It’s my great pleasure to introduce this week’s Blog Ring of Power guest, LYNDA WILLIAMS. I met Lynda through Broad Universe.
LYNDA 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.
Don’t miss the rest of her interview at:
- Part 2 @ Em – Friday, Nov. 16
- Part 3 @ Sandra – Monday, Nov. 19
- Part 4 @ Dean – Tuesday, Nov. 20
- Part 5 @ Terri– Wednesday, Nov. 21
PART #1: ABOUT YOU
BRoP: How long have you been writing?
LYNDA: As long as I can remember. But I got serious about recording my stories as a teenager. See my write up of the origins of the Okal Rel Universe in my teen years at http://okalrel.org/saga/createhist/making_of/promised.html
BRoP: When and why did you begin writing?
LYNDA: As a child, I lived to play make-believe. My sister, Holly, was my first playmate. She organized my neighborhood friends to join the games. In later childhood, I gravitated to role-playing of the live action kind (make-believe) with one special friend, Kathy Perrault. My friendship with Kathy ended when she grew up and got serious about the real world. I met Alison Sinclair, the co-author for Part 4: Throne Price, in the Okal Rel Saga, at a calculus class in first year university at the University of Victoria. And the rest is history.
BRoP: Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?
LYNDA: Probably a rhyming poem inspired by the poetry my father read aloud to me. I can’t remember. The first book I remember creating was a picture-story of a little girl who slipped out to dance with fairies while her parents watched the news on TV. I must have been about eight or ten. My mother loved it, and I believe I still have it somewhere. It had yellow construction paper covers and was colored in pastels, if memory serves.
BRoP: When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?
LYNDA: When Alison and I sold Part 4: Throne Price to Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, at the end of the 1990s. I have written for pay as a newspaper reporter in the early 1980s and sold a story to Circlet Press (Amel’s first story in print) earlier. But I wanted to be novelist. And this sale came before the possibility of indie publishing. I believe in the power of a good story backed up by real feeling as well as good technique. I always knew I would publish any way I could if I never found a publisher. But I am so very grateful I did.
BRoP: What books have most influenced your life?
LYNDA: Good ones. And some not so good ones with the power to comfort me when my bold determination to see the world as it really is gets too scary. Books are like friends to me and it feels like a betrayal not to mention every single one. I read widely in popular history and science, fiction of all kinds, old English poetry, some modern Canadian poetry and smatterings of genre fiction. I read books I discover in second hand stores or at SF cons as well as “best sellers”. There’s a sameness about “best sellers” which is disappointing to the explorer in me. I read books from different cultures and eras for the mental exercise, even when they bother me. Two books I’d recommend to any writer wanting to get a handle on cultural differences are: Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman.
BRoP: What genre do you write?
LYNDA: Science fiction. The Okal Rel Saga “looks” like fantasy sometimes because of the larger-than-life nature of Sevolites. But the Sevolites themselves are the bio-engineered technology even if though they reject the fact. I focus on human dilemmas and the social contract rather than the gadgets, so I suppose my sub-genre is social science fiction. Or space opera, if you focus on the lives of the characters. I do love the characters. But I’ve always viewed them, at the same time, as vehicles for exploring important ideas in ethics and social control. Outside the saga, Okal Rel stories can feel like horror or mysteries or love stories or fantasy tales and legends. It depends on the narrator and, in the case of the Okal Rel Legacies series, the author.
BRoP: What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
LYNDA: Ethics. And sustainability despite ambition. The meaning of life with and without the thrill and terror of power dynamics. What relationships have to do with these things. And how to avoid being so stupid we destroy everything worth fighting for. If one thing makes me want to scream and tear my hair, it is the “win at all costs” attitude on the part of people who are too short sighted to grasp they are just stupid. Not clever. There’s a reason why our species has a moral sense and it’s a useful one. But it isn’t necessarily evolved to content with the sort of toys we have to play with these days.
BRoP: If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
LYNDA: I work in the field of applied technology for education. I’ve also worked as a reporter for a newspaper, a programmer, a crisis counselor and half a dozen other things. I love to teach and have taught applied computing for many years. I think, however, if I had to do it all over again and couldn’t be a writer, I might study bio-science and do research in genetics. Or be a lawyer specialized in either digital rights or bio-science complexities. The real dream job, though, would be Ranar’s. Ranar is the cultural anthropologist in the Okal Rel Saga who comes from a very civilized world but is fascinated by the violent dynamics and genetic capital / sexual politics of the Sevolite empire.
BRoP: What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?
- Trade paperback (the Saga)
- Print on demand (Legacies)
- Kindle (all)
BRoP: 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
PART 7: HEALER’S SWORD — Ilse Marin goes to work for the Sevolite Empire’s eccentric leaders to solve a financial problem and winds up fighting for her life in the midst of a plague outbreak. She also falls in love — or is it lust? — with the man most certain to make her life impossible. Samanda O’Pearl gets Amel to visit her parochial home world to one-up her old rival but her “off the beaten track” adventures with him lead to a ban on him interacting with Demish society until she can convince the League of Women for the Betterment of Men to declare him respectable. Meanwhile, the Demish are out to stop Horth Nersal from fielding a commoner fencing team to make trade contracts work with the Reetions, under Sword Law.
PART 8: GATHERING STORM — It was supposed to be a civilized cultural exchange between the Sevolite Empire and the Reetion Confederacy. But things were going off the rails over wedding plans and unplanned pregnancies even before the planet-threatening attack led by an extreme sect of Nesak priests. Amel dances with the wrong person, Eler performs an alarming play, Ilse avoids Horth, Samanda struggles to keep the Demish from leaving before Amel’s Bridegroom Ball and an unexpected visitor reminds everyone why the empire distrusts Lorel sciences.