores of Loch Tay. I have also travelled to Tel Aviv (in the book) for several crucial scenes and there is also a d
ream sequence scene set in middle England during the time of Ivarr the Boneless. I was tempted to add more historical scenes but decided to save those stories for an anthology.

Is this the same Ivarr the Boneless from the series Vikings?
It is the same historical character but you don’t get to meet him in the book and I strayed away from their portrayal of someone with a bone deficiency. It is one of the theories behind the name Boneless but it’s not the only one, what isn’t in dispute is his cruelty and so I made him impotent instead. In those times before we understood impotency, it might have accounted for his cruelty, the name Boneless seems to come from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning soulless.

What was the reason behind this dream sequence?
Without giving too much away, Morganna has encountered a mortal whose blood can restore the power of taste to vampires, but I also wanted to show that her clan, the Grey Ravens were protective of mortals even before the Amalthean Proclamation of 1920. They were very much involved in the world of mortals and often fought with mortals to protect other mortals, I felt it made them that much more human, which is a strange thing to think when writing about vampires.

When will The Nosferatu Project be released?
It was released on March 1st, 2019 on Amazon. This one was actually written before Angel of Mercy but because that book was a good introduction to the vampire world I decided to release that one first. The Nosferatu Project has been a long time coming but I’m happy that it’s finally up there.

Why did it take so long to complete?
There were various reasons, one being my pedantic nature that tries to iron out ALL the wrinkles, I’m forever criticising books and films for their artistic licence. For example I get the reason someone might chamber a round in a gun before shooting someone, but in real life it’s just not going to happen. But in the end I had to go back to an older version of the story and admit that I’d managed to create a decent story that just needed to be edited. The subsequent draft was a curious marriage of old and new because I had to go back to the prequel, Angel of Mercy and update or change certain things such as Elizabeth’s launch of House of McIvor. It was supposed to happen not long after the first book but because of the time lag I had to come up with reasons why she delayed the launch until 2018. Hopefully I’ve managed to get it more or less right and maybe I’ve learned not to be so self-critical again.

Tell me about Angel of Mercy.
Angel of Mercy is actually two journals. The first is Samantha’s story where she relates how she met Dr. Catriona MacGregor in 1990. Cat married her father not long afterwards and they moved from Germany to America. When Cat’s plane goes down over the Gulf of Mexico eight years later, Samantha and her father, John Sullivan are relocated to Chicago by one of Cat’s new ‘friends’ Elizabeth McIvor where they are introduced to more of Cat’s friends. These people all belong to Clan Grey Raven and over the next few years Samantha begins to suspect that the accident is mere window dressing for a much deeper mystery. Cat had made too many preparations for Sam’s future for someone who intended living a long life.
When she is finally reunited with Cat in Scotland in 2013, Samantha learns the truth of the people of the Raven and Cat tells her story, beginning with her birth in 1285, her introduction to Clan Grey Raven, their part in the First War of Independence and ending with her turning in 1314. Along the way she scotches some of the traditional mythology about life in medieval Scotland, recounts life under English rule and leaves us with a more balanced point of view. William Wallace makes a cameo appearance towards the end as well.

What was your inspiration behind Angel of Mercy?
Angel of Mercy started life as a longish short story after a day out with the local archaeological group in Stirling. I remember standing in front of the Wallace Monument looking out over the old battlefield, which is now the suburban sprawl of Cornton and Causewayhead and imagining Catriona MacGregor standing beside me and peeling back the layers of history to 1297. That night I penned the short story and left it like that while I went back to work on the next version of my vampire novel. However I always suspected that there was more to this short story than meets the eye.
Time moved on, I went back and wrote this book and somewhere along the line, this book grabbed the title of the next book, which is now called The Nosferatu Project. It’s a good example of how books evolve over a period of time.
Angel of Mercy is a fantasy, we know vampires don’t exist but if vampires existed in the real world, what would they look like? How would they behave? Along the way I discarded much of the traditional baggage attributed to vampirism but kept the basics, teeth, blood, immortality and great strength. I added the concept of the Twelve Steps of Recovery and slipped my clans into real history as living witnesses to the history we find in books. Their takes on history don’t always mirror what we imagine. We have a tendency to over romanticise the past to the point of outright mediocrity, or treat history as somehow unimportant to real life.
The events of the late thirteenth century actually happened. The Wallace of Braveheart is a rather badly constructed version of the real William Wallace and I’ve tried to the best of my ability to give a sense of what the world must have looked like back then. There may be errors in the book and if so then they are solely mine. Having said that there really was a place called Westertoun about where Tillicoultry is now found although I’ve yet to narrow it down to the thirteenth century, but we know there was a great swamp that extended along the sides of the Ochil Hills. I know there was an old Pictish fort at the old quarry because its existence was recorded, now nothing remains. There was a river port at Stirling but I haven’t used it for Morganna’s ship because she needed an easy escape to the sea and so their ship was beached on the Forth, not far from Leith. My portrayal of women as being a little more outspoken than is usually thought is turning out to be a little more accurate thanks to revised interpretations.

Is your book an accurate retelling of the late thirteenth century?
It’s about as accurate as I can make it! There are of course certain things I had to create from scratch along with my vampires. The mansion, Wolfcraig and the village of Pictavia are entirely fictional. Wolfcraig was inspired by Abernethy Ardeonaig Lodge, which does overlook Loch Tay. Due to the fact I’ve set scenes in Wolfcraig and it features significantly in The Nosferatu Project, I elected to create my own enormous hotel and set it in the Tay Forest Park on the other side of the loch. Pictavia is also a figment of my imagination but is inspired by the Scottish Crannog Centre on the eastern end of Loch Tay, not far from Kenmore. Morganna’s dealings with William Wallace are also fictional as is the meeting with Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Why are your lead characters are all women?
I find the traditional alpha male character rather tedious and extremely limited. I fully admit that I’m a feminist writer and make no apologies for my beliefs. Part of the inspiration behind Angel of Mercy was due to my fascination with what we call in Europe, the Old Religion, which had at its core, a respect for the Divine Mother and a more egalitarian view of male and female roles. The Old Religion was borrowed by the New Religion of Christianity and butchered, bastardised or completely corrupted in an attempt to spread Christianity all over Europe. I suppose in my own way I’ve sought to remind people that before the coming of the church, there was a civilised world that certainly wasn’t perfect, but it had an internal rhythm. We have lost touch with our relationship to the land and the seasons but in Angel of Mercy I’ve recalled the old ceremonies and festivals.
With that being said I’ve felt it necessary in the face of a concerted assault against women’s rights movements by the neocons in the West and in countries where Sharia law has been implemented, to create strong female characters who don’t seem to need men for survival. These women won’t be hanging out for a phone call from some guy, it might very well be the other way round! Likewise when it comes to tasks like changing a light globe, changing the oil on their car or fixing a computer, they’re probably more inclined to learn how to do themselves rather than relying on a man to do it. It’s something I’ve passed on to women over the years, despite their protestations that it was a man’s job. Bluntly speaking it’s anybody’s job, male and female jobs don’t exist for me, apart from the jobs of giving birth and breastfeeding. In a very real sense, all women on this planet were born equal to men, it’s just that in many societies the powers that be carry on with this paternalistic and misogynistic view of women’s roles.

Where can I meet some of your Grey Ravens?
You can meet them right here on this website! The interview, article and short story pages are all found in the sidebar on the left. They are continually updated as and when I get time to update. I’m in the process of updating older content and will be writing new content shortly.

Can I get a reviewer’s copy of The Nosferatu Project or Angel of Mercy?
Certainly! Just send an email to alastair.rosie@gmail.com with ‘request for review copy in the subject box, your preferred format in the body of the email and I’ll email you a copy.

Responses

  1. […] The events of the late thirteenth century actually happened. The Wallace of Braveheart is a rather badly constructed version of the real William Wallace and I’ve tried to the best of my ability to give a sense of what the world must have looked like back then. There may be errors in the book and if so then they are solely mine. Having said that there really was a place called Westertoun about where Tillicoultry is now found although I’ve yet to narrow it down to the thirteenth century, but we know there was a great swamp that extended along the sides of the Ochil Hills. I know there was an old Pictish fort at the old quarry because its existence was recorded, now nothing remains. My portrayal of women as being a little more outspoken than is usually thought is turning out to be a little more accurate thanks to revised interpretations. Read more… […]

  2. […] Why call your vampires the Children of the Raven and not vampires? Basically I wanted to separate myself from traditional vampire literature and create something entirely new and hopefully fresh. The raven was chosen as their totem because the raven was associated with battle. The Norsemen venerated the raven and the Black Morrigan of Celtic mythology is visualised as a raven. The Norse sagas refer to the two ravens that sit on Odin’s shoulders and gives them names, Thought and Memory, which I thought was a very apt description of my vampires because they are deep thinkers and have long memories. However the concept of the Black Morrigan also intrigued me because my vampires are warriors in the classic sense of the word. Read more… […]

  3. […] For want of a better word they’re vampires although any comparison between the Children of the Raven and mainstream vampires is venturing onto shaky ground. Yes they do need a regular supply of blood to maintain their strength, they find too much sun dehydrates them, and they are vulnerable to sharp silver objects. But apart from that they look like us, work alongside us in their day to day lives and even marry mortals, usually for the purposes of maintaining their current identity. You could be married to one and never know it. The doctor you find so helpful could be a Child of the Raven. The detective who investigates a burglary at your house could also be a Child of the Raven and you will be none the wiser unless they deem it in their interests to reveal their true nature to you. The Children of the Raven are divided into ten clans, which take their names from various colours, blue, black, white etc. Clan Grey Raven is the tenth clan and the only clan founded by a woman. All the Firstborn clan heads are dead although there is some doubt as to Amalthea, the head of the Grey Ravens as no body was ever found. I’ve used the term Clan Grey Raven instead of Grey Raven Clan as the former is the correct order of words in Scotland. The Scots put ‘clan’ before the clan name as in Clan MacGregor or Clan MacDonald although you can use either form.Read more… […]

  4. […] so openly alongside mortals? Catriona: To answer that I suppose you’d have to talk about the basic tenets of the Grey Raven Protocols. We do not take blood from humans without their consent, although enemies are a different matter. […]

  5. […] world. When she was finally reunited with Cat in Scotland she learned the startling truth about Clan Grey Raven, Cat’s true identity and the part that Cat and the Grey Ravens played in Scotland’s First War of […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: