Saturday, November 11, 2006

An Introduction to Juliet E McKenna

Juliet E McKenna is one of my favourite living writers of fantasy for grown ups who has so far written two series of fantasy novels. The Tales of Einarinn is a series of five novels - the first, third and fifth are told from the point of view of Livak, a fiery, independent young woman who's a gambler and occasional thief (of the rich, like Robin Hood) by trade; the second and fourth novels are told from the point of view of Ryshad Tathel, who is a swordsman to a noble and who eventually becomes Livak's lover. They are forced to battle invaders from a group of islands far off to the east of the Einsamin mainland where they live - each book features a different aspect of the on-going battle. The Tales of Einarinn series consists of The Thief's Gamble, The Swordsman's Oath, The Gambler's Fortune, The Warrior's Bond and The Assassin's Edge.

The Aldabreshin Compass series is a series of four books (the final one is out in September) told from the point of view of Kheda, former warlord of the Daish domain (a series of islands in the Aldabreshin Archipelago) and now warlord of the Chazen domain. The Aldabreshin people despise magic and believe it interferes with the natural order of the world; they practise a sophisticated form of fortune-telling, including reading the stars, reading entrails and reading nature - and they feel they cannot rely on such things where magic has taken place. Unfortunately Kheda finds himself increasingly involved with mages from the mainland (where most of the Tales are set) and he starts to lose his faith in his people's practices. The Aldabreshin Compass series consists of Southern Fire, Northern Storm, Western Shore and Eastern Tide.

In addition, McKenna has published a short novel - actually a series of linked short stories, called Turns and Chances which relate to the on-going Lescari Civil War (which is referred to at intervals throughout the Tales), and she is planning to eventually write a series set during this period of her fictional history. McKenna is also publishing some short stories that tie together the five Tales of Einarinn - these are appearing in PS Publishing's Postscripts magazine.

In addition to all of this, McKenna has joined forces with five other authors of fantasy fiction to form The Write Fantastic (which has its own LiveJournal) - a collective to promote fantasy for adults in order to bring back lapsed readers and encourage new readers. In order to do this, they attend conferences, and give book talks up and down the country. McKenna also has her own LiveJournal.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Juliet for the Orbit e-newsletter. The interview was then picked up by SF Crowsnest.

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