Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lightning Days by Colin Harvey


Tell us about your heroine --- the female lead in your book.

What's her name?
Belapharus Kazansdottir, but she’s now known as Sophia.

Why did you pick that name?
Sophia means wisdom, and I liked that. She got that name from dreaming of a mysterious stranger who called her that, and when her life changed almost beyond recognition, she felt that a new name would be appropriate.
She was born Belapharus, however. I picked such a strange name because she’s a Neanderthal, and they’re not going to have names like Sara Smith. I worked on the idea of them taking their father’s first name and adding ‘son’ or ‘dottir’ (daughter) to it as Icelanders do.

Give us a brief description of how she looks. Is there anything unusual about her appearance?
She’s about five foot plus, but immensely strong, though graceful with it – I wanted to get away from this idea of the Neanderthals being shambling hulks – and has a slightly egg-shaped skull with protruding eyebrow ridges. She also has piebald skin (almost like a Neapolitan ice cream) that’s mottled white, brown and strawberry.
Her appearance is a shock to strangers, but after a while, you forget about it – particularly because she has such enormous presence, even when we first see her at fifteen. You must have met people like that? They’re plain, even ugly, but their personality is absolutely overwhelming.

Who does she love? Why?
She’s loved Josh Cassidy since she was fifteen, when she first dreamed of him. He was as strange to her at first as she would appear to us, but she soon grew used to it, and let’s be honest, if you’re a slightly awkward teenager and this strange (but attractive) older person keeps coming to you in dreams and prophesizing that you’re going to meet, wouldn’t you get a bit of a crush on them?
So in some ways she’s almost programmed by fate and her psionic abilities to love him, but that’s a cold, mechanical way of looking at it. And he has no such excuse.

Does this person love her?
He’s knocked senseless by her from the very first moment, but he spends most of the novel in denial. He’s a loner who’s been trained to mistrust anything and everything, and to be fair to him, she and tens of thousands of other Neanderthals have just appeared from nowhere in one of the most volatile regions of the world – South East Afghanistan. So he has an excuse. J
Tell us about her family.
She’s the only child of and Kazan, two ordinary – if wealthy – modern Neanderthals. He’s a councilor, she’s a working housewife. If they were Homo Sapiens, you would say that they were an ordinary middle-class couple from one of the wealthier suburbs of any of our cities.

Where is she from?
She was born on the six thousand eight hundred and twentieth alternate version of Earth that her people have colonized. The Thals think nothing of crossing between the worlds of the Multiplicium as they call their commonwealth (for want of a better word).

Does her hometown affect her behavior, thoughts and attitude?

What does she want out of life?
Peace and safety. She’s been running since she was fifteen years of age. That last day, her world was blown apart;
“When we Shifted to the next world, it seemed like the very sky was alight with fire. We got out of there so fast we barely had time to draw breath. The next world, we emerged next to a Portal; everyone was screaming, and pounding on the doors to be let in. The next world was little better. Every world we Shifted to was under attack.
We rattled through worlds as fast as if we were flicking through the pages of a book but it took us weeks to get to a world not under World Number Thirty-one ten. But it fell eleven months later.” She paused, and looked at him. She took a breath and stared into space, taking shallow breaths. “I’ve been running ever since,” she said.
Is there anything else about your heroine that we need to know? Feel free to share.
She has more common sense in her little finger than Cassidy has in his entire body, and realizes that the best way to catch him is to work things out in his own slow way (like many supposedly bright men, he can be remarkably dumb about the important things). That’s not to say that she doesn’t sometimes get exasperated with him, but she’s the real rock of the story.
Please provide your website link.

What is the link to buy your book?
As well as the link above, you can get an electronic version at fictionwise:
Novels from Swimming Kangaroo Books:
Lightning Days -- SF, Finalist for the USA Book News Awards
The Silk Palace -- "compelling" Library Journal
"Intrigues, betrayals, murders, love affairs, transformations, and
revelations," Bruce Boston, author of The Guardener's Tale

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