Today Rebecca Roland joins us to talk about her new novel, Fractured Days. Here is the publisher’s description:
Malia returns home the hero of a war she can’t remember. The valley burning under the Maddion’s invasion, the fate of her late husband, the way she resolved the long-time distrust between the Taakwa people and the wolfish, winged Jegudun creatures–all of it has been erased from her memory. Malia hopes to resume training as her village’s next clan mother, but when the symbiotic magic that she and the Jeguduns used to repair the valley’s protective barrier starts to consume more and more of her mind, she’s faced with the threat of losing herself completely.
A powerful being known as “the changer” might hold the solution to her vanishing memories. But the Maddion’s new leader, Muvumo, also seeks the changer, hoping the being will cure them of the mysterious illness killing off his people. Meanwhile, Muvumo’s bride hopes the changer can bring about a new era, one in which she and the other Maddion women no longer need to hold onto their greatest secret.
So what is Rebecca’s favorite bit?
One of my favorite bits about the world in Fractured Days is how the main character, Malia, and her people, the Taakwa, can share memories directly with the Jeguduns, who are winged, wolfish, humanoid creatures that sort of resemble gargoyles. The Jeguduns can take a look at a Taakwa’s memories, and they can show a Taakwa their own memories. And it’s not just like watching a picture on a screen; it’s an immersive experience where you feel and hear and smell what the Jegudun experienced.
Take, for instance, when a Jegudun shares a memory with Malia that involves flying. Malia gets to feel the wind rushing against her. She gets to smell all the scents in that rushing wind: wildflowers, woodsmoke, the dangerous brimstone scent of dragons (yes, there are dragons in this book). She gets to feel the mist coming off a waterfall as she glides beside it in the Jegudun’s memory.
The other thing about sharing memories is that you know exactly what happened. There’s no chance to lie or manipulate the truth. There’s no way to hide events, unless you refuse to share them. The Jeguduns don’t even attempt deception, because it’s not possible for them, which makes them refreshingly honest. And because they can reveal events as they unfolded, I can’t help but think they would make the best eye witnesses, should they ever establish a court system in their world.
And one of the coolest things of all is that the Jeguduns can pass memories down from one generation to the next. So a Jegudun’s grandmother could share all the most pertinent events of her life with her children, and they can share those with their children. Imagine being able to access history like that. I can’t help but think that if we could experience history through our ancestors, we might be better at not repeating mistakes. We might actually have a more peaceful world, because we have vicariously experienced what it’s like to lose that.
For generations, the Taakwa thought the Jeguduns were their enemies. But it’s through the sharing of memories that Malia discovered how her people actually helped the Jeguduns escape their slave masters and establish a home in the valley where the Taakwa live. The ability to fully experience moments of someone else’s life leads to greater understanding. I guess part of me dreams for greater understanding with people who are different, and for the ability to find those things we all have in common, rather than fear those things that make us different.
Rebecca is the author of the Shards of History series, The Necromancer’s Inheritance series, and The King of Ash and Bones, and Other Stories. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Nature, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Stupefying Stories, Plasma Frequency, and Every Day Fiction, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can find out more about her and her work at rebeccaroland.net or follow her on Twitter at @rebecca_roland.