I'm thrilled to welcome Misha Gericke as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. Misha recently gave herself the ambitious goal of earning $7500 in royalties every month. For a year. Within five years.
She's starting that quest this Friday, with the publication of her debut novel The Vanished Knight. In the meantime, she's answered a few of my questions.
Q: Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, and what do you do when you're not writing short stories or novels?
A: Hehehe this question always gets me. I don’t ever really know where to start. Mmm… Okay. My name’s Misha Gericke, but because no one ever remembers how to spell it, I’m publishing my first book as M. Gerrick.
I live in a small town on the False Bay Coast in South Africa. We’re famous for the huge ass sharks and for surfing. Hopefully not at the same time.
When I’m not writing or editing, I’m probably exporting fruit and vegetables to Europe. For fun, (other than writing) I sing, fence, sew and paint. At the moment I’m also learning how to ride horses, but I haven’t decided if I like it or not.
Q: On your blog you describe yourself as a self-proclaimed bookworm. What book(s) or author(s) ignited your passion for reading?
A: This one is tricky. My grandmother (an author in my country) used to tell me stories. So when I’d started reading at school and wanted my mom to tell stories to me too, she gave me books instead and told me to read.
So I did. Lots.
Q: You describe yourself as a speculative fiction writer. Do you have a favourite genre within that category?
A: Fantasy. My upcoming book is an Epic (portal) Fantasy, but I also write Urban and Dystopian Fantasy.
My second favourite genre is dystopian.
Q: You have a new book out this Friday. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about it?
It’s my debut, and the story that takes up the most space in my mind. Basically, The Vanished Knight is the first part of a story on how the War of Six Crowns came about in my fantasy world.
One of the countries, Nordaine, has only one blood heir (the Black Knight) to its throne. Because the Black Knight didn’t have children, an heir has to be appointed. The power this entails means that all of the noble families are taking sides behind two of three candidates, pushing them forward. This is slowly fracturing the power structure in the country.
When the Knight vanishes along with one of the heirs, the remaining two have to find him before someone starts a civil war.
Q: Would you like to share an excerpt with us?
A: Sure. Here it is…
Darrion grabbed the flaming torch from its stand and went to the head he’d severed. He picked it up by its hair and inspected the face. Not a Lyrian assassin after all. He’d seen this man in the general’s tent often.
He dropped the head in the mud and sloshed over to the other corpses, casting light on them. All of them familiar. All of them from the Nordian camp. They must have stolen clothes off the Lyrian soldiers they’d killed over the past few days.
“Are you OK?” Kaela asked from the darkness behind him.
Trust her to be the first person to come to his aid. Even when it was a bit too late.
“Fine.” He kept his eyes on the corpses, trying to place them.
Kaela moved into his circle of light, staring at them. “House of Waernich,” she said, answering his unstated question. She wiped raindrops from her face.
She nodded emphatically, pointing to a corpse with short, blond hair. “He’s my cousin.” Her finger moved to one with dark hair. “His brother. The other two with heads are second cousins.”
“Westenmeres like you, then?” If the first family of Waernich was involved, big trouble brewed somewhere out of sight.
She scowled at him, letting her scar further disfigure the left side of her face. “Westenmere, yes. But not like me. They can burn in hell for all I care.”
Kaela disappeared into the darkness, leaving him alone with his thoughts. Westenmeres didn’t get their hands dirty unless they thought they could get away with it. Why now? Usually they hired poor fools to come after him. Maybe they’d finally figured out that nothing less than the best-trained knights could kill him.
And given that Lorcan Blaecoine, last blood heir to Nordaine’s crown and Black Knight of Sylmion, would have no children, of course Darrion’s death must be the Waernich’s heart’s desire. After all, Darrion, his best friend Gawain, and the Waernich’s son, Quinlan Westenmere, were the three candidates to be appointed as Lorcan’s heir. That appointment was sought after; people would kill for the chance to be the future King.
As heir to the House of Murion, Gawain had a family as powerful as the Westenmeres to protect him. Darrion didn’t. His only protection lay in the fact that he was a ferocious fighter with a wicked reputation.
He dug his hand into his pocket and ran his thumb over the pebble inside. The Waernich, Ulric Westenmere, had just risked some of his more important direct family members in that assassination attempt. They’d suddenly become a lot more determined to see him dead. Even willing to risk tying themselves to the murder of one of the King’s favorites. Why now? What did they know that he didn’t?
He’d have to send a messenger home to find out. In the meantime, he had a gift to send to the Waernich. Darrion pressed the torch into the mud so it would stand. He pulled off his cloak and put the severed head on it. After that, he went to work cutting off the others.
Once that was done, he wiped his sword clean on his cloak before wrapping and tying it around the heads. He sheathed his sword and hauled the makeshift sack over his shoulder, heading to his tent.
Q: Now for the compulsory random question: If you had to choose five books to send to an alien civilisation, what would they be and why?
A: Ooh uhm…
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
And… The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
All because I think they’d give any alien with time to read a good idea about what we humans are like.
Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me!
If you want to know more about Misha, The Five Year Project is the place to go.
Purchase The Vanished Knight here:
Amazon / Amazon UK / Amazon France / Amazon Germany / Barnes & Noble
Thank you, Misha. I loved the excerpt, and wish you every success with your goal. I know you can do it! I'll be back on Friday, with a cover reveal from Crystal Collier. Until then, have a great week.