Monday, 23 March 2015

Sequel to Type releases April 1, 2015

The sequel to Alicia Hendley's suspenseful YA near-future novel Type, entitled Type2, releases April 1, 2015 in both print and eBook formats.

ISBN 9781927400852 $19.99
eISBN 9781927400869 $4.99
The dynamic cover is by Five Rivers' Art Director, Jeff Minkevics. We thought fans would be interested to read about the process behind the cover design, and so tapped the depths of Jeff's prodigiously creative mind.

JM: The challenge behind the cover for Type2 was the same sort of challenge that presents itself whenever doing artwork for a sequel -- coming up with something fresh and visually interesting that works on its own, but that also has a similar look, feel, and overall concept as the first. For the original Type cover the idea was to use three out of four Myers-Briggs pair initials in the title, then alter a fourth one to make the 'Y', since the four Myers-Briggs pairs don't use that particular letter. The 4-letter combinations that made up personality types were meant to look authoritarian and repetitive, with the word 'Type' jumping out at you in red from where the four necessary letters happened to line up.

With Type2 I wanted a similar authoritarian feel, but didn't want the letters to operate the same way with the background. What I came up with was the idea of metallic letters mounted on a granite or marble surface, each group of four spelling out a Myers-Briggs personality type, as before. However, rather than simply alter the letters to spell out Type, I felt the title would benefit from associations with rebellion, and disrupting the status quo. I wanted it to look like the letters had been forcibly removed from the wall, with the letters for the word 'Type' scratched into the wall where they had once been.

Halfway into creating the 'scratches' I quickly realized that the letters in the title would likely have similar weight and coloring to the letters that remained untouched, or even less weight, which would be a problem. After figuring there needed to be more differentiation between title and background, and since the overall colour scheme was relatively close, I re-introduced red over top of the title letters in a manner that could hint at both spray-paint and blood, and since both are consistent with the theme of rebellion it seemed perfect. Now the title jumps off the page at you, and although this is a completely different visual environment than was used in the first Type novel, it has many things in common with it stylistically, and thematically.

About Type2

Type2 takes up where Type left off. With more and more people who refuse to follow Typology's rules being Ended, thirteen year old Sophie and other members of the Group know time is running out to make society aware of just how evil The Association of Psychologists truly is. The Group seeks help from the Tens, a band of men who have been secretly fighting against The Association's twisted use of Myers-Briggs personality typing since they were boys.

Together they attempt to slowly spread the truth about Typology to the public, in the hopes of building up a large enough resistance to overthrow The Association. Suddenly, plans change and the Group must act quickly, or risk losing all they've fought for. Ultimately, everything depends on knowing who can be trusted and who cannot. With so much at stake, Sophie rapidly learns all is not as it seems.

About Alicia Hendley

Alicia Hendley is the mother of four, as well as a writer. Her first novel, A Subtle Thing, was published by Five Rivers Publishing in 2010. Her poem Mediation was published in Room magazine (Issue 34.3). She was long-listed for the Vanderbilt-Exile Short Fiction Award in both 2010 and 2011. Her creative non-fiction piece Passed Over was published in the April issue of Hippocampus Magazine. Her screenplay Snake Oil was short-listed for the Gotham Screen International Film Festival’s screenplay contest.

Alicia blogs regularly for a regional autism website ( She has a PhD in clinical psychology.

Type2 is now available for pre-order, and will be available in online bookstores worldwide in both print and eBook, as well as select bookstores.


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Michell Plested signs contract for third book in Mik Murdoch series

A Crisis of Conscience to release August 1, 2016

Michell Plested
Calgary, Alberta author, Michell Plested, signed a publishing agreement this month with Five Rivers Publishing for the third book in his young readers’ series Mik Murdoch. 

The first novel, Boy Superhero, was released in 2012, in which nine-year-old Mik Murdoch’s ambition to protect his prairie town of Cranberrry Flats reveals his quest to acquire super-powers, and in doing so Mik finds the most awesome power of all lies within his own inherent integrity. Boy Superhero was shortlisted for the 2013 Prix Aurora Best YA Novel Award.

In 2014 the second novel, The Power Within was embraced with enthusiasm by Plested’s growing fans, in which Mik Murdoch swallowed the magical berry from the guardian of the Cave of Wonders and with it he’s realized his dream to acquire superpowers. He’s also realized what you wish for and what you get are often two different things. While Mik has superpowers, he’s having a really hard time with control. In fact, he’s starting to wonder whether being a boy superhero is a good thing or not. What’s worse, his weird behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed by his parents, who decide to take him away to the lake for the summer, assuming he needs time to unwind, relax. It’s there, however, Mik uncovers the truth behind an ancient mystery and learns that letting others help doesn’t make him weak.

The third novel, A Crisis of Conscience, takes Mik into darker territory. It’s winter. Everyone’s slowing down, snuggling down. Everyone but the boy superhero of Cranberry Flats. When alien snow circles show up, Mik Murdoch is ready to investigate. But just as he is about to crack the case, a terrible accident throws everything into chaos. Mik must face his inner demons and embrace the superhero’s vow: with great power comes great responsibility. His future and that of many others depends on it.

Michell Plested is the host of the writing podcast Get Published, (a 2009 Parsec Finalist) and the science fiction comedy podcast GalaxyBillies, which has been called 'Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Beverley Hillbillies' by his listeners.

A Crisis of Conscience will release August 1, 2016 in both print and eBook.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Paula Johanson on Meeting and Writing about Larry "King" Kwong

This March 1st, 2015, Five Rivers Publishing released King Kwong: Larry Kwong, the China Clipper who broke the NHL colour barrier. Paula Johanson talks about her writing experience, hockey, and getting to the man behind the hockey stick, King Kwong himself.

 JC: What got you started writing King Kwong?

PJ: What got me started writing this book was reading the newspaper to my late father. His eyesight was failing due to macular degeneration, so we would read the paper together. I'd read each headline and make sure to read the articles on topics he was particularly interested in. An article on Chad Soon's film Lost Years reminded me of stories my dad used to tell about Larry Kwong. My dad was always a hockey fan, and Larry Kwong was one of his heroes. From my dad's memories and the promo on Chad Soon's film, I outlined a book proposal. I pitched it to the educational publishers of most of my other books, who were more interested in American sports figures. A sports book publisher thought that one NHL game didn't make much of a hockey player. When Five Rivers Publishing expanded its interests, I met with my friend Robert Runté at When Words Collide, a writer's conference. In five minutes, I pitched the Larry Kwong book to him. It was a complete accident that Five Rivers had just been considering another hockey-related title, which would expand their interests to include books on sports. Sometimes an author's proposal comes at the right moment for the right publisher.

JC: How big is hockey, would you say, in your life?

PJ: Hockey was an important sport in my life growing up. It was more than just watching Hockey Night in Canada with my family, the one night a week that the television was allowed to be on during our dinner. My brother learned to play hockey from our father, who had enjoyed playing as an amateur. Dad coached and managed the minor hockey league teams my brother played on. There were no official girls' teams at that time, so I cheered from the stands with our mom, who coached my softball teams. There used to be trading stamps given out at Esso stations if you bought at least $3 worth of gasoline. NHL Power Players, they were called. My dad gave them to me and I put them in the official album. There were 72 players in all, and I managed to get or trade for every one. I even earned my Collector's Badge in Brownies for collecting Power Players stickers. During the Canada-Russia hockey series in 1972, I watched every game. With a radio tuned to the broadcast, my elementary school played the games over the speaker system. Paul Henderson's score raised cheers like those heard now when the Canadian Olympic women's hockey team wins gold. I don't watch most televised hockey games these days, and haven't for years. Too much fighting, too many teams and players. But I do take an interest in Olympic hockey, as the players don't mess around fighting.

The part that has been less told is not only his childhood growing up without the rights of a citizen, but his satisfying life as a successful hockey player and businessman.

JC: What does Larry Kwong represent?

PJ: For me, Larry Kwong represents the idea that there are many things which go into making up a person's life. The part that has been public — his hockey playing — is a shared thing, and other people own a little of it. The part that has been less told is not only his childhood growing up without the rights of a citizen, but his satisfying life as a successful hockey player and businessman. People who care to read about him can share some of the shame of being part of a country that can treat people unfairly, and some of the satisfaction of seeing someone's success, someone who could be anyone's neighbour.

I could show how the story connected to immigration, war service, and civil rights as well as hockey.

JC: How much research did it take to build this story? What kind of sources did you draw upon?

PJ: It took more research to write this story than any of two dozen books I've written on science and health. Each time the book proposal was turned down, I would look into another element of the story that made it even more interesting. By the time I pitched to Five Rivers, I could show how the story connected to immigration, war service, and civil rights as well as hockey. The editor who acquired it has no interest in sports, but was hooked. Almost all the material I needed to find was available on the internet, including hockey statistics for the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1939. Chad Soon and others had found most of the information, but nobody had all of the pieces in one place. And nobody had written much about Larry's connection with Cyclone Taylor. For a resource the other writers didn't have, my father's memories were invaluable. He played as a child on frozen ponds, on home-made ice, like Larry. Dad was the one who told me about how kids made their own equipment.

JC: What was the hardest part in writing King Kwong? What was the easiest?

PJ: The hardest part about writing the book was confirming Larry Kwong's age at different times. Chad Soon was generous with his research and straightened out a couple of times when either an interviewer or Larry had confused a date or event. The easiest part was writing about how happy Larry was to have his beautiful blue convertible. He had never bought such a luxury, and was deeply touched when his wife thought he should buy it.

 What was different about this experience was being able to take the time to show how one man's life is connected to changing immigration issues, to civil rights issues, to war service legislation, and to romance — and how sports was a strong element connecting all these parts of his life.

JC: With 29 books under your writer’s belt, what would you say is different with this experience?

 PJ: What was different about this experience was being able to take the time to show how one man's life is connected to changing immigration issues, to civil rights issues, to war service legislation, and to romance — and how sports was a strong element connecting all these parts of his life. Because I didn't have to rush my research, I had time to find more sources and to cross-reference things. As I told the story again and again in conversation, I found new ways to connect different parts of the narrative.

JC: What are the challenges you have faced in writing non-fiction? How do you balance fact and creativity in writing non-fiction?

 PJ: The biggest challenges I have faced in writing non-fiction have been making the right book proposal to the right publisher. Most of my books were assigned by editors who already knew they wanted a new book for an existing series on science or health. Occasionally I've been able to take an editor's needs for three new books for an existing series and pitch appropriate new titles for the series. Another challenge has been having to explain to an editor that the text of the manuscript is actually right, and the editor's vague feelings about the topic are not accurate. That calls for tact, referencing, and diplomacy. My partner would be snorting with laughter if he read that, because when I'm copy-editing a book before it goes to press sometimes I'm shouting at the wall or throwing shoes in the yard. He gets to hear all that, while the editor gets to see only my e-mailed notes full of tact, referencing, and diplomacy. There's a wonderful copy-editing term, I can't get by without — STET. Being able to write STET means I can correct an editor's well-meant mistake without fuss and swearing. The best way to write non-fiction is to discuss the topic first with my focus group... that's a fancy term for my partner, family, and friends. My focus group includes people with different careers, travel history, disabilities, strengths, and opinions, and so it really is different from sitting down with people just like me. A writer pitching a book proposal doesn't want to tell an editor, "my mom thinks I should write about fair trade products." A writer wants to be able to say, "my focus group expressed interest in knowing what fair trade products are easily available to ordinary young people like our target readers." Facts are facts, but there are ways to describe dull facts that make them make sense to someone who has never heard of them before. And even with a beginner's chemistry book about an element from the periodic table, there is always a story about the people doing the research. One of the first scientists to identify cobalt was burned as a witch, for example. You don't need to make up facts when you have such interesting facts to describe!

You can connect with the author @PaulaJohanson on Twitter.

Or send your questions our way.

Check out  King Kwong: Larry Kwong, the China Clipper who broke the NHL barrier. Let us know what you think.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Five Rivers to release Dave Duncan's 50th novel

Dave Duncan

Vancouver Island author, Dave Duncan, will see the release of his 50th novel April 1, 2015, through Five Rivers Publishing.

ISBN 9781927400791 6 x 9 trade paperback, 200 pages, $17.99
eISBN 9781927400807 $4.99

The novel, The Eye of Strife, reveals Dave Duncan at his best: Sword fights and romance, miracles and mystery, treachery and sly humour. A god summons a curious assortment of witnesses to his temple to testify on what they know about a jewel lost a thousand years ago. At least one of them is guilty. Others are lying.

Duncan’s career as a novelist started in 1984, with his first sale (A Red Rose City) occurring in 1986 to Del Rey. That prompted him to retire from 30 years as a geologist in the petroleum industry and write full time. He has won two Prix Aurora Awards for his work, and is represented by the Richard Curtis Agency.

The Eye of Strife is his fourth publication with Five Rivers Publishing and was the result of discussions between senior editor, Robert Runté and Duncan, which very quickly resulted in a publishing agreement. Duncan says, “I’ve lost count of how many publishers I’ve had in my career, but I enjoy Five Rivers more than any.”

Perhaps that preference comes about because of the publishing culture at Five Rivers, where Duncan and all the authors under Five Rivers’ aegis have found the latitude to pursue themes and stories larger houses would eschew.

“We believe allowing authors the freedom to create the stories they want to create results in a vibrant enterprise which can only translate to success on many levels,” says publisher, Lorina Stephens.

The Eye of Strife releases April 1, 2015 in both print and digital.

The cover is by Five Rivers' art director, Jeff Minkevics, who wanted to create a blockbuster, Jeffrey Archeresque feeling. 

The Eye of Strife is now available for pre-order.


Monday, 23 February 2015

It's the third Slackers!

Continuing in the madcap, shredded, reconstructed, irreverent, hang-on-to-your seats series Shakespeare for Slackers, Aaron Kite and Audrey Evans have delved into the boiling, toiling, troubling pot of Macbeth and created a dastardly delightful modern take on The Bard's dark and legendary work.

ISBN 9781927400739 7 x 10 Trade Paperback $17.99
eISBN 9781927400746 $4.99

We give you the Slackers version of Act 1 Scene 1:

The place: Scotland and England. Though, I guess that’s two places, actually....

Act 1 Scene 1 — Some desert with really sucky weather.

(Three hags in pointy hats show up).

First Witch
So, when are we going to do this thing? Or are we just here to enjoy the weather?

Second Witch
We’ll have to wait until those silly boys are done fighting.

Third Witch
They’ll be done today, I think.

First Witch
Good, my broom is getting soaked. Where should we hook up?

Second Witch
How about that other place in the middle of nowhere?

Third Witch
Good call. That’s where Macbeth will show up.

First Witch
Ooo, do I hear an impatient kitty meowing over there? I’m coming, Mister Greymalkin! Does woogums want a treat?

Second Witch
Let’s wrap this up. My frog’s getting hungry.

Third Witch
Good idea.

White is black and black is white,
Grant us now the power of flight.
(They zip away on broomsticks)

Shakespeare for Slackers: Macbeth releases March 1, 2015, and is now available for pre-order.


Monday, 16 February 2015

Presenting the Prime Ministers of Canada series.

In 2012 when crime-writer Nate Hendley came to Five Rivers with the view to finding a home for the orphaned Prime Minister books from now defunct JackFruit Press, we were pleased to undertake breathing new life into the incomplete series.

The original series had been targeted to early primary school students, more of a graphic novel approach. We decided to expand the demographic for the series so the books would be readable by, and appeal to, senior primary through young adults, with more of a journalistic, biographical tone than a graphic novel, thereby giving the Prime Minister’s office the dignity and respect it should command, while still retaining engaging readability.

Anyone who thinks Canadian history is boring should read this series. There’s enough triumph and tyranny, subterfuge and noble (or Nobel) enterprise to interest even the most jaded reader.

So it is with great pride we're releasing on March 1, 2015, the first book in the series, which is, in fact, Volume 14: Lester B. Pearson.

ISBN 9781927400838 6 x 9 Trade Paperback $14.99
eISBN 9781927400845 $4.99

Canada’s 14th Prime Minister was a statement in contrasts. He was an academic, and an athlete. He was a politician who hated politics. He had powerful friends throughout the world – and he was an everyman who preferred the quiet solitude of home and hearth, and intimate gatherings with friends. He spoke with a lisp and favoured bow ties. And yet when he spoke, the entire world listened.

Lester Bowles ‘Mike’ Pearson never aspired to the mantle of Canadian government. And yet, when fate intervened and he found himself first as Leader of The Opposition and then later as Prime Minister, Pearson and his government achieved a remarkable number of significant reforms that went a long way towards shaping the country we know today. These include universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, official bilingualism, and the adoption of the distinctive Maple Leaf flag. Remarkably, the Pearson government achieved all this and much more with two, successive minority governments.

Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Lester Pearson’s background was in the Canadian Civil Service. He was present at the founding of the United Nations, and his vision for a UN Peacekeeping Force played a major role in averting the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956. Subsequently, Pearson was the first Canadian to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in concert with his international diplomacy.

Throughout his academic and political life he remained on a first-name basis with world leaders, and was easily the best-known Canadian on the world stage. And yet he was not given to the trappings of fame or status, and in tandem with his professional accomplishments he maintained his love for sports, and especially baseball.

A man of simple tastes, Pearson was selfless and unquestionably dedicated. His career required constant air travel, and yet he didn’t fly well. He preferred understated homes over opulent addresses. And while he would view the implementation of the Canadian flag as his proudest achievement, in most respects he viewed himself as little more than a regular guy, just doing his job.

He was also one of the best Prime Ministers of our time….

Gordon Gibb

The author of Pearson's biography is Gordon Gibb, a broadcaster and author based in Peterborough Ontario, a city where a young Lester Pearson and his family once called home.

A seasoned radio host, Gordon is in his 39th year at Corus Entertainment’s HITS 100.5 FM. Over the course of his writing career, Gordon’s byline has appeared in MacLean’s, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Reader’s Digest, Cottage Life, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, the Peterborough Examiner and Peterborough This Week. ‘Gibberish: Tall Tales and Domestic Disasters from Beyond the Microphone,’ released in 2014, is a humorous collection of slice-of-life essays. 

Along with this book, Gordon plans to release his first novel later this year. Gordon also serves as the in-arena announcer for the storied Peterborough Petes Canadian Junior hockey franchise in the winter months, and the Peterborough Sr. Lakers lacrosse franchise in the summer. 

In his spare time, Gordon is an active volunteer and tinkers with online netcasting. Married with four grown children, Gordon divides his time between Peterborough, Ontario and a summer cabin in Haliburton. This is his third book.

The cover is by Five Rivers' Art Director, Jeff Minkevics. Jeff undertook to create a look for the series which would lend a sense of gravitas to the biographies of Canada's Prime Ministers. He chose a simple red and white motif to reflect our flag, along with a simple framing for black and white, almost Karsh-like, portraits. 

There are a total of 21 books in the series, which will expand as Prime Ministers retire from office. 

2015 will see the release of:

Pierre Elliot Trudeau, by Paula Johanson
Robert Borden, by Dorothy Pedersen
John S.D. Thompson, by Elle-Andra Warner
Charles Tupper, by Paula Johanson
Alexander Mackenzie, by Elle-Andra Warner
Arthur Meighen, by Dorothy Pedersen
William Lyon Mackenzie King, by Nate Hendley
Joe Clark, by Paula Johanson
John Diefenbaker, by Paula Johanson
Jean Chretien, by Nate Hendley
Paul Martin, by Elle-Andra Warner
John A Macdonald, by Mark Shainblum
Wilfred Laurier, by Mark Shainblum

2016 Five Rivers will release the remainder of the series:
R.B. Bennett, by Paula Johanson
John Abbott, by Dorothy Pedersen
Mackenzie Bowell, by Dorothy Pedersen
John Turner, by Dorothy Pedersen
Brian Mulroney, by Dorothy Pedersen
Kim Campbell, by Paula Johanson
Louis St. Laurent, by Dorothy Pedersen

Lester B. Pearson is now available for pre-order. School, library and bookstore inquiries welcome.


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Ann Marston Talks about Wordsmithing the World of The Rune Blades of Celi

Five Rivers is happy to announce: Ann Marston’s sixth book of The Rune Blades of Celi: Sword and Shadow will be re-released March 1, 2015. 

Ann Marston
In this edition, Ann Marston worked closely with editor and publisher, Lorina Stephens, and designer, Jeff Minkevics to bring readers a re-sharpened Celtic Fantasy. 

Anne Marston talked about the experience of writing, publishing, and republishing to bring a world from imagination to reality. 

JC: First off, congratulations for the re-release of Sword and Shadow. How would you differentiate the experience between the initial release and this upcoming re-release?

ISBN 9781927400166    $37.99
eISBN 9781927400173     $9.99
Trade Paperback 6 x 9, 504 pages
AM: Kingmaker's Sword was my first novel sale, and HarperPrism offered me a contract for the first three books—the first complete, the second about two-thirds done and the third "vapour-ware" as we said then. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed at actually selling the novels, and spent a lot of time floating around saying things like, "Wow," and "Good gracious heavenly me," and stuff like that. Signing with Lorina for the re-release wasn't quite so breathtaking, but I'm finding it an extremely satisfying experience. With the first publisher, I had little or no say about what the covers of the books should look like (although I must say I lucked out in getting an artist like Yvonne Gilbert to do them.) With Five Rivers I've been working very closely with the artist, and among the three of us, Lorina and Jeff and me, we've produced some truly impressive covers for these new editions—mostly their work, not mine. Also, there isn't as much pressure with the re-releases. All of them have been somewhat revised, updated and tweaked to be better, so it wasn't a matter of creating the stories from whole cloth. I've actually really enjoyed the process this time, and Lorina is an absolute sweetheart to work with. We've gone round and round on a few things, most notably word usage; it's been a process of give and take, and I think we've managed to produce a product that is better than the first. I also really like the trade paperback format, and I've been told by people that the larger format is so much easier to read as the print is not as small. 

All of them [the books] have been somewhat revised, updated and tweaked to be better

JC: The Rune Blades of Celi is a Celtic fantasy; what inspired this fusion? 

AM: I have always been fascinated by the Celts and Celtic history. I realize a lot of it has been thoroughly romanticized but that what makes good stories. In university, my minor was history and I tried to specialize in the period that used to be called the Dark Ages, or sometimes even the Arthurian Age. (So very many books out there about tracing the REAL Arthur—but that's a whole 'nother story.) I have read tons of fiction and non-fiction about Arthur and Merlin, and one of my objectives with this series was to write an Arthurian type of story where Arthur didn't act like an idiot, and actually won in the end. That's how The Western King came about, book two in the series. The Scots, the Irish and the Welsh have a marvellous wealth of myths and legends dealing with magic and music and I wanted to incorporate some of that flavour into my books—that ideal of the larger than life hero who struggles against the odds and in the end manages to win despite losses and pain. I'm also a fan of Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and his interpretation of the journey of the hero. As well, most of my books are "coming of age" stories, and that usually lends itself very well to the fantasy genre. 

... one of my objectives with this series was to write an Arthurian type of story where Arthur didn't act like an idiot, and actually won in the end.

JC: Did you grow up reading fantasy? Who would you say is your greatest influence? And how did this author influence your writing? 

AM: I grew up reading every-and-anything I could get my hands on. Until I reached high school, I wasn't even aware that fantasy was a separate genre from anything else. I was lucky because my parents never put any limits on what I could or couldn't read. They figured that if the subject matter of the book was too mature for me, I'd probably not understand it and be no worse off for the reading of it—and they were right. (I read Lady Chatterly's Lover when I was about ten. Hardly understood a word of it.) If I had to pick one author whose writing influenced me most, I'd have to say Mary Stewart and her Merlin TrilogyThe Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment. I love the way she uses words; I love the stories and I fervently wish I could write that engagingly. There was a time when I not only wanted to emulate Mary Stewart, I wanted to BE her. Even now, I bring out the books on average of once every couple years and re-read them. It's like visiting old friends. I have a set of battered hardcover editions of all three books and not long ago I acquired them for my Kindle. Makes them a lot easier to carry around. However, I think it was Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana that showed me that a fantasy (Mary Stewart's books seemed to me to be almost historical fiction rather than pure fantasy) could be one thumping good story as well as wielding a lot of magic all over the place. Before I read Tigana, I had been writing mostly suspense-adventure books (three of them, all unsold). After Tigana, I tried a fantasy, which eventually turned into Kingmaker's Sword, and the rest, as we say, is history. 

JC: Fantasy novels always seem to have a distinct authorial “voice”. Did it take you long to develop the diction for your story telling? 

AM: That's a really difficult question to answer. I've been scribbling most of my life. I wrote my first novel in high school (and it was so bad it's a blessing nobody knows where the heck it went) and kept scribbling on and off forever. I got side-tracked by university—hard to read anything extracurricular then—and then started raising kids and working. I had about five minutes to myself a day and in twenty years, managed to sell three short stories and write those three suspense-adventure novels, which I never considered to be good enough to try to sell. It wasn't until I began to work as a Duty Manager at the Edmonton Municipal Airport that I actually had time to really write. I worked an eight-day cycle, two twelve hour day shifts, two twelve hour night shifts, then four days off—and no family obligations. For the first time, I had lots of time to write, and about then I read Tigana and started the Rune Blades series. I don't actually remember thinking about an authorial "voice." I had written enough by then to understand that some things worked better than others for me, and seemed to get incorporated more as an automatic process than by any conscious manipulation. Also, I try to change the "diction" of the story to suit different characters, mostly because I want the character to tell the story in his or her own voice. (I sometimes sit down with my characters and demand they tell me all about themselves, and I listen to the way they express themselves. Sometimes it works…) 

  I sometimes sit down with my characters and demand they tell me all about themselves.

JC: How did you create the world for your books? Did you use actual topographical information of Scotland and integrate it with your story? 

Harrison Lake, British Columbia
AM: It sometimes seems to me that the world sort of created itself. I know the province of Skai on the Island of Celi (and that's pronounced Keli with the Celtic hard-c) is very much based on the lower mainland of British Columbia as far as fauna and weather and even terrain is concerned, with a lot of the British Lake District thrown in for good measure. The Highlands of Scotland are beautiful in their way, but I've not been there since I was very young, and it's hard to get the atmosphere of a place from just pictures and the blurred, sometimes confused, memories of childhood. I used to teach a writing course at MacEwan for The Writing Works, and one of the things I tried to get into the heads of new writers that no country and especially no continent is homogenous. I've tried to vary the countries of my world so they're different from each other. I had fun inventing things to go into the world, such as the magics and the religions and the economic systems. I tried not to be pedantically determined to set out every single detail because leaving a lot to the imagination of the reader can work pretty well most times. And again, as for Scotland, well you just have to admit that there's certainly something about a man with a well-turned knee in a kilt with a honkin' big sword (think claymore) strapped to his back…. just have to admit that there's certainly something about a man with a well-turned knee in a kilt with a honkin' big sword (think claymore) strapped to his back…. 

JC: How long did it take to write The Rune Blades of Celi? What would you say was the hardest part? What was the easiest? 

AM: It took about a year, plus or minus, to write, re-write and edit each book. The hardest part was starting, the second hardest part was keeping on going. I usually knew where the story began, and I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to end, but there were times when I wasn't sure how I was going to get from that Point A to Point B. Sometimes I had to come to a screeching halt, back up and try to get the story back on track because it seemed to be kiting off on a track to nowhere. After I finished writing the books, I began the editing process. This might take a month or so, but I belong to a great writers' group and they're all tremendously good with critiques. This part can be almost as frustrating as the actual writing of the book. The easiest part? Getting up from the desk chair, turning off the computer and finally, finally getting to bed just before the sun comes up. 

JC: How does it feel finishing a writing project? 

AM: Wonderful. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Depressing because "Now what do I do…?" Discombobulating occasionally as I think, "Wow. Did I do that?" Relief that it's over for now. All of these mixed in with satisfaction, trepidation and the need for sleep. 

As Ann Marston catches up on sleep and worry about her next project, you can all check out The Rune Blades of Celi: Sword and Shadow on March 1, 2015, and let us hear what you think about it. 

ISBN 9781927400814
6 x 9 trade paperback, $31.99
eISBN 9781927400821

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