• 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!



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!

K E Mills tells all re: Sorcerer and Accident …

This interview appeared in the March 2008 issue of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine, visit www.booksellerandpublisher.com.au for more details.

K E Mills—AKA ‘Kingmaker, Kingbreaker’ author Karen Miller— has a new series on offer, come April. She tells Jarrah Moore about writing, imagination, and ‘falling madly in love’ with the 10th Doctor Who …

You mention David Tennant, the 10th Doctor, in your Acknowledgements. I approve. Do you think he’s influenced your writing style?

In a funny way, yes. I think he had. Long before I was a published author. I was a fan—of books, TV, film. And as a fan, I was constantly bubbling with passion and enthusiasm for characters and worlds other people had created, that I fell in love with. I’m still a fan, but with the focus now on creating my own characters and worlds much of the passion of late has been poured into my own creations.

Discovering the new Doctor Who, falling madly in love with David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, has reminded me of how wonderful that pure fannish passion is … and it’s reminded me of why I’m doing this in the first place. For the passion, the excitement, the sheer mad joy of diving headfirst into these fantastic worlds and living there for a while, in my imagination.

There’s a definite change of tone in the book, from the light-hearted, comic opening to the darker themes and higher stakes of the ending. Will this darker shift be reflected in the rest of the series, or do you mean to revive the comedy in the next book?

You’re right, there is a change, I feel it reflects the journey that Gerald goes on—his life was quite safe, a bit fraught at times, but not actually dangerous. And then he discovers that where there’s sunshine, there are shadows. But life is always a mix of both, so the following books won’t be all dark, that’s for sure. Yes, he’ll be facing more dangerous situations, but given that Reg and Melissande will still be a large part of his life, the prospects of humour remain pretty good, I think! And poor old Gerald is the kind of person who ends up dealing the ridiculous soon or later.

So the other principal characters of this first book—Monk and Princess Melissande—will be coming back?

Absolutely. Reg, Mel and Monk will be playing very important roles in Gerald’s life. Also Monk’s sister. And as the series progresses—if it does, which I really hope!—other characters will come in.

Who was your favourite character, in writing this book?

Probably Reg. I guess she’s my alter ego. She says out loud all the crabby, rude things I say inside my head but don’t let past my lips! She’s fearless, which I’m sure not, but I get to present I am when I’m writing her.

The Accidental Sorcerer being in a modern (though alternate-world) city, but then the setting moves to a more recognisably fantastic one. Do you plan to explore more urban settings in the series, or are you more interested in a world of swords and kingdoms?

My hope with the series is that I’m able to hop around to all kinds of settings. Just as our world contains societies of incredible sophistication and others of timeless traditions that haven’t changed in centuries, so does the Rogue Agent world. I find all kinds of societies interesting and the fun thing with this series—I think—is the chance to put the characters into a wide range of really different and challenging situations, and then see how they cope.

What would you say the theme of the book is? Is it different to the theme of the series as a whole?

The theme of The Accidental Sorcerer is: Be careful what you wish for. Because Gerald wants to be a great wizard, and he finds out that comes with a pretty hefty price tag.

The series theme is (and I’m probably mangling the quote): All that is required for evil to flourish is that good men do nothing. Obviously that should be good men and women, but the sentiment holds. There are bad guys out there, and the world needs good guys to fight them. But it’s not always pretty, and that’s what I want to explore with these books. And have some fun along the way!

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