I’d like to welcome my friend Terry Jackman to the blog today to talk about her new novel, Ashamet
Jacey and I met at Milford several years ago. In fact the opening of my debut novel, Ashamet, got an airing at that time, and surprised me by being well received. I’ve been back three times now as I love both the meetings and the venue. After that Jacey and I became members of NorthwriteSF as well, so yes, I’ve been treated to some of her novels ahead of publication – lucky me. I also owe a vote of thanks to the BSFA Orbit groups for endless feedback and encouragement. Writing can be lonely so friends like these are priceless.
My own debut novel, Ashamet, Desert-Born, is due out May 30th in the USA, but available on Amazon, in hard copy or eBook.
Loosely labelled a fantasy adventure, it is set in a desert world where females are so rare society has had to adapt to survive. Where our warrior hero is trying NOT to become the next false god. Where he’d love to know who’s trying to assassinate him, not to mention why. And where a foreign slave has become a mystery he needs to solve, urgently, in order to preserve his own life. And possibly his sanity!
While the gender issues in the book, the underlying ‘what if’, seem to be what catch people’s attention, the real theme of the book is freedom, or as I remarked to the publisher, Dragonwell Publishing, “It’s really about cages”. And about layers of identity; how people can show different faces to the world, and even to themselves. Or hide behind humour.
I have to own up to having several identities myself. For one thing I was christened Teresa. I’m not pretending to be a guy just for the book. It’s simply that nobody, but nobody, calls me anything but Terry, so Terry is the most honest name to put on the cover. Not that it hasn’t been cause for a laugh sometimes.
To go with my two names I guess I also inhabit two worlds. In one I’m a mild-mannered lady who tutors children and lives in a pretty English village, not far from the Manchester United football ground. If you’re curious feel free to take a peek at it on www.lymmvillage.co.uk/gallery. If you find the picture of the ancient stone cross at the centre of the village you might spot the ancient stocks below it, but we don’t throw rotten eggs at miscreants any longer – honest. The Morris dancers are present day though.
In the other, I’ve written articles and study guides, am on the committee of the British Science Fiction Association, coordinate all their online writers’ groups, write a regular page for Focus magazine and am a subeditor for Albedo One magazine in Ireland. Oh, and I have been known to do convention panels and some freelance editing. And apparently I’m officially a Netgalley ‘top reviewer’.
When Ashamet goes public the two worlds will finally collide. I suspect there’ll be some raised eyebrows so I’m stocking up on fortifying tea and biscuits – and lots of chocolate.
As I write all this the first paperback copies of Ashamet sit in a box in my office, tempting me to believe it’s all real. Getting this far has already been stranger than fiction because I decided to give up trying to sell Ashamet. After all, it had had two rejections. I know one isn’t supposed to give up so early, if at all, but one came with a thank you note – after I sent the script a birthday cake. [Note to self, maybe don’t ‘nudge’ editors again?] Then I was told that the writing was great but the book would be “difficult to market”. I figured that was a death sentence.
Then out of the blue a publisher came along and asked if I would like to send it to them. They’d heard about it. They accepted it in ten days! Since then the whole process has been enormous fun, more laughter than angst. And proof that it‘s actually possible to do everything wrong and somehow end up published?
So to those who have helped along the way, and those who’ve sent word they’ve already pre-ordered it, many thanks. Kind words are what make it all worthwhile. And to anyone thinking of taking a look, thanks for that too. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed inventing it.