All right, I will answer these as I please and continue until I'm tired, then answer more later...
You said it was ok so here goes!
I love your Fams, other authors have had these type of animal/human partnerships: McCaffrey's Pern and Lackey's Valdemar come to mind. What makes your's unique I feel are a couple of things; they have real personality, and those personalities are more consistent with their animal natures. The scene in Heart Thief when D'SilverFir's fam'puppy piddles on the rug is simply perfect. IF a puppy could talk, you know that's exactly what he would say. I guess you can tell I like the Fam's
That said. How did Fam's come about, where they created (DNA manipulated) by Celtan's or evolve once they arrived on the planet?
I think that question would hit on the people themselves. Are Celtan's abilities a funcion of evolution, I know they were predisposed to have the abilities from their exodus of earth, so was it as simple as breeding for their abilities?
MOST OF THE PEOPLE AND FAMS EVOLVED WITH PSI POWER. THE FIRSTFAMILIES COLONISTS HAD STRONG PSI POWER AND SO DID SOME OF THE CREW. THE STARSHIPS WERE GENERATION SHIPS AND SOME OF THE CREW EVOLVED DURING THAT TIME (AS DID SHIPS' CATS). SINCE THEN BOTH HUMAN AND ANIMALS HAVE BRED FOR FLAIR, AND I BELIEVE THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE ATMOSPHERE THAT ENHANCES IT. ALSO, THE MUTATIONS ARE SPEEDING UP, WITH FLAIR BECOMING STRONGER IN THE CHILDREN.
Are there evil fam's? It seems likely, I've known some cat's that were real demons! IN fact we had a bunny when I was a child that would guard our back gate, the one we had to use to get to school, and would attack us every morning on our way. Let me tell you, there is nothing more embarrassing than running from a bunny at 8 in the morning and not escaping fast enough. Bunny urine really smells. And the damn thing would spray it all over you if you didn't run fast enough!
WOW, BUNNY URINE. EWWWW. SO FAR THE MOST EVIL FAM I'VE HAD WAS BLACK PIERRE IN HEART DUEL WHO WAS A CHAPERONE AND SNITCH. IN THE UPCOMING HEART FATE I HAVE A VERY TOUGH DOG WHO LATER BECOMES A FAM, BUT IS MENACING IN THE BEGINNING. I'LL LET WHETHER FAMS ARE EVIL BE DETERMINED BY THE STORY. SO FAR NO REALLY *MEAN* FAMS. (AND EVIL IS SUCH A BLACK WORD FOR ME, MOST OF THE FAMS ARE SELF-INTERESTED AND HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDA, LIKE THE MAGICAL SHAPESHIFTERS IN THE SUMMONING SERIES).
How many earth animal breeds were tranplanted on Celta? You've given personality and intelligence so far to benign animals, we know there are cat's, foxes, horses, and what appears to be bunnies. I'm not sure why include 'pet type' animals in transport and not livestock, but did only domesticated animals make the trip, no lions and tigers and bears?
THE STARSHIP *NUADA'S SWORD* HAS A COMPLETE GENOME OF ALL TERRAN ANIMALS (DNA FOR CLONING OR DEVELOPING). SOME OTHER ANIMAL TYPES WERE "RAISED" AND LET LOOSE ON CELTA, MOST DIED, LIKE ELEPHANTS. THERE ARE LLAMAS OUT THERE.... THE USEFUL SORTS.
I SEE BOTH CELTA AND EARTH HAVING A PREVIOUS COMMON HERITAGE (OTHERWISE THERE COULDN'T BE HYBRIDS AND THERE ARE) WAY, WAY, WAY BACK.
Which is YOUR favorite Fam? I've mentioned the puppy from Heart Thief, and I think he has to be mine so far.
SINCE ALL MINE ARE REALLY BASED ON MY PETS, THAT'S A DIFFICULT QUESTION. WHICHEVER ONE HASN'T PEEVED ME TODAY.
I know this is rather punish, but the Clover's seem to be moving from mid-house status to great house, any chance you could use bee's as a D'Clover's fam? They have a hive mind, why not give it intelligence? And they would make great spies! A new Fam type as they encompass their new house status.
I DON'T KNOW, BEES' HEADS ARE REALLY LITTLE FOR BRAINS...
What exactly is the government of Celta? You've mentioned the council, who exactly are the members? Can a house status fall so much they lose their council seat? Is membership locked to a specific number and specific houses? Can the council be expanded as more houses achieve great house status? Is there any representitive type government for mid and lower houses, or are they disinfranchised?
OK, THIS MAY NOT BE TOTALLY THOUGHT THROUGH, BUT HERE GOES. THE COMMONERS HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL, THE FIRSTFAMILIES HAVE A COUNCIL, THE NOBLES ALSO HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL. I THINK IF YOU ARE OF THE 25 FIRSTFAMILIES YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE A SEAT UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING THAT WILL GET YOUR FAMILY WIPED OUT OR YOU DIE OUT. THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY TRUE IF YOU ARE A NOBLE (AND SINCE POLITICS BORES ME ABOUT ALL YOU WILL EVER SEE IS WHAT WENT ON DURING HEART DANCE). IF YOU ARE A NOBLE, YOU NEED TO CONVINCE OTHER NOBLES THAT YOU'D DO A GOOD JOB ON THE COUNCIL. OF COURSE THERE IS ALSO A BUREAUCRACY.
Does Celta have a constitution? Do Celtan's consider themselves a colony from earth, or refugee's?
I HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT A CONSTITUTION, BUT I'D SAY YES. THEY HAVE SOME STRINGENT LAWS THAT ALL MUST OBEY (MAYBE TABLETS....) CELTAN'S CONSIDER THEMSELVES THEIR OWN PEOPLE. I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF ONE CELTAN WHO WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO EARTH (SHOULD THEY BE ABLE TO FIND IT), THEY WOULD NOT ACCEPT ANY EARTH INTERFERENCE. IT'S BEEN 400+ YEARS SO I DON'T THINK THEY BELIEVE THEY ARE REFUGEES. PERSONALLY, I BELIEVE REFUGEES WOULD ALWAYS WANT TO RETURN IF THINGS GOT BETTER, THIS IS NOT HOW CELTANS THINK.
Do Fam's have governments and politics? And do they police fam's that break fam laws?
NO. NO LAWS. LIKE THE SUMMONING SERIES, THEY HAVE STATUS, BUT IT'S NOT SOMETHING HUMANS CAN TOTALLY UNDERSTAND.
House Sentience was a great addition, much less impersonal than computer AI, but how did the colonists know to create house hearts? Each heart is hidden well and in the most protected area of their homes, so the Celtan's didn't just stumble across them by accident, they built for them. Perhaps it's like Scarborough's series and their empathic ablities recognized the planets ability for self awareness and fostered it?
I HADN'T THOUGHT OF THAT, BUT I THINK OF THE HOUSEHEART AS ALSO A SANCTUARY, A BOMBSHELTER, A VAULT, AND THE CENTER OF THE COMPUTERS THAT EVOLVED INTO HOUSE SENTIENCE. SINCE THEN, AGAIN, A HOUSE CAN EVOLVE -- MORE ABOUT THE TURQUOISE HOUSE IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS.
And it raises an interesting question. Celtan's seem to be more certain and aware of life after death, they know the wheel of life exists, so if Houses are a new life form, do they have souls, and will those that die recycle?
HMMM. I THINK THAT HOUSES WITH SENTIENCE ARE VERY, VERY LONG-LIVED AND THE CELTANS VALUE THEM TO THE POINT THAT THEY WILL WORK HARD TO TRANSFER A NEW FAMILY TO A OLD HOUSE. I BELIEVE I SAID SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN HEART THIEF, AND, AGAIN, THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THIS IN HEART FATE...YOU SEEM TO BE ANTICIPATING ME!
Houses seem to take on the personality of their occupants, can a house become evil or insane?
YES, WAIT FOR HEART FATE.
Is there anything that can be done to 'adjust' their personality
YES, IF THE OWNERS' AGREE
Do Celtan's even have the right to try in the case of an evil house? Does sentience impart the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
YES, BUT HOUSES ARE HELD TO SOME AI STANDARDS, USUALLY UNABLE TO HARM THEIR OWNERS EXCEPT FOR SELF PRESERVATION.
Are fam's and house's responsible for their own actions? If they do evil, commit crimes, can they be held accountable?
AGAIN THE EVIL WORD AND I DON'T HAVE FAMS THAT ARE EVIL. BUT YES, SHOULD A FAM COMMIT MURDER FOR THE JOY OF IT (AND I DON'T SEE THIS HAPPENING), THE FAM WOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE, AND THE HUMAN WOULD PROBABLY BE CONSIDERED WARPED, TOO, SO THERE WOULD BE A DEEP INVESTIGATION.
Can you tell I like the Heart books just a bit more then the Protector's? Which series do you like better?
BOTH ARE DIFFERENT AND BOTH FULFILL ME A LOT.
Did you publish short stories when you began writing, or did you jump feet first into the novel format right away?
I TRIED A COUPLE OF SHORT STORIES A LONG TIME BEFORE I WROTE NOVELS. THEY WERE NEVER PUBLISHED.
If you could be a character in any novel, NOT your own what novel would that be?
MOST CHARACTERS IN NOVELS SUFFER TOO MUCH FOR ME.
Which of the Heart abilites would you most like to have? I'm not counting those that seem to cross house lines like teleportation, but those unique to a house.
I LIKE TELEPORTATION AND ANIMAL HEALING.
There seems to be an apprenticeship process on Celta, but is there formal schooling?
BOTH. THERE IS SOME FORMAL SCHOOLING (GROVESTUDY) WITH GROUPS USUALLY OF THE SAME CLASS. THERE IS ALSO APPRENTICESHIP OF LIKE MINDED INDIVIDUALS TO OTHERS OF THE SAME TALENT/FLAIR.
And with talents being so unique to each house can they be taught in a formalized setting? GENERAL SKILLS CAN BE TAUGHT, GROUNDING, MEDITATION, STANDARD SPELLS, DISCIPLINE, ETC.
Do you get a new pet each time you write a new novel?
NO, I USUALLY GET PETS THEN WRITE NOVELS.
May you all enjoy questions today.