• 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!



Raymond E Feist talks about Rides a Dread Legion

Rides a Dread Legion is out now. Read about how fellow Voyager author Duncan Lay met Raymond E Feist, and subsequently wrote his first novel, The Wounded Guardian, which is out next week.

Where did it all begin? Voyager debut Duncan Lay tells us

Duncan's first book

Duncan's first book

I find it hard to answer when people ask: “Where did it all begin?”

Do I go back to my childhood and my love of reading and writing? What about when my best mate introduced me to fantasy reading, by giving me a copy of Legend, by David Gemmell, at age 15?

But one definite place where it all began was when I interviewed fantasy giant Raymond E Feist, in 2002, at Starbucks coffee shop in Hornsby.

Back then I was the editor of the Hornsby Advocate and, like so many other people, a frustrated writer.

My one attempt at a fantasy book had slightly interested one agent – and that was it. Convinced I couldn’t write fantasy, I was trying – and failing – to get a contemporary Australian novel published. After getting to the final 10 of a pitching contest at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, and having an agent want to read the whole manuscript, I had hit a brick wall.

But if I couldn’t write, at least I could interview one of my favourite authors, who was out here on his Talon Of The Silver Hawk promotional tour.
I managed to arrange an interview with Feist through HarperCollins, as he was also going to have a book signing at Borders Hornsby.

Now, no author is going to be unpleasant to an interviewer, even one from a suburban newspaper, but I found Feist to be charming and an absolute delight to talk to.

We discussed his books, as well as fantasy in general and also his friend William R Forstchen (they co-authored Honoured Enemy). I have all eight of Forstchen’s Lost Regiment series – coincidentally bought at Karen Miller‘s Phantasia bookshop in Penrith.

Then we began talking about writing, and he described how his characters sometimes take his story threads off in different directions to the one he planned. That they almost tell the story for him. The way he described it they begin at A and have to get to Z but they don’t go there via B, C, D etc – they might jump to H, then back again and so on.

This was very similar to the way I like to write – that once I have my characters firmly in my mind, they almost take control of the story.

We spoke for so long, the HarperCollins PR lady had to come and get him, as the crowds in Borders were getting restless!

I walked away from that interview just buzzing, my mind afire. If Feist, the mind behind such classics as Magician, wrote like that, then why couldn’t I?
It was hugely invigorating.

Now the story that became The Wounded Guardian did not begin to take shape until 2004, almost exactly two years later – my son was born one month after the Feist interview and helped occupy my time – but I decided in 2002 to leave my contemporary novel and go back to fantasy.

Now, seven years later, my dream is about to come true!

I emailed Raymond E Feist after I signed my contract with HarperCollins and he wrote back, a lovely email that included:

“Don’t go blaming me, mate, if you got the storytelling bug. And if you somehow manage to get rich and famous doing this, it’s not my fault!
Anyway, continued success to you and if I played even a small part in motivating you to live your dream, thanks for letting me know.’’

He does not endorse books, and I would not expect him to ever read The Wounded Guardian. But he played more than a small part in motivating me to live my dream!

Find out more about The Wounded Guardian, which is officially published on 1 July (but will be hitting bookstores from next week onwards).

Duncan Lay is a layout designer and headline writer at the Sunday Telegraph. He lives on the Central Coast of NSW. Visit Duncan’s blog.

Put YOUR questions to fantasy legend Raymond Feist



UK site BookGeeks are running an interview next week with Raymond E Feist. They are offering readers the opportunity to suggest questions to ask Raymond – and will pass on as many as possible to him to answer. The deadline is 6:30 am (GMT) on Thursday 9th April, so click the link above for the form to send a question!

Peter V Brett tells us the writers who inspired him

The Painted Man

An irony of the early reviews The Painted Man has received is that my work is frequently compared to that of David Gemmell and Robin Hobb. It’s incredibly flattering, since both authors are immensely popular, but the truth is I’ve never read anything by either of them. I’ve since added books from both to my reading pile, of course. I want to see what other people are seeing.

But that’s not to say by any means that I am not influenced by other authors. I have always been a pretty voracious fantasy reader. The first non-school book (without pictures) that I ever read was The Hobbit, along with about a million superhero comics from Marvel and DC. My parents, both heavy readers themselves, started to worry when all I spent my time reading was comics, so my father went to the library and checked out a copy of Terry Brooks’ Wishsong of Shannara.

After that, I read whatever fantasy books I could get my hands on. RA Salvatore, Douglas Niles, Piers Anthony, Lyndon Hardy, CS Friedman, Michael Moorcock, Barbara Hambly, Peter S. Beagle, Tanya Huff, Raymond E. Feist, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, William Goldman, Phillip Pullman, David Farland, Naomi Novik and countless others. I think I must have read the entire TSR line of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books in the 80’s and 90’s. I also read a lot of horror stories, mostly Stephen King and James Herbert.

All of those authors made an impact on me and my writing, but the two books that I really credit with raising my game as a writer were James Clavell’s Shogun and George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones. These authors taught me just how far the fantasy novel medium could reach, with countless levels of complexity and point of view kept compelling even over the course of a thousand pages or more. I realized then that a lot of the limits in novels are self-imposed by the authors, whether consciously or not. I don’t know if I can ever achieve that level of writing, but I intend to spend the rest of my life trying.

But I still read comics.

The Painted Man will be available next week across Australia. And there are plenty of people buzzed about it! A review appeared in the first edition of Black Magazine, and you can also see a review and interview at sf/f site A Boy Goes On A Journey. I’ll post more links to reviews with Peter’s post next week, there’s plenty to choose from.