• 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!

     

     

New Fiona McIntosh has arrived!

We’re pretty pumped because Fiona McIntosh is returning to Morgravia with her new book and the finished copies have just arrived in the office! The Scrivener’s Tale will be out in Aussie stores in November. Be sure to check out more backstory and read behind the scenes with Fiona’s blog too!

Highlights from the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival 2012

Yes, we are both Gemini; no we didn’t ring ahead to colour coordinate! Isobelle Carmody (left) and Kim Falconer (right) at the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2012

Last year, HarperVoyager had a strong presence at the Bryon Bay Writers’ Festival. I shared the stage with Fiona McIntosh and Traci Harding, and we had the time of our lives. We enthralled audiences with talk of magic spells, quantum physics, time travel, totems and how best to portray the sounds of screams from the dungeon. With our then Voyager publisher in the audience, Stephanie Smith, we were all on fire. The memory was so buoyant, I wasn’t sure how this year’s festival would measure up.

Being the only Voyager author, I wasn’t sure who I would connect with this time around, but that all changed in a flash. There was another speculative fiction author present and when I met her I was immediately reminded of the binding tie that makes fantasy authors kindred spirits no matter what ‘house’ they hale from. Sharing the stage on topics of fantasy, creativity, dreams and the spirit of the written word was the well known and loved fantasy queen, Isobelle Carmody. I had the pleasure of being ‘in conversation’ with her to a packed house of YA fans, a most enjoyable session. I can attest without doubt, the love of speculative fiction is alive and well! What a fabulous experience.

Other highlights included Wild Things, a tribute to Maurice Sendak. His books have expanded the way we think about children’s literature and what is possible to write, treating children as ‘people’ with strong emotions, drives and desires. On similar topics were panels addressing education, literacy and the future of books. A personal favourite of mine, ‘The Perfect Pitch’ was a lively panel where publishers, including HarperCollins publishing director Shona Martyn, listen to six hopeful writers try to sell their work. Very exciting!

At the extreme end of the reality scale was the ‘Righting the World’ discussion with Australian environmentalist Ian Lowe, author Niromi De Soyza, who ran away from her family home in Sri Lanka at 17 to join the Tamil Tigers and fight for her country’s freedom; Indonesian author Andrea Hirata; and American author Katherine Boo, who is known for her works on the disadvantaged and poverty stricken. They shared horror stories but every one of them ended in hope, a most moving and uplifting panel.

I was pleased to see again this year how every session at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival began by acknowledging an empty chair. This is part of the PEN program and represents a writer who is in prison for writing what someone in power, somewhere in the world, believed is ‘off Limits’. Acknowledgement of the Pen empty chair reminds us all the freedom of expression we otherwise take for granted. Sobering.

On the nuts and bolt of writing side of things, I gave a workshop on writing, selling and promoting genre fiction. You can see the PowerPoint presentation with live links here. All in all, though I missed my Voyager sisters, it was a wonderful Byron Bay Writer’s Festival 2012.

Feeling the Passion- Byron Bay Writers’ Festival 2011

Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh

Voyager authors Fiona McIntosh, Traci Harding and Kim Falconer lit up the fifteenth annual Bryon Bay Writers’ Festival with explanations of quantum physics, the relationship between myths and fantasy, authors and editors, animal totems and how best to portray ‘the sounds of screams from the dungeon.’ They certainly kept some of the literary minded on their toes with spontaneously insights and new perspectives.

 Ideas about writing and the how-to of publishing were bantered about and questions like what is speculative fiction exactly . . . and how do you go about world building . . . were answered in depth. One panellist nearly fell out of her chair when the Voyager authors started talking about their daily word counts (three thousand words a day an upwards) and their rigorous publishing schedule (between one and three books a year). It’s quite a contrast to some of the other writers and made for a lot of spirited debate.

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Kim Falconer & Traci Harding

 Sessions from the Nuts and Bolts of writing workshop, the how-to of online presence to Bad Boys: Writing Dark Heroes to Die For gave emerging writers plenty to think about over the six consecutive days of events. Thursday the 4th was the secondary school day- think crowded tents, attentive audiences and wildly varying questions. One young girl asking Traci Harding for advice on when to start a new paragraph and her answer had the teachers taking notes.

 The main panels and events were held over the weekend, August 5th  – 7th  under a warm sunny sky and big high top tents. As always, it was a festival not only for the mind but for the senses as the theme of passion infused every topic. Byron Bay is one of the favoured festivals of the region not only for the beautiful seaside venue but for the moments captured that can never be repeated with their conversations unscripted and panels uniquely composed. Congratulations to the new director, Candida Baker on a marvellous achievement!

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Kim Falconer, Traci Harding and Fiona McIntosh

Bob Kuhn Reading Voyager Authors at WorldCon 2011

There are a handful of Aussie and NZ authors smiling today with the confirmation that Bob Kuhn, aka Tolkien’s Dragon, will be reading excerpts from their novels at WorlCon 2011. This year’s World Science Fiction Convention, Renovation, will be held in Reno, Nevada August 17th to 22nd. Not everyone who would like to be there can dash off to the other side of the world so Bob’s generous offer to do a collective reading of Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction is fabulous news.

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Bob Kuhn

Bob Kuhn is a well known fantasy and science fiction voiceover artist — an Aussie resident in Boston and gifted with a deep, resonant, instantly impressive voice. His Professional credits include titles by: Mike Resnick, Carl Sagan, YA author William Sleator, and recently Jeff Carver, as well as audio books of history and historical fiction, true crime and mystery. Bob has also provided fantasy MMORP NPC game voices and hosted Boskone’s Fantasy and Science Fiction Pictionary. He may be the only actor who has played two different Tolkien Dragons! Visit his website bkvoice.com and listen to the samples. They’re magical.

 Authors participating in Bob Kuhn’s WorldCon 2011 reading are Harper Voyager’s Fiona McIntosh, Mary Victoria, Kim Falconer, Nicole Murphy and Helen Lowe (Harper Voyager USA) and Australian speculative fiction authors Alan Baxter and Angela Slatter. Bob has been given two slots at Renovation, one on Saturday morning at 10 am, and the other on Sunday afternoon. I hope they will record him!

 Congratulations to all the authors whose work will be read at this auspicious event!

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Harper Voyager Authors being read by Bob Kuhn - WorldCon 2011

Fiona McIntosh in Sydney

Fiona fans rejoice! Fiona will be in Sydney signing copies of King’s Wrath, the final book in the Valisar trilogy.

You can meet her at Galaxy Bookshop Wednesday March 2 at 12pm.

Also if you want all the latest news about Fiona’s books you can now get it straight from the source. That’s right, Fiona has now joined the Twitterverse. Say hello to her here @FMcIntosh

Fiona McIntosh: Standing Alone

Another trilogy comes to an end ...

And so another big fantasy trilogy reaches its conclusion with the publication of the third volume, King’s Wrath and the Valisar series, which has occupied my life for a couple of years, is now behind me, but there was a time when I was unsure it would ever end.  I was writing King’s Wrath in Tasmania earlier this year and the story just refused to close.  I am a writer who works to no plan and so the tale shapes itself in a most organic style.  And, as if by magic, about 20,000 words out from when it decides that the story must finish, it appears to start narrowing itself down until I find myself in the climactic scenes wondering who will survive and who will perish.  This is how it has been for four series now and so I have learned to trust my instincts and let the book work its own structure out.

As a result of this approach to writing I never set out to leave a story open for more tales.  I rarely have much of an idea where any series will begin, certainly no inclination of where it will end – or even where each volume will close – and when it does finally finish up its book three I’m always surprised at the journey we’ve taken to get there.  So leaving an open ending is truly beyond my ability, given the curious way that I tackle the daily grind of writing.  And yet it seems that if I look at all my trilogies, each lends itself to more story and a couple of them have been all but begging me to go back and add more….particularly Trinity and The Quickening perhaps?  I wonder if readers would agree.

So far I have resisted and to be honest I have not been tempted but just recently I made the bold decision that I was unlikely to write another epic series that took three years to publish.  It feels like a milestone in my career to finally reach this mindset but while the notion of writing three books per story will no longer be my preferred structure, I also realised I wasn’t prepared to give up fantasy.  I found myself at an impasse…but only briefly.  The answer was staring right at me from my bookshelf because my favourite writer – Guy Gavriel Kay – writes most of his tales as standalone volumes.

And so next year I will be writing a standalone adult fantasy and I see no reason why an epic story with all the same qualities that readers have come to expect in my tales, can’t be delivered in one thumping book.  I know it’s not the norm but I like the idea of stepping off the traditional treadmill in terms of structure.  And increasingly I hear from audiences and individual readers that they would be as happy to read a single book as they would a trilogy.  Many have embraced the news of the standalone warmly because they genuinely welcome the idea of not having to wait three years for a story to unfold.  There’s definitely room for both formats in fantasy readers’ lives, of this I’m sure.

In a single volume I realise there won’t be a lot of time or space to build a new world and in order to make it instantly accessible to the readers who have followed me this past decade I have decided to break my own rule and return to the lands of The Quickening.  And as the landscape of that second series of mine is so easy to grasp, newcomers to this next story will also find it just as simple to leap into.

This tale will not pick up where I left volume three – Bridge of Souls.  Instead, it will be a new story in a different era of the empire, with new characters, perhaps new magic…who knows?  I suspect that freshness will make it more invigorating to read and will add a new twist on a series that had its fair share of twisty-turny pathways to its story.

I’m surprised at how excited I am to be returning to Morgravia and Briavel and while I have little more than a thin thread of a storyline idea, I know it has pleased the Voyager team worldwide and I’m delighted that this book will be released across all English speaking markets in 2012 and hopefully beyond into my foreign language markets.

Thanks to all the readers who have read my stories and I hope you will keep travelling with me, this time back into realms we know rather well.

I suppose this begs the question…a return to Pearlis to find out how Herezah and Lazar are getting on, or into Penraven and more of the Valisar legacy and its enchantments?  Well, I guess I’ve learned the lesson never to say never!

Visit Fiona McIntosh’s fabulously revamped website to find out more about her and her books. Fiona’s latest book, King’s Wrath, is now out in bookshops across Australia and New Zealand.

Hugos, swords, readings and dreamers

Sunday morning we bumped into Peter V Brett looking slightly pale outside the dealers room on Level 2. He was preparing for his reading from The Great Bazaar and by all accounts did very well. We gave away some Voyager party bags with the v15 hardbacks inside to some lucky tweeters and passers-by, celebrating both our anniversary and hitting 1000 followers on Twitter! Duncan Lay wandered over on his way to his kaffeeklatsch and said he was enjoying himself and also preparing for a reading later that day. Haven’t heard yet how it was but I’m sure it was fantastic!
Then your correspondent went to a ton of panels: the artist’s paradox with GoH Shaun Tan, Cat Sparks and Nick Stathopoulos was especially interesting. Robert Silverberg’s panel with Peter Ball, Alan Baxter and Keith Stevenson also provided food for thought on the novella form – hard to sell? Hard to write? Growing in popularity? Increasing the number of small press publishers?
After a brief break for lunch it was time to see our own Stephanie Smith, Voyager Publisher, on the Dreaming Again panel led by Jack Dann, with Janeen Webb, Jason Nahrung, Angela Slatter, Richard Harland and Jenny Blackford. Jack was in fine form and asked if everyone else had turned up for a roast Jack panel! 🙂
Then it was a discussion on crowns and monarchies with interesting insights from a whole panel of Voyager authors! Duncan Lay, Jennifer Fallon, Glenda Larke, Fiona Mcintosh with guest appearance by Joel Shepherd, duked it out – and one good point they made is that by settling on a monarchy as your governing system, you can concentrate on telling the actual story.
After this it was off to rm 519 to listen to Mary Victoria read from Tymon’s Flight and -bonus- from Samiha’s Song. Mary read beautifully and had us all under her spell.
We had a lovely Voyager dinner with our authors and then a few of us headed to the Hugos, where Garth Nix was doing a fab job of MCing. We’re all thrilled that Peter Watts won a Hugo for his story in New Space Opera 2 and Peter’s speech thanking Jonathan Strahan, editor of the anthology, was nice. We also enjoyed George R R trying to run off with a Hugo he was presenting and Robert Silverberg’s quips about editors and wombats!
Finally, it was off for one final evening in the Hilton Bar accompanied by Peter V Brett to join Jennifer Fallon and Glenda Larke, Stephanie and HarperCollins account manager and fantasy fan extraordinaire Theresa Anns. Then bed!
Today we’re off to Mary V’s panel at 10 on Writing Strange Lands, and then dropping into Nicole Murphy’s reading, where she tells us she will not be reading from page 310!