Ian  H. McKinley

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Ian H. McKinley

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Born
in Calgary, Canada
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Member Since
December 2014


Ian McKinley, a Writers' Federation of New Brunswick "Prélude Emerging Writer" at the 2016 Frye Festival (Atlantic Canada's largest literary event), writes Fantastic Realism, fantasy in which alignments and/or collisions of human interests and values drive the narrative rather than clashes of pure good against ultimate evil. He released his second novel, Harbinger, Book One of Northern Fire, in April in advance of the Frye Festival.

Ian was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ten days later, his parents dragged him off to live in Northern Ireland until the age of five. Then they dragged him back to Canada, to live in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (Canada has interesting place names, many dealing with wildlife such as Moose Factory, Bear Beach, etc.
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Ian H. McKinley They're good questions. Here are some thoughts:

Conceptualizing the Plot: I think that all authors are different in how they figure out what the plot i…more
They're good questions. Here are some thoughts:

Conceptualizing the Plot: I think that all authors are different in how they figure out what the plot is and how to go about telling the story to get from point A to point Z. In the acknowledgements of Gallows Gem, I noted how the project started as a mess and how I needed to bring order to the narrative and figure out a plot from a lot of disparate pieces.

What really helped me as I went along was that I had a very good feel for at least three principal characters (Charano, The Red Fox, and Ruknor), so I knew where they would want to go and how their arcs should unfold. That provided half the formula. I needed to get Charano into the citadel and then into the Saint Garyn Temple, first with his plan in mind, and then reacting to the sweep of events carrying Prallyn along towards disaster. I needed to get the Red Fox to intersect those plans. And, I needed Ruknor to renege on his promise and return home.

That left me to figure out what they would be up against, but I focussed on the characters, not the narrative. That allowed me the space to see where powerful, driven people would take Prallyn as it lurched towards the abyss. Ferina Saradin, Siko Bikoyo, the Duke of Blackabbey, Archprelate Lovyn, Prelate Stanfyr, Miss Thrynn took the narrative to where it needed to go just by advancing their own interests and being true to themselves. At some point I did have to make sure the timing was all aligned, but I really just hung on for the ride in many ways.

Thinking Up Names: This is tricky, because the names have to ring true with the culture from which the character hails … I couldn’t have a Baranthu warrior called Steve after all! The Baranthu names were heavily influenced by East and Southern African naming conventions, and that was easiest in many ways. They likely stand out for readers in Gallows Gem. The Thryll names often had a practical descriptor, “eg. Stoutwall or Blackabbey” or had a “Y” in them, just to give them a common look and feel.

I have taken this a step farther in Harbinger … for the Fjordlanders, I took either some genuine Norse names, or I tweaked them by changing, adding or subtracting a letter (Helgya arising from Helga, for example). When they get to Straeland, I gave the names a Germanic feel by doing the same thing to German names (Wolfgar arising from Wolfgang). It seems to work.

Pronunciation: An audio file might well be a good idea … especially seeing as I now seem able to generate them! In the absence of such guidance, though, I dare say that a reader is right to pronounce the names in whatever way adds verisimilitude to the narrative. I won’t hold it against you! (less)
Ian H. McKinley I cease and desist! I do other things that need doing as a writer ... editing, updating my website, researching, marketing. This helps me preserve the…moreI cease and desist! I do other things that need doing as a writer ... editing, updating my website, researching, marketing. This helps me preserve the habit of doing writing work during my assigned times. However, I find I get writers block when I don't know where to take the story, and I have found the bulk of my solutions come when I'm hiking. So, going for hikes seems to work for me.(less)
Average rating: 4.41 · 32 ratings · 23 reviews · 3 distinct works
Harbinger (Northern Fire #1)

4.32 avg rating — 19 ratings2 editions
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The Gallows Gem of Prallyn

4.54 avg rating — 13 ratings — published 2014 — 2 editions
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Up and Under

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Big News!

Ian is pleased to announce that the Ottawa-based publisher, Lugar Común Editorial, has secured the rights to the Northern Fire series. The publisher, trough its speculative fiction imprint Ojo de Vidrio, will publish the series in five volumes, beginning with Harbinger and The Broken Dream early in 2020. The third volume, The Winter Wars, is tentatively scheduled for release in the summer of 2020. Read more of this blog post »
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Published on January 13, 2020 08:18
Harbinger
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The further tales of the Black Company, now in their original southern continent. The majority of the book made me think of Ocean's Eleven ... you know, the opposite of Reservoir Dogs wherein everything goes wrong. I thought that too much was going r ...more
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