Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by DJ Daniels.
Information about DJ Daniels:
DJ Daniels is an Australian author and musician. She writes when she manages to get her husband and two daughters out of the house and during lulls in the ongoing dog-lizard war. (Lizards are well ahead.) Her first novel, What the Dead Said, was followed by a raft of short stories which have appeared in publications such as Aurealis, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and So It Goes. She was a judge for the 2012 Aurealis Awards and is one of the Sydney Story Factory's Ambassadors of Ink.
Click here to visit her official website.
Click here to read a review about Green Jay and Crow.
Information about Green Jay and Crow:
“I WAS MEANT TO COME TO BARLEWIN. BUT I WAS NEVER MEANT TO STAY”
The half-forgotten streets of Barlewin, in the shadow of the High Track, are a good place to hide: among the aliens and the couriers, the robots and the doubles, where everyone has secrets.
Like Eva, a 3D-printed copy of another woman, built to be disposable. She should have disintegrated days ago... and she hasn’t.
And now her creator wants her back.
In Green Jay and Crow, DJ Daniels presents a powerful tale of humanity, identity, and the hope that drives us all.
GUEST POST: Green Jay and Crow by DJ Daniels
Let’s start with the birds. Strange, smart beings and with a consciousness very different from our own. When Eva calls Brom a crow she doesn’t mean it as a compliment! But I think crows are wonderful. I love the stories of crows bringing gifts to those that feed them, crows that figure out vending machines, and crows that give people a coin so that they’ll buy them food. Maybe the last one is an urban legend? But I like the story.
Of the two point-of-view characters, Brom (the Crow) was easiest to write. He has that kind of nonchalant, I-don’t-care attitude which is completely contradicted by his desire to poke things with a stick to see what will happen. He thinks he’s about self preservation, but if that’s true he’s not very good at it. He’s loyal. He was fun.
Eva (Green Jay) was more difficult. She is complicated and brave, but a lot of her struggle is internal. I didn’t want to fill her sections with whingeing. I hope I managed that! Her first lines came from a train journey. I was staring out the window and I saw someone walking along with extreme purpose. Determined, late, possibly even angry. If you were doing something illicit, you wouldn’t draw attention to yourself like that. You wouldn’t be fast; you wouldn’t be slow. You’d blend in. Eva has the time to make those kinds of observations. They’re important to her. She wants to be able to blend in too.
As for everyone else, who wouldn’t want a pair of giant robot performers as friends? Not to mention some very helpful aliens.
Barlewin is an imaginary place in all its manifestations, but of course, magpie that I am, it is inspired by the real world. The High Track came, of course, from New York’s High Line. It later transforms into something like the Hovenring cycle path in the Netherlands.
Street Art. Art for everyone to see. It transforms the ugliness of cities into something poetic. It is an ongoing inspiration. Eva’s image, in particular, I gleaned from Melbourne’s Hosier Lane. And there are street art birds everywhere: birds feeding chicks, birds in gas masks, giant birds. Although my first inspiration for the birds was actually from one of the brain training apps that were popular a while ago. A memory/peripheral vision type test in which birds of various types kept popping up. The birds were the only useful thing that came out of my brief dalliance with brain training.
There are all sorts of creatures in Green Jay and Crow. Robots, plant beings, aliens who change their biology, regular humans, and people who are a mix of things. I don’t know what future people will be like, but I do think we will be different. Cyborg at the very least (you could argue that many of us are partly cyborg now). Some biohacks and improvements are likely. The ideas in the book are weird and wonderful, but some of them may eventuate, possibly in more practical ways. We may need them to survive.
Consciousness is another thing. We’re far from understanding it, certainly far from transferring it from one body to another. I hope we do. It’s the most interesting thing about us, and the most surreal.
I don’t know where the idea for that time-locked box came from. Some things you just can’t blame on anyone else but yourself.
This book has been a long time coming. The manuscript won an award in 2014 and then… languished. I’m so glad Rebellion picked it up. And, if there’s a lesson to be learned from Green Jay and Crow, it’s that above all things writers need perseverance mixed with a little hope. Well, so do we all. May it come to you whatever your bird form.