Kelly and I couldn’t be in Calgary last night for When Words Collide, so we were rewatching Forsyte Saga and keeping one eye tuned to Twitter when word came that Kelly had won the Prix Aurora Award for “Waters of Versailles.” Delightful news, and I am thrilled for her (and, I admit, just a bit smug about having used the words “awards-quality” to describe it before it had even gone out to market).
About ten nail-bitey minutes after that, we found out that A Daughter of No Nation had won the Aurora in the Novel category. Our brother Bill Robson accepted both awards for us, kindly giving up an evening to hobnob with Canada’s SF luminaries. He called to congratulate us, and sent a pic of himself holding both trophies, both certificates, and our nominee pins.
Here’s the speech I sent to Calgary:
Being nominated for an Aurora is one of those things that I believe all Canadian SF authors aspire to. I always did, so it was a thrill and an honor to be on this shortlist with so many great authors whose work I love. I am thankful to my wife, Kelly Robson, to my family, to the people at Tor Books and to all the many friends and colleagues who’ve helped me, over the years, with everything from research and proofreading to unstinting moral support.
Last year, when I had the opportunity to present one of these trophies myself, I was blown away by my good fortune. I feel lucky to be working among such a lively community of brilliant creators, people who celebrate writing, genre fiction, and, above all, each other. I am touched and gratified that you liked A Daughter of No Nation so much; thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Incidentally, the reason
we weren’t in Calgary was that next week we’re going to be in Kansas City for MidAmericon II
. Here’s my schedule:
The Re-emergence of Environmental Speculative Fiction
Thursday 18:00 – 19:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)
This used to be a booming field but has only recently re-emerged. Why is this and how do today’s tropes differ from the ecological dystopias of the 1970s?
Mr. Peadar O Guilin (M), Brenda Cooper, Alyx Dellamonica
Oceans: The Wettest Frontier
Friday 10:00 – 11:00, 3501F (Kansas City Convention Center)
James Cambias, Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Patricia MacEwen, Christopher Weuve (M), Alyx Dellamonica
We Deserve Better: Lesbians and Bi Women for Change
Friday 15:00 – 16:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)
TV SPOILERS! TW: Character Deaths.
Alyx Dellamonica (M), Jaylee James, Nina Niskanen, Jay Wolf
Reading: Alyx Dellamonica
Sunday 13:30 – 14:00, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)
I am happy to say I am the Author of the Month this June at The Heroine Bookstore, an online venture that promotes genre works with female protagonists. There’s an interview with me at the bookstore site and, to sweeten the pot, THB is giving away copies of Child of a Hidden Sea and a A Daughter of No Nation. Entry deadline is June 24th; the winner will be announced the next day.
You can enter the contest here.
As I write these words, we are at the halfway point between the release of book two, the above-mentioned A Daughter of No Nation and the final episode in the Hidden Sea Tales, The Nature of a Pirate. The third book brings Sophie back into direct conflict with the nations of the Piracy, and particularly with Convenor Brawn of Isle of Gold.
With the exception of Issle Morta, Parrish’s monk-riddled homeland, the surviving nations of the Piracy have been frustrated for over a century. They see pillaging on the high seas as an important cultural practice, and they argue that the Fleet’s protection of the smaller and most vulnerable nations of Stormwrack is doing these peoples no favors. Pirates firmly believe in the idea of survival of the fittest… where the fittest are themselves and any country with a navy powerful enough to deter all comers. Many of the big political events since Sophie’s arrival have been caused by the Piracy’s determination to break the Fleet and the treaty that holds it together. Come December, you’ll all get to check out their next big try.
Book launch weeks tend to see me gadding about the Internet, and this time is no exception. A.C. Wise, for example, interviewed me this week about, among other things, the writing process that brought me ’round to producing A Daughter of No Nation. This was a particular thrill because I loved loved LOVED her new story cycle, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again.
Other bits of gadding: Amazon selected ADONN for its Best Books of December feature, and Barnes and Noble featured it in its New Books Round-up.
Finally, here’s my favorite review quote so far, from Caitlin Paxon’s write-up at Tor.com:
I appreciate a sequel that knows what its readers want, and A Daughter of No Nation definitely knows that we want more swashbuckling sea battles, more wacky biology, and more smoldering Captain Parrish, ASAP.
I’ll also note that she is coming out strongly in favor of more swash un-buckling, by which she means she’d very much like for Sophie to get into Captain Parrish’s pants.
It can be tricky to know what to say about a book on its birthday, particularly if it is not the shiny debut of a series. I don’t want to spoil Child of a Hidden Sea for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, after all. Even so, I want to say a few things about where the story picks up in A Daughter of No Nation.
It has been six long months. Sophie Hansa is at home, trying as best she can to prepare herself for what she hopes will be a not too distant return to the world of Stormwrack. She’s attempting to learn skills that mesh with Age of Sail technology, to ensure that she’s fit, healthy, and ready to face a range of physical and mental challenges. There’s endurance training. Knot tying. Re-upping her CPR. Astral navigation. Memorizing everything from A Standard Book of British Birds to simple experiments from the history of science. As the book opens, that’s what we where we find her.
Anyway, I thought it might be fun to right now invent a rundown on what everyone else has been up to:
Bramwell Hansa, for example, is as intrigued by Stormwrack’s existence as Sophie herself. Is it an alternate Earth? A future one? Why does magic seem to work there? Wait… seem? Clearly it does, but how? He’s been been working with his sister on the data they have gathered so far, teaming up develop research plans for any future expeditions. Because, you see, they have to know.
My first impulse was to say that it all been rather nose to grindstone for poor Bram–that he hasn’t been dating. But I think all of you who keep telling me how much you love Bram will agree he could use a nice fellow in his life. Six months, though… he can’t have had anything too dramatic going on, or his sister would have noticed, and cared, and talked it to death. He’s not in a relationship when the book opens, and there’s nothing about recent drama in A Daughter of No Nation. So… was it all science and no play? Did Bram meet someone–have it flare and then fizzle? You tell me. I’m open to to anything, as long as it’s consistent with Bram’s character and what I’ve got on the page.
Sophie’s half sister, meanwhile, definitely isn’t getting any. Come on, guys–Verena’s so young! Anyway, she’s got a huge unrequited crush on a certain tasty ship’s captain, and she’s not about to let that go anytime soon. Also, she’s adjusting to her new job. It’s a big job and she’s completely inexperienced, so naturally, a few mistakes have been made. Good thing the boss isn’t a hardass, right? She is? Well, that’s awkward…
As for the Nightjar crew and Captain Parrish, I’ve got to tell you that they have been having a rough time of it. They lost someone important to them in the first book, as you may remember, and the past half year has served both as a mourning period and an upheaval. Life and work go on, as they must, but the rhythms are changed, and not everyone’s able to dance to the new beat. In fact, the medic and the bosun have both thrown up their hands and quit.
So for Garland and Tonio in particular, things feel precarious. That’s how it is when you lose the people who matter most to you. The ground crumbles underfoot. Everything in life is, simply, harder.
Finally, there’s the Fleet’s chief Duelist, Judge-Advocate Clydon Banning of Sylvanna, legal eagle and sword fighter extraordinare. He isn’t even faintly bereaved. Someone died? Did I kill them? No? Then why are we discussing this, exactly?
Cly has been a busy busy boy. He has taken a leave of absence, dug deep into a bunch of musty legal codes and old lawsuits, and even reviewed his will. He has demanded and earned the equivalent of a higher security clearance from his government, and then elbowed his way into the club of higher-ups holding onto Stormwrack’s most tightly guarded secrets. Put another way, he has obliged the Convene of Nations to tell him about the existence of Earth. Now he is considering how he might best exploit this newfound knowledge… and Sophie, inevitably, will be the key to all his plans.
Do you have a favorite Stormwrack character who’s not included in this roundup? Let me know and I’ll give you a hint about what they’ve been up to.
Second books aren’t always about charm. Sometimes they’re about rolling up your sleeves, raising your fists and damnwell plunging your characters so deep into the dip you might never get them out again. A Daughter of No Nation has tall ships, sirens, man-eating cats, teenage con artists in love, dryads, slaves, leech attacks, tedious dinners with frightful cousins–because danger has many flavors–a really nasty kudzu infestation and the resurrection of a dead conspirator on Issle Morta, island of the judgey monks.
Doesn’t that all just kinda scream holiday gift?