Caren Hahn

Building a wall

Eight years ago, the Wallkeeper trilogy was born.

It began as a short story written for a collection of original fairy tales. At the time, my husband and I were building a retaining wall in the backyard. It was physically grueling, and I’d end each day with my arms and legs peppered with bruises. Because it was stone from a local quarry, the boulders came in all shapes and sizes, just as rough as when they were blasted out of the mountain.

Rock delivery
Little known fact: the rock used in the city of Endvar in the Wallkeeper trilogy was patterned off this stone. When wet, it turns black with veins of red and green.
Work in progress
Do you see that appliance dolly in the background? Yep. That was one of our high-tech tools.

The mental exertion needed to puzzle these ill-fitting stones together taxed my creativity, and I literally could think of nothing else to write about. So my fairy tale featured a stone wall and the fear that simmered just below the surface as I wrestled each one into place: What if it fails? What if it all falls apart?

Finished wall
I spy a baby walker on the patio! I can't decide which was the greater challenge—building a rock wall or trying to write with a baby and two toddlers at home.
Spring 2021

That short story became a very loose outline for what would become—three years and well over three hundred thousand words later—the Wallkeeper trilogy. As I approach the anniversary of the publication of the first book, Burden of Power, I'm delighted to dust off this old story and share it with you.

Watch for it later this week!


Wallkeeper (An original fairy tale)
My sister the leprechaun
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