What is your latest release and what genre is it? My fantasy novel The Braided Path was released on March 15, 2014
Quick description: Envision a world that is a wall. There’s no North or South, East or West. There is only upworld and downworld, held together by a single path—until that world and its cliff-dwelling society are torn apart by an earthquake. That’s the setting for my 78,000-word multicultural literary fantasy, The Braided Path, a parable about what happens when three characters set out to find the limits of their world, and of themselves. Len Rope-Maker is a widowed mother who lives on a narrow terrace of this world—Home Village—from which the one path leads above and below. Most youths quickly learn the upper and lower limits to which they can travel, but not her son Cam. He shows promise of growing into a Far-Walker, one of the rare few whose work is to carry goods and news to distant villages, up and down the cliff that is all his people know. Torn between his hunger to climb and his love for his sweetheart, Fox, Cam sets off to find the top of the world—and discovers that his vertical reality has another side, where the world is slanted, many-pathed, complex, and baffling. Meanwhile, as a premature child is born and the path breaks in two, Len and Fox quest in opposite directions. All three will find new love and new lives, testing and surpassing their own boundaries as they seek the bottom of the world and a way to braid their divided paths back into one.
I was born in Mexico, the daughter of a Kentucky farm-girl and a Texas Aggie large-animal veterinarian. I’ve been a lot of places; now, I live in the hills of North Carolina, but I stayed the longest in New Orleans and still call it home. These days I earn my daily bread as a dream and creativity coach and by leading seminars on writing, the Universe, and everything, but in the past I’ve done the dance as turnabout crew (aka, “maid”) on a schooner, as a librarian, as an environmental activist, as a registered nurse, as a teacher, and for a long stint as a professional student. The craft society of The Braided Path owes a lot to the time I’ve spent hanging out in villages in Spain, Italy, Israel, Turkey, India, and Mexico.
Donna Glee’s promo links:
My website, about as low-tech as the world of my novel, has links to some of my stories that are available to read for free at various online sites like the wonderful Strange Horizons, PodCastle, and PseudoPod.
Donna Glee’s video introduction to The Braided Path
I can be contacted through the website, or readers can connect with me through Facebook or LinkedIn (as Donna Glee Williams). If your book group or school would like to arrange for a phone or face visit, please reach out to me and I’ll do my best to make it happen.
What are you working on now?
I’m working with super-agent Richard Curtis, looking for a home for my second novel, DREAMERS, about a young dream-oracle trapped in a life not of her choosing. A bigger marketing challenge I need to spend some time with is TIME AT THE CENTER, an odd little allegorical fantasy—think Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Little Prince, The Man Who Planted Trees, or Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle. On the new writing front, I’m working on the discovery draft of a quest tale about a young girl who is born into an aboriginal culture that trains trees. Because of an unexplainable poison that is pouring down from above their world, Pynpoi climbs the cliff up to the plains of the ancestors to face the dead of her people and demand an explanation, but finds herself facing instead a complex world of real, living people who are more alien than the ancestors could ever be. I’m also preparing to do some scouting this summer for a long-time dream: To lead some writers and aspiring writers on a writing/hiking safari in Scotland. I’m talking with fellow fantasy-writer Sarah McGuire (author of the forthcoming VALIANT, a fabulous retelling of “The Brave Little Tailor”) about teaming up for this. If any readers are interested in this kind of creative adventure, they should get in touch with me and I’ll put them on the list to hear from us as soon as we get the details together.
Donna Glee`s reading recommendation:
Because I’m trying to find a publisher for an odd little book, Patricia Lee Gauch recommended that I take a look at Algonquin’s The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. Amazing. It baffled me, at first, how the author managed to make the story of a woman’s relationship with a snail so riveting. The more I thought about it, the more it seems that the emotional power of this book lies in the way the story she tells explicitly (about the snail) also conveys an implied story (about a woman’s tragic loss of her ability to live her life). I’ve also been knocked sockless recently by Room. The narrative point of view in this astonishing book is so eerily alien that it almost feels like science fiction, although it’s contemporary realism. I loved discovering John Green: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and especially The Fault in Our Stars. (Never neglect an author because they write for “young adults” and you’re an “adult”.) The Fault in Our Stars touched me especially because, as a pediatric nurse, I knew many young cancer patients and I’m grateful to Green for putting some of their stories out in front of us, with honesty and humor.
Oh, boy—you asked for a book or an author, and I’ve gone on and on. That’s the risk in asking writers about books, I guess.