FAQs for the Aisling series
If you've read/have
questions about the Aisling series,
maybe this will help you understand something that didn't make sense
to you, and if you haven't, maybe it'll help you decide whether
or not to give it a try. Either way, fair warning that the
answers will be riddled with spoilers, so read on at your own
1. Is Aisling a Romance?
No. Absolutely not.
While it does contain a love story entwined with the plot, if
you enter into this series with Romance expectations you will be
disappointed. From what I gather, very disappointed. This
is a character-driven Fantasy series, so the emphasis is on the
growth and development of the characters, with complex plots and
subplots in an original and multifaceted world. The love story
often takes a backseat to any one of these elements, sometimes
put on hold entirely. So if Romance is what you're after, you'd
do best to not pick this one up.
Well, again, it's a
Fantasy series. It's what Fantasy series do. Quite frankly, I'd
suggest that anyone who's read broadly in the Fantasy genre
knows how easily this series lets the reader off in terms of "OMG,
you can't leave me there!" (Tolkien, anyone? Martin?
Butcher? I could go on.)
speaking, this series was
written as one book and was too big to print as one. It may seem
like a money-grab, or some kind of scam, but it's really because
small presses can generally only justify a word count of about
150K or less for a publication to be cost-effective for them.
This story clocked in at around 350K total, so it was necessary to
break it up to make publication even a little bit profitable for the
3. Why do the
characters have to talk so much?
Because it's what
people do? I've never been of the belief that only car chases
and space battles are what make for an eventful story, and I
write what I like to read. Verbal confrontations and revelations
inside a character's head or outside of it—are
often much more important than who's shooting at whom, and tell
a reader a lot more of what they need to know. This is a
character-driven series, so the characters and what they
think/say/do are what's important. I never billed this series as
Action-Adventure, and I don't pretend it's everyone's cup of
tea, so if wall-to-wall physical action is what you're after,
it's probably not yours either.
4. There are so
many things in the series you never explained!
aren't. It is a rather sprawling story, so I can
understand why some breadcrumbs provided along the way might
have been forgotten or just not noticed. But I promise, every
single question you may have is answered somewhere in the
narrative. Maybe not where you wanted it to be, but where it
needed to be. I provided a glossary under duress, because I was
very careful to make sure each term I used was explained and
defined as a natural part of the exposition, and I didn't think
a glossary was necessary. But every single
term is already explained pretty much as soon as it's used, so
if you're paying attention, you won't even need it.
The same applies to
plots points and subplots. Every surprise! you didn't see
coming was built up to using established groundwork, and in some cases actually signaled in
some way beforehand, and then revealed, clarified, and used
within the rules built into this world. So if you didn't
understand something, or felt like a point was lacking an
explanation... I dunno, maybe try a re-read? It's there, I
promise. Or just ask me. My memory kinda sucks, and I wrote this
story decades ago, but chances are I'll at least know where to
characters aren't gay enough.
Yes, this was an
actual complaint by someone who is really supposed to know
better. So let me explain this slowly and clearly.
There is no such
thing as "gay" in this world, or really any world I've thus far
written. Why? Because the worlds I write are not our world. The
histories are different, the societal evolutions are different,
the cultures did not rise beneath the yokes of the same
I did not drag all
of our prejudices into the world of Aisling because
it's not Earth, so why would it have the same history and
biases we do? There is no "gay" in this series, because the
concept doesn't exist. Sexuality is not something the people of
this world spend a lot of time agonizing and judging over. Why
would it be? If you trundle all your own expectations into a
spec fic story, you might as well not be reading spec fic. The
whole point of speculative fiction is the
speculative part, to push envelopes and challenge
boundaries. So why would I write a world exactly like ours in
all its mundane judgmental glory?
Part of what I like
about writing spec fic with nonheteronormative relationships is
that it allows me to imagine worlds and cultures that rose
without our own puritanical views about sex and sexuality.
Which, by the way, also often means the women in my stories are
on unquestioned equal footing with the men, because these
societies don't base their laws and prejudices on sex/gender.
Which also means these societies never came up with the
concept of "gay" because there was no need. They never oppressed
anyone based on who they slept with because that's how it
should be, how it would've been in our own world had we not
suffered the rise of priggish old men who fear vaginas or sex in
any form they can't control. In other words, in the worlds I
write, no one cares enough about who's sleeping with whom to
start being a dick about it. That's how I think our world should
be, so that's generally how I write my invented worlds.
Think about it this
way: in our world, bisexuality is more common than most people
think. Many who are bi or even pan don't know it because our
society taught them young that those things are not the "norm"
and are somehow bad, so they've learned to suppress even a hint
of anything outside of heterosexuality. If our cultural norms
weren't so stringent about categorizing the "proper" sexuality
for the "proper" genders, you would have a world more like
Aisling, where people are simply attracted to people, and
the plumbing is secondary.
So if you're
heavily attached to your expectations based in this world, I
suggest you look elsewhere for your reading pleasure. And
seriously, stay away from spec fic in general. Speculative
concepts are obviously not for you, and we wouldn't want your
brittle little head exploding.
(That was mean. Was
that mean? I don't care. I can take just about any critique and
keep my mouth shut about it, but when it's basically along the
lines of "these guys aren't gay enough" I don't feel like I
should have to keep quiet. The attitude is offensive in more
ways than I can count, and the ignorance behind it just
infuriates me. So I was mean. It's deserved.)
6. You used
No, I didn't. I
maybe used something you thought was an anachronism, but
there is no such thing as true anachronism in spec fic, since
we're dealing with an invented world. And also—no,
I didn't. I made up the world. I get to say what fits it
and what doesn't.
No, it's not Earth.
No, our rules don't apply. The only rules I must follow
as an author are the rules of the world I'm writing. I've done
Please be careful about getting "knocked out of" any spec fic
story by what you perceive to be an anachronism. Chances are the
author was very vigilant about the terms they used, and probably
knows more about them than you're giving them credit for. No
author is perfect, and mistakes are sometimes made that slip
past even the best editors, but most authors have researched
their worlds thoroughly enough that the terms they use are terms
that apply correctly to the world they've created. Try to trust
the author until they somehow prove you can't.
story ends on a beginning, so does that mean there will be
no. The story ends on a beginning because that's how life works.
A story never truly ends unless the world blows up or all the
characters die. Wil and Dallin will go on and have their
adventures and their joys and their heartbreaks, but I will not
be writing them. If it's any consolation, there are a few free
side stories, and there may be more of those one day. But the
part of their story that I needed to tell is done, so I have no
plans for another book in the series. But thanks for being
interested in one. :)
If you have
any questions/complaints you'd like addressed, please feel free
to contact me and I'll
see what I can do. But seriously—try
not to yell at me? Like any author, most of the time I hover
between the utmost confidence in my work and crushing
insecurity, and getting an email or a link to a review that's
full of sad-face emojis and angry exclamation points kind of
tips the scales. Say anything you want in a review, that's what
they're for, and it's been ages since I've ventured to a review
site anyway, so I likely won't even see it. But if you're going
to actually send me a link to yours, or hunt me down on
social media and tag me with it because you disliked the story
that much and felt someone needed to suffer along with you?
That's kind of a dick move, so.
I'm a writer. I promise I already suffer enough. ;)