“Meditating on Mount Abu…I was prompted to write a novel about Merlin” – Carmel Niland

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Merlin_coverA mysterious and magical being with raven hair and intense blue eyes is about to enchant you!

Merlin, also known as Ambrosius Marcus Cotta and Myrrdin, is the legendary wizard popularly associated with Arthurian legends. 

When one mentions Merlin, the word magic immediately comes to mind.

In fact, you could say that magic is Merlin’s middle name and indeed it is.

Written by Carmel Niland, A Darker Magic This Way Comes is the first tale of five belonging to the Merlin’s Secrets series.

Merlin’s love story is certainly special. For one, the love story stretches through time across 1500 years! Merlin and Emily are fighting destiny to be together.  Was falling in love part of the plan? Is falling in love ever part of the plan? This couple have the meddling parents, scheming villains, a battle between good and evil and of course, fireworks aplenty!

Definitely a Bollywood formula.

We caught up with author Carmel Niland and asked her what the book would look like on a Bollywood screen, which actor would be playing Merlin and whom Merlin dances like.

And yes…

Merlin can definitely dance!

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“A Darker Magic This Way Comes” is out on 14/04/2016 (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and all good bookstores)

Please describe Merlin in three words?

Hot, sexy wizard.

Carmel Niland copyWe heard that Merlin dances! What’s his style?

Somewhere between Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor, although the Kapoor style is more like another character from our world in the novel, Toby. Toby practices Tae Kwon Do with its aerial turning kicks which are heart stopping but Merlin prefers dancing as opportunity to leap and spin with music holding Emily in his arms, She is classically trained in ballet and in the street dancing of hip hop so she will take him places where he never thought he’d go.

Is Merlin a better lover or fighter?

Merlin is an Arch Druid from the fifth century and he does not fight in the traditional sense of the word. He does not carry a weapon and must live by his wits and his magic. As a lover he still has his training wheels on with few prospects, in this first book, to observe or practice lovemaking. But his innocence will provide Emily with an opportunity, who although she is a maiden, she is from the twenty first century and therefore more worldly-wise. She will have to seduce him. He will prove to be a fast learner and that by the second book The Curse of the Dragon Kings he will soon make up for it!

What are Merlin’s flaws?

He is jealous of Emily’s longstanding relationship with her childhood friend, Jack and he nearly loses her because of that. He is a show off anxious to demonstrate how good he is at everything. As well, he also overestimates his own abilities to engage the Darkness and win. The sorceress, Morgana, continually out manoeuvres him with some tragic consequences.

If a Bollywood film on Merlin was to be made then what are the three MUST HAVE ingredients?

Given that A Darker Magic This Way Comes is already a story of forbidden love, with a love triangle, interfering parents, outstanding magic and wonder and a fight between good and evil you would think it had been conceived in India, the birthplace of the world’s magic. .If you ask me instead what are its must have ingredients beside those mentioned I would say it is the swirling darkness and the colours that dance across the skies, the characters of remarkable beauty and grace and a reverence for the place of spirit in all things. And, by the way, once in the nineties meditating on Mount Abu, a hill station on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat, I was prompted to write a novel about Merlin.

If you could put a Bollywood song into ONE dramatic interlude where would that be and what would the song convey?

I would build it into the chapter called Battle of the Elements where Moloch and Merlin battle in the night sky across Dartmoor displaying their artistry at making roars of torrential rain and sky splitting lightning and thunder. Merlin flies using his staff and he is dressed in a long cape of black and purple and Moloch is a vast crimson mask over swirling rancid air. But they are both masters and their work compares to a New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Merlin brings in the spirits of the elements to help him. They all sing. Meanwhile Toby is on a giant bat singing Credence Clearwater Revival’s “I see a bad moon rising,” and Emily and Jack on the ground of Dartmoor praying for the Archangel’s Michael’s intercession.

We love love stories and we heard that “A Darker Magic This Way Comes” is a magical love story pivoting upon Merlin and Emily. What inspired you to write about love?

Because love is all there is. Merlin says to the evil Moloch: “use your time to ponder love, the most powerful force in the world; it is that which inspires shining courage in us all” Love moves, like Ganesh, immovable objects. It melts rocks, creates life and through it all things are possible.

What makes Merlin and Emily’s love story special?

It is forbidden because it is across fifteen hundred years and these two people had agreed to their destiny before they were born. Now they want to change it. Who knows where it will take them?

Merlin-2A good Bollywood film must have a conniving villain! What are the villains like in your book and who is Merlin’s worst enemy?

There are five villains. There is King Vortigern, obsessed with power and greed who brings in invaders, Saxons, Jutes and Angles to protect his backside from the invading Picts. There is Gorlois, the father of Morgana, who beats her beautiful mother, Ygern, at every opportunity. There is Morgana an evil, voluptuous sorceress, a woman of perverted tastes. There is the Arch Druid Hu Powyll who uses his position of trust and power to work with the Dark and finally there is Moloch, a Prince of Darkness with blazing vermillion eyes. His purpose is to enslave Britain and place Morgana on the throne. He is Merlin’s worst enemy.

What have been your challenges whilst writing the book?

My challenges have been finding a quiet place and time to go into the very different world. It is a world of the disintegrating Roman Britain where dragons live in the waterways, gryphons that carry people across the abyss between the worlds and sometimes there is a very bossy Archangel Michael, with his sky of swords who wants to play with Merlin. And there is the wondrous Arianrhod, a weaver of dreams from the Northern Lights, who spends most of her time on the ceiling in the spying guise of a spider.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

Merlin. He is everything, timeless and just as at home in Australia or India as he is in Devon or Wales. He is a genius, a mathematician, an engineer. This is how he describes himself…”I weave magic. I engineer battles, I remember the future. I toy with the laws of nature. I fly with my ladyhawk on the sky tracks of the air. I am a smith of strangeness.” He is simply irresistible.

Finally, which Bollywood actor would you cast as Merlin? 

I am thinking of Ranveer Singh because his style is both classical and contemporary, he is very athletic, he can smoulder and he is very intelligent. That covers the hot, sexy part of Merlin and he can learn the wizardry. I prefer Romantic Comedies and there I see the perfect actress to play Merlin’s mother, Ingraine. She is Aishwaya Rai who, in my opinion is and was the most beautiful woman in the world and she would be perfect for the role of Arch Druidess and Mistress of Magic and healing arts and the guide of Merlin

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