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Thread: The Books

  1. #1
    Books of Pellinor alison's Avatar
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    The Books

    I thought I'd post some general info on my books. I've been writing for many years, full-time for the past decade (yes, I am a rare magical beast, a full-time poet). But I'm a bit of a newbie at fantasy. I like the peculiar torment of writing long novels; I'll be doing more of them.

    At the moment I am working on the Pellinor series. There will be four of these, and I am currently supposed to be finishing No. 3, The Crow.

    The Gift, Part One, came out in Australia in 2002 with Penguin Books and in the UK (Walker Books) last year. It will appear as a hardback in the US next May, with Candlewick, but we had to change the title to The Naming as Ursula Le Guin recently brought out Gifts. The Gift was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards. And here are some reviews-

    In The Gift, Alison Croggon has crafted an elaborate and beguiling world of legend. Densely and vividly patterned, the book leads us across the varied and menacing landscapes of the seven kingdoms of Annar. The terrain is peopled by Bards and slaves, by the monstrous Kulag and the treacherous Hulls, by packs of wers whose howls are "the very sound of un-life ... neither dead nor alive, but caught in a tormenting void between".

    This is prose that shows not only how well Croggon writes, but how effectively she holds her nerve. In such fantastical imaginings as hers, the risk is always of the risible.

    In fact, Croggon passes her work off as history, replete with bold and detailed appendices on pronunciation, on history - especially the tragic millennium of the Great Silence - on the composition of the seven kingdoms and on the Speech - 'defining attribute of a Bard and the central mystery of the Knowing'. ...

    While The Gift is resolutely Croggon's own invention, it is full of echoes and glimpses of other fantasies of lost, past and future worlds. Thus we have the Dark (side) and the (chosen) One, magical powers and medieval settings.

    This is a quest narrative, one of the most durable and enchanting kinds of story, as old as Odysseus and Arthur. Croggon tells it fluently and confidently. She mixes the unavoidably sombre and formal - "you bear black news" - with the bracingly colloquial. The novel is the latest, unpredictable move in a career that has seen Croggon as a poet, controversial theatre reviewer and librettist."

    - The Sydney Morning Herald, 2002

    "... a magical story that is reminiscent of Tolkien. This is a tale with passionate, inspiring characters, an enchanting protagonist and vividly described landscapes. The Gift is a powerful story and marks the beginning of a series of a great series of fantasy novels that will delight fans of Garth Nix and G P Taylor."

    - The Bookseller, February 2004, UK


    The Riddle came out in Oz late last year, and is due out in the UK in May and in the US the following year. Blurbs are, well, blurbs, but here's the Penguin one for it:

    Maerad is a girl with a tragic and bitter past, but her powers grow stronger by the day. Now she and her mentor Cadvan, pursued by both the Light and the Dark, are seeking the Riddle of the Treesong. This mysterious Riddle holds the key to restoring peace to her ravaged kingdom and defeating the enemies she is fated to battle.* But what is the true nature of those enemies, and of the Riddle?* Or is Maerad herself the greatest riddle of all?

    From terrifying seas to vast stretches of glacial wilderness, The Riddle moves through a legendary world steeped in the rich and complex cultures of Edil-Amarandh. Maeradís journey, which began in the highly acclaimed novel The Gift, continues towards a mysterious end.* For surely now she will meet the Winterking, the author of her sorrows - and ally of the Nameless One, who is the greatest tyrant of them all . . .


    The Crow is well on its way, and hopefully will be in shops later this year. I'm almost really excited by it (I'll be properly excited when I finish, I hope). The final book will be called The Singing. I think. I'm not quite up to imagining it yet.

    There's more info, including a couple of sample chapters and appendices, at my website.

    In the UK and the US, the Pellinor books are published as YA fantasy, in Australia as adult fantasy. I guess that means they're "crossover". Either that, or people can't decide what they are.

  2. #2
    Books of Pellinor alison's Avatar
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    Update: The Crow is finished to first draft! Yess!!!

    I'll let you know when there is a publication date, no word yet from Penguin. I'm hoping it will be released in Australia later this year.

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    Method

    Maybe this is in the wrong string, but here goes.

    I have written three books starting August first...tentatively I am calling it the Earth Stone Trilogy.

    When I write I have a basic idea, a beginning, middle and fundamental end. However, I don't know what I am going to write until I do. I never seem to hit any stumbling blocks though. Book One and two came out to 165,000 words each and book three (I feel like you did getting near the end and DYING to finish) is 185,000. It just all seems to come to me while I am writing and not before.

    Tell me, do you plot it out first before you write or do you let it flow?

    By the way, I LOVE writing and I HATE editing........got any pointers for overcoming my hatred of the editing process? I find it to be horrible drudgery.

  4. #4
    Books of Pellinor alison's Avatar
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    Hi Chris

    Congratulations on three books! I'm impressed!

    I do a bit of both plotting and flowing. The first book was just writing: I had no idea what was going to happen next, and let the world grow with the narrative. But for the following books, I had to take into account what was already written, and so I plotted so I wouldn't get lost. I've just reread my synopsis for The Crow, and it's fair to say that although the basic outline remains basically the same, practically everything else changes in the writing.

    As for how to edit: I confess, it took me years to learn. I started off as a wholly intuitive writer. So there's no easy path, I don't think: it's just a skill, like everything else. I find a real pleasure in finding the flaws and making the writing work better. These days, it's the part that makes me rub my hands, I really like it.

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    I AM too a mod! Moderator Rocket Sheep's Avatar
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    Hi Alison,

    I started the Riddle last night. I know I said I had it earlier but the magazine editor gave me two books to review in three weeks and expressed a desire to have me review the other one first... well that took three weeks... I'm no speed reader, then another mag gave my kids a Playstation game to review so I had to help them do that....

    ...anyway...

    ... back to The Riddle, and the Note on the Text, when I skimmed thru it earlier, I thought it was just a fictional translation of something fictional but when I read it, it seems like you are creating a story from a real translation of real historical documents.

    So can you tell me more about these historical documents and the Annaren?

  6. #6
    Books of Pellinor alison's Avatar
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    Hi Rocket

    I'm jealous you get to review games. How did you get onto that?

    I have a feeling that the Note on the Text is the best bit of fiction I've ever written. I wanted it to be just like those slightly fussy, slightly pompous notes you get at the beginning of translated books, where they quibble about decisions they've made and thank just about everyone in existence (my private joke is thanking my husband for reading the proofs - it's always wives reading the proofs in those introductions. And though he's actually been a great help, and I pick his dramatist brains constantly, I read the proofs). Actually, all the thanks are real, but many of them are private jokes. The French academic Alphonse Calorge whom I thank in The Gift is a pseudonym of a French friend, a translator, who always wanted to use that name, and who did help me. Professor Insole - who designed the Treesong Runes - is actually the designer at Walker Books. Doing these bits has been the most enormous fun.

    But I've had so many queries from people doing searches to find out about the Annaren texts that I had to put a note up on my website explaining that really, I made it all up. If you take a quick gander at the footnotes in the appendices, you'll see most of the putative authors have my initials (AJC) - where they don't, they are actual books.

    It's backfired once or twice, where reviewers have assumed that I have no originality at all! So I'm glad you asked! It's sometimes made me feel a little guilty, especially when people have been elated to find out that something like that existed. It didn't occur to me that people might think it was real, but I did want to create that slight vertigo feeling, where you're not quite sure - Borges did that to me when I was young, and I've never forgotten how it felt. (And don't worry, even my agent asked the same question, and she's no fool.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Sheep
    Hi Alison,

    I started the Riddle last night. I know I said I had it earlier but the magazine editor gave me two books to review in three weeks and expressed a desire to have me review the other one first... well that took three weeks... I'm no speed reader, then another mag gave my kids a Playstation game to review so I had to help them do that....

    ...anyway...

    ... back to The Riddle, and the Note on the Text, when I skimmed thru it earlier, I thought it was just a fictional translation of something fictional but when I read it, it seems like you are creating a story from a real translation of real historical documents.

    So can you tell me more about these historical documents and the Annaren?

  7. #7
    I AM too a mod! Moderator Rocket Sheep's Avatar
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    I read the blurb that said it was completely fictional... but then after the note I questioned whether it meant fictional but based on something or the blurb meant that it was not to be taken as accurate in anyway. So it was a pretty convincing Note. I haven't read much further. I've got a bit of work on at the Art Centre at the moment and a throat infection so've been reading in a haze before sleep.

    The payment for reviewing games is advanced copies of the games and only occasionally a good one is struck... but even the dud games cost you $90 when they first come out. So it's okay. I just always seem to be sitting around with my hand up when mag editors are handing stuff out. I don't want to spend so much time reviewing but I can't say no to free stuff... I am a Kiwi after all.

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    Dont worry i was caught out at first also with the notes at the back og the Gift until i read it all. my friend actually went looking for the books and stuff. it was kinda funny. she was a little disappointed when i pointed out that they weren't real.

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    The King's Fool Fionnoula's Avatar
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    can somebody tell a bit about the Riddle it's not out for ages in England yet, i think i'm going to conbust if i don't read it soon

    does anybody else think Cadvan and Maerad should get together?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnoula
    can somebody tell a bit about the Riddle it's not out for ages in England yet, i think i'm going to conbust if i don't read it soon

    does anybody else think Cadvan and Maerad should get together?
    Hey Fionnoula . . . . . did i spell it right?

    is self conbustion even possible? anywayz u want to know about the Riddle. i got both books and love em. i know Alison is probably going to come up with a better answer but are you sure you want me to tell you? coz it might ruin it for you? Anyway read ahead if u dare but i dont think it will do you any good bcoz it'll only make u wanna read it more . . . . . .

    Spoiler:

    The Riddle is the continue of the Gift. Maerad and Cadvan dont get together (not off the top of my memory). Cadvan might die? Maerad will fall in love. (but a twisted sort of love) More polotics become involved. Maerad meets a relative or two. one relative will die whilst helping her.


    off the top of my head that's all i can think of like i said if you really wanna know ask Alison she'll give a better description.

    ~ Tari

    P.S. Alison can u hint to us if something will happen between Maerad and Cadvan in the Crow plz? i think something will happen but it won't (if that makes sense) like either they will or they wont it won't be an in between sort of decision.


    Mod note: Tari we have these great new tags called spoiler tags. You just put [ spoiler ] and [ / spoiler ] either side of delicate information and then whoever wants to read that delicate information can drag their mouse across it and read it highlighted.
    Last edited by Rocket Sheep; March 2nd, 2005 at 04:43 PM.

  11. #11
    The King's Fool Fionnoula's Avatar
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    thanks Tari...yes you spelt it right , i don't know if it's possible but i'm heading towards it , thanks for the summary..your right it has made me want to read it more..but it's out in two months here so i'll have to wait and be patient not one of my strong points

  12. #12
    I AM too a mod! Moderator Rocket Sheep's Avatar
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    Oh and spontaneous human combustion is possible. It is a chemical fact. Lynne Kelly who is a skeptic who wrote a book on the paranormal showed me a picture of a man who combusted and burned right down to his shoes. He and the floor around him were the only things burned in the picture.

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    Sorry Rocket. thanks for that i'll look out for it now. i didn't even know it existed. sorry again.

    ~ Tari

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnoula
    thanks Tari...yes you spelt it right , i don't know if it's possible but i'm heading towards it , thanks for the summary..your right it has made me want to read it more..but it's out in two months here so i'll have to wait and be patient not one of my strong points
    Hey Fionnoula,

    where did you get that name from? it sounds very interesting. waiting is not one of my strong points either but seeing as i live in the same country as one of my fav authors for a change i dont have to wait for their books like i do with other authors and despite that i still hate the waiting proccess so i know exactly how you feel. **pats shoulder**

  15. #15
    The King's Fool Fionnoula's Avatar
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    it's a Gaelic name (like my real name) i got it from the Children of Lir which is an Irish faery tale my mum used to read to me..

    it's pronnuced "finn + ula"

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