Featuring an interview with Lyn McConchie, author of post-apocalyptic novel Some Other Traveler
When the world’s civilizations collapse from a lethal pandemic, being old can mean you have the experience and wisdom to survive and to see that friends and family do as well. Donal and Sheila McArn are seventy when most of the world is dying, and they must hold the line for everything they know. They may not have long, but so long as they live, they’re going to do their best – and anyone against them had better step back. NOW!
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Excerpt from Some Other Traveler
Kaylie died an hour later. Ricky had all his things packed by then, Donal had dug a small grave, and we placed her in that, the teddy bear – a bright pink one that Ricky said she still loved – tucked in beside her. After that, he clung to my hand.
I drove home, and when I would have left the lad with Janet, he clung to me like a limpet, his eyes wide in fear of losing someone else. I put him to bed in the spare room, slept in the bed opposite, and took him with me the next morning. Janet took the accumulated cash, along with a list and several friends, utes, and her car with a trailer. We removed the Black and McMallan animals, several small portable sheds, and salvaged useful items from houses and outbuildings. During which time Ricky was never out of eyeshot, and when my hands weren’t employed, he clung to one of them.
We drove home to eat dinner, I put him to bed, and when he asked, I answered, “Yes, this is your room now. You’ll go to school here once it opens again. The place is called Glen Mhairi. It’ll be your home.” And then the tentative question that almost broke my heart. “Aye, you can call us Grandma and Grandpa if you want. We’d like that.” He fell asleep still trustfully holding my hand, and as I looked at that peaceful face, I knew the truth.
After all those years and with never a child of our own, we finally had a grandson.
Buy Some Other Traveler
Interview with Lyn McConchie
–What inspired you to become a writer?
I suspect the same reason many would give. I love books, I started reading at five, and by seven was reading at adult level. By age thirty, my personal library was in the three thousand region. Then I met a guy in SF fandom who edited their national magazine. One day he needed a review; would I…? I did. He needed an article, would I…I did. Then – he needed a short story; would I? Um, well, I can try. I did, and yes. I could do that too. Many short stories later, it was pointed out that if I amalgamated my letters to friends about my farm, animals, and friends … I’d have a book, and since the guy pointing this out was another editor. I amalgamated, had a book, subsequently saw six more published in what was known as my Daze series, and after that it would have taken police barriers and guns to stop me.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
Turn around and head for home as fast as possible. I’m 76, I’ve been crippled since 1977 (a crash,) and I’m a realist. Before 1977, yes. I was an athlete, hockey player, horseback rider, and motorcyclist. Nowadays, I wouldn’t survive a day in a post-apocalyptic world, and I’m sensible enough to know it.
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
Sheila McArn Och: One New Year’s Eve when I was seventeen, I had a mite too many drams and kissed Johnny McAlister.
Donal her husband: She thinks I dinna know, I do, what she doesn’t know is that before we got back together, I had myself a fling or two wi’ some lovely lasses. But Sheila was the one for me, I always knew it, and so did she.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Considering I drink coca cola, probably any of them.
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
Point out that at my age and physical disabilities, he’d be likely to win anyhow, so what if we say we did, he won, and we go and have fish and chips, and a coke.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Er, I think I’ve written in pretty much all of them. I’ve written serious nonfiction, humorous true-life, SF/F/ghost, mystery, children’s picture books, YA, a western… I don’t think there is a genre I wouldn’t try.
About Lyn McConchie
Lyn McConchie started writing in 1990 and within a year had short stories and poems published. In 1993, her first book – a humorous true-life work (Farming Daze) about her farm, friends, and animals appeared – this was followed by six others in that series. As a joke between them, a long-time friend of Lyn’s, Andre Norton, was given a book Lyn had written set in one of Andre’s worlds. Andre was impressed with the work and took it to her agents who sold it to Warner books. This led in turn to Lyn writing another six books in Andre’s worlds, which were published either by Warner or TOR. Lyn has won seven short story Muse Medallions from the (International) Cat Writer’s Association, and six Sir Julius Vogel Awards for her books. Since the original book, Lyn has seen almost fifty more books appear plus over three hundred short stories, and says she has no intention of stopping so long as she is able to write.
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