This week’s guest is co-author Barb Taub of One Way Fare, an Urban Fantasy novel brought to you by Taleisin Publishing and was published just this past September. Barb’s co-author is Hannah unfortunately too busy to join us this week – but we wish her all the best as she’s busy in school.
What makes your fantasy world different from ours?
My daughter and I have this tiny little life-altering addiction to superhero movies. Okay, we’d probably starve to death with chocolate only a room away if a Marvel hero was in front of us. (Except Hulk, of course, because that movie was just too painful.) But in general, give some guy a spandex outfit and a mask and he owns us.
One night we started talking about superheroes with awkward powers. Let’s say you are the Man of Steel, but you don’t dare have sex with Lois Lane because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we’re not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Not-So-Steel…)
The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That’s where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. For example, imps become baristas. (Of course, they’re now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey – there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)
So the point of Null City is that it takes our fantasy worlds and turns them into normal life.
What inspired this book?
Hannah and I spent months telling each other the stories. Her gift is world-building and she’s got a real flair for characters. I’m the responsible grownup who worries about little details like plot and whether we have an actual big-enough, bad-enough wolf. And I write things down, which turns out to be an important element of making a book. Who knew?
Are your characters human? What talents do they have?
Gaby starts as a human. Her OCD need to see pattern and structure in everything around her is tied to her family’s heritage. They are harmonia, gifted with seeing hidden patterns in the actions of others. Leila, an orphan adopted as an infant into a loving human family, has a tougher time coming to terms with her demonic heritage. Both young women struggle to integrate their gifts within their developing relationships – Gaby with the human Luic, and Leila with the Nephilim (descendants of angels) Thomas.
Is this part of a series?
Yes, One Way Fare is the first book in the Null City series. Don’t Touch, a non-series book in the Null City world, comes out in December. Book Two of the five-volume Null City series is due out in March. A different character takes the lead each time, the stakes get higher, and the overall story takes on much darker overtones. At least that’s the plan.
What’s your process like when it comes to worldbuilding? Any tips for other fantasy authors?
So you want our worldbuilding tips? Get an obsessive co-author, spend every free moment of her last year of high school discussing what each character would do/say/look like, where they would live, what surrounds them. Have said co-author keep a huge notebook full of her drawings as you refine characters and settings. Have her hold imaginary conversations with the characters on random topics. Research the time-travel bits and keep enormous files of photos, historical notes, bookmarked links, etc. Send your co-author off to college – with that damn notebook – and then start writing. [Insert many, many Skype/FaceTime/GoogleTalk sessions] And voila – you’ve built a world.
Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes.
Null City is the only sanctuary for Gaby Parker and Leila Rice, two young women confronting cataclysmic forces waging an unseen war between Heaven and Hell. Gaby and her younger brother and sister are already targets in the war that cost their parents’ lives. Should they forsake the powers that complete their souls and flee to Null City? Meanwhile, Leila has inherited a French chateau, a mysterious legacy, and a prophecy that she will end the world. Gaby and Leila become catalysts for the founding and survival of Null City.
It just would have been nice if someone told them the angels were all on the other side.
Some days it just didn’t pay to be dead.
“It’s not fair,” Gaby panted as Leila pulled ahead on the hillside. All those hours as the victim of Bill-the-Hun on her BodiesByBill exercise tapes and she was eating Leila’s dust? Of course the hole in her side wasn’t helping things. And—was blood squishing into those over-priced new running shoes Leila had insisted they buy?
Behind them, she could hear the disciplined beat of pursuit. Well, sure they can concentrate on chasing us; they don’t have to worry about how to get blood out of $240 sneakers.
“Do something,” begged Leila.
“I’m an accountant,” gasped Gaby. What does she want me to do? I could give the IRS an anonymous tip, but satisfying as it might be to contemplate those guys having to cough up receipts for our murder during the audit, I don’t think it’s going to get us out of this.
Leila was several yards ahead of her by now, the trees giving way to the sheer drop of the cliff ahead, with the roar from the falls just beyond.
“I’ve got you Leila.” The voice echoed from beyond the cliff face. “Trust me.”
“Thomas!” Without breaking stride Leila ran straight for the cliff edge and leaped.
Come on. Who trusts someone enough to leap into space?
“Gaby-mine.” Luic’s smoky velvet voice called out as the first shots kicked up the dirt beside her. Without thought, Gaby dove for the cliff edge. She almost enjoyed the moments of free-fall before his arms surrounded her.
“Hell agrees with you,” he grunted. “I think you’ve gained weight.” He went into a swooping glide before his wings pumped, pulling them upward.
“If you do that again,” Gaby warned, “I’m going to be lighter after I throw up. And, come on, Luic. Wings? That’s just so wrong.”
“I got them when I was commissioned.” He spread them for another showy glide. “What do you think?”
“I think the puking sounds better and better.”
His chest shook with laughter under her cheek. “You’re taking this a lot better than I expected. I’m surprised you jumped to me.”
“Two reasons,” she muttered into his neck. “First of all, I’ve been dreaming of falling for the past five years. And usually I die in those dreams. Again.”
“And second,” Gaby pointed out, “if you can’t trust the angel you killed, you might as well give up.”
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
One Way Fare is out from Taliesin Publishing and available on their website. There are several distributors, but here is a short list of links where One Way Fare is now available for download:
·Barnes & Noble (Nook)
You can also find more about both the book and the series at the following sites:
·YouTube: (book trailer) http://youtu.be/6pkRsXD9vZQ
Thanks for joining us this week Barb!