Folklore Trail 2

Landing in the Labyrinth

by Virginia King

The First Lie was originally set in Sydney, my home town, so to find a deeper connection with the story I grabbed my camera and spent a whole day visiting all the locations. But I returned home in tears because none of the places ‘spoke’ to me.


Serendipity intervened. I dropped Selkie into a strange place – Hawaii – and what had felt like a ‘crisis of place’ flipped into something edgy and unpredictable. Her role as a malihini (a newcomer) brought an amazing dimension to the story.


Selkie is escaping a destructive relationship but she lands in a mythological nightmare in Hawaii. The events are so bizarre and terrifying that she’s forced to delve into the past and face the shocking truth about herself.


My editor and I still chuckle over her initial reaction: You’ve got an Australian main character in a Hawaiian setting, but you’re drawing on Irish/Scottish mythology (selkies); it’s difficult to make those disparate elements fit together cohesively.


But cultures have mingled for centuries in Hawaii – ho’ohihi, interconnectedness – surely it was the perfect place for mythologies to collide and merge, if only I could make it work …


Follow    to see how Virginia resolved this problem and created a mystery that’s won two awards.


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Photo credit: Amanda Thorson