Need a little something for the holidays, or a stocking stuffer? Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast is available online and through EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy.
Today, I interview Alyx Harvey http://alyxandraharvey.com/.
CA: One of the elements that really struck me about “Anywhere” was its Mongolian feel, and yet it wasn’t really just that culture. We don’t see many Mongolian flavoured tales. Did you intentionally choose to emulate aspects of the steppes and the nomadic races of eastern Asia?
I’ve always been interested in Tibetan and Mongolian culture and though the world of “Anywhere” is not either of those, it certainly has that flavour. I researched the terrain of the mountains in Tibet to ground the story and then it unfolded from there. Lots of research on yak herding which I never thought I’d do!
CA: While geography plays an important part in your tale, it is mostly a story about destiny. There are many speculative stories about someone who is special or great due to their destiny (Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter), yet Tashi is a blend of both being special but no more so than any other individual. Give us some insight to Tashi’s destiny and what you wanted to explore.
I wanted to drop Tashi into a world she thought she knew about (the catacombs) and have her discover that she doesn’t actually
know anything about it and what’s more, that means she doesn’t know about where she came from either. Tashi doesn’t fit into her family and she thinks it’s her fault, but really she’s just a piece of another puzzle. And part of her destiny is figuring what that puzzle is.
CA: Do you think that each of us has a destiny? Do many of us ignore our destinies?
I like to think that we might have a destiny, or at least a path. I do love Joseph Campbell, so I think your “destiny” is just “following your bliss.”
CA: The magics in your world are a detriment. Explain how it is that people with such powers could be corralled.
The Sultana is afraid of people with power, both ordinary power and magical “luck,” and so she works hard to control everyone in her world. She sends riders out to grab lucksingers just as they are coming into their powers…before they understand them and can control them. She waits for their most vulnerable moment. If they can control their magic and she can control them in turn, they are taken out of the catacombs and made to join her court. Some are so desperate to leave the catacombs they will happily swear fealty to her, even though she put them there in the first place.
CA: I can very much see this world expanding into a novel. Do you have any plans to use this world or Tashi again?
I would love to follow Tashi and explore the other corners of the world in ‘Anywhere’. It’s definitely on my to-do list!
CA: What other themes or stories are you working on?
I am currently working on a post-apocalyptic YA novel… at least I think that’s what it is. It’s rather slippery and hanging out between genres right now.
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of “The Lady of Shalott” by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.
Among her favourite books are I by Terri Windling, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.
Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.