About the Author
Living in a forest, it's easy to see how Myths and Legends begin. At night, when the trees block out the stars and moon light, you are left with a darkness that you can almost touch. You lose all sense of perspective and distance. Take one wrong turn and you’re lost.
Stand quietly and the forest slowly comes back to life around you. Unseen animals move and invisible wings flap. Leaves rustle. A heavy foot breaks fallen branches. Your imagination runs wild.
Then dawn brings the slanting sun rays that pierce the gloom. You can feel the weight of the towering giants bearing down on you. Watching the wind eddies slowly pass over the tree tops, swaying the mighty pines, it's easy to understand how ancient people saw magical powers moving through the forest. In the silence and gloom, there is enchantment and sometimes, something a little scary.
Forests truly are magical places.
I grew up in Europe, in a family where animals were always a close part of our lives. In my world, we loved the folk stories that told of the loyalty and bravery of our faithful dogs, and the sometimes human characteristics of cats.
Inspiration for writing this novel came from my own Welsh culture. It’s a country of green hills and deep valleys. It’s also a land of ancient King's and Druids, where evil once took many forms, and our hero's died with their devoted dogs beside them.
One of our most loved legends tells of Prince Llywelyn and his favourite hound, Gelert.
The Prince loved to hunt in the hills and forests of Caernarvonshire. One morning, he called his dogs to accompany him, but his favorite hound, Gelert, didn’t appear. Disappointed, the Prince left without him.
Returning to his castle later, the Prince was greeted by Gelert who stood before him, covered in blood. The Prince, fearing the worst, rushed to his new born son’s nursery. Sure enough, he found the crib overturned and the walls splattered with blood.
The Prince, heart broken and in a blind rage, sunk his sword into Gelert’s heart. As his favorite hound lay dying at his feet, the Prince heard a baby’s cry. He rushed to the crib, to find his son laying beneath the overturned crib, unharmed. A blood covered wolf lay dead beside him. This is my culture.
The Changing Times novels came from a need to remember my own past. The places I’d visited and the people I’ve met. To record some parts of my travels before it was lost or forgotten.
My time in the Himalayas is vividly remembered in Part 1 Shifters Alliance. Nepal is I feel, one of the most interesting places in the world with the most lovely people imaginable.
My time in Egypt’s Sinai desert also helped me to write about a desert crossing in Part 2 Lost Lands.
Now, I’m settled in Poland, located at the heart of Europe. A country at times lost and without borders, but with a people always proud of their heritage. It’s the home of the last remaining part of the Primeval Forest that once covered all of Europe. A forest where Bison still roam and wolves hunt free.
It’s a country of rolling hills, and Glacial lakes. And a place of impact craters. I found what I like to think is a meteorite whilst digging in the garden.
When I stood and thought about this rock being forged inside a far away star and the journey it could have made, it gave me the idea for magic stones opening magic Gateways to new lands.
I count myself truly lucky to have traveled during the times that I did. I sometimes think, mine was the lucky generation. To have the opportunity to go cheaply, to far flung places, without fear (a Thai Pirate excepted). Then, to arrive on a deserted tropical beach, or to have an ancient Egyptian temple to yourself, it really felt like an adventure of discovery.
I’d like to thank my Guardian Angel that patiently sat on my shoulder throughout, who more than once whispered in my ear, “Don’t go there!” and finally got me home safely. Thank you my friend, I couldn’t have done it without you.
Shaun L Griffiths was born in Wales. He studied Electronic Engineering at Llandaff College, graduating top of his class.
His first position was with an American company manufacturing computer Hard Disks. After five years in a "Clean Room", never knowing the difference between night or day, he saw a light at the end of the tunnel and walked away to travel the world.
After many years spent working and traveling through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, he returned to London, to work in the financial district. It was the time of the City’s great Bull Run. The eventual Bear Market and the City's "re-alignment" sent him packing.
He moved to Poland, where he now lives with his family and dog in a house they built in the forest. This is his first fiction novel.