Frequently in the Alcove, we take the time to wander off into the world of fiction to see what the process of telling a tale does to enlighten the many facets of learning, thinking, exploring the universe. Both the one we find within and the one we find without. A fundamental question in the quest relates to creativity. Who does, what is it, how does it contribute to the history and future of the universe and to us as human beings. From our most ancient legends and faiths, we hear that we were created in the image of one of more gods. That what sets us apart from all other life on this planet is the ability, the skill, the imagination to create.
One of my new friends from the world of writing and publishing is Etta Jean. Other than being a just plan delightful person to know, I find her artistic eye fascinating. She will be releasing Chronicle of Summer, the second volume in her series this month. I wanted to know how the heart and eye of the artist impacted her writing, her characters, and special kind of storytelling. Here is Etta Jean on Chronicle of Summer, due out on Amazon on February 14, 2014. (Such symmetry in that date; that should mean something very special)!
The ability to create is something that is deeply treasured by me. I’m the person who has to be careful trying new outlets because I’m sure to love it enough to want to keep doing it, and I have too much on my plate already. (There are only so many hours in a day.) That longing to create, I think, is something that often sloughs over into most any character I write. In SUMMER alone, there are three master artisans and there are others who are mentioned to love art as well.
Kelsey. Well, what can I say about Kelsey? She is a Master Weaponsmith who creates weapons so beautiful that they are works of art. She’ll stand over a forge for hours upon hours until she is satisfied, and like her surrogate brothers, she often forgets about time entirely. To me, the creation of weapons—despite their eventual use for bloody acts—is still an art. If you research old-school smithing techniques online, you will see people who have dedicated their entire lives to learning what machines cannot do—and that is an art.
C.J. is a weaver, and unlike his brethren in SUMMER, his power is only of the arts. Where Kelsey can use her fire to forge or fight, C.J. at best can create quakes to disrupt balance. Where he truly shines is when he takes sand into his hands and weaves clothworks of color and light. Blankets that keep a family warm. Tapestries so stunning they hang in a palace. His art is how he shares his heart with others when he simply can’t bear a city comfortably in person.
Roman is the most like me, I think. His art is not his career; he is a farmer who runs a windmill. Instead, he uses his art as an escape from the mundane. He etches glass with lightning to bring the tiniest details to brilliant life. He wakes in the morning and goes to his mill and then he returns to craft. It is his sanctuary.
That isn’t to say their artistic side has their downfalls. Poor C.J. is left without defenses short of throwing cloth at people, and Roman’s temperamental nature means he isn’t a happy Air Chronicle when one of his works gets smashed. Kelsey gets herself into the stickiest mess of all when her skills have her working for the Militia right as everything is going to hell. Their ability to create makes them, I think, more real, and it has a way to reach out universally so that a human on Earth can look at these Chronicles on another world and think ‘I get you. I know how you feel.’
Art is the great communicator in the end.
Etta Jean was born in Sacramento, California and destined from birth to be a bard. She told tall tales while devouring the creative worlds of others until she finally had to create her own. She has seen both good and evil in her life, and her stories, like life, have no half measures. Her happy endings never come without cost, though, for she truly believes we can’t appreciate the good and the joy without the bad and the pain along the way. Her current haunt is a comfy house in her beloved hometown where she wrangles three feline fur-kids while constantly overbooking her calendar. If she’s not chained to her desk, she’s stomping through the scenery in search of equally fantastical photographs.
CHRONICLE OF SUMMER will be available from Amazon on February 14, 2014. Etta’s Summer Fest blog tour continues through February, and there are prizes to be won by commenting on the stops along the way.
CHRONICLE OF DESTINY, the original Chronicle tale, can be purchased from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Chronicle-Destiny-Book/dp/1940938104/
Stop by and check out her fascinating website. www.ettajeanfantasy.com