This is the future, and I often hang out in virtual worlds. And in these virtual worlds I occasionally meet and become friends with real people, a lot of them authors. One of these authors interviewed me for his blog, which was fun, but even better he interviewed a very interesting and talented writer who’s book I’m reading right now: Jane Watson
An excerpt from the interview: “Hindustan Contessa is a novel set in Australia and India which follows the journey of an Australian couple, as they travel in an Indian car to meet the husband’s Indian grandmother for the first time, in his family’s ancestral village. The novel’s title comes from a particular car once manufactured in India, the Hindustan Contessa, which the couple travels in, and which seemed to me a fitting image of a dual culture. This car, once made by Hero motors of India, was an imitation of a modern Western style car with a dash of Indian style. It attempted, I felt, to have a foot in both cultures. I wanted it to symbolise the cultural identity crisis that the main characters face.”
Another major part of the story is about the couple being kidnapped and held for ransom in a cave up in the Indian hills — which is beautifully foreshadowed in the book’s introduction, a particularly visual and immediate telling of Persephone’s journey into the underworld.
You can read more about the story, its creation, and the creative process: An Interview with Jane Watson by Alexander M Zoltai.
While I have never met Alex or Jane, at least not in person, I get to hang out with them through the magic of virtual reality, interacting with them in a video-game-like environment that enables communication on a level that I still find astonishing. All physical boundaries dissolve. The people involved in these discussions are from all over the world, with very different backgrounds and viewpoints, but all having common interests. The only barrier that I really find is the one of time zones. The place where we meet and discuss is called Book Island, on a system called Second Life (the continued existence of which seems to be a surprise to a lot of people — when in fact Second Life is not only alive and well, but thriving).
You can find out more about Alexander M Zoltai, his book Notes From An Alien, and his attempts to influence world peace, at his blog. Also you can find our interview as well: Author Interview with Jerry J. Davis.