• 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!

     

     

The Infinity Gate is out!

Click here to read an extract from The Infinity Gate

Sara Douglass: The next chapter

Some readers have picked up the message on my Nonsuch Blog about the ‘one more fantasy book and that’s it’ entry. I thought I’d explain a bit more about it here.

Karen Brooks, another Australian fantasy author and yet another who has been battling her own cancer (she wrote about it in the Courier Mail, so I feel I can mention it here!) sent me a lovely anecdote about a woman who had been fighting cancer. Some time after this woman had finished treatment, her friends noticed that for several weeks she was no longer answering her telephone. Growing concerned, they were just about to send in the police to break down her door when the following message popped up on her voicemail. “My friends. As you know, I have been going through a personal crisis recently. As a result I have been making some profound changes in my life. If I have not returned your call in the past two weeks, then, my friend, I am sorry, but you are part of that change. Goodbye.” Click.

I got a good belly laugh out of that one, but it has deep meaning for anyone who has battled a life-threatening cancer. Most everyone makes some profound changes in their lives. I am not ‘out of the woods’, nor will I ever be, this is a killer cancer and I just don’t know when it will strike again, as it assuredly will.

So there have been some big changes in my life. One of these is fantasy writing. There is every chance I will move on. In the meantime, there is one more book to come in the DarkGlass Mountain trilogy (this was finished before I became so ill, but the cancer treatment interfered with its editing process). That book, The Infinity Gate, should be out in May next year.

After that, there will be one more fantasy book, The Devil’s Diadem. I signed HarperCollin’s offer memo for this last week (really Stephanie, it is in the post!). There’s always been a fantasy book I really, really wanted to write … and for various reasons I never got around to it. The Devil’s Diadem is it. So this book will be one for me, no holds barred, full on fun, everything I always wanted to put into a fantasy novel but never did as I was too busy second guessing myself as to what everyone else wanted. I am loving writing it. Should be out in 2011.

So that’s the news. As to where I am off after this, well, that’s for me to know and everyone else to wonder. 🙂 (Read: I am not actually all that sure, but I am having fun exploring various possibilities.) If you want to keep track of me then keep up on the Nonsuch Blog, which I am also really loving, and where I discuss most everything: http://nonsuchkitchengardens.com/wordpress/

You can read more about The Devil’s Diadem at Sara’s website. Sara Douglass is the award-winning and bestselling author of seventeen fantasy novels published by Voyager, including the Aurealis-winning Battleaxe. Her next book, The Infinity Gate, will be out in May next year.

Sara Douglass: Escape from the Starship Enterprise

I’ve escaped my evil abductors and made it back home! I went into hospital on Wednesday morning and awoke to find myself trapped on Starship Enterprise – honestly, the nurses station of the High Dependency unit reminded me of the bridge of Starship Enterprise – it was so cool! I had a serious case of ex-ICU-nurse envy! They controlled everything from great sweep of a bridge from where they surveyed their domain of about 6 captives.

We were all tied to our beds by a variety of strange communication devices that were wired into our bodies (seriously, I still have the holes to prove it, I am covered in plastic patches from where they took out wires) and we were all surrounded by Machines That Go Beep! Occasionally … actually, fairly often … the Machines That Go Beep! would become Machines That Go BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! and then that got Captain Kirk and his cronies moving, let me tell you. It kept all of us captives awake and in torture, too.

I had an epidural pre-op and the main problem was that epidural which firstly caused a crisis during the op when it caused my BP to drop out of control and the next few days were spent trying to get the BP back above 60/20 (we were aiming for 100 over anything at all, we’d take anything, but that 100 was pretty damn hard to achieve) and by the fact that about 6 hours post-op the epidural began to fail. By 10 hours post-op I had all my sensation back, I was in agony, and they couldn’t give me anything apart from Panadol (oh, Plu-eeeeze!) as my BP was so bad. So I spent a serious night in agony and don’t want to go back there any time soon.

Captain Kirk also had devised a super form of water torture called “let’s drag the ice block down Sara’s body again and see if any of the numbness has returned” and so every hour out would come the ice block and torture would commence. Dick Cheney would be seriously envious of this kind of torture.

I honestly kept trying to phone home to people but Kirk’s communication devices sensed every time I tried to use my mobile – I tried to ring friends five or six times but every time one of his lieutenants would inform Capt Kirk that the Alien in Bed 104 was trying to communicate with her fellow aliens and they’d cut off all signals. They could do all kinds of cool things from their bridge!

High dependency was staffed by some of the kindest people – and the hunkiest – most of the staff were male and they were GODS. Honestly. Gods. And they offered to take off their clothes to help raise my BP! Wasn’t that just the sweetest offer? 🙂 (Having got me in a lustful frame of mind they then refused to come through on their offer, which I decided was yet another form of torturing the poor, captive aliens.)

So gradually I got better and the staff found out my secret place for stashing my hated nasal probes (in the lifting mechanism of the bed, which seriously stuffed it up). They eventually put me on a morphine infusion which I controlled which wasn’t as cool as it sounds, but it was better than the stuffing panadol! LOL

Every day they got me out of bed which was so painful that I would literally burst into tears when they said it was time to get out. Better than the ice cube torture was the get out of bed torture. (Truly, the getting out of bed torture always left me sobbing, morphine or no morphine.)

On Saturday things started to get better and out came all the tubes and devices and off I went back to the surgical ward which was a strange and silent place compared to the Starship Enterprise. And yesterday I came home!

Surgeon said there was less cancer than she’d anticipated (you should have seen me in Recovery trying to feel about for a colostomy bag! LOL) and that she has got 99% of it out, and there is just a teensy tiny bit left in a couple of places on my bowel but that chemo should clean it up. She gave me the double thumbs up on the operation and ‘stuff’.

Oh yeah, and the epidural – it took the anaesthetist three frigging goes to get it in and by the end they had to have 3 people holding me down as it was so agonizing (the pain wasn’t in my back but everywhere else as the guy kept hitting nerves). After my horror experience I would not recommend them for anyone else – the side effects are appalling. I managed to have a chat to the alien in the bed next to me on Starship Enterprise and her anaesthetist had to have 3 goes to get hers in, too, but at least hers was working.

Once the Alien in the bed next to me and I were transferred back to a ‘normal’ ward we got quite friendly – she also has ovarian cancer (she was diagnosed 8 years ago) and has had two tussles with it since).

Three Cheers for the Starship Enterprise! 🙂

Hip hip hooray! I’m sure you’re all as pleased as we are to hear about how Sara is doing — and that her sense of humour is still very much in place! For more info on Sara and her books, or what she’s up to at the moment, click here to visit her official website. And don’t forget to join her rake squad!

The Infinity Gate: Darkglass Mountain Book Three

The Serpent BrideThe next book from Sara Douglass will be called The Infinity Gate, and not River Angels (which was the tentative title back in 08 when Sara blogged for us about her return to Tencendor). I’ve noticed many searchers for River Angels ending up at the Voyager blog so thought it might be nice to clear that up!

As many of you would be aware, Sara was diagnosed with cancer late last year and is currently undergoing treatment. If you’d like to do something for her, then you might consider joining the Rake Squad

On her website, Sara says, ‘I have a visualisation thing I do regularly. I visualise I live in a beautiful walled orchard. It has only six trees, but that’s enough for one person. There is emerald green grass and white daisies growing between the trees and stretching to the sandstone walls, and the sun shines down on the orchard with a soft, lovely light. But a gribbly black monster has taken up residence in one of the trees, and he’s casting down all kinds of black fungus-laden leaves about the place.Twisted Citadel

Each day I go in there and I rake all those black leaves up and then take them out to the incinerator through the cast iron gate in the wall and burn them to white ash. I can do that much, at least. I can’t do much about the gribbly black monster just yet, except poke him with my rake and curse him in words I can’t print here and tell him he’s not going to get my orchard, thank you very much, and wait for my tree surgeon (Penny the surgeon) to come on in and cut him out, but in the meantime raking up the fungus-laden leaves is important. I was explaining this to a distant friend and she said, “I’ll come in and rake, too!” and suddenly I have lots of people in there raking and manning the incinerator and the table of tea and cream puffs and whiskey (someone insisted on the whiskey) set up for the rakers by the raging incinerator.

So if you’d like to join the Rake Squad you have no idea how much I’d appreciate it. Those black leaves sometimes accumulate a little too quickly, and some days I am too sick and too down-hearted to go in and rake myself. I am unashamedly asking for a bit of help with the raking. You can send me an email just to let me know you’ll be in there raking occasionally – the Rake Squad could always use a few more rakers!’


A date for your diaries … Sara Douglass appearing in Sydney

THE TWISTED CITADEL - Sara DouglassOn Thursday 7 August, Sara Douglass will be signing copies of her books in Sydney!

 

At 4pm, she’ll be at Galaxy Bookshop, 143 York St, and at 6pm she’ll be signing at Dymocks, George St.

 

It’s been quite a while since Sara did a signing, and its very exciting indeed! Her next book, The Twisted Citadel, is out now – so there’s plenty of time to read up and gather some questions to ask Sara, come August.

 

 

 

Guest blog: Sara Douglass returns to Tencendor and tells us why

The Serpent Bride

I swore years ago I would never return to Tencendor. I wept, I wailed, I’d had enough. I even blew the blasted place up so I wouldn’t have to go back. However … ten or so years later … I just sort of got curious about the concept.

Ten years had given me enough time to get over the entire Tencendor experience. I’d been very, very tired by the end of those six books. Partly it was the books themselves, partly it was because I had written them all so very quickly, and partly it was because at that stage I was extremely ill (I wrote the final three books when I was at my sickest and, looking back on them now, it shows). All in all, I was at my lowest ebb since I’d been a teenager. Everything connected with Tencendor had been tainted.

So I walked away from it and swore I’d never return.

But these things happen. I began to think about Axis again. He’d been such a wonderful character, so heroic, so flawed, so powerful, so selfish to the point of destroying the lives of those he loved the most. I thought I had taken him as far as I possibly could in the original six books, but now … now I was beginning to wonder. What if Axis was taken out of his world and put in another? How would he react with a different set of characters? A different problem? What if, distanced from his beloved Azhure, he met another woman? How would he manage? (Of course, all those who know and love Axis know for certain that he would talk himself into another love affair just because he would think it his right.)

There was another character I’d never developed to his full potential either – Axis’ father, StarDrifter. So I began to toy about with the idea of bringing back those two characters, and into a different world, and what better world and character to meet them up with than Maximilian Persimius from Beyond the Hanging Wall? I’d never taken Maximilian as far as I wanted, as well … and before I knew it, there was Threshold beckoning too, and suddenly I found myself constructing a new series based on three of my former worlds, Tencendor, Escator and Ashdod. I’d never been very keen on doing sequels to any of these worlds individually, but doing them together – that was a challenge I could not resist. Then HarperCollins got keen, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I am having enormous fun with Axis in this series. Currently only one book is out, but book two, The Twisted Citadel, is due out shortly, and I am writing the third now, so for me the series is almost complete. In book one Axis doesn’t have as much exposure as the lead character in that book, Maximilian, but books two and three feature Axis heavily. His relationship with his father is, as always, a problem, especially as StarDrifter soon has another glorious son to occupy his affections. Axis also (how could I resist?) meets another woman. I loved Azhure in the Tencendor books, but I had no qualms about not bringing her back this time. I wanted to give Axis a fresh challenge, and what better challenge than to fall in love with a Skraeling? (Well, okay, a half Skraeling, but it is enough.) Given Axis’ history with the Skraelings (who are, of course, back in their full hateful force this time, too) this is bound to be problematic.

I’m also enjoying developing the Skraelings. I have never done much with them apart from having the silly wraiths mass about in ghastly hordes and attach themselves to the most evil lord they can find. But where did those Skraelings come from, and what is their history? In the first book you meet the Lealfast, who are half Skraeling, half Icarii. They are beautiful, magical creatures … and much of that magic appears to come from their Skraeling blood. How? What was it that the Skraelings had to bequeath them? So by book three (tentatively titled The River Angels but I am almost certain you can expect that to change), you will get the chance to really delve back into the Skraeling past … and find a few surprises.

Naturally, it is bound to upset Axis!

Now I have become carried away — which just shows how enthusiastic I am about the new series. I am truly enjoying saddling up my horse and travelling with Axis again, and I am equally as certain that once DarkGlass Mountain is done, there will be new worlds waiting for him to explore. Axis is looking for peace, but he won’t find it in the battle for Elcho Falling.

Oh, as a final note, where in the world did the name Elcho Falling come from? I had developed the idea of this enchanted citadel rising from the past … and I had to find it a name. One evening I was browsing through a British book of photography, dating from the 1930s. One photograph was of that quintessential scene, the lazy English afternoon tea party on the lawns of the country house. The caption under the photograph named the people within, and one man was identified as the Lord of Elcho. Oh, I just fell in love with the name right there and then, and ‘falling’ just ‘fell’ in beside it (I wanted something fairly sad and evocative). Thus Elcho Falling.

Sara Douglass

For a limited time only, The Serpent Bride, and the three books of the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy – with beautiful new covers – Sinner, Pilgrim and Crusader are available for just $9.99 each throughout Australia.

SinnerPilgrimCrusader