Show of hands. Who's been to Canada?
The Six Month Winter
It doesn’t take long before folks figure out that I’m Canadian. I try to inject as much Canadiana into my work as possible, even when it is fantasy and science fiction. Canadians have difficult cultural ticks, different unspoken rules, and different laws than the US. I want my work to reflect that differentness. Easier said than done.
When I first ran “Harvest Moon” by my American beta readers, many pointed out my “typo.” See if you can catch it:
Six moons would pass before the spring thaw, relieving her of seeing her masculine features.
Spot it yet? It was the “six moons” (six months) phrase. I had a lot of feedback saying that winters are never six months in the US Midwest. I asked why did they think it was even set in the US. The response? They didn’t realize it could be set anywhere else. I laughed it off and developed a scene where Dancing Cat actually mentions the geography of the area. The beta readers put the story in the Northwest Territories. A little too far north, but at least closer. A few more twinks and most people figured out that I was writing about Northern Alberta, Canada.
(Americans, don’t feel picked on. My content editor is British and was quite shocked by the length of winter!)
Injecting other cultures and changing up the setting in fiction really helps challenge both the reader and, I believe, the author. It would have been easy for me to have placed Harvest Moon in Idaho or Montana. However, it would have changed the small, subtle differences: what people ate, what people wore. It was those differences, those tiny layers of texture, that I felt changed the tone of the story.
As an author, I feel that it’s important to include different peoples, different cultures, and even different sexual orientations. It’s even more fun when you take those differences and toss them into the mix of a stereotype or cliché. It makes for a rather interesting salad.
Harvest Moon is Krista’s debut single-title work, is out now through Canada’s newest publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. Krista can be found lollygagging on the internet at www.kristadball.com and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/kristadb1). She complains about zombies on her blog and her step-children on Twitter. What’s even funnier is that the kids follow her blog and the zombies follow her Tweets.Buy HARVEST MOON
UPDATE: Here is a free coupon for "The Amazing Transformation of Wicca Dog" over on Smashwords :) It's valid until October 10!
Thank you, Krista!