• 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!



The (Martial) Arts and upcoming books: part two of Kylie Chan’s guest blog

Part two of our Q&A with Kylie Chan, author of White Tiger, Red Phoenix, Blue Dragon.

Do you ever wish we had gods running around the way that Xuan Wu and co do in your series?
Oh goodness no! Particularly the White Tiger, could you image the trouble that one would cause? And Chinese believe that when you die, you are judged by courts in Hell, and punished by demons – tortured, in fact – for all the crimes that you’ve committed during your earthly lifetime. Then you’re given a drink that erases your memory, and you’re sent back up to Earth until you get it right. Doesn’t really sound terribly fair to me!

Did you always intend to write a second trilogy or could you just not bear to leave Emma in such a plight?

I originally planned to write one trilogy, three books. The first book grew and spread and became the first trilogy. So the story that I’d planned for one book grew into three! The story for the second book will take up the second three books. I can’t help it, it just keeps flooding out, and the characters take over the story and make it more complex, and interesting things keep happening.

So I never planned to leave Emma where she is, but I never planned for her to take quite so long getting there. And she still has a very long way to go. I’ve left her in an extremely complicated predicament at the end of book three, and now we have the journey to put her life back together and to return her most loved people to it.

Do you actually know any of the fighting styles that Emma and John use, or are they purely from [non-violent!] research?

My son is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, I’ve never actually practised that Art but I attended every single lesson when he was there (I can now count to ten in Korean).

At the moment, I don’t have the time to practise my Arts. I am looking around for a new school to join though, I know exactly which styles I’d like to pick up again and it’s just a matter of finding classes that fit in with my extremely busy schedule of writer, worker, and mother.

I am a senior belt in Wing Chun. This is the martial art that Bruce Lee practised (until he controversially modified it into his own style called ‘Jeet Kwun Do’). It’s a Southern Chinese style, ‘soft’ and ‘close’.

‘Soft’ means that it focuses more on disabling the opponent with pressure-points and leverage rather than hard hitting (Tae Kwon Do is a ‘hard’ style, they practise a lot hitting blocks of wood, therefore Leo’s famous quote about it in book one – which I personally think is untrue and undeserved, Tae Kwon Do is a beautiful and worthwhile martial art). A top Wing Chun practitioner can disable someone and knock them to the ground without actually hitting them at all, just using their own body weight against them.

‘Close’ means that it’s not long-range kicks and punches, but close-in attacks that are through the opponent’s defences.

This is not a showy type of martial art, and the basic form, or ‘kata’, isn’t very much to look at. In fact any time I’ve performed the ‘Siu Lim Tao’ basic form for anyone who doesn’t know the style, they’ve fallen over laughing. So much for that.

I have done a lot of Chow Gar as well, ‘Gar’ means ‘family’ or ‘clan’, so this is the Chow Clan style. It focuses on showy animal-based forms (‘tiger’ and ‘crane’) and has a lot of really fun weapon forms. My sifu (master) insisted on me practising with nunchucks and doing the nunchuck form even though chucks and I really don’t get along. I never got to learn double sword, but my double stick form (with a broomstick from Woolworths that I’d sawn in half, way to go $2.49 for a lethal weapon) was complete and I was often called up to demonstrate it. I was about a third of the way through learning the double daggers and the single sword, so I’d love to get back into that and learn the complete forms.

I learned a Yang Tai Chi set (There are five basic styles of Tai Chi, each named after the clan who created it, and a couple that are ‘national standard’ sets in China) and I would love to learn some of the other Tai Chi forms. Once again it’s just a matter of finding a school that fits in with my schedule.

I’m not as accomplished a practitioner of the Arts as I would like to be, I don’t have a black belt in anything, and I wouldn’t call myself advanced level, merely intermediate. I hope to get back into it, though, and finish that black belt!

I’d also love to try some other styles, such as the Japanese forms of Karate (long hard) and Aikido (extremely soft). There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do as much as I would like.

Kylie Chan
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