Today I get to bring you a great interview with Julie Czerneda. I haven’t (yet) read anything by Julie, but she’s a name I’ve seen around bookshops and blogs for years and I plan on one day rectifying my unfamiliarity with her work. Julie has been writing in the world of The Clan Chronicles for almost twenty years and This Gulf of Time and Stars is the start of the trilogy that will wrap up the stories that started with A Thousand Words for Stranger. To celebrate the launch of her latest book, Julie is doing a blog tour and I was honoured to host her on A Fantastical Librarian for an Author Query. Also, check the end of this post to be in with a chance of winning either a hardcover or audiobook version of This Gulf of Time and Stars, courtesy of the publisher and Audible.
Let’s start with the basics. Who is Julie Czerneda?
Julie: Canadian. Happy. Forward-thinking and optimistic. I share life and adventures with my talented, wonderful husband and best friend of almost 40 years, Roger Czerneda. We have strong, kind, and positive offspring of whom we are ridiculously proud, and live in a forest we tend with love. I’m a biologist/writer, he’s a chemist/photographer. Otherwise? We’re ordinary folks who enjoy all things geek.
How would you introduce people to the world of The Clan Chronicles?
Julie: It’s science fiction, set in a far future similar to those of Star Trek or Star Wars. There are starships, aliens, interstellar trade, pirates etc., but no evil empires. The story concerns a secretive alien race called the Clan who’ve been living on human worlds, as humans. After generations of selective breeding for more and more power (for the Clan are able to bypass normal space and travel by teleporting), they’ve created individuals too dangerously strong to mate, the first being Sira di Sarc. She must seek help or her species will die out. That’s the underlying story. The rest is me exploring that amazing future, with strange new worlds. I should mention there’s a handsome starship captain who paints.
Sira’s story in A Thousand Words for Stranger launched your fiction career. Is it strange to now start the last leg of her adventures with this final trilogy?
Julie: Absolutely. Strange yet very satisfying. It’s time. I enjoy knowing I’ll be wrapping up Sira’s story and the Clan’s in a way I couldn’t have imagined when I’d started, back when. Bigger, better, with more impact and emotion. I love it and hope readers will too.
If people are unfamiliar with your Clan Chronicles, can they start with This Gulf of Time and Stars or do you recommend they start with Reap the Wild Wind?
Julie: Tough question. Gulf is readable on its own, because I was well aware there’ll be readers new to the series. I’ve done my best to provide the essential details of what came before. That said, it’s a return to a much larger story, which matters. Seeing Hans Solo again in the upcoming Star Wars film will mean more to someone who’s seen the previous films; similarly, reading the previous Clan books first will mean more impact when certain characters appear, more aha! moments when clues show up. If I was to pick one book to read first for a new reader who wants a quick set up about the characters and universe, it would be A Thousand Words for Stranger, where we meet Sira and Morgan. But to start the series, by all means go with Reap the Wild Wind. My hope is wherever someone starts, the story will grab them and they’ll want read the others.
You’re not just an author, you’re an anthology editor as well. What is your favourite aspect of editing anthologies?
Julie: Working with writers who are better than me, because I love learning, is a big part, but my favourite aspect would be new writers. It’s a marvelous experience every time and I’m proud to say I’ve bought first stories from over seventy authors, many of whom have gone on to amazing careers. Twenty years from now, I may just do a collection of their stories so I can hug it.
You started out in science fiction, stepped out into fantasy, and with the Reunification trilogy, you return to science fiction. How is the experience of writing SF different to that of writing fantasy?
Julie: Other than using the same computer, I find it completely different. My reasons for writing, the drive behind the story and its origins, the way I write, my word choices, are this way for SF, that way for fantasy. I’ll be doing a post on http://www.suvudo.com later this month where I discuss this in detail, but the short answer? My SF is a thought experiment; my fantasy speaks to the heart.
Is there something else you’re passionate about other than writing and books?
Julie: Everything! Nature, space, ice hockey and Canadian football, science, people, being creative, looking under rocks, staring at the sky, dancing. There’s always something new to learn and I’m never bored, believe me. Professionally, I do what I can to promote scientific literacy, speaking to groups and the public. I’ve a book, Developing Scientific Literacy Using Science Fiction, for teachers. Otherwise, I love Mondays and mornings and the changing seasons. I anticipate wonder and there it is.
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?
Julie: I believe I speak for my fellow authors when I say we love you! As for books to watch for, I’m delighted to recommend the following new releases. (One of the perks of receiving advance copies.)
Arrival by Rick Wilber. Relevant, powerful science fiction. Highly recommended.
Tower Falls by Karina Sumner-Smith, Book 3 of her Towers Trilogy. Original and astonishing science fiction/fantasy.
Nigh by Marie Bilodeau. Horror’s not usually my thing, but I love her voice and such action!
Chadwick Ginther’s “Thunder Road” trilogy. A fresh and gritty use of Norse legends in present-day Canada.
I don’t need to tell your readers about Anne Bishop’s Others series. Fantastic! If they haven’t discovered Alex Gordon’s Gideon and Jericho, gripping supernatural thrillers, they should.
The Untold Tale by J.M. Frey. A must-have, wonderful fantasy, as is Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet. Flawless!
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?
Julie: I’m not sure it’s ingenious. I sort them by affection, book size, and shelve alphabetically.
Roger’s built me a multitude of bookcases and we’ve two libraries plus in the house. I’ve an immense unit for paperbacks I love and reread. I’ve another for media-related titles of which I’m fond, including the Doc Savage, Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars my Poppa bought me when I was a child. The photo here is of the paperback unit that holds my can’t-live-without-you books, including my Andre Norton’s, C.J. Cherryh’s, Sir Terry Pratchett’s, Berkeley Grey’s (eclectic is me), Patricia McKillip, etc. Plus my paperbacks, because they have to go somewhere, right? (Confession: I felt a bit insecure having my stuff on those shelves until I’d met C.J. and Pat in person. Their matter-of-fact acceptance of me as a writer too? Made it not only okay, but right.)
I’ve two hardcover libraries. One is beside where I write, and contains current reference stuff, my books, as well as the start of my hardcover collection. Bishop, Cherryh, etc. Tolkien’s first because I couldn’t imagine alphabetizing him. The hardcovers continue in my fiction library next door. Here’s a shot of those shelves.
I’ve a separate library room with a wall of non-fiction, with a bookcase for those I’ve written. There’s another room with shelves containing the oldest books we own, inherited and cherished. Oh, and a bookcase of field guides in the solarium, because that’s handy. I believe that’s it.
Nope. One more. I’ve a bookcase of yet-to-be-read. The only order they’re in is by when I first received them and they make me itch when I walk by. So many books—but writing comes first. Thanks for the question! Now I’ve the urge to hug my books.
Bio: Since 1997, Canadian author/editor Julie E. Czerneda has shared her love and curiosity about living things through her science fiction, writing about shapechanging semi-immortals, terraformed worlds, salmon researchers, and the perils of power. Her fourteenth novel from DAW Books was her debut fantasy, A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel, and now Book One of her Night`s Edge series. Her most recent publications:
a special omnibus edition of her acclaimed near-future SF Species Imperative, as well as Book Two of Night`s Edge, A Play of Shadow, a finalist for this year’s Aurora.
Julie’s presently back in science fiction, writing the finale to her Clan Chronicles series. Book #1 of Reunification, This Gulf of Time and Stars, will be released by DAW November 2015. For more about her work, visit www.czerneda.com or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.
About the series: The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan. Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.
Curious about the story? Listen now to a sample from the upcoming audiobook of THIS GULF OF TIME AND STARS!
Want to read or hear the rest? Enter now to be in with a chance to win a hardcover courtesy of DAW Books or an audiobook courtesy of Audible.com. You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment with your name, a way to contact you, and whether you want to win the hardcover, the audiobook, or you want to enter for both. The giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada or Europe only this time and will close by Friday November 13th, 23:59 CET.