Author Interview: Gareth L. Powell

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Picture © Gemma Beynon

Today I am interviewing Gareth L. Powell, author of the new science-fiction novel, Embers of War, first book in the Embers of War trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Gareth! Welcome back again for another interview

For readers who aren’t familiar with you or may have missed our previous chat, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Gareth L. Powell: I’m a novelist. I mostly write science fiction, but I’m also trying to branch out into crime/thrillers. I’ve been lucky enough to win a BSFA Award and be a finalist for the Seiun Award in Japan. I’m the author of the novels Embers of War, Ack-Ack Macaque: The Complete Trilogy, and The Recollection, among others.

DJ: What is Embers of War about?

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Gareth: At its heart, Embers of War is the story of a group of misfit characters searching for atonement and meaning in the wake of a particularly brutal war. It’s also a story about loyalty, forgiveness, and the families we create for ourselves. And it features some insane space battles.

DJ: What were some of your influences when writing Embers of War and the trilogy?

Gareth: I wasn’t consciously channeling any particular influences while writing the books, but I’m certain books such as Nova by Samuel Delany, the entire Culture series by Iain M. Banks, and maybe Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice unconsciously influenced them.

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? 

Gareth: The main character is the sentient warship Trouble Dog. During the war, she was a heavy cruiser—a machine with the capacity for unimaginable destruction. Unfortunately, because part of her neural architecture runs on cloned human cells, she accidentally grew a conscience. And following a devastating war crime, she turns her back on the military and sets out to do some good in the world. However, she’s still a warship t heart and has to contend with her military conditioning and conflicted loyalties. One the one hand, she’s this incredibly powerful weapon, and on the other she’s like a confused fourteen year-old girl. Continue reading

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: The Never King by James Abbott


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.


The Never King by James Abbott

(May 18, 2018 by Pan)

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Book Review: The Two of Swords, Volume 1 (The Two of Swords #1-8) by K.J. Parker

The Two of Swords, Volume 1 (The Two of Swords #1-8by K.J. Parker

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Edition: Paperback, 512 pages

Genre: Low Fantasy

Rating: 4/5


The amount of planning that went in to telling this story…

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Author Interview: Pat Kelleher

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Today I am interviewing Pat Kelleher, author of the new fantasy novella, Drag Hunt, a bonus story in the re-release of Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig.

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

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

Pat Kelleher: Hi, DJ. Well, I live in Manchester in the north west of England. I’ve been a making a living as a jobbing writer working in a variety of media from comics, books and radio to video games. My first novels were the No Man’s World books published by Abaddon, a pulp science fantasy series following the adventures of a First World War battalion of soldiers stranded on an alien world.

DJ: What is Drag Hunt about?

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Pat: It’s an urban fantasy about two people who have lost everything they hold dear and who are thrown together in order to get it back. It just happens that one of them is a Native American trickster god who has had his penis stolen. The other is a mortal who finds himself adrift and powerless in a horrifying world he never knew existed and how he ultimately comes to terms with that.

DJ: How did you come about to writing this novella? 

Pat: I’d just finished the third book of the No Man’s World series when Rebellion asked me if I’d be interested in writing an urban fantasy novella for the new Gods and Monsters shared world series they were launching. Chuck Wendig had written the first book. It hadn’t yet seen print, so they sent me Chuck’s manuscript, as it lay the groundwork for the shared world. Chuck has a distinct style and a unique voice. He’s a hard act to follow, so I was a little nervous, but the world he created was rich with possibilities. And after the epic scale of No Man’s World, I relished the opportunity to tell a smaller story. Continue reading

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Author Interview: William C. Dietz

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Today I am interviewing William C. Dietz, author of the new post-apocalyptic military novel, Battle Hymn, final book in the America Rising series.

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

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

William C. Dietz: I’m older than I’d like to be, an avid canoeist, a world traveler, grumpy at times, appalled by what’s going on in Washington D.C., the beneficiary of a 50 year relationship with a very patient woman, a man who likes to have a gin and tonic at 4:00, and the author of more than fifty novels, two video games, and a clutch of short stories.

DJ: What is Battle Hymn and then the America Rising series about?

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William: As the cover copy says, the Second Civil War continues to rage as Union president Samuel T. Sloan battles to keep America whole and, more than that, to restore the country to its former greatness.

“Wanted Dead or Alive.” Following a fateful battle between Union Army major Robin “Mac” Macintyre and her sister, the New Confederacy places a price on Mac’s head, and bounty hunters are on her trail.But there’s work to be done, and Mac is determined to help Sloan reunify the country by freeing hundreds of Union POWs from appalling conditions in Mexico and capturing a strategic oil reserve that lies deep inside Confederate territory.

However, to truly have peace it will be necessary to capture or kill the New Confederacy’s leadership, and that includes Mac’s father, General Bo Macintyre. Continue reading

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: One of Us by Craig DiLouie


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.


One of Us by Craig DiLouie

(July, 17 2018 by Orbit)

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Author Interview: David Pedreira

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Today I am interviewing David Pedreira, author of the new sci-fi, mystery novel, Gunpowder Moon.

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

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

David Pedreira: Sure thing, and thanks for having me. I’m a former reporter for daily newspapers including the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. Gunpowder Moon is my first novel. I co-own a small business and live in Florida with my wife and daughter—as well as a miscreant cat and a Chihuahua who thinks he’s a wolf. When I’m not reading or writing I hope to be on the water— fishing, surfing, scuba diving, or camping on a remote stretch of river somewhere.

DJ: What is Gunpowder Moon about?

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David: It’s a near-future science fiction thriller about the first murder on the Moon, and how that murder will lead to a full-scale lunar war if a veteran named Caden Dechert and his small crew of miners can’t solve the mystery of who is to blame, and why. It’s a gritty, realistic look at the frontier days of lunar colonization, where people live in broken-down and claustrophobic mining stations. There are a lot of things that can kill them, from moondust to the vacuum of space. I’d describe the novel as hard science fiction, and it has mystery and military sci-fi elements to it.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Gunpowder Moon?

David: That’s a long list that includes a lot of books and genres I grew up with. On the science fiction side, I’d say Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Ursula Le Guin (who will be sorely missed). There’s also this mystery component to the novel, so I’d add Agatha Christie, Dennis Lehane, and Arthur Conan Doyle. On the thriller/espionage side of things, John Le Carre, Len Deighton, and the early Tom Clancy novels. I’d even throw in Joseph Conrad for his visions of colonial expansion, and Michael Herr for his outstanding literary journalism about war.

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Author Interview: Sue Burke

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Today I am interviewing Sue Burke, author of the new science-fiction novel, Semiosis.

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

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

Sue: Hi DJ! Beyond what it says in my bio, I always wanted to be a writer, even as a child before I learned to read. I worked for a long time as a journalist and loved that job. But I always loved science fiction, too, and after a while, I decided to try writing that. Now, twenty years later, my first novel is being published. I couldn’t be happier and more excited.

Science fiction draws me in because of the kinds of questions it can ask. In this novel, I ask about intelligence: how can different kinds of intelligence coexist? How will they inevitably misunderstand each other?

DJ: What is Semiosis about?

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Sue: A small group of humans arrives at a planet to found an agricultural colony. Soon they discover the planet has its own dominant life forms that have their own demands. Can the colonists afford to agree? The story continues from one generation to the next as they try to survive and adapt to their new home and its inhabitants.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Semiosis?

Sue: When my houseplants began misbehaving, I discovered how horrible plants are. A vine called a pothos wrapped around another and blocked all light and killed it, and a philodendron tried to sink its roots into a neighboring plant. With a little research, I learned that, as one botanist put it, “All plants of a given place are in a state of war with respect to each other.” And plants are armed and deadly. For example, the strangler fig, a jungle plant, grows on an existing tree, using it as a prop, and when the fig is strong enough, it strangles the tree and takes its place.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alex Wells

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Today I am interviewing Alex Wells, author of the new science-fiction novel, Blood Binds the Pack, second book in the Hob series.

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

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

Alex: I’ve been professionally writing science fiction and fantasy for about eight years now. I’m also a geologist; I got my MS in sedimentology, which I’ve been told shows a little bit in how I write things. Deserts landforms are my favorites, which explains a lot about the setting for the books at least!

DJ: What is Blood Binds the Pack and then the Hob series about?

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Alex: It’s about the worker population on a company-owned and controlled planet striking to try to better their living conditions–but it’s also about ultimately who is going to control interstellar travel in this universe, even if they don’t quite realize it. It’s about working people asserting their right to survive and thrive and have control over their own destinies. There’s also, I will note, witchiness. (I’ve been told that Blood Binds the Pack manages to stand on its own, but if you read Hunger Makes the Wolf first, you’ll know the characters better.)

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Hob series?

Alex: Definitely Dune and Firefly are aesthetic influences. The biggest influence is actually historical, though. A lot of what happens in these books is influenced by or even directly related to the Colorado Coal Field Wars, which was a series of clashes between company and government men and the union coal miners.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: E.J. Swift

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Today I am interviewing E. J. Swift, author of the new sci-fi, time-travel novel, Paris Adrift.

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DJ: Hey E.J.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

E. J. Swift: Thank you for asking me! I’m a writer of speculative fiction, and Paris Adrift is my fourth novel, following The Osiris Project trilogy (Osiris, Cataveiro and Tamaruq). I’ve also had a number of short stories published, including “The Spiders of Stockholm” which was longlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and most recently in anthologies The Djinn Falls in Love (“The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice”), Infinity Wars (“Weather Girl”) and 2084 (“The Endling Market”). In the non-writing part of my life I love gardening, nature, pole fitness, and of course, cats.

DJ: What is Paris Adrift about?

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E.J.: It’s a tale of time travel, bartenders and the City of Light. Hallie is a young woman who moves to Paris to try and escape her past. Initially it’s all going well: she finds a bar job and a community of fellow drifters in the bohemian district of Montmartre, but gets more than she bargained for when she discovers a time portal in the keg room, meets the mysterious Chronometrist, and finds herself caught up in a mission to prevent the end of the world.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Paris Adrift?

E.J.: I lived in Paris for 18 months and fell in love with the city, particularly the area of Montmartre which is a hybrid of the picturesque – Sacre Coeur and the brasseries and boutique stores of Rue des Abbesses – and the grubbier, seedier side of Paris. I also adore the film Moulin Rouge, although I avoided that period of history in Paris Adrift as it’s been explored so well elsewhere.

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? 

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