Friday, 14 December 2012

Dream Penguins and the Connectedness of All Things - Guestpost by Kerry Schafer

Today I have a special guest:
Kerry Schafer, author of the upcoming Urban Fantasy novel Between.
(More info about Between can be found at the end of this post)

Kerry is a wonderful person who doesn't mind me stalking her on Twitter and giving her unasked for zombie advice. She also posts the most amazing Random Penguin pictures and I borrowed one of those pictures for this post so you can all enjoy the awesomeness that is the Random Penguin.

After hearing about the Random Penguin it might not come as a surprise that Kerry's guestpost is about: penguins!


Dream Penguins and the Connectedness of All Things

"Um, Kerry?"
"Why is there a penguin in this book?"
"Well, because he wanted to be."
"Seriously – "

"Well, this one day at the office Jamie and I had some interesting encounters with reality. So we were discussing MC Escher, and then this penguin showed up…"

You think I jest, so let me explain.

I was working as a mental health crisis response worker at the time I started writing BETWEEN. You get called for all sorts of situations in that job – from elderly ladies with shotguns, to suicidal folks, to those who are outright psychotic. It's the sort of job that leads you into odd pockets of reality. You pinch yourself a lot to see if you're dreaming, but you know you're not because you could never, ever, have possibly imagined that thing that just happened.

My office mate, Jamie, was an aficionado of the bizarre and of all sorts of far flung philosophical and metaphysical concepts. He was also smarter than I. We had long and complicated conversations over a vast array of topics. I loved it, but I nodded a lot and pretended to know about things I really didn't. Like the day he said our job was like living in an Escher painting, and then I had to go home and look up MC Escher, with whom I promptly fell in love.

"But what about the penguin?" you ask.

I'm getting to that. One of Jamie's finds was a delightful internet site devoted to a small group of male Adélie penguins who had been rescued from an oil slick. Researchers cleaned them up, fitted them with location transmitters, and released them. It was expected that they would swim south to their breeding grounds. Every day a map was displayed with the relative positions of the penguins, and we took great delight in checking in to see what they were up to, mostly on account of Vivian.

Yep, Vivian was a penguin, and a male penguin at that. And yes, the main character in BETWEEN, who is not male, is named after him.

Anyway. Vivian swam in circles for several days, while Jamie made jokes about ADHD penguins and shiny fish. One morning he struck out unexpectedly north. Days later, when his transmitter stopped working, he was still swimming indomitably north. For Jamie and me, Vivian had become a living symbol of non-conformity. We considered ourselves as people who "swim north" and, in fact, the working title of the book was Swimming North for a long, long time.

Hopefully this all explains why it was necessary for a penguin to show up in BETWEEN. Of course, said penguin couldn't be a normal and ordinary sort of penguin, and thus Poe the dream penguin was brought forth in the world of the Between and followed Vivian home.


About Between:
”Vivian’s life is finally on track. She has a job she loves as an ER doctor and has just met – literally – the man of her dreams. But when her eccentric grandfather is murdered and designates her as his next of kin, she discovers that she is the last of a race of beings known as dreamshifters. It is her task to guard the doorways between waking and dreaming, which have already begun to unravel, spilling dangerous creatures from dream into the waking world. When she sets out to close the open doors and protect her town and the people she loves, Vivian confronts dragons, intrigue, and the dark secrets of her own family history. In the end, she comes face to face with a sorceress seeking eternal life and ultimate power. Vivian must find a way to stop her, or reality will be forever altered.”

pre-order your copy of between today:
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Releasing from Ace Books January 29, 2013

About Kerry Schafer:
Kerry Schafer lives in Colville, Washington, with her family, which includes two cats, a rescue fish, and a preternaturally large black dog. A self-styled perpetual student, she earned an RN from Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta; a BA in English (Honours) from York University in Toronto, Ontario; and an M.Ed. in counseling psychology from Washington State University.



John Ross Barnes said...

Can't wait to read this. Love the penguin.

Thanks for hosting Kerry Schafer today.

Kerry Schafer said...

Hey Sullivan - thanks so much for inviting Random Penguin and I over to your blog today. We had fun.

Barbara E. said...

This is the first I've heard of this book and now I have to add it to my wish list because it sounds like a fantastic story.

Melliane said...

Oh I want this one! you know my love for UF books... I really need to read this one now. thank you so much for introducing the book and the author to me!

Aurian said...

Thanks for the guestpost, and the recommendation. I have added this book to my wishlist. It sure sounds very good, and I love that cover.
And Sullivan, have you asked her if the next book can have a random pig in it?

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

:) That is so neat to hear the story of the penguin. :D Thank you!