Masques of Darkover will be released May 2, 2017 and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. The print edition will be on sale on the release date.
While this is her first sale to a Darkover anthology, Evey Brett is no stranger to magic, especially when it comes to horses--just ask her Lipizzan mare, Carrma, who has a habit of arranging the universe to her liking. Carrma not only insisted that Evey move to southern Arizona to coddle her during her retirement, but she was also the inspiration for her books Capriole, Levade, and Passage as well as an anthology featuring supernatural horses. “None of those are based on real life,” she says. “Nope, not one.”
Deborah J. Ross: Tell us about your introduction to Darkover.
Evey Brett: Back in 2002 when I was just out of college, I got a job working retail at a now-extinct Foley's department store in a mall. There was a Waldenbooks right across from the store, so I'd often go get a book and settle down in a comfy chair somewhere in the mall to eat my lunch and read. One day I was looking for a new book and picked up The Fall of Neskaya, and I was hooked. Fortunately for me (and the bookstore) they had several of other Darkover novels as well.
DJR: What about the world drew you in?
EB: I'm a sucker for stories with telepaths and damaged characters. I'd gone through a number of Mercedes Lackey's books, so finding Darkover gave me a whole new world with a sizeable canon to explore. Having just read the back of The Fall of Neskaya, I'd still pick it up to read because it's got everything I want--telepaths, power, gifts, a tormented character with a secret he can't reveal.
DJR: What inspired your story in Masques of Darkover?
EB: I'd tried for several months to come up with an idea and had nothing. Then, cliché as it sounds, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning after dreaming about one of my older stories and somehow transferred the idea to Darkover. I did get up and write down the bones of a couple scenes so I didn't forget. Then I asked Deborah what she thought of the basic idea, she gave me a few suggestions to replace the bits that wouldn't work so well, and off I went.
My other major muse is a Lipizzan mare named Carrma who is living out her golden years with me, so it wasn't had to get inspiration for a certain elderly, opinionated mare who has no intention of slowing down. Her sire, a famous Lipizzan stallion named Maestoso Africa, survived a devastating flood, so that element came into play, too. Plus, the idea of knowing what my horse is thinking and feeling is more of a daily occurrence than an element of fantasy, so that was natural for me to include.
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?
EB: I've been doing far better at selling stories for anthologies than I have at selling stand-alones, so it's actually easier for me to write stories within the limits of a particular world or theme. Limits, like historical or world-building details, actually seem to force a better story because I have to figure out how to make my own ideas work within those boundaries. So in that sense, it's no different from a usual writing project because I've been writing mostly for anthologies lately.
DJR: Is there another Darkover story you would particularly like to write?
EB: Something with chieri. A lot of characters in my stories are trans, so I'm always interested in writing stories with gender-bending characters.
DJR: What have you written recently? What is your favorite of your published works and why?
EB: I've had a number of stories come out from Lethe Press, an LGBT small press. One of my favorite stories is in an anthology of queer carnival stories called Myriad Carnival. My story is called "El Amor Brujo (Love, the Magician) and is a favorite because it also features a supernatural Lipizzan stallion and is based on a musical piece of the same name by Manuel de Falla. I was a music major and enjoy classical music, so it's always a bonus when I can include a piece in my writing, and even better when the story the music is based on provides a template for my own.
DJR: What lies ahead for you?
EB: I've got a couple more stories forthcoming from Lethe, one in a gay Greek anthology and one in a man/plant erotica anthology. I'm also working on putting my books featuring magic Lipizzans, Capriole and Levade, back into print.
DJR: Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you, Darkover, or life in general?
EB: I owe a great deal to Darkover; because of this world, I talked to Deborah during one WesterCon and we became friends. She published my first story in an anthology called Lace and Blade 2; I published one of her stories in a supernatural horse anthology of mine. So it means a lot to me to be able to add my little bit to a world that changed my life for the better.