• 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 Reader is Always Right

Some months ago I did an interview with Astrid Cooper from The Specusphere. Her queries were thought provoking but the wording of one really stuck in my head.

AC: Perhaps I am reading more into this than I should, but . . .

KF: Astrid, I am so glad you brought this up . . . You can’t read too much or too little into the work because it is the act of reading that makes it meaningful. The story itself isn’t complete until read. Everyone will re-create the Spell of Rosette [and Arrows of Time] in their own minds in a slightly different (or radically different?) way, and that’s the magic. That’s the whole point! You complete the work. (Read entire interview here)


One reader recreating and making meaning ...

This notion of reader/listener participation is not new. The concept was developed by Roland Barthes, a 20th century French social and literary critic. He said, ‘a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination …. the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.’

When I first heard this I was offended. Death of the author? Ridiculous. I knew the ‘correct’ meaning of MY stories. I wrote them, after all. It wasn’t until I started getting feedback and critique of my work that I began to understand the birth of the reader. What an epiphany! It is the act of reading that completes the work.

Barthes described a ‘writerly reader’ whose goal is to no longer be an end point of delivery but a participator in creation. I think Barthes loved the magic of writing so much he was able to vision it beyond the classical limitations of delivery/reception and into a realm of co-creation. Barthes ideal text enables the reader to engage in the ‘meaning making’ process because the story is not constrained by genre expectations, linearity, or author control. In other words, in the ideal text, storytelling becomes a conversation, not a lecture. The more I explore these concepts, the more in love with them I become.

With the ‘writerly text’ in mind, the Quantum Enchantment series blurs some conventional boundaries including genre classification (if anyone can nail it, please email me!) linear time structure and most important, reader participation. After centuries of being lulled into passive reception—end point ‘listening’—my readers can look forward to a ‘proliferation of meaning’, choices within the narrative structure, and creative conversations to which they can contribute, if they so wish.

Another captivated reader

... while another has her own interpretation

Of course, readers can relax and float down stream with the story as well. You can get swept up and swept away, but there is an underlining thread of ‘alternatives’ which encourages an active position—the question no longer what did I mean, but what does it mean to you?

What do you think? Is the reader always right? Is textual meaning a personal, individual interpretation—a co-creation? Or is authorial control definitive and final? I’d love to hear our Voyager readers, writers, authors, critics and reviewers weigh in. Comments welcome!

Kim Falconer is the author of the Quantum Enchantment series: The Spell of Rosette and Arrows of Time. She is currently working on the next book in the series. She lives in Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia and besides writing, she manages to fit many other things into her time – Falcon Astrology, being owned by black cats, practicing the way of the sword … and much more!