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About Andy Havens
I've been writing speculative, fantasy and science fiction since I was eight. I write for a living as a marketing manager and still enjoy writing fiction and poetry on my own time. I've written at least 30% of five different novels but always stopped because they just weren't that interesting to me. Then the Side Ways came along, and I began writing with a new interest and energy for a fantasy world entirely of my own making.
I've always enjoyed being the game/dungeon master for live, pen-and-paper role playing games with friends. Having done the for 30+ years, I knew that one of my favorite parts was the detail work of creating entire cultures, histories and systems beyond simple characters. Because whenever I'd add a new character, the question always persisted: why do they do the things they do?
The Side Ways is an entirely alternate history, with the addition of seven magical Domains ruled by seven Houses that exist in parallel to the world you and I know. The power of the Reckoners within these Domains comes from the unique viewpoints of each House. The connections and conflicts between the the Houses reach back before the beginning of mankind. As children, most Reckoners learn the Song of the Seven as a way to recall their history:
Earth, the Mother, first and last,
Bearing Blood, the eldest sign.
Chaos leaves the patterned path,
Draws out Sight to spy and find.
Flux pulls power from the round.
Increase seeks the gain of gain.
Release opposes any bounds.
Ever balanced, poised Domains.
Each and every, all and one.
Seven equal, seven done.
Now... with every new chapter and character and scene, I get to think and take notes and write about that world, those Domains and their interaction with our view of history.
I'm having a lot of fun with it. I hope you enjoy reading. And let me know if you discover that you're allied with a particular House. I get that from a lot of my readers. ;-)
Kendra White is about to enter such a world.
As she tries to cope with a workaholic mother and a cold, detached therapist, Kendra accidentally cracks the dark glass between our world and that of the Domains. A realm of powerful Reckoners, some thousands of years old, the Domains are home to seven Houses, each guided by the perspectives and priorities of their members. What is fundamental to a Reckoner of Sight may be unimportant or even dangerous to those from Earth, Blood, Release, Increase, Flux and Chaos.
In her struggle to understand the Domains’ history and rivalries, Kendra becomes an inadvertent piece in a power game some six-thousand years in the playing. A game whose last round ended with the Great Flood that nearly wiped the world clean of both Reckoners and ordinary people like you and me.
Now Kendra is forced to navigate a beautiful and dangerous world of power beyond anything she’s ever imagined. A world she must master before it discards her.
Raised as an outsider – a “Mundane” – Kendra tries to make sense of a realm where every observation, decision and ability depends on one’s viewpoints and perceptions. What is fundamental to a Reckoner of Sight may be unimportant or even dangerous to those from Earth, Blood, Release, Increase, Flux and Chaos. And though awakened to the Domains, Kendra is still outside them; she does not belong to any of the related Seven Houses.
In her struggle to understand their history and tensions, she becomes an inadvertent piece in a power game some six-thousand years in the playing. A game whose last round ended with the Great Flood that nearly wiped the world clean of both Reckoners and Mundanes.
In the first book, "Awake," Kendra enters the world of the Domains but struggles to understand the people and creatures she meets there. She is a very rare creature in two ways; she is the daughter of two Houses – Release and Increase – and was raised outside the knowledge of the Domains. She is unaffiliated, and this is not only confusing for her, but dangerous.
Most Reckoners grow up within a Domain where life, the world and access to powerful, supernatural Ways depend on your House’s perspective. In addition, the Law that guides interaction between the Houses does not apply to outsiders. Two strange events in one day – an odd and frightening Rorschach test and a dangerous encounter in the topiary garden she helps care for – bring her to partial awareness of the Domains. But she is still an outsider and does not yet completely accept that these events aren’t just elements of her imagination.
Brought to Solomon Monday, the Librarian and Master of Sight, she is given a deadly test that will either fully awaken her Reckoning, or be her death.
In the second book, “Aware,” Kendra learns more about her powers and begins to glimpse the ancient tensions between the Houses. She is brought into the confidence of powerful Reckoners who begin to put the pieces together of a sinister, conspiracy on behalf of two of the Houses to overthrow the long peace of the Law and return the world to a time of bloodshed and global, magical war.
But while they make plans and solidify assumptions, Kendra discovers that even this treachery may hide a deeper, more fundamental danger to the Domains.
In the near (quite near) future, a combination of hyper-realistic 3D imagery and seemingly human artificial intelligence will force us to ask questions about what it means to live, work and love in a world where our best friends may not be quite, well... human.
You may need a graduate degree from MIT to understand today's most complex software questions... but that won't help you understand women.
Someday, though... it might.