Author Interview: Matthew Ward

Today I am interviewing Matthew Ward, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Legacy of Ash, first book in the Legacy trilogy. 

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DJ: Hi Matthew! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Matthew: I’m English – a Midlander by birth, for my sins. Though I love cities (especially ones steeped in history) I’m much more at home a footstep away from the wilderness. In a past life, I was employed at Games Workshop, building the Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and The Lord of the Rings game worlds through rules writing, range planning and fiction. These days, I split my time between being an author and working as a creative consultant.

DJ: What is Legacy of Ash about?

Matthew: Legacy of Ash is a tale of a new generation fighting the mistakes of the one that came before. The decaying Tressian Republic faces an invasion from the Hadari Empire to the east and strife from within – for the first time in a generation, long-held truths are ripe for challenge. Gods are stirring. What comes next turns on the actions of a handful of characters and their choices – whether they’ll uphold the enmities and compromises of the past, or set aside old quarrels and build something greater for the future.

It’s epic fantasy shaped by the choices of its characters. Lots of action, intrigue and impossible choices. 

DJ: What were some of your influences Legacy of Ash and the series? 

Matthew: The Lord of the Rings has always been a huge influence on my writing, though these days it’s present much more in ‘behind the curtain’ disciplines like worldbuilding and mythology. More direct influences spring from television shows like Babylon 5 and Jack Pulman’s I, Claudius and the works of Bernard Cornwell.

Visually, I draw a lot from Britain’s wealth of historical sites – particularly North Wales and Cornwall, as well as older cities like York. I like places where you can close your eyes and feel the past resonating around you. That sense that there’s something vast lurking somewhere just out of sight. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tim Lebbon

Today I am interviewing Tim Lebbon, author of the new eco-horror thriller novel, Eden. 

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DJ: Hi Tim! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Tim: It’s a pleasure, thanks for having me! I’ve just hit 50, and I’ve been writing for a living for 14 years, with a few years before that writing part-time. Since my first novel was published over twenty years ago I’ve had over forty novels published, dozens of novellas, hundreds of short stories. I’ve had two movies made from my books, with a few other TV and movie projects ticking over at various stages of development. I live in a nice village in South Wales with my wife and two lovely kids (they’re 21 and 17, and they’d hate me calling them kids). I’ve read compulsively since I was young, a love instilled in me by my mother. I read James Herbert’s The Rats when I was ten years old, and it didn’t do me any harm. Did it? I love real ale, endurance sport, walks in the countryside, nature, and cake.    

DJ: What is Eden about?

Tim: Eden is one of a number of Virgin Zones established in the near future to fight climate change. Given back to nature, these zones are off limits to humanity, and intended to become the lungs of the Earth. But there are always people tempted by such wild places, and adventure racing teams target the zones as the most challenging, dangerous locations to race across. One such team enters Eden––each member with her or his own personal agenda––and they discover that here, Nature no longer welcomes humanity.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Eden

Tim: My fear for the planet, and the increasing urgency in acting to try and slow down the climate change we’ve caused. Also my love of endurance sport, and my growing desire the older I get to embark on a big wild adventure of my own. I would rather not visit Eden, though. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Michelle Black

Today I am interviewing Michelle Black, author of the new fantasy romance novel, The Outsiders. 

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DJ: Hi Michelle! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Michelle Black: Hello. I’m a doctor and baker who really enjoys reading and writing. I’ll admit I end up reading more manga and light novels than actual books these days, but it keeps me happy. 

DJ: What is The Outsiders about?

Michelle: It’s a fantasy romance novel that follows Ray Telor, an attorney from London who wishes for a break from his everyday life. It leads him to a village named Aesil, where he meets the hated Gale, a healer shunned by the other villagers. Aesil is a land lost in time, just like its inhabitants. Ray falls for the quiet, but gentle Gale, and learns of his gift to heal with his hands, and why the other villagers hate him. Gale’s gift allows him to stop death by bringing about death. 

Drawn into the village life and Gale, Ray embarks on a journey of discovery and adventure, to find missing children and men, to search for the other extraordinary inhabitants of the mystical land, and an unfortunate battle against a man-eating demon.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Outsiders

Michelle: There weren’t any influences really. The Outsiders was supposed to be a short story about a healer, but it turned into what it is now. I can’t explain how that happened.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kyle Richardson

Today I am interviewing Kyle Richardson, author of the new fantasy novel, Beast Heart, first book in the Steambound trilogy. 

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DJ: Hey Kyle! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Kyle Richardson: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me. A little about myself? Let’s see … I’m a Hawaii-born author who now lives in snowy Canada, an oft-bumbling husband, a father to two little rascals, and I’m still waiting for my superpower origin story (which I’m hoping will result in a traditional power, like telekinesis, rather than something bizarre—like the ability to tickle insects, or something).

I’m a traditionally published writer of flash fiction and short fiction, have worked as an assistant editor and co-editor, and now I’m making my novel-length fiction debut with Beast Heart.

DJ: What is Beast Heart about?

Kyle: This is a question that appears so simple, yet strikes fear into the hearts of writers everywhere. Oh, the challenges of summarizing an entire story in a paragraph or two! 😀

We follow two strangers, Gabrielle and Kemple, as they navigate their youths (and, later: their teenagehood) along the fringes of Iron Bay, a city full of carriages, airships, clockwork beings, and creatures that go bump in the night.
Their two lives will inevitably intertwine, in the most explosive of ways, but neither of them knows it … yet.

DJ: What were some of your influences Beast Heart and the series? 

Kyle: I didn’t write with any specific influences in mind, though I’m sure the book owes a lot of its ideas to the various stories and films I consumed growing up. Looking at the finished product, I can definitely see a lot of Bubblegum Crisis in it (a cyberpunk Anime from the late 1980s, following a team of young women in mech-suits who fight monsters to protect the city), along with a healthy splash of American Werewolf in London. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Roy Freirich

Today I am interviewing Roy Freirich, author of the new psychological thriller novel, Deprivation. 

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DJ: Hi Roy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Roy Freirich: Thank you! I would love to say less is more and try to be enigmatic, but that probably wouldn’t be the result. I’m from suburban NY, was an absurdly pretentious self-pitying teenaged poet, studied real poetry in college and grad school and ran away to the mountains of California where I weaseled my way into writing song lyrics with/for Warner Brothers recording artist Bill LaBounty.  Moved to LA, became a lyricist with various songwriter contracts and songs recorded by some actual legendary R&B singers, but decided I needed a new wall to bang my head against and that since I saw lots of movies, I could write them. The jury’s out. One of my first efforts was written simultaneously as my first novel Winged Creatures and became the  (studio-retitled) film Fragments, featuring Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Josh Hutcherson, Guy Pearce, Walt Goggins, and lots of recognizable others to whom I am grateful. Since then, the movie business hasn’t been as straightforward for me, but it’s a safe bet I’ve failed to adapt as it became more driven by event (OK, superhero) fare and less by the kind of literary / psychological drama I write.

DJ: What is Deprivation about?

Roy: Elevator pitch?  Honestly, it feels like people have tried to pry the doors apart between floors, so here’s a short version: “A New England tourist island struck by mass insomnia.”  What’s it about thematically? The idea that dreams keep us sane, and without them, we’ll each go crazy in our unique way— as our own unresolved experiences increasingly drive us in our waking lives. It’s about mass hysteria, too, and how our individual psychology makes us vulnerable to it. And then, yes, about how we collectively blame and scapegoat and murder each other.  We are the creatures who kill us.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Deprivation

Roy: Jose Saramago, Cormac McCarthy, Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness, James Salter, John Updike, Raymond Carver, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies,  Robert Stone.  Did I mention Robert Stone? Continue reading

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Author Interview: J.T. Nicholas

Today I am interviewing J.T. Nicholas, author of the new science-fiction novel, Re-Coil.

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DJ: Hi J.T.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

J.T. Nicholas: I’m a sci-fi author (primarily, anyway) who lives in North Carolina.  I’ve wanted to be an author for pretty much as long as I can remember, but it’s a long journey, so I spent a large chunk of my career in the exciting and dazzling world of insurance data analysis.  I know, I know… it’s difficult to imagine leaving something so exciting behind for a career as mundane as authordom, but such is the road I’ve taken. I’m happily married with two Australian Shepherds who have a bigger social media following than I do (@ronin_and_gambit on Instagram) one of which is whining at me right this very moment.  I love reading (unsurprising), writing (also unsurprising), games (video and tabletop) and anime.  

DJ: What is Re-Coil about?

J.T.: I think of it as a whodunnit set against the backdrop of a gritty cyberpunk/sci-fi world where mankind has conquered death by backing up the human consciousness and stuffing it into a new body (or coil in the parlance of the book) when you die.  The main focus of the story has the protagonist trying to figure out why he and his crew disappeared on what should have been a routine salvage mission. There’s corporate greed, coverups, and a dash of existential threat thrown in for good measure.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Re-Coil

J.T.:  L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s sci-fi has always had an ethical twist to it, which certainly has influenced my writing.  All of the cyberpunk regular suspects (Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson, Richard K. Morgan, Katsuhiro Otomo) influenced my vision of the future.  Isaac Asminov and Phillip K. Dick were also big influences, particularly since I think the two of them were some of the biggest voices in the “detective sci-fi” world.  I’ve been reading sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery for 3 decades, so there are a lot of other influences. And that’s just the books. I also draw influence from movies, tv shows, anime, video games, and people watching. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephen Zimmer

Today I am interviewing Stephen Zimmer, author of the new epic fantasy novel, When Shadows Fall, final book in the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Stephen! Thanks for coming back to do another interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Stephen:  Thank you for interviewing me!  It is wonderful to be back at MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape!  

For those who I haven’t met yet, I am a writer from Lexington, Kentucky who loves to explore all kinds of worlds and characters.  My published writing included genres such as epic fantasy, YA dystopian, sword and sorcery, horror, steampunk, and cross-genre fiction.  I currently have 16 titles in print, and 24 in eBook format.

  I have a great passion for storytelling, and my path has also seen me become an editor, filmmaker, and broadcaster, and I love doing what I can to be supportive of both my readers and fellow members of the writing community.  

DJ: What is When Shadows Fall and then the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy about?

Stephen: This is ultimately a Rayden Valkyrie adventure with a large story arc that comprises three books.  When Shadows Fall is the final installment and it is truly a grand finale to this tale.  

The story covers Rayden’s journey from a land far, far to the south of her world to the tribal lands across an ocean and to the north where she grew up after losing both of her parents in a violent manner as a child (I have not yet given full detail about this traumatic incident in Rayden’s life.)

The journey home takes a different course when she intervenes to save a young boy from being used as a sacrifice to a dark god.  From there she is brought into conflict with a rising empire that is trying to suppress a slave rebellion. The story deepens and takes many twists and turns as Rayden discovers the things that are driving the Teveren Empire relentlessly toward power and conquest.  

It is a harrowing adventure set in an ancient and dangerous world that pits Rayden against monstrous wilderness threats, dark supernatural entities, armies on the march, and a whole lot more. She has to put her life on the line several times to do what needs to be done to have a chance of thwarting the Teveren Imperator’s ambitions

When Shadows Fall brings everything together for a final showdown with the Imperator ruling the Teveren Empire.  The third book has a grand scale to it, but Rayden has to fill many roles in this conclusion to survive and try to overcome a wide range of adversaries.  

Readers will get to see it all through Rayden’’s eyes and experience her courage, compassion, kindness, strength, ferocity, and much more!   Continue reading

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Author Interview: John F. Allen

Today I am interviewing John F. Allen, author of the new urban fantasy, science-fiction, horror short story collection, The Best is Yet to Come.

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DJ: Hi John! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

John F. Allen: Thanks for having me here DJ! I’m an American author who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a life-long resident. My writing primarily focuses on genre fiction such as: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery. Besides being an author, I’m also a visual artist, comic book historian, podcaster/YouTube personality and jazz/blues/r&b/old school pop music aficionado.

DJ: What is The Best is Yet to Come about?

John: The Best is Yet to Come is a short story collection of work accumulated over the past 9 years of my writing career. It features stories from a variety of genres to showcase my versatility as a writer. A few of the stories were republished from earlier anthologies and others are newly published in this volume. All of the stories occur in the Ivoryverse, my literary universe named for the protagonist in my Ivory Blaque series, who also happens to the central figure of my literary universe, hence the name.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Best is Yet to Come

John: Well, with this collection there were as large of a variety of influences as there were stories. Generally speaking, I draw influence from my life experiences first and foremost. That, coupled with the people with whom I meet, interact with and those who are permanent fixtures in my life, help to flesh out the characters I create. From a literary standpoint, several of my heroes include: Walter Mosley, Chester Himes, Robert B. Parker, Don Pendleton, Marv Wolfman, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, Laurel K. Hamilton, L.A. Banks, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Samuel Delany, Octivia Butler and Charles Saunders. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Wendy S. Delmater

Today I am interviewing Wendy S. Delmater, Editor of the new science-fiction and fantasy anthology, The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume 3.

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DJ: Hi Wendy! Thanks for agreeing to do an interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself? 

Wendy S. Delmater: Well, I’ve been editor Abyss & Apex  since 2006. I love editing–I edit novels and short stories professionally–and recently debuted a book called Writing the Entertaining Story to help new writers. Besides editing the three Best of Abyss & Apex anthologies I’m also the author of Confessions of a Female Safety Engineer,which is all about my days as a heavy construction safety manager in NYC, plus I’ve published a lot of genre short stories and poetry. But mostly, I love to edit!

DJ: What is The Best of Abyss & Apex Volume 3 about?

WSD: Abyss & Apex Magazine publishes “everything SF & F can be.” These stories, and a few framing poems, were the cream of the crop from the last few years. Reader favorites. I strove to give Best of A&A 3 the same balance as the magazine: 50 percent science fiction and 50 percent fantasy. I gave it a balance of humor and seriousness, light and dark. But mostly, the stories have heart

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind the stories selected in The Best of Abyss & Apex Volume 3

WSD: My staff and I just pick ‘em out of the slush pile. The inspiration comes from our wonderful authors. By the way, a quarter of our authors sell their first stories anywhere to Abyss & Apex. We’re very new-writer friendly. 

When I say some of the stories were popular, understand we keep track of which get more clicks or go viral. BY that metric “Roadmaster,” for example, was our readers’ fave of 2018. But of course, I put in some of my favorites: A piece of Islamic science fiction that did not fit into Best of A&A 2 comes to mind: “Mind Diver” by Vylar Kaftan.  Continue reading

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Book Review: The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

Publisher: Tor.com Publishing

Publication Date: November 12, 2019

Edition: Paperback, 155 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Novella

Rating: 3.5/5


Made me want to go read the full Luna series

Continue reading

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