Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Rosemary Edghill on “Stormcrow” 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.)

Rosemary Edghill: I've always been a storyteller.  As a child (we're talking pre-K here), my favorite game was "Let Me Tell You A Story".  This never really changed.  As I got older I told myself Batman stories, and Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories, and Star Trek stories.  In my late twenties, it was Star Wars stories, and I started writing them down (in fact, my first professional SF sale was a revamped and expanded version of a story that appeared in the fanzine "Skywalker").  From then on, I wrote down my stories instead of telling them.
For me, writing is performing, a way to be actor, director, scriptwriter, and audience all in one.  If something doesn't resonate with me in my position as "audience", I know it isn't going to resonate with the reader, and it's back to the drawing board (or the rehearsal hall).  So while it's true, in one sense, that I spend most of my time alone in a small room staring into a computer screen, in another sense...I am extremely well-traveled.

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

RE: Back in the "olden days", there weren't a lot of people in SF books.  You've probably heard some version of the phrase "Science Fiction is a literature of ideas"--well, with very few exceptions, that was all it was: great ideas presented by cardboard story-people, and you couldn't really imagine any of them being embarrassed, or worried about the state of their love life, or drunk, or...well, pretty much anything except their role in the story.
If this sounds like I'm dissing old-school SF, I'm not.  I've read a lot of the Golden Age stuff, and I still do, and right on down to the present.  Stories about ideas are just fine, and--as a matter of fact--what else is a classic murder mystery but a story of ideas?

But it certainly did mean that the Darkover novels and stories stood out like a white peacock when they arrived on the scene.  They were all about people.  And, like Anne McCaffrey's "Pern", Darkover came with a thin veneer of SF to overlay things and give them respectability, since this was long LONG before Fantasy was a "respectable" publishing category--or even a visible genre.  But my point here is: Darkover was full of PEOPLE.  And other readers must have noticed--and liked--that too, because the books spawned one of the first modern fandoms based on a book series rather than a TV series, and that, in turn, gave rise to newsletters, fanzines, and even a Darkover convention.

So what drew me (and all the rest of us) in?  Darkover was exotic, mysterious, wonderful...and at the same time, the kind of place you could imaging yourself having adventures in.  It was filled both with people you'd like to meet, and people you'd like to be, and even better, the world of Darkover was designed in such a way that it wasn't a single circumscribed setting that the story, the characters, and the readers couldn't venture beyond, but part of a great big Empire of planets, many of which became settings for the stories.  In that sense, Darkover became the gateway into a universe that was not only broad and endless, but very very human.

DJR: What do you see as the future of Darkover? Is there another story you would particularly like to write?

RE: I went on a Darkover reading binge (all the originals and a bunch of the continuations!) while I was writing "Stormcrow", and I found myself fascinated about the earliest period of Darkovan history: the time just after Landfall.  How did all of those people get from being colonists and ship's crews to creating the Darkover society we see in the First Age?  How did they lose all memory of coming from another world?  I have a story in mind that would touch on these things, and I really hope to write it.  But overall, I think the thing that draws me to particular eras of Darkovan history is the culture clash.  That kind of thing fascinates me.

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. 

DJR: What inspired your story in Realms of Darkover?

RE: In a way it was sort of a retcon: at the very end of "Learning To Breathe Snow" we meet Ercan Waltrud's spymaster "boss", Felix Elhalyn. did they meet?  Where did Darkover get an espionage agency?  What would a Darkovan espionage agency look like?  (Hint: not much like James Bond.)  Why did Felix become a spy?  Elhalyn...aren't those dudes the Royal House? (Spoiler: yes.)  So as usual when I have pressing questions of this nature, I IM'd my co-author, demanded her immediate assistance, and started typing...

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

RE: I'm currently in the middle of the eighth book in my military fantasy series: it's the middle book in the third trilogy, and middle books are HARD!  Fortunately, by this point in the series, I have collected all the reference I could possibly need about castle architecture, armor design, heraldry, and magical beasties.  I really love this world (it's written under a pseudonym that its publisher wants me to keep under wraps) and I don't think I'll ever run out of stories to tell about it.  (At this point, even the comprehensive timeline runs over 50 pages!)

Once Eight and Nine are at the publisher, I have an "Alternate English Civil War Period" book to write and then a modern Urban Fantasy, and I would really like to go back to YA, since it's a great place to tell stories.  In addition, there are a couple of pet projects of mine that have been on hold for quite a long time, simply because they probably have a very narrow appeal, but the wonderful world of epublishing removes that as a stumbling block, so it could be that I will at some point open up my WIP Vault and release the flying monkeys.  Who knows?

One thing's sure.  I'll never be bored... 

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