Once again, I’m unabashedly posting one of my favorite bits, this one by reviewer Molly Wright, who says:
I really enjoyed this book, it had a taste of the humor/lightness of a young adult novel with the underlying messages and depth of a older book. I don’t know how it was light and deep at the same time, but maybe the author use a spell of some kind like Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger. It also had a wonderful magic system which combine some classic elements with the new.
The body count in my first book, Indigo Springs, is pretty low. By which I mean that perhaps a dozen people die in it, and only three of those are named characters who get it in the neck onstage. Nevertheless, it’s not a bubbly book. It opens after a magical-environmental disaster has turned much of Oregon into an enchanted, if litter-strewn, forest. Astrid Lethewood has lost her home, her freedom and just about everyone she loves. Will Forest, the police profiler tasked with finding out just how she got to that place, is struggling with the disappearance of his children.
Nobody’s real happy, you know?
In Blue Magic, the follow-up, the death toll is several orders of magnitude higher. I like to think the book has a happy ending, but you may have to squint to see it. (Do you agree? I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about the ending of Blue Magic with anyone.)
By chance, the stretch of time when I was working on that second book included some pretty rough seas. I lost a number of loved ones, and there were other things going on, things that enhanced that illusion we all get now and then, the one where Life, with a capital L, has chosen your ass as her personal scratching post.
When I set out to write Child of a Hidden Sea, one of my first priorities was to write a fun book, dammitall. Fun for readers, of course, but also for me. One whose point of view character was cheery and optimistic and someone I’d enjoy hanging out with even when her life was turning to crap. No matter what bleak happenstance I also packed into the story–mass extinctions, homicide, kids with abandonment issues, lost friends, a never-ending war with diplomatic red tape, debt, taxes, you name it–I wanted it to have lots of light notes. Froth, even. Bright skies, sandy beaches, and the occasional bit of silliness.
Did I succeed? Judge for yourself. Tor has posted the first chapter here.
A couple weeks ago I told you all that this novelette, which is set in the same universe as my books INDIGO SPRINGS and BLUE MAGIC, was available for pre-order at the usual big e-retailers. Today it’s officially out, and you can read it on the Tor site.
“Wild Things” takes place between the events of the two novels, but is mostly set here in British Columbia rather than in Oregon. It’s a little picture of the mystical outbreak as it plays out in Canada, in other words. Here’s the opening.
My swamp man wasn’t what you’d call a sexy beast, though I found his skin strangely beautiful. It was birch bark: tender, onion-thin, chalk white in color, with hints of almond and apricot. He was easily bruised, attracted lichens, and when he got too dry, he peeled.
And the thoroughly gorgeous Allen Williams cover:
Look! It’s the cover art for my novelette “Wild Things,” which will be out on Tor.com on October 3rd. If you went to any of my BLUE MAGIC readings, this is the story whose beginning you heard; it’s set in the same universe, between the events of the two novels, and deals with the effects of the mystical outbreak in British Columbia.
Here in the real B.C., (though there’s a lot of stuff about phones in “Wild Things”, oddly) our home phone stopped working, probably sometime last week. Maybe earlier. Did you fail to get through to us? Sorry.
It wasn’t just that we both have mobiles now that kept us from noticing. We’re neither of us much for the phone in any case, so everyone in our lives tends to e-mail us when they need us. Except, you know. The doctor. The pharmacist. The bank. Work.
I spent an hour yesterday futzing around trying to get it fixed, while simultaneously trying to get the tech to give me the number for the people who’d cancel it altogether. Here’s what being on hold looks like at Telus these days:
In the end, the technician walked me through 90% of the let’s fix your phone script before I managed to convince him to tell me who to call to just kill the landline. I’d forgotten, though, that the phone jacks also control our door buzzer. And that too seems to be dead dead dead, so now I’m asking our property manager and strata guys to look into fixing a problem that probably wasn’t Telus’s fault in the first place. But which made them notice we weren’t using the phone, and which thus cost them a monthly more-than-pittance for phone fees.
Letting go of our old phone number was a little weird–we have had the same phone account and number since 1991. But paying to hang onto the number for nostalgia purposes seemed a little silly. It was weird, too, because it feels like a thing you do when you’re moving. And though we’re not moving, you can’t tell it from the state of my not-yet-painted office:
Tori Truslow of the ever-excellent Strange Horizons doesn’t love every word of Blue Magic, but does say this:
Besides Juanita, we get a gay male couple, bisexual Astrid, and transgender Ev. Thanks to the magical explosion, Ev is now able to have a male body—although Dellamonica does not fall back on magic as an excuse to ignore the potential complexities of transitioning as a middle-aged parent. I’m not in a position myself to assess how successful a portrayal he is, but I certainly believed in him and overall found the strong showing of queer characters—and the normalization of their queerness—refreshing.
M.K. Hobson, author of the amazing The Native Star, asks me three questions about Blue Magic.
Her questions and my answers are here.
If you liked The Native Star or its sequel, The Hidden Goddess, you may want to check out Hobson’s Kickstarter campaign, which seeks to fund the next installment of the Veneficas Americana series.