Today I am so pleased to welcome Laura Bailo to Joyfully Jay. Laura has come to talk to us about her latest release, Waking Up the Sun. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
When I started writing this book, I only had a vague idea of how things were going to play out. I’m really not much of a planner if I’m being honest. I knew Lander was lost in a forest, I knew there was a curse involved, but I had no idea how that curse was going to break. And that was kind of an important plot point I needed to figure out.
Then I had a literal light bulb moment when I thought “why don’t I use Basque mythology for the world building?” And here we are!
I started researching Basque myths and legends, with the help of a little book called Bienvenidos al mundo de la mitología vasca. It’s a gorgeous book, and you can also install an app on your phone that will let you see the images in full colour and 3D. The best thing about researching myths and legends was that I could play with them, it wasn’t a “strict” kind of research like historical can be. I could have changed them if needed, and I made some small tweaks to place them in my fantasy world. I loved it.
I used a few of them for this book, with the help of my little research book and google. In Waking Up the Sun, you’ll find: lamias, Eguzki lores, Tartalo, Mari and Basajaun. I can’t really tell you much about most of them without spoiling the book for you, but I can tell you about one of my favourites, the Eguzki lore. In fact, why don’t I let the love interest of this book, Yban, tell you about it?
“It’s called Eguzki lore, a flower of the sun.” He got up and picked it up, showing Lander. “Do you see the way the petals and leaves make it look like a star?”
Lander nodded. He’d thought the same earlier that day.
“That and its characteristic colour somewhere between yellow and orange gave it the name.”
Now Yban had started talking, Lander wanted to hear more. His voice was a bit raspy, as if he hadn’t used it in a long time, but it floated over Lander like a small caress. He wanted him to keep going, and he also needed to know the whole story. “And why is it hanging on the doors?”
“Have you ever been told that you’re impatient?” Yban didn’t look put off by that, more like amused at Lander’s expense. But it wasn’t a cruel amusement. Lander could tell, as he had a lot of experience with that, and this didn’t feel like it.
“Someone tells me that every day. Now can you keep talking?” That had sounded too much like an order. “Please?”
Yban nodded, looking down at the flower again. “You can find it on almost every door in the village because of an old legend. You have to understand there was a time when we didn’t comprehend our magic, and a lot of people were scared of it. That’s where legends of witches come from. These witches had embraced their magic, and people were scared they would do terrible things to them. So this flower was brought in as protection.”
“Protection? How can a flower protect you from a witch?” Lander shouldn’t interrupt someone when they were telling a story; he knew that, but the idea was so preposterous he couldn’t help it.
“If you’d just let me tell you the story, you’d know,” Yban said, smirking again.
Lander nodded, chastised.
“As I was saying, the flower acted as protection from witches. According to the legend, witches could only enter a house at night. And as I told you, this is a flower of the sun. When witches found it hanging on a door, the only way they could open the door was if they counted every petal in the flower without making a mistake.” He handed the flower to Lander. “Here, try it.”
Lander started counting, but the petals were so thin he always missed some and had to start again. In the end, frustrated, he handed the flower back to Yban.
“You see? They couldn’t count the petals properly, and in the end, the sun would come up, and they would have to leave and try again the next night. That’s why this flower is a protective charm. The legend may have died—though I guarantee you the oldest people in the village will remember it—but the flowers are still hanging on the doors, and that will be their place for a long time.”
I love that myth! You kind of have to love a flower that will protect you from witches trying to enter your house at night.
So, where do I go from here? I created a Basque mythology based fantasy world in Waking Up the Sun, and I’d always intended for it to be a standalone book. But then one my beta readers asked me whether I had considered making it a series and exploring more Basque myths and legends. And here we are, now I have seven research books and an editor who is looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Getting to explore Basque mythology with Waking Up the Sun was interesting and fun. Getting to explore it to write more stories in the same universe? It’s immersive and daunting, but also fun!
I hope you’ll pick up Waking Up the Sun and enjoy this sweet romance and the myths surrounding it! Thank you for reading!
When Lander accepts a dare to go into the forest at night, he thinks it’ll be easy. He just needs to walk in and then come out, right? But that’s easier said than done. It’s like the trees have a mind of their own, and they are stopping him from finding his way back. There were always stories of people getting lost forever in the forest, but Lander had never considered they might be true.
Yban has been in the forest a long time and he knows it like no other—but he comes with his own secrets. He disappears every day, and he won’t tell Lander where he goes. But during the dark hours, Lander gets to know him and starts unwrapping the layers that surround him.
The fire that keeps them warm in the forest isn’t the only spark between them; will their growing relationship survive Lander’s determination to find the way out, or will Yban’s past mistakes keep them hidden in the forest forever?
Laura Bailo is an asexual Spanish author of queer romance. She’s an anxiety-ridden writer who, when not writing or reading, loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and thinking about all the stories she wants to write in the future. She has a penchant for writing sweet stories with a Spanish flavor, be it fantasy or contemporary, and she’s still dreaming about writing her first historical.
She loves hearing from people and you can find her at: