• 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!



Of Polished Steel & Burnt Ice

This month  we’re launching a brand new Voyager author, Steve Wheeler, and his epic Science Fiction novel Burnt Ice. It’s been a while since we had some new pure science fiction gracing the blog, so we’re very excited about this one!
Burnt Ice is set in a distant future where the Sphere of Humankind is a vast interstellar empire ruled by The Administration and wars are run & televised to entertain the masses by the omnipresent Games Board. Featuring rogue AIs, massive Space Urchins, a rag-tag squadron of soldier-engineers and genetic engineering, Burnt Ice is the beginning of fantastic new series A Fury of Aces.
Read an except here.
In his other life in New Zealand, Steve Wheeler works as a metal worker and has crafted knives, swords and props for The Hobbit movie ( How awesome is that?).  He’ll be launching Burnt Ice at the Weta Cave at Weta HQ on April the 14th and we’ll be sure to post pictures afterward!

Cover illustration by John Howe ( yes THAT John Howe!)

Roger Kupelian talks about keeping it real in Hollywood, illustrating Tymon’s Flight

Roger Kupelian's amazing illustration of Tymon's Flight (click to see in full glory on Mary's website)

Mary: Roger, you’ve worked for huge names, on huge film productions – ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Flags of Our Fathers’, ‘Cloverfield’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and many more – but also on very personal art house projects, like your latest collaboration with Serj Tankian,‘Glaring Through Oblivion,’ a book of illustrated poetry due out this month. Which persona do you prefer – the highly sought-after vfx worker, or the independent artist? Do you think there’s any tension between the two, or do you manage to deftly dance on that Hollywood tightrope?

Roger: You feed the beast so you can ride the beast. In other words the two worlds compliment each other due to the tension that exists between them. One is art for commerce in all its variants and the other being the personal expression of something deeply meaningful. The lucrative lure and associate notoriety of “big name projects” is all well and good in the beginning but one realizes how much creative control you give up to basically plug up gaps in a megalithic endeavor. With the poetry book I was free once again to explore the medium. It’s really the same path, a slider-scale. One’s the side road and one is the expressway. But I hold no Illusions that both share the same ingredients.

Mary: I admire the way you manage that balancing act. When we first discussed the possibility of illustrating a scene from ‘Tymon’s Flight’, I confess part of me was thinking, “Why is he bothering with me, a debut novelist? This guy has worked for Jackson, Burton, Eastwood, helping to bring multi-million dollar projects to life…” But as soon as I began talking to you about the scene you were thinking of illustrating, those anxieties disappeared. I knew you didn’t care a bit if the project was large or small – so long as the world was vivid, the story engaging and you felt excited about the art you were creating. You told me afterwards: “When I was doing the painting, and I always do this with successful work, I get into the emotion of it.”

Moving on from that thought, I’d love to know – when you’re planning to paint a scene, how do you get yourself into that emotional space? What steps do you follow to conjure up, for example, the urgency and desperation of a battle, that palpable sense of danger? Continue reading

The launch of Tymon’s Flight

Today was quite a day. Memorable, wonderful, and boy am I glad it’s over. 😉

It began with a bang at the RadioActive studios and a live slot on the Caffeine and Aspirin 11am show. The first thing I saw when I walked in the waiting area was a fellow who had fallen asleep on the couch over a copy of Moby Dick. Hm, I thought, not a good omen for writers. I got to teasing him when he woke up but frankly… I’ve never managed get through Melville, either. 

I’d never done a live radio gig before and naturally I managed to blank out on the very first question! I didn’t hear anything but the words, ‘realms of fantasy.’ I had no idea what the interviewer was asking. So I took a wild guess and answered anyway. I started talking about my childhood and how I’d always loved fantasy. Turns out he’d asked me exactly that… Hilarious.

The rest of the interview went quite smoothly for a newbie effort. I think I kicked the mike throughout. I kept laughing through the guy’s reactions because, well, they were funny. So if you catch the show you’ll hear a lot of me chuckling away in the background, and various suspicious sounding thumps and bumps. Apologies. We talked for a good twenty minutes, then signed off. After we were done we both realised we’d forgotten to talk about the launch! So he put me back on… After the show, I got to meet Adele Jackson who is the Storylines children’s book festival coordinator here in Wellington. Talk about a plus!

An hour or so later I was down at the Weta Cave, working myself into a flap about speaking in front of a roomful of people. The store manager Anna Willett was patient with me throughout. By the time I’d breathed deeply and counted to ten a veritable crowd had gathered and the temperature had risen to Mordor-orc-sweatshop levels. First up to speak was the lovely Tammy Ruffell of HarperCollins, who introduced me with so much praise that my ears sizzled, fell off and had to be picked up from the floor. Then it was yours truly up before the laughing crowd. I read a few pages of the Prologue and answered some excellent audience questions (which were not rigged! true story!) 

Thereafter it was signing time. I signed. And signed. And signed. And signed some more. People bought armloads of books. For themselves, for their friends, for their third cousins and second aunties in deep Taranaki… I don’t know how many copies were sold yet, it must have been more than seventy. But in between all that signing came the best part: seeing and speaking to the people who had come to celebrate this milestone with me. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the end of it all, I must say.

There was one little highlight for me that sums up these feelings. Most people there were of course friends and acquaintances, people I’ve met on Facebook or Weta colleagues. They were there to show support and cheer me on, as well as (hopefully!) buy a cool book. But there were a few people with no connection to me who happened to wander into the Cave while all this was going on, and stayed to check out the book. Among them was a mother with her two pre-teen age children. The boy was keen to have a copy, and after his mum had vetted it for a few pages she agreed to buy one (I passed the ‘mum’ test, yay!) The girl asked me what the story was about. I briefly described the concept of the World Tree, a tree the size of the Himalayan mountain range, a tangle of leaves and branches many, many miles high…

The look on her face was classic. You could have scraped that kid’s jaw off the ground… She simply loved the idea of a giant tree. That was the first time I’d seen a complete stranger, a kid, who totally ‘got’ the story and was excited about it… And that, patient friends, was the most wonderful experience of all.

Here are a few snaps of the day:

The audience listen to Mary read from the Prologue

The signing is on! Mary to the right, Frank (cover illustrator) to the left.

Mary in full flight 😉 - picture courtesy of Brendon Doran

See the Weta Cave in its full glory (scroll to the bottom of the forum).

Tymon’s Flight is now available throughout Australia and New Zealand. It is the first book in the Chronicles of the Tree, and Book Two, Samiha’s Song, will be out in February. Mary Victoria lives in New Zealand and is currently working on the second and third book in the Chronicles of the Tree trilogy.

Precioussssss …

Mary Victoria visited the Weta Caves and met with a very special resident. Unfortunately, he took her first edition of Tymon’s Flight and wouldn’t give it back. What was Mary to do? That’s right, return to the Cave on 14 August for the official launch of Tymon’s Flight! Join Mary and the Weta crew at the Cave on Saturday 14 August at 11am, and enjoy the celebrations!

All photos are by Anita De Muth.

'MINE ... preciousssssss' (this is Mary speaking, not Gollum!)

In the Weta Cave ... Mary has wrestled her precious back from Gollum

Gollum is surprised to learn that he can get his own copy of Tymon's Flight from all bookshops across Australia and New Zealand. As can you!