About Restless Earth:
About Blessing Sky:
ABOUT CLEANSING FIRE:
Kasha has lived her life in hiding, working the job of the City Engineer of Wingmount, in a society that lets neither women, nor any member of the Tanoa race work trades. Finally, she has been offered the chance to work for her own people, who must evacuate their beloved Earth Shaman from the slopes of an active volcano. No other engineer in history could build the craft that Kasha has designed for this task: the sky chariot.
However, in order to fly it, she and her cousin, Ahote, will breach the most sacred rules of the Andalanos, the pale skinned race of peoplewho govern their nation. Once, Kasha thought she would not mind betraying them. They had only given her grief.
But as she has grown in her talent for engineering, many Andalanos have supported her at great risk to themselves. Even high ranking government officials seek her counsel and beg for her aid in a costly war they fight on the coast, in a part of the kingdom Kasha has never seen and never thought she’d care about.
There is no way to help one people without betraying the other, and in this society, betrayal often means death. Kasha must decide where her loyalties lie, and whether she is up to the task of saving the last shaman of her people.
Q&A With The Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m of primarily Chinese and Italian descent and grew up in New Mexico. That’s where I’ve lived most of my life save for eight years that I’ve spent in the UK and three in Los Angeles to attend law school. While being a writer has always been by dream, it’s taken years of work!
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
It began before I can remember, and I clearly remember my first day of preschool, so I must have been very young indeed when I decided I wanted to be a writer. It’s something I’ve continued to work towards all my life, though I got much more serious about it once I finished my education. That’s when I went to the Clarion West Writers Workshop and joined a critique group.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I have too many to name, but suffice it to say that whomever I love, I analyze. Even if I don’t immediately spot specific things about their writing that I can emulate, the process of analyzing other people’s prose is always a learning experience.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
My schedule is always in flux, so I don’t worry about keeping to a typical day. I get up in the morning and get my two children ready for school, and I am ready for them when they come home, but aside from routines like this, everything else varies from day to day. Sometimes I get writing done in the morning, and sometimes not until after the kids are in bed. Cory Doctorow, who taught at one of the workshops I attended, emphasized the importance of making yourself write wherever and whenever you can. If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll wait forever, so you learn to write in imperfect conditions.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your book series, “Sky Chariots Saga?”
Part of the genesis was my own ethnic background. I’m bi-racial and the state I grew up in, New Mexico, is tri-cultural, and I think there’s a real richness in having multiple cultures co-existing in one place. The specific ideas for the Sky Chariots Saga plotline got their start when I read my best friend’s PhD dissertation (she’s an anthropologist). It was about the creation of the first Navajo language dictionary, and she analyzed how having an English speaker catalogue and standardize the language caused certain English norms to be imprinted on it. That may sound like dry reading, but I loved it, and it got me thinking about how it is cultures impact each other, in good ways and bad!
6) What do you think sets your Fantasy book series apart from others current on the shelves?
There isn’t a whole lot of Native American inspired high fantasy. I’ve seen urban fantasy and magical realism, but most high fantasy uses European-esque cultures, a la Tolkein.
7) Which character in your book series is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
I love all my characters, but the one who is the most dynamic is Kasha, the illegal engineer. As a woman and a Tanoa, she is not allowed to work a trade, or even be taught a trade, so she lives and works in hiding. The thing is, she’s a genius and one of the greatest engineers of all time, so her work gets out even as she tries to keep to herself. Alhough she doesn’t mean to shout from the rooftops that she’s Tanoa, her culture also impacts her engineering. From very early on, people who know of the mysterious Engineer Kasha have ample evidence that “he” isn’t a fair skinned, middle-aged man.
8) Which scenes in your book series did you have the most fun writing?
The flying scenes 🙂 I put pegasuses into the book specifically to have those flying scenes; my father is a pilot of both airplanes and gliders, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the air.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book series?
I’d like them to take away an appreciation for diversity, and aaaaaall the many ways it can play out. Sometimes cultures absorb one another, but other times they remain distinct. I don’t think there’s a “right” outcome when two cultures meet, and it’s a fascinating process.
11) What are your hopes for this novel?
That people read and enjoy it. It’s every writer’s hope with every novel.
12) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’ll keep writing Sky Chariots books for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of adventures to be had in this world.
About the Author
She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy and Viable Paradise Writers Workshop, and she often teaches the unit on self-publishing at the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop.When she is not writing or chasing small children, she manages E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, her company which offers formatting, cover design, and editing services to authors and publishers.