• 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!



Fallon Friday: Why you need a stunning first page

My agent (and my editors), if you can get them to open up after a vino or 3, will admit that most books are rejected on the first page. Not all, mind you, but probably 90% of them. Maybe more.
This irks authors no end, particularly those who believe the work should be judged as a whole, and if that evil agent/editor/whatever had bothered to read on, they would have discovered the brilliant twist in Chapter 27, which makes this book a sure fire bestseller.

Trouble is, nobody is going to pick up a book, open it at Chapter 27 and decide, Wow! This is brilliant!
Potential readers are more likely to open it at the first page while they’re browsing in the bookstore. If you haven’t engaged them by the end of page 1, the chances are good they won’t read on. They certainly aren’t going to plonk good money down on it.

So, what is a good hook…

If only I could tell you. I have written some that are better than others.

“It’s always messy, cleaning up after a murder.”

This is the first line of Wolfblade. I wish I could think up lines like this all the time. It says there is danger. A murder has happened. The reader is plunged straight into the action.

My first book Medalon started with a funeral. Lion of Senet starts with a volcanic eruption and a madman standing on the edge of a cliff.

The Immortal Prince, Book I of the Tide Lords series, starts with the end of the world:

“As the last of the stragglers stumbled into the cave, Krynan looked back over his shoulder at the end of the world, wondering vaguely why he felt nothing.”

A good opening often involves an act or event that lets the reader know something important is going on (Armageddon fits the bill nicely, btw). A funeral, a wedding, a birth, a death, being fired, starting a new job… all of these things are pivotal events that impact on people’s lives. Sometimes, even very ordinariness of the day can be a precursor to something happening, but generally, you need to engage your reader right away, and the more the reader can relate to the event, the better the chance you have of sucking them in.

When it comes to where to start, the most important questions you need to ask yourself, however, are:

“Why am I starting this story today? What happened to my character that makes this day different from yesterday or tomorrow? What event, action, decision, thought, accident or weather condition (there’s no limit here) changed the status quo?”

When you can answer that, you have something to hang your hook on.

Hope that helps.

Jennifer Fallon is the author of four fantasy series, the most recent being the Tide Lords quartet. The Chaos Crystal, book four of the Tide Lords series, came out this month and is available across all good Australian book shops.