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About

The Book

The Ravenstones is a fantasy, a tale of long-lost magic gemstones claimed and fought over by many, with the power to change fortunes and alter history – for better or for worse. It is also a story of adventure and intrigue, set in a world populated by animals great and small, and of two rival entities, Vigmar and Aeronbed, which are locked in a stalemated war.

Into this world arrive two innocent creatures, a young polar bear and a feisty duck, with no option of returning home. They must make the best of their predicament and chart new paths for themselves, all the while adapting to the strangeness and danger they encounter.

The saga is told in seven volumes, the first two of which are being published in tandem in 2020: Eirwen and Fridis and The Invasion of Aeronbed. Next in line will be Olwen and Eisa. The remainder of the series will be published as fast as the writer and his editor can get them out the door.

On one hand, The Ravenstones is a story of an unlikely friendship, of loyalty tested, and of  experiencing growth, overcoming doubt and obstacles and finding the power to reinvent yourself, to be whatever you set out to be. On the other, it is a good old-fashioned mystery and action thriller in which the well-meaning and the wicked vie for power.

The lives of our hero and heroine become intertwined with those of many others, and with the gemstones themselves as they seek to answer the questions surrounding them. What are their secrets? Who, after so many years, is their rightful owner? What will be their fate? Most important of all, at the crucial moment, who will control them and shape the destiny of this world?

On this website you will (eventually) find relevant notes for the entire series, including brief summaries, the sources of character and place names, a map of this world, a biography of the author, and news and events, as well as other information related to the book series.

Opportunities for readers to correspond with the author will be set up through a Q&A.

The Author

C.S. Watts was born in Yellowknife, NWT, and raised in northern and western Canada. He was educated in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Washington, DC, and served in both the federal and provincial public service in several locations in Canada (Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria) and abroad (Washington and London). He has written for pleasure all his life, still has the first story he wrote at the age of 12, and has published several academic works on international relations. He is happily married with two children and four grandchildren.

C.S. Watts has traveled a long way in his life, from a fur-trading outpost along the Mackenzie River in Canada’s Far North to representing his country in the world’s major capitals; from army brat to diplomat and advisor to three prime ministers, two premiers and countless government ministers. Now he has traveled the longest road of all – to published novelist.

During his 35 years of government service, C.S. Watts served as a diplomat, negotiator, speechwriter and skilled policy advisor on matters of foreign affairs, intergovernmental relations, economic development and government reform. His cool head and unique penmanship were always in demand, while his ability to render extreme complexity not only into readable and accessible memoranda but also into highly engaging prose was renowned. Those skills he has now turned to the world of fiction.

His previous publications deal with defense policy and international relations. The Ravenstones series is his first work of fiction.

Questions & Answers

Q. What are the major influences on your writing?

A. I have read all my life, and a complete list of every author whose writing has thrilled or educated me (or both) would carry on for many pages. I assume that every one of them influenced me in some way, either subliminally or otherwise.

However, in an attempt to provide a summary of my favorites, here they are by category:

  • history: Paul Johnson, Daniel J. Boorstin, Barbara Tuchman, Gregor Dallas
  • crime: Scott Turow, Agatha Christie, Martin Cruz Smith, P.D. James
  • fantasy and mystical worlds: Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco
  • autobiography: Robert Caro, Antonia Fraser

If I have to narrow the list further, I must mention in particular

  • John Irving, for his ability to tell a long, involved and wonderfully satisfying story
  • Laurie Lee, for his poetic memoirs and sketches of place and time
  • Anthony Trollope, for his character sketches and profiles
  • Robert B. Parker, for his crisp, snappy dialogue

And I will be forever grateful to the authors (and illustrators) of the books I read as a child that entranced and influenced me in untold ways: Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, Edith Nesbit, J.R.R. Tolkien and George Remi (Hergé), to name but a few.

Q. Where and when do you write?

A. Whenever and wherever I can. I have written at home, in libraries and shopping malls and on cruise ships, and at all hours of the day. This series took many years to write, and during that time we lived in four different houses or apartments and traveled from Canada to Australia (via Europe) and back, much of the trip by ship. I wrote constantly during these years.

Q. Were you influenced at all by Game of Thrones?

A. I completely avoided reading the GOT books or watching the TV series while writing the seven volumes of The Ravenstones. The writing took place essentially between 2006 and 2012, although the editing process since then has taken much longer. After watching the TV series for the first time, I was struck by some of the similarities – for example, a humungous ice wall and my use of the name Sesteros (pronounced differently from Westeros). Clearly great minds think alike! Of course, in the fantasy genre one often finds rival camps, plot twists and turns, good vs. evil, honor vs. duplicity, etc. So many of the same themes tend to emerge.

Ask the Author if you have any other questions! Frequently asked questions (FAQs) will be added in the future, according to demand.

Yellowknife Press

The author decided that he would like to be his own publisher. Thus he created his own company, deciding (for purely sentimental  reasons) to name it after the place of his birth. And it seems only logical that a book about a polar bear and an eider duck should have a publisher whose name hearkens back to a place where such creatures are naturally found.

Thanks and Acknowledgments

C.S. Watts would like to thank all those who read early drafts or expressed interest in this project and provided encouragement, valuable feedback, editorial assistance, moral support, technical assistance and creative ideas. In particular he’d like to thank his mother, sister, wife, children and grandchildren.

While researching and developing the names of the many animals involved, the author found the website www.behindthename.com to be invaluable.

In attempting to gain a better understanding of the animal kingdom, the author has had the pleasure of using The World of Birds (Jonathan Elphick), Birds of North America (François Vuilleumier, ed.), Smithsonian Natural History (DK Publishing), the Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd ed. (David Allen Sibley) and many others.

To gain a better understanding of the theory of dreams and the interpretation of symbols, the author has made use of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary (Pamela Ball).

The map of the world inhabited by these characters was drawn by Shaun Carrigg, to whom the author is greatly indebted.

The fabulous cover art depicting my characters is the work of Kari Rust. Kari’s ability to capture the nuances and personalities of my lead characters continues to amaze me.