Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Margaret L. Carter and Roy Carter on “A Walk in the Mountains” in REALMS OF DARKOVER

Realms of Darkover®, the newest Darkover anthology, will be released in May 2016. You can pre-order it at Amazon (and it will be available at other outlets soon). Here’s a contributor interview to whet your appetite!
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s beloved world of Darkover encompasses many realms, from glacier-shrouded mountains to arid wastelands, from ancient kingdoms to space-faring empires. Now this all-new anthology welcomes old friends and new fans to explore these landscapes of time and place, history and imagination.

Deborah J. Ross: When and why did you begin writing? (And anything else you’d like to share about yourself and your life.)

Margaret L. Carter: After reading Dracula at the age of twelve and becoming enthralled with vampires, horror, fantasy, and “soft” SF, I started writing fiction at age thirteen because I couldn’t find enough stories of the kind I wanted to read. In the early 1960s, my only sources were the public library and whatever paperbacks I came across in local stores. I especially wanted fiction from the viewpoint of the “monster.” I was writing my own “good guy vampire” stories long before they became popular. I eventually earned degrees in English literature through the PhD level, on the premise that as a college instructor I could get paid for reading books. That plan didn’t quite work out, given the post-1970s slump in the academic job market; I spent most of my working life as a part-time legislative editor for the General Assembly of Maryland.

When Les and I met as teenagers in a church group, he was also writing already, mainly science fiction. Our authorial aspirations drew us together. His father had retired from a career in the Navy and settled in Norfolk, Virginia, where I grew up. After getting married, we attended the College of William and Mary. Les became an officer in the Navy after graduation. His Navy career put his writing on hold for several decades. Upon retirement, he returned to it.

DJR: Tell us about your introduction to Darkover. What about the world or its inhabitants drew you in?

MLC: When we got married and merged our book collections, Les happened to own a copy of The Bloody Sun (the original paperback, of course; this was in the mid-1960s, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth). I was fascinated by the hero’s gradual discovery of the truth about his past (one of my favorite fictional tropes). This novel is an excellent introduction to Darkover because the reader learns the secrets of the world along with the protagonist. I had no idea it was part of a series until I discovered other novels later, beginning (I think) with Heritage Of Hastur. After that we both got into it and read all the books. We collaborated on “Carmen’s Flight,” a story in one of the early Darkover anthologies. Les devised the plot, and I did the writing.

DJR: What inspired your story in Realms of Darkover?

MLC: In trying to come up with a plot premise a bit different from most Darkover stories I’ve read, I thought it would be fun to create something that would draw upon Les’s search-and-rescue experience as a member of the Civil Air Patrol for over fifty years. Naturally, this idea suggested a setting in the mountains near St.-Valentine-of-the-Snows, which allowed us to include our favorite dog breed, St. Bernards. We have owned several of them over the years and currently live with our fifth St. Bernard. In the case of this story, I outlined the plot, and Les wrote the first draft, which I then edited.

DJR: What have you written recently? What lies ahead? (feel free to expound on your recent and forthcoming books!)

MLC: Our most recent collaborative novel is Legacy Of Magic, a stand-alone, previous-generation prequel to our “Wild Sorceress” trilogy, of which Les is the primary author. Most people admire sorcerers and aspire to imitate them, but our heroine, Merina, detests magic because she thinks it ruined her mother’s life. Then Merina’s fiancé announces his ambition to become a healer-mage, and she discovers she has latent magical power of her own. . . . My latest solo work is “Crossing the Border,” an erotic romance-horror crossover novella with Lovecraftian elements. I’m working on a next-generation sequel to one of my older works, From The Dark Places, a horror novel with a romance subplot and some Lovecraftian content. The sequel will fall more into the urban fantasy-paranormal romance category rather than straight horror.

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