Writer Wednesday: Farscape, Polynesian History, and Tillamook Cheese

Shéa: Welcome once again loyal readers to my interrogation room.  Er, parlor?  Yeah, whatever.

Ed: Said the spider to the what now?

Shéa:Today I have another one of my fabulous Indie Eclective peeps, M. Edward McNally (I just call him Ed.  Or McNally.  Or sometimes “hey, you.”), under the lights. Ready Ed?  I promise I’ll be gentle.  Well, ish.

Ed: Please, I’m just a simple country boy. 🙂

Shéa: Uh huh.  Right.  Now, you are a writer of epic fantasy.  Why fantasy?

Ed: That should be an easy answer, right?  I mean, I loved Tolkien-Eddings-Leiber et al growing up, so I guess I should have moved into that genre naturally. And I suppose I did come to think of it, though it really wasn’t intentional. I write first and only worry about genre later, as I view it as an aspect of marketing, not writing.

Shéa: Makes sense.  In a weird way (Why must you always be difficult?).  I understand that you got your inspiration for the Norothian Cycle from Polynesian mythology.  I find this fascinating.  Can you expand on that?

Ed: A bit of Hawaiian/Polynesian mythology, though more directly, it was history. The Miilark Islands, from which my MC Tilda Lanai (yes, she knows her last name means “porch,” and she’s not thrilled about it) hails is kind of my answer to an historical what-if: What if the HMS Bounty had not landed on Pitcairn Island, but instead in Hawaii at a time when there was a strong, ordered culture in existence. A culture that took one look at the tall ship on the beach and thought “Hey, we could build those ourselves.”

Shéa:  I love alternate histories.  Sigh. I also understand you are obsessed with world building.  What do you enjoy most about creating new life forms and new civilizations?

Ed: Stardate, um, Tuesday. “Obsessed” is a very strong word, maybe a qualifier would be better: “Pathologically obsessed.” 😉 Yeah, I do love that “world-building” as for me it’s less about building a static world for the stories to take place against, but a moving world in which the characters can “live.” A place where things are always changing – the politics, the maps, institutions and technology. Characters are supposed to have “arcs” in stories, but why should they have all the fun? Setting doesn’t have to just sit there.

Shéa:  Ain’t that the truth! And speaking of new life forms and new civilizations, you’re a bit of a sci-fi geek like me.  Come on, you can admit it.  We’re all friends here.  What are some of your favorite sci-fi shows and why?

Ed: I see a couple of them down the page, Farscape and Firefly. 🙂  Thought the Battlestar re-load started strong and petered out, I hear it rallied at the end but I haven’t gone back to it yet to watch the last couple seasons. Someday, when there is time.

Shéa:  Yeah, I thought the same about the new BSG (Please don’t throw rotten vegetation.)  I gave up after season 2, I think. If the Doctor (or Q) suddenly showed up on your doorstep and offered to take you to any point in the space/time continuum, what time would you choose and why?

Ed: I am way too accustomed to my creature comforts to say anything cool that would be pre-AC, refrigeration, e-books. If the human race ever gets it shiz-nit together and stops acting like a bunch of territorial monkeys, I’d like to go forward to that time.

Shéa: Personally, I’d like to see how it all turns out. Star Wars or Star Trek?

Ed: Wars. Changed my life as a kid, one of my first memories is coming out of a theatre from the original and running around the parking lot like an X-wing fighter. 🙂  

Shéa:  Han Solo.  Sigh. Farscape or Firefly?


Ed: Now you’re talkin’! I could do a thesis on this, but I will try to keep it short and say as much as I love the genre-bending of Firefly, and the theme song, I have to go Farscape. I think the mixed US-UK-Australian production of that show gave it an aesthetic that can absolutely not be recreated, which made it something totally unique. And like Scorpi told John Crichton, “Unique is always valuable.” That should be a mantra for writers. 🙂

Shéa:  Word to that! Chocolate or Cheese?

Ed: Cheese. Chocolate is good on top of other sweet stuff, cheese is good on top of everything else.

Shéa:  Sacrilege!  I don’t think I can speak to you any more. Then again, it’s been ages since I had any Tillamook … Beer or Wine?

Ed: There’s a moment in The Sable City when a character has been shot through the elbow with a musket, he’s lying there bleeding and the shooter is standing over him. The wounded guy utters the only words he knows in the shooter’s language: “Biera ephso vus tatte. Ven otre.” (Beer, if you have it. Wine otherwise.)

Shéa:  LOL!  Good one. How do you feel about dragons?

Ed: Without showing my hole card, they are…let’s just say important to my books. But hopefully not just in the way fantasy fans might expect. Without going too “info-dumpy,” there are (or were) fifteen Great Dragons in the world of the Norothian Cycle (five each of the Earth, Waters, and Sky), from which all others are descended, and they have been integral to the course of human history. Some raised nations in their own names, some just sort of hung out and tried to give people a nudge to help them along, and some looked at their vast hordes and thought, “I really should invest some of this money. Maybe in transoceanic shipping…”

Shéa:  Dragons investing in transoceanic shipping, now there’s a thought. Now back to the aforementioned Norothian Cycle.  So far you have 3 books out.  Any more in the works?

Ed: Oh yeah. Three books in, and I just wrapped Act I. 🙂

Shéa:  Do I dare ask how many acts? lol Any other projects planned?

Ed: As I’ve got sort of long backlist of short stories that were written back in the 1990’s, I continue to put those out as “Free pairs of my old shorts.” There are three volumes of “Eddie’s Shorts” out there now. I’ll be doing more, and may actually write some new ones if the muses insist (though that muse named Tilda tries to keep me on the straight and narrow).

Shéa:  Thanks for stopping by.  Next time bring some Tillamook cheese.  We don’t get that on my planet.  Er, in London.

Ed:  Extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack, both. 🙂

Shéa: Seriously, man, you rock the casbah.

You can stalker (er, I mean VISIT) Ed over on his blog Sable City.

His books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

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11 thoughts on “Writer Wednesday: Farscape, Polynesian History, and Tillamook Cheese

  1. I smell a disturbance in The Force, kinda like old cheese and chocolate. Please publish more shorts, Ed. You are a master of characterization and I humbly bow to your greatness. I smell an anthology print collection in The Force.

    1. I’m touched, Peej, and not in a creepy way…this time. 😉
      Probably going to put out “Eddie’s Shorts – Volume IV” in November, just vascillating between a couple lighter pieces to accompany what has been called “the most depressing story ever written.” (by me, anyway)

    1. Jala, thanks for stopping by! I’m originally from Portland, Oregon and spent many a summer in Tillamook with my family. Always had to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for cheese tasting and ice cream! One of my fave childhood memories.

      Since Ed and I both adore Tillamook, it HAD to be included! 🙂

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