Celebrating the upcoming release of author Nicola MacCameron’s first novel in the Leoshine series, titled Leoshine, Princess Oracle!
Welcome, one and all, to the next stop in the Tassanara Internet Treasure Hunt! My name is Elizabeth Jacobson, author of Not by Sight: a novel of the patriarchs. Not by Sight is a retelling of the story of Joseph, his brothers, and his coat from the Biblical book of Genesis. Focusing on both Biblical and historical accuracy, the novel examines his extraordinary journey of faith. Really, what could make a man turn to God when every event in his life screams that God has turned his back on him?
Not by Sight releases March 16th, and one lucky winner from the Zoom Party on February 26th will receive an ebook of Not by Sight after its release!
For this portion of the Treasure Hunt, I’m so excited to host my friend Nicola MacCameron for the next author interview on this blog! Nicola is the author of the soon-to-be released first book in the science fiction and fantasy Leoshine series, titled Leoshine, Princess Oracle. You can learn more about Nicola and her journey towards publishing this epic series on her website MicAndPen, here. Welcome, Nicola!
Q: Nicola, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Me? I have lived on three continents and am happily settled on the Canadian prairie. Yes, it gets cold here, but the big sky makes up for that. I have three simultaneous careers: piano teaching, audiobook narrating and producing, and authoring. I have taught over 300 students, produced about 30 audiobooks and have written 80 flash fiction stories for Medium.com. Leoshine, Princess Oracle is my first published book and I am very grateful to Colleen McCubbin at Siretona Creative for her vision for the series.
Q: Leoshine is such an ambitious series. Can you tell us a bit about the world of the story, and your inspirations and creative process?
Ambitious? It started out modestly at three books, honest! Each book was over 6 inches thick and apparently that kind of doorstop doesn’t attract many readers. So we chopped each book in two and cut stuff out until the first book is maybe half an inch thick.
Myxolidia is the last generated dome on a chunk of rock floating in space. Aeolia is the penultimate dome that set Myxolidia up one thousand years ago. The Myxolidians decided they could maintain their society and dome without Aeolia’s help after an interdomary accident killed their scientists. They failed and the Aeolians are back to reclaim their project.
I am inspired by the people around me and my third culture kid experience. Moving around meant saying goodbye a lot and feeling like an outsider. It also meant meeting many courageous people doing hard things with grace. Faith is a steadying factor in my life too. It informs my creative process in that, I put my pen on the paper (or fingers to the keyboard) and watch what comes out. I am continually amazed and delighted and excited for what comes next. No, I haven’t any better idea than the next person what the next thing in the story will be.
Q: Can you tell the audience a bit about where Leoshine finds herself at the beginning of the series?
The chapter “In the Beginning” sets Leoshine in the peace and security of her family. I want readers to know where she came from before her world is torn apart. Her family is as dysfunctional as anybody else’s. Her security comes from being her father’s favourite and knowing his secrets. It is all an illusion, but she is a young woman full of promise and ambition. She has been kept artificially young by her father to save her from a degrading cultural ritual. Her mind is on the edge of discovery, but not over it.
That all gets ripped away when Avram the Aeolian invades. She is given to him as a bedwarmer by her own people. They intend bad things for her, but Avram rejects that. (I see a parallel to Not by Sight there! Genesis 50:20) Avram is as bewildered as Leoshine about what her role is.
Then there is Resham, Avram’s valet, body guard, priest, and cultural advisor. He was kidnapped from Myxolidia as a child, indoctrinated in Aeolia, and expected to help Leoshine understand her new “home.” In book one he wholeheartedly believes in the mission to rescue Myxolidia.
Q: Leoshine: Princess Oracle isn’t even out yet, and I’m already learning vocabulary! Tassanara (the script seen in the image above), Myxolidia (where Leoshine’s people live), Aeolians (the invaders). What is your process for word creation? Do you have full languages in mind, or just words and names to bring flavor?
Well done! You get an A+ for spelling! I love coining words! No fantasy series is complete without vocabulary to set it apart. I rearranged the y and i in the Greek musical mode to get Myxolidia. Aeolia is exactly as the music theorists spell it. I thought Tassanara was a real Japanese word, but discovered the only other use is the name of a cat on Twitter. We conveyed honourary princess status on the cat. (Tassanara means Princess)
Sometimes I press all the keys down on the keyboard at the same time (piano teachers are especially dexterous) and edit what comes out. peirjqgbi becomes peirbi. Let’s see, that means … a bowl of water that has pearls at the bottom. Used as a beauty treatment by Aeolian women who bathe together.
It’s all about flavour. I will leave it up to Leoshine’s fans to build a whole language for her.
Q: When did you know you wanted a created script for the Leoshine series? What was the process behind its creation?
I never imagined I would be so blessed to have a script for Leoshine. The Tassanara Font comes from the mindblowing generosity of Travis Williams. He is a graphic designer from Georgia and an author in the Siretona Creative Author Collective. (His book Uly Quits His Job is due out in the spring.) You can watch Travis explain how he created the font from a small piece of twisted metal here. He looked at that metal from all angles, edited each shape for elegance and proportion, and even gave it that gorgeous metallic gleam that makes it look 3D.
Travis is even generous enough to make it available to anyone who wants to download it on their own computer. Find the link in the Resources tab of my website. You too can type letters to your beloved in the Tassanara font!
Q: It’s been great to have you, Nicola! Before we go, without spoilers, can you tell us a little bit about what else we can expect from later books in the Leoshine series?
Leoshine gets very sick after Avram and her brother alternately dress her up as an example of the things they want for Myxolidia. Resham’s Myxolidian soul awakens to torment his Aeolian side. Avram finally finds his equal, but his anger raises an impossible barrier to fulfilling that dream.
Cultures clash, the environment disintegrates, relations break, death stalks them all. And in the end? Mercy Triumphs.
Thank you so much for hosting the Tassanara Treasure, Elizabeth! Thank you for these wonderful questions. You provoked some good thought within me. I am honoured that you would do an interview with me. I look forward to the day you are featured at MicAndPen.com because your book is released and you are famous! I have watched Not by Sight grow and develop into the outstanding Biblical fiction novel of today! Thank you to everyone who does the internet treasure hunt! I hope you had a lot of fun doing it! I am planning others for the future! Meanwhile, here’s an added tease for your puzzling best: Jigsaw of the Map of Myxolidia.
Have you found all the treasures?
There are seven place-name images in the Tassanara font “hidden” on blogs all over the internet. Go to https://go.micandpen.com/tass-treasure to start the hunt from the beginning.
Do you want to register for the February 26th Zoom party?
When you have seven deciphered place-names, follow this link to the answer page: https://go.micandpen.com/tass-answers
Fill in the form and you will be awarded a participation certificate!
Congratulations! We hope this was a happy hunt for you.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for hosting our treasure!