My guest today is Xena Semikina, here to talk about her novel Avalanche and its unique look at a unique bond.
Thank you very much, Shae, for hosting me today. It’s the final stop of my blog tour for my book Avalanche. As usual, I will start with a short blurb to introduce my book to those who are joining us for the first time and then I will move on to today’s topic.
This is a novel about friendship, maybe in its unusual, extreme form. The two main characters, Mike and Nick, meet in the Alps on a scientific expedition. They become very close, but struggle to place their relationship in the context of their lives. They fear that the bond between them will not survive outside their research hut, and that the outside world will present challenges impossible to overcome. But then a tragic accident changes their lives forever… This story is an investigation into the nature of ties between people, the limits of loyalty and the power of conventions.
Does life make any sense?
In my book Avalanche I elevate friendship to the status normally afforded to love. Since time immemorial love has been variously described as ‘powerful, ‘divine’, ‘sublime’, ‘devastating’. Everybody knows it can make you move mountains or it can kill. If it’s love, and not friendship, that can make you experience these mighty feelings, it must be something specific to love that does it. Is it the sexual desire that gives you these special powers? With this story I challenge the idea that the act of sexual penetration is capable of something like that.
This is my last stop and to mark the occasion I will take a quick dive into the very core of the story’s conflict. My characters are aware that the reason why it’s so difficult for them to build a life together is because their union challenges no more no less than the established order. They call into question not only the traditional concept of family, as a homosexual couple would do, but also the nature itself, the very fabrics of procreation. They can’t justify the passion they share, they can’t explain to people around them what is really going on between them, and eventually they find themselves in a world of their own that makes sense only to them. However, from this vantage point they are able to see what others do not, and from their perspective it’s the world around that has gone mad and life itself doesn’t make any sense.
This is an extract from chapter 28. In this scene Mike has to leave Nick for longer than usual to attend to his family duties, in other words to play games he no longer believes in. Nick is still battling through his leg injury and Mike has severe misgiving about leaving him on his own. Nick, on the other hand, is concerned about Mike, who has too many problems to grapple with and at this point in time is too mentally and physically exhausted to juggle them all. Here we are in Nick’s POV.
‘Will you be okay?’ slipped off Nick’s lips. He knew it was a rhetorical question.
‘Of course,’ Mike smiled. ‘I’m inspired enough to produce a masterpiece of hypocrisy.’
‘Where do you draw the inspiration from?’
‘Life… The stupidity of it. You simply can’t find another arrangement where absolutely nothing makes any sense. Parts simply don’t stick together to make the whole, but somehow it exists.’
If that was the quality of life, Nick’s defeatist feelings were absolutely right. They were struggling for nothing. There was little point in sorting out one set of problems, when life would immediately introduce another one. It was like a defective gene, which could never produce a healthy protein. The question was: ‘Was it worth it?’ Was there a better arrangement for them?’ He was looking into Mike’s eyes and he felt like they were reading each other’s mind, as though everything he was thinking of was in fact their joint musings.
He didn’t know if he had really tried his hand at telepathy, but what happened to him on Saturday he couldn’t describe as anything other than premonition. He was completely deranged by anxieties by then. It could have made him hyper-sensitive, or indeed simply deranged, he reasoned. Whatever the reason was, sitting here, in this cafeteria under the spring sun, he suddenly got a clear feeling that a misfortunate event was about to occur. His feeling didn’t carry any further message, but his mind did the rest. He feared the worst…
Avalanche is available on Amazon US at $2.90 and on Amazon UK at £1.81. ePub is available at the Apple store and Kobo at £1.99 and the equivalent in $ (sorry, don’t know the exact price as I have never caught a glimpse of the US respective stores).
Blog tour stops for Avalanche
1) 20 November 2014 Lane Hayes https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/blog/
2) 22 November 2014 Kim Fielding http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/category/blog/
3) 24 November 2014 Anne Barwell http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
4) 26 November 2014 Sophie Bonaste http://sophiebonaste.blogspot.co.uk/
5) 28 November 2014 Shae Connor http://shaeconnorwrites.com
About Xena Semikina
Xena is a novelist and a lawyer in criminal practice, with a distant background in computer science. Writing has always been her passion, which she has been pursuing actively for well over a decade. She has written four novels and has published one, entitled Avalanche. She lives in London with occasional trips to the South of France and the North of Russia.
Xena can be found on Twitter @Xena5000 and Facebook as Xena Semikina. Her blog can be found here: http://xenasemikina.wordpress.com/