The joke I’ve been making since I learned last week that Child of a Hidden Sea had made the 27th Lambda Literary Awards Finalist List, has been that my previous book, Blue Magic, is “way more gay.”
It’s easy to crack wise when these things happen, because it’s difficult to know what to say, beyond the obvious, about a nomination. The obvious being that I’m more than pleased… I’m thrilled, really, and also–hence the joke–surprised too. I am happy for my fellow Tor authors, Max Gladstone and Daryl Gregory, and for all the other nominees. I’m pleased to have personal connections to other people on the ballot, like Lloyd Meeker (we used to sing together in a choir called Out in Harmony) and one of my oldest friends in the world, the marvelous Keph Senett, who has a story in A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships. These are the people in my neighborhood, the not-quite-imaginary place where queerness and feminism and activism and artistic expression all intersect to produce wonders.
It’s easier in person, of course. I got to brag up the nomination at the SpecFic Colloquium this past weekend, in between hearing Nnedi Okorafor, David Nickle, Simon McNeil, Alex Leitch and Derek Newman-Stile talking about everything from racism and ableism to gamergate and James Bond. I got to be all delighted and smug at my weekly writing date on Thursday, too.
The nomination injected a big dose of excitement into last week, in other words, and continues to offer up a warm glow of delight as the days pass.
Final edits for A Daughter of No Nation are done, done, OMG done, and the book’s back at Tor. Soon there will be copy-edits to proof. Meanwhile, I’m finishing up a short story for License Expired and then moving into polishing up The Nature of a Pirate.
So… blogging will commence approximately six minutes after I can form a sentence more complex than “Dur dur dur.”
I do spend a shocking amount of time saying “Get off da counter!” as it happens. CinCin has an advanced degree in incorrigible and she loves loves loves to mooch.
If you would like to kickstart this process whereby I become communicative again (kickstart in the old fashioned sense of the word, and not the “Let’s raise money for a rockin’ awesome project!” sense, though if you want to throw money at me of course I’ll knit a pink net to catch it with), feel free to suggest some topics. I’m often at my most interesting when I’m talking about something I hadn’t realized you all wanted to know.
Now that I have a shiny new cover for A Daughter of No Nation, I asked if anyone had any questions about the upcoming book, which’ll be out in November.
And Paul Weimer did! He asks:
Is Sophie’s brother coming back?
Yes. Bram is in both A Daughter of No Nation (or, sometimes, ADoNN) and the third book, whose tentative title is The Nature of a Pirate.
How much time takes place between the end of Child of a Hidden Sea and the beginning of ADoNN?
The second book picks up about six months after Sophie’s deportation from the Fleet at the end of CHS.
Will we ever see a map? (you knew I needed to ask that)…
Honestly, I don’t know. I have hopes that it’ll happen one day… but as you probably remember, there’s so much ocean on Stormwrack, and so little land, that any full map of the planet would look like a blue sphere with green pimples. Also, since I am completely incapable of drawing one, some assistance will be required. A better bet is getting maps of some of the great nations, one day: Sylvanna, for example, and Verdanii. I don’t think there’s going to be a map in this book, though.
What new characters are you most excited to introduce us to?
Hmmm, who’s the most exciting new character in the second novel? We do see a little more of Sweet, who has been promoted up from her bosun’s assistant position on Nightjar, and you meet Watts, a doctor they pick up en route in this second book. I think the most fun I had with characters you haven’t seen previously was probably with a certain monk on Issle Morta, who has some strongly held opinions about Garland Parrish’s life and career choices.
You also get a quick look at Sophie’s adoptive parents, Regina and Cornell Hansa.
Paul, thank you for the questions! And the floor’s still open, everyone–what else do you all want to know?
I have a short article about the worldbuilding in Child of a Hidden Sea up at the Tor Forge site, called “Enough with Zombies! Bring on the Pirate Apocalypse!” Essentially, it argues that you can blame the coffee cups at the American Museum of Natural History for everything I do. (Later in the week, I am planning to blame porn. Because nothing is my fault!)
Meanwhile, there’s another review of the novel, and quite a good one too, at Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup.
There will also be a Goodreads Q&A soon, but as of today I can’t quite work out how to turn it on. I’m pretty sure there’s a PICNIC error involved, and have sent craven pleas for assistance to qualified persons.
A few years ago I had the awesome good fortune to meet Greta Wenzel at the Surrey International Writers Conference. Greta has many fantastic qualities, and she curates one of my favorite Pinterest humor boards.
We cross paths on Facebook too, from time to time.
She also has children.
Because I have been posting a good deal lately about Child of a Hidden Sea, she reached out on the weekend and asked how kid-appropriate it might be. She is not concerned about her two eldest, but her youngest is eleven years old, and would love a seagoing fantasy adventure.
This is the kind of question I find incredibly difficult to answer, because I grew up in a house where nobody ever thought to try and stop me from reading whatever text happened to waft my way. I remember reading both Jaws and Roots at around eleven, for example. The former was gory and the latter was rapey, though neither was as sensational as the family pornography archive.
(I also remember asking about the plot of Romeo and Juliet after seeing an epic Man from Atlantis episode based thereon, whereupon one or the other parent handed me the complete works of William Shakespeare.)
Some of that reading was beyond me, and bits of all of the above-mentioned works went over my head. (Except, of course, the Man from Atlantis episode.) What I’m tempted to say when asked about who my books are fit for is “It kinda depends on the kid.” But that’s not a great answer for school librarians trying to figure out if my novel’s going to get them in trouble with the parents of children I’ve never met.
What I would always say with Indigo Springs was that there is a sex scene. Onstage sex! Not overtly raunchy, but nothing hidden either.
(I’m sure it’s tactful to pause here to allow any smuthounds time to rush out for a copy of that first book.)
Anyway, the new novel. Two of the characters do have a fling. But the steamy action’s not onstage. I’m trying to build up to the steaminess slowly, if you know what I mean.
As for violence and without getting spoilery, this book has a few on-stage killings. There’s mention of a possible sexual assault in the past. There are a couple of brawls. Some arm-breaking. At least one animal and a couple of monsters die. (The animal is not fluffy, if it makes a difference.)
So now I’m polling: What do you think? Would this have stopped you at eleven? Should it have? Would your parents have made you wait a couple years? I am especially interested in the answer to this if you have already read it and/or have children.
I’m thinking my standard answer should be that Child of a Hidden Sea falls somewhere between PG and PG13.