Next up in my interview series on the current (but over soon!) Aurora Award bundle from Storybundle is Derryl Murphy, author of Napier's Bones. It's great urban fantasy with a dose of mathematics and history, and it's a lot of fun. I had the honour to be a beta reader for Derryl on an early draft and was thrilled to see it come out from the excellent Toronto press, Chizine Publications. And even more thrilled when it was a finalist for the Aurora.
Besides Napier's Bones, Derryl is also the author of the ecological science fiction collections Wasps at the Speed of Sound and Over the Darkened Landscape. He's been a finalist for the Aurora Award four times. Here's his interview.
What's your favourite relationship between two characters in this book and why?
Between Dom and Billy, because of the mystery that lies between and within them, and because of how much they are forced to share by their proximity with each other. Being forced to think about how they would respond to each other within that framework was fun for me.
What's your favourite scene in this book and why?
The visit to the Ballachuan Hazelwood, by far. I was lucky enough to visit Scotland and England to research for Napier's Bones, some of it in libraries and some in real locations. This was on Seil Island, after crossing the "Bridge Over the Atlantic," a very old stone bridge barely wide enough to handle the odd tour bus. The wood itself was an absolute delight, and I suspect very few people go there, or even know it exists. Most tourists cross the bridge, take a picture, then head back.
I could also, however, name the scene in the church that takes place directly afterward. It is a real church, and while a took liberties with a mathematical concept in that scene, it was good fun to write.
Is there something in this book that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?
Dropping Dom and Jenna into Edmonton and using the peculiarities of that city's streets was most fun for me, and so of course I've never heard anyone mention it.
What's your strongest memory about writing this book?
On the flight back home from Scotland in 2003, hammering away at a tiny keyboard hooked up to my Palm Pilot, I managed something like 10K words of the beginning of a very rough first draft.
Wow. A Palm Pilot. That takes me back. I had a Palm, too, and a Targus keyboard that folded up into the size of a deck of cards. It was a surprisingly usable little setup but I don't think I ever did 10,000 words at a sitting with it. Anyway, thanks for the interview, Derryl.
The Aurora Award ebook bundle is still available, but not for long. Only four more days, so go grab some of the best of Canadian speculative fiction at an incredible price.