Monday, March 19, 2018

Crossroads of Darkover Author Interview: Jane M. H. Bigelow

Coming in May, an all-new Darkover anthology featuring tales of decisions, turning points, love lost and found, all in the beloved world of the Bloody Sun. Stories by Jenna Rhodes, Pat MacEwen, Gabrielle Harbowy, Evey Brett, Rosemary and India Edghill, Diana L. Paxson, and more!

Order yours today at: iBookKindleKoboNook

Table of Contents is here.

Deborah J. Ross: What about Darkover drew you in?
Jane M. H. Bigelow: The spaciousness of Darkover, and its variety, drew me in. There are multiple cultures (too often fictional worlds seem to be monocultural) and history that goes on for centuries. There are several intelligent species on the planet. After all these years, there are still unexplored corners of this world.

DJR: What do you see as the future of Darkover?
JMHB: I think its future lies in exploring the variety of cultures and attitudes, both on Darkover and in the wider universe.

DJR: What book would you recommend for someone new to Darkover?
JMHB: That would depend so much on the person! For a medieval history nut, something from Ages of Chaos or the Hundred Kingdoms; maybe Stormqueen. For someone interested more in cultural clash, one of the Hastur novels. 

DJR: What inspired your story in Crossroads of Darkover?
JMHB: I wanted to tell more of the adventures of Duvin, my amiable though not clever tourist, and Ginevra, a young woman of minor Darkovan nobility. At the end of "Duvin's Grand Tour", they had just acknowledged their love for each other. Ginevra had accepted Duvin's proposal, and they'd won Ginevra's brother's extremely grudging acceptance of the idea. Well, he'd put away his sword.

So, I set out to answer a few questions, such as, "Where will they live? How will Duvin support them? How can he convince the Terran bureaucracy to let him stay on indefinitely? What will he say to his family, who have some control over his inheritance?" Many of these questions remain unanswered, because of the aunts. Oh, those aunts! Duvin and Ginevra each have at least one, both of the bossy variety. My husband suggested that I title the story, "A Plague of Aunts." Like so many stories, especially those I set on Darkover, it didn't go quite as I planned.

DJR: How do you balance writing in some else’s  world and being true to your own creative imagination?
JMHB: For me, writing Darkover stories is like writing historical fiction or alternate
history. There’s a framework of accepted fact, but it certainly doesn’t cover everything. It gives the writer a starting point; the stories branch out from there. For example, I had a story published in Luxor: Gods, Grit and Glory, an anthology of Ancient Egyptian historical fiction. Several authors chose similar time periods, but they certainly didn’t do the same story. Darkovan history is also long, and varied. There’s plenty of room for writers to wander.

DJR: Is there another Darkover story you would particularly like to write?
JMHB: The problem is choosing which one. Continue some of the characters I've already invented? I have plenty of questions left to explore. Branch out into a completely Darkovan environment, which would be a first for me? Maybe a Species Rights group will try to intervene on behalf of the kyrri. How would the kyrri react to that?
DJR:  I’d love to read that one!

DJR: What have you written recently?
JMHB: I've written a short story, "Controversial Knowledge", concerning a librarian in an alternate Renaissance world. She's trying to protect some controversial--and dangerous--volumes from the Prince, the would-be usurper, and the members of her own guild who think they should just destroy the volumes. It hasn't found a home yet.

DJR: What lies ahead for you?
JMHB: I am absolutely determined to finish and publish The Body Under the Bed this year. I'm told I can't call it a mystery because we know who did the deed; we see it done. We just don't know if she'll get away with it, and if so, how. What started out as a light and witty romp in a world inspired by Versailles has become a good bit more layered and nuanced, not to mention acquiring a ghost.

Jane M. H. Bigelow had her first professional publication in Free Amazons of Darkover.
Since then, she has published a fantasy novel, Talisman, as well as short stories and short nonfiction on such topics as gardening in Ancient Egypt. Her short story, "The Golden Ruse" appeared in Luxor: Gods, Grit and Glory. She is currently on a mystery set in 17th century France. Jane is a retired reference librarian, a job which encouraged her to go on being curious about everything and exposed her to a rich variety of people. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two spoiled cats.

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