Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Travelling blog tour: Food and Fantasy

Food in fantasy novels are as varied as they are in real life. As a lover of food and food blogs, youtube cooking channels, discovery channel and travel channel food programs, I find the eating culture of different fantastical tribes very important as a way of showing cultural and religious beliefs, especially the connection of those beliefs with hospitality toward strangers, gratitude toward the gods, and the passage of time.

Wind Follower benefitted from my love of anthropology and from my living in New York. In Wind Follower, I created four tribes that lived in a common cultural setting. In many ways, they were like the cosmopolitan New York area I live in -- many people sharing some aspects of the culture while preserving their own unique cultures with characters' wealth or committment to their religion being the factors that affected their eating habits.

But there were sexual taboo food issues in Wind Follower, and women were not allowed to touch or eat certain foods at "that time" of the month. In addition, some foods implied certain spiritual doctrines. Therefore to touch those foods implied challenging the doctrines.

In my story, Lingua Franca, the eating of certain foods  -- or more specifically, the eating of flesh or the cutting of flesh with a tool-- is the crux of the story. In that story, the main character challenged her husband on his changing the "letter" of the law in order to do what the foreigners want.

In  The Constant Tower, my upcoming novel, different tribes eat different foods but the problem is not a big one.

For other posts on food and fantasy, check out: http://www.sylviakelso.com/2012/12/food-on-travelling-round-table-fantasy.html

 Sylvia Kelso lives in North Queensland, Australia. She writes fantasy and SF set in analogue or alternate Australian settings. She has published six fantasy novels, two of which were finalists for best fantasy novel of the year in the Australian Aurealis genre fiction awards, and some short stories in Australian and US anthologies.

The members of the travelling blog tour are:

Theresa Crater has published two novels, Beneath the Hallowed Hill & Under the Stone Paw and several short stories, most recently “White Moon” in Riding the Moonand “Bringing the Waters” in The Aether Age:  Helios. She’s also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Colorado with her Egyptologist partner and their two cats. Visit her website at http://theresacrater.com

Andrea K Höst was born in Sweden but raised in Australia.  She writes fantasy and science fantasy, and enjoys creating stories which give her female characters something more to do than wait for rescue.  See: www.andreakhost.com

Warren Rochelle has taught English at the University of Mary Washington since 2000. His short story, "The Golden Boy” (published in The Silver Gryphon) was a Finalist for the 2004 Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Short Story and his novels include The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010. He also published a critical work on Le Guin and has academic articles in various journals and essay collections.

Deborah J. Ross began writing professionally in 1982 as Deborah Wheeler with Jaydium and Northlight and short stories in Asimov's, F & SF, Realms Of FantasyY and Star Wars: Tales From Jabba's Palace. Now under her birth name, Ross, she is continuing the" Darkover" series of the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, as well as original work, including the fantasy trilogy The Seven-Petaled Shield, forthcoming from DAW. She is a member of Book View Cafe. She's lived in France, worked for a cardiologist, studied Hebrew, yoga and kung fu, plays classical piano, loves horses, and is active in the local Jewish and Quaker communities.

Valjeanne Jeffers is a graduate of Spelman College, science fiction writer and the author of the Immortal series, The Switch II: Clockwork (books I and II), Grandmere’s Secret, and Colony. She has been published in numerous anthologies including: Steamfunk! and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine. Contact Valjeanne at http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and www.vjeffersandqveal.com.

Chris Howard's a fairly creative guy with a pen and a paint brush, author of Seaborn (Juno Books) and half a shelf-full of other books.  His short stories have appeared in a bunch of zines, latest is "Lost Dogs and Fireplace Archeology" in Fantasy Magazine.  In 2007, his story "Hammers and Snails" was a Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Fiction Contest winner.  He writes and illustrates the comic, Saltwater Witch. His ink work and digital illos have appeared in Shimmer, BuzzyMag, various RPGs, and on the pages of other books, blogs, and places. Last year he painted a 9 x 12 foot Steampunk Map of New York for a cafe in Brooklyn. Find out everything at http://the0phrastus.typepad.com/ You can also find out more about Chris at http://the0phrastus.deviantart.com/   at http://the0phrastus.livejournal.com/ and also at http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com

Carole McDonnell is a writer of ethnic fiction, speculative fiction, and Christian fiction. Her works have appeared in many anthologies and at various online sites. Her first novel, Wind Follower, was published by Wildside Books. Her forthcoming novel is called The Constant Tower.   http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Next Best Thing: The Constant Tower

1. What is the working title of your next book?
The Constant Tower
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I had a dream of a world where its inhabitants are transported every night across the planet. So when they woke up, they never knew where they were. In the dream, someone said, “But the tower is constant.” 
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Heroic fantasy/alternate world setting.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
For Nahas, my nature-blessed warrior king (with the physically-disabled way-too gentle son:  Ben Cross, Jason Statham, or Julian Sands. For his right-hand man: Julian Sands or Jason Statham.   
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A boy cannot go on a journey.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Wildside, the small traditional publishing company that also published my first novel, Wind Follower.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About five years. I tend to procrastinate or to get lost writing other things.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

  • I don’t know if there’s a book that plays with the notion of moving unstable worlds as Constant Tower does but it’s “sword and soul” so it’s got a lot of heroic fantasy things.  It’s a bit like N K Jemison’s series.
  • It’s a bit like Stephen King’s “The Stand” because  the hero is physically disabled and doesn’t believe he’s the hero.
  • It’s a bit like the Lathe of Heaven — for some of the characters— because each night they have to adjust themselves to the world they find outside.
  • It’s a lot like the climate change debate, and debates about helping the poor; the characters don’t really care that their world is falling apart.
  • There are Unfleshed spirits and demons so it’s very like some of C S Lewis’s stories.
  • The relationships in the clan we spend the most time with involve marriages where one woman has two husbands. In that way, it is like Sylvia Kelso’s Amberlight trilogy.
  • It’s an adult novel but there are strong young adult elements  and there is a search for the constant tower. So there is a kind of Lloyd Alexander vibe to it.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I tend to like writing about disabled or wounded people. I got to thinking: There are so many emotional and physical crises people go through in fantasy stories and what if one couldn’t go away and flee the castle? And what if we had a hero who was emotionally, physically, and psychologically not cut out to be a hero? What if a warrior-king's sickly son struggled with his destiny while his clan warred with an enemy clan with whom he strongly identifies? What if he is a priest-physician of his people and he has to become a warrior? And what if there is an ancient myth which tells of a mythical Constant Tower that can change the world but he doesn’t believe in such nonsense?
10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Here’s my blurb:  Fifteen year old Prince Psal, the son of the nature-blessed warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands, but he was born sickly and “damaged” with a clubfoot. A priest-physician of his people, Psal lacks a warrior’s heart. Still, he desires to earn his father’s respect and become a chief within his clan. If not, he wishes to escape his clan altogether. But his love for Cassia, the daughter of his father’s enemy and his petulant and “weak” personality are working against him. When war comes, and he challenges his clan on the atrocities they commit, his chances of rising to chief become even more difficult. And now, outside the longhouse, the mysterious towers —which the clans use to challenge the power of the nightly third moon— are rebelling.  The king’s longhouse has become Psal’s prison. Psal is a prince who cannot go on a journey. Since the going forth of the Creator’s ancient curse, the power of the night has ruled. But a prophecy exists  — not that Psal believes in such matters— of three great ones who will restore the night. Could Psal and his mysteriously fellow-studier be those great ones? What exactly is required of him? And would he be willing to lose his father’s waning respect or throw himself out into the night to find his destiny?
Here are the excellent writers who you’ll hear from next. Hope you enjoy their writing as much as I do.
Carole McDonnell holds a BA degree in Literature from SUNY Purchase and has spent most of her years surrounded by things literary. Her writings appear in various anthologies including “So Long Been Dreaming: Post-colonialism in science fiction,” edited by Nalo Hopkinson and published by Arsenal Pulp Press; Fantastic Visions III" anthology published by Fantasist Enterprises; “Jigsaw Nation” published by Spyre publications, “Griots: A Sword and Soul anthology,” edited by Milton Davis and Charles Saunders, “Life Spices from Seasoned Sistahs: writings by mature women of color,” “Fantastic Stories of the Imagination” edited by Warren Lapine and published by Wilder Publications. Her reviews appear in print and at various online sites. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, two sons, and their pets. Her novel, Wind Follower, was published by Wildside Books. Her other works include My Life as an Onion, Seeds of Bible Study: How NOT to Study the Bible. Her collection of short stories, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction, is available on kindle.
To learn more about Carole, visit her:
Website: www.carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com
Twitter: @scifiwritir

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