• 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!

     

     

Writing the Timestalker series

People always ask me what it’s like writing the Timestalker series. It follows the adventures of a time travelling detective, Kannon Dupree, who solves exotic mysteries set in different times and places. And as the latest book in the series, Coyote, has just come out, I know I’ll need to hone my answer to that question.

But to complicate matters, each book has had its own special challenges. In the first one, Gladiatrix, Kannon journeys to Rome in 8AD and investigates the mysterious rituals performed by an Egyptian Isis-worshipping cult, which in the twenty-first century has become so powerful that it’s challenging Christianity for dominance.

That was a lot of work. I had to set up the foundation for a new series which used time travel, create an alternate present, plus do research on ancient Rome as well as mystical Egyptian cults. Then put it all together in an adventure story.

The next book, Hoodwink, is set in the golden years of Hollywood. After the body of a movie director is found covered in a Mayan occult tattoo and cemented into the floor of his own film set, Kannon Dupree is hired to discover who murdered him. Whilst on the set of Gone With The Wind she stumbles onto a mystery that stretches back to the Civil War.

My research load doubled in Hoodwink. It ranged from 1939 Hollywood, through to the Mayan civilisation via the American Civil War. And, as every good writer knows, you only ever put a fraction of the research you do into your book.

In the latest book, Coyote, Kannon is hired to find the missing diary of a Wild West hero. The chase takes her through the middle of an Indian War, via a mysterious convent of nuns banished to die in the desert and into an ancient pueblo city on a cursed mesa sacred to Coyote, the trickster god.

The photo of me frowning outside the town of Coyote in New Mexico, was taken when I was trying to work out where the hell to locate one of the only truly fictional places in the book – Big Sun Canyon. America’s Southwest is a patchwork of sites sacred to the local Native American nations. (The photo of mesas is from one of these sites – Monument Valley) So I had to work out how to respect their beliefs and still write an adventure story that roamed across their territory. (I’m smiling in the other photo because I’ve just worked out what to do.)

Looking at the series as a whole – all the Timestalker books are basically adventure stories where complex mysteries are solved. It takes a huge amount of planning to tell an exciting story and at the same time unveil clues along the way. Add time travel to that mystery setup and there’s another equally intricate layer of planning. You can’t turn the reader off by making them question why the mystery wasn’t solved in one quick visit to the past rather than a journey that takes around 150,000 words.

So I do the all the planning and research and then I let my imagination take over… You’ve got to love speculative fiction. It’s as exciting to write, as it is to read.

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Coming soon … Gladiatrix

gladiatrix

Introducing Kannon … a hero for the ages, you might say, given the events of the story …

Left for dead when she was two‚ Kannon Jarratt has no idea of her real identity. Then, twenty years on‚ she discovers that her mother might be US Time Marshal‚ Victoria Dupree. Victoria is one of a select few allowed to travel in time – on official business only, and she’s currently in Ancient Rome, investigating the mysterious leader of the Isis cult, which has had a  suspicious resurgance in modern times.

When Kannon travels to the US to find out more about Victoria, she finds herself far more involved in Victoria’s work than she would have expected … ending up stuck in Ancient Rome – and lucky to be alive at all – in the time of Augustus, with no friendly faces around.

To survive, Kannon is forced to become a gladiatrix in the service of Domitia Crassus‚ the only person (and a vile one at that) who can lead her to her mother. And she’s not becoming a gladiatrix for nothing, there’s a bloody battle with death coming up …

I loved this book – it’s a mixture of all the good bits in an adventure story – the fantasy/SF element of time travel, the depiction of Ancient Rome, which is fantastic, a strong, sassy female lead who gets the job done, and a hot-as-hell-fire ex-gladiator who has been forced into slavery … I pounded through the second half of the book, eager to discover the identity of the Isis cult leader, the Hierophant, wondering if Kannon had discovered her mother, wondering if half the characters would survive! I loved the fact that the book starts of in Australia before travelling through both time and space. And lucky for me, when I’d finished I was able to throw a ton of questions at poor Rhonda Roberts – who kindly answered straight away. She’ll be writing for the Voyager blog in the next few weeks  – incorporating some of those answers – and for the Captain’s Log, the next issue of which is due very soon. Keep an eye out for those pieces and in the mean time, visit Rhonda’s website and read a brief excerpt from Gladiatrix.

Gladiatrix will be available across Australia in one week’s time.

If you’ve managed to snaffle an early copy of Gladiatrix, please feel free to post a review or your thoughts on the book in the comments section.