• 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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Immersion Part 2: Participation in Another World – Kim Falconer blogs

Rosette is more coveted than the seasonal fruit

The willing suspension of disbelief—the idea that we can immerse in a story because we will ourselves to overlook elements that are not plausible—is a flimsy explanation for reader immersion. Just think about that word willing. It implies an effort on our part, a conscious act, and anyone who has ever been immersed in a novel can attest, it takes no effort at all. You just fall.

One of my readers told me she read a pre-release copy of The Spell of Rosette in two days. She was supposed to be visiting a friend (whom she ignored the whole weekend). It was not her intention, and certainly not her will power, that turned the pages. She was trying to will herself to close the book. But she couldn’t. The spell had her and she was swept away, Alice down the rabbit hole, swallowing the blue pill, not the red. There was no willing suspension of disbelief going on. There was participation in another world.

I’m in good company when I reject the willing suspension of disbelief as an explanation for reader immersion. In his essay On Fairy Stories, JRR Tolkien suggests we enter a secondary world, a space created by the writer that allows the reader to participate with the story. For him, it’s not a matter of believing in something that we know isn’t true. It’s a matter of going to the place were it is true.

‘(The writer) makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is ‘true’: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside. If you are obliged, by kindliness or circumstance, to stay, then disbelief must be suspended (or stifled), otherwise listening and looking would become intolerable.’ –Tolkien 1966.

Immersion in Tolkien’s Secondary World is what I call the participation mystique—the mysterious act of entering the co-creation, the story’s world, written by the author and interpreted by the reader. You don’t get there through a willing suspension of disbelief. That would be a substitute for the real thing—being in the story. Tolkien said that if we must engage the willing suspension of disbelief, the art has failed—we are no longer immersed.

Regardless of how we understand the mechanisms of reader immersion, we can all agree that authors want to write immersive works and readers want to read them. How do we do that? Is there a formula for writing stories that grab readers from the start and keep them in the participation mystique until the end? In the final blog on this topic, I’ll discuss ways to write stories that keep reader in that ‘other world.’ Comments welcome!

Read Immersion Part I

Kim lives in Byron Bay with two gorgeous black cats. As well as her author website, Quantum Enchantment‚ she runs an astrology forum and alternative science sitetrains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on additional volumes in the Quantum Enchantment Series.

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Soul Influence by Kim Falconer

Oscar Wilde once said that to influence a person was to give them a piece of your own soul. He wasn’t too keen on the idea, though he was inspired by many intellectuals of his time. One in particular was the mysterious Madame Blavatsky—the Russian aristocrat who ushered in the New Age with her theosophical spiritualism. From her sprung writers such as Rudolf Steiner, Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, W. B. Yeats, Dion Fortune, Katherine Mansfield and Aldous Huxley. All of these authors had an effect on me, Oscar Wilde none the least. His stories, ranging from the horror classic, The Picture of Dorian Gray, to the seemingly trivial fantasy, The Importance of Being Earnest, made a lasting impression.

Author Kim Falconer

Author Kim Falconer

I agree with Peter V. Brett when he says writers are like psychic sponges. We mop up the brilliance of each other’s minds, reserving the insights for a rainy day, or perhaps our next novel. Wilde thought it was something to guard against but C. G. Jung (another hero of mine) said, we don’t create in a vacuum but through our relationship to others, and let’s face it, reading someone’s words is an intimacy, a relationship, a window into their soul.

I carry a lot of those souls around with me: Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, C S Lewis, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin—she’s a favourite, the woman who brought feminist theory to SF /F. Ann Rice—who always describes light and colour in such sensual ways, and Anne McCaffrey, who successfully merged SF and Fantasy, not an easy task.

I’ve read all of David Eddings too. He, like Wilde, tries to avoid influence. ‘I have a sub-conscious burglar lurking in my mind, he says. If I read a good fantasy it’s likely to show up in my next book.Stephen King is the opposite. He says that reading in your genre is necessary for understanding the market, to know editorial likes and dislikes. I love Brett’s take on this—‘Like all writers, I steal my ideas. . .

The Spell of Rosette

The Spell of Rosette - out now!

Whether we call it theft, awareness or influence, there wouldn’t be a fantasy author alive who hasn’t been touched by JRR Tolkien and I doubt any of us mind sharing a piece of his soul. I was inspired by LOTR to the point where I spent my teens and early twenties writing reams of epic poetry. These works were so extensive they made Homer’s Odyssey look like Haiku. Tolkien’s academic paper, On Fairy Stories, opened my mind to notions of immersion as well, but more on that topic in another blog! I’d like to hear your most influential authors. What bits of soul do you carry around with you? Comments welcome!

Kim Falconer’s first novel The Spell of Rosette is available at all good bookshops throughout Australia! Kim lives in Byron Bay with two gorgeous black cats. As well as her author website, Quantum Enchantment‚ she runs an astrology forum and alternative science sitetrains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on additional volumes in the Quantum Enchantment Series.

Read other posts by Kim Falconer