Monday, April 17, 2017

Leslie Roy & Margaret L. Carter on "Believing" 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.

Margaret L. Carter specializes in vampires, having been marked for life by reading Dracula at the age of twelve. Her Ph.D. dissertation even included a chapter on Dracula. Her vampire novel Dark Changeling won an Eppie Award in the horror category in 2000. Other creatures she writes about include werewolves, dragons, ghosts, and Lovecraftian entities with tentacles. In addition to her horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance fiction, she has had several nonfiction books and articles published on vampires in literature, including Different Blood: The Vampire As Alien. Recent work includes Passion In The Blood (a vampire romance), Sealing The Dark Portal (a paranormal romance with Lovecraftian elements), and “Crossing the Border” (horror erotic romance novella with Lovecraftian elements).

Les and Margaret Carter attended the College of William and Mary together as a married couple and earned their bachelors’ degrees there. Les later received an MS in Electronics Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a Captain after thirty years of service. He and Margaret co-wrote “Carmen’s Flight,” published in one of the early Darkover anthologies. They have also collaborated on a fantasy series, beginning with Wild Sorceress, for which he’s the primary author. Les has over fifty years of experience in search and rescue as a member of the Civil Air Patrol. Les and Margaret have four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Deborah J.Ross: Tell us about your introduction to Darkover. What about the world drew you in?

[Margaret] I discovered Darkover through a paperback of  The Bloody Sun (the original edition) that Les owned when we got married. I loved that novel because it centers on one of my favorite tropes, the character who doesn’t know the truth about his own origin and has to discover the secrets of his background and past. The world of Darkover attracted me with the culture clash between Darkovans and Terrans, with Terrans as the “fish out of water,” and also with the “feel” of fantasy and magic in a science-fiction environment. I enjoy the rather feudal social structure, too, which is why the post-Heritage of Hastur novels appeal to me less than those set in earlier periods.

[Les] I was into military novels, which supported my hobby of historical reenactment using lead soldiers. I wasn’t to “into” make-believe stuff. The Bloody Sun was one of the first science fiction novels I had read. Having discovered sci-fi, I launched into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian series and had little time left for things not of the fantastic. I was seriously re-introduced to Darkover when my wife needed a plot for a short story submission she wanted to make to Towers of Darkover. That resulted in “Carmen’s Flight.”

DJRS: What do you see as the future of Darkover? How has its readership changed over the decades? What book would you recommend for someone new to Darkover?

[Margaret] For new readers, I think The Bloody Sun and Heritage of Hastur give accessible, engaging glimpses of Darkover at different points in its development. Also, I read the anthology The Keeper's Price without having any prior exposure to the series other than The Bloody Sun, and I didn’t have any trouble understanding the stories. That volume offers an overview of various periods in Darkover’s history in a form easy to absorb and enjoy.

[Les] We have not explored the past of Darkover enough. The chieri did not leave a big enough footprint on Darkover to be homegrown. Were they the first to exploit the planet? What is buried in the frozen lands? Will the Terrans suddenly show renewed interest in Darkover? Do the Darkovans really have laran controlled (like the chieri seem to have), or are the chieri actually limiting the Darkovans’ development?

DJR: Tell us about your story in Masques of Darkover.

[Les] Who or what were the chieri, and why are they trying to hide their presence? In doing so, they tried to hide the origin of the present Darkovans. Why? Will an off-worlder’s quest to find out the answer cause the chieri to expose themselves?

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?

[Les] If you want to play in someone else’s world, you need to know the rules. No one says you can’t violate the rules, otherwise why would we have sci-fi if everyone believes the laws of physics are sacrosanct. But to change someone else’s world to make your story believable poses the question, why are you playing in the world in the first place?

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

[Les] What is underneath the frozen parts of Cottman IV? Frozen worlds are a fact in the universe but are usually totally covered with ice. Cottman IV is not, and it spins exposing all its surface area to its sun. Why have the towers never sensed the lack of anything in the Overworld from its area, or in their searching for raw materials?

DJR: What have you written recently? What is your favorite of your published works and why?

[Margaret] I’m working on a light paranormal romance that includes Japanese yokai of various types,
and I’ve completed a Lovecraftian-themed paranormal romance next-generation sequel to From the Dark Places (a quasi-Lovecraftian horror novel with romantic elements). However, vampires have always been closest to my heart, and my favorite of my books is Dark Changeling, my first vampire novel (which can be found on Amazon, along with most of our works).

[Les] Several rejected stories that I have submitted to Sword and Sorceress have been accepted in Sorcerous Signals. I am working on a sequel to Legacy of Magic.

DJR: What lies ahead for you?

[Margaret] At present many of our books are in the process of being re-released by Writers
Exchange E-Publishing (because the original publisher closed). Our “Wild Sorceress” trilogy, comprising Wild Sorceress, Besieged Adept, and Rogue Magess, along with a previous-generation prequel, Legacy of Magic, has been republished. Next, my solo-written horror novels and paranormal romances are gradually being re-released. We’re working on a sequel to Legacy of Magic, which will complete the backstory for Wild Sorceress.

[Les] Aetria from the “Wild Sorceress” trilogy is now offworld, carrying the fight to the Styreka in space. Will she succeed?

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