The Hidden Sun — Secrets


It was my intention for this web page to be an inviting place where people could come and enhance their experience with The Hidden Sun. To that end, this section is designed to provide the reader with several “secrets” I’ve built into the book. These may be as simple as why the characters were given the names they were, to where the “made up” words come from, and even insight on what inspired me to write certain parts of the book.  It is **NOT** intended for someone who hasn’t read the book. Trust me on this, will you? You will enjoy (and understand) what is found below far more after you have read the book.

The spark that started it all:  I’ve been asked many times what inspired me to write this story. The answer? Well, I had a very vivid dream one night about this man driving a cart into a medieval type town. He notices a beautiful woman with dark hair leave one of the shops, followed soon after by three ruffians. They obviously are following her. She spins and with her hands on her hips stands up to them, but they continue to move in on her. The man in the cart throws something from his cart at one of the men and hits him. The ruffians turn their attention to the man and he fights them off using a staff.
I woke up right after the dream, and I recalled all the details. My wife was waking up as well, and I told her about the dream. She told me, “You should write that down.” That led me to the questions of, “Who are these people? Where were they? Where did they come from? What happens next?”
The end result was the dream became the heart of Chapter Eleven in the book. Everything before it and after it stems from that original dream.

Why it is named The Hidden Sun: I actually didn’t come up with a title for the book until after I had finished it. The working title was War and Peace—alright, not really. The working title was Rain and Sunshine, but it just didn’t feel right. After my then seven year old daughter Emily came up with the saying “The sun is playing hide-and-seek”, the title came to me. Although the obvious meaning of the title comes from the phrase that opens the book, The Hidden Sun is also a reference to Rayne, the son of Eliana and Rinan. There are also two other meanings to the title. There is a line in the book that the clouds can only hide the sun for so long. To me, Abrecan’s rule over Bariwon were the clouds that covered the kingdom, but the sun would eventually shine once again on the land. As for a last silly note of the title, my full name is Jason Lloyd Morgan, though the book is listed under J. Lloyd Morgan. What’s missing (or hidden) from my pen name?

The last section written: The last section I wrote for The Hidden Sun was not the Epilogue. After re-reading the book for the umpteenth time, I felt like there needed to be more between Rinan and Eliana to show how their relationship grew. The result starts on page 30 and ends on page 33. It is the section on the princess party. Having four daughters, I have been in my fair share of princess parties, so it seemed as good setting as any. Plus, I liked the irony that Princess Eliana had to dress up as a princess for the party.

Fun with Anagrams: When it came time to name places or events or other original things, I wanted to come up with something unique.  But how does one just “make up” words?  I’ll have to admit, I cheated a little bit.  All my made up words are anagrams.  An anagram is a word made up from using the letters from another word.  Example:  an anagram for J Lloyd Morgan could be “Manly Lord Jog”.  (Granted, if you’ve seen me jog, there is nothing particularly “Manly” or “Lordly” about it.)

Shoginoc:  Choosing
Mortentaun:  Tournament
Bariwon:  Rainbow
Erd:  Red
Lewyol:  Yellow
Regne:  Green
Lebu:  Blue
Tevoil:  Violet
Grenoa:  Orange
Donigi:  Indigo
Nislles:  Illness
Plyese:  Sleepy

A Rinan by any other name. . . : So, how does an author come up with the names for his or her characters?  That’s a darn good question and one that has a different answer from each author you ask.  As for The Hidden Sun, most of the names have some significance to the person or a thematic element in the book.  Below are the names of the characters with an explanation of what their names mean.

Eliana:  It comes from the Late Latin Aeliāna, the feminine form of the Latin family name Aeliānus (of the sun), which is derived from the Greek hēlios (sun). 
Rinan:  It is an Anglo-Saxon name that means “rain”.
Abrecan:  It is an Anglo-Saxon name that means “storm”.
Caldre:  It is an English name that means “cold brook”.
Sherwyn:  It is an Anglo-Saxon name that means “quick as the wind”.
Anemone:  Derived from the Greek word ανεμος (anemos) meaning “wind”.
Daimh:  A Scottish name that means “ox”.  It is pronounced “dime”.
Eadward:  An Anglo-Saxon name that means “guardian”.
Wayte:  An English name that means “guard”.
Bertram:  Derived from the Germanic element beraht meaning “bright”.
Alana:  An Irish name that means “fair”.
Vashti:  One meaning is “thread” in Hebrew.
Dougal:  Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Dubhghall, which meant “dark stranger” from dubh “dark” and gall “stranger”.
Garth:  From a surname meaning “garden” in Old Norse
Iolanthe:  Influenced by the Greek words ιολη (iole) “violet” and ανθος (anthos) “flower”.
Dulcie:  From Latin dulcis meaning “sweet”.
Thomas:  Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta’oma’) which meant “twin”.
Chandler:  From an occupational surname which meant “candle seller” in Middle English, ultimately from Old French.
Cameron:  From a Scottish surname meaning “crooked nose” from Gaelic cam “crooked” and sròn “nose”.
Sullivan:  From an Irish surname which was derived from Ó Súilleabháin meaning “little dark eye”.
Ivor:  From the Old Norse name Ívarr, which was derived from the elements yr “yew, bow” and arr “warrior”.
Nicole:  French feminine form of Nicholas, from the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos) which meant “victory of the people” from Greek νικη (nike) “victory” and λαος (laos) “people”.  Fun note:  If I had a “Dime”, I had to have a “Nickle”.  *smiles*
Benjamin:  “Son of my right hand”  On page 127, Anemone notes how violent the sparing contests have become.  As an example, she tells how Guardian Benjamin lost a finger off his right hand.
Oakleaf:  What else would someone like Garth name his son?
Sunshine:  Again, Garth is a bit odd in naming his kids.  Hopefully, this name is obvious.
Snapdragon:  I actually had a little fun with this one.  Since there is no magic or traditional fantasy elements in the book, naming Garth and Iolanthe’s third child “Snapdragon” was a way I could sneak a “dragon” into the book.
Rayne:  Aside from the obvious, it also means in English “strong counselor from the ancient personal name Ragnar”.

To “okay” or not to “okay”: While reading the amazing Work and the Glory series, the author pointed out in one of the books that the word “OK” (or also “okay”) didn’t really come into use in the English language until around 1839. Granted, The Hidden Sun is in a fictitious land during an unspecified time period. However, do its Medieval elements, logic would say that was before 1839. Granted, I’m sure there are numerous words I use in the book that were not used in Medieval times, but as we edited the book, I kept on getting hung up on using the word “okay”. So, as an act of (perhaps?) defiance, I went through and replaced all the “okays” in the book with either “fine” or “all right”.

Sunshine’s subtle wit: I really enjoyed writing for the character Garth. He would say some of the oddest things. Of course, some of that couldn’t help but rub off on his daughter, Sunshine. There are at least a couple of places where she is fairly witty, in a subtle way. One is her response to Chandler on page 136 when he asks her about the weather. But, my favorite response of hers is on page 161 when Alana (a Noble) expresses her intended action. (Please don’t make me spell it out for you more than I have)

Inside joke to the naysayers: The first part of chapter ten is my response to certain workaholics (and there were more than one, and there continue to be more) about why I was writing a book.

“The sun’s playing hide-and-seek”: My Grandma Morgan would say “The Devil is beating his wife” whenever it was raining and sunny at the same time. I have no idea what that means or where it came from—but if you do a web search for it, it is a fairly well known saying. Understand that my Grandma Morgan was one of the sweetest (and funniest) people I’ve ever met. In fact, as my siblings and I have grown up, we can trace much of our sense of humor back to her.
On a bit of a different subject, I was in Connecticut and going through a rough time at work. I was looking for something else creative to do, yet at the same time, I had a family to provide for. I had started working on the outline for The Hidden Sun, but wasn’t sure I was going to ever fully start to write it. Then, one day after work, I was walking out to my car. The sky was mostly blue, the sun was shining, but it started to rain. It was the oddest experience—and one that inspired me.
I thought of my Grandma Morgan’s saying, but felt that wasn’t really the tone I wanted to use for starting out the book. So, I tried to make up one of my own. For the longest time, it was “The sun is sleeping on the job.” Pretty lame, eh? I tried out several more, but could never find one that felt right.
So, what was I to do? Then it hit me. At dinner one night, I asked my girls what they would say if the sun was out, but it was raining. They all gave good answers—I think Amy said, “I wanna see a wainbow!” (spelling with a “w” intended). But it was my then seven year old, Emily, that said, “The sun’s playing hide-and-seek.” So that is where the saying came from, and also why Eliana was seven at the start of the book.

Did Dyslexia exist in Medieval times? When trying to figure out a way to have Daimh and Eliana’s wedding be not binding, I was confronted with the challenge, “Wouldn’t someone notice?” So, how to get around that? Well, I did three things. Number one, Eliana had claimed she wasn’t feeling well as to avoid Daimh before the wedding, so when she was sneezing during the ceremony, it didn’t seem out of place. Second, part of Daimh’s character is that he was “never really concerned with details.” (See page 44) So, when Eliana takes him by the left hand, and not the right hand, the reader can buy it because it was introduced before. Third, then came the witness: Magistrate Seanan. During the Shoginoc, Seanan starts to head to the left side of the hall, instead of the right. King Kenrik notes to Eliana, “Poor Magistrate Seanan, he’s always had trouble with the difference between left and right.” (Page 40) So, when Eliana uses her left hand, it is very plausible that Seanan wouldn’t notice. I had a bit of fun with that later on page 126, just to keep it consistent. I got the idea for Seanan because growing up I struggled with left and right—later to find out I’m Dyslexic.

Can you find what is missing? One of the significant plot points revolves around a missing word in The Tome of Laws. This was inspired by my uncanny ability to add extra words or leave out words all together when I’m writing.

Oh! The symbolism! Starting on page 126, there is a scene with Anemone and Sherwyn. Sherwyn had gotten a sliver in under a fingernail and came to the nursemaid for help. Her remedy was to have him soak it in warm water and then cold and eventually it would just come out by itself. When writing the book, this actually happened to me, and that was the cure that worked. I included it in the book to catch the reader up on what was going on at the castle, and with Anemone and Sherwyn. At the same time, I used “sliver” (which is an anagram for “silver”—one of Erd’s colors) to represent Abrecan’s reign, and foreshadowed that it would be “water” that would get him removed. What is one way we get water? From “Rayne” of course.

Two witnesses? In the Tome of Laws it states that it takes two witnesses for someone to be convicted of a crime. This is far from an original idea. It’s actually found in The Bible at the following places: Deut 19:15, Matt 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1, 1 Tim 5:19 as well as a few other places.

But what was the joke? On page 184, Governor Nash laughs hard enough to bring tears to his eyes when he hears the punch line “Because the sun only comes out during the day.” So what was the rest of the joke? I have no idea. I couldn’t think of an original joke that fit in with the theme of the book, so I just made up a punch line. So, I guess, in essence, that is the joke—that there isn’t one.

What does PGPE mean? On page 159, it describes how there are the initials PGPE written on Rinan’s sword. Yet, in nowhere else in the book do I explain this. Again, this was something done intentionally. It had to be cryptic enough that Rayne didn’t understand what it meant, but obvious enough for the Hierarchy of Magistrates to know right away. I’ll give you a little hint: What was Rinan’s job before he left the castle? Who was he assigned to originally?

Mortentaun and the 6th grade: To become a guardian in Bariwon, you had to do well in the Mortentaun. This isn’t an original concept—there are stories throughout history of men competing to win the right to do this-or-that. But what events should I include for the Mortentaun? Whenever I get stuck on how to proceed next, I go back to the concept of “write what you know about.” Having never competed in a Medieval tournament, or really seen one, that would be difficult.
However, I did experience “field day” in the sixth grade where toward the end of the school year we would have all sorts of different events. I was tall for my age and a very fast runner. My upper body strength was a different story. So the events for the first day of the Mortentaun are roughly based on my experience with field day. I won all the events that dealt with using my legs (aside from the long distance run) but was pretty bad in the events where we saw how far we could throw a ball or do pull ups. And no, we didn’t have a bow and arrow contest in the sixth grade. And while school fights broke out time and again during recess, none of them involved weapons of any kind, especially not wooden maces or swords.

Inspiration for Governor Nash: For each character in the book, I tried to have a mental image of them and then relate them to people or traits of people I know or know of. Not that they are clones of that person, but I’ll take bits here and there. As for Governor Nash inspiration? I’ll give you some clues: One page 184, it describes him has having a snowy white beard. One page 187, he is described as a “jolly man.” On page 271, he says “Ho ho!” when he is visited by Alana. I created him as a character when I was off from work during a certain holiday season—some who call it “the most wonderful time of the year.”