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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Aussie August - Guest Post from Kim Falconer

 Welcome to Day 19 of Aussie August.  Hope you are enjoying the different authors and books that have been featured so far.

Today we welcome Kim Falconer, author of the Quantum Enchantment series: The spell of Rosette, Arrows of Time and Strange Attractors  and the Quantum Encryption series: Path of the Stray, Road to the Soul and Journey by Night.

Kim has kindly offered to guest post on a pet subject of hers: World building and creating new life.  I hope you enjoy and don't forget to comment and let Kim know what you think.

Creating Souls from Scratch

The inspiration for Road to the Soul came to me three years ago. It was like a match strike, lit by my publisher Stephanie Smith from HarperCollins Voyager wasn’t looking for ideas at the time or even thinking new characters. Far from it!


Stephanie and I were going over the ‘proof reader queries’ for my first novel, The Spell of Rosette. It’s a gruelling process of discussing the copyedit questions like ‘do you want this to be a pub or a tavern . . . a cobblestone road or a cobblestone drive . . .’ ‘Rosette’ was nearly ready to print, save for these scribbles and marks still waiting in the margins. We got to page 131, a moment in the story where Rosette stops to collect herself after a panic attack. She sits under a jade statue of a Were-fey, a winged serpent-like creature leaping out of an ‘angry’ sea.

Steph asked, ‘Kim, why is the sea angry?’
I said, ‘Because it surrounds the Southern Continent which is . . .’ I had to think. ‘In trouble . . .’


‘Really?’ Steph was interested. ‘What kind of trouble?’
‘Big,’ I said to HarperCollins Voyager’s Associate
Publisher. ‘Big, big trouble.’ I couldn’t elaborate. It was all I
had.


‘I see . . . will it appear in future books? This Southern
Continent?’ she wanted to know.

Pause for match strike. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘It will!’
And that was it. The story of the lost Southern Continent and a
magical Were-fey named Quillian had begun.

In the end, the Were-fey statue at Treeon Temple wasn’t
depicted in a roiling sea, but the story had gotten a foothold


and there was no stopping it. The deeper answer to the question—‘Why is the sea angry?’—is now answered in the Road to the Soul and one jade Were-fey has come to life in full
Technicolor.


Were-fey are amazing creatures and like most of my ideas, they began with a grain of truth. I wanted to portray a sentient, non-human being with a sharp mind, agile body and Shakespearian wit. This Were-fey had to be adept in four elements--land, sea, air, and time. He had to be special too, so I made him the last of his kind.
I also wanted him to have a very good memory so I reached pretty far back in the evolution
of life for his DNA. In the swamps of primordial Earth, I
found Archaeopterx, the Greek name for ‘ancient wing’
and the perfect reference for the Were-fey. This first ‘bird’
was a sharp toothed, claw-winged, feathered dinosaur
that lived in the late Jurassic period, 150 million years
ago.

With this image I mixed in the Bird of Paradise for a
brilliant plumage and the Loon for underwater grace and
fishy appetite. Thus was born Quillian, a perpetually
hungry, telepathic, highly vocal risk taker, bonded to the
young apprentice Tryn and the pivot on which Road to the Soul
turns.

I had a very clear picture of Quillian in my mind but it wasn’t until my cover artist, Aaron Briggs, interpreted the depictions that I trusted readers would see him vividly as well. I hope they continue to engage with this character
as book two in Quantum Encryption unfolds its epic journey.

Much speculative fiction is full of ‘made-up’ creatures and environments from Tanith Lee’s Silver, Glenda Larke’s myriapedes, Karen Miller’s Vampire Butterflies and Mary Victoria’s World Tree. It’s one of the things I love most about this genre. What are some of your favourite ‘made up’ beings? What makes them so believable? I would love to hear about it.

Comments welcome.


Images

Road to the Soul by Kim Falconer. Cover illustration by my son, Aaron Briggs
http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/Road-Soul-Quantum-Encryption-Bk-2-Kim-
Falconer/?isbn=9780732291402
Quillian protecting Tryn from a rogue Lupin, Path of the Stray (illustration by Aaron Briggs)
http://www.kimfalconer.com/aaronbriggs_coverart.html
Archaeopterx the ‘first bird’—a dino with feathers. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/
Loons and cormorants dive down to 45 metres! http://bwfov.typepad.com/
birders_world_field_of_vi/2007/07/underwater-loon.html
The beautiful Bird of Paradise by Tim Laman http://www.arkive.org/red-bird-of-paradise/
paradisaea-rubra/image-G72949.html

Don't forget there is still time to win a complete set of the Quantum Encryption series. Check out the give away here and find out what's been happening and what is still to come in Aussie August by checking the Aussie August Schedule of Events








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