• 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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Getting to the moment by Will Elliott

Book One

People who ask about “where you get the idea” for a book seem to think the idea is a single moment. For me “the idea” is a phase of a book’s construction, not a single moment. I call it the “conceptualization phase” – often it’s weeks long, jotting notes, actively digging for things but also passively letting them come. Drawing sketches of characters and locations is key – even crappy drawings provide details about each character’s history and personality. Some of the ideas are “eureka!”, some are “hm I dunno, is this even gonna work? To hell with it, let’s find out…”

In the case of Pilgrims (Book One of the Pendulum trilogy), I was seeking a setting for a fantasy world; or rather a way to connect our world with a magical realm. I sweated through all manner of complicated setting ideas, looking for a plausible way into this other place (whatever it would eventually look like.) Very little came to me… but what if this other world could literally be reached through the other side of a door? It seemed so simple, and such a neat way around all the other mad-scientist psychobabble I’d come up with, it was one of those lightning strike “eureka” moments. It occurred to me: Rowling probably didn’t fret too much that platform 3 and ¾ isn’t actually possible… (or is it?)

Book Two

Those moments are the whole point of writing (believe it or not, running spellchecker isn’t exactly the highlight of the process.) Those “of course!” moments make the sweating worthwhile. You can come by more of them by posing challenges during the writing. Which means: don’t plot much, just enough to get by (even for a trilogy.) Throw in ingredients / events / characters whose purpose is not yet entirely clear. In that moment of intuition, you picked that event / character for a reason. Your logical mind is just going to have to wait a while to see what that is… with a little luck, it will wait on the edge of its seat.

Will Elliott is the author of  Pilgrims and Shadow, books one and two of the Pendulum, and is now working on World’s End, the third book in this triloy. Will’s debut novel The Pilo Family Circus won the Golden Aurealis.


7 Responses

  1. I love the contrast between working on the ‘idea phase’ and the ‘eureka moments’ that come in an unexpected rush. Thanks for expressing that so well.

    I can’t wait to find out what’s on the other side of that door!

    🙂 Kim

  2. Thanks Kim – here beyond the door we eagerly await your company 🙂

    • I just checked with my Kindle (my new preferred reader!) and I see Shadow available but not Pilgrims. Shadow is book 2? Will Pilgrims be on AmazonKindle soon?

      Really want to to have a look behind that door now :).

      • I will jump in and answer for Will here 🙂 Pilgrims has just undergone our checking system (rights for the e-book were only signed off recently – so Shadow went through the normal process but Pilgrims joined our backlist of titles to go through).
        So, to summarise, Pilgrims ought to be up for Feb 2011!

      • Thank you, Captain! I will start with Pilgrims in Feb. Looking forward!

        Now I just have to finish my Jan reading list:

        Fiona Mcintosh’s Tyrants Blood, Alison Goodman’s Singing the Dog Star Blues and Traci Harding’s Being of the Field, in that order. Nearly through Tyrant’s Blood . . . so intense! Fiona knows how to weave magical intrigue!

        What’s everyone else reading?

        Meanwhile, back to the writer’s desk! 🙂

  3. @ Kim – at the moment reading some Gene Wolfe (“In Blue’s Waters.”) Have read it twice already but still picking up new things missed the first two times. Meanwhile the “must read” pile grows ever skyward…

  4. “Well, Penny, like any idea worth writing it came inexplicably and without method”.
    ~Emma Thompson in Stranger Than Fiction.

    I love that quote. It’s so true.

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