The Dreyfuss Trilogy

Changeling * Lucifer's Stepdaughter * Moonchild

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Monday, 21 May 2012

Sarah Barnard - Daughter of Lilith

I'm Sarah Barnard, I write fiction – mainly fantasy: mostly what's becoming known as urban fantasy where part of the story takes place in the "normal" world and there are elements of magic and fantasy thrown into the mix. I also dabble in science fiction where I play with Sage and her car that can take her to Ganymede (one of Jupiter's moons, in case you didn't know).
All my main characters tend to be strong, independent women.
I also publish other writer's work through Osier Publishing. There are currently three of us at Osier but one of us is taking a break and we're about to become four, and, I hope, soon to be five – all excellent female writers. Yes, one of them is Morgan Gallagher, and we're proud to have her on board.

My writing site:
Osier Publishing:

I'm a writer, with a vagina of my own, not in a jar – I was born with it. It's birthed me two lovely children, and brought me pleasure, and I love it. My anatomy does NOT dictate my talents, does NOT make me less, or soft, or weak. I can write soft, strong, horror, tension, power and magic, light and dark. I write good books because I have a brain and an imagination too. Those are not solely a male domain.
I recall an interview I once read with Sci-fi/Fantasy writer Julian May (I can't remember where, it may even be urban myth but I remember it, it stayed with me). I'd read the entire Metapsychic Rebellion/Saga of the Exiles before I realised she's female. She'd felt forced to hide her gender in order to get published – mainly due to the genre of her writing. It's a sad state of affairs that in some ways this is still the case and that women are being told they can't possibly write horror, fantasy, sci-fi, purely because of anatomy.
Patriarchy is alive and well and thriving in the world of writing and publishing. Shame. I think a good, old fashioned, patriarchy-dragon slaying quest is needed.

Morgan says she's interested in the ideas behind the women in my own Portal Series.
Are they all Daughters of Lilith? Are they Daughters of Eve? How very Narnia.... Did I intend them to be such?
Why do we care so much about these labels anyway? Why do we sit and analyse characters in fiction and attribute mythology to them? We all do it though, don't we?

My own characters came from deep inside my head, with little or no planning to start with – so, no, I didn't intend for the three women to reflect the triple aspect of womanhood so clearly and neither did I intend to represent Daughters of Lilith or Eve. But, somehow they still do. I can see it, my readers can see it. What's fascinating, to me anyway, is the way people react to the three of them. Sam is the Maiden, young, undefined, holding the potential for so much. Kate is the Mother, nurturing and creating the next generation. Lily is the Crone, but not in that old hag sense, in the mature, experienced, powerful woman sense.
Have you read any of the Portal series? Who's your favourite? I bet it's Lily....
It's always Lily. And Lily was a total accident, she created herself. She was thrown onto the page when Kate needed a friend to watch the children. She walked into The Portal Between, did the Jedi mind trick, and took over.
She was, very loosely, modelled on the Lilith legend – born from, and bound to, a living earth; powerful, independent, in control. But passes for normal. I did once have the notion that she was Ametsam's mother (The Portal Between) – making her "The Mother of Demons" But I didn't use that in the end. I toyed with the idea that she is either The Lilith, and immortal, or directly descended from the original Lilith. She's not the first, the latter is debatable. Is she a Daughter of Lilith? Yes, absolutely. She rules, she carves her own path and she does things her way and refuses to answer to anyone. She thrives on her own independence.
Sam doesn't fit into either camp. Sam is a mess, she's damaged so much by the mess of her life that she is still finding out who she is and what she wants when she finally cracks and..... ah, spoilers. Go and read Child of the Portal for that part.
Kate, on the other hand, I could argue either way. She makes her life as she wants it. She exercises her choices and does things her own way. But her choice is to nurture a family, be a homemaker. Does that make her a Daughter of Eve? You might say yes, but I'd argue against that. She has enormous strength and determination. She's choosing the lifestyle that makes her appear to be more passive, but it's HER CHOICE.
And that's where my politics come in.

I'm all about choice, ultimate choice. In this, Ms Gallagher, we are in total agreement. It's an individual's right to choose that's important. But it bumps up against my other set of beliefs, which run along a Pagan path. "Cause no harm." Or, "If it harm none, then do as you will." There has to be that caveat or there is imposition of choice on others and that removes their own choice.
Back to the characters. Lily makes some damned hard choices. She chooses to abandon her child, at least twice, probably more. She knows the harm this does and she does it anyway. Why? The first time was in crisis, the only choice she really had (The Heir) Read it and then tell me she had a true, free choice. What she did took courage, but the choice she made was limited, constrained by the man in her life. She let him dictate what she could, and could not, do. But in later books she's the strong one, the one who holds the answers, the power. She moves from Lilith in name to Lilith in nature, before she becomes very human at the end of Child of the Portal and she chooses to let her power slip away so she can rest.
Being a Daughter of Lilith can be draining, exhausting.  

Next Week's Daughter of Lilith will Be Lori Lopez 


  1. Because of my work with refugee women, I know loads of women who've had to leave their children. Either by walking away when they are safe with someone else, or who have been forced to flee, and the children went one way and the mother went another. Leaving your children so they are safe, is a huge motherly strength. And it costs them so much. (Anyone who wants to help mothers and children re-unite, please go to the Women Against Rape website, running out of Crossroads Women's Centre, Kentish Town, London. They are always needing money to help put mothers and their children back in each other's arms. Black Women's Rape Action project, running from that site, actively supports mothers who had to leave their children behind.)

    My point on that would be... I don't think it makes you either a Lilith or an Eve. It means you are a strong mother. Most of the women I know who have had to leave their kids, are Daughters of Eve. They look for the day when they have their husband/partner beside them, and for them to their help mate. Many had such husband's/partners, and they were lost too, or killed in front of them.

    Likewise, caring is not necessarily an Eve role. The active part if being the help mate. I think there may be a dissonance between being Lilith, and being the carer, but only as that's how society views the women - the carer, so you can reject that as sexism etc.

    Likewise, women sometimes feeling that having kids at all, makes you the weaker partner.

    Most of the birthing advocates I know, very strong female voices for a female centered birth, are Daughters of Lilith. They don't see their role to 'help out' the male doctor. To be the help mate. They see the mother as the main person, and they the mother's help mate. Interesting dichotomy: if you are being the help mate as an equal, given that the mother is doing all the work, are you being Lilith, or Eve?

    I imagine I'd argue you are being Eve. As you are giving final say over to someone else. The right person really, as you're not the one giving birth!

    Lilith maintains her own vision. But you can work with people, in other areas, and still be Lilith.

    It's an interesting thing when we start to look at it, female strength. especially when it's a mother's strength.

    How to work through the difference between your own natural instinct, and what society says you are feeling, because of your vagina?


  2. It's so much more than just Eve vs Lilith, and yet it's so much more simple too. Why should we have to be one or the other?

    Yeah, I'm a rebel. I hate labels. I loathe them. I'm just me, I'm an individual and I absolutely refuse to fit into a mould defined by someone else, especially someone who is trying to force me into a shape that restricts me.

    I'm no square peg in a round hole, I'm bloody dodecahedral and exist in multiple dimensions, just to add spice. The only box I fit in is my own and even then I don't stay in it for long.

    Part of my Lily's story, The Heir, came from a string of conversations with a friend who is the manager of a women's refuge, on the ways women cope through abusive relationships. That short part of her story comes from experience and from direct information.