I was interested in the world because of its steampunk foundation. After I read through the Darkside Codex, I was drawn to the following passage:
“The Caelimane's journey through history transformed a simple nature goddess into the preeminent deity of the kingdom—much to the disgust of the Seelie Court. . . Unlike the humans of Southwatch, the Seelie do not worship in golden temples. Instead, they worship Dione in the old, traditional fashion, using altars of rough stone slabs where they sing hymns to the goddess in gratitude for her life-giving warmth.”
This idea of cultural and religious appropriation seemed full of possibilities.
2. What aspects of Southwatch are you exploring in The Caelimane Operation?
One of my main characters, Catherine, is a member of the Caelimane Temple. Through her, readers learn about the Temple bards who are sent out at regular intervals to spy on the populace. There is a complicated system in Southwatch that includes a type of interdependence between the organizations that run the city. A certain amount of corruption is inherent in the system as people maneuver for advancement within their respective organizations. Yet balance must be maintained for the system to remain in place. Thus the network of spies fulfills a vital role in trying to maintain the status quo.
Catherine’s investigations into multiple attacks on rural Caelimane Temples take her outside of the city, so readers will also learn more about the countryside surrounding Southwatch. I introduced the idea of Travelers, who are groups that journey from town-to-town putting on performances for a living. As a bard, traveling with one of these groups provides a perfect cover for Catherine.
In the novel, I also explore some of religious and cultural differences between the human denizens of Southwatch and the fae. One of my main characters, Devyn Du Chein, is a retired investigator for the Seelie Court. He is recruited by The Caelimanes to help probe the attacks on the rural Temples. During his investigation, he attends a New Sunrise Celebration hosted by members of the Seelie Court who are trying to blend in with the aristocracy in Southwatch.
A New Sunrise Celebration, while not religious, contains a tribute to the goddess. Many of the fae celebrations contain aspects that honor Dione. New Sunrise is celebrated during the last two weeks of the Twelfth month when the spring flowers bloom in all of their glory; its intent is to bring together extended families and friends.
Much like the humans have appropriated the worship of Dione and changed it to suit their own needs, they have started celebrating New Sunrise. Their gatherings, however, have little to do with the fae and their ways. The human aristocrats of Southwatch simply add enough “fae touches” to their parties to make them seem exotic.
Finally, readers will have a chance to see how the undead impact a steampunk world. Are they the result of dark fae sorcery, or something much worse? Readers will have to delve into the novel to find the answer.
3. Is it easier or harder to write in a shared world?
It is much harder to write in a shared world, but I enjoy the challenge. When I come up with what I believe to be a “good idea” for my story, I have to consider whether or not it fits into the shared world. When working on The Caelimane Operation, I would spend hours pouring over the Darkside Codex to see if what I wanted to do would contradict something else established by another author. I think I almost had the bible memorized by the time I finished my first draft. Of course, every novel published adds to the world of the Darkside Codex, so it is a never-ending cycle of new ideas and creativity.
4. Who's your favorite character? And why?
Without a doubt my favorite in the novel is Devyn Du Chein. When I started writing, he was not going to be a main character. By the time I reached the end of the chapter where he was introduced, I had to go back and re-write it from his point of view. He was the most interesting character in the room. I hope my readers feel the same.
5. What is your background as a writer?
I have been writing for years and publishing short stories and poems in non-professional and regional publications. Last year I decided to pursue writing as a profession. My first professional sale was to Penumbra eMagazine, where my story, “Going Home,” was the featured story. The issue was a tribute to H.G. Wells, one of the authors who has influenced the steampunk genre.
6. How do we find you online?
I occasionally blog at www.chrispavesic.com and Tweet @chrispavesic
You can also find me on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1FGS3la
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