Less than a week until River God goes live!
Here's the final preview chapter (#3) and stay tuned for details of a blog-based giveaway and a reminder or two about a few other giveaways I'm currently running.
Today I've got a bit of a mixture of links to a range of things, a couple of interviews, a review, a blog post, and a giveaway and so without further rambling, here's the list :D
I recently started working with an ace group of writers who've banded together under the name Quill. We're a cross-genre bunch trying to share interesting content and win fans - for my part you can check out a short interview and my post: Intro to World Building - Making it Stick.
Friday Fortnight Interview
A while back Kerry J Donovan conducted an interview on his blog - check it out if you're looking for a chuckle :) (And while you're there, if you like Crime-Thrillers have a look at his DCI Jones Casebook series, they're ace.)
With the release of Crossings not too far off (I'm gunning for October) I'm offering 3 ways to win a copy during the lead up :)
1. Visit Goodreads and add the book to your 'to-read' shelf and you'll be automatically notified when the Goodreads Giveaway goes live. (This one opens in Nov.)
2. Visit the 'newsletter' sign-up page in the top right of the site and that's it - you're in the running to win an e-copy of Crossings and you'll also receive the eBook for A Whisper of Leaves upon sign-up. (The newsletter comp will be announced in Oct.)
3. Visit the Crossings page and check out chapter one (or click here, it's probably quicker) and answer a simple question:
What does Lisa find on her doorstep?
Once you find the answer, just let me know by leaving a comment on this post OR by sending me an e-mail to mountain0ash[at]gmail[dot]com. The first two people to answer will win a print copy of Crossings :)
The Lost Mask
Some early reviews are in and it's a weight off my mind to see readers who enjoyed City of Masks are finding that The Lost Mask lives up to their expectations!
Here's a link to them on GR. Thanks to everyone who has read it already and let me know what they thought, it makes a big difference :)
Aurelia Maria Casey is a writer, speaker, editor, internet fairy godmother and owner of the AVBC podcast, which you can check out right here – a great series of author interviews and book reviews/discussions.
A while back Aurelia was kind enough to interview me about City of Masks and I wanted to interview her about her various writing projects and generally awesome things she’s up to. I hope you enjoy our chat!
Ashley Capes: At your site you mention speaking engagements geared toward helping science-minded folks break the misconception that they cannot write – what are the biggest challenges these people face? And personally, how does your expertise in engineering impact your own writing?
Aurelia M Casey: From my experiences collaborating with my fellow engineers I have noticed that many engineers and scientists are excellent at telling you what they do, but as soon as they have to write it down, they produce gibberish stuffed with jargon and even they themselves don’t understand the meaning of their sentences or paragraphs.
I think the biggest challenge these people face is the expectation of the academic and research communities that anything written down must be pure objective science. It is easy to say and write “I did this assay, and saw a really unexpected result: the bacteria all turned green when I thought they ought to turn blue.” Apparently, it’s much harder for most people to write: “Assay A was performed as specified in the methods, with 0.01% instead of 0.1% glucose. Observation of the bacterial colonies shows green fluorescence instead of the expected blue fluorescence.” The second biggest challenge is that most scientists and engineers are whole-heartedly convinced that they can’t write. It never occurs to them that first drafts aren’t supposed to make any sense, that that is why revision and editing exist.
Everything I do is intertwined: I’m all about imagining awesome stuff and making it exist. Sometimes I’m dreaming new technology into the world, sometimes I’m creating gowns to make people feel like Cinderella, and sometimes I’m telling stories. I have a few sci-fi stories planned, and I’m really excited because I want to make some of the tech that I have in those stories in real life. But from a writing craft perspective, even research reports and business grant proposals and technical papers are all stories. I think working on those writing projects has helped me to understand how central story is to everything we do. Sure, when I write something technical I have to be as objective as possible, but it’s still a story: a story about the experiment and results rather than a story about the people who do the experimentation.
The real answer is that I don’t see any difference between magic and technology. They’re simply different sides to the same coin and I like exploring the whole complexity of an idea.
AC: Fantastic, can you give an example about a technology you’ve featured in a story that you feel can work in the real world?
AMC: Well, it’s not out yet, but my second serial, which will be on my upcoming podcast Storytime (launching this September!) after Sorcerous & Beastly ends, is a science fiction tale called The Exclusives. It’s a little bit like Covert Affairs meets The Matrix. The main character gets into the best university in the world. This university specializes in cross-cultural conflict resolution and diplomacy as well as international business and emerging technologies. The campus is an airship that travels around the globe. I’m in the process of actually designing this airship. I know airships are steampunk, but this particular one uses new materials so that the frame and helium cells are lighter, there’s more space, you can see out better, and it’s more robust if it encounters storms. If I’m ever a bazillionaire, I’m going to found the actual university too, because why not? The Exclusives has a blend of tech that I can design with current technology and tech that needs quantum physics and other complicated and paradoxical things to work. But I do my best to make everything understandable. What’s the point of introducing you to a new device if you can’t imagine it being useful?
AC: I know you work across a variety of genres and while I think a lot of a writer’s attention should be focused on the reader, I don’t think we should overlook our own enjoyment. Is it fun to operate in so many sandboxes? The advice that a writer should write the story they’d enjoy reading springs to mind, would you say that is true for you?
AMC: Oh, I definitely have fun. Most of my story ideas started as dreams where I woke up before the end and after spending a few hours daydreaming what-ifs to find an ending I liked I realized that it was a bigger story that deserved more time. Reading is very linear for me: I devour stories and I read them over and over when I really love them.
Writing for me is more convoluted. It’s a very similar process to the stereotypical fantasy depiction of seers trying to piece together the possible futures to understand the implications of the past and present. I’ll know bits and pieces, but not necessarily how they connect. Or I’ll discover as I’m writing something fascinating. I have over sixty books planned out right now, and many of the series started sort of backwards: I start writing the “original” story and then realize that the parents of those characters have a story that would add important layers to the story overall so I add prequels. But I do try to publish things in an order that makes sense to read. I end up reading my “original” stories later, after I’ve worked on the prequels, and I love re-discovering my stories and realizing that they’re better than I thought they were when I was writing them.
AC: Yes! I use the ‘what if’ method too. I think it remains one of the most powerful questions a writer can ask, it seems to lead to the most interesting places in a story. Is there a favourite ‘what if’ that sent a story down a path you weren’t expecting
AMC: A favourite ‘what if’? That’s hard. I come up with so many every day and I only keep track of the most interesting ones in evernote. Hmm… I guess I’ll go with the one ‘what if’ which eventually let me to become a writer.
Back when I was twelve, I had just read The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and I thought: what if there was a school like in Harry Potter but with elves and things like in The Lord of the Rings? That lead to my first epic fantasy story, which has been percolating and developing with me over the years. Elethiere, Lanowyn, and the rest of the gang are some of my favourite characters because in a sense they grew up with me. Chains of Destruction is a short story I published last year that was originally the prologue for the first Elethiere story. (I know, nearly a decade and a half later and I still don’t have a title that I like enough for this story).
AC: You’re also working in editorial roles and I noticed that part of the proceeds from one of your projects, Sticks and Stones... will be used toward supporting victims of domestic violence, which is fantastic. How hard is it to edit an anthology dealing with such a grave issue?
AMC: Well, for me it isn’t too hard emotionally. I’ve only experienced domestic violence second hand: many of my friends and family are survivors. Reading the submissions is educational, and I empathize deeply, but it doesn’t trigger any traumatic memories. Part of my goal with the domestic violence anthology is to make it less challenging to read about this issue: since the anthology is short stories and poetry, readers can take these stories in small doses. The other part of my goal is to foster discussion so that others like me can learn and understand how difficult it is to be in a bad relationship and victims can discover whether their friends are truly empathetic and supportive without having to be vulnerable by sharing their personal experiences right away.
As for actually selecting and rejecting submissions, I do what most editors do: I pick the stories and poems that I like and that I think are relevant to understanding broken love, and what love should be, and what victims of domestic violence go through. So far, it’s been challenging and fun, rather than hard.
AC: It must be really satisfying to work on the anthology too and I think the idea of short doses is clever. Is there also scope for longer works in the future?
AMC: I’m not sure. I don’t really have any hard and fast word count rules in my submission guidelines. Some stories are super short, around 500 words, and others are more than 10,000. I suppose it depends on the works I like for a given year’s anthology: if there are a lot of short works then there may not be space for a longer one and if there are a few long works there might not be space for very many short ones. Space in the physical print book, naturally. Ebooks don’t have that limitation.
AC: I wanted to ask you more about one of your works and something about Assassin caught my eye – can you tell me a little more about it? I notice from the blurb that your MC Lara faces some tough choices, one of which is the possibility of self-sacrifice. It’s one of my favourite themes and I wondered what draws you to it?
AMC: I’m not really sure. Maybe my experiences with unrequited love? Self-sacrifice is a core part of my personality: I would sacrifice everything for the people I care most about, so it’s logical for me that others would too. When I was in high school, my teachers led a number of discussions asking the question: what are you willing to die for? Everyone had something they cared about, but it was very academic, very theoretical. We all knew that it was highly unlikely any of us would actually be in that situation. So perhaps I write about it to understand the idea more concretely. It takes a lot of courage to do what’s right when you know that the world you love will never be the same afterward. Especially when you could just stay in your comfortable life and let the hidden evils spread. Sorcerous & Beastly deals with courage also, and the tension between duty and desire.
Assassin is almost the epilogue to Lara’s story. I decided to publish it as a short story because it was finished, but it takes place in the middle of the Intrigue series. Most of Lara’s story is in the second book. This series is definitely one of my darkest. I have to rate it R because it’s nearly as graphic as Game of Thrones, although that’s the only similarity (I think…I could be wrong...Read it when it comes out and tell me what you think). Intrigue is one of the series where I discovered prequels. I also discovered my “original” story was too long for one book. So that expanded into the last three books in the series and the “prequels” are the first three.
AC: Will do! Can you tell me more about Lara and her story – which aspects about her were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging? Were there characters around her who threatened to steal the spotlight? If so, how did you ‘deal’ with them?
AMC: I’m not sure I can answer this question without spoilers for The Eagle of Bar’Dhain, the second Intrigue book. Lara is one of the main characters in that part of the story, but is in the background more for the rest of the series. Between the end of her full novel and the beginning of Assassin, a lot happens to her. Assassin is more than twenty years later and she has become a famous assassin, although nobody knows her real name but her. One of the things that is so much fun about Lara is how dramatically she changes between her teenage years and where she ends up at the end of Assassin. There’s definitely space for more short stories about her.
Actually Lara was one of the characters who threatened to steal the spotlight from Rosalina. Rosalina is the main character for the last three Intrigue books, which I thought would be only one when I first had the story spark. So Lara and Raisa both were trying to steal the story, not because they are in Rosalina’s story but because their stories provide the context, the background, for Rosalina’s. Anyway, I dealt with it like I usually do: I gave Lara and Raisa their own novels. And Sebastian too. He’s in the first two Intrigue books, and is important to the beginning of Lara’s story and sets up the political landscape for Raisa’s and Rosalina’s stories.
AC: Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Aurelia :) Readers can also check out Sorcerous & Beastly in a variety of formats right here - check it out!
To learn more about Aurelia and her work, here's some handy links from Aurelia:
The first episode of Sorcerous & Beastly is out already in ebook format and you can find the links on this page, and the pre-orders for the complete season will be there as well. Or you can join my purple court and get the whole starter library free (Assassin, Chains of Destruction, and Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1 Episodes 1 & 2).
I'll be narrating each Sorcerous & Beastly episode on my upcoming Storytime podcast starting the first Monday in September (the 7th I think). So if you like listening to stories, you should check that out. You can also like my facebook page or follow me on twitter to get reminders when that comes out.
In a few short months my next short novel will be released :)
Crossings is a dark-ish fantasy set in Australia and which features kangaroos quite prominently. The story follows Lisa Thomas, a wildlife volunteer, as she tries to uncover the mysteries behind a giant white kangaroo and the deaths surrounding it.
A while back I posted the awesome cover art (as seen above) and now I'd like to share chapter one - it's a late draft but I may still make minor changes before the book is actually released.
Hope you enjoy!
Here's another writing soundtrack, this time comprised of the tunes I had on heavy rotation while writing & editing Sea of Trees. Among other styles, there's a bit more jazz and music from or inspired by Japan this time around. There were a few traditional pieces I didn't include here too, one of which is the beautiful Moon Over Ruined Castle.
Again (and I know I say this every time) one day I'll update some of these images and make them youtube links!
A quick update about where I am with a few projects:
The Lost Mask
Have handed in the next round of revisions to the publisher and now we hope to go into copy editing very soon, and remain on track for the December release. So if you enjoyed City of Masks, you don't have to wait too long before the follow-up is out!
The Fairy Wren
Sadly I've faced a few delays and should now release The Fairy Wren in the middle of November instead of the end of Oct - in the meantime there's a Goodreads Giveaway on at the moment, so If you're curious check it out :)
Sea of Trees
Revisions for The Lost Mask bumped this one back a little - I hope to finish the third draft in December while TLM is in production. Then the novella should be ready in the new year. I've got a bit more foreshadowing to do on the story and it will be much, much better for it.
Here's a rough, general blurb:
When ESL teacher Riko finds an old journal buried in the forests beneath Mt Fuji, her chances of staying in her adopted home are threatened, as dark forces begin to twist everything around her; work, friends and even the very fabric of reality.
Worse, no-one takes her fears seriously and the more she studies the journal for answers, the more questions she uncovers.
Planning for Book 3 of The Bone Mask Trilogy is all done and I've got a rough chapter one down - only fifty or so to go!
If you're on Goodreads the Giveaway for The Fairy Wren has just gone live!
I've got two copies to send off when it closes in mid November, which is probably closer to the revised release date. I'll also be choosing a winner from the Newsletter entrants then, so stay tuned!
Today I’m thrilled to share an interview with Australian Speculative Fiction author Joanne Anderton, whose genre-bending Veiled Worlds Trilogy was recently completed with the release of Guardian.
You can read more about her at her blog, follow her on twitter right here and sample the first novel, Debris, in the trilogy here. Big thanks to Jo for agreeing to chat with me and hope everyone enjoys the read!
AC: Setting is such a vital aspect of speculative fiction – and all good fiction really – and I wondered if you could tell me a little of the inspiration for the setting of your Veiled Worlds Trilogy?
JA: Strange and vivid worlds are what I love most about reading fantasy and science fiction. Getting lost in them is what I love most about writing fantasy and science fiction!
The setting for the Veiled Worlds came about because I wanted to write a story about industrialised magic. I've always wondered why the worlds in the big fat fantasy trilogies I devoured as a teenager were usually rural, agricultural and feudal. Why would a culture get stuck there just because it has access to magic? Why wouldn't technology keep changing and developing -- and why couldn't magic become part of that technology?
That's where the idea of pions and debris came from, and they are the driving force behind the setting. Tanyana's world is industrialised, and powered by pion manipulation instead of coal. It's urban, militarised, and it struggles with pollution too -- except instead of smoke or sludge, they get debris.
Of course, if you've read Guardian you know Tanyana's world is a little more complicated than that, and nothing about it is quite as it seems. But I won't get stuck into that, because spoilers :)
AC: It sounds awesome, I’m really keen to get in to it (Debris arrived in the mail last week) and wanted to ask, what sort of research did you undertake for the setting?
JA: Thank you! Hope you enjoy it!
Most of The Veiled Worlds is set in a kinda-steampunky, industrial-age, Russian-inspired setting. Sadly, I did not travel to Russia. But I did do a lot of reading on Russian history, architecture, climate… you get the idea.
The other major setting is… a spoiler :)
AC: How important – or dangerous – do you think tropes are for the speculative fiction writer?
JA: I think it's important to know them, and why they've persisted -- what is it about them that speaks to us, and why do they work? That's part of being a reader and a writer, reading widely within and outside of your own genre. Avoid tropes if you want, but don't do so at the expense of story. Ultimately, story is the most important thing anyway (in my opinion at least).
AC: I agree, the story as a whole is more important to me as a reader than a single trope – and some tropes are quite endearing. Actually, that prompts me to ask, do you have a favourite trope, and if so, why do you think it remains favoured?
JA: Hmm, not sure if this counts as a trope or not, but I love stories set on fantasy worlds that are actually built on the ruins of advanced civilisations. It's even better if their magic system uses that technology in some way, and 'gods' were really these super-advanced people who disappeared… or did they? Part of the plot should involve uncovering what happened to these people, and it's going to be tragic.
AC: I noticed you’re a fan of the brilliant Devin Townsend – what other music do you find inspirational when it comes to writing? (And what do you think of his Infinity album?)
JA: Ha, that's got to be trick question right? Because obviously the answer is Infinity is brilliant! I love them all, but my current favourite Devy album is Epicloud and that's because I have a deep, deep obsession with "Save Our Now". I may have gone a little insane when he played that live!
Music definitely plays an important part in my writing. I always listen to music as I work. Music does this whole 'transport me to another place' thing, where the rest of the real world just falls away. It really helps me focus on story-world instead.
Mostly I listen to metal (heaviness depends on the scene I'm writing), j-pop and soundtracks. I love a good anime or video game soundtrack. I know the Persona 4 soundtrack back to front and inside out I've listened to it that many times.
AC: I still haven’t got to Epicloud – added to my list – that’s his fifteenth, sometimes I forget how prolific he is! And speaking of j-pop, what did you think of Babymetal? Novelty or awesome?
JA: Ok, I'll wait here while you go get Epicloud. Seriously, GO.
Ha, Babymetal's hilarious. I think it's a little of both! Novelty AND awesome!
AC: You switched publishers between Suited and Unbound, what were the most positive aspects to come from the switch?
JA: It was just wonderful to have the opportunity to get Guardian out there and complete the trilogy. I was very lucky to be able to work with Tehani Wessley at Fablecroft, who is such a talented editor and a very supportive publisher.
AC: It must have been stressful for a while there, did you write other projects during the gap or stay with Guardian? (Assuming, of course, you’re not the style of writer who finishes a whole trilogy before submitting the first book?).
JA: There are always other writing projects. I did have a lot of short stories to keep me busy -- my (award-winning) short story collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories was released in this period. I also spent a lot of time watching the Giant Bomb Persona 4 play through, and that helped!
Stay tuned for a review of Debris in the near future!
After quite some time procrastinating I’ve finally finished setting up a newsletter for my writing!
I’ve been meaning to do so for a while now and I’m pretty pleased with the idea, I think it’ll allow me to provide meatier updates due to its quarterly frequency, without taking the place of my blogs, twitter etc and also encourages me to axe my Facebook author page.
I’m using MailChimp and I plan to offer news, giveaways and occasional previews of upcoming releases (fiction & poetry) with the newsletter – in fact, if you sign up by mid-Oct you’re in the running to win a copy of The Fairy Wren (e or print) which I really hope people enjoy!
So, if you’re keen, you can sign up over here :)
Very excited to present an interview with Glenda Larke, one of my favourite fantasy writers and all around awesome person! I did a short post on her Stormlords series earlier and will be posting on her latest work soon - in the meantime if you're curious about her work, check out her books here and her blog Tropic Temper is packed with great travel pieces.
Thanks again, Glenda for agreeing to the interview - hope readers enjoy your answers as much as I did!
Ashley Capes: Fans will be well aware that you recently went to WorldCon in London and also visited Wales and Scotland too, and not long before that, the Pilbara region in WA (and WA comes to mind in the Stormlord series actually) so I wanted to ask, how important is travel to your writing, to evoking that sense of place that’s so powerful in your novels?
Glenda Larke: I think it’s been very important — quite apart from the fact that it was travelling that perfected my ability to write anywhere, from tents to aeroplanes to fishing boats!
Travel provides the seeds of ideas for stories. My love of deserts came from an Australian childhood, yes, but remember the slits in the garden walls for the water to run into underground cisterns in The Stormlord books? That was from an Algerian Saharan village. The bricked underground water tunnels came from seeing Iranian qanats bringing water to remote villages.
Perhaps even more important than providing ideas, though, is the fact that I lived forty years away from my Australian roots: in Asia, in Africa and in central Europe. Those years fostered an awareness that there are many ways to live one’s life, every one valid and fascinating. Fitting in as an outsider is sometimes not easy, and I had to learn cultural signals and subtleties, sometimes even unlearning behaviours which were acceptable or even encouraged elsewhere. (Possibly studying a couple of units of anthropology at uni helped with this too.) There can be no better way to build an imaginary society than to understand how real ones are constructed — and how and why they succeed.
AC: That’s amazing – you’ve covered a lot of ground. Does such a breadth of time living in so many places instill a sense of restlessness – or maybe curiosity is a better term – within you as a writer? If so, do you pass it on to any of your characters even?
GL: I developed that restlessness before I went anywhere. I was brought up on a small farm in a very small community. My first travelling was done through the pages of old black-and-white National Geographics stored in the wash-house! I’d decided by the time I was nine or ten that I wanted to write stories and I wanted to travel. I think I’ve got most of the wanderlust out of my system now, though. I still enjoy new places, but it’s no longer a driving passion.
However, the curiosity of a writer never leaves you. Ask any author. In the middle of a car accident, a writer is thinking, ‘I must remember what this feels like so I can put it into a story.’ I kid you not. We’re all crazy.
As for characters — oh, yes, curiosity getting people into trouble is a great plot device. Blaze and Flame deliberately choose to set out for other islands at the end of Book One of the Isles of Glory. In The Forsaken Lands, main characters — Saker, Sorrel, Ardhi, Juster — all chafe when they are constrained by society or circumstances to be sedentary. Which is perhaps why the sakti — the magic of the Va-forsaken — selects them in the first place.
AC: I recently got hold of The Lascar’s Dagger (Book 1 of the Forsaken Lands) and I’ve been too slow to read it in time for the interview, otherwise I’d be asking more questions about it the series – so for now, I’d like to backtrack a little and ask – what was the best thing about WorldCon?
GL: In general, I love SF/F conventions because it gives me an opportunity to talk to readers and fellow writers. Writing is a very solitary pastime, so I always appreciate that opportunity. Loncon3, however, was far more than that. It was spectacular.
Firstly…hey, it was London!
Secondly, the programme was a tour de force of planning. There was something for everyone. If you wanted to hear Connie Willis in conversation with G.R.R.Martin, or listen to a panel on the logistics of supplying troops, or watch classic SF films, or game with like-minded folk, or hear an expert deliver a paper on future trends in science…it was all there — in bulk. The problem was choosing what to do.
AC: Really wish I lived in the UK for that one! I’d love to ask you a bit more about characters next. Can you say which of your characters – from any series – has surprised you most?
GL: The surprises have always come from bit players. They’re so sneaky. I start by inventing them to do something small, and they have this habit of becoming real people wanting to take over the show. Dek in Gilfeather, for example. Portron or Corrian in Havenstar. Elmar Waggoner in the The Stormlord trilogy. Those darn spear carriers — they all want to be generals!
AC: Ah, Elmar is one of my favourites – maybe that’s why I like him so much? So do you find a converse or similar problem with leading characters?
GL: I don’t think the converse has happened. If it did and a main character turned out to be too mundane and pedantic, I’d cut them out of the story! However, my leading characters have sometimes developed in ways I didn’t expect when I first planned the story. What happens is that when I’m writing a key scene, a character might decide what would be an appropriate action or reaction. Those are lovely writing moments. For a while the book feels as if it’s writing itself and I know I have a well-rounded character who is going to appear very real to the reader. (I wish it was always that easy…)
AC: Your use of magic often strikes me as being beautifully linked to the natural world, which I think gives it a sense of inevitability. When your magic is portrayed as such, is this a conscious move on your part, or does it seem to occur organically from the story perhaps?
GL: A bit of both. I am first and foremost an environmentalist and I’ve worked in the field. A lot. I love the natural world and I’ve studied the interrelationships. Habitats, biodiversity, ecology … they are fantastic and wondrous to me, so why not take them one step further and look at the natural world supplying the magic in a fictional fantasy. Conversely, I like to look at how much you can lose when you upset the magic/natural world. That, I suppose, is where the sense of inevitability comes in.
Using the link between the natural world and magic is not new, of course. Most writers of Celtic stories use it, for example, and lots of others. What I try to do is give it a different slant.
AC: Yeah, that’s what I think I was noticing with the inevitability, it feels ‘right’ in that sense, you can tell you’ve planned the magic’s relationship to the world carefully. To stay with magic a little longer, I thought I’d ask about your favourite use of magic in any story out there, and about what you think makes magic so important to the genre?
GL: I especially like stories where magic use is expensive and carries a price for the magic-user. Celia Friedmann’s Magister trilogy springs to mind. So does Karen Miller’s Blight of Mages.
“Fantasy” is often synonymous with “magic” in our minds, and there are some readers who won’t read fantasy for that reason. It’s not “real”, they say (as if fiction is ever “real”). My answer to this is this: the part magic plays in a fantasy is very like that of power and/or wealth in an ordinary novel. Genre novels can look at how people behave when they have power, or are confronted with power, and the books can do it without ruining the element of escapism. Genre thought-provoking stories of consequence can still be entertaining rather than confrontational.
Secondly, we all love the story of the powerless, ordinary person finding his or her magic power, the goosegirl or shepherd boy who grows up to rule, the caped hero who comes to our rescue (or perhaps we all want to become the masked hero/heroine). Because of magic, fantasy is the best place to go to for wish fulfillment!
AC: Awesome, I’d never considered the parallel role of power or wealth to magic. How about music? I’m always curious about writers and their relationship to music and so I’d love to ask, is there any genre or particular music you like to work to? Or do you prefer more quiet when you write?
GL: I like classical stuff — full-blown symphonies preferably. They have the depth and the emotion for mood setting. Once I’ve settled in to write, though, I don’t even notice when the CD is finished!
AC: I agree, symphonies are perfect – I often turn to Rachmaninov’s ‘Isle of the Dead’ for darker scenes. Is there a particular composer you’d like to have score any of your books?
GL: Beethoven! In Vienna, I lived just around the corner from Beethovengang, a lovely little lane that led up into the Vienna Woods, and we sometimes had a meal in the restaurant down the road, which was once a house where he rented a room… Our closest U-bahn station was Heiligenstadt, a name that means a lot to Beethoven fans. Heady stuff, for someone who started out on a small Australian farm.
AC: Thanks for the great interview, Glenda – really enjoyed your responses and I have to tell you I’m busting to get started on The Lascar’s Dagger!
Free ebook with every newsletter sign up in 2016
Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline