• 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!



How To Make a Cymrian Griffin Part II by K J Taylor

Read How To Make a Cymrian Griffin Part I

Fast forward to the beginning of the books. Griffins now live in human cities, where they have buildings there specifically for them. Unpartnered griffins are given all the food they need, along with places to nest, and human attendants raise their chicks (in close quarters, female griffins are liable to become nervy and often kill each others’ offspring). By choosing a human partner, a griffin makes that human a “griffiner” – a respected and powerful individual. Griffiners rule the country without any contest.

The griffin, meanwhile, gets everything they could want in return. Greater status among their fellows is the most important to them (and the more important their human becomes, the more their own status grows). But having a human also means having an attendent beside you at all times, to clean your talons, care for you when you get sick, provide you with a roomy nesting chamber, bring you the best meat, translate for you – and negotiate the tedious but necessary twists and turns of human society.

The human, of course, will happily put up with all this since their griffin partner will carry them in the air (but not on the ground: you have your own legs!), kill their enemies, and most importantly elevate them into the highest class in Cymria. Nobody is more impotant than a griffiner, though of course there are different levels of government to climb, all the way up to becoming an Eyrie Master or Mistress. Every one of the city-states of Cymria is ruled by an Eyrie Master or Mistress, and every griffin longs to see their own human reach that height. It’s not easy, though, and plenty of people are more than ready to kill to get it.

And sometimes a griffin chooses someone far too dangerous to be allowed to live.
But that’s a story for another time.

As for the griffins themselves, when it came to their personalities I modelled them partly on big cats. By which I mean that they’re inherently ferocious, unpredictable, fearsomely proud and absolutely impossible to to “tame”. Griffins are much too intelligent for it anyway, but there are different kinds of intelligence. For example, I have a high level of language intelligence, a low level of maths intelligence, and pretty average social intelligence. So while I wanted my griffins to be smart, I only gave them the kinds of intelligence that they would actually need and would be expected to have. They have very high intelligence when it comes to things like fighting, hunting and flying, and surviving, but their social intelligence is almost nil.

They don’t feel guilt, or sadness, or regret (they can’t be bargained with! They can’t be reasoned with! – sorry). They don’t really feel love, at least not in the human sense. They’re almost impossible to embarrass. They know exactly what they want, and they don’t give a damn about whatever they have to do to get it. I wanted them to be intelligent, but I still wanted the reader to remember that they are, at bottom, still animals. Animals you really don’t want to screw with, but still animals.

KJ Taylor lives in Canberra, Australia, where she is continuing work on The Fallen Moon trilogy. The Dark Griffin is her first novel published with Voyager.

Read Jonathan Dean’s review of The Dark Griffin.