Monday, June 16, 2014

Meet the #Author Monday - Michelle Brown

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

Carbon-based life form. Lives on tea, shiny things, and playful spite. Fond of boyfriend, cat, subgenre sci fi, and useful opinions. Dislikes the inevitability of mortality, fake balconies, and reading Lord of the Rings knock-offs.

Tell us about After the Garden:

After the Garden is a very special project. It’s the second thing I ever wrote, and it was the story that convinced me that maybe, just maybe, this writing thing would have to get more serious. It’s set approximately two hundred years from now and focuses on a group of Bearers, people who retain little snippets of memory from their previous lives. They live to safeguard their knowledge. Unfortunately, their strange powers have attracted the attention of a fanatical cult, and The City where all of this takes place is about to be the battleground of a deadly and decisive conflict.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:

I was driving around Calgary with my family one day and thought, “what would it look like if all of this was gone?” I started imagining buildings broken down and covered with vines, trying to figure out what the city would look like empty of people at some point in the far future. I wanted to examine a story focused around a ‘second chance’ for humanity, particularly because in the mid-oughties, it really seemed like everything was going to hell in a handbasket.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

Callaghn trudged away, and Kerrick read his lips as he rehearsed his questions. Have you seen a girl, pretty strange eyes, very thin? I’m herher cousin, yes, and I’d heard she was around here.
He turned and pointed at the plains separating the satellite town from The City . Kerrick noticed the movement, and grabbed the binoculars under the seat. A small figure in clothes that blended into the prairie was encountering two others in earthen robes. No wonder he hadn’t seen them at first—city camouflage was his area, not open lands. Callaghn saw them, those garments the same shade as his own eyes, and slowly walked towards the flier.
Kerrick opened the door and hauled him in bodily.
“Look closer, you idiot!” Hamza seized Callaghn’s head and turned it towards the tableaux. They were talking. Then, the women had seized her firmly. The girl was armed, but going quietly.
“I don’t see—”
“This is bad!”
“Hamza, what’s going on?” Eva, silent, her legs crossed and mouth tight, had finally spoken. “Those women in brown—”
“Those are Purifiers!” Hamza hissed. “We’re too late!”
“Drive,” said Kerrick. “Drive, goddamnit.”
Hamza revved the engine, speeded towards a close-by dip in the plains, a declivity that would shield them. They were more than twice as far as Ember was from the camp, but that wasn’t saying much.
As they sped towards them, they could see the fortress camouflaged by hills and rocks, the wire fence surrounding the tents and courtyard, the stage-like podium where Ezeriah delivered sermons. It was all built to be moved in an instant, if necessary. Kerrick saw the look on Hamza’s face—memories, not Fragments but memories, were bubbling up. He took his friend’s hand, and he relaxed a little.
“Time to hunt,” growled Kerrick. Hamza dropped down. Kerrick thought furiously about options. They were risking a lot, even having the vehicle so close to the camp, but there was no choice. Charging in through the gates was impossible—they were outnumbered and even Eva’s shield wouldn’t be enough. And Ezeriah himself…well. Out of the question. Slowly, painfully, they crept out to watch.
The girl was being taken towards the camp. Callaghn twitched, his restless legs drumming quietly.
“Don’t move,” Kerrick commanded him. “Just wait and watch. We’re safe down here, at least for the moment.”
“It’s hopeless,” Callaghn muttered. “If they’ve got her, she’s as good as dead. You know what the Order is like.”
“Wait and watch,” Kerrick said, “and shut up, too.”
“Why the hell don’t we charge in, then?”
“Because frontal assaults are stupid and don’t actually work. Shut up.”
He glanced back at Eva, who crouched near the flier. She looked frightened, but also very determined; Kerrick was having second thoughts about having her along. Her talent was terribly useful, it was true, but she was young for this. Their stories weren’t so dissimilar, and he remembered what it was like, being hired muscle.
The little part in the back of his mind that calculated everything too coldly said that even if she was too young for it, it could save their skins. And with Eva there, Hamza and the others would be more protective; with Hamza there, Callaghn would try extra hard to impress him. Kerrick smiled grimly at the thought that Callaghn probably wouldn’t be trying as hard to catch and drop arrows if it was just him, Kerrick, to defend.
He settled quietly, and watched the scene, trying to plan for every possible event. He felt Eva activate a thin shield; although it was large, it was not very thick, just dense enough to keep arrows out. She’d be able to maintain it for some time, but would it be enough?
They hadn’t killed her yet…yet. He could hope. In horrified fascination, he watched the two Magdalenes bring the girl forward.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:

Definitely personality. I tend to “see” snippets of a story in my head as though the characters are in a film or on stage, particularly the latter. Names tend to come second or third. I try not to focus on a character’s looks too much because it can be rather annoying to read about lengthy descriptions of dresses every five pages.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:

Stop aspiring. Start writing. Writers, write. You are allowed to suck at first. Just write.

Questions for fun:

If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change?

Well, technically, if you go by quantum multiverse theory, I might already *have* done. I admit to nothing.

Why/why not?:

Hey, do you see any mutant Wagner-playing zombie octo-chickens running around? How do you know I haven’t already changed things? Yeah, you’re welcome, by the way.

What super-power would you choose?:

Definitely flight—controlled flight. Preferably something that doesn’t involve extremely light bones or being turned into a bird, though there are worse drawbacks to a superpower that I can think of.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:

1.    All violent war would be converted into paintball matches.  2. Politicians worldwide would clue in about the whole global warming bit. 3. That the warp drive NASA is currently experimenting on will actually do the trick, and that we’ll get to see the furthest reaches of the galaxy in my lifetime.

Coffee, tea or wine?: Tea, obviously. Preferably black. Green is okay too. Roiboos can GTFO.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):

*futile sobbing* Every time, with this question! How about my favorites this year? Ocean at the End of the Lane, Looking for Alaska/The Fault in Our Stars (tied), and Rags & Bones. But the Miriam Black trilogy and Banksters were also amazing. D—n it! That’s eight books..e.r…

Favourite genre and why?:

Definitely spec fic. I say spec fic as a whole because I love the weird subgenres of sci fi, I love weird fiction (in the Lovecraftian sense), and I really like certain kinds of fantasy, especially urban fantasy. Speculative fiction means that you can not only do anything, you get to think about the complications.

Favourite colour?:

Indigo, the kind that’s so deep and bright it almost looks purple.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:

Silly erotica short story! The third book in the Meaning Wars series! After the Garden! Monsters and Fools, book two of the Nightmare Cycle! Euphoria/Dysphoria, a collab with Nic Wilson! Much more! Release dates TBA.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!


Memories of another life and lover guide her, but are they even hers? She is a Bearer—keeper of past lifetimes and gifted with strange talents. Ember must find her answers away from safe Longquan Village, snared instead in the sensuality and dangers of The City. Hidden among fishermen and slaves, prostitutes and weavers, a nest of people like her are waiting.

A powerful man outside The City raises his forces, determined to hunt down the ‘demons’ who could taint his followers. Threatened from without and within, can the Bearers even trust each other? 

Powers will rise and alliances will be forged in a dark new world. The Memory Bearers are coming.

Where to find me:

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