What you always wanted to know about The Ginecean Chronicles, asked by friend and author, Javier Robayo.
What’s behind the pages of The Priest?
Behind the pages of The Priest there is a desire to tell the same old story of oppression and prejudice, but from the other side of the mirror.
The Priest isn’t the first novel I wrote. It’s the first novel I felt confident enough to publish. An event that happened in my recent past convinced me life must be lived at its fullest. None should look back and have regrets. I had been writing for some time, and although I liked the finished products, I wasn’t sure they were the mark I wanted to leave in case I only had one shot at publishing. Then I started working on the Ginecean series and I knew those stories could be my legacy.
The concept of a society where men are slaves in quite a unique setting for a story. What was that first thought or event that inspired Ginecea?
A few years ago, during a flight back home, I was listening to a podcast about the possibility of creating life without the male’s contribution. The idea of a Roman Empire a` la Amazon immediately formed in my mind. I’ve always enjoyed what-if tales and my favorite classes back in college were sociology and anthropology. I started wondering of what would happen from an evolutionary point of view to a society that mirrors ours; similar but reversed. An alternate Earth where women have absolute power and love between opposite genders is considered the most heinous sin. I remember that while thinking about the plot and the possible characters my laptop’s battery ran out; I jotted down a few notes on a piece of a paper, hoping to be home already so I could start typing. I still have that piece of paper somewhere.
The one truth that could destroy the Genicean society, (and we don’t need to reveal what that is) is it a commentary on an aspect of our actual society?
Yes, it is. It appalls me that humanity has progressed so much in technology, but it is less tolerant now than it was two thousand years ago. We reached the stars and uncovered the wonders of the microcosm, but prejudice still dictates our behavior. It’s hard to believe that in 2013 people are judged because of religious affiliation, political view, skin color, and sexual orientation. Yet, you can take a look at the heartbreaking videos on the It Gets Better website—a place where bullied kids can freely talk about their stories—and discover the ugly truth of our society. We are all the same, but separated by ephemeral social rules.
Characters come from people we knew and touched our lives, or they can be a conglomerate of traits we deem heroic. Where does Mauricio fit that scale?
Mauricio is the sum of several men in my life whom I respect and love. He is a human being who is forced to accept an unfair destiny. It takes courage to live a life devoid of any hope and still make it worthwhile. He is a silent hero whose strength is revealed in the small acts of defiance he allows himself.
What went into making the decision for the first novel of The Ginecean Chronicles?
In reality, Pax in The Land of Women is the first book I wrote in the Genicean series. While I was in the middle of Pax, two characters, Mauricio and Rosie, came alive. The intensity of Mauricio’s love for Rosie was such that it deserved to be narrated. The first three books in the series were born almost at the same time. Although between The Priest and Pax in the Land of Women there is a fifty years gap in the narration, their stories are intimately connected to Prince of War, which chronologically starts where Pax ends. In a way, they were all written together in the span of two years. I went back and forth multiple times between manuscripts to fix incongruences in the story lines. So, what started as a subplot in Pax in the Land of Women became the core of The Ginecean Chronicles. Affection as pure as Mauricio’s and Rosie’s is the ultimate example that love conquers all. Amor Vincit Omnia.
Where did “Ginecea” come from?
I love playing with words and their meanings. Ginecea is a word I adopted from the Greek language. It’s a noun that can be used as an adjective encompassing all things women-related. Like Pangea was this supercontinent comprising the entire world, Ginecea is the social equivalent where women have the supremacy over men. Imagine that Rome never fell and was governed by women. Unstoppable. But absolute power has a way to corrupt even the best among us…