Today I am interviewing Thoraiya Dyer, author of the new fantasy novel, Crossroads of Canopy, first book in the Titan’s Forest series.
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DJ: Hey Thoraiya! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
Thoraiya Dyer: Thanks for having me!
DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Thoraiya: Greetings unfamiliar readers! I’m Australian and I used to be a veterinarian with a special interest in birds. Now I’m a science fiction & fantasy writer. I live in a beautiful beachside suburb of Sydney, I’ve won awards for my short stories in venues such as Clarkesworld and Analog magazines, and my first novel, due out from Tor in the US, Crossroads of Canopy, is imminent. Eep!
DJ: What is Crossroads of Canopy about?
Thoraiya: An enormous, magical rainforest, some 300 stories high, hosts a vast city in its canopy, with dark, unknown depths below. Unar, our stubborn protagonist, loses her sister into those depths, and the action kicks off with her heading to the Garden to avoid being sold as a slave.
DJ: What is the “Garden” and what does a “Gardener” do?
Thoraiya: There are thirteen goddesses and gods in Canopy. One for each of the thirteen Kingdoms that make up the vast, treetop city. Incarnated as humans, they need homes as well as worship. They live in their Temples. The Garden is the Temple of Audblayin, the goddess of birth and new life. It’s a walled precinct with all the rare flowers, vines and green things from the far reaches of the world, cultivated and irrigated by Gardeners. They are servants of the Temple. They tend the Garden using magic that stems from their connection to the goddess.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Crossroads of Canopy?
Thoraiya: Sneaking in ecological tidbits from the wonderful natural world around me. If you ever get a chance to taste a quandong, you should! To quote another interview:
“Blue quandong (Elaeocarpus angustifolius) is even more sour than finger lime, and a little bit bitter, but is so satisfying to suck on as you hike through the forest that I’ve foolishly started trying to grow one here in Sydney. These towering hardwoods aren’t really practical for climbing without ropes and harnesses, but flighted birds have usually been squabbling in the branches, knocking down plenty of ripe fruit for both humans and flightless cassowaries to enjoy. Just make sure you wash it so you don’t get rabies-like diseases from flying fox saliva. The luminous blue skin is a structural, light-bending thing which quandong fruit have in common with blue Ulysses butterflies (Papilio ulysses) in a fine example of convergent evolution.
Now isn’t that cool? (If it’s not cool, don’t tell me, ignorance is bliss ;))
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Thoraiya: I hope they’ll be talking about tree-ish settings, or perhaps flawed heroines. I hope they’ll be wondering what happens next! Maybe one or two of them will sit in satisfied silence with All The Feels. Recently I finished reading Juliet Marillier’s Den of Wolves. That’s what I did, for a good fifteen minutes. It was so good.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Crossroads of Canopy that you can share with us?
Thoraiya: I can tell you that the foods I’ve most enjoyed including in Crossroads of Canopy and Echoes of Understorey are magenta cherries and freshwater, tree-hollow-dwelling crabs, respectively! Do you like fish? Unar really *doesn’t*. Here is a quote to illustrate the fact:
“Aoun had wordlessly offered one of the gasping, scaly abominations to her. Its horrible moustaches were like slug feelers and a row of spines stuck up on its back. Unar hit Aoun’s hand away from her so hard that the fish sailed off the edge of the Garden.
Now she would have to get naked in the water with them.”
DJ: Now that Crossroads of Canopy is released, what is next for you?
Thoraiya: Working hard on Books #2 and #3, tentatively titled Echoes of Understorey and Floodwaters of Floor.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Thoraiya-Dyer/e/B00JWM5XI6
Author Newsletter: http://www.thoraiyadyer.com/contact.html
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Crossroads of Canopy that we haven’t talked about yet?
Thoraiya: None of the characters is based on my husband. He’s a teensy bit concerned. Hahaha!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Thoraiya: Thank you again for your interest!
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*** Crossroads of Canopy is published by Tor Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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The highly-anticipated fantasy debut from Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer, set in a giant mythical rainforest controlled by living gods
At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.
Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she wishes to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy’s slaves.
When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance…or grant it by destroying the home she loves.
“I am majorly impressed with Thoraiya Dyer’s Crossroads of Canopy. A unique, gorgeous, and dangerous world, a stubborn female hero, and a writer to watch!”―Tamora Pierce
Thoraiya Dyer is an Australian writer based in Sydney, NSW.
Her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Clarkesworld, Apex, Cosmos and Analog, and anthologies such as “Long Hidden,” “War Stories,” and “The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.” It is forthcoming in “Defying Doomsday” and “Dimension 6” (for a full list, see thoraiyadyer.com ).
Dyer’s time-travel pirate novella, “The Company Articles of Edward Teach”, won the 2011 Ditmar Award for Best Novella/Novelette and Dyer was awarded Best New Talent. In the same year, short fantasy story “Yowie” won the Aurealis Award in its category.
The following year, “Fruit of the Pipal Tree” from Fablecroft anthology “After the Rain” took out the short fantasy category again, and in 2013 a science fiction story about genetically modified metal-eating arthropods, “The Wisdom of Ants,” won both an Aurealis Award and a Ditmar. Her collection of four original stories, “Asymmetry,” available from Twelfth Planet Press, was called “unsettling, poignant, marvellous” by Nancy Kress.
“Wine, Women and Stars,” a short science fiction story originally published in Analog, won the Aurealis Award in 2015.
Dyer’s debut novel, “Crossroads of Canopy,” first in the Titan’s Forest trilogy, is coming from Tor Books in January 2017.
Her novel-length work is represented by the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. She is a member of SFWA. A lapsed veterinarian, her other interests include bushwalking, archery and travel.