Next Big Thing

In lieu of a writing lecture or an Off My Lawn essay, today, I give you this: the incomparable and fantastic Jessica Reisman has tagged me in the “Next Big Thing” meme. Here are her answers, about Deep Terrain. Which I’ve read, which means you may all now be jealous of me because it’s a furling diamond of a book, packed with sparkle and wonder.

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

I have a trilogy coming out from Tor Books, set in the same universe as my novelette “Among the Silvering Herd.” The first of these is (currently, tentatively) entitled Child of the Hidden Sea. The second one, which is the book I’m actually working on right this minute, is called Daughter of No Nation. I think it can fairly be said they’re still both in progress.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few years ago, after the eighth or ninth family funeral, sometime after I had finished Blue Magic and realized it had a quite imposing body count, I set out to find myself a project that would be nothing but fun. (Fun for me, you understand, but also fun for readers.)

I did a lot of thinking, then, about the things I always write, the things I find fun, the character traits I most admire in my loved ones, the books I like to read and basically everything I find cool, compelling, or adorable. I thought about writing books that would have adventure! And sex! And the ocean! And alternate worlds and serial killers (okay, slightly less upbeat there) and old lady spies and child geniuses and all the splendor of the natural world and nations of reformed pirates who claim to have gone legit and magical sailing ships and at least one character of jaw-dropping, unsurpassed, make-the-room gasp physical beauty. Those of you who’ve read “Among the Silvering Herd” already know who I’m talking about.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

I call it other world fantasy. Ecofantasy also, once again, does apply.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Gale Feliachild would have to be Helen Mirren, with a very butch haircut and not a British accent.

Clydon Iblis Banning is Paul Gross. And by that I mean Paul Gross now, chewing scenery and looking lascivious but also waving a big sword around. Did anyone else see him in Eastwick? OMG. That.

Sophie Hansa? Dunno. I have yet to see a 24-ish actress with bigtime comedy chops, curly brown hair, the shoulders of a swimmer, and more cute than you can shake Paul Gross’s sword at.

As for Captain Parrish, I think we discussed this here, once. I will try to find the thread for you soon.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

When marine videographer Sophie Hansa goes in search of her birth parents, she finds herself on the world of Stormwrack, caught up in the attempted murder of a government operative who might also be her aunt, and hunted by pirates who think she may hold the key to breaking a hundred year old peace compact enforced by an immense magical warship known as Temperance.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am blessed and delighted to be able to say this is my next project for Tor Books, and that my agent Linn Prentis sold it to Jim Frenkel earlier this year.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Well! With the first book, I wrote a few chapters to give my editor an idea of what I was planning. And then I had created this fabulous universe to play in. But what if the book didn’t sell? So I wrote “Among the Silvering Herd.” And then another story. And then I couldn’t contain myself any longer, and I wrote a few more chapters of the first book. And then I wrote another story… A year later I had a novel and five stories, plus fragments of other things. So, really, who the hell knows?

With the second, sixteen weeks, with the help of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. That’s the difference between waiting to find out you’ve sold something and suddenly having delivery dates.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

Actually, I see overlaps with Jessica’s novel: ships and banditry and adventure are part of the picture in both series. M.K. Hobson and I also write about similar things, often, though the end result is nothing alike–magical goo and the intersection of science and magic and enchantment fueled disasters and now–I’m a chapter or so into the rocking and delightful The Warlock’s Curse–slavery.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Stormwrack is a world with two hundred and fifty island nations, each with their own microclimate and unique ecology. These nations are the Galápagos Islands on a world where there’s almost nothing but ocean. Those islands, the people who study and film them, and Darwin’s travels there were key sources of inspiration.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There will be humor! And romance! And people trying earnestly to do science that might explain a world (or possibly a future Earth) where you can raise the dead and magically ‘tame’ a volcano or turn someone into a giant. I am having an obscene amount of fun writing all of these Stormwrack pieces, and the idea is for all of you to have a blast reading them.

I am tagging Hobson on this. Here’s a link to her Goodreads giveaway, and the beautiful Warlock’s Curse cover:

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About Alyx Dellamonica

After twenty-two years in Vancouver, B.C., I've recently moved to Toronto Ontario, where I make my living writing science fiction and fantasy; I also review books and teach writing online at UCLA. I'm a legally married lesbian, a coffee snob, and I wake up at an appallingly early hour.

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