• 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!



Where to start writing a manuscript – Traci Harding

This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions both on the message board and on my email, thus here I would like to lay down a few of my tricks, thoughts and advice.

“I want to write something but I can’t think of a good plot.” I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this and I actually find this surprising as I seem to find a story in everything. Truly people, there are so many stories just begging to be written and remember that in Fantasy the sky’s not even the limit! Your imagination is the only limit here. If you are wanting for ideas, and I have recommended this text on the board before, find a copy of ‘The Donning International Encyclopedic Psychic Dictionary’ by June G. Bletzer Ph.D.

1) Because it is an amazing reference for just about anything not in a normal dictionary and

2) because there are a million story ideas contained in just this one book. This text has been with me through my whole career and is definitely the most used reference book I have. The definitions are fairly short, but they are enough to spark an idea and give you a clue as to the kind research books you’re going to need now that you’ve found a premise, era, myth, concept etc. that interests you.

Where do I find research books? I always do my book shopping at the Adyar Bookstore in Clarence Street Sydney (right next door to the Galaxy bookstore). Adyar are also online (for those who live interstate). I usually browse for research books at their Internet site and then order them over the phone with a credit card – a few days later they’re in my mailbox. Their staff are very efficient, reliable and helpful. If you’re not too sure what you’re after, tell them you’re looking for a book depicting the Seals of Solomon, or a book on Nature Elementals, Curses, Celtic Ritual, Shamanism, Black Magic, whatever; they’ve heard it all and they know their stuff. A good research book will pull you from the deep, dark, frustrating depths of writer’s block and launch you headlong into the guts of your story, thus I consider this part of the prep work for my books to be very important indeed. Not to mention that all research books are tax deductible for a writer.

How do I get to know my characters? I spend a lot of time chatting with my characters. These conversations take place in my head mostly – sometimes out loud, if I’m working home alone. It’s amazing what you can learn from your characters if you ask them the right questions. I like getting into the nitty-gritty of why characters are the way they are? Your characters can send your story off in all kinds of unexpected directions, if you just give them a little scope and don’t be too ridged about dictating what you think is going to happen. My characters are constantly surprising me with their responses – making me laugh, cry, gasp! If your characters don’t do this to you then your readers probably won’t be charmed or surprised either. This is why it’s important to take the time to get to know your characters or you won’t know a character’s predicable response to a particular situation or comment … weather they will or won’t like what’s taking place and why.

Between my family, my friends and the zillions of characters I perfected during my teenage years of telling stories, I have a wide selection of characters to draw on for my tales, and lending character traits from people you know, can be very helpful for the author/character relationship too. My book ‘Ghostwriting’ demonstrates how I do this, as I take the person the tale is dedicated to, give you the run down on them and then stick bits of their character into heroine of the tale.

If you are a visual kind of person, watch your characters as they go about their business in your tale and note any peculiarities about how they walk, dress, act, hold themselves – it all adds up to depth of character.

Traci Harding

This article originally appeared in the Traci Harding Community newsletter a few years back, and had been reproduced with Traci’s permission. To win a copy of Traci’s latest book, The Black Madonna, before anyone else gets their hands on it, have a look below.