Today I get to welcome Storm Constantine to the blog. Storm has been publishing books for years and her short story Do As Thou Wilt in Jonathan Oliver’s Magic anthology was one of my favourites in it. So when I was asked about being part of Storm’s tour for her new novel The Moonshawl, the latest entry in her Wraeththu Mythos, I was very pleased to accept. I’m hoping to review the book at some point in the new year as well – so keep an eye out for that – but for now enjoy this Author Query with Storm!
Let’s start with the basics. Who is Storm Constantine?
I’m a writer, publisher and teacher, with over 30 books in print and dozens of short stories. I began writing professionally in the 1980s, and my first novel was ‘The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit’, which is the opening volume in the first Wraeththu trilogy. I’ve since written many novels across several genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, dark fantasy and slipstream.
I’m the founder of Immanion Press, which was initially created to keep my back catalogue in print, but which expanded to include the non fiction imprint Megalithica Books. We publish books on the esoteric and occult. On the fiction side, I also publish some of Tanith Lee’s works, as well as my own.
How would you introduce people to the Wraeththu Mythos?
I became fascinated by hermaphrodites in my teens, in particular with the alchemical idea of the androgyne. I speculated that in some ways two genders in one body would produce a higher level of human, and began writing stories about such a race. Eventually, during my 20s I expanded these ideas into a full length novel (Enchantments), and then wrote two more volumes in that trilogy, ‘The Bewitchments of Love and Hate’ and ‘The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire’. Over the years since, in between other writing projects, I kept my hand in with the world of Wraeththu through short stories and so on. In the 2000s, a second Wraeththu trilogy was published (‘The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure’, ‘The Shades of Time and Memory’ and ‘The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence’), by TOR in the States and by Immanion Press in the UK.
The world of Wraeththu is post-apocalyptic. Humanity has all but destroyed their planet and each other. From these ruins a new race arises – at first savage and brutal, if not beautiful, but with the potential to be greater than their human forebears. Wraeththu are humans enhanced, but their failing is that they originally derived from humanity so must strive to avoid the same mistakes. Human weakness lingers within them.
How does your latest work, The Moonshawl, fit into the Wraeththu chronology?
‘The Moonshawl’ is a standalone novel within the Wraeththu Mythos, so it’s not necessary to have read all the previous books to understand or enjoy it. At its heart, it’s a ghost story, a mystery.
Almost a hundred years have passed since Wraeththu first appeared in the world. The original savage tribes have (mostly) become civilized. A new world has been built, or is still in the process of being built. The green of Nature has seethed over the ruins of human cities. Wraeththu does not have a teeming population to over run the world.
However, darkness from the past remains, and buried secrets. In a nut shell, the plot of ‘The Moonshawl’ is that Ysobi har Jesith goes to work in a community in what was once Wales. Here, he uncovers a mystery, ancient tragedy, suppressed atrocities, and finds the land is haunted. He resolves to solve the mystery and banish the ghosts of the past.
If a reader was unfamiliar with the world of the Wraeththu, could The Moonshawl serve as a jumping off point into previous Wraeththu novels?
Definitely. I’ve included as much (I hope) as is needed for new readers to understand the world of the novels, (without huge indigestible lumps of exposition), and there are also glossaries and appendices at the end of the book concerning things like the Wraeththu calendar, terms of address, and so on.
Is there something else you’re passionate about other than writing and books?
I love films, reading, and am also a teacher of Reiki. Mostly, I’m simply fascinated by the weird and wonderful. My biggest passion is ghost stories, and ‘The Moonshawl’ enabled me to have fun with that genre.
As a book reviewer, I’m all about the book enabling; I can’t help but want to make people read all the good books out there. But I can always use help. What are your top recommendations of books we should look out for in the coming months?
I’m publishing Tanith Lee’s ‘Ghosteria 2: The Novel: Zircons May Be Mistaken’ at the same time as ‘The Moonshawl’. (December 8th 2014). Both of the books are now up on the Immanion Press website ‘Zircons’ is a really unusual novel, being a ghost story, a zombie apocalypse story, but also very human. I’ve not read anything like it before, and really enjoyed editing it.
Finally, I have to stay true to my roots and ask a librarian question to finish off with: Do you shelve your books alphabetically, by genre or do you have an ingenious system?
Alphabetically by author for fiction, and for the non-fiction simply by genre. I have far too many books!
Bio: Storm Constantine is the author of over 30 books, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as numerous short stories. Her fiction titles include the best selling Wraeththu trilogies and stand-alone novels, Hermetech, Thin Air, and the Grigori Trilogy. Her esoteric non-fiction works include ‘Sekhem Heka’ and ‘Grimoire Dehara: Kaimana’. Storm lives in the Midlands of the UK with her husband and five cats. You can find Storm online at her website and on Twitter.