Monday, April 10, 2017

India Edghill on "The Price of Stars" in MASQUES OF DARKOVER

In the spirit of a masqued revel, here is a gala presentation of tales set in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s beloved world of the Bloody Sun. Some of these stories are humorous, others dark, some gritty, and others whimsical or romantic, but all reflect the richness and breadth of adventures to be found on Darkover.

Masques of Darkover will be released May 2, 2017 and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble and Kobo. The print edition will be on sale on the release date.

A writer of historical novels (so far, mostly set in Ancient Israel) and fantasy short stories (set everywhen from India to Darkover to Imperial Russia), India Edghill's love of history has resulted in the acquisition of far too many books on far too many subjects. A former resident of the beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley, New York, India and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Deborah J. Ross: Tell us about your introduction to Darkover.  

India Edghill: Oh, heavens, that was so long ago I don't even remember.  I was in my teens and had just discovered science fiction.  Back then it was hard to find and one couldn't just pop off to the Internet to find something you wanted.  If your library didn't own the book, or you didn't spot in at a yard sale, you were out of luck.  Sometimes -- wonder of wonders! -- a science fiction book would show up in the rack of paperbacks at the drugstore, but not often.  And there weren't that many bookstores in suburbia.  Now Amazon, eBay, ABEbooks, and Indiebound have made it so easy to find not only new books, but used ones too, and Project Gutenberg makes thousands of out of print and out of copyright works available free.  The Internet also makes it easy to find a local bookstore no matter where you're going.  But back to Darkover!  Somehow, at some point, I managed to pick up a copy of -- I think it was The Bloody Sun and that did it.  I was hooked.

DJR: What about the world drew you in?

IE: Marion's storytelling, of course!  She created a world of wonders and fascinating people and spun terrific stories about them.  I found Darkover back when a science fiction novel was only about 50,000 words, and boy, could she weave a universe for you in those words.

DJR: What book would you recommend for someone new to Darkover?

IE: Well, there's always The Door Through Space…for those really into Darkovan backstory…  Okay, okay, Door isn't technically a Darkover story.  But it's my favorite, and in a sense it's the ultimate Darkover book.  For anyone who's interested in the Dry Towns, it's required reading.

DJR: What inspired your story in Masques of Darkover?

IE: Queen Elizabeth I's eye color.  Semi-seriously!  To start with, all I had was a vague idea:  "what if the most powerful laran-user ever was a girl born in the Dry Towns?"  The Dry Towns have always interested me, so the setting was a "gimme."  And since I'm totally enamored of Good Queen Bess (in fact, my first sale to Mzb's Fantasy Magazine was "Maiden Phoenix", about the young Elizabeth), I swiped her for the character.  And since no one can agree on Elizabeth's eye color -- sources from her own time describe her eyes as every color from blue to grey to hazel to black -- I blended that in as well.

DJR: Was writing this story different from a typical writing project? How did you balance writing in someone else’s world and being true to your own creative imagination?

IE: Well, as a long-time Star Trek and Star Wars fan, I'm used to writing in other people's universes.  The biggest problem you can run into when writing in someone else's world, though, is relying too much on shortcuts.  For instance, in Star Trek fanfic, "The captain walked onto the bridge" -- and unless we're told otherwise, we know it's Captain James T. Kirk and the bridge is that of the USS Enterprise, and we know what it looks like.
Oops!  Well, at least that was true until ST:TNG and its follow-ups came along.  Now even in ST fanfic the writer needs to let the reader know what captain, which bridge.

In a specialty anthology, one can assume that most readers come to the stories with a knowledge of, say, Darkover, but the writer still has to try to bring the world to life for the reader.

DJR: Is there another Darkover story you would particularly like to write?

IE: Actually, I'd love to write anything set in the Dry Towns.  It's such a fascinating setting, and the Dry Towns add still another layer of conflict to a Darkover story.

DJR: What is your favorite of your published works and why?

IR: My favorite "fictional child" is One Way Mirror.  It was my first novel, written about my
first love, Star Trek, and that will always make it special to me.  Look One Way Mirror up (it's available on-line at AO3) if you dare…and want to figure out just how old I really am!  But I'm fond of all of them, for different reasons.  Being a writer means one can indulge in different lives, and play with talents one doesn’t possess.  Delilah, for instance, let me indulge my fantasy of being a dancer -- something at which I am hideously bad, but I grew up sighing over the dance routines in the MGM musicals, longed to be a dancer like Ann Miller or Cyd Charisse, and of course all I saw as a child was the dance, not the grinding hours of work it took to achieve effortless perfection.  Also, talent: I haven't got any for dancing.  Not one step's worth of it.

DJR: What lies ahead for you?

IE: Having written four books about Biblical women (Delilah, Queenmaker, Wisdom's
Daughter, and Game of Queens), I'm now writing an epic-length romantic historical novel set in Victorian India.  And India (that's me, not the country) is also going Indie!  My short stories will be available in a collection:  The Courtesan Who Loved Cats and Other Stories, and my mystery series set in 1984 New York City, starring Cornelia Upshaw, a professional temporary secretary, will be continued as well.  The first book in the series, File M For Murder, should be reissued in 2017. 

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