Can you, in less than five words describe your book?
Poems, short stories, war’s aftermath
What inspired you to write it?
An Anthology of Battle is a collection of short stories and poetry set around the theme of war. Each piece was inspired by a different element or set of elements including:
· The challenge to try a different form of writing or poetry (War’s End, A Window on Salukia, A Vignette for Rashkah);
· A dream scene that I wanted to explore further in words (Jacob’s Vision);
· A televised news report (Keeping the Peace);· A picture (A Vignette for Rashkah);
· A television documentary (A Vignette for Rashkah);
· The idea of combining elements from a setting—Ancient Egypt—with a genre—science fiction (Jalaya);· A poetry workshop (Death at War’s End).
C. M. Simpson had difficulty choosing an excerpt.
"Of all these pieces, I have two that haunt me, so I am torn when it comes to an excerpt. Both are science fiction tales and both have elements of romance woven through them, but the one that holds precedence, by a whisker, is Jalaya. This excerpt is taken from the point in the story where the hero and his daughter return to town and re-unite with the heroine, only to be parted by duty once more":
And here it is;
“What did she mean when she said she could not reach me in time?” Michelle asked.
“It was my fault,” Michael answered. “You were sleeping over at Nela’s house. Your mother hadn’t wanted you to go, but I said you’d done nothing wrong and shouldn’t be punished. She couldn’t argue with that, so you went. You weren’t home when the time came to leave. I’m sorry.”
“I remember. At the time, I thought you were the best of fathers, and she was the worst mother in the world. It’s you I should have been mad at, not her!”
“Don’t be. I’m mad enough at me for the two of us,” Michael said. “Now come, Defender, let’s get the discs up and see if we can bring our people home. We need to clear those raiders off the ridge.”
As he spoke, rifle fire sounded from just beyond the outskirts of the town. They ran for the stairs. To their surprise, Caroline was still in the hotel. She had opened both crates and laid the remaining discs and sandrunners in two orderly rows. Glancing up as they burst through the door, she stood, dusting her hands against the wedding gown’s tattered folds.
“I did not want to leave without saying goodbye,” she said.
Michael just stared at her.
“Why are you wearing white?” was all he could think to say.
“Because I love you and our wedding is long overdue. And tonight is special. I don’t want to wear just anything.”
“But, what if…”
Caroline laid a finger on his lips.
“I know it’s ten years old, and I know it’s no longer white, but it’s the best thing I have, the one thing that reminds me most strongly of you. And enough to remind my father of our pledge, before he kills you, when we get to the other side.”
Michael just stared at her.
“You surely don’t think you’re the only one to feel mad about me staying behind, are you? Father is going to want answers, and our son…” She stopped, tears glistening in her eyes.
Another staccato burst of gunfire came to them.
Caroline laid her hands on Michael’s forearms, and squeezed gently.
“It will take an hour and the raiders are close. I have to go now.”
Michael had no more words. His fear of losing her was a tangible thing, a night-beast waiting to pounce, a raider’s bullet seeking her in the dark, a sand eater’s retaliation. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight.
“I’ll wait for you at the Lower Docks,” she said, and before he could protest, she had slipped out of his embrace and hurried to the hotel entrance. To his surprise, she drew back from the door, just before a blaze of light illuminated the threshold. When it was gone, she slipped out into the night, leaving Michael staring after her in awe.
More gunfire had Michael on the hotel porch before he knew what he was doing. He came to his senses and ducked low into the street, relaxing only when he saw the familiar white blur of Caroline’s figure hurrying towards the river.
“She’s okay,” he said, returning to Michelle.
His daughter just nodded, her face pale, her eyes showing desolation.
“She didn’t say goodbye,” his daughter whispered. “She just left me again.”
Thank you so much for sharing :)
C. M. Simpson has a number of other anthologies available.
If you would like to read more, check out these links;