Today, we’re sitting down with author Dominica Malcolm. She has a new novel coming out and an imagination sure to get you dreaming. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this unique interview.
Tell us a little bit about your first novel, ADRIFT. Share a favorite line/passage with us and anything else we should know.
Adrift is about Jaclyn Rousseau, a woman in her 20’s who just happens to be a 17th century pirate. She crosses through time into 2011, after losing everything that meant anything to her, and has to navigate this strange new world to find herself. I set the story across both time periods (17thC and 21stC), as well as in several locations – New York, Washington DC, Barbados, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean, London, and Edinburgh.
I’m still working on the release date. My editors/proofreaders should be going over my manuscript now so I’m hoping for some better news about a release come the end of July or early August.
Here is an excerpt from chapter one that I’m quite fond of (though it may still be changed if my editors tell me it should be):
[Dick] changes tack, and somewhat sarcastically asks, “Okay, so, what next? Are you going to expect me to take you back to New York with me?”
“New York?” Jaclyn asks. “Where is that?”
Dick says, “Let me think what you might be familiar with… it’s near New England.”
“And you travel to Barbados for business?” Jaclyn asks in disbelief. “For how long do you stay here? Months?”
Dick shakes his head, “No. Usually just anywhere between a couple of days to about a week.”
Jaclyn raises her eyebrows at Dick, her disbelief obviously increasing, and says, “I would never have imagined men travelling for weeks across the sea simply for a couple of days of business, unless they are a sailor. Yet you did not suggest you were a ship’s officer.”
A laugh accidentally escapes Dick’s lips when he opens his mouth to reply, but he quickly conceals it and says, “Actually, I fly.”
Jaclyn giggles to herself at the thought, then lies back in the sand and closes her eyes. Speaking to herself, but loud enough for Dick to hear her, she says, “Never in my life have I imagined people flying.”
Lying back in the sand next to Jaclyn, Dick looks up at the clear blue sky with her, and says, “Can I ask you something?”
“You may,” Jaclyn responds.
“What will you miss most about where you’re from, if you have to stay here?”
Her answer is immediate. “Nothing.”
“Care to elaborate?”
Silence falls between them as Jaclyn contemplates her answer. “I lost everything that meant anything to me.” She rolls onto her side to face him and changes the subject by asking, “So when are you going to fly me to this ‘New York’?” The confidence she exudes with the presumption means Dick can’t tell whether she’s asking because she genuinely believes he’ll take her there, or if she just wants to avoid explaining things further.
“I thought you only needed me for the day?”
“That was before you told me people fly now. Do you think I can discover how to do that on my own?”
“The thing is,” Dick says, “there’s a lot of security measures in place that you have to pass before you can fly. The most important of these is getting you a passport—passenger identification. It includes your picture, date of birth, place of birth… that sort of thing. I just don’t know how to organise that for you.”
“Why ever not? You must have a passport of your own.”
“Sure, I know how to get a legitimate one, but I don’t think we can go that route for you. They’re not going to accept a passport that says you were born in sixteen thirty one.”
“Please. Sixteen thirty four. Do not overestimate my year of birth. It causes me offence.”
You’ve been presented with the opportunity to live in a different country or grow up in another century, which scenario sounds more tempting?
I already live in a different country from the one I grew up in! Having said that, I think it would depend on the conditions – could I take the experience of growing up in another century and come back to now, and use it as first hand experience research for my writing? I’m guessing no, so I’d be more likely to choose another country.
If you could live in California or New York, which one would you choose?
Hands down New York. If I had a choice between the two and know I could live there without struggling. I’ve been to both, and I have more friends in California, but there’s a lot more that I love about New York. It’s easier to navigate NYC, the public transport is fantastic, it has Broadway, Central Park, and some of the best museums I’ve ever been to.
I love both places as well 🙂
Okay, how about Brazil or Columbia?
I don’t know anything about Columbia, so I’d pick Brazil. I’ve only spent about a week there and didn’t get to see much, but I’d love to explore the Amazon one day.
What is your favorite book you read in high school (mine was a little know novel called MEN OF KENT)?
I think it’d have to be a toss up between Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. I liked the way the authors explored the darker sides of humanity.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
Aside from getting Adrift ready for publication, I’m mostly working on more mermaid short stories that are spin offs of the novel, and considering ideas for a sequel. Two of my mermaid stories have been published already, but I’d eventually like to collect a bunch together in a book I’ve called Losing Prudence.
Who is your favorite author and if you could ask him/her one question, what would it be?
I guess I should probably say JK Rowling, considering I’ve read the majority of her books, and some more than once. I’d ask her, “How did you keep pushing yourself to keep trying when you kept getting rejections for the first Harry Potter book?” She’s probably answered that in interviews, but I don’t read author interviews much.
That will have to change!
Ocean or mountains? Ocean
Apples or oranges? Apples
Butterfinger or Reese’s? Wow, this is a really American question. I don’t even know what Butterfingers are, but I have had Reese’s, so I’ll go with that.
Happy or sad ending to a novel? It really depends on the novel. I guess I like open endings that leave room for the imagination, but with upbeat closure.
Beer or wine? Wine
Flying or driving? Depends where I’m going and how much time I have. You probably didn’t mean for me to give a long explanation, but I travel a lot, so I’m going to. For example, I’m going to be more likely to drive than fly when I travel within Peninsula Malaysia because it’ll actually take roughly the same amount of time to drive from KL to anywhere I could fly to, when you take into consideration how long it takes to get to the airport, how long you have to be at the airport for, and flying time. The only exception for that is when I went to Langkawi. I actually don’t mind long drives – I’ve even driven from one side of Australia to the other, which took five days there, four days back, and various drives in between. But I love flying to places I can’t drive to. It can sometimes be a hassle if you’re travelling with children, but I like the silence of flying on my own. No interruptions from the internet or anything else. I can just choose to do my own thing.
Mark Twain or James Joyce? Sadly I have not read either of them.
You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take only two things with you and two people as well. What and who are you bringing?
That’s a tough one. I could say my family but I wouldn’t want them to suffer being there with me. Certainly not my kids for that reason. My husband, though, because I think I’d need his support. I guess my second choice would have to be my editor, Jeremiah. The things I’d bring? Pens and lots of paper. Then I could document my time, or simply just have the time to write more. My husband and Jeremiah have both really helped me out with Adrift, so it’d be worth having them there for that part of the process too.
You’re able to sit down with any world leader in history. Who would you choose, what would you talk about, and would you rather have him/her over to your house or at their royal place?
Well, considering the time period of Adrift, meeting Oliver Cromwell or Charles II would do a lot more for me than any research I could have done from reading books. Cromwell is sort of one of my villains, though he’s only mentioned by name rather than appearing as a character. I’d probably pick him, though, to find out more specific things about the state of the religious and political landscape during the period where he was Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. If I had time, I’d probably also talk to him about the Civil War period prior to him ruling the country after Charles I was beheaded. And this might seem silly, but if I’ve already got his attention anyway, I may as well find out from a reliable, time-appropriate source how the word ‘ye’ (as in ‘you’) was used when he was alive. I’ve found a few contradictory thoughts about it that I ended up just having to make an executive decision about how I used it! At least my mother-in-law, who is a linguist, said it was fine for me to do that.
As for where we’d meet, I don’t think I could handle hosting him at my place.
Thank you Dominica for your candid answers and insight into your upcoming book!
Dominica Malcolm writes speculative fiction primarily about pirates and mermaids. You can read one of her completed short stories, which is a spin-off of Adrift, published in the first issue of Plunge Magazine here (Dominica in Plunge). When she’s not writing spec-fic, Dominica blogs at her web site, about subjects like diversity, creativity, travel, and more; dreams of being an improv performer; travels to other cities/countries; and occasionally dabbles in filmmaking. Though originally born and raised in Australia, to American parents, Dominica currently lives in Malaysia with her husband and two children.
Connect with Dominica:
You can also find her pirate character, Jaclyn Rousseau, on Facebook
Dominica has had one of her mermaid stories, Siren, set in 1946 Hawaii, published in Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology. It’s available for purchase on Amazon in full colour and black and white due to the art that was commissioned out of the Indiegogo campaign