Elina Emerald is a South Pacific-born Australian author who grew up in Wiradjuri and Yuin country.
A lawyer and research sociologist by trade, she spent several years songwriting and touring with an indie band. Elina developed a penchant for castles, old ruins, and medieval world history in her travels worldwide.
Elina's next research tour of Scotland and Norway is in 2024 (international borders permitting). Stay tuned for more medieval adventures to come, including a new Aksumite Empire series.
Since I was a child, I made up stories, talked to imaginary friends, and scribbled notes in my little notepad. I used to tell ghost stories and scare the other kids. I'd act out all the parts and even do the evil laughter while shining a torchlight under my chin in the dark. I got into trouble with the adults cause kids started having nightmares.
That confused me because I had learned the art of storytelling from adults, namely my extended family, as we shared stories around the campfire.
One person who told the scariest compelling stories was a man we knew as Uncle Laz. He set the scene first using an eerie voice and then slowly introduced characters as a suspenseful plot unfolded. When he was done, and you thought you could not possibly become any more terrified, he would unleash a killer ending.
One time he pointed towards a spot close to where I sat, and he said, "Right there by that log. That's where I saw his bodiless head just floating above the ground." (The End)
Of course, that had all the kids screaming and running for their parents. But not me; I was like, 'Wow, Uncle Laz is a genius.'
When I got to university, the stories stopped because I had to get serious about life and a career, but the stress was intense. I was studying full-time, working in the city (also picking up summer jobs on the South Coast during uni breaks), and trying to keep sane. That's when I picked up a guitar and started writing songs and entertaining my five housemates with musical tales of love and heartache.
The first song I wrote was for housemate #3. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and we were so broke, we couldn't afford cheap wine to drown our collective sorrows or the entry fee to go clubbing. So, I said, 'Hey, let's write a song and scream/sing it until you feel better'... 3am that morning, I'd created a masterpiece. It was called 'I used to love him but now he's dead.' (Aaeek) Anyway, it cheered her up. The neighbours... not so much.
After that, songwriting became my love language. 'Tell me your problems and I'll write a song for ya!'
Next thing I know we're having jam sessions in the yard with musos who lived nearby. The jam sessions attracted many people, and soon I was gigging in live venues.
Post university, I spent a few years working in some big-ass corporate places—pretending to be all 'grown-up.' But I couldn't stop being creative. I worked long, soul-destroying hours during the day then gigged with musicians all night. I burned the candle at both ends until (much to the mortification of my parents) I quit the day job and toured with an indie band (under a different name).
I began creating fictional stories, talking to imaginary characters, and jotting down notes again.
I never really believed my stories would ever see the light of day. But 2020 derailed my life and I had nothing better to do, so here I am.
After years of being a repressed storyteller, I've finally found my campfire.