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Six Elementals Author Interviews will introduce prospective readers to some of the best writers in their genre you may, or may not, have heard of, via a series of six questions. I encourage you to check out the work of these phenomenal creatives! Links to their websites and purchase links will always appear, accompanying the interview. Check them out!

This is a distinct pleasure, in that I have an incredibly talented sci-fi author join me: the amazing A-M Mawhiney! A-M’s currently published works include: “Spindrifts”.

P.L. Can you tell readers who haven’t read your incredible book about some of those themes and why you chose to write them in a sci-fi novel?

A-M: First let me say, P.L., thank you for inviting me to respond to your Six Elementals Interview Questions. 

Throughout my career, first a social worker and then as university professor and administrator, I was always struck by how much we talk about what the current situation is.  Of course that is a crucial start to create change. But how often do we imagine, let alone explore, what our lives could be like  in a healthy world, where people and the lands thrive environmentally, socially,  and economically? What would our day- to- day lives be like? I set out to write about such a world, one consistent with my values and my hopes for the future.

I wrote “Spindrifts” as Sci-Fi, futuristic fantasy because I needed to take the world and myself, entangled as we have been these past three years in a global health crisis, away from the pandemic and into a hopeful place in the future. 

As a straight, white, privileged woman, I have strived through my life to listen and learn from racialized, Indigenous, 2SLGBQT+, differently abled people, and to reflect and act  in creating spaces for multiple voices beyond the dominant ones. Personal growth is a life-long journey and has required, at times painful, self-reflection when challenged by others. 

So, I set about to write about a world as visualized in one small community and a four-generation family of trailblazers, a microcosm., if you will, of the whole of Earth. You described my world so eloquently, P.L, when you reviewed “Spindrifts”, as «…a somewhat Utopian – not perfect, but a world that has moved past pervasive issues such as racism, homophobia, sexism… ». 

In the world I long for, every person is included and fully supported in all ways to maximize their potential and live an authentic and satisfying life. That is what I tried to create in “Spindrifts”. 

P.L.: And it is an absolutely beautiful world, the kind of world I hope we as a species can achieve one day! Who are some of your favourite authors, and their novels, and why do you enjoy them so much? Have any of them inspired your own writing?

A-M: Since I was seven years old, I have been mostly found with a book in my hands. I became a speed reader at a very early age and, no matter how busy I am, I read every day. So there are many books I have loved to read.  

As an adult I gravitated to thrillers because good ones are action-paced. However, here, I will focus on sci-fi and fantasy books. As a teen and while at university, I escaped the academic world by readying books such as Frank Hebert’s “Dune” series, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Avalon” series. Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series  also became a go-to read long before the T.V. Brough words to life. These all appealed because of the imaginative worlds they created and the well-crafted stories and characters. With these books I often dreamed at night about being in the stories. While reading them I lived and breathed them, getting little else done, I must confess.

More recently, I have enjoyed, of course, your own ”Drowned Kingdom Saga’s” first two novels, and had the same experience of joining Lord Orthum on his epic adventure in dreams, as I had reading the epic stories of my younger years. I seldom dream about novels any more. It is a sign that I have been captivated (captured?) by what I am reading. 

Mikaela Brewer’s “The Sifting Project” made me think about neuro-diversity in new ways, and her storyline was complex and spellbinding. I have read Eve Koguce’s “Neglected Merge” and have downloaded the remaining two in her trilogy. The book that helped me at the beginning of my writing of “Spindrifts” was Michael Grant’s “Gone” series. It showed me how a simple world can turn out to have rich complexities well beyond what is imagined in the beginning chapters. 

There are many more I would like to mention but these are top of mind as fantasy and sci-fi I have read through the years. 

P.L.: Those are some great authors that you mention. Thank you for the kind words about the “Drowned Kingdom Saga”. How would you classify your work?

A-M: As part of a manuscript review for my sequel, “Spelldrifts”, the editor told me my books fit into a relatively new genre called Solarpunk, because the two novels are focused on sustainability, optimism, and inclusion. I set out to write a Utopian, futuristic fantasy with sci-fi elements, but discovered dystopian qualities slipping in as I wrote.

P.L: I’m very excited to read “Spelldrifts”! Will you stick to the sci-fi genre or write in other genres as well?

A-M: Five years ago if someone had asked me what kind of novel I would write I would have said a thriller. Actually, I would have said I had no plan to start writing. But when I started writing, I realized what I wanted to say would have to be written in the future as a fantasy novel. My plans now are to stick with the same genre.

P.L.: Can you tell us a bit, please, if possible, about what projects you are currently working on?

A-M: I am in revisions of a sequel, “Spelldrifts”, that brings the reader to the land of Hope around 30 years after “Spindrifts” ends just as the world is on the verge of evolving. “Spelldrifts” introduces the next generation of family members. “Spelldrifts” occurs in the evolved world when people of Hope encounter new challenges that could change everything. 

By early Fall 2023, “Spindrifts” will be released as an audiobook.

I am now being encouraged by young family members to do a spin off of graphic novels using the same characters. And the other day I found myself mulling about a book of short stories about the Land of Hope, one side story for each character, to show more of their life away from the stories in the two novels. 

But first, I need to finish “Spelldrifts” and send it into the world of readers.

P.L.: I would love to read anything you write, including a graphic novel! How have you found the writing community on social media? Do you believe being on social media as an author is critical to success?

A-M: It is an incredible community on social media for writers, and while social media is important for promotion, the most important part is connecting with people who you can support and who will support you in your journey. I have made many lasting friendships with writers I admire through social media. In addition, I have been introduced to some fantastic books that have become some of my favourites, through media such as Twitter.

P.L.: A-M, I have truly enjoyed our chat and I really appreciate you joining me on Six Elementals Interviews! Thank you so much!

A-M: Thank you again for inviting me to chat about “Spindrifts”. I appreciate your interest and this interview has given me new insight into my writing journey. 

Contact A-M:

Twitter: @ammawhiney
Instagram: @ammawhiney

Buy Spindrifts:



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