• 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!

     

     

Kim Westwood: How Nightship came to be

It began with a phrase.

I’d been wandering through the opulence that is Harrods, in London, marvelling and discomforted at the same time. I arrived at a massive four-poster bed. The counterpane was scattered with fox pelts, a cowhide slung over one carved wooden end like a throw rug. Who’d sleep easy, here?

“On my bed a dead cow and a slaughter of foxes.”

The image remained, the phrase repeating in my mind, but I did nothing with it. Then back home in the cosiness that is my Canberra living room, I watched a documentary on SBS. The full context of that program has faded now, but one image remains: grainy footage of a woman shrouded, kneeling in a field, her punishment a stoning to the death.

I sat down to write.

The London phrase expanded into a paragraph. I saw my protagonist for the first time in my mind’s eye. I heard the Nightship; I felt its depth and darkness. My inner gyro fixed in Australia: the eastern seaboard, now flooded, a network of canals extending across the old state borders, the epicentre of events taking place in a much-changed Sydney. The Nightships loomed, great hulking juggernauts, monsters of industry and the symbols of their owners’ power.

Enter the Iron Families.

I unhitched the terms ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ from assumed ground, and made them social positions linked to lifetime occupations. To be a ‘man’ was to wield the Families’ power. Regardless of the individual’s perceived sex at birth, if they were an Iron Family member, then from the onset of adulthood—the raw age of thirteen—they were accorded the epithet of ‘man’. ‘Woman’, was a title applied only to those undamaged few who could conceive. As for ‘girls’ and ‘boys’, they were an entirely different thing, and the source of my protagonist’s suffering, intermixed with small, hard-won freedoms.

As with all my stories, I felt let for a time into another world, a scribe for what went on there. The story played out to its end and then I honed it, whittling the bones until done. Nightship had emerged, behemoth, from the fog.

Stay tuned for the novel.

Go to the Terra Incognita SF site to listen to or download a podcast of Kim Westwood reading her Aurealis-shortlisted story, ‘Nightship’.

‘Nightship’ was published in Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann.

Kim Westwood is the author of The Daughters of Moab, an Aurealis finalist for the Best Science Fiction Novel. Click here for a full biography and a list of Kim’s published short stories.

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One Response

  1. […] I read your description of how the short story Nightship came to be, and found it riveting. When will we see the […]

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