GODDESS’S HAND (Married to the Wind, Part 3)
by Samantha Holloway
Everything has changed.
Annissa, now of the Clans and carrying a heavy burden of power, knows that the world is not as her entire land has been told all their lives, and she must bear this knowledge back home to end the war that is destroying the world bit by bit. But she must do it alone, for though her friends back home are gathering an army for her, she's lost Ardeth to Air and she's the only one who can face the Dark--if she can convince Glorisa, the other half of her soul, to do it with her.
In a world torn by the clash of Light and Dark, where ancient powers alter the lives of mortals and gods alike, can she do what needs to be done to save the world? And will she save it by fixing it--or will she, too, change it utterly?
“I hope this doesn’t hurt you,” Annissa said in Danthe's mind, with Danthe's mouth, “but I really need to talk to Hiri and I don’t know how long I can hold this, or if I can do it again. It was sort of an accident this time.”
Footsteps pounded back toward her, each one echoing in the ground as if they ran in an empty room over a hollow space. And her head was full of noise, a harsh clicking buzz, a thumping deepness, a single note, high and sweet above it all.
“I’m sorry,” the girl said. “Please believe me.”
Two people threw themselves down on the ground beside her, breathing heavily.
“What is it, what’s wrong?” Hiri’s voice said, but still no one touched her.
“Oh, Hiri, I found you!” the girl said through her, and they were so close now that Danthe couldn’t avoid feeling her genuine relief. Danthe wanted to throw her arms around the Orphan Mistress, Annissa's relief was so great, but they didn’t move, and the wanting wasn’t hers.
“How are you doing this?”
“It’s a long story and I don’t have much time. What matters is that I found you. Listen—” The voice cut off for a moment, and the presence fell back, then grabbed hold of her and pulled back into her mind by what seemed to be sheer force of will. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I hope I’m not hurting you. Hiri, it’s coming back.”
“Where have you been?”
“All sorts of places, I’ll tell you when I get back, but I’ve found something you need to know. I can stop it. I can end the war. But I need everything to be set up for me when I get there so I can.”
“I—” Danthe had never heard Hiri sound unsure before. But the Orphan Mistress was nothing if not quick-thinking. “Tell me what you need.”
AN INTERVIEW WITH SAMANTHA
-What inspired you to become a writer?
When I was twelve, I used to get sick a lot. I think it was the school, and lingering severe culture shock and new anxiety after we moved back to the states. I also read a lot. So by the time I reached twelve, I’d been reading like five or six Babysitters Club books a week for maybe a year, and they were starting to seem too easy--and too expensive to keep buying! I’d also read through all my mom’s Cat Who… mysteries and liked them, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I’d read through her VIctoria Holt romances, and those were closer to what I was looking for--which turned out to be Girls Who Do Stuff.
Then I discovered Anne McCaffrey on my dad’s shelf. The Dragonriders of Pern. I read all the ones there were up to that point, like five or so and a few spinoffs, and waited on the new ones every time until she couldn’t write them anymore. But then, after I’d caught up to current, I was so full of dragons and life-or-death adventures on alien worlds, and people falling in love--so full of Story--I just had to start writing.
I haven’t looked back since.
-What draws you to spec fic?
I write probably around 80% Fantasy and the rest a mix of Scifi and weird poetry. I love speculative fiction in general because you can tackle real-life issues and concerns without ever having to actually be just another story about people starving to death on a dying farm or people fleeing from a totally ordinary and still horrific war. I like the layer of altering that changes the details but keeps the message--the news is full of the actualities; I’ll tell stories that deal with the emotional and social impact of things, not the things themselves. It’s a sideways way of facing the problems of the world that makes it easier to look at them and process them, offers solutions that strictly realistic mainstream stuff might not ever come to, and broadens the meaning and the impact.
Plus, aside from that, if I write Fantasy and Scifi, I can set these stories on other worlds, include any sort of alien or mystical being, give people power or science or technology that they wouldn’t be able to have in a realistic story. I get bored easily when I’m doing something as long as writing a book--every time I’ve tried to do really mainstream literary stuff, I’ve wound up with a ghost or a mysterious twin or a god sitting down next to them or something, just to keep myself in the story! After a while, I just stopped pretending I wasn’t writing Fantasy!
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
The Tuareg people of Northern African deserts are Islamic, but are the only ones where the men wear veils and the women don’t.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Probably Hiri, from these books. She’s worldly and street smart and I bet she could drink me under the table and still get up in the morning to rescue orphans.
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
Oh, man, so many!
-Keep writing--write new stuff all the time, go back to old stuff and make it better, finish things and revise them and start something else.
-Write as often as you can handle--every day is good, even if it’s just one page. If you can’t do every day, set yourself a goal for the week, and write until you hit or pass that goal.
-Finish stuff. The thrill of starting a new thing can drag you away, and it will try, but also keep plugging away at the old thing, because the sooner you learn to end a story, the easier your life as a writer will be!
-Remember that crap first drafts are basically standard--and that allowing yourself to write really shitty stuff is freeing. You can fix what’s written--you can’t fix what you never wrote.
-Read a lot. Read in your genre, especially the so-called classics. Read out of your genre to figure out what you don’t like and what you can bring back to your genre. Read nonfic to gather facts and details. Re-read your favorites to see how they do it.
-Keep a notebook on hand, and write down every idea you have. The really good ones are made by separate ideas growing together as you let them percolate through your subconscious.
-Learn what burns you out and avoid that.
-Try challenges like NaNoWriMo and Theme Weeks and stuff to learn how to write faster and fuller and worry less.
-Take writing classes. They’re Good Stuff.
-Find other writers to talk about writing with.
-Send stuff out. Get used to publishing early and grow that tough skin you’ll need!
-Take yourself seriously--commit time and effort to writing and getting better at writing--but don’t be one of those pretentious asses that no one wants to talk to, and who can’t take criticism or collaboration; stay open and ready to learn and humble. But prioritize your writing as much as you can without sacrificing school or life or job.
-Read writing books--How To’s, but also those books just about being a writer like On Writing by Stephen King and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. Learn how pros do it, and see what you can take away from their stories.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I don’t see myself writing much Horror, despite how random horror elements keep creeping into my work. I hate gore, and I’m not a fan of psychological horror, and I think writing a whole book in any sort of full-horror subgenre would really mess me up. I get too wrapped up in my books--I want them to be beautiful, not horrific!
I probably won’t write any traditional Romance, either, unless it’s actually a Fantasy or Scifi and everyone just happens to fall in love along the way. There’s too many requirements and length limits and specific rules and categories in Romance publishing. I know some people who do that very well, and I’m not one of them! I prefer the freedom and experimentalism of Fantasy.
Samantha Holloway is unfit for anything but writing expansive fantasy and the occasional science fiction story, so she does it full time. She's the author of the upcoming epic fantasy novel Married to the Wind, and has published dozens of book reviews, TV reviews and a few short stories. In between writing and thinking about writing, she lives in North Carolina with an aptly-named cat called Ninja, wears too much jewelry, runs a home made nail polish company for a lark, and subsists mostly on tea.
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