This picture has been my laptop wallpaper for the last many years as I worked on Channel Zilch:
I am touching a space-flown Space Shuttle wheel on a shuttle replica at The Cape. I made sure that in Channel Zilch the protagonist, Mick Oolfson, touches the tire of Shuttle Enterprise when he first sees it.
That picture worked its charm and now I can retire it because I’ve finished Channel Zilch. It’s on to Castle Rising, my medieval-kids-vs.-alien-armada book, so I changed my wallpaper to inspire me with views of the homes of the four protagonists:
Upper left is Castle Rising in Norfolk, England, the home of Will the apprentice scribe. Lower left is Angkor Wat, home of Visel the reluctant martial art student. Lower Right is the Far View Site at Mesa Verde in Colorado, home of Avis the hunter. Upper right is the Hill Complex of the castles of Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, home of Shenkasi the prince.
Now to write Castle Rising!
I feel optimistic about finding an agent for Channel Zilch.
The leaves are gone. It looks like Winter and I’m ready for it. I’m getting back into the rhythm of feeding the woodstove.
Janice Hardy is celebrating the publication of Blue Fire, the 2nd book in The Healing Wars, by doing a blog tour. I asked her to talk about how her experiences with nature in her Southern US locale informed her creation of the tropical world of The Healing Wars. Take it away, Janice!
I knew early on in The Healing Wars series that I wanted it to be set in a tropical locale. This was an easy choice for me, because I grew up in South Florida, and I was quite familiar with heat and humidity. It was also a setting I hadn’t seen much of in the fantasy worlds I’d read. And you know what they say, “Write what you know.” The nature of my childhood played a large role in my fantasy world.
Although South Florida isn’t an island, it is mostly surrounded by water, and had lots of canals, so it was easy to imagine myself in my book’s city of Geveg. It might have been inspired by Venice, but when I pictured the canals, I pictured the Las Olas area in Fort Lauderdale. The white, curving bridges over the water, the palm trees, the balmy ocean breezes. The way the boats thumped against the docks and the wood creaked. Water and boats have always been a part of my life, so setting a world there made it even more real to me. Which hopefully made it real to readers.
I knew what it was like to have a friend live right across the canal, but you had to travel half a mile just to get to them. Unless, of course, you had a dinghy to cross the canal with, and your mom would let you do it. It wasn’t the same type of hardship my protagonist, Nya, faces, but it was enough to make me think about how navigation might affect her in the story. It also helped me figure out the dangers of her world, because seeing the stubbly ridges of an alligator in the canal out back wasn’t unusual.
My childhood also helped me picture day-to-day life in Geveg. As an island city, fishing is a critical part of their economy. My house was on a canal that connected to the ocean. We had a boat docked out back, and my family went fishing on a regular basis: up at 4am, shuffle out to the boat, be on the ocean by sunrise and watch the sun come up over the water. Then we’d fish all day, take some breaks to dive in and cool ourselves off, and head home. Cleaning the boat and unloading the fishing gear usually fell on me (I was the youngest), so unloading fishing boats was a job I could easily have Nya do.
I don’t think anyone would look at Geveg and think, “hey, that’s Florida,” but I’d like to think readers feel a sense of the heat and the stickiness of the humidity. They believe that distinctive growl and splash of something dangerous in the water. They feel the relief when night falls and the temperature drops even a few degrees. All the things that I grew up with, and later used to imagine a world with a similar tropical climate.
Write what you know. And then take it someplace new.
Blue Fire Blurb
Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.
Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.
Janice Hardy Bio
A long-time fantasy reader, Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel.
Buy Blue Fire Here
The Other Side of the Story Blog
Janice Hardy was the first writer in my writing group (Written in Blood) to land an agent and publish a book, The Shifter – the first book in The Healing Wars trilogy. It’s been inspiring and a lot of fun to follow her career as a professional author. I am a big fan of her books and it’s a treat to read and critique them years before they get published.
Blue Fire, the 2nd book in The Healing Wars, just hit the shelves.
Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, Nya risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke of Baseer from using them in his fiendish experiments. Nya soon realizes the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Instead, she finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.
Nya is a great protagonist and it’s fun to see her grow in this volume. The magic/tech of The Healing Wars is one of Janice’s big achievements. Pynvium is a metal that can store and unleash pain and Nya’s power entails meting out pain. Janice does pain well – spoken as an involuntary expert on the subject due to my Central Pain Syndrome. The Healing Wars is a “kid’s” series that deals with some thorny moral issues – Nya’s gift means she sometimes has the gift of life or death in her hands.
Janice has been a huge asset for me in finishing my book. When I submitted Hel’s Bet to Written in Blood 2 years ago Janice wrote a 14 page critique that was an instruction manual for turning my draft into a living, breathing novel.
I’m thrilled with Janice’s success. Blue Fire is racking up great reviews!