Last week I shared with you my review of The Waking Grove and my interview with the lovely and talented author E.S. Lark, both of which can be found here
Well today, I am very excited to be sitting here with Melina, the dryad of the Waking Grove herself. She has agreed to talk with me and answer a few questions. So let's get to know this beautiful character a bit more...
Before we begin, I just want to thank you Melina for allowing me into the Waking Grove today. Your home is quite beautiful. And please tell Samara I say hello.
As a dryad you have a very special connection to nature, and especially to your Waking Grove. What do you love best about being a dryad? What do you love most about your home?
I believe the thing I love most about being a dryad is the bond I share with Samara as well as the other trees. With their leaves and roots, I can learn about anyone in the Grove. If someone’s injured, the trees alert me so I can go to them.
As for what I love most, it’s the company I share within my Grove. They don’t have to stay here with me, but I’m eternally thankful to those that do. I’d be terribly lonely without my friends.
I envy your relationship with the trees Melina. It must be amazing to to be able to communicate with such beautiful and wise beings.
Growing up, if you had been given the chance to leave your Waking Grove and not be bound to it for life, would you have left for good? Would you have stayed? Or would you have left occasionally, like going on vacation, but always coming home to your Grove?
It’s difficult to say if I would’ve left at all, if I’d had the choice. I admit there were times when I wanted to see what was beyond my Grove, but at the same time, the druids always warned of the dangers outside. I don’t think I would have left unless I had to.
I understand, the Grove has been your home for so long. It would be most difficult to leave it.
And speaking of vacations, what is a dryad’s ideal vacation? Where would you love to visit? What would you want to do there?
I’d love to visit another’s Grove. It’s rumored there are other dryads out there, much like myself. I think I’d like to meet one and see the kind of forest she keeps. What would I do when I got there? Try not to eavesdrops on her trees and remember that I’m there as a guest, not as the Grove’s dryad.
I'm sure her Grove wouldn't be nearly as lovely as yours.
You are friends with and know many different beings: druids, elves, familiars, humans, trees, animals. Have you ever wished that you weren’t a dryad, but perhaps one of these beings instead? Why or why not?
I’ve always wanted to be a druid because of their beauty, wisdom, strength and transformation. I envy Talakar’s ability of turning into a bear, of staying warm whenever he wants. And I’m jealous of Danae’s gift of turning into a great bird and being able to fly far above my Grove.
It would be amazing to be able to shift into an animal, especially one that could fly.
Your relationship with Talakar is, well kind of complicated. Can you talk about this relationship? Why do you love him? Have you ever dreamt of just running away to be with him? Have you ever found yourself attracted to someone who was not Talakar? One of the elves, or Kithric perhaps?
Complicated is the right word. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know Talakar. He cared for me when I was a sapling and nested with me until I was old enough to nest on my own. I miss feeling his fur against my bare skin as he’d become a bear most nights to keep me warm.
I love him because I’ve never felt so bonded with another. Even if he leaves the Grove for months at a time, no one else has filled his place in my heart. There were times, such as a kiss or just lounging next to one another, where a large part of me would want to run away with him. But I always have my responsibilities and even if I could ignore them all and go with him, he’d never let me.
It’s a very difficult relationship. We both know how important it is for me to remain within the Grove, but he cannot stay here all the time either.
You and Talakar have sacrificed so much, but your ability to love and remain loyal to one another through it all is inspiring.
Do you have a favorite memory from your childhood?
When I was about the size of a young human child, Talakar would lift me into his arms and throw me in the air. After he was done, he’d pull me in close, rumble under his breath and turn into the bear I’m so fond of.
I have fond memories of my father doing the same when I was child...except for turning into a bear of course. Although, he sure could snore like one!
What do you like to do for fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Even though it requires a bit of energy, I enjoy growing things within my Grove. I like to weave flowers along the banks of our stream or around the trunks of my trees. Unfortunately, there’s never as much time as I’d like for having such a hobby. I do it as often as I can without putting myself or the Grove at risk.
After seeing your flowers in person, I can understand why you love to grow them so much.
If you were to throw a party here in the Waking Grove- which would make for an awesome party venue- say a surprise birthday party (my birthday is Oct. 23…just saying), what kinds of food would you serve? Is there a Waking Grove specialty? And what kind of music would you play? Do you have a favorite song?
*The dryad cants her head to one side and smiles softly* You mean outside of the Dryad Ceremony? The few celebrations we have here are always a delight. The elves hang such beautiful lanterns all around the Grove’s clearing. Large torches stand above the ground, lighting paths from every corner of the forest.
The meals include the deer outside the Grove, dewberries, nuts and other fruits. Sometimes the druids bring fish from their homes, but it also depends on the season.
As for our songs, they are never shared with those outside the Grove, but since you’re here…*she leans over to whisper in your ear.* That is my favorite song.
Oh your parties sound like so much fun! I do hope to receive an invitation to next year's Dryad Ceremony. And don't worry you secret's safe with me.
What is your deepest fear and your most precious wish?
My greatest fear is of losing my Grove or my people, both of which have come close to happening in the past. With the threat of fire and of greed from those outside the Grove, it’s a fear I’ll always have.
My greatest wish is to raise a family of my own, to watch my daughter grow and for her to know the truth about who we are.
Oh Melina *hugs Melina*, we share the same fears and wishes. I'm afraid of losing the people dearest to me and I hope to raise a family of my own someday too.
Is there anything you want humans to know or understand about dryads? About your purpose?
Humans still hold greed in their hearts, but those living within the Grove have begun to understand and follow my laws. Only take from the Earth what you need and replace what you’ve stolen. Long ago, this land was filled with Groves like mine, but the human species has scarred most of those Groves—some of which were destroyed in the process.
You may not know it’s a Grove when you stand under the branches of a forest, so please, call out to the Keeper of the Grove. Explain your reasons for being there and ask for her permission or for her aid. We’re willing to help, so long as you aren’t there to tear down our forests.
The dryads are responsible for keeping the land green, which is becoming more difficult by the day. The trees you cut are left in pain, transferring that pain to me if I were to get near. Not only does this make it difficult for me to do my job properly, I also cannot travel outside my Grove, to other forests that need me, without putting my own life at risk.
Thank you so much Melina for sitting down and talking with me today. I’ve really enjoyed my time here in your Grove. I think we have all learned some valuable lessons from you today. Now, umm, how exactly do I get down from this *peeks over branches and squeaks* very high tree?!
*Melina takes out her reed and pipe a small tune. The branches surrounding you begin to snap, slowly making a bridge from the canopy down to the forest floor.* Whew, thank you!
The Waking Grove is truly a beautiful book that I loved. I gave it 5/5 Cupcakes. You can purchase this book as an ebook on Amazon for only $2.99 and it will soon be available in paperback. I cannot recommend this book enough!