I finished my latest read much faster than I usually finish a book, considering my tendency to be the slowest reader on the planet, only because I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out more about the author who wrote the book that now sits way up there in the lofty favourite TWO dystopian fantasy books I’ve ever read. Not only does it speak of humanity, what we’ve become, and where we might go, it’s a fabulously addictive tale, told in that magical way that only the literary masters have, of sucking you right in to their worlds. Many thanks to author D Wallace Peach, for graciously allowing us access into her life and for sharing some of her fascinating thoughts with us here today. I’ll share my review of The Bone Wall first, and my strongest suggestion for you all to head right over to Amazon and buy it, directly after reading the thoughts of a truly awesome writer and person. This is one of those books that really opens your heart and eyes to our reality in the most enjoyable way. By the way – this is the first book I’ve ever read so far that has brought on an undeniable urge to create some fan art. I’ve already started on it, so watch this space for my vision of Rimma and Angel’s world.
Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.
For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.
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Now meet the fabulous author herself, and much gratitude to D Wallace Peach for taking the time out of her very busy (and also extremely interesting by the way) life, to answer my nosy questions.
1. The Bone Wall is the first of your books that I’ve read so far, and it blew me away with the imagery of possibility. What inspired you to write this particular story?
First, Jo, thanks so much for giving me a chance to chat with your readers. I love talking books and writing.
I’d describe myself as a happy, peaceful person with a despairing streak that occasionally demands a voice. Since I started writing, my books have become increasingly pessimistic and violent. I know it’s in response to the disheartening world news and a fatal case of denial when it comes to the health of our planet. I worry about the way our obsession with money reduces people to objects, statistics, and impediments to success versus intrinsically valuable, one-of-a-kind lives. The idea of being our brother and sister’s keeper seems a thing of the past, disregarded through manipulative reasoning and self-serving righteousness.
As an author, I often ask the question “what if?” and then follow that through, sometimes into very dark corners. The Bone Wall was a journey I personally needed to take; I needed to purge myself of all that anxiety and anger by laying out that dire vision of the future.
2. You have an obvious deep understanding of the human psyche, and while the setting for the book is so dark, there’s a definite undercurrent of hope. I’m hoping that this story isn’t prophetic like those of Jules Verne. Do you think that humanity can avoid an outcome like Rimma and Angel’s terrifying future?
At times, I think human beings are hell-bent on annihilation, and I truly do believe our current trajectory is unsustainable. We can’t kill our way to peace, or expect a poisoned world to sustain us.
That said, there are incredible people, ordinary people all of the world with amazing vision, whose hearts are led by compassion, who don’t make decisions based on personal gain. I read their stories every day in blogland and feel heartened! I have hope that when things get bad enough, reason will prevail. I honestly believe love is a more powerful force than fear.
3. The Bone Wall seems to be just a title until you read the book, when those three words take on a much greater significance. How did it come to you?
Titles are easy; they just pop into my brain. The book plays with the idea of “brokenness:” physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually, in human beings, communities, and the world. Bone walls became the tangible, psychological, and metaphorical graveyards we build when we act without compassion.
4. When did you write your first book, and what was it about?
I’m going to skip off on a little tangent here to describe how my first book came about.
Everyone knows that on September 11 two jets flew into the World Trade Center. I was working in Connecticut, about 2 hours from ground zero, and I remember sitting in a conference room, watching the second tower fall. That tragedy initiated a process of redefinition for me, an evaluation of what was important. Life felt short and precarious, and after 18 years in business, I started to wonder if it might be time to do something that actually mattered.
I quit my job and went back to school for a Masters in Pastoral Counseling and a mountain of debt. I worked for peanuts – but, Jo, they were chocolate covered! The human experience was sweet and rich. I had the pleasure of working with people who cared deeply about the challenges facing children and families, and I came to understand how the power of relationship, in all its myriad forms, can change the world. In my first book, Myths of the Mirror, it’s called the Belonging.
Then life got in the way again, and I made a move to Oregon. In a moment of loving kindness, my husband suggested that I write a book rather than work, and Myths of the Mirror poured onto the keyboard. It was a story I needed to tell, for myself and for the young women I counseled, and for that reason, it remains close to my heart.
It’s a sweet tale about choices and how our choices define who we are and who we want to be. I believe we have the capacity to write our own stories, and can often change the narrative if we are brave enough to do so.
In Myths of the Mirror, two young people, Conall and Treasa, face their fears, make new choices, and ultimately create the space in their lives for love. This all occurs in the context of saving dragons from their imprisonment in the lair. It’s low on violence and appropriate for YA and adult readers.
5. Do you write in more than one genre?
No, not at this point. Some of my books might border on science fiction, but it’s soft science.
6. Do you believe that writers have a responsibility to share their own truths with readers?
Not really. I feel called to do that, but there are so many different kinds of writers and readers. I love getting caught up in my stories and value the freedom I have to write what speaks to my heart and conscience. I want all writers to have that freedom. There are millions of readers out there for all kinds of books.
7. What are you working on now?
I have four books coming out this summer! Yes, four! The Dragon Soul Trilogy is a sequel to Myths of the Mirror. It’s been with my publisher for well over a year and is chomping at the bit for release. It takes the concept of choice to the next step with far more at stake.
I also have a lighter book, The Sorcerer’s Garden, set for late July. This one is a combination urban/medieval fantasy that was really fun to write and is full of adventure and sassy humor. I wrote it after The Bone Wall when I really needed a break from all that doom and gloom.
8. Do you have a writing den? Share your process with us, and any tips for those just starting out on the writing path.
I have a lovely writing room above my husband’s workshop where I’m surrounded by little bits of inspiration: pieces of nature and art. I need large chunks of quiet time to rummage around in my imaginary worlds and the heads of my characters, and I find nesting in my loft is just the thing.
I write from a fluid outline with plenty of room for the characters to tell their stories. It’s all loosey-goosey until the first draft is finished. Then I whip that manuscript into shape with a 7-step methodology for rewrites and edits that a drill sergeant would be proud of. After that, I take six months to run the whole thing through my critique group.
Tips for starting out? Oh, write what you love. Read, read, read. Learn everything you can about the craft and then follow your instincts. Join a critique group and embrace constructive criticism; it’s a writer’s best friend.
9. Tell us about the person behind the writer. What are your loves, and what are your loves not so much? What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not wandering around inside my imagination, I’m a granny of a two-year-old overload who makes me laugh. As a volunteer, I support the arts in my town, and I would love more time to garden. I loathe housework and I’m a miserable cook.
Recently I’ve become an activist, fighting plans for the installation of a huge natural gas pipeline through the forests of my mountain home and through my town’s drinking water supply. I often put my characters in situations where they have to take a stand for what they believe in. It’s only right that I do the same; they wouldn’t let me live it down if I didn’t.
Told you all it was fascinating stuff! Thanks again Diana for joining us today, and off you zoom to buy this truly wonderful book. Hook up with D Wallace Peach from the links below, and check out her other books – I will be reading all of them and any more that arrive later.