This week Lynda Williams is the Blog Ring of Power's guest. Lynda Williams is the author of the ten-novel Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and the editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). She hosts the Writer’s Craft on the Clarion Blog with David Lott. On Reality Skimming (okalrel.org/blog), she works with David Juniper, Tegan Lott and Michelle Carraway to celebrate the Okal Rel Universe in particular and the joy of writing and reading in general. See http://okalrel.org/blog/contribute/ for how to take part on Reality Skimming to promote your work or share your love of words and ideas.
Here is Lynda's BRoP Schedule:
Part 2 @ Emily - Friday, November 16
Part 3 @ Sandra - Monday, November 19
Part 4 @ Dean - Tuesday, November 20
Part 5 @ Terri - Wednesday, November 21
So yea, I am excited to have Lynda as a guest here on The Write Time. Today she is talking about her current work.
About Your Current Work
- Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?
My next installment in the saga will be Part 8: Gathering Storm, forthcoming from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy by the end of 2012. It will be available in book stores like Chapters for a short while. However, as trade paperbacks from a small but splendid Canadian publisher, my books are typically available a long time by special order but rarely stocked from book 1 forward. So you’ll probably find only the latest on the shelf without making a special request. If you do spot ORU books “in the wild” we are always excited to have a photo and report it on Reality Skimming. Send sightings or anything else you feel like sharing to Lynda(at)okalrel.org and michelle(at)okalrel.org and okalrel(at)gmail.com for the fastest response. Okal Rel Legacies titles are available at cons where Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy appears, as are the Saga titles. All can be ordered through Amazon, of course, and are in kindle format for reading on your favorite handheld device. Forthcoming titles in the legacies series included novellas by authors Craig Bowlsby and Hal Friesen and the Opus 6 anthology of short stories set in the Okal Rel Universe, published by Absolute Xpress, an imprint of Hades Publications.
- Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?
I love this question! Typically, people ask you to tell them which book it is like of the ones that they already know. I really like writer Ashley Tia’s response on the topic, shared with me on Reality Skimming (see http://okalrel.org/blog/2012/09/12/why-sf-5-ashley-tia/ )
My books teem with bold characters so real they talk to you in your head for days after you finish reading about them. I’m proud to hear people tell me so. My books explore sexual politics and power dynamics in fully-realized cultures based on divergent paths taken by mankind 1,000 years earlier. My books are about how we cope with technology and the right and wrong way to behave if you are one of the lucky few who gain mastery of it before everyone else. They are about how cultures regulate themselves, cultural relativity, and whether there are ultimate answers to what is right and what is wrong in a competitive universe. But mostly I love the people in them and the people in the real world my characters connect me with who keep me hoping it is all worthwhile.
- What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Getting back into the head space. My life took an unexpectedly rocky turn that forced me to reverse engines on the creative front and shove all the ideas into a box until I had time for them. I took myself to Starbucks on Saturdays and re-read earlier work until I got in the groove. Then I wrote until I was too tired to stay away or Starbucks closed. It sort of saved my soul to discover I could still transport myself into the story and write out what was planned like it was happening, once I got “there”. I had days when I was afraid it was gone for good. And if it wasn’t, it ought to be. I will be forever grateful to my daughter, Angela Lott, in particular for helping me to keep believing in dreams through the months concerned. You can see some of her work on youtube if you search for Okal Rel there. She also wrote me a fabulous tribute to one of her favorite characters and gave it to me as a gift. I plan to use a suitable excerpt in Opus 6.
- What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Samanda O’Pearl is a girly-girl preoccupied by gaining social status via marriage. I grew up rejecting this kind of heroine (despite loving Austen’s Pride and Prejudice), so it surprised me to find I had so much fun writing Sam’s triumphant homecoming to her middle-class family on Clara’s World. I think, in part, I was reminiscing about the spirit of my own childhood, with its mundane, loving and stable family life enlivened by vigorous make-believing and a love of literature. Or maybe the contrast with the dire events in progress elsewhere in the story made it pleasurable. Sam does some growing up in books 8 and 9. Amel’s got most of his growing up done by then, and it’s always rewarding to write a character who evolves, emotionally, in the scope of a work.
- Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Yes. I learned the Demish characters were interesting and deserved to have their story told, as well. Let me explain. In the Okal Rel universe the Demish are the stodgy conservatives. Think of Victorian England. Vrellish characters are more fun because they are over-sexed and hyperactive. Lorels have a predilection for making long-term plans on behalf of all mankind and being science geniuses. Characters from all empire racial groups (or sub-species of Sevolite might be more accurate) figure in all the books. The ten novel saga chronicles the start of big changes in a system that’s been more or less stable for nearly 1,000 years. But the Demish only start to feel the heat around Book 7: Healer’s Sword. And react by digging in their heels, like good conservatives. The trope of stodgy conservatives clinging to power in the face of brave new ideas is one I grew up with in Science Fiction. And I follow it to some extent. But nothing is ever simple in the Okal Rel Universe and Part 8: Gathering Storm deals with the shocks starting to shake the equilibrium, often from the perspective of the Demish instead of that of the clever trouble-makers.
- If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
Fix the typos! There always seem to be typos. I hate them.
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh yes! There always is. But I’ve learned to make my case in what I write and how I present it, and let people conclude what they will. I believe I’ve put plenty of meat into the sandwich to chew on. And I never come down 100% on one side of any argument, myself. Well, hardly ever. I really, really meant people to feel Ev’rel was a bad, bad person for what she does to Amel in Part 4: Throne Price, but some people think otherwise. I’ve decided I’m okay with it so long as I’ve portrayed my argument as clearly and honestly as I could including what those who disagree with me use for ammunition. I think I failed to anticipate how strongly Ev’rel being female would cloud the issue of power dynamics I intended to portray in a reverse-gender-dynamics way, to make my point. But the Amel/Ev’rel business is just a detail in the larger scope of the Okal Rel Saga. I suppose if there’s an overall message it is this: we don’t live in a video game, our actions count. People get hurt. People succeed or fail. We are part of a greater, interacting whole, and no one can act in isolation from the consequences of their behavior. We are no angels but if we don’t acknowledge the universality of social mechanisms for controlling destructive behavior, we will certainly end our days as a species as profound fools.
- Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?
I am blessed in my cover artist Michelle Milburn. She has read the books and shares a lot of the vision with me. She and I and the publisher discuss ideas, she drafts a cover, and then the publisher has to approve it. We usually have a bit of back and forth there. But so far so good. And I am keeping my fingers crossed that Michelle will keep doing the covers through to the end of Part 10: Unholy Science.
Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/okalrel
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/644584.Lynda_Williams
Twitter: https://twitter.com/okalrelsrv @okalrelsrv
What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?
· Trade paperback (the Saga)
· Print on demand (Legacies)
· Kindle (all)