Please welcome Tina LeCount Myers to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Song of All was published on February 20th by Night Shade Books.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?
Tina: Thank you for including me in the Debut Author Challenge! It’s such an honor. I think I was 13 or 14. I wrote a story about torch singer. I remember describing her long, red hair in detail. She was a femme fatale. I might have watched one too many movies with Lauren Bacall in my early teens.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
Tina: By nature, I’m a pantser. Through practice, I’ve become a hybrid. But I still dream of being a true plotter.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Tina: Sex scenes. Give me a battle any day. I get all squirmy and uncomfortable when I have to get into the nitty-gritty of a sex scene. I feel like a voyeur when I’m writing about my characters in their very intimate moments. I tend toward a “fade to black” compromise.
TQ: What has influenced / influences your writing?
Tina: I came late to reading fantasy. I was in college when my best friend discovered I’d not read Tolkien. He rectified the oversight. Growing up, I read a lot of British and Russian literature. I think the epic nature of the stories by Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky stuck with me the most. I loved the drama and heartbreak in them.
TQ: Describe The Song of All in 140 characters or less.
Tina: Two ancient tribes. Two innocent lives. One man who is willing to risk war in the Northlands to save his son.
TQ: Tell us something about The Song of All that is not found in the book description.
Tina: The Immortals in the book, the Jápmemeahttun, have evolved to change their sex from female to male in the course of their long lifespan.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Song of All? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?
Tina: The Song of All came out of a heated discussion with my husband on what distinguishes science fiction from fantasy. He made the point that science fiction presents what is possible based on science, while fantasy generally presents magic and the supernatural and is not based on science. I argued that a fantasy story could be grounded in science. What is quantum physics if not magic? And what’s to say biological evolution won’t lead to some supernatural creatures. Compare Homo sapiens to the Neanderthals. Homo sapiens have keener eyesight, hearing, and smell due to their skeletal morphology. Supernatural powers right there!
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Song of All?
Tina: Since I was on the “challenge excepted” path of a fantasy grounded in science, I did research on sound theory, multiverses, and quantum physics. I also read quite a lot of articles on evolutionary biology. And, because the language I use in the story is based on Sami dialects, I did research on the various dialects, as well as the history and culture of the indigenous groups of northern Scandinavia. But The Song of All is definitely a fantasy story and not an ethnography.
TQ: Please tell us about the cover for The Song of All.
Tina: The cover artist is Jeff Chapman and the layout and typography artist is Shawn King. I think they both worked well together to capture the concept of an individual facing extreme elements. The reindeer are integral to the main character’s journey to find himself. The bloody footprints are from my wonderful editor Jeremy Lassen.
TQ: In The Song of All who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Tina: Gunna was the easiest write. She is this feisty crone who has lived a full life and knows exactly who she is and what is important. She represents the matriarchal spirit of my Finnish family. I grew up with someone like her so she was easy o write. The hardest character to write was Bávvál, the High Priest. He is such a Machiavellian character. His emotional world kept eluding me.
TQ: Why have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Song of All?
Tina: While it is not the dominant theme in the book, the topic of migration and diaspora was in the forefront of my mind as I was writing. The main struggle between the newcomers, the Olmmoš, and the native group, the Jápmemeahttun, revolves around issues of assimilation of an immigrant community. Looking at the history of humanity, the migration of peoples is at the core of human experience from its earliest inception. The fact that we continue struggle with this reality is significant and also heartbreaking to me.
TQ: Which question about The Song of All do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
Tina: What is your song?
I am the daughter of waves,
washed upon these distant shores.
My journey started in far off stars.
I light the way for my shadow to follow.
I am words upon a page.
I am ink and yet ephemeral.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Song of All.
Tina: “Aillun had been surprised she could understand them. They had a thick, round accent, as if they had a mouthful of berries and feared losing one. She had stared at them in wonder and it struck her that the Olmmoš were not so very different from herself, except that, given the opportunity, they would have killed her.”
TQ: What's next?
Tina: The Song of All has some sequels in the works. Dreams of the Dark Sky is due out in 2019 and The Northern Ones in 2020. I also have this voice clamoring for a prequel where...well, I guess that still remains to be sung.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Tina: Thank you for having me. I just got to answer some of my new, favorite questions!
The Song of All
The Legacy of the Heavens 1
Night Shade Books, February 20, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 452 pages
A former warrior caught between gods and priests must fight for the survival of his family in this dark epic fantasy debut, set in a harsh arctic world inspired by Scandinavian indigenous cultures.
On the forbidding fringes of the tundra, where years are marked by seasons of snow, humans war with immortals in the name of their shared gods. Irjan, a human warrior, is ruthless and lethal, a legend among the Brethren of Hunters. But even legends grow tired and disillusioned.
Scarred and weary of bloodshed, Irjan turns his back on his oath and his calling to hide away and live a peaceful life as a farmer, husband, and father. But his past is not so easily left behind. When an ambitious village priest conspires with the vengeful comrades Irjan has forsaken, the fragile peace in the Northlands of Davvieana is at stake.
His bloody past revealed, Irjan’s present unravels as he faces an ultimatum: return to hunt the immortals or lose his child. But with his son’s life hanging in the balance, as Irjan follows the tracks through the dark and desolate snow-covered forests, it is not death he searches for, but life.
Tina LeCount Myers is a writer, artist, independent historian, and surfer. Born in Mexico to expat-bohemian parents, she grew up on Southern California tennis courts with a prophecy hanging over her head; her parents hoped she’d one day be an author. The Song of All is her debut novel.