Tag: fantasy

A quick interview with C. E. Page: Epic Fantasy Novelist

A quick interview with C. E. Page: Epic Fantasy Novelist

So this is a bit exciting … I decided a while back to interview authors to showcase their latest work and so I could learn more about what’s happening in speculative fiction, celebrating with some amazing writers. So, every month I’ll be (hopefully) putting out…

The Lamplighter: A flash fic

The Lamplighter: A flash fic

Maureen’s Halloween inspired free October fiction. A lamplighter gets more than he bargains for when he comes face to face with a ghost …

Lost Soul: A flash fic

Lost Soul: A flash fic

I cling to the rusting bars as the ship veers to its side. The pirate guarding me topples off his barrel, his legs scuttling in the air like a beetle. I choke on laughter. He’s new. Anyone else would know to find something to cling onto in the middle of a storm. I smile as a rat scurries under my bars.

The imbecile rights himself, spits on the wooden deck a good distance in front of me. “None of your cackles, witch!”

“Witch? And me the Captain’s wife!” My tattered crimson dress, singed at the edges, brushes my ankles. As for the soul I’d taken such finery from-

“He ain’t calling you that no more.”

Fuck’s sake. Captain Johnny Three-Hands had guessed.

It’d been our third week at sea when Capn had tired of me and gone back to his ninny wife, Selene. He’d killed me and all. On another night lit with phosphorous.

I’d marked the voodoo man’s drunken mutterings as a kid on Tortuga. Whoever looks into the flame will switch souls with the first person they behold. Only that time, there’d been no soul to switch-er-roo with for I’d bled out too fast. I’d been trapped in the green light.

Months later, I found them again; the ocean roiling something terrible as my storm hit. Capn’s soft wife had tried to get below deck, but she’d tripped on a coil of rope. The sea had gone dreadful calm. My green fire tipped down the ship’s mast and along the deck, and wifey had stared deep into the light.

Oh, thinking about it makes me so happy.

The pirate shuffles on hands and knees now, groping for his precious barrel as the ship lurches yet again. He bumps into the thick damask clumsily covering the porthole and pulls to lumber to his feet. I watch hungrily as the makeshift curtain rips in his hands. Natural light falls in front of his barrel.

Soon. Soon it shall be time. The rat stands up on its hindlegs and sniffs delicately. It’s right in front of the pirate, but the pirate hasn’t noticed.
“Why you so quiet?” The pirate licks his lips and I can practically taste his nerves. He’s stepped closer without realising it. He’s almost on the rat. The light is growing from the porthole.

Warmth spreads through me as I remember how the Capn’s wife looked deep into my electric heart and then at the ship’s cat.

“You OK?” Another step closer.

My fists clench. One more step. One more.

I feel it brewing overhead. St Elmo’s fire waiting to make a comeback.
I’d enjoyed throwing Selene, the black cat, overboard, her claws raking blood. And this one? This one’d make a good rat.
 

New short story acceptance!

New short story acceptance!

I’ve been quiet on the blogging front because I’ve been overseas for a month (travelling Iceland, London and Spain. More on this in later posts). On the way overseas, in Heathrow airport in fact, I received an acceptance email for my fantasy/horror short story, The…

Childhood Favorites: The Teenage Years

Childhood Favorites: The Teenage Years

Last week I blogged about my childhood favorite stories and series. This week I bring you part 2 where I describe the novels that got to me in my teens. Again, in no order. 1. The Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart Mary Stewart was famous…

(Dis)Ability in Genre Fiction: A Small List

(Dis)Ability in Genre Fiction: A Small List

A few weeks back I asked my Facebook if they could recommend books to me which depicted protagonists with disability in genre fiction where the story wasn’t an ‘issues’ story (like Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time) or where the person with disability wasn’t depicted in a stereotypical, superficial way or a ‘I’m a disability, not a person’ way. Disclaimer: I have not read most of these stories so cannot vouch for how sensitive they are toward depicting people with disability. I am trusting the people I have asked to have led me true. I have removed suggestions from the list if they are not genre stories or if I can tell from the synopsis that they are not what I am after eg a number of comic book characters were suggested but these characters were arch villains with disability. Hello othering.

My interest is predominantly in depictions of people with intellectual and/or sensory disability and autism but the complete list is below and includes, authors, book titles, publishers and specific short story or anthology suites. I hope to build on this list as I go and review the books on the list. Contributions are definitely welcome! This has a strong Australian focus given that most of my list knowledge here comes from the Australian writing scene.

Novels:

Vorkisigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold – features a physically impaired protagonist (Sci fi)
Gridlock by Ben Elton – the protagonist has cerebral palsy (Sci fi/Ecological Disaster)
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – the protagonist has intellectual disability (Sci fi)
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon – two of the protagonists have intellectual disability and Down’s Syndrome (Sci fi)
Diamond Eyes and Hindsight by Anita Bell – depicts protagonists with vision impairment (Sci fi)
The Homecoming Saga by Orson Scott Card – a mainish character, Issib, is in the world equivalent of a wheelchair (Sci fi)
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert – the main protagonists is blind (Sci fi)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson – the protagonist has Asperger’s Syndrome (Romance)
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon – the protagonist has autism (Sci fi)
Hover Car Racer by Matthew Reilly – an important secondary character has autism (Sci fi/action/thriller)
The Starkin Crown by Kate Forsyth – a protagonist has epilepsy (Fantasy)
The Starthorn Tree by Kate Forsyth – a protagonist has a physical disability (Fantasy)
The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth (Forthcoming 2015) – has a protagonist who has synaesthesia (Historical fiction)
The Obernewtyn Series by Isobelle Carmody – a mainish character is blind (Fantasy)
The Twelve by Justin Cronin – has a protagonist with autism (Horror)
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin – has multiple protagonists with physical disability at various points (Tyrion, Bran, Arya, Jaime) (Fantasy)
The Millennium Trilogy by Steg Larson – Salamandar has Asperger’s Syndrome (Crime)

Short Stories

‘Tam Likes Green Bananas’ by Kate Eltham – the protagonist has synaesthesia (Fantasy)

Comics:

Marvel Universe, Hawkeye is blind

Publishers:

Visibility Fiction

Anthologies:

Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press) (YA Fantasy and Sci fi)

Feminist and Loving Moffat Who: Why I am Done (Re)Explaining Part 2

Feminist and Loving Moffat Who: Why I am Done (Re)Explaining Part 2

Midway through last year I began a long essay which was intended to be my definitive stance on Steven Moffat, Doctor Who, female characters and feminism. However, the post soon turned mammoth and I decided to cut my post in half. Besides, enough time has…

The Allure of Steampunk: An Interview with Richard Harland

The Allure of Steampunk: An Interview with Richard Harland

A short while after the NSW Writers Centre Speculative Fiction Festival I thought about interviewing a steampunk author to go with my posts on steampunk. Of course, I soon thought of steampunk author Richard Harland. I really enjoy his novels and had met him once…

Easter Treat: An Interview with Kate Forsyth

Easter Treat: An Interview with Kate Forsyth

Can you believe it? An interview with the great Kate just in time for Easter (and no I’m not talking about Australia’s favourite LOTR elven Queen). Kate has written a number of books for a wide range of genres and audiences. This is my first ever author interview and I am very lucky that Kate agreed to take the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about her writing.

forsyth-kate

On Writing…

1. You have written a number of popular series for both adults and children. How do you feel when you finish a series and do you ever think about writing new stories set in those worlds?

Oh, yes, I always have ideas for new books set in that world when I finish- I often know who my characters are going to marry and all sorts of other things that never make it into the book. However, sequels are not always the best idea I’ve got- I have so many ideas all the time and so I always try and choose the one which will make the best story.

As for how I feel- I’m both very happy and very relieved, but also sad. There’s always a period of grieving after each book is finished, and a time when I feel anxious for the book and how it will be received.

2. How visual are you when writing your books? How much do you plan out a novel? (Submitted by Ben)

I have a strong visual imagination and so I have to ‘see’ a scene before I can write it. It feels a little like watching a film and writing down what happens as I see it. This means I have to fully imagine the scene before I can write, and so I spent a lot of time daydreaming about the story, imagine it, wondering about my characters and what they look like and so on.

I plan my stories but not comprehensively. Normally I need my title, my opening scene, my opening line and quite a few key scenes along the way before I begin to write.

3. Do you workshop your writing with other people in the early drafting stages? If so, with who? (submitted by Rhiannon)

No, I have never workshopped my novels and I never shall. I don’t show my work to anyone until I have the novel as perfect as I can make it. I do talk over my novels with my sister, though, and we each have helped each other solve problems or overcome obstacles as a result. My sister is a writer too- her name is Belinda Murrell and she has written numerous wonderful books for children.

4. Does living in the Manly area inspire your work? Are there any scenes from your books that you can point us to that are inspired by where you live?

I love walking along the ocean front a few times a week, I find that very calming and inspiring. There are some scenes set in my novel, Full Fathom Five, which was published under my maiden name, Kate Humphrey, but strangely enough I wasn’t living near Manly when I wrote that book.

5. Would you ever consider writing a fantasy script after the success of Game of Thrones? Would you say yes to a film or tv option of your books? (Submitted by Ben)

I’d love one of my books to be turned into a film or tv show and so, yes, if the offer was amenable I would agree to selling an option. I would have to trust the director and producer however, and I’d like some imput into the project. I may even be interested in working on the script depending on what deadlines I have looming over me!

On Research…

6. As an ex History Honours student I am always intrigued by the so called ‘Is History Fiction?’ debate, in particular the reactions of some historians to authors of historical fiction. For example, Kate Grenville was criticised by Inga Clendinning and Mark McKenna for her comments on her historical novel, The Secret River. Do you have an opinion on the whole thing? Are you a historian and a story teller when working on books like Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl?

I am first and foremost a novelist, which means I create fictional worlds. Nonetheless, I try as much as possible to stick to the facts as I understand them. I believe it is my job to bring the world of the story so fully to life so that my readers feel as though they had been there themselves, feeling all the joy and suffering that my characters feel. I believe historical novels do more to illuminate the past than dry history books because the readers experience the events of the book as if they were inhabiting the skin of the characters- this means they feel as if they were actually there. I rely heavily on the works of other historians for my research, but I am always searching for the emotional truth hidden behind the facts.

7. Even in your fantasy books, it is evident that you put a lot of research into your novels. Why do you see research as so important to your stories?

Research helps me to fully immerse myself in the time and place of my story. It helps me discover the voice of the novel, gives me plot ideas, and helps me find that telling detail that brings a story to life. I love researching- as I always say, it is simply reading with a purpose.

On Being a Reader…

8. What is your opinion of books like 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight? Do you read them? (Submitted by J.C.)

I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey because its simply not my kind of book. I have nothing against romance novels- in fact, I read a lot of them, though usually historical romances. I have nothing against novels with a high level of sensuality either. In fact, I enjoy a good boddice ripper and many of my books have a few saucy scenes. I was a little concerned about the sexual politics of the book, however, after reading a number of reviews and listening to what people had to say about it. I probably would have read it for curiosity’s sake if I was not so unbelievably busy at the moment and if most of my reading time wasn’t taken up with research for my doctorate.

I have read Twilight and I enjoyed it. I thought it was very cleverly structured for maximum suspense, and I think I’d have loved it if I’d been a teenage girl with romantic yearnings when I read it. I didn’t go on and read the rest of the books in the series, probably because I don’t much like vampire novels, but I certainly defend it when I hear people deriding it.

And a final challenge…

9. What’s a question about your writing or your books that you’ve never been asked before but you’ve always wanted to answer?

Have any of your books ever been inspired by a dream?

10. Now answer it!

Yes, many of them, in fact. Sometimes the dream provides the first flash of an idea, somtimes a dream offers up the solution to a problem in a novel I am writing, and sometimes what I am writing about invades my sleeping hours and give me dreams, some of which are truly horrible nightmares. The door between my subconscious and conscious mind seems to swing open more easily than most people, perhaps because I have always remembered my dreams and listened to them.

Thanks so much for your time, Kate!

Kate Forsyth is the author of over 20 books for both adults and children, including Bitter Greens, The Puzzle Ring, The Gypsy Crown, and The Witches of Eileanan. Kate is currently at a number of events promoting her new novel, The Wild Girl. You can find her at;

Her website: http://www.kateforsyth.com.au/Appearances

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/kateforsythauthor?fref=ts

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateForsyth

You can check out my book reviews of The Wild Girl and Bitter Greens Here and Here

Book Review: Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Book Review: Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan, Allen and Unwin, 2012 RRP: $19.99 Australian. I feel guilty. I finished this book back in July but my thesis work attacked me and gave me heart palpitations over how much I still had left to do on it. Hence, this…