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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
To submit articles of interest to our readers Email Barbara.

August 2001

Every Romance Reader's Fantasy!

LISTER'S POLL: We Want More............Fantasy Romance!

Tanya Huff

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia: Although I haven't actually lived "down east" since just before my fourth birthday, I still consider myself a Maritimer. I think it's something to do with being born in sight of the ocean. Or possibly with the fact that almost no one admits to being from Ontario...

Raised, for the most part, in Kingston, Ontario. It was the late sixties, early to mid seventies. Enough said for those of us who lived through it—and those who didn't seem to be getting another chance to fall off platform shoes.

Spent three years in the Canadian Naval Reserve: I was a cook. They'd just opened it up to women and I figured it would be the first trade that would send women to sea. I was right. Unfortunately it happened a year after I left. No tattoos.

Received a degree in RADIO AND TELEVISION ARTS (B.A.A.) from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute: The year I graduated was the year that the CBC laid off 750 employees in Toronto alone. We were competing for jobs with people who had up to five years experience. The cat threw up on my degree.

Spent eight years working at Bakka, North America's oldest surviving science fiction book store: Change Of Hobbit in California was actually a very little bit older but unfortunately it was a casualty of the recession in ‘91. During those eight years, while working full-time, I wrote seven books (the first seven, except for the original draft of CHILD), and nine short stories.

In 1992, after living in downtown Toronto, a city of nearly three million, for thirteen years, I moved with two large cats, one small psychotic cat, and my partner out to a rented house in the middle of nowhere. In the years since, we've purchased the house, buried two of the original cats, replaced them with three more felines and, unintentionally, acquired a Chihuahua. You're probably wondering how two reasonably intelligent adults can unintentionally acquire a Chihuahua. Please don't ask.

I love living in the country, writing full-time, anything by Charles de Lint, Xena, Hercules, and email. I dislike telephones, electric blankets, and bathroom renovations.

I always expect catastrophe; as a result, I'm usually pleasantly surprised.

An Interview with Tanya Huff

PNR: Tanya, you've been writing fantasy for over a decade. What inspired you to chose this genre?

Tanya H.: I didn't exactly chose the genre in that I didn't sit down one day and say, "I think I'll write a fantasy book." I just tell the stories I have to tell and, so far, most of them have been fantasy.

PNR: Good fantasy tends to provide worlds that the readers simply don't want to leave. You've written several series, with your most recent release being Summon the Keeper, Volume 2 of the Keeper's Chronicles. So lets talk Keeper. What is a Keeper?

Tanya H.: A Keeper is, essentially, a metaphysical plumber; they patch the holes between their world -- which is pretty much our world -- and the Otherside, maintaining the balance between good and evil. Too much of either is a bad thing.

PNR: What causes these holes in the cosmic fabric?

Tanya H.: Good deeds poke holes in the toward the good end of the spectrum, bad deeds in the opposite end. The size of the hole is proportional to the size of the deed. Hundreds of small holes open everyday and seal themselves, the Keepers only deal with the ones that don't.

PNR: Besides Keepers, there are Cousins and Bystanders?

Tanya H.: Cousins are less powerful than Keepers and there's more of them. They mostly monitor accident sites until a Keeper can come along and close them. Bystanders are everyone else.

PNR: Claire Hansen is the heroine of the first two stories "Summon the Keeper" and "The Second Summoning". Her sister Diana plays a key role in each. Will Claire continue to be the focus of this series or will we learn more about other Keepers.

Tanya H.: Well, I'd have to say that Diana had at least as large a role as Claire did in THE SECOND SUMMONING. As it stands right now, it will be Claire and Diana 50/50 once again for the third book, tentatively titled LONG, HOT SUMMONING. If there are more books, other Keepers may show up but I can't say for certain there'll be more than the three -- it depends on whether or not I have more stories to tell.

PNR: Here's hoping <g>. Back to Claire, tell us a bit about her personality.

Tanya H.: Well, she's an over achiever who takes her responsibilities just a little too seriously. She doesn't so much hate the thought of asking for help as the thought had never crossed her mind.

PNR: In "Summon the Keeper" Claire's latest summons finds her at the Elysian Fields Guest House. The name is prophetic, no?

Tanya H.: Actually, in context, it was supposed to be funny.

PNR: Definitely! This assignment is not the quick fix that Claire is used to?

Tanya H.: This is a situation where Claire could essentially become -- to stretch the plumbing analogy -- the plug in the drain. When holes can't be closed, a Keeper uses their personal power to block it. It's considered a kind of retirement for older Keepers as it keeps them in one place and out of unexpected danger now their reflexes have slowed. Claire isn't too happy about the possibility of this happening to her.

PNR: She is a bit young for that. As you say she isn't happy, not only has she been tricked into staying in one place indefinitely but she also has to deal with the hotels residents. Tell us about Dean and Jacques? What conflicts do the two cause for Claire?

Tanya H.: Well, Dean McIssac is an absolutely gorgeous, muscular young man from Newfoundland, who's acting as the caretaker of the hotel. He not only cooks and does windows but he irons his jeans and folds his underwear. The biggest problem with Dean is that he's a Bystander and so can't be involved in this whole mess -- except that he already is. Jacques -- well to tell much about him would give things away that would be better discovered during the reading of the book.

PNR: Enough said. Claire is twenty-seven, a loner, and rather single minded about her responsibilities. Her sister Diana is seventeen, powerful, and unpredictable. What kind of relationship do the two have?

Tanya H.: Diana may be the most powerful Keeper on the planet right now, but she's still -- and always will be -- Claire's baby sister. At least as far as Claire is concerned.

PNR: The stories pretty much explain all the people's roles, but what about Austin the talking cat? Since Dean can hear him, we can assume that not all cats talk and that only Keepers can hear them. Will we find out about Austin's origins in a future tale?

Tanya H.: All cats have secrets. They talk when they have something to say. Keepers can always hear them, other people hear them when they, the cats, allow it. Some people are so closed off to wonder that even if the cat climbed up on their chest and started reciting Shakespeare, they wouldn't believe the cat was talking. As Tom Stoppard wrote; "People know what to expect and that's all they're prepared to believe in."

Austin told Dean as much of his origins as he thinks should be on public record in SUMMON THE KEEPER. I suspect he'll never be much more forthcoming.

PNR: On to "The Second Summoning". Claire, Dean, and Austin have checked out of the Elysian Fields Hotel, Dean is prepared to follow Claire anywhere, but Claire has decided it would be best to go their separate ways?

Tanya H.: Yes.

PNR: Dean was there for her throughout the last assignment, but Claire still feels the need to protect him. What is his reaction to this?

Tanya H.: He's a twenty-one year old man and as good natured as he is, he's a little pissed about it.

PNR: How does their separation affect her?

Tanya H.: Well, she tries to take strength from knowing she's "done the right thing" but she's miserable AND beginning to think that maybe she didn't do the right thing after all. Which would mean she's done the wrong thing. Except that as a Keeper she can't actually do the wrong thing. She's a tad confused and conflicted.

PNR: I can imagine <g>. Back together, Dean and Claire's love, and a little fiddling on Diana's part, creates a new problem?

Tanya H.: Yes, there's a big hunk of good walking around in the world, and in order for things to balance, there's now room for a big hunk of evil.

PNR: Without spoiling the plot, Claire and Dean have a personal, as well as professional issue with these two creations. Claire isn't very objective about their dispensation. This is where Diana comes in?

Tanya H.: Diana and Claire have a difference of opinion over the best way for balance to be restored in the world. Also a difference of opinion concerning the nature of good and evil and what makes someone Human. They disagree
about a few other things too -- for example Claire thinks Rob Lowe is the best thing about The West Wing but Diana's a Brad Whitford fan all the way -- but then, they're sisters.

PNR: Was that in the book? <g> Obviously there is considerable humor in these stories. Do you feel humor is an important element in writing fantasy?

Tanya H.: Well, it certainly is in these two books since the humour is the whole reason for their existence. These are the sorts of books where I decide on one word over another based on which has a funnier sound in the mouth -- and let me tell you, it's a whole lot easier to scare people or make them cry than to make them laugh continually. These were the hardest books to write of the seventeen. That said, I think humour is a vital part of what makes us Human and should be in everything. You can't have constant tension, constant horror, constant drama -- it's too emotional for the reader and a real drain on the writer as well. There has to be a release of tension.

PNR: We will be looking forward to book three.

Tanya Huff



The Keepers chronicles

Buy it now!

Daw Books
March 1, 2001
416 pages
ISBN: 088677958

THE SECOND SUMMONING - Claire Hansen was a keeper…

gifted—or cursed—with the job of being one of Earth's Guardians, “Summoned” to areas where anomalies existed, where rifts had opened—or had been opened. Such places were the world's danger spots where, if they weren’t sealed in time, all the minions of Hell might break through.

After she’d closed the portal into Hell at the Elysian Fields Guest House, Claire and her talking cat, Austin, found they’d acquired a new companion—Dean. Though Dean was a Bystander and shouldn’t have been allowed to even remember Keepers existed, somehow in the course of their mutual ordeal at the Elysian Fields, he’d become an indispensable part of Claire’s life. She knew she should change his memories and force him to leave her. Any other course was bound to lead to disaster. But as it turned out, it was already too late, for without Dean around Claire could easily become a danger to herself and the very fabric of space and time.

Yet with Dean around—and a little of her sister Diana’s meddling thrown in—the world was headed straight for Chaos.

And Claire was about to face a challenge beyond her wildest imagining—a catastrophe created by the power of love—when an angel and a devil each manifested in the mortal world as fully endowed teenagers, who didn’t have a clue how to handle their all-too-human bodies, raging hormones, and opposing needs to do good and evil....

Buy it now!

Daw Books
Ma,y 1998
331 pages
ISBN: 0886777844



Austin was a black-and-white, far-from-young cat. Not just any cat, mind you, he was the Keeper's cat, a very outspoken feline with extremely strong opinions he was always willing to voice. After all, who knew better then Austin what was best for the well-being of Claire -- and for the not-quite-as-important rest of the universe?

And the Keeper

Claire Hansen was a Keeper, a member of that select group which kept the universe in one piece. And now she'd been Summoned to the Elysian Fields Guesthouse, a rundown bed-and-breakfast that seemed to attract the most "unusual clientele. And Claire was not happy about this latest assignment, not happy at all.

Not when she'd been tricked into taking over here by a horrible little gnome of a man who'd abandoned his post before she'd even figured out who he really was.... Not when room six held a resident who'd been sleeping there for so many years that she really needed a good dusting -- except that it was far too dangerous for anyone to get that close to her.... Not when the basement housed too much temptation for anyone's mental health.... Not when she found herself surrounded by "helpers" as distracting as Dean, the hunky-yet-innocent handyman, and Jacques, a ghost with a real lust for life.... And especially not when it looked like this might be not only her most challenging mission but one she'd be stuck handling forever....





Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with :
Karen Fox
Holly Fuhrmann

Tanya Huff
Sharon Shinn
Lois McMaster Bujold











Buy it now!

Daw Books
Reissue October 1996
410 pages
ISBN: 0886776287

Buy it now!

Daw Books
Reissue edition
August 1995
ISBN: 0886776511

Buy it now!

Daw Books
Reissue edition
April 1996
ISBN: 0886776988

Buy it now!

Penguin USA
May 1999
416 pages
ISBN: 0886778395


Buy it now!

Reissue edition
Daw Books
November 1993
ISBN: 0886774713

Buy it now!

Reissue edition
Daw Books
May 1997
ISBN: 0886775027

Buy it now!

Daw Books
January 1993
271 pages
ISBN: 0886775302

Buy it now!

Daw Books

Reissue edition
August 1997
332 pages
ISBN: 0886775825

Buy it now!

Daw Books
May 1997
336 pages
ISBN: 0886777399


Buy it now!

Penguin USA
Reprint Edition
January 1, 1999
576 pages
ISBN: 0886778190


Now available in one volume, the novels which began Tanya Huff's career. Child of the Grove and The Last Wizard form a powerful fantasy duology about the last wizard ever to be born into the world. It is the saga of Crystal, a daughter of Power whose destiny is to put an end to the war between wizards and the mortal world.

Daw Books
Reissue: May, 1988
ISBN: 0886774322

Daw Books
ASIN: 0886773318


TSR Books
ASIN: 078690206X

Buy it now!


Daw Books
November 1989
ISBN: 0886773865

Daw Books
September 1990
ISBN: 0886774454

Buy it now!

Daw Books

April 10, 2000
409 pages
ISBN: 0886778964


Buy it now!

Meisha Merlin
March 15, 1999
432 pages
ISBN: 1892065045

Buy it now!

Tesseract Books
April 7, 1999
201 pages
ISBN: 1895836638

All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.
talking cat graphic courtesy of CatStuff

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