• 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!

     

     

  • Advertisements

UnConventional & the full Sir Julius Vogel Awards Wrap-up

Via Mary Victoria’s own site: http://maryvictoria.net/

Well, now that I’m home and have emerged from under a pile of unanswered email and unwashed laundry (or is it the reverse?) I can finally give you the promised Con report.

This was my first real experience of a New Zealand fantasy and science fiction convention and I must say, it was lovely. The panel discussions were engaging, the company excellent (of course) and the turn-out and interest high. We could barely all fit into the main hall when everyone gathered together. I’m happy to report that NZ fandom is alive, kicking, and often fetchingly dressed in steampunk finery.

I arrived on Saturday after a short delay to my flight, just in time for my first panel, ‘Women in SFF.’ Trudi Canavan, Helen Lowe, Lyn McConchie and I yakked for an hour or so on subjects ranging from how to define strength of character to the vexed issue of chainmail bikinis… I could see some audience members gazing at us quizzically, perhaps asking themselves what we had against chainmail bikinis. I mean, all the vital bits are covered, right?

Saturday evening was about unwinding a little, catching up with friends and a sumptuous Indian dinner! I didn’t make it to the zombie ball but did dodge many of the undead on my way to bed.

     Sunday dawned uncomfortably early (and perhaps may be termed a Dawn of the Dead without inviting too much heckling…) with a 9am panel on the subject of ‘Armageddon as Allegory.’ I took one look at the faces of my fellow panelists gathered in the cafe – Darusha Wehm, Simon Petrie, Beaulah Pragg and Phil Simpson – and thought, “yes, I know exactly how you feel.” But despite our need for sleep and largely due to the valient efforts of Simon as panel chair, we actually came up with a game plan for the discussion! It turned into a fantastic one – I think my favourite panel of the lot. We talked about the different approaches to ‘end of world’ scenarios in fantasy and science fiction, collective responsability vs. the mechanism of a Dark Lord and other interesting subjects.

By two o’clock, it was time to head back to the trenches at a ‘Geography in SFF’ panel with Russell Kirkpatrick, Trudi Canavan, Stephen Minchin and myself debating the merits of fantasy maps. Trudi and Russell both had some slides to show of maps in their own books, as well as some older efforts. The audience seemed passionate on the subject, with most falling in the ‘we love maps’ category but a vocal minority standing up for themselves in the opposite camp. We talked physical geography, geography as an influence on society and finally mental or idea maps… we could have gone on for twice as long, I think.

But all good things come to an end and thereafter it was signing and reading time. I read from ‘Samiha’s Song’ and Alma Alexander’s ‘River’ for a very appreciative audience sitting in leather armchairs. That’s the way to do it.

Sunday evening rolled around and it was time for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. These were presented with great flair – Kiwis have style! – by the Con organisers, Trudi Canavan and Helen Lowe. Trudi was channeling some great 1940′s Jessica Rabbit style with her cropped jacket and black gloves. As for me, I arrived at the ceremony somewhat flummoxed as I’d just heard my daughter was running a 40 degree fever (she has since recovered, never fear.) I had all the maternal angst and distraction going, therefore, and was totally unprepared when they announced ‘Samiha’s Song’ had won Best Novel…

Well, I’m afraid I lost it. I managed to say something resembling ‘thank you’ when collecting the statue but waterworks were threatening. In order to avoid general embarrassment I hightailed it back to my chair as soon as possible – only to have to come forward again to collect Frank’s award for artwork!

So if I look a little odd in these photos, forgive me. But it was an absolute joy to congratulate my fellow winners. They are, from left to right, below:

Kevin Berry for New Talent, and after Trudi, Lee Murray for Best YA Novel, yours truly for Best Novel (Adult) and Alicia Ponder for Best Short Story. (For some reason Anna Caro wasn’t in this photo with us but I was stoked to see her and Cassie Hart take away the award for Best Collection for ‘Tales For Canterbury’.)

The full list of all winners including fan categories can be found on the SFFANZ website.

So there we are! I’m home now, with a convalescing daughter and two spiky awards. I can’t tell you how happy and proud this makes me… the ‘Chronicles of the Tree’ were a NZ endeavour, very much inspired by the vegetation and landscape in New Zealand, so it’s doubly satisfying for me to strike a chord with Kiwi readers.

As to the artist who won a well-deserved award for his artwork on ‘Oracle’s Fire’ – he was suitably appreciative. I think he found the button to turn the award on, too. He looks evil in this photo – Frank, have you discovered a way to end the world, again?

Via Mary’s own site: http://maryvictoria.net/ Check it Out!

Advertisements

Mary Victoria on: Introducing a new character

Samiha's Song

Before picking up the second installment in a fantasy series, I often find myself wondering whether I’ll be reunited with the protagonists I loved in the first book, or whether the author will introduce me to a different cast of characters altogether. There is no one right way to write a trilogy, after all, and options range from J.R.R. Tolkien’s direct continuation of the same tale through several volumes to authors who shift their main protagonists between each book, or set their subsequent stories years after the first.

Samiha’s Song takes an approach closer to the Tolkien end of the spectrum, continuing Tymon and Samiha’s story almost where it left off in the first book, though the action begins two weeks after the events concluding Tymon’s Flight. As such, it is not a stand-alone novel, but part of an ongoing tale begun in book one and ending in book three. That said, there are several new and important characters introduced in this second book, characters who have an enormous impact on the overall arc of the story and who make Samiha’s Song very much their own.

The World Tree rises up ...

The first is Jedda, Tymon’s fellow student, who like him is leaving the Freehold and traveling to distant city to begin her Grafter training. Both Tymon and Jedda are about to meet their new teacher, the Oracle of Nur – but more about her in moment.

Jedda is quite different to Tymon in both her personality type and general outlook on life. On the surface, she is a survivor, a pragmatist, shunning idealism in her quest for power and knowledge. That is how she wishes others to see her. But like all of us, Jedda’s character contains internal contradictions. Underneath the hardened shell there is a young girl with a great capacity for empathy and loyalty – qualities she is at pains to hide, because she fears they will make her seem weak.

I enjoyed writing Jedda tremendously. I liked her contradictions and her rebellious streak. She is a complex character in a complex world, and a good foil for Tymon, who tends to make rather stiff moral judgments about people and situations first, and ask questions later. Jedda always asks the questions first.

Just as Tymon’s Flight was in essence a coming of age tale, Samiha’s Song is about what happens afterwards, in adulthood. It is about learning to be true to yourself, to know yourself thoroughly. The three main characters – Tymon, Samiha, and Jedda – are all on a voyage of self-discovery, finding out who they truly are and what they are capable of. That process can be enlightening or shocking as the case may be.

The Oracle of Nur is the catalyst setting Tymon and Jedda’s development in motion. She is a challenging personality herself, hard to define in terms of simplistic moral judgments, and the two young students do not know to begin with whether she is good or evil, friend or foe. She sees the future continually, a capacity that makes her quite difficult to understand and get along with in a traditional sense. She does not simply meet a person in the everyday way; she meets that person’s past, present and possible future all at the same time. Her first task as Tymon and Jedda’s teacher is to bring her students face-to-face with themselves: in that mirror they will begin to see how far they have to go.

There are several other major characters making inaugural appearances in Samiha’s Song, but to describe them here would be a spoiler… Suffice to say that wherever Tymon goes on his journey, there will be new faces and fresh surprises, and that nothing is what it seems to be, at first glance…

Mary Victoria lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She’s working on the final book in the Chronicles of the Tree trilogy, Oracle’s Fire.  Her most recent book is Samiha’s Song. Visit Mary at her website and read some of the posts by other fantasy authors on the theme of Writing Strong Women.strong>