The Call of the Rift: Veil
By: Jae Waller
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Return to Jae Waller’s wondrous and war-torn colonial world in this captivating second instalment in the Call of the Rift series
“[A] stunning debut . . . An intricately lush and well-crafted new fantasy that deserves (and demands) a sequel.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review of Call of the Rift: Flight
The Blackbird Battle has left all sides devastated. The wind spirit Suriel has disappeared. A hard winter is coming, and famine stalks the land. Kateiko Rin returns to her people, ready at last to rejoin her community, but the dangers of the unsettled times come raging to her doorstep. Kako is left with no choice but to battle the forces that seek to open a rift between the worlds. Leading an unlikely alliance that includes her new love Airedain and her old one Tiernan, Kako must risk all to try and stop the coming disaster.
Author Jae Waller returns to her riveting alternate world of brooding rainforests in a colonial time and to her headstrong, troubled heroine in this compelling second volume of the Call of the Rift quintet.
1) A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
- I didn’t originally intend for the love interest from book 1, Tiernan, to be in Veil. But as I started drafting this book, I realized his story with the protagonist, Kateiko, wasn’t done. So his fans will get to see him again!
- I’d planned for Kateiko and her crew to use Parr Manor, the site of a few key scenes in book 1, as a home base in this book. It’s fun to revisit locations and turn the context on its head. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit with the narrative, so instead they use the Knox Arms (a pub from book 1.)
- Kateiko’s friend and new love interest, Airedain, has a reputation for being promiscuous. An earlier draft of Veil revealed three of his past relationships, but I had to cut the mention of one for pacing. I’m hoping to eventually cover the cut one in a short story instead.
2) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
Airedain’s long been my favourite. He’s a live wire, so his reactions are always raw and intense. When he’s being flirty and teasing, he’s fun to write; when his pain and anger boils over, it’s emotional to write.
He was also the hardest character to wrangle, though, partly because he struggles with substance abuse. The first draft of the book didn’t let his best qualities shine through – kindness and bravery and determination – so I wound up reworking his entire character arc. Both he and the story are so much better for it.
3) If you could ask a character of your choice from VEIL one question what would it be?
There’s a scene where Kateiko is an emotional wreck, screams at her best friend Iannah, and remembers none of it the next day – so what she says is a mystery in the narration. Even I don’t know the specifics. I’d love to ask Iannah for a recap of that night.
4) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
The scene from the cover, on the snowy tundra under the Aurora Borealis. It’s cinematic, and it’s also a turning point for so many characters. Nobody leaves that scene as quite the same person they were before. It’s sort of a moment of “we don’t live in the same world anymore.”
5) Being a sequel, was there a scene in VEIL that was gratifying or you had been looking forward to since the first book?
I’m secretly a hopeless romantic, so I was looking forward to Kateiko and Airedain’s friendship growing into a relationship. I rarely write out of chronological order, but the first scene I wrote for this book happens about a third of the way in, and it’s them playing a version of truth or dare. The details changed over time, but the heart of the scene is still the same.
6) Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book? Or a scene that made you very emotional?
The whole showdown at the end was tough, haha. It was a huge technical challenge to get all the characters in the right place at the right time. But on an emotional level, the second-last scene was probably the hardest. It’s sort of like the calm after a storm. I weep at the drop of a hat, so I cried while writing it, then every time I edited it.
7) What is your favorite part of the world you created for VEIL? Was there an aspect that you struggled with but still felt compelled to include?
Of all the world-building for this series, my favourite part in Veil is the chapter at Bódhain, a harvest festival and the ’day of the dead.’ It’s loosely based on the Celtic festival Samhain, so the Bódhain chapter is like a spooky pagan Hallowe’en: bonfires, ritual sacrifice, drums and bagpipes, turnip jack-o-lanterns, and people in disguise (or are they people…?)
Linked to that, one aspect I’ve had to balance throughout this series is how much of the in-world religious beliefs to make canonically ‘true.’ Writing about religion is tough to do respectfully. I’ve left a lot of it ambiguous, but some of the spiritual aspects start to solidify into reality in this book.
8) What is next for you? What are your currently working on?
I’m currently writing the third book in the series. This book is going to be WILD. It features a lot of the same people and places, but from a different perspective that changes everything. I’m excited, and I hope people will enjoy it – and Veil, too!
Jae Waller grew up in a lumber town in northern British Columbia. She has a joint B.F.A. in creative writing and fine art from the University of Northern British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Now living in Melbourne, Australia, she works as a novelist and freelance artist.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by the publisher.