• 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!

     

     

National Bookshop Day and a fantasy author’s guide to reviving the bookshop.

When he’s not writing awesome fantasy epics, our Voyager author of the Month Duncan Lay is a journalist and masthead chief at the Sunday Telegraph. Last Sunday his article entitled “The Death of the Bookshop?” and his own editorial column appeared and  it makes for a great read ( not surprisingly!) For those struggling to understand the changes in the book marketplace and the role of ebooks, Duncan’s article, and those he interviews, could help explain them.

In his accompanying column (the header of which is on the right) he suggests a few key things to keep bookshops alive, most essential of which is to simply foster in children a love of reading.

This Saturday 11th August is National Bookshop Day and many bookshops around the country are celebrating with local authors coming for signings or other special events, so put it in your calendar and be sure to head down to your local store and support them by buying a book!

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George R.R. Martin interview with Jane Johnson – Part One

GRRM in conversation with UK publisher Jane Johnson At the Bloomsbury Theatre in London this Tuesday night, 500 George R.R. Martin fans had the opportunity to listen to the man himself in conversation with his UK editor (and Voyager Publishing Director, and successful author in her own right) Jane Johnson.  Here’s the first part of the conversation transcript!

Jane: I’ve heard you say that historical fiction and fantasy are “sisters under the skin”. Can you tell me more about what you mean by that?

George: Historical books are a little grittier, which is one of the things I wanted to do when combining the two; to take that sort of gritty realism you find in a historical novel and combine it with the imagination and wonder of Fantasy.

I have thought about writing historical fiction myself, when I interviewed Bernard Cornwell for Harper a few months ago we talked about this.  For me the frustration in writing real historical fiction is that if you know history you know how it comes out. You can write about the actual Wars of the Roses and you know what’s going to happen to those princes in the tower and you know what’s going to happen at the battle of Bosworth Field. With my books I like to keep them a little off balance. Ultimately you don’t know what’s going to happen to the kids in my books or who’s going to live or die or end up with their head on a spike.

But the reading experience can be quite similar. Jane has been reading the Accursed Kings series by the great Maurice Druon – a wonderful series of historical novels.  One of the great things for me when I read them was that I didn’t know a lot of the history. You know, French people may know all of this but for me it wasn’t something that was covered on our history courses, nor presumably, in history courses here. I didn’t know who these people were, even only the most abstract terms, or how this was going to come out. That was a very similar reading experience to a fantasy novel.

Jane: They read incredibly fresh. We’ve just bought the world rights to publish them because they’ve been out of print since the sixties, I think it’s going to be great fun to make them available to people. They read as if they were written yesterday, they’re really sharp and funny, as well.

The brothers Goncourt said: “History is a novel that has been lived…” I think that’s a really good quote but I feel also that with A Game of Thrones, you feel that every character in your books has a life that goes on behind the scenes: they’re not just walking out on stage and playing out what you want them to play out. You do see them as real people. How much of that elaboration do you have in your head before you set out writing your characters?

George: I’m not actually deluded enough to think that they are real people. I know that I’m making them up. It seems obvious but I’ve met some writers over the years that have peculiar views on the subject and seem to think they’re receiving emanations from other dimensions or something. I don’t buy into that but certainly when I’m writing these characters and living with them they achieve enormous reality to me.

You know, many years ago I wrote a short story, a novelette actually, that won the Nebula award called “Portraits of His Children”. It is about a writer and his relationship with his characters. Its sort of a cliché that characters are a writer’s children but there’s a great amount of truth to it. At least for a writer like myself; the characters I have created over the years are a part of me, are a part of my life. They are not me, but they are created by me and are a part of me. The analogy with the children has a certain apt-ness to it.

Jane: Well you’re a cruel father

George: I take after the Romans; they had the whole “paterfamilias” thing going on there. If you were a disappointing son “I’m sorry son you’re disappointing me would you please commit suicide”…“Yes dad I’d be happy to”. We’ve lost some of these traditions over the years.

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview!

Bookseller & Publisher’s Q&A with The Courier’s New Bicycle author Kim Westwood

Q1.

The Courier’s New Bicycle could have been set in an unnamed city, but it is set in Melbourne. Why Melbourne, and what effect do you think that has on the book?

Melbourne—the physical Melbourne—inspired me. The story was born in those atmospheric inner-city alleyways, and every time I go back to there, I feel the possibility of the story all over again. That specificity of site means most of the places in the novel are findable, albeit a tad altered. Inspiration came from the people there too; for instance, the Melbourne bike couriers who tempt fate every day with the traffic and pedestrians. These are elements that ground an imagined near future in the real and immediate. What’s universal, or ‘every city’, is the premise of ordinary life utterly changed from a major event—in this case a pandemic. It’s a scenario that’s just one small step away from what exists now.

Q2.

With its near future dystopian setting, mass infertility and cultural conservatism, The Courier’s New Bicycle will probably be compared to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. What are your thoughts on this comparison?

I’d be honoured—chuffed, even. Yippee! She’s a hero of mine, and I’ll never forget the emotional impact that novel had on me.

Q3.

As a science-fiction reader I put The Courier’s New Bicycle in the Cyberpunk section in my head. How would you define it to someone in terms of genre?

Writing, I never think of genre; I just relay the story that’s demanding to be told. However, I’d agree the novel does have elements of cyberpunk. It’s a dystopian Melbourne with a film noir feel, and the private investigator element is embodied by Salisbury, the main protagonist, who’s an outsider in many ways. Rather than confine itself to any particular genre, the story takes from a number of them. I’d say it belongs on more than one shelf in the bookshop. Let the reader decide—and the writer be amazed!

Q4.

Much of the book involves what could be seen as extrapolations of current anxieties. What role do you think fiction has in such a nervous world?

 For me, ficti0n is both escape from the world and vicarious engagement with it. Sometimes it’s comfort food. Other times, it’s the trepidation and visceral thrill of the roller coaster without the fear of throwing up—which makes it the perfect place to explore all kinds of anxieties. Fictional characters in difficult situations allow readers to litmus test their own mettle: What if this were me? It’s comfort and discomfiture, excitement and safe haven, combined.

 Q5.

What was the last book you read and loved?

I’m currently reading and loving Stephen Fry’s biography, The Fry Chronicles. I’ve just read (and loved) Karin Fossum’s the water’s edge. Another lovely discovery (the illustrations too) is The Dog by Kerstin Ekman.

Originally published in the July Bookseller & Publisher Magazine

Rhonda Roberts talks Gladiatrix and news on Hoodwink!

Start Reading Now

Rowena Cory Daniells has posted a fab interview with our own Rhonda Roberts, author of Gladiatrix, where she talks about getting published, gender in fantasy and what’s coming up next for her time travelling heroine Kannon Dupree.

We’re thrilled to announce that Rhonda’s much anticipated next book Hoodwink will hit the shelves in January 2012.

Now we know it’s not close enough for some Gladiatrix fans so here’s a little bit more info to keep you going:

A perfectly preserved body, covered in Mayan occult tattoos, is discovered embedded in the concrete floor beneath the set of a teen werewolf TV series. The police identify the man as Earl Curtis, a famous director who went missing in 1939 while working on Gone with the Wind. Hired to investigate, Kannon returns to old Hollywood. But in the present someone is stalking the remaining witnesses.

Check out the interview here.

Kim Falconer on Iaido and The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior

I open my eyes — ready to train in the traditional Wazas — the forms choreographed centuries ago by Samurais preparing for battle. They readied for the fight. I ready for peace — the ritual bringing me into alignment with myself. Energy swirls in my hara — Tanden breathing — energy builds. Fire up the spine. I am the sea, the sun, the waves, the warrior. The sand beneath me gives way to the universe.

Kim Falconer has given an interview with California Reiki — a beautiful meditation on the practice of Iaido, the development of hara, The Spell of Rosette and more – with Kim’s poetic way of speaking and writing coming through.

Kim Falconer training with the katana on the beach

Kim Falconer training with the katana on the beach


Karen Miller on the Godspeaker trilogy, being K E Mills and more …

Jeff at the Fantasy Book News & Review blog has posted an interview with Karen Miller in which she answers questions about:

The Godspeaker trilogy
The Kingmaker/Kingbreaker duology
Her ability to write two (or more!) books a year
Her alternate self … K E Mills

All will be revealed … click here

Quick reminder of events this Feb

Don’t forget that this month …

Kim Westwood, author of The Daughters of Moab, will be presenting an award at the Awards Presentation night for the Mardi Gras Festival’s annual short story competition on the 17th of Feb 2009 at the Polo Lounge on Oxford Street, Sydney.

On Wednesday 18th February at Nunawading Library, (379 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading, Victoria, Australia) a stellar group of Australian spec fic writers, Jack Dann, Trudi Canavan, Cecilia Dart-Thornton and Adam Browne will take part in a ‘Dreaming Again‘ panel.