• 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!



A Short History of Animals in Literature

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. –Mahatma Gandhi

Cave HorseThe first stories ever told were about animals and the places they went when they died. The experience of the numinous is often described through the power of animals and the stories we tell about them.

One of the attractions of speculative fiction is its ability to address speciesism—the assignment of worth and rights based on species alone. Through the animal characters in Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series, I am free to investigate human verses non-human thought and examine consciousness from a different (less subjective) perspective. I’m not the only one!

From Achilles’ horse to Black Beauty, from Aesop’s Mr. Fox to Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, animals provide guidance, social commentary, moral authority and sympathy in fiction, often giving voice to the silenced and oppressed. In the late 17th – 18th centuries, moral allegories turned to social satire and animal no longer represented the gods but portrayed human foibles and political corruption.

By the 19th century spreading industrialization exploited both humans and animals and concern for animal welfare became a major social issue. Tales of animal abuse arose, in which animals were seen as the victims of human greed, ignorance, and industrialization.

In the twentieth century many writers turned to old animal stories and genres to produce new works dealing with themes of paranoia, alienation, and futility. And then we see, full circle, animals again as messengers of the divine.

Some Native American traditions teach that each soul can find its personal pathway through the medicine of animals. Medicine is anything that supports our connection to the life, mind, body, spirit, personal power, awareness and consciousness. We can learn to call on the medicine of an animal when in need of specific talents and attributes. Focusing our thoughts on an animal (as ancients did when in a state of reverence and awe) brings us into alignment with what that animal represents.

Black BeautyBut what about the animals themselves? We talk much about the power of animals to guide and heal us, to entertain us in stories and keep us company, guard or protect, but what are we doing for them? Millions of creatures without a voice can use our support. It begins with one small step that we all can take. Notes from my Animals as Healers here.

In the Quantum Enchantment series, Drayco the temple cat and Quillian the Were-fey is up there with my favourite animal characters alongside Hazel in Watership Down, Buck in The Call of the Wild, Anne McCaffrey’s  Ruth and of course Anna Sewell’s Beauty.

What are your favourite animals in literature? I’d love to hear about them!

Kim Falconer’s latest book, Journey by Night is out September 1! It is the third in the Quantum Encryption Series. As well as her author website, she runs an astrology and law of attraction forum, trains with a sword and is completing a Masters degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on a whole new series.Quantum Enchantment Series

The Ideas Shop.

The Seventh Wave“Where do you get your ideas from?”

I heard this for the first time at a spec-fic conference a few years back. It was a question from the floor after a panel discussion. Without missing a beat the author replied, ‘ I buy them from the ideas shop.’ 

The panel member beside him suppressed a snicker (sadly, the audience member asked where that shop might be) signalling that this was a question they were both used to fielding.

But it prompted me to ask myself: where do ideas come from?

Characters, plots, settings, the wonderful and the downright weird — speaking personally I don’t have space inside my thought dome pegged out for all that, yet ideas (thankfully) continue to appear with consistent regularity.

One intriguing concept is that perhaps it is not we that “have” the ideas at all.

Recently I watched a DVD that had an absolute pearler of a line. The protagonist was on a train and he asked someone across the aisle “what time does this train arrive at Oxford?” To which an elderly gent replied — eyes a-twinkle — “I think the question would be rather more interesting if you’d asked what time does Oxford arrive at this train.’

Maybe the ideas, the greater creative, seeks expression of itself rather than the other way around?

The Emerald TabletsMany writers, composers and visual artists are familiar with the feeling of the timeless. When, after entering “the zone,” time ceases to have the same relevance so that what seemed like only minutes, actually chewed through hours on the station clock.

I recall the curious circumstances of when I wrote “The Seventh Wave.” At the time I was “between jobs” and was frantically sending off c.v’s. I’d just finished the fifth application for the day when a line of text floated through my head. I jotted it down more to get rid of it than anything else. Then another one came so I wrote that down as well. Soon any thought of commencing job application number six had simply vanished. Much to the consternation of my former wife the story, the yarn, the flow took over. Three months later the first draft was done. Yet that first morning, prior to application number five, I’d had absolutely no intention of starting a novel.

Perhaps the magic lies within the timeless space and it entices us into it with intriguing crumbs? Perhaps this then is  — “the ideas shop?”

Paul Garrety is the author of The Seventh Wave and the just released follow up The Emerald Tablets.