books

The very kind Ashley Capes of ‘City of Masks’ fame has interviewed me for his site. News about past and present books. Check it out.

Thanks for the chance to chat, Ashley!

http://www.cityofmasks.com/blog/mary-victoria-interview

 

It has been a long while since I slunk by here, tail between my legs. My excuse, as always, is that I have been swamped “in real life” by doing, doing, doing. Indeed, like Ged at the end of ‘the Farthest Shore’, I would love to be done with doing. But I don’t get to say that – not quite yet. ūüôā

A quick recap for anyone who wants one. Over the past few months I have been engaged in selling and buying a house (yes, we’re moving again,) in revising a manuscript and submitting it to agents, in applying for and securing a place on a MA program, in sorting out jobs and generally staying afloat. None of these tasks are finished, per se, though it’s safe to say I’m much further along with them now than I was a month ago. This is progress.

In order to help long-suffering friends make sense of my peripatetic existence, I’ve taken the liberty of preparing some answers to FAQ’s:

1) Why are you moving again, M. V.? Didn’t you do that less than a year ago?

Why, yes, thank you for remembering. The Victoria clan settled in St Albans last summer. Now we’re moving to the Watford area. Mad? Maybe, but there’s method in the madness. I won’t go into all the personal details here but if you’re burning with curiosity I will tell you over a cup of tea. Which you will make.

2) What? You applied to do a MA in Publishing? Aren’t you a writer or something?

By the book gods! The two are not mutually exclusive. I have been given the opportunity to join the wonderful MA program at UCL, but must defer the place for a year in order to apply for a grant, etc. So that will be for 2015.

3) You submitted your ms? Was this the famous manuscript-from-hell that has been haunting your dreams and blog posts for nigh on two years now? We’re sick of hearing about it.

Again, I am touched that you retain any notion of what I’ve been doing for the past two years. I had mostly forgotten, myself. But yes, that’s the very manuscript I refer to. It has been whipped into shape. It has passed muster with my agents. It’s ready to languish in a publisher’s slush pile and have that all-important mug of coffee placed firmly on top of it. I’m thrilled.

4) Whatever. You’re nuts. You’ll never settle down. You have delusions of adequacy.

This may be true.

Meanwhile, in other news, I have been venturing into the Twittersphere. Please feel free to join me there: @MAdamsVictoria. Love to all, and seriously – sorry about the long blog silences.

I don’t know if other authors feel as I do, but one of the most marvellous things that have happened to me as a writer is to be privileged to witness artists creating images inspired by my stories. These glimpses of a world that previously only existed in imagination make my heart soar… I become as excited as a little child, squealing with delight over a bright new toy.

So without further ado – here are two more images based on the world of the Tree, created by the wonderful Frank Victoria. Be sure to click on the link under each picture to see them full size, and squeal with me!

Argos City:

argoscity

 LARGE SIZE

Galliano’s workshop:

galliano

LARGE SIZE

I’m moving. Again. And in the midst of it all, the WIP is still IP. Rewrites abound, but in the meantime I shall leave you with a verse written by a nonexistent young woman in my unfinished novel. You may guess her name:

In the story, I’m just a girl

Hades plucks out of a field

and carries off to Hell in his black chariot.

Demeter, my mother

wanders the world in search of me,

cursing the poor earth barren with her grief

until she finds me lying under it.

Lookee. A kind friend just pointed this out to me. Apparently you can download ‘Tymon’s Flight’, ‘Samiha’s Song’ and ‘Oracle’s Fire’ in the iTunes bookstore. This is a big deal for me as it makes all three books available worldwide in digital format for the first time ever. Huzzah!

So what are you waiting for? Find a field, find a big tree in that field, lie down under it and download some summer reading.

Chronicles of the Tree in the iTunes Bookstore

BookSworn-Banner-Names

You turn your back for a moment, and a whole new fantasy and sci-fi website springs up! I am very pleased to announce the arrival of Booksworn, a site featuring the work of some fine emerging authors in SFF:

Bradley Beaulieu,¬†Elspeth Cooper,¬†Doug Hulick,¬†Betsy Dornbusch,¬†Teresa Frohock,¬†Kameron Hurley,¬†Zachary Jernigan,¬†Mark Lawrence,¬†Stina Leicht,¬†Helen Lowe,¬†Anne Lyle,¬†Evie Manieri,¬†Jeff¬†¬†Salyards,¬†Courtney Schafer,¬†Mazarkis Williams,¬†Mary Victoria wait a minute, who’s that last joker, and what does she think she’s doing there? ūüôā

But wait, there’s more. To celebrate the inauguration of the website, BookSworn member Helen Lowe is hosting a masked ball – in which you can guess the names of the protagonists featured in selected excerpts, and be in to win books galore! That’s sixteen chances to win free books. That’s FREE. And BOOKS!

There have been nine masked ball posts already, and they’re set to continue for a week. So check out the site and leave a comment if you know whose face lies behind the mask! Get thee hence, internet-lubber.

 

I was invited to participate in the Next Big Thing meme by the most excellent Helen Lowe.¬†¬†I thought, “Fabulous – any excuse to find out what some of my fellow authors are up to!” I’ve asked several ‘River’ anthology writers to the party, as well as other friends, because… well, see no.2 below.

The rules are simple. I answer ten questions about my current project, then tag five other authors. They post their own answers the week after mine, tag more authors, etc., etc. So without further ado, here I go…

1) What is the working title of your next book? 

‘This Bare Island’.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I wrote a short story for an anthology called ‘River’, a version of the Daphne and Apollo myth set in twentieth-century Cyprus. The world of the short story called out to me and I knew there was more material there waiting to be used.

3) What genre does your book fall under?  

Can you imagine falling under a genre? “Oh no, six tons of Fantasy just fell on my head!” Seriously, I hate boxes and labels in writing. I suppose you could say this book was¬†contemporary lit with an edge of magical realism…

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 

If there was a movie version it would probably be a low budget French/German co-production filmed entirely in Montenegro. So the actors would be fresh-faced unknowns who later make it big in Hollywood, giving the film its one and only claim to longevity.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Caught between East and¬†West, ancient and modern, Cyprus is a crossroads ‚Äď a portal between the¬†worlds, where a homeless spirit may sometimes slip through, unnoticed.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Represented by an agency, I hope!

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  

I’m still writing it. I began it more than a year ago, but in my defense I sold a house, moved continents and bought another home in the interim.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

I love tapestry stories weaving many different tales into one. ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell and ‘The Saddlebag’ by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani are good examples, but there are many books using this device with greater or lesser success. I like the idea of building up a picture of a particular reality through multiple points of view.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?  

I was inspired by my own memories of growing up in Cyprus, though the book isn’t autobiographical and the characters are pure invention. Of course, the places are real, from the abandoned ghost town of Varosha to Limassol Zoo. I used to live on Economou Panayides street, and I beg my neighbour’s forgiveness for modeling one character’s house on hers, with its high hibiscus hedge.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?¬†

Bits of this book keep breaking out in verse, like Prince Herbert in Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’. I try to beat them back into prose-shape but they’re stubborn. Actually, that’s¬†more of a warning than a draw for readers. Beware of poetry! If you’re lucky, none of it will make it past the final edit.

There we are! Now I get to tag five other authors. They are:

1. Tiffany Trent, author of ‘the Unnaturalists’

2. Brenda Cooper, author of ‘Mayan December’

3. Joyce Reynolds-Ward, author of the ‘Netwalk’ sequence

4. Barbara Else, author of ‘The Travelling Restaurant’

5. Gillian Polack, author of¬†‘Life Through Cellophane’

And last but not least, although she has already participated in the meme, I’d like to point you to¬†Alma Alexander’s entry as well.¬†Apparently, she already tagged me… last August. It has taken this long for me to figure it out. Oy…

Looking forward to hearing from everyone!

Well, now that I’m home and have emerged from under a pile of unanswered email and unwashed laundry (or is it the reverse?) I can finally give you the promised Con report.

This was my first real experience of a New Zealand fantasy and science fiction convention and I must say, it was lovely. The panel discussions were engaging, the company excellent (of course) and the turn-out and interest high. We could barely all fit into the main hall when everyone gathered together. I’m happy to report that NZ fandom is alive, kicking, and often fetchingly dressed in steampunk finery.

I arrived on Saturday after a short delay to my flight, just in time for my first panel, ‘Women in SFF.’ Trudi Canavan, Helen Lowe, Lyn McConchie and I yakked for an hour or so on subjects ranging from how to define strength of character to the vexed issue of chainmail bikinis… I could see some audience members gazing at us quizzically, perhaps asking themselves what we had against chainmail bikinis. I mean, all the vital bits are covered, right?

Saturday evening was about unwinding a little, catching up with friends and a sumptuous Indian dinner! I didn’t make it to the zombie ball but did dodge many of the undead on my way to bed.

Sunday dawned uncomfortably early (and perhaps may be termed a Dawn of the Dead without inviting too much heckling…) with a 9am panel on the subject of ‘Armageddon as Allegory.’ I took one look at the faces of my fellow panelists gathered in the cafe – Darusha Wehm, Simon Petrie, Beaulah Pragg and Phil Simpson – and thought, “yes, I know exactly how you feel.” But despite our need for sleep and largely due to the valiant efforts of Simon as panel chair, we actually came up with a game plan for the discussion! It turned into a fantastic one – I think my favourite panel of the lot. We talked about the different approaches to ‘end of world’ scenarios in fantasy and science fiction, collective responsability vs. the mechanism of a Dark Lord and other interesting subjects.

By two o’clock, it was time to head back to the trenches at a ‘Geography in SFF’ panel with Russell Kirkpatrick, Trudi Canavan, Stephen Minchin and myself debating the merits of fantasy maps. Trudi and Russell both had some slides to show of maps in their own books, as well as some older efforts. The audience seemed passionate on the subject, with most falling in the ‘we love maps’ category but a vocal minority standing up for themselves in the opposite camp. We talked physical geography, geography as an influence on society and finally mental or idea maps… we could have gone on for twice as long, I think.

But all good things come to an end and thereafter it was signing and reading time. I read from ‘Samiha’s Song’ and Alma Alexander’s ‘River’ for a very appreciative audience sitting in leather armchairs. That’s the way to do it.

Sunday evening rolled around and it was time for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. These were presented with great flair – Kiwis have style! – by the Con organisers, Trudi Canavan and Helen Lowe. Trudi was channeling some great 1940’s Jessica Rabbit style with her cropped jacket and black gloves. As for me,¬†I arrived at the ceremony somewhat flummoxed as I’d just heard my daughter was running a 40 degree fever (she has since recovered, never fear.) I had all the maternal angst and distraction going, therefore, and was totally unprepared when they announced ‘Samiha’s Song’ had won Best Novel…

Well, I’m afraid I lost it. I managed to say something resembling ‘thank you’ when collecting the statue but waterworks were threatening. In order to avoid general embarrassment I hightailed it back to my chair as soon as possible – only to have to come forward again to collect Frank’s award for artwork!

So if I look a little odd in these photos, forgive me. But it was an absolute joy to congratulate my fellow winners. They are, from left to right, below:

 

Kevin Berry for New Talent, and after Trudi, Lee Murray for Best YA Novel, yours truly for Best Novel (Adult) and Alicia Ponder for Best Short Story. (For some reason Anna Caro wasn’t in this photo with us but I was stoked to see her and Cassie Hart take away the award for Best Collection for ‘Tales For Canterbury’.)

The full list of all winners including fan categories can be found on the SFFANZ website. 

So there we are! I’m home now, with a convalescing daughter and two spiky awards. I can’t tell you how happy and proud this makes me… the ‘Chronicles of the Tree’ were a NZ endeavour, very much inspired by the vegetation and landscape in New Zealand, so it’s doubly satisfying for me to strike a chord with Kiwi readers.

As to the artist who won a well-deserved award for his artwork on ‘Oracle’s Fire’ – he was suitably appreciative. I think he found the button to turn the award on, too. He looks evil in this photo – Frank, have you discovered a way to end the world, again?

Just a quick, dashing-between-things post to say UnConventional in Auckland has been fabulous. Thank you to the con organisers and to all my wonderful, welcoming fellow writers and fans in the NZ Specfic community… Trudi Canavan, Helen Lowe, Russell Kirkpatrick, and so many others, I had the best time thanks to you all.

The award news: ‘Samiha’s Song’ took away the prize for Best Novel. ‘Oracle’s Fire’ took away the one for Best Artwork. I lost it when accepting the spikiest statue in fandom and became incoherent and teary.

I promise a real post about this, complete with descriptions and photos, when I return home and have a moment to stick my brain back together. In the meantime… I’m just happy.

I have some lovely news to report: both ‘Samiha’s Song’ and ‘Oracle’s Fire’ have been shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel awards here in New Zealand! Colour me chuffed. (Both books! I’m a little flabbergasted.)

As if that weren’t enough, Frank Victoria is also shortlisted for his artwork on ‘Oracle’s Fire’, both at the Gemmells and for the SJV’s. Another double dose of goodness. Most importantly, you can now vote again for Frank in the Gemmell Ravenheart finals. Lets make this a win, he truly deserves it:

VOTE FOR THE RAVENHEART AWARD

Personally, I’m as excited by shortlistings as by the prospect of a win: there’s something extremely satisfying about sharing space with other wonderful, well-loved books. It’s better than being on your own. This may just be me… but my cup feels full right about now.

I’m particularly happy about the SJV’s being a New Zealand-based award. NZ was a big part of the inspiration for these books. The unique landscape, trees, water and clouds of these islands all found their way into the invented world of the Tree. Whatever else I do, ‘The Chronicles of the Tree’ will always remain a Kiwi project.

Thank you, all of you. The nominations were done by popular vote, and that means YOU. You’ve made an artist and a writer very, very happy. ūüôā