Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guest Author: H.A. Ranier

“So, what’s it about?”
“Um, about 220 pages.”
Bzzzz. Wrong answer.

“What happens in the book?”
“Uh…well…a lot.  A lot of things happen.  Yes.  Stuff.”
Oh, very illuminating there.

“Could you tell me about the characters?”
“You see, there is a girl who isn’t a girl and a man whose hands burn her and the voice in her head and…”
Snore.  Could you be just a bit more random?

“Are there any vampires in it?”
BANG (sound of head hitting convention table.)

Sitting at conventions, selling my hand-made hats and toys, I decided one day to set “Tales of the Goddessi” out on the table, just for a lark.  Some customers would thumb through it, looking for pictures, and go away disappointed.  A few flipped to the middle, creased their brows, and muttered over ‘long words’, which made me rethink my day job in education.  Others asked the above questions, which I was wholly unprepared to answer, save the ‘vampire’ one, as I’ve a reserve of ‘why vampires are the least interesting monsters ever!’ rants.  But a few were able to wheedle out of me a semi-coherent answer to the question ‘what is Tales of the Goddessi about’, much as I hope to provide here.

Surely, I am not the only one with a voice chattering in the back of my head- that sometimes pep coach, more often sarcastic color commentator.  Voices in one’s head can becounteracted in several ways: therapy, heavy drinking, and for some of us, writing (the latter two often administered simultaneously).  I chose to forgo hard liquor and let my chatty alter-ego inspire me instead to sit for hours staring at a screen, allowing the constant click-click of the keys to drown out its loudest, most insistent comments.

“Tales of the Goddessi” was a long time coming.  The idea came to me as a child just growing beyond that phase where stories were predominantly manned by characters of the four-legged variety (mostly ponies).  Mythology had slunk in to take its place, a world of gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, an endless font of inspiration, not merely to use the old, familiar divinities, but to be the sculptor of my own.  

Now, imagine holding such a world inside yourself for fifteen years.  Having semi-formed characters crawling through the folds of your brain, whispering insistently in your ear from the inside that they deserve to be on paper.  That they deserve to live as much as anyone else.   Imagine doing the dishes and having them tug at you to sit down and write RIGHT NOW!  

So I finally gave in.  For myself more than anyone, for my sanity, I wrote the World.  I embraced the energetic pulp of Burroughs and Leiber and cast off more modern, plainer speech asI wrote Kimber, the girl who is not, a creature shaped by the thoughts and words of those around her.  I gave her a pestering voice, much like my own, insisting it could do a better job in her shoes.  I gave her Hasana, the most beautiful man in the World, but wouldn’t allow her to touch him, putting fire into every cell of his body, and then I snatched him away.  I locked her in a box and gave her a friend who knew only her voice, who would have killed her on sight, and through it all, I gave her a spirit of unconquerable will and wonder.  Her World and our own world are wondrous places and even in the face of others’ expectations and opinions and desires, we can find our own way, make our own paths to the goals we set ourselves, no matter the odds.

I hope you, gentle readers, might come along with me and my characters in our discovery of the World and allow me to dispense with the face-to-face failure in my attempts to describe the inside of my own head.

Tales of the Goddessi, Book I: Welcome to the World

Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: FastPencil, Inc. (March 17, 2010)

About the Author

H.A. Ranier is a graduate of the University of Michigan Linguistics Department, majoring in Applied Linguistics. 

She has been teaching English as a Second Language for almost 10 years, three of which were spent in Japan, and owns/operates a hand-made hat and toy business with her sister.  For fun and cathartic release, she beats the tar out of other girls, by which we mean she is a roller derby girl.  Somewhere amongst all this and three demanding dachshunds, she finds a few minutes to keep up on her foreign language skills by reading “Percy Jackson” and “Watership Down” in Japanese and write an elaborate fantasy world.


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