Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Now for excuses... (and what is with all the dots at the end of the titles anyway?)

Well, having been threatened with harassing for not posting here I am, back at it once more.

But first the excuses - the excuses for no posting for a whole month:
You see, not content with the crazy merry-go-round that writing has become in my life, I decided to up and get married, and have been away on my honeymoon for the last three weeks. A wonderful, bizarre, surprising and very real experience with my beautiful best friend.

Yet that is now all done, and the rush of life returns.

Since I have been gone, people have left such enthusiastic and encouraging remarks, many brilliant insights and questions, and not a few Half-continent word challenges. I shall now endeavour to address all these.

Kaollaku asks: "Any plans to release a version of the Almanac that he carries around as a companion book?"
random misfit asks: "i know ur making another 2 books but have u considered the wandering almanac orthe incomplete book of bogles?"
There is hope that this might be possible, certainly Dyan my publisher at Omnibus Books (the lady who discovered me as it were, who took that risk) and I have talk with great enthusiasm about such things, but it remains to be seen if MBT is successful enough to allow such volumes to be made. Sure would love it, both exist in very rough draft forms. We'll just have to wait and see.

midwishin asks: "Is it just me or does the half-continent have a vague resemblance to the south-eastern corner of Australia. If so, does this mean that Rossamund is traveling to Adelaide, or is it Melbourne? (My bet is on Adelaide.)"
Yes indeed the Hc does quite intentionally have resemblance to the south-east of Oz. Being raised in Adelaide has shaped my instinctive internal landscape and I naturally find it the foundation for an imagined world. That being said, the connection is not absolute, so High Vesting is not a corollary for Adelaide (that honour belongs more to Brandenbrass, but even then the compass points are turned on their heads = north is south, south is north), neither is Wörms or Gottingenin a proxy for Melbourne. The landscape of Rossamünd's peregrinations is much like the places I know so well, behind the Adelaide hills, from Stirling to Strathalbyn, via Meadows and Maccelsfield - a strange hodge-podge of European and native vegetation, straw brown hills and cool gully breezes. Those who know Kuitpo forest, for example, might recognise something of the Brindleshaws there. It's a well known axiom that a writer should write what they know, and I know these places well.
Even so, I do not tend to transplant a whole real place into the Hc as is - it is more the sense, the impression, the vibe, the general view of it I use, to help make the Hc places more real within, more like a memory of somewhere I have really been than just a vague, hard to grip invention.

midwishin asks again: "The title of the series is Monster Blood Tattoo, however in the book it's always written as monster-blood tattoo. Why is there no hyphen in the title?"
Being that I am a illustrator and designer by training and trade, I felt the omission of the hyphen on the cover worked better visually, and that it would be acceptable to address this apparent 'error' by using the hyphen correctly in the text itself. I did not intend to offend, just sometimes practice needs to be subordinated to aesthetics - but only sometimes, and I hope those who struggle with this will extend me a little leeway for the sake of a nice design.

markus asks: "Quick question: Was the word "Fulgar" derived from the word "Trafalgar"? "
The answer to that is "no". Fulgar comes from the Tutin (Latin) 'fulgur' = lightning, thunderbolt, 'fulgoris' = lightning, flash, brightness -and is also found in fulgaris, the metal-bound rods used by fulgars, coiled in copper (also known as fulgurite).

The Hc was and continues to be conceived for adult tastes - for my tastes - I want it to be solid, for consequences in it to be real and genuinely dangerous, for concepts to feel plausible even if they are make-believe. As a I child I loved reading books that did just this, and so in inventing for myself as a adult, am doing the same for me as a child too. I intend Rossamünd's story to be enjoyed by all, not just children, that though the protagonist might be a child, and the books released by children publishers, I do not want people thinking that means it is only for children - I intend it just as much for adults.

And just a note regarding the Explicarium, for almost every entry in it, I could have included ten times as much information and each of those entries were there only because they occurred in the story itself. There is definitely much more of the Hc to be explored, and I have no intention of covering it all in just the MBT series.

... and I thoroughly approve and am powerfully encouraged by the use of Hc words as handles or in everyday conversation. Very cool.

For breakfast I had Coco Pops [TM] and a banana smoothie (very expensive with banana prices as they are).

And now: Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #004
Several folk have taken up the challenge and given me nice meaty words to tackle. Thank you.

football = football (sorry about that but that is the honest truth - I considered this one years ago, even figured out teams that play in an inter-citystate league) though the Tutin for it is follisa, and for a football player a follisator.

tweezers = unguidigia said "un'gwi'dij'ee'ah" or privers.

stethoscope = viscerausculator said "viss'ser'orz'skew'late'or" or cardiausculatologue said "kar'dee'orsk'kew'latt'oh'log".

lighter = flint-and-steel (I gather you mean a cigarette-lighter or such like).

obsolete = hmm, well in one sense the word is just the same but there are vernacular renderings: "gaffed" or "turned to vapours" or "gone to snot" - which is a reference to the Phlegms, an ancient race, the progenitors of the Attics and the Tutins, now extinct, also found in the term Phlegmish science, meaning ancient, hard to understand or defunct ideas.

Is this ok Ninjana, it's been a while I know, but dread of your heckling is motivation indeed!

NOTE: MBT = Monster Blood Tattoo, Hc = Half-Continent