• 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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Nicole Murphy at Melbourne Science Fiction Club

Melbournians – here’s you chance to meet the author of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy in person!

Nicole Murphy will be speaking at the Melbourne Science Fiction Club this Friday night, the meeting starting at 9pm. Her topic is on why romance is important in science fiction and fantasy. It might be controversial. It might be funny. It will be interesting.

Nicole would love to meet you and chat about your views on literature’s two great stomped upon genres – romance and speculative fiction – so come along!

More information at –  http://www.msfc.sf.org.au/

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And so the story ends…

 

Finishing a trilogy is a strange experience. It takes years to write, years more to edit and get published and you live with these characters, this story, this world constantly on your mind.

Then, it’s over. Sometimes, you don’t leave the world or the characters wholly behind because the next work will also be there, but sometimes that is really the end. You don’t have any other stories to tell there. You’ve got all these bright shiny ideas that have been clamouring at you from the corner for AGES, hoping that you’ll pick them and start creating.

And yet, for the readers, the experience is far from over. I said my first goodbyes to the Dream of Asarlai story in August last year, and did my final bit of editing in February. It’s been months since I’ve given any of them any thought.

And yet for you readers, this is all still a future sensation. You’re still coming to the point of saying farewell. You’re still excited about what could happen, curious about how it’s all going to end.

And somehow, I’ve got to find the headspace to remember what that feeling was like for me as I was writing it, so I can empathise and celebrate with you.

It’s a very good thing that we authors are well practiced in living with a divided brain or this might just do us in.

So, what can I say to you all about the conclusion to Dream of Asarlai (without spoilers, of course).

The hero of Rogue Gadda is Hampton Rourke, aka the Sabhamir. Hampton’s become a bit of a favourite with a lot of people over the course of the series. He’s a great character to work with – he’s very charming and genuinely likes people, so his interactions with others flow smoothly. Yet Hampton is also a man struggling with his place in the world, riddled with doubts that he dare not let anyone else see.

His foil in this book is Charlotte Haraldson. Charlotte is a member of the long lost race of gadda who split from the bardria centuries earlier. For a lot of quite good reasons, Charlotte has come to hate gadda, power and everything it stands for.

So OF COURSE her perfect match is going to be the most powerful gadda alive.

As for Asarlai – there’s still a few twists left in her tale, but her dream of exposing the gadda to humanity and elevating them to ruling the planet is still very much on course.

Unless Hampton can stop her.

I’ve had a blast writing the Dream of Asarlai trilogy, and I hope you all have a blast reading it.

 

Rogue Gadda: An excerpt

 

The following is an except from Rogue Gadda, the third book in the Dream of Asarlai trilogy by Nicole Murphy. Rogue Gadda comes out on 1 July 2011. The series started with Secret Ones and continued with Power Unbound.

The trilogy is set in the world of the gadda, which is really our world. But the gadda aren’t human, they are descended from different ancestors and have access to the power of the world around them and use it to perform what we humans call magic.

They look human. They act human. They live ostensibly human lives. But they are also beholden to the council of the gadda, the bardria, and the rules of the gadda which are policed by the six guardians – Sabhamir, Heasimir, Garramir, Firimir, Coiremir and Ceamir.

The most paramount thing in the life of any gadda is keeping their true identity secret from humans – being known would just be too difficult and dangerous, for gadda and humans alike.

For centuries, this has been the case. However, Asarlai has a dream – she can’t see why the gadda, with the power they can wield, aren’t rulers of the world …

****

Asarlai

 Tension hummed through her body, but the woman who called herself Asarlai didn’t dare let Rogan Connor see it. The only relief she, the sorcerer, could find was to clench her toes in her shoes. Otherwise, she kept her hands resting on her knees and her expression blank.

Connor held the amulet up to the light, looking at the crystal suspended in the middle of the knot of wood and silver. He turned the piece around, pulled it close to his eye, held it away.

‘The gem is flawless, Anna. It should work well for your needs.’

‘Thank you, Patrick.’ They had agreed at all times to use the names they’d adopted for their human personas – Connor thought there was less risk of their real identities being revealed if they refused to use them at all.

Asarlai saw the sense in it, although it was no concern of hers. Rogan Connor thought her real name was Lisa Booker, so the mistake on his part would affect her little.

However, if the guardians found out that Rogan Connor, banished murderer, was still alive, and that he had regained some use of his powers …

She looked down at her hands to check they still looked relaxed. Every day, she cursed how her genius had backfired.

She’d experimented on Ione Hammond Gorton to finally give the young woman the power she deserved. Somehow, the incantation had gone wrong and instead, Asarlai had been robbed of her power. Continue reading

The trilogy that’s a romance series

Dream of Asarlai: Book Two

I know from readers comments that a lot of people are expecting to pick up Power Unbound and keep reading the story of what Asarlai is doing and what’s happening with the gadda from Maggie and Lucas’ point of view. Maybe there will be other POV characters introduced but still – this is a trilogy, so things will keep on, right?

Wrong.

Yes, this is a trilogy but it’s not a typical fantasy trilogy because it didn’t start life that way – originally, it was a romance series.

For those of you who don’t read romance – series are very popular. You come up with a conceit – a family, a gentleman’s club, a werewolf pack – and then you write books in that setting, but each book tells a different story and feature whichever couple will be the focus of the romance.

I was introduced to series in the 90s by Johanna Lindsey. She had two series I loved – The Ly-San-Ter series (three books, sci fi romance) and the Malory series (up to ten books now, regency romance). The books share characters and share the world, but each plot is new and each tells the story of a new couple falling in love.

That’s what Dream of Asarlai first was. The gadda was really the setting, and the books were about three romances – Maggie and Lucas, Ione and Stephen and Hampton and Charlotte.

When I added the overarching storyline, it became a trilogy – one story told over three books. However, each book is also still a stand-alone romance, with the point of view unique to that couple.

So when you pick up Power Unbound, you’re going to read about the continuation of Asarlai’s plans from Ione and Stephen’s perspectives.

Dream of Asarlai: Book One

Don’t worry, Maggie and Lucas are still there – Maggie is Ione’s best friend so we couldn’t lose her even if we wanted to (and we don’t). You even get cameos from Siobhan Shaunessy and John O’Hara. Most of the Secret Ones cast based in Sclossin are in Power Unbound, and you get to see a lot more of the guardians.

The fun part from the author’s perspective is that with new characters telling the story, you get to explore it from different angles. Ione and Stephen are far more connected with gadda society than either Maggie or Lucas were, so you get a better view of what Asarlai’s plans are achieving.

Then there’s the joy of exploring two new characters. Ione and her son Jack are the two best characters in the trilogy to write because they’re both fun and very irreverent. You never quite know what either is going to say next – I certainly don’t.

Stephen was a challenge, because initially he comes across as very dour. It took time to get to know him well enough to see the softness and thus to show it to the reader and Ione.

One thing to love about romance series is that you get to see characters after the happily-ever-after ending of their own book and hopefully people who enjoyed seeing Maggie and Lucas work things out will be happy to see that relationship growing.

If you enjoyed Secret Ones, I feel very confident you’ll love Power Unbound too – just don’t expect to read it from Maggie and Lucas’s side of things,

Read the first chapter of Power Unbound. Power Unbound will be available as a paperbook and e-book on 1 January 2011.

Nicole Murphy lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband. Tim. She is the author of Secret Ones and Power Unbound and has written many short stories as well as editing speculative fiction magazines. She is now working on the third book in the Dream of Asarlai trilogy, Rogue Gadda.