• 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 Way of the Sword – Kim Falconer blogs

Strong narrative flows naturally when a writer sticks to what they know. For example, how can an author discuss the psycho-sexual history of the Bay of Pigs if they have no qualifications? But fantasy is different. The very word implies a certain creative license, or so I thought.

The Spell of Rosette

The new book from Kim Falconer

Five years ago, when The Spell of Rosette was in her infancy, I showed some chapters to an author friend. I felt so nervous, hoping she would love it yet bracing for a critique. She’s very analytical. She’s also a sensei in a Japanese sword tradition, Hokushin Shinoh Ryu Iaido. A few weeks after handing over the pages, she came back with a single comment. ‘Brilliant story Kim but you don’t know shit about the sword.’

Her response shocked me. I thought I knew plenty about the sword. I’d watched ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ at least ten times and saw Kill Bill on the big screen twice. Could my sword scenes really be that bad? She assured me they were. She also invited me to train with her and I had the privilege of learning a most remarkable and deadly art form from a master. Iaido (ee-I-doe) is the way of the peaceful warrior, the ancient Japanese art of drawing the sword and cutting in a single movement. Don’t be fooled by peaceful. It refers only to the warrior’s state of mind. Iaido was created hundreds of years ago for the physical and mental discipline of the Samurai before battle. As her student I was taught techniques against single and multiple attackers, against spears and armour. I learned the same traditional ‘wazas’ that have been handed down for centuries among the samurai.

I now train on my own, usually at the beach though I have broken a few lamps on rainy days. The cats quietly leave the room when I get out my Hakama (traditionally clothing) and don my sword to choreograph scenes for the Quantum Enchantment series. (BTW, Tim Miller has a good point when he says the twirling sword fighter who flourishes her blade often ends up dead at the feet of the experienced fighter, but in my worlds we also flow energy into the blade turning it into a conduit for magic.) I will admit some of my character’s moves are extraordinary but I promise, I’ve done every one of them myself.

Kim Falconer practising for her next book!

Kim Falconer practising for her next book!

My reward for following the way of the sword, besides empowerment, came when Stephanie Smith and I discussed my manuscript for the first time. She said, ‘Kim, your sword fighting is very authentic.’ I beamed! It really does pay to write what you know! Questions and comments most welcome.

Kim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette, which comes out in just eight days! Kim’s new website is also up and running, so make sure you take a look. And Traci Harding fans take note:

‘At last — a writer who is right up my alley. This debut novel from Kim Falconer is a magnum opus of originality and insight into Earth’s technological future and occult past. This intricate and intriguing tale perfectly blends the physical, quantum, cyber and spiritual realms into one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in ages!’ Traci Harding, author of The Ancient Future

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14 Responses

  1. You know what this story makes me look forward to, Kim?

    THE MOVIE!!!

    Can’t wait!

    In the meantime, thanks for the photo – but can you post some video of you & sword work?! oh my!!

  2. Did my comment disappear? Second try, forgive me if this is a duplicate:

    Kim, reading this post about the research you did with the sword to write the book is making me already look forward to seeing the MOVIE!!

    Can’t wait!!!

    And honestly, in the meantime, we’d LOVE to see some video of you doing sword work! ha ha Especially as cats slink out of the room. lol

    How fun!!!

  3. Thank you Jeannette! I will see if I can organize a bit of footage. Your comments and enthusiasm are most encouraging!

    Seven days until The Spell of Rosette hits the bookstores and I am so excited! I’m actually shaking. I want to get a picture of her on display! (and me bursting into tears)

    Thanks again.
    Best wishes,
    Kim

  4. Hi Kim – I love this photo with the ocean backdrop.

    I’m curious about your sword. How long is it? Is it heavy? And is it sharp?

    Kudos, Kudos, Kudos!! Don’t forget to breath this coming week!! Soak it all in!!!

  5. Hello Myrna,

    Good question. I had to get out the tape measure 🙂 My sword is 96.5 cm, or 38 inches. It’s a katana, a practice blade, meaning it is sharp like a butter knife–honed enough to ‘sing’ but not so sharp you lose limbs. We use ‘live’ blades for cutting practice only–those are razor sharp and cut through thick bamboo polls in a single easy sweep. You can take an ear or finger off if you aren’t aware. No one is given a live blade until they are ready. It’s an amazing feeling.

    These are not heavy blades at all but after an hour and a half of training the arms ache!

    Thank you for the good cheer and reminder to breathe!

    Best wishes,
    Kim

  6. Hiya Kim,

    I have only just discovered your blog! How duh is that! Just love all the beautiful work you put in. Now you book fascinates me as I am into Sci Fi big time and Fantasy as well. I am in Sydney and will look out for it – the usual stores I gather?

    Also the art of the sword is something that has always interested me but I have never got into it. Kill Bill 1 and 2 are some of my favourite films for many reasons! I need to check out a good sensei here in Sydney. I need to attract the right one methinks.

    All the best wishes with your wonderful book Kim. Take out the Bubbly or a fine red and a few kippers for your feline friends too please! : >

    Hugs, Hiranya : >

  7. Hello Hiranya!

    Rosette is in the usual stores, yes! There is a list on the link from my site ‘News’. 🙂

    Thank you for your enthusiasm and good wishes. Red wine, cats and kippers sounds perfect.

    And, there are a few Iaido schools in Syd. I’ll ask around!

    Great you dropped by!

    🙂 Kim

  8. Hi Kim,
    You raise an interesting point about using your Iaido to enrich your writing. I practice a slight alternative discipline with the sword here in the UK which I’m sure you’ve come across in your Japanese experience – Kendo. Since I’ve started my journey within this realm, I’ve noticed that so many ‘Holywood sword films’ do not have any real depth to them which tend to reflect badly on the film makers.
    Keep up the training, I’m guessing you must either have your own private beach or practice at a very early time of the morning, brandishing a Katana in public always tends to draw attention to one self, lol.
    Regards
    Matt

  9. Hi Matt,

    It’s not actually my own private beach–that’s a lovely thought though! It’s Tallows Beach, south of the lighthouse. (Now it really isn’t private!) The tourists don’t go there as it’s remote, and the sand bottom doesn’t make for a consistent surf break so locals aren’t seeking it out either. I usually have it all to myself, any time of day.

    I know what you mean about Hollywood sword films. I love the Matrix but when Morpheus stands on top of that truck racing down the freeway I want to scream ‘CUT!’ and reposition his grip–he’s just not holding the blade right!

    There is a lot more contact in Kendo than Iaido I believe. Do you spar?

    Thanks for dropping by!

    🙂 Kim

  10. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for your reply and yes I do spar but just not often enough these days. I’m very envious of your beach, looks like a great place to do some excellent kata practice! I’ll remember to bring my bokuto with me next time I’m near Santa Cruz, lol.

    Regards

    Matt.

  11. Hi Matt,

    Definitely bring your Bokuto, but not to Santa Cruz. This beach is the opposite Pacific shore, the most easterly point in Australia! 🙂

    I think Santa Cruz would be too crowded these days.

    🙂

  12. Hi Kim,
    I’ve just found your blog after reading through the 1st & 2nd novels in the Quantum series. I must say I am a huge fan of your writing style. I especially like the Australian references every now and then – I had a solid chuckle when An’ Lawrence “had a shocker”!

    Keep up the great work, as it’s excellent to read an Australian author who keeps me entertained so well. You style is unique, and in my mind right up there with the greats of Fantasy/Sci-Fi writing.

    Peace,
    Gaby (Sydney).

    • Hi Gaby,

      I’m so glad you are enjoying Quantum Enchantment! (and have found your way here the the Voyager Blog!)

      Now I’m having a chuckle over An’ Lawrence’s ‘shocker’… lol I forgot he said that!!!

      Best wishes,
      Kim

  13. Well carried out on the fantastic content.

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