QSFer Carole Cummings stops by for an interview, and shares her new MM fantasy: “Sonata Form.”
Old Forge is known for its dragons—savage little things, more singe than snarl—and Milo Priddy is known for his way with them. When rumblings of conflict appear on the horizon, the dragons start to disappear. Milo is dragonkin, and knows what he must do. It is an uneasy choice, and one he dares not reveal even to his lover, Ellis.
As leader of neighbouring Wellech, Ellis has his own hard choices. His skills are crucial to a secure homeland. And, more and more, the homeland he and Milo once hoped to share is under threat–not only from outside, but within. For their own people are sowing mistrust of the magic users, seeding a betrayal of not only the dragons, but their kin.
Carole is stopping by for a Q&A:
QSF: When did you first start writing?
CC: Honestly, I was too young to remember. I think I was kinda doing my own version of fanfiction all the way back to my fairytale days, rewriting the classics to fit the endings I preferred. I’ve been writing since I learned how.
QSF: Do you put anything personal into writing your characters in general? In Sonata Form?
CC:I think everyone does, in some ways, sure. The developments in Aisling reflected my personal frustration with organized religion. Wolf’s-own was all about acknowledging and accepting mental and emotional health issues, and how experiencing them doesn’t make one somehow less-than. Sonata Form, I think, reflects my disquiet at watching the steady rise of fascist sentiments, the too-easy acceptance of them as though they’re not only normal but admirable, my discomfort at one day looking around me and being forced to understand that too many of those surrounding me, who are supposed to love me, would be perfectly okay with seeing me arrested, for instance, or otherwise targeted, and would see worse done to others.
QSF: How would you summarize the book in one line?
CC: Love, and war, and dragons.
QSF: What inspired the book?
CC: Honestly, everything I talked about above, added to the knowledge that it’s a repeating pattern. That we watch and we acknowledge, but we don’t seem to learn. The world is loosely based on pre-WWI Wales, because Wales dealt with nationalism in the lead-up to the war, a lot of countries did, and I wanted to address the fact that “Look, this was going on only 30 years before the Holocaust, people who fought Germany were falling for it, how are we STILL falling for it now?”
Um, also, I really wanted to write dragons, because they’re awesome and they make me happy. And I wanted to see what a world where dragons existed would look like.
QSF: Do you have any rituals that help you with your writing? Any superstitions?
CC: Not really, no. Sorry, I know that’s boring, but I pretty much let my writing do what it wants/needs to. I write when the words are pushing to be let loose, and I’ve learned that if nothing’s coming for a while, it’s not that I’m blocked or have run dry or suck as a writer—it’s just that my backbrain is working on sorting something, and I need to relax and let it. It’ll get there eventually.
QSF: What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?
CC: For me, personally, it’s definitely publishing. I’ve never been too keen on letting other people see the things I write, and I haven’t gotten better at it with age and experience.
QSF: What are you working on now, and when will we see it?
CC: Oh, lots of things. Alien invasion, wayward angels, portals to the multiverse, something that wants to be a Merlin story but I’m not sure if I should let it….
Frankly, the Dreamspinner shenanigans knocked me for quite a loop, and it’s put me way behind where I thought I’d be two years ago. I’ve got some rereleases in the pipe right now I need to get out, and I’m hoping to have the rest of my backlist up again by the end of 2021. Then I can start worrying about another new release. Before the Dreamspinner mess I was averaging about a release a year, so I’m hoping the release of Sonata Form is putting me back on that track.
Carole Cummings lives with her family in Pennsylvania, USA. She is the author of the Aisling series and Blue on Black and is the recipient of various writing awards. Several of her short stories have been translated around the world.