Author Interview: Richard Martins

Today I am interviewing Richard Martins, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Trench.

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

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

Richard Martins: Thank you for inviting me DJ. I’m a retired pharmacist. I was in the business for 35 years but have been retired for the last 11 years. I’ve been married to my wife Diana for 46 years and we have a son who’s a journalist in Los Angeles.

DJ: What is The Trench about?

Richard: It’s a young man’s quest to save his mother. Fifteen-year-old Seth Tyler has spent his entire life on the run with his parents. Who they are running from and why he is kept in the dark are only two of the mysteries he has learned to live with. Tragedy strikes when first his grandfather, then his

father is murdered and his mother poisoned. Seth sets out to find the cure for his mother and the truth about his parent’s past. A misstep in the mountains of Germany drops him into a primitive underworld peopled by strange creatures and gifted humans. The Trench is a feral land where danger lurks for the unwary and Seth finds himself immediately fighting for his life. When he discovers that this underworld is the birthplace of his parents and the truth about their heritage he knows the answers he seeks lie here below.

But the people of the Trench still value that sixth sense lost to those on the surface and they see something unique in Seth. With the help of a huge dog who adopts him and a growing menagerie of companions Seth must travel the length of the Trench to confront the evil lurking at the bottom. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Edward Willett

Today I am interviewing Edward Willett, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Cityborn.

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

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

Edward Willet: Sure! I’m the author of more than fifty books of science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction for readers of all ages. I was born in New Mexico, started school in Texas, and then moved to Saskatchewan when I was a kid. I grew up in the small city of Weyburn, where I returned after studying journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, and began my writing career as a reporter/photographer and eventually news editor of the weekly Weyburn Review. I moved to Regina, the provincial capital (where I’ve lived ever since), in 1988 as communications officer for the then-fledgling Saskatchewan Science Centre, then in 1993 I quit my job to become a fulltime freelance writer. My first book was the riveting Using Microsoft Publisher for Windows 95. (My second book was the equally riveting sequel, Using Microsoft Publisher for Windows 97.) My first novel, a young adult fantasy entitled Soulworm, came out in 1997, and my fiction ever since has been a mixture of young adult and adult science fiction and fantasy, while my non-fiction has run the gamut from children’s biographies (of people as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Johnny Cash and the Ayatollah Khomeini), to science books and books about Saskatchewan history. I won a Saskatchewan Book Award in 2002 for my YA fantasy Spirit Singer (Tyche Books), and in 2009 I won the Aurora Award for best Canadian science fiction novel in English for Marseguro, which was my second science fiction novel for DAW Books, after 2005’s Lost in Translation. The Cityborn is my eighth novel published by DAW, but only the fourth under my own name: I wrote the steampunkish adult fantasy novel Magebane as Lee Arthur Chane, and the YA/adult crossover fantasy trilogy The Masks of Aygrima as E.C. Blake. I’m married to an engineer (a good career move for a freelance writer) and have a brilliant and talented teenaged daughter. Oh, and in addition to being a writer, I’m an actor and singer who has performed in numerous plays, musicals, and operas, both professionally and just for fun.

DJ: What is The Cityborn about?

Edward: The Cityborn takes place in the mountain-ringed Heartland, which is split down the middle by the great Canyon. At the center of the Heartland, straddling the Canyon, stands the towering, dripping, corroding and crumbling metal City, divided into thirteen Tiers. The City is ruled by the First Officer in the name of the semi-mythical Captain, who supposedly lives on the top Tier but nobody has ever seen. The First Officer’s rule is enforced by the ruthless armed Provosts and enabled by the other Officers, who live luxuriously in the Twelfth and Eleventh Tiers. Meanwhile, at the base of the City, the poor struggle just to get by in the First and Second Tiers. (The middle class lives, appropriately enough, in the middle Tiers.)

The City has stood above the Canyon so long that it has filled the chasm with rubbish, a dangerous, gang-ruled wasteland called the Middens, where criminals and outcasts are trapped, scavenging to survive. When Alania, raised by cold, distant Officer on the Twelfth Tier, is unexpectedly attacked, she flees into a nearby trash elevator, and to her horror finds herself dumped into the Middens. There she is rescued by Danyl, a young man who has lived his whole life in the the Middens and dreams only of finding valuable salvage he can barter for entry into the City. He thinks Alania might be just what he’s looking for—except almost at once they find themselves pursued by Provosts, for reasons they can’t imagine. As they flee deep into the Canyon, then into the Heartland, to the mountains of the north and back to the City again, the secrets they discover about who and what they really are, and the decisions they make because of those secrets, will determine not only their fates, but the fate of everyone in the Heartland. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Theodora Goss

Today I am interviewing Theodora Goss, author of the new fantasy novel, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

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

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

Theodora Goss: I have red hair, a cat named Cordelia, and a PhD in English literature. I found the cat as a stray kitten, wandering around the streets of Boston. The PhD I actually had to work for, but that’s where the idea for my novel came from. What else? I was born in Budapest, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl writing fantasy stories in a unicorn notebook, and I now teach writing at Boston University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program. This is my first novel, but I’ve been publishing short stories, essays, and poems for about ten years.

DJ: What is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter about?

Theodora: It’s about the adventures of Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein in late 19th- century London. Mary is of course the daughter of the respectable Dr. Jekyll, who had a disreputable assistant, Mr. Hyde. She helps Sherlock Holmes solve a series of gruesome murders, and in the process she finds the other girls, who have all been created by mad scientists in some way—including Diana, who claims to be her sister. As the girls talk, they start to put together their own histories and realize that there is a bigger story for them to uncover . . .

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter?

Theodora: My doctoral dissertation was on late Victorian gothic fiction, so I was researching and writing about texts such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Island of Dr. Moreau. My influences were really those 19th-century gothic texts, as well as the stories of Sherlock Holmes. I love all that material—technically, I’m a Victorianist, which means I’m supposed to be an expert in 19th-century literature, although I find that the more I learn, the more there is to learn. Those stories about monsters and mad scientists were my main influences. I wanted to explore them further, but from the point of view of the female characters who were destroyed or killed in the originals. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Michael F. Haspil

Today I am interviewing Michael F. Haspil, author of the new urban-fantasy novel, Graveyard Shift.

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

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

Michael F. Haspil: Sure. I’ll stick to the big things. I’m a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and used to do a lot of operational stuff (“stuff” is a technical term) with Air Force Space Command. I worked as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch commander and launch director for the Air Force at Cape Canaveral. I’ve been trying to be a professional writer for most of my life, and certainly all of my adult life. I’m also a dedicated gamer. Tabletop, board games, role-playing, miniature, computer…any type of game. I’m there.

DJ: What is Graveyard Shift about?

Michael: The super short version is that it is about an immortal pharaoh, who has been blackmailed into law enforcement. He must make some unsavory alliances to stop an ancient vampire conspiracy that is trying to destroy humanity. He often has to make some pretty awful decisions to stop worse things from happening.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Graveyard Shift?

Michael: I would say most of my influences come more from film and television than literary sources, although Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series probably rubbed off a bit. Among Movie and TV influences I’m drawn to stories where the good guys and bad guys might be a little hard to tell apart unless you look really hard. So, there’s a bit of Noir creeping in throughout the book. That sort of murky morality kind of thing where there might not be a clean-cut line between right and wrong. L.A. Confidential, Justified, Chinatown. The largest influence might actually be the original Lethal Weapon. People tend to remember the Lethal Weapon series as action comedies, but I think that’s due to the latter films certainly. I would argue that the first film is a dark affair, with Martin Riggs genuinely suffering from some serious mental problems throughout and only finding some solace at the end of the film. For Graveyard Shift I wanted to graze the surface of the buddy-cop dynamic except that my characters have been forced into it for more than seventy years, have their own agendas, and might have a genuine dislike for one another. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Nicky Drayden

Today I am interviewing Nicky Drayden, author of the new fantasy, science-fiction novel, The Prey of Gods.

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

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

Nicky Drayden: Hello! Thanks for having me! Well, I’m a systems analyst out of Austin, Texas who’s been writing fiction for about 15 years. I mostly dabble in science fiction, fantasy, and weird–usually all three combined.

DJ: What is The Prey of Gods about?

Nicky: THE PREY OF GODS is a near future thriller set in South Africa in which a diverse set of characters imbued with supernatural abilities by a street drug called Godsend must band together against a disenfranchised goddess who intends to remake their world and change the fate of humanity forever.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Prey of Gods?

Nicky: The initial concept came to me after reading Ian McDonald’s River of Gods, which is set in a futuristic India. I’d been to Port Elizabeth, South Africa back when I was in college, and I thought it’d be interesting to imagine how the experiences I had there could translate into a work of speculative fiction.

As far as character influences go, the first character I wrote for this book, a disenfranchised demigoddess working as a nail tech, came to me while I was driving around downtown Houston and saw a salon sign that said “Magic Nails.” I thought about how cool it would be if they really did use magic to do nails, but then wondered what kind of person would be giving manicures if they could do magic…and from that character sketch Sydney was born. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jon Del Arroz

Today I am interviewing Jon Del Arroz, author of the new steampunk novel, For Steam and Country.

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

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

Jon Del Arroz: Happy to be here, thank you! I’m a sci-fi/fantasy author who started with a superhero webcomic, Flying Sparks, which garnered a lot of attention back in 2011-2013. From there I was picked up as a staff writer for the Doomtown: Reloaded card game, producing a short story or more for the progressing storyline there that was set in the Deadlands RPG universe. Over that time I wrote four novels, of which two have been released now. Star Realms: Rescue Run, a space opera based on the card game, is my most famous to date, but there’s a lot of rave reviews for my new book, For Steam And Country.

DJ: What is For Steam and Country about?

Jon: It’s a Steampunk fantasy adventure about a girl who inherits an airship and has to make hard decisions on how to help her country of Rislandia fend off an invading army. It’s a true hero’s journey.

DJ: What were some of your influences for For Steam and Country?

Jon: Elizabeth Moon really informs my writing style more than anyone else. Though it’s a different genre, I try to utilize characterization/prose much in the same way she does. Sharon Lee is another on that front. Both have beautiful books. On the steampunk side, Beth Cato’s Clockwork series did a lot for my imagination. The Final Fantasy video games did as well, of which you’ll see a lot of easter eggs referencing those games in the book. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Dexter Herron

Today I am interviewing Dexter Herron, author of the new humorous, sword & sorcery novel, Shard’s Thugs.

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

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

Dexter Herron: Thanks for having me, DJ. I am from Brooklyn New York, now a Connecticut resident. I’m a former Marine stationed in Eastern Europe and North Africa. I’m a recently retired Police Lieutenant. I’m a Boy Scout Leader and Eagle Scout. I own a ’74 VW Super Beetle. I’m a goody two shoes to the point of being annoying. I am also a member of a Medieval Recreation Group, the Society for Creative Anachronism.

DJ: What is Shard’s Thugs about?

Dexter: Shard is a goblin. After his unit is crushed by human forces, he scrambles together what’s left of other goblin units and launches a desperate counter attack which unknowingly garners the wrath of a vengeful dragon and hilarity ensues.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Shard’s Thugs?

Dexter: Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Rifles. The hero, like Shard, finds himself in charge of a unruly bunch of soldiers and has to keep them alive against the invincible Napoleon army. Unlike Shard, hilarity doesn’t ensue.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Dexter: Shard gets his point across by kicking people in the junk. His second in command, Smiley, is bright, eager, hopeful, and sadly, dim. His senior enlisted officer, Ribsplitter-Jones is the classic drill sergeant, lovable in his brutal training techniques and enjoys killing stupid goblin officers, which happens more than not.   Captain Momoo, Shard’s contemporary, believes the more goblins he looses in battle improves his chances of getting laid. Finally, the Princess: intelligent, powerful, and addicted to battle lust, has a castration machine and a marked propensity to use it. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Guy Adams

Today I am interviewing Guy Adams, author of the new fantasy novellas, London Orbital, The Queen of Coney Island, and A City of Fools, the first three books of The Change series.

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

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

Guy Adams: Always happy to talk to people. I’m a writer, it doesn’t happen often. Occasionally, when I’m dragged, screaming, into the light to meet actual human beings I forget how to use my mouth, hands uselessly twitching, trying to tap out a reply on my nonexistent keyboard. This is why, if you want to meet writers at parties, you should go and find the table with the food on it, you’ll find them underneath it, building a nest out of half-chewed breadsticks and old notebooks.

So, yes, Guy Adams. Me. I’m the author of a frankly ridiculous number of books, including the Clown Service series of weird spy novels from Del Rey UK, Deadbeat from Titan Books and The Heaven’s Gate trilogy from those lovely enablers at Solaris. I also write comics, mainly 2000AD although I also co-created Goldtiger with artist Jimmy Broxton.

For the last couple of years, The Change aside, I’ve mainly been writing scripts for Big Finish, a lovely company who make excellent audio dramas here in the UK. I’ve written hours and hours of Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Torchwood and sundry other ranges. Nothing beats putting words into the mouth of the likes of David Tennant, Alex Kingston, Tom Baker, David Warner, Sir John Hurt, Sir Derek Jacobi… I’ve started writing a list, oh God… never start writing lists, they always get out of control. Suffice it to say I’ve been working with amazing people and having an amazing time.

DJ: What are the first three books and The Change series about?

Guy: The Change is far harder to explain than it is to experience – a fact that I can only imagine has driven my poor publicist to tears.

As a series it will view a potential extinction event globally. Imagine if The Walking Dead was actually several series all set in different locations with different characters, all facing the results of something terrible.

Like that. Sort of. But weirder, with no zombies and with more fun bits. And without characters just glowering at one another simmering like a pan of rice on the stove that someone has forgotten.

The Change itself is a moment in the early hours of a winter morning when creatures appeared above the world. Strange, Lovecraftian things. Creatures so unimaginable that looking at them was enough to kill you. It took six minutes to break the world. When they left, the world’s rules had changed. Reality has taken a beating and our cities and towns can now harbour the most impossible, terrifying and beautiful things.

It’s heavily inspired by the idea of psychogeography – a word my auto-correct refuses to acknowledge, such a joy when even my software becomes a critic. I love the notion that not only can we colour our environment but that it can colour us. Do buildings and streets hold on to the things that happened there? Do cities dream of their history? Do cities go mad?

Possibly not. But they do when I’m writing them. So my characters have to face a world where nightmare logic has taken the place of rational science. A creature made from a grotesque stew of machinery and flesh stalks the motorway surrounding London; New York’s Coney Island is alive with the dreams of the amusement parks that used to stand there; Paris is patrolled by The Impressionists, creatures made of paint. These are stories full of mad ideas sprayed all over the world in which we live.

The first three books are set in London, New York and Paris, the second three continue the adventures in London and New York (both ongoing narratives) and add a look at Tokyo.

Should the series continue beyond these first six books – which is entirely down to how many people jump onboard this strange idea of mine – I’ll continue the stories of my characters in London and New York and keep adding one-off books that look at other locations. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gail Z. Martin

Today I am interviewing Gail Z. Martin, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Scourge, first book in the Darkhurst series.

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

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

Gail Z. Martin: Hi DJ! Thank you for having me as a guest! I write epic and urban fantasy, and steampunk, mostly for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. My epic series include the new Darkhurst series with the first book, Scourge, that is just coming out in July, as well as my Chronicles of the Necromancer/Fallen Kings Cycle and my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. The urban fantasy includes the Deadly Curiosities novels, and the Steampunk is co-written with my husband, Larry N. Martin, and includes the novel Iron & Blood and the Storm and Fury Adventures short fiction/collections.

DJ: What is Scourge about?

Gail: Here’s the short answer: Three undertaker brothers in a medieval trading town battle monsters to protect their family and neighbors, only to discover that the monsters have masters and the stakes are higher than they dreamed.

Here’s the book cover answer: In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations and stop the carnage.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave. When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

And here’s the Hollywood pitch summary: Supernatural meets Game of Thrones. Continue reading

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Author Interview: John L. Lansdale

Today I am interviewing John L. Lansdale, author of the new western-horror novel, Zombie Gold.

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DJ: Hey 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 L. Lansdale: My pleasure. I was born and raised with my brother Joe in rural east Texas. Our parents were the best a kid could have. They taught us how to survive and pursue our dreams to be successful in life. I have a great wife Mary and four kids. I love music and animals and after many things I begin to write some ten years ago and since then writing has become my obsession.

DJ: What is Zombie Gold about?

John: The two main characters are young cowboys in today’s time. Chris

Bain’s mother died when he was a kid his father unknown. The owner of the Flying G ranch adopted and raised him. Chris wants to be a champion bronc rider to impress his adoptive father. Will Littlefield is a college student working the summer on the ranch for extra money before he returns to college to be a lawyer. His dad is a champion bronc rider but Will has no interest in it. Chris gets in trouble trying to ride a big wild gray horse the ranch is saving for the rodeo. The foreman sends him and Will on a trip to Kaman mountain to retrieve lost cattle. They discover soldier Zombies from the civil war when they wander into a cave and the Zombies chase them into a time warp that takes them back to the civil war during the battle of Gettysburg when the Zombies are live union soldiers. From there the story unfolds. Continue reading

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