Getting to Know You – Blog Hop Day 2

Hello, and welcome to the Getting to Know You Blog Hop, Day 2.
We have an eclectic choice of bloggers for this hop and it will run from January 29, 2013 to February 1, 2013. I’d like to thank Vicki M. Taylor (http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com). She’s the author and blogger who created this hop and made it happen for all of us.

Let’s get started on getting to know me.

Where are you from?
Since 1989 my country of choice was Canada and I’ve been living here ever since in the City of Edmonton, a place of short summers and long cold winters. In fact, as I’m writing this down, snow is blowing outside.

When and why did you begin writing?
In the beginning, before words took shape in meaning and purpose, I told my stories in doodles. I loved the comics and the Tintin illustrated magazine of Belgium (now out of print). Especially the latter had powerful stories to convey. Perhaps I could have been a cartoonist but the books I read in elementary school decided it for me: I loved to read but I also started to love to write and be the one controlling the flow of the story.

What books have most influenced your life?
Reading the masters of literary science fiction definitely set me on the path writing speculative fiction. And in that genre I would mention here the works of Gene Wolf, Dan Simmons, Mervyn Peake and China Mieville, to name but a few. The ideas, imagination and lyrical writing style of these masters of worldbuilding and mythmaking are truly inspiring.

What is your favorite book from childhood?
The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen with their enduring theme of sacrifice and redemption. Case in point, in the original story, there’s no “all’s well that ends well’ for the Little Mermaid; she gave up her life to save the human she loved.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Yes. The names of characters in my opinion reflect the manner in which they will take a life of their own in the novel. Since I write in an environment of alien worlds, I gave my characters names that would reflect their diverse surroundings.

What’s your favorite fruit?
I like all fruit in general. I would say that mangosteen, that’s hard to come by in the North, is one of my favorites.

Do you ever wish you had an entirely uncreative job?
Absolutely not.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Passion, persistence and the secret pleasures of writing.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The ability to adapt to change. Our world is constantly changing, be it for better or worse. To adapt is to keep your mind and ideas fresh.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are so many science fiction writers I would choose for a mentor. After careful thought I would choose Tim Powers for his wit and powers of creativity.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My most current work is Engelinkyn: The Jewels of Huemancy, which is the sequel to Engelinkyn: The Winged Hemisphere and is part of a 3-volume project that will conclude in Engelinkyn: The Towered Hemisphere. They’re available at Amazon. The following is an excerpt of The Winged Hemisphere:

He wrapped himself with the tang of the sea and jumped, legs straight, arms stretched above his head. The ocean folded above his swirling hair. The keel of the trawler frothed darkish, dimming and thinning the deeper he plunged, the farther he cruised on his Trip among the noble families of Retranak. Sharks too stalked the underwater world, glimmering like metal as if planished from the polyfibres of the Orion. The dolphins weaved around his purple-smudged body, their snouts pumping kisses into his mouth, jangling playfully with his black earring. Stories they smacked out of their thick lips, rumours of war, horror tales of drowning men thrashing in the deeps.
The sharks swished by, sabres honed by the salt of the seas and the blood of their prey. From their palisades of serrated teeth streamed out spectres of carnage, of sky and sea mottled ruby by burning ships, armadas that writhed, screamed and fed La’utra with their brittle limbs.
They wound his hair around their teeth. We spare no one, they gloated, no one is safe from us scavengers, hunters, raveners. Not the smallest of dwarves, nor the mightiest of giants harnessed for the battle. Yet, we too know fear. You the trespasser, a man-youth floating along the deepest currents of the underwater, an invader who bonded with us so deep in our realm.
The sharks, dolphins, all creatures of the deeps wreathed beyond the curtains of his closed eyelids in the pastel hues of a twilight world. With breath bubbles he caressed the ones who came so close as to brush his cheeks. Do not fear. I shall never unravel the threads of nature, my Untouch will only probe, not change. A huemancer I shall become, who shall respect the fabric
of oceans, of lands and of skies.
Huemancer, they murmured, a sorcerer bowing to the forces of the Other Kingdom, us. Embracing the blackness of the deeps, us. Planktonlike he planed along from gulf to gulf, from womb to womb of Retranak who draped in smoky sheets around his dreaming psyche, his brine-covered body. Valleys of sea anemones he crossed, hills overgrown in algae, shores of coral, forests of kelp, lands unbronzed by sunlight, ravines dreaming under Eye and Arc warmed foam.
Help us, the dolphins pleaded, fondling his lips again, their tailfins wrapping around his hips. Blue electric flashes ran along the range of fins. A monstrosity is riding the foam of Retranak, man not man, beast not beast, an unnature, which even the gloating La’utra for all their bladed teeth cannot vanquish. Stand by us. Or better still, be like us, shed your skin, don our gills.
He shed his skin, he donned their gills and he saw. He could not say whether he had journeyed far in body or in mind but he saw dark battlements rising out from the Arc-lit sea, tall castles astraddle on tall cliffs enthroned on brooding islands. The yellow glow of flambeaus writhed in little holes of windows and shivered on the small, distant teeth of bartizans while in the steaming harbour ships of all sizes crowded together and echoes of all kinds rippled across the water. The rowdy songs and guffaws of men, the shrill chatter and giggle of women and from far away, far above the peal of mortal pain.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I write because I enjoy it and that would be the case with everyone here on this blog. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to give advice on writing skills but I would just urge writers to continue believing in themselves in face of disappointment and cynicism.

Thank you for reading a bit about me and I’d like to introduce you to other authors along this hop. Their links are below:

http://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com
http://tenthchild.com/wordpress/
http://candacegauger.wordpress.com/
http://traceeford.wordpress.com/
http://pacificrimpressblog.wordpress.com/
http://www.notanotherbookreview.blogspot.com/
http://ninjananny.wordpress.com/
http://www.charleneraddon.blogspot.com/
http://simplifyandsave.weebly.com/blog-save–simplify.html
http://candysmonsters.com/