Teagan Geneviene has a new book, well… a serial of monthly novelettes that will tell one epic story. And the first “journey” is now available on Amazon. I read it in one sitting and reviewed it below. But first, I had a few questions for Teagan. We didn’t spoil the read, I promise.
Dead of Winter Interview
Dead of Winter has been in the works for over a decade. Why did you wait so long to release it, and why are you publishing this story in monthly novelettes?
I had been researching and then writing Dead of Winter for a couple of years. Then Game of Thrones premiered on HBO and used a tag-line that I had woven throughout my novel — Winter is coming! (I talk about that nightmare in a blog post.) That coincidence caused me to shelve my huge novel. However, the characters and world stayed with me. Over the next decade, I considered dividing it into a trilogy, or making it into a blog serial. I even fantasized about it becoming an anime series. Still, I couldn’t escape the fact that George R. R. Martin had used the phrase that was core to my story.
After his television show ended, I decided I had let that hold me back long enough. If my phrase wasn’t new, then I would present the novel in a new way — by publishing a monthly series of novelettes, or journeys (the characters journey through their complex world). The original manuscript is longer than 800 pages, so I think it will run for at least a year.
The first novelette introduces the reader to Emlyn, her restrictive culture, her teacher, and her world. What aspects of the world were the most interesting for you to craft?
Emlyn’s world in Dead of Winter is not a historic fantasy. Although it looks and sounds similar to pre-industrial Great Britain and Europe. I also researched all the names of the many characters and places so they would be reminiscent of those places. I’m a research geek, so I loved creating that part. More than 200 places and characters are mentioned in the overall story.
Many of your books are fun and whimsical in nature. This one feels more serious and dangerous. Was that a deliberate decision?
There are two parts to that answer — yes and no. The difference in style was an evolution, rather than a decision. Before I started publishing and blogging, I wrote “high fantasy” stories. I wrote this novel back then. During the years since, my style has progressed to the lighter things you’re used to seeing from me. When I started writing blog serials, those brought out a strong sense of whimsy. The whimsy was always there, but in the past, it was expressed in a more serious way.
Also, I started writing Dead of Winter in the winter of 2009 – 2010. I had recently relocated to a place where both the climate and the culture were much colder than I had ever experienced. A historically harsh winter, and a personal injury set the tone of Dead of Winter.
Emlyn has paranormal abilities that set her apart. Tell us a little about the magic in this world.
The “dead” are a fundamental part of Dead of Winter, but the story is more about Emlyn and her world than it is about ghosts. How to say it? It’s more of a story with ghosts than an actual ghost story — if that makes any sense.
As a reader who studies the work of successful mainstream authors, I learned the value of making gradual increases in magic and/or violence. Emlyn’s ability to communicate with spirits is the main “magic” of this story, but the tale grows into other forms of magic as well. There are also supernatural creatures and there is some “earth magic.”
Do you have a favorite character and why?
This story was in my head for years. Many of the characters became real to me. One favorite is Tajín, a companion for Zasha. I definitely had a crush on Tajín. You won’t meet him until Journey 2. I love his personality. His home, Bandihar, is inspired by ancient civilizations in Mexico. I enjoyed shaping his culture and letting it help develop his personality, even his weapon.
Review of Dead of Winter, Journey One
This story will unfold in monthly installments (Journeys), and in this first novelette, the author introduces the reader to the fantasy world, to the main protagonist, Emlyn, and to a few secondary characters who impact her life. I read this Journey in about an hour.
Emlyn lives with her father and sister in a rural village where the culture is patriarchal and restrictive, with women bearing the brunt of the harsh control. This doesn’t bode well for Emlyn who has the ability to see ghosts. Osabide, Emlyn’s elderly teacher and a wise woman reminds her not to share knowledge of her gifts with anyone, because her strange skill could cost her everything, including her life.
The story is told from Emlyn’s point of view, and the reader gets glimpses of her encounters with ghosts as well as a mysterious white wolf. The novelette raises questions, and there are teasers galore, including an underlying sense of danger. An excellent start to an epic tale, recommended to readers who enjoy fantasies and want to try a different sort of reading experience. I’m looking forward to the next Journey.
Dead of Winter Global Link
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM