• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Getting it right … Fiona McIntosh guest blogs

Click for more info on GODDESSGetting the world right for Percheron felt relatively straight-forward, especially once I’d visited cities such as Istanbul, Ephesus, Tunis, Dubai, Rhodes; each of them so different and yet that blending of the Eastern Med and the Gulf made Percheron feel so real in my imagination. I tend to do this for all my worlds. The Quickening, for instance, was a melding of all the places I’ve visited over many years of travel through northern Europe. I draw constantly on the real world rather than completely designing my story world from scratch. I like being anchored in that sense of reality whilst I allow my imagination to soar on the plot that the world supports.

So my worlds arrive in my mind relatively complete but the characters do not. Half the time I don’t even know what they look like. They must emerge, develop, mature … and then they flourish or die, depending on my moods, various whims and wherever and whatever situations they blunder into. I freely admit that I am one of those writers who punishes her characters with abandon and it does distress readers, I know. But I want to assure all reading this that I do not plan pain or death; I never set out to hurt a character or make them suffer. What happens simply happens because the story goes that way.

I take the approach of allowing back of brain to take care of business. I guess you could call me a “freefaller” – I turn up at my desk each morning with no preconceived idea of where the story should go or even who should be in that chapter. I begin to write and it’s as much a mystery to me as it may be to you reading my story for the first time, where it goes or what happens. I like it that way. It keeps me interested for starters. If I knew where the story had to go I genuinely believe I’d lose interest. I don’t like planning. I’ve tried it and failed. I set out on walks to plan a scene and before I know it I’m thinking of a movie I’ve enjoyed or making a mental grocery list, or planning what to cook for dinner! It just won’t gel in my head. And yet with my fingers poised over a keyboard, my eyes riveted on my Mac’s screen and I’m lost in the story and it comes to life for me. I see it in my mind’s eye like a movie unfolding and that’s another reason why I tend to write in a chronological manner.

Not planning can be scary – I’m sure it terrifies my editors, so I hope they don’t read this piece. I struggle enough with the synopsis that rarely gives them what they need and they know I’m lying anyway. But although not being able to plot ahead has its pitfalls i.e. I am often in book 2 and thinking how much better it could have been if I’d set up such and such in book 1, it also has the main advantage of giving me complete freedom to take the story wherever it wants to go. It keeps the storyline unpredictable and the reader unsure of who may survive from chapter to chapter…let alone book to book.

My favourite characters are usually ‘wounded’ men; aloof, secretive, passionate. I suspect Lazar in Percheron is a composite of all my favourite male characters rolled into one. I really enjoyed being with him in this story. In fact it’s rather amazing he made it through the trilogy but there was a sense of balance to the series that began with Lazar and also ended with him, although he was a changed man by the end.

Now why there is always a bird character in my tales is beyond me. Perhaps it’s because my writing room looks out across our garden and I’m forever watching the wild birds going about their daily business from season to season. The blackbirds are the greatest fun – so industrious, they just never stop and their babies are hilarious balls of fluff that nest beneath the eaves of our verandah. It’s always a big day in our household when a baby blackbird ventures out onto the grass and starts foraging around on its own. So that might explain why birds are part of my stories because they do seem to share our life – but I only realised this somewhere through writing Percheron and now it’s a sort of signature and I imagine there will always be a bird in my tales. There’s certainly one coming up in volume one of Valisar.

Royal Exile features a rather magnificent raven, who is modelled on a wonderful, huge young crow we nursed back to full health a couple of years back. I knew he’d have to feature in one of my stories. I hope you enjoy him when Royal Exile is released.

Fiona McIntosh

Visit Fiona’s website to find out more about her previous series.

Royal Exile will be released in Australia in September 2008

One Response

  1. […] McIntosh explains her own process on the Voyager Online blog. Here is an […]

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