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M. Darusha Wehm
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll find something you like here.

If you want to read something short, check out the free stories available here or the links under “Publications” on the right go to other places my stories have been published. Some of those are free to read online.

If you prefer longer works, I have free samples of all my novels available on the site. Beautiful Red was my first book, and is a standalone cyberpunk story. Self Made, Act of Will and The Beauty of Our Weapons are a series (in that order) about future detective Andersson DexterChildren of Arkadia is a standalone political space station epic.

My newest series, Devi Jones’ Locker, is mainstream fiction — a light beach read that brings the beach to you. The first book in this series is Packet Trade.

Interview with Lawrence M. Schoen, Author of Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard

Interview with Lawrence M. Schoen, Author of Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard

Just in time for the release of his new book, Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen stopped by for this interview. About Barsk:

The Sixth Sense meets Planet of the Apes in a moving science fiction novel set so far in the future, humanity is gone and forgotten in Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard.
An historian who speaks with the dead is ensnared by the past. A child who feels no pain and who should not exist sees the future. Between them are truths that will shake worlds.

Me: Can you describe your writing for someone who is unfamiliar with it?

Lawrence: A lot of my past writing takes the form of light and humorous stories, enjoyable and entertaining reads. This is particularly true of the series of short stories, novellas, and novels that make up my Amazing Conroy series. With Barsk I went darker. Which is not to say that there are not amusing and light-hearted bits, but overall the tone is much more serious, as one would expect when dealing with themes like intolerance and death.

Would you want to live in the world of your book?

That’s a tough call. If I lived on any of the island rainforests of Barsk, that would mean I’m an anthropomorphic elephant (a Fant). While it might be very cool to make my home in a living city high in the trees, it would probably take a while to get used to having a trunk. Also, the Fant tend to eschew most technology and I can’t see myself going back to writing everything longhand.

Elsewhere though, on most of the hundreds of other worlds in the Alliance that I invented for the book, such a parochial view on hardware is rarer and I could have all sorts of cool gadgets (I’m not giving up my smart gear, sorry). But I still couldn’t be a human being, as there aren’t any. I’d have to get comfortable being some other race of Raised Mammal. And furry.

Why did you write this story?

When I was in junior high and high school, I had the misfortune to have social studies teachers who managed to convince me that history was nothing more than a boring list of names and dates. This was a huge disservice. I now realize that history is perhaps best conceptualized as a type of storytelling, and it can be as riveting and nuanced as the best work of fiction. But the damage was done, and even now, so many decades later, I still feel cheated. In many ways, Barsk began as an attempt to absolve that sin and talk about history from the perspective of someone who was making the study of it his life’s work. To show that despite it being old and dead it was also vibrant and alive. That led curiously to the not so metaphorical plotline of having a protagonist who could actually talk to the dead, as well as the further complication of what happens when the historian finds himself at the very heart of the events he’s supposedly chronicling.

What is compelling for you?

People. When I was growing up, I worked with my father at the swapmeet. We sold everything from lingerie to melon-ballers to cans of “liquid bandage,” and I did this every weekend from age five to eighteen, escaping only by going off to college. During those thirteen years I interacted with every flavor of humanity, every race, gender, socio-economic and educational level. I got to see what they had in common and how they differed, both as groups and individuals. That experience contributed to my pursuing a doctorate in psychology, and it’s what made me realize that each of us has a story to tell, if only someone would listen.

What surprised you while writing it?

The way things came together at the end.

I knew how everything ended (indeed, almost every word of Barsk’s epilogue was written more than twenty years ago). But the way all the character arcs and the various plotlines flowed together in such a satisfying result, I wasn’t expecting that. Clearly, my unconscious mind had it all planned out, but when it finally trickled into my awareness I was really amazed and pleased.

How will reading it make people feel?

I hope it will move people, and leave them emotionally impacted long after they turn the last page. I grew up reading Burroughs and Heinlein and Zelazny, and time and again I was on the receiving end of that “sense o’ wonder” that continues to fade in and out of fashion in our field. I strive to create that in my work (whether it’s currently fashionable to do so, or not, I can’t say). I want readers to relate to my characters, to care about their choices and lives. They’re very real for me, and I’d like them to come alive for my readers as well. At the end of Barsk, I want people to be asking what happens next to Jorl and Pizlo, as they would about real people who have crossed in and out of their lives.

Was there anything you did deliberately while crafting this novel (pacing, language, symbolism…)?

Oh yeah, all of that. Readers have consistently told me that my strengths are dialogue and characterization, and by extension my weaknesses are plot and pacing. So a lot of writing Barsk was about my striving to improve the way I create and manage both plot and pacing. I think all writers want to get better, to stretch and grow. The solution for me was to invest in a large number of subplots, and use my strengths to develop and explore them. Which is why all the POV characters have their own backstories and motivations for what they’re doing, and that informs the main storyline. Even some of the minor supporting characters have their own tiny narratives, because in their own minds they’re the heroes of their own stories.

Language is easier for me because, 1) it’s language, which is what I live for, 2) it emerges from the individual characters as manifested in their conversation and, hello, characterization and dialogue!

As for symbolism, I’m finding that people who read Barsk are adamant that I put in this or that object lesson, that the entire book is an allegorical statement about one thing or another, that it’s my personal soapbox. I honestly don’t believe this is the case. Are there symbols in the book? Sure, of course there are, and since I wrote it I must be the one to have put them in. But if I did, I don’t think it was in any kind of knowing, conscious, or deliberate way. But too, I don’t expect anyone to believe me however true that statement may be.

Why?

That really cuts to the question of “why do we write books in the first place?” I’m not one of those authors who raise the back of a hand to the forehead and with anguish in my voice proclaims that I simply have to write, that the words must come forth. I see other writers do that and it makes me roll my eyes. I don’t believe it, though I do believe that they may believe it. But you know what they say about that river in Egypt. But hey, if helps them to put words on the page, who am I to judge?

Part of why I write is to entertain, to tell a story. Part is to grow as person. Writing a novel is an odd exercise in personal exploration. If you do it right by the time you’re done you know new things about yourself that you hadn’t realized were true, or that you had in you. It can be a mild learning experience or a hugely transformative crucible, and you’re probably not going to know which until you’re on the other side of the book.

And that’s a good thing, I think. Because writing a novel should be an intensely personal experience, for both the author and the audience. Writing Barsk changed the way I see the world, and if I did it right it should have a similar effect on the reader. We’ll see.

SchoenHeadshot-2(300dpi)

Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula awards, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of prophecy, intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog.

Website: http://www.lawrencemschoen.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lawrencemschoen

Twitter: @klingonguy

2015 Awards Recommendations (and my eligible works)

It’s that time of year again. This year I’ve been focussing on reading current short fiction rather than novels, so my awards recommendations are all under novel-length. I still have a lot to read, so I’ll update this post as I read more things, but for now here are my favourites for this year (in no particular order):

Novelette

“Our Lady of the Open Road” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s)

Short Story

“Android Whores Can’t Cry” by Natalia Theodoridou (Clarkesworld)
“Broken” by Jason Kimble (Escape Pod)
“Here Is My Thinking On A Matter That Concerns Us All” by Rahul Kanakia (Lightspeed)
“Weight of the World” by José Pablo Iriarte (Fantastic Stories of the Imagination)
“When the Circus Lights Down” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine)

 

As for my stuff, I have two works eligible for nomination this year. Both are eligible for the Hugo, Nebula, Aurora (Canadian SFF awards) and Sir Julius Vogel (New Zealand SFF awards).

You would know if you are eligible to nominate for the first three, but anyone may make free nominations for the SJVs. It’s just an email away, more information is here (and the info you need to submit is below, plus your contact details). If you’ve enjoyed any SF, fantasy or horror by a New Zealander (including films and comics!), I’d encourage you to nominate.

My eligible works for 2015:

Children of Arkadia by M. Darusha Wehm, Bundoran Press
Novel
Released April 2015
Science Fiction
For more information: darusha@darusha.ca
http://www.amazon.com/Children-Arkadia-M-Darusha-Wehm-ebook/dp/B00VO1SI9Y/

“The Edge of the Abyss” by M. Darusha Wehm, published in Contact Light, Silence in the Library LLC.
Short story
Released July 2015
Science Fiction
For more information: darusha@darusha.ca
http://www.amazon.com/Contact-Light-Gail-Z-Martin-ebook/dp/B012MLE39I/

 

Notes from the Cyborg-Messe

Notes from the Cyborg-Messe

On Nov 6-8, I had the great honour to be a part of the “world’s first cyborg fair” in Düsseldorf, Germany. Held jointly by the NRW-Forum and Cyborgs e.v., the event brought together artists, academics, philosophers and technologists in an exploration of the current state of the art of human/technology integration.

I gave the keynote address on Friday evening to an enthusiastic audience. I’ll have a video up soon of the talk (slides and audio only, I’m afraid). The abstract is:

Humans have always used technology and one of the most ancient tools we use is storytelling. Science and fiction are a conversation and science fiction in particular lets us try out new futures before we build them. Stories teach us about the past, they create the future and they can be as a personal enhancement technology to change our lives.

After I blathered on, the event continued with a wide variety of items, including

  • an amazing philosophical discussion on citizen science and the moral imperative of enhancing human bodies to become more ethical animals by Tim Cannon,
  • a reading and discussion of her German steampunk books by author Anja Bagus,
  • notes on the current and near future state of the art in consumer implantable technologies by Hannes Sjöblad
  • an academic talk about human enhancement versus body modification by Stephanie Rembold

plus an exhibition of incredible body and skin inspired jewelry by Nadja Buttendorf and a fashion show.

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There were also a handful of companies exhibiting their goods, the main draw being implantable NFC chips, which were available to purchase and receive onsite (I got mine!).

On the Saturday afternoon the press was in full force as Tim Cannon and Shawn Sarver from Grindhouse Wetware were implanted with the first North Star under the skin LED system. Jowan Österlund of Biohax International did the work (and also did my implant — he’s an artist with a needle). There’s a safe for work write-up at Gizmodo and a more extensive one with some graphic images at Motherboard.

All in all it was an incredible experience. Everyone was intelligent and lovely and the diverse mix of people made for a thought-provoking and inspiring time.

I want to thank Elle Nerdinger and Enno Park of Cyborgs e.V. for asking me to be a part of this amazing event and Nicola Funk, Alain Bieber and the team at NRW-Forum for all their hard work in making it all happen.

“Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella” by Beth Cato: Excerpt

“Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella” by Beth Cato: Excerpt

Steampunk author and baker extraordinaire Beth Cato is back! This time, she’s given me an excerpt from her new novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone. Enjoy!

Wings of Sorrow and Bone: A Clockwork Dagger Novella

A few months after the events of The Clockwork Crown

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.

In this excerpt from Chapter 2, Rivka and Tatiana have just met and escaped from Balthazar Cody’s party. Their nosiness has guided them to a basement laboratory full of peculiar creatures…

“Yes. Gremlins. My God, they are ugly,” said Tatiana, shuddering. She had to speak loudly to be heard.

The creatures mewed, cackled, and banged on the copper and wood bars of their enclosures. Nothing was made of silver. Rivka stepped closer.

The bright electric lighting showed the green gremlins well. Some had tint variations, like patches in a quilt. Their sizes ranged from pigeon to husky tomcat. Long, bat-like wings folded along their sides. Hideous hybrid faces featured round, black eyes, some of their noses compressed and others more elongated. Their arms tended toward long and skinny, hind legs stubby.

Gremlins had split lips, just like her.

Rivka traced her upper lip with her tongue. Doctors in Tamarania could fill the gap that partially exposed her front teeth. She was slowly saving up money for that very surgery.

“Hi there.” Rivka reached out. A gremlin’s three small fingers clutched her fingertips. There were no claws, nor did it try to lurch her off balance. The little gremlin pressed its face to the bars. Long, whiskered ears trembled. Rivka felt a vibration against her hand, and with a start realized that the creature was purring.

“A lot of them—no, all of them—are injured.” Tatiana pointed.

She was right. The gremlin whose hand Rivka held had bandages girthing most of its torso. The one to the left had no ear, just a rounded stub. The one below had no wings, and therefore, no arms. A cage over, the gremlin actually had separate arms, but its wings were gone as well.

“Is this like a medical ward for maimed gremlins?” Rivka frowned and looked around as she wiggled her hand free. It certainly seemed like a sterile surgical space. She pulled out her trusty little screwdriver again.

“What are you doing?”

“Being nosy. There has to be a ledger or something around here that chronicles their injuries.”

The cages were numbered and denoted with colorful flags; not all were occupied. Most of the cabinets and drawers held tools and blades with purposes she didn’t wish to contemplate. No paperwork had been left out. She pulled a cart from beneath a steel table. Lifting the hinged lid, she found a snarled pile of dead gremlins. She gasped.

“What?” called Tatiana from across the room.

“Bodies.” Rivka shoved the cart away. She’d seen all kinds of dead things before, people included, but there was something especially disturbing about a haphazard knot of that nature.

Like that sample? Read the whole novella for just 99-cents

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes

BethCato-steampunk-headshot300x450

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of The Clockwork Dagger (a 2015 Locus Award finalist for First Novel) and The Clockwork Crown from Harper Voyager.

Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Enter to win signed books!

Enter to win signed books!

I’m giving away two prizes of signed copies of anthologies in which I have stories.

First prize is a signed copy of Contact Light plus a signed copy of the absolutely beautiful Science Fiction Short Stories anthology from Flametree Publishing. This nearly 500-page volume is gorgeous, and packed with classic and contemporary SF stories. You’ll find work by Jules Verne and Mark Twain alongside stories by some of the best writers working today.

The second prize is a signed copy of Contact Light, the newest anthology of space-themed stories from Silence in the Library.

Enter here

I’m Giving a Keynote Address at the Science+Fiction Cyborg Expo in Düsseldorf Nov 6-8

I’m Giving a Keynote Address at the Science+Fiction Cyborg Expo in Düsseldorf Nov 6-8

Attention folks in Europe: I’m thrilled to be giving a keynote talk at the Science+Fiction Cyborg Expo in Düsseldorf, Nov 6-8 2015.

My talk will be about the relationship between science and fiction, how stories are a future-building technology and how they can be used for personal enhancement.

I am currently scheduled to speak at 6 pm on Friday Nov 6. The event is hosted by Cyborgs e.V. and the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf and is taking place at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf in conjunction with the Ego Update art exhibition.

The talk may be live-streamed and will likely be recorded, so watch this space for more information about that. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there!

Interview with Sherrida Pope, author of An Owl goes Trick-or-Treating

Interview with Sherrida Pope, author of An Owl goes Trick-or-Treating

Just in time for the most wonderful time of the year, here is an interview with Sherrida Pope, author of the fun kids’ book An Owl Goes Trick-or-Treating.

Meet Arthur He’s smart, shy, determined and… oh yes… he’s an owl. Arthur wants more than anything to go trick-or-treating, but can he make his dream a reality when the humans don’t even notice him?

Can you describe your writing for someone who is unfamiliar with it?

I write for children, so I try to tap into the natural curiosity and sense of wonder that characterizes childhood. My books are about straightforward problems, but I try to handle them in a way that is anything but simplistic. Most of all, I try to write characters that children can identify with, who yearn for things in ways we can all understand.

Why did you write *this* story? What is compelling about it for you?

Ironically, with this book, the cover came first. I was poking around on the internet and discovered this beautiful image of an owl sitting on a crooked wooden sign, with pumpkins and a bright turquoise background.

They say a picture tells a thousand words, and to me, that picture demanded a story. Of course, the image that inspired the story looks somewhat different than what ended up on the cover. The owl on the actual cover image looks younger, more innocent, and more inquiring than the stodgy old fellow on the original image.

Would you want to live in the world of your book? Why or why not?

I suppose I already do.

In my books, hope conquers fear, friendship dispels loneliness, happy endings are a given, and mistakes can always be corrected. The real world isn’t always like that, but I try to create a microcosm for myself and my family where those principles hold true.

What surprised you while writing it?

Arthur. I mean, he’s this shy little spotted owl who barely dares leave his tree branch – and yet he ventures off into crazy neighborhood adventures because he’s simply so fascinated by the magic of Halloween.

I didn’t expect that to happen. When I started jotting down the opening pages, I had no idea who Arthur was or what he wanted, except that he found Halloween costumes intriguing. He came to life on the page beautifully. I love the way his curiosity overcomes his shyness, and his determination overpowers his fear.

How will reading it make people feel?

I hope they’ll smile. I hope they’ll giggle at a couple of the messes Arthur gets into, and sigh with relief when he gets back out of them. I hope they’ll see Halloween, and their fellow humans, a bit differently than they did before reading the book.

Was there anything you did deliberately while crafting this novel? Why?

I focused a lot on language. I wanted the book to have a smooth, natural feel without using a lot of big words. So you’ll find a lot of images rendered in straight, simple prose. At the same time, I made a conscious decision not to avoid complex language completely. Arthur feels dejected at a point near the end of the book, so I went ahead and used the word ‘dejected’. Kids are smart enough to figure things out from context, so even when a word is outside a readers’ vocabulary, I’ll go ahead and use it if I feel it adds value to the story.

I spent a lot of attention on the artwork, as well. I do my own interior pictures, and for this book I wanted to maintain the innocence and vulnerability of Arthur’s personality. I kept the drawings simple – which is usually a good choice for me because I am not a photorealistic artist. I tried to give each drawing a clear emotional context. I wanted Arthur’s experience to jump off the page, to become real in a way that words alone could not accomplish.

Since the book’s only just been released, it’s too soon to say whether I succeeded. But my hope – my goal – was to create emotional resonance in my readers.

Sherrida Pope lives and writes in the scenic area near Utah Lake. She has three children, a pet hedgehog, and a transient appreciation for classical music.

My Sasquan Schedule: Signing, Reading

My Sasquan Schedule: Signing, Reading

If you’re going to be at Sasquan, I’ve got a couple of scheduled items. I’ll be at the SFWA table in the Dealers’ Room on Thursday, and will be signing from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. I’ll have a half dozen copies of Children of Arkadia available — come and get ’em!

Also, fellow Bundoran Press author Matthew Johnson graciously offered to share his reading with me, so come join us in room CC-301 on Friday at 1:30 pm.

My ‘When Words Collide’ Schedule

My ‘When Words Collide’ Schedule

I’ll be attending the When Words Collide literary convention in Calgary, Aug 14-16. Registration is full, but if you’re already registered, stop by and say hi. My schedule so far is:

Mystery Shorts
Axel Howerton, Darusha Wehm, Jayne Barnard, Sam Wiebe, Constantine Kaoukakis (M)
What are the ingredients and markets for short mystery stories? Short mystery stories need to be succinct and punchy. They are a writing challenge on their own. There are conventions, guidelines and various markets to be considered. Join us for a lively discussion to learn about the writing opportunity.

Diversity is Real (Saturday, 10am)
Kate Larking, Jessica Corra, Darusha Wehm, Sandra Wickham, Halli Lilburn
The world is populated by a diversity of people, and so should your stories. This panel will discuss including realistic diversity in your realistic or fantastic fiction, particularly dealing with LGBT characters.

Does Being an Editor Make You a Better Writer? (Saturday, 3pm)
Richard Harrison, Axel Howerton, Nowick Gray, Darusha Wehm, Barb Galler-Smith (M)

Reading from Children of Arkadia (and more?) (Saturday 8:45pm)

Mystery Live Action Slush – long form Mystery, Crime, or Thriller (Sunday 2 PM)
Greg McKitrick (reader), Gwen Hunter, Shirlee Smith Matheson, Darusha Wehm, SG Wong

Cyberpunk and Social Order (Sunday, 4pm)
Hayden Trenholm, Nowick Gray, Darusha Wehm, Ron Bender
Cyberpunk is all about addressing how societal technology advancements bring moral and social questions to light. In an age of realized megacorporations and vulnerable technologies, is cyberpunk going mainstream? This panel will address cyberpunk literature and societal crashes, both now and in the future.

Humans. In. Spa-a-a-ace…

Humans. In. Spa-a-a-ace…

It’s sometimes easy to forget that we live in an age where there are always humans living in space, though still a select few. As I write this, there are three humans currently in space. Thanks to people like Sunita Williams and Chris Hadfield, us earthbound folks have unprecedented access to what that’s really like.

In fiction, though, there are lots of ways humans are depicted as living in space. Here are a few of the common ones:

Living aboard a spaceship

Space is vast, so it makes sense that a lot of our stories are about exploring that vastness. Living aboard a moving vessel is something that people have done throughout history, and many of those real-life ships inspired the visions of future long distance spacecraft.

The internal structures of military seagoing vessels, such as submarines and naval ships, are recognizable in fictional spaceships like Galactica or Enterprise. Their larger size however, allows for more common areas and roomier quarters — at least for people in high positions. Serenity, on the other hand, is more reminiscent of merchant sailing ships.

In stories set aboard spaceships, most of the characters are there because of their work, though in some cases families or civilians are also living aboard.

Follow Darusha Wehm’s board Life on a Spaceship on Pinterest.

Life aboard a space station

These are often reminiscent of remote research stations on Earth, or large malls. Many contain areas with plants or green spaces, as depicted on Babylon 5, and “town square”-like zones for commerce and community (the Zocalo on B5 or the Promenade on Deep Space Nine). Some are more commercial or military, like Space Station V in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Here, the people are depicted as mainly being there for professional reasons, although some stations are akin to airports — as waystations from one destination to another.

Follow Darusha Wehm’s board Life on a Working Space Station on Pinterest.

Space habitats – day to day life, but in space

Unlike spaceships or stations, the population on space habitat is mainly made of “ordinary people” who are living regular lives in an artificial environment. Here you see homes, parks, transportation — the same things you’d see in a city on Earth. These are the most imaginative of the three types of environment, as they have no direct model on Earth. They are also the most appealing to me, probably because the combine the familiar environment of Earth with the novelty and wonder of living in space.

Follow Darusha Wehm’s board Life on a Space Habitat on Pinterest.

Our imaginations take us beyond the gravity well of our home planet in film, television and books, just as those pioneering individuals like Williams and Hadfield take humanity’s first steps into orbit. I’d like to think that these fictional stories and images help to inspire our continued exploration of the cosmos beyond our atmosphere.

Interview with Rebecca Roland, author of Fractured Days

Interview with Rebecca Roland, author of Fractured Days

Today we have an interview with Rebecca Roland, whose new novel Fractured Days has just been released.

Malia returns home the hero of a war she can’t remember. The valley burning under the Maddion’s invasion, the fate of her late husband, the way she resolved the long-time distrust between the Taakwa people and the wolfish, winged Jegudun creatures–all of it has been erased from her memory. Malia hopes to resume training as her village’s next clan mother, but when the symbiotic magic that she and the Jeguduns used to repair the valley’s protective barrier starts to consume more and more of her mind, she’s faced with the threat of losing herself completely.

A powerful being known as “the changer” might hold the solution to her vanishing memories. But the Maddion’s new leader, Muvumo, also seeks the changer, hoping the being will cure them of the mysterious illness killing off his people. Meanwhile, Muvumo’s bride hopes the changer can bring about a new era, one in which she and the other Maddion women no longer need to hold onto their greatest secret.

Me: Can you describe your writing for someone who is unfamiliar with it?

Rebecca: My latest novel, Fractured Days, is fantasy with a wee bit of science fiction thrown into the mix. I tend to write fantasy most of the time, and sometimes venture into science fiction and horror. I enjoy writing fantasy the most, though, because I can play around with different settings, social constructs, organisms, and magic.

Me: Would you want to live in the world of your book? Why or why not?

Rebecca: I think I could be happy living in the world of my book, so long as things were peaceful. My main character, Malia, lives in a pre-technological world that looks an awful lot like the American Southwest. Although there’s no tech to make life easier, tasks are shared among many people and are therefore easier. Plus, she’s friends with the Jeguduns, who are small, winged, humanoid creatures that live in the cliffs surrounding her valley home. They’re intelligent, they have a good sense of humor, and they’re loyal. Plus, they know about chocolate.

Me: Why did you write this story? What is compelling about it for you?

Rebecca: Fractured Days is the sequel to my novel Shards of History. I wanted to write this book because I kept thinking about my characters and what they were up to, and because I wanted to explore how people recover after war, how people cope with issues with failing memory, and how people push for social change.

Me: What surprised you while writing it?

Rebecca: There was one relationship that sort of popped up and blossomed while I was writing, and I wasn’t expecting it at all. I feel like I’m not very good at writing romance, so I figured my subconscious was giving me a gift with this couple and just went along with it.

Me: How will reading it make people feel?

Rebecca: The book includes drama, adventure, magic, and romance. I’m hoping that readers not only find it a page-turner, but that it also gives provokes some thought about social inequality.

Me: Was there anything you did deliberately while crafting this novel (pacing, language, symbolism…)? Why?

Rebecca: One of the things I had to describe was how Malia’s memory was being eroded by the magic she had used in the previous story. That’s challenging to convey, so I described it as a fog rolling in, and slowly taking over more mental territory, so to speak. I find fogs and mists creepy, so a magic fog slowly consuming one’s mind seemed disturbing.

Find Fractured Days at World Weaver Press.

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Rebecca is the author of the Shards of History series, The Necromancer’s Inheritance series, and The King of Ash and Bones, and Other Stories. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Nature, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Stupefying Stories, Plasma Frequency, and Every Day Fiction, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can find out more about her and her work at rebeccaroland.net or follow her on Twitter at @rebecca_roland.