She taught languages in high school before discovering computers and becoming a geek. From there, technical writing was a natural progression. Fiction did not enter her life until ten years later, and now she writes in her favourite genre of science fiction. In her spare time she plays mmo’s [massively multiplayer online games], reads voraciously, and is henpecked by a small multitude of pets.
A.C. is also an accomplished blogger. “When I began just over a year ago, everyone said get a blog. So I got one, and started writing ‘essays’ about the issues on my mind. Back then my blog was a sort of soapbox. Then, as people began coming, and I made friends with other bloggers, the tone changed. Now my posts are just diving boards for the conversations that happen in comments. I still rant and rave every now and then, but my blog has become a home. I’m not sure how effective it is as a marketing tool, but it is a great place to kick back, relax and enjoy the company of other like-minded people.”
Her favorite parts of writing include exploring her characters and world building. “In science fiction you have to find a balance between the two. Besides, my inner geek loves poking around in the sciences, especially the softer ones like biology and psychology.”
The characters in her novel are all non-human. Andrea challenges readers to relate by understanding her characters’ motivation and living inside their heads. “They are humanoid but don’t look like us, and although they share some of our emotions, most lack the softer ones, such as pity. So if a reader can get inside the head of my main characters, and understand why they do the things they do, without being judgemental, then I’d feel they had truly ‘got it’. A sort of ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ effect.”
A.C. says she hates being in a mental straitjacket, and writing to a formula, so many of the current conventions of writing, such as ‘never use adverbs’, ‘never use the passive voice’, ‘always hook the reader in the first paragraph’, annoy her. “English is a rich, voluptuous language so why neuter it? Of course that assumes the writer knows what standard grammar is, and chooses to disregard it, like the minimalist punctuation in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Ignorance is never acceptable.”
We asked A.C. to tell us what she predicts for the future of the ever-evolving publishing industry, brick-and -mortar stores, etc. “Huge, cavernous bookshops, and publishers motivated by accounting principles have, I believe, gone as far as they can go. Like all top-heavy institutions they will fade away as fresh, inventive, passionate people start looking for better ways of connecting writers with readers. That may include the rebirth of small, cosy bookshops that specialize in different areas, or it may be that second-hand bookshops takeover and become antiquarians. I don’t think self-publishing in its current form will last forever, but I believe it will morph into a more flexible skills-share arrangement, where writers write and their partners promote. At least I hope that happens because being a Jill of all trades is nerve-wracking.”
Vokhtah is not a gentle planet. Ravaged by twin suns, it tests all living things in the battle for survival, but none more so than the iVokh.
Intelligent, and clever with their hands, the iVokh [literally meaning ‘small Vokh’] live in eyries under the protection of their huge, winged cousins, the Vokh. However when the Vokh battle each other, the first casualties are always the small creatures who serve them.
The only place on the whole planet where iVokh can truly be safe is in the Settlement, an eyrie ruled by the Guild of Healers rather than a Vokh. Yet even there, change is coming, and not for the better. Thanks to the healers’ obsession with abominations, even the Settlement may soon become a battle ground.
As one of the few healers not terrified of abominations, the Blue is determined to save the Guild from itself. It leaves the safety of the Settlement with a caravan of Traders, intent on manipulating the Vokh into dealing with the abomination themselves. However life, and iVokh politics, are never simple.
Aided by just one reluctant ally, the Blue struggles to survive in a savage landscape where even the elements are vicious. If it dies without completing its mission, the Settlement could well die with it. Yet what can two, frail iVokh do in a world where the predators are all starving, and iVokh are very much on the menu?
Time is running out, for both the Blue and the Settlement.