The Importance of Landscapes – Guest Blog by K. John

The Importance of Landscapes

Writing and painting for me, come from the same place. The challenge of capturing something beautiful, something sublime that makes us realise, for one small moment that there is something more to our lives than the hamster wheel we are all so ferociously peddling. If I were a painter, (unfortunately, I’m not talented enough to call myself such) I would be a painter of landscapes.

I hadn’t realised how much of a ‘thing’ landscapes were for me until I finished and then read my novel in its paperback form. Perhaps the title really aught to have given it away, after all it is called ‘The Forest of Adventures’. When I read it over, through the eyes of a reader rather than a writer, I saw that the novel was not just a love story between the two main characters, Mina and Blake but it was a love story between the writer and the forest.

Looking back, I now remember the agonising hours spent writing and rewriting certain scenes; of how the light filtered through the leaves, of how the bluebells gave a magical iridescence which glowed with beauty or how the clouds moved shadows through the trees. I’ve become a tree obsessive, not helped by the fact that a dear friend of mine, Leon Ridyard paints the most beautiful forest-scapes. (It is his painting he has kindly loaned to me for this post 4 Second Art ) Perhaps Mina says it best when she talks about her heart being with the forest,

“Everything about the forest made my senses tremble with desire, as if somewhere deep amongst the dark earth somebody had buried my heart and the leaves quivered to its beat. Today the woods held the promise of the coming sun. In only a few more weeks, the woods would flood overnight with an ocean of luminescent bluebells. For now, everything hung with baubles of a bright spring green. Primroses had burst forth like little clusters of stars and the bright purple of crocuses was spread like confetti.”

In all three books of the trilogy, landscape plays a crucial part that is beyond just a backdrop; my poor attempt at imitating the genius of W.Golding: master of pathetic fallacy. Book 2, ‘Immortal Beloved’ sees Mina turn to the ocean, a place of turbulent solace and then onto the Egyptian desert. Book three returns to the forest, (this time in Northern France) and the Mountains of Switzerland but, at the heart of all the wild adventures is Meadowlake – home to Blake – heart of The Realm; and it is nestled in the depths of the forest.

My novels are a love song written to nature – and before you roll your eyes, I know how sappy that sounds (no pun intended but it did make me smile as I wrote it.) For me, the writing of this series was as much an escape into the enchantment of the forest, as it was an escape into the youth I have now left behind; and it has made me realise, living in the suburbs of London as I do, how much I regret the loss of the forest far more than my youth.

The Forest of Adventures’ is available in Paperback and e-book from and and all other major UK booksellers. ‘Immortal Beloved’ is released in e-book August 2011 and in Paperback in January 2012.

Katie lives in Middlesex with an incredibly handsome giant, a two foot fairy (that likes muddy puddles and wrestling) and a magic rabbit that can pull conjurers out of hats. Her favourite thing, apart from pistachio macaroons,  is writing.

You can connect with Katie through her website The Knight Trilogy or her blog Katie M John Blogspot and if you REALLY feel like stalking her you can follower her on Twitter at @KnightTrilogy



About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

6 thoughts on “The Importance of Landscapes – Guest Blog by K. John

  1. Brilliant article. Yes, I too miss the spaces and places I once haunted as a young man. The landscape is large part of who we are. I saw an advert for a book today ‘What would i be without you’ – Underneath the title, a woman walks barefoot as the waves lap up onto a beach. I had just read an essay by Diane Harris called self and Landscape, regarding identity being ‘located socially, physically, in time and in place’ – This struck a huge chord with me. The poster should read ‘WHO AM I without you?’ – it’s the landscape we can’t be without.

  2. Thanks Leon (also thanks for loaning me your beautiful painting.)
    It’s incredible how landscapes are so connected to who we are. I don’t think I really understood this until I wrote this series. It has been a definite journey of self discovery. I am going to have a look into the literature you recommend.

  3. I recommend ‘Landscape Theory’ edited by Rachael Ziady DeLue and James Elkins. It’s fantastic and absorbing as it covers historical literature, architecture and European/non-European art aswell as social, political, cultural references, even the Etymology of the words we use when talking about Landscape. Gripping stuff I’m telling thee.

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