Monday, March 30, 2015

Rosemary Edghill on "Learning to Breathe Snow" in GIFTS OF DARKOVER

On a wondrous planet of telepaths and swordsmen, nonhumans and ancient mysteries, a
technologically advanced, star-faring civilization comes into inevitable conflict with one that has pursued psychic gifts and turned away from weapons of mass destruction. Darkover offers many gifts, asked for and unexpected. Those who come here, ignorant of what they will find, discover gifts outside themselves and within themselves. The door to magic swings both ways, however, and many a visitor leaves the people he encounters equally transformed.

Gifts of Darkover will be released May 5, 2015, and is now available for pre-order.

Here Rosemary Edghill chats with editor Deborah J. Ross about "Learning to Breathe Snow." 

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

Rosemary: I don't even remember the first Darkover book I read, but it was a really long time ago.  Back then, there wasn't much fantasy out there.  The closest you got was the subset of space opera stories called "Sword and Planet"-- think Leigh Brackett, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Anne McCaffrey (whose "Pern" novels totally qualifiy).  I think Marion  Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series was her way of writing fantasy at a time when fantasy was impossible to sell: there's no true magic on Darkover, frex, and the Darkovans are all lost colonists.  So I loved the series for the sense of a huge history and prehistory that it had, and for the swashbuckling adventures.

The other thing about Darkover was that it used to be very fan-friendly, so there was the Darkover Newsletter, and a bunch of Free Amazon groups, and of course all the Darkover fanzines.  I was very much involved in fandom and fanzines, and a friend of mine was both a fanzine publisher and a member of a Free Amazon group.  So that really deepened my interest and involvement with Darkover, long before I sold my first professional work.

Deborah: What do you see as the future of Darkover?

Rosemary: I think it will go on forever!  I'd love to see series set in different time periods, too: my personal favorite is the Recontact, but I'd love to see stories set during The Founding and the Ages of Chaos, too.  The wonderful thing about Darkover is that it's such a huge rich complex world that there will always be more stories to tell about it.

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

Rosemary: I want to write another story about Ercan Waltrud (from "Learning To Breathe Snow") and I want to do more stories about the Cultural Reconciliation Office.  Given the background MZB evolved for Darkover, with first and second waves of galactic colonization and a Dark Age for Earth lying between them, I thought it would be inevitable that the Terran Empire would have a mechanism in place for dealing with rediscovered colonies.  Darkover can't be the only one.

Deborah: What inspired your story in Gifts of Darkover? Tell us about your story in Gifts of Darkover.

Rosemary: "Learning To Breathe Snow" (I wrote it with frequent collaborator Rebecca Fox) was our second story written with the background we came up with for "Second Contact".  Following canon, the Terrans have moved the Terran Legation from Caer Donn to Thendara, and the culture-clash continues.

One of the fun things for us as writers is that MZB's canon isn't consistent.  In the stories she wrote first, it's the Terran Empire.  Later, she calls it the Terran Federation.  So of course we wondered: what if both names are true?  Does the Empire transition to a Federation during the period of Recontact?  If so, why?  With that question in mind, we set up the Terran Empire as something that needed to be toppled (though not by Darkover of course) and gave it an Evil Agenda.  Though of course, as a huge bureaucracy, the Terran Empire is neither quick nor efficient.  Nor even, in many ways, entirely in agreement with itself.

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

Rosemary: I'm currently working on the middle book in a trilogy, one I write under a pseudonym.  After that, I have a book set in the "Bedlam's Bard" universe, though it won't feature any of the characters we know from the other books.  Right now Rebecca and I are working on a new Valdemar story for the next anthology.  It's a lot of fun writing in that universe, and sussing out the Darkover "in-jokes" Mercedes Lackey has sprinkled through her canon.  (Take a look at a map of Velgarth, and you'll see what I mean!)

Rosemary Edghill describes herself as the keeper of the Eddystone Light, corny as Kansas in August, normal as blueberry pie, and only a paper moon. She says she was found floating down the Amazon in a hatbox, and, because criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot, she became a creature of the night (black, terrible). She began her professional career working as a time-traveling vampire killer and has never looked back. She's also a New York Times Bestselling Writer and hangs out on Facebook a lot. 

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