• 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!



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Path of the Stray: a prequel to Quantum Enchantment

A close up of the Path of the Stray cover featuring Tryn facing off the crazed rogue leader, Daos. Quillian the Were-fey is overhead and Bree running for her life! Illustration by Aaron Briggs.

Halfway through writing my first series, I realised something was missing—something big. I’d started The Spell of Rosette, book 1 of Quantum Enchantment, medias res, in the middle of the action, but it wasn’t long before earlier events began to haunt me. I wanted to explore them and it turned out readers did too.

Questions poured in. Where did the Lupins come from? How were they created? What did Jarrod do all those years on Gaela before the Richter line returned? Who were the descendants of Janis? How did they keep alive the spell, and how did Earth get so bad? Mostly readers said, could we please have more Kreshkali? I got to writing and I’m still breathless about where the story has led.

Path of the Stray begins two hundred years before The Spell of Rosette, telling the tale of Jarrod in a very personal way, the creation of the Lupins, and the role of young Ruby Richter in the fate of both Earth and Gaela. As I began to write, I also found there were characters and events I’d not yet dreamed of. One in particular was Tryn Bistoria and her familiar Quillian. They started out as a minor element which soon became pivotal to the journey, one that continues to unfold in Book 2, Road to the Soul. (I’m doing copyedits on this manuscript right now.) The third book, Journey by Night (coming in 2011), is the story of Kreshkali and Nell, from the very beginning to an end that eclipses series one.

I had no idea how tricky it would be to write a prequel. The fine details set out in the first series are immutable and the story had to flow towards them in perfect alignment. I’ve certainly learned a lot in this experience! The beauty of Path of the Stray is, prequel aside, this story can be read before or after the first series. No rules, no restraints!

How about you? As readers, writers and editors, how do you approach prequels? Do you wait until all the books in the series are out before you begin to read? Do you dust off the original series before reading/writing the second? Is there a favourite or failsafe way of writing these books with no tiny detail overlooked? Comments welcome. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Path of the Stray is out now across Australia and New Zealand. It is also available as an e-book. Kim Falconer lives in Byron Bay and is working on the other two books in the Quantum Enchantment series. Catch her this weekend at the Byron Bay Writers Festival!


9 Responses

  1. I for one can’t wait to read POTS. As a reader, I love a good prequel – that way I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything, and can get to the rest of the series afterwards with that richness at the back of my mind.

    As a writer, I imagine that coming up with a good prequel is something like having the end of a story planned out before the beginning – the joy is in finding out how you get there. That happened to me with the second book in ‘The Chronicles of the Tree’, and I loved it – it’s quite a ride. 😉

    • I feel that too, Mary, that the prequel lets me a little deeper into the world. And you are right. It is like having the end mapped out. It can be very surprising how we find our way to the end! (Strange Attractors indeed!)

      Thanks for dropping in. Are you planning any prequels? Is book 2 in ‘The Chronicles of the Tree’ a look forward or backward?

      • Nope, I’m marching on forward with the first three installments!

        And I love the twists in the path that lead to the well-known end. They change everything… 😉

  2. I love writing prequels! I’m happy to write them anytime, but generally I prefer to do them before the books they precede are finished. That way if I think of some new background detail, I can go back and incorporate it into the later books.

    I’m planning a prequel trilogy to The Fallen Moon, in fact. But that’s off in the future. For now we have trilogy number two, The Risen Sun, to think of! Wish me luck…

    • Oh I do wish you luck, but from what I’ve seen, you don’t need it. You have talent and skill!

      I like the idea of writing the prequel before the other series is nailed down! 🙂 Next time!

  3. I love reading prequels – they can be so satisfying … and often I think ‘wow, did the writer know this was going to happen all along – even though this wasn’t written when she wrote the other books’. I remember when I read Dragondawn by Anne McCaffrey thinking that!


    • OMG Me too! Dragondawn! I think she knew a lot more about the beginnings of the dragons on Pern (she used the same prologue in each book) but the details might have been a surprise. Her work is one of my favourite series, prequel and all.

      As far as editing, do you find you have to check facts when you go through the prequel or do you trust the author has got them straight?

      • I have to echo everyone here, love prequels, adore the Pern series, and am always astounded at authors’ abilities to write prequels after the fact. I know some writers have really detailed backstories and notes pinned up all over their offices, but equally, I know others just dive in with the vaguest of ideas and no notes, and both techniques seem to work and result in carefully crafted series that hang together, with hints from past and future tying in.

        When I am editing I will always check prequels – and sequels – for facts. Sometimes little things can be overlooked: a distortion of timeline, a character’s appearance, relationships. Anything at all. Ninety-nine per cent of the time the author will have it all in-hand (since, of course, they live and breathe that world!), they may even already be aware of the problem, maybe they will decide that a particular quibble doesn’t need to be adjusted; but then, that’s why the editing process exists – to catch any little things that might have slipped through during rewrites etc. I think, though, editing has probably given me an even better appreciation for the skill it takes to put together a series that jumps back and forth. There’s SO much to keep track of!

      • Hi Bothersomewords!

        It’s good to get the editorial perspective! Thank you.

        That fact checking process is a huge undertaking. I read relevant sections over and over to make sure the stories would mesh just so. Those ‘any little things’ can be slippery fish!

        This is where the digital age gives us such an advantage. We can search for a single word or phrase and in seconds see every place a character, vista or item appears. I’ve used this a lot to keep track of my lunar phases, among a million other things.

        With over 700 pages of draft, I really don’t know how they did it in the pre find function days. Were there as many prequels/sequels then? It would be great to ask Anne McCaffrey about her methods for keeping track of her dragons and riders and holds.

        Stand by, I shall send her a note 🙂

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