Author Interview: Louisa Morgan

Today I am interviewing Louisa Morgan, author of the new fantasy novel, The Age of Witches.

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

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

Louisa Morgan: Hi, DJ, and thank you so much for inviting me. I’m a former classical singer, which is probably the most curious fact about me. I’m also a mother, a wife, a devoted yogini, and an equally devoted dog lover. My current dog (who I also think of as my spirit familiar) is a handful of a Border Terrier called Oscar. There are pictures of him on my website–he’s the cutest one of the family.

DJ: What is The Age of Witches about?

Louisa: This is always a hard question to answer concisely, because as the author, it’s about so very many things! This novel is set in the Gilded Age, in 1890. It’s about three women with abilities which they use, with varying degrees of success, to try to free themselves from the pre-ordained roles of women of their day. It’s also about a very sweet, very gentle man whose life is as proscribed as those of the female characters. In addition, there’s a hefty dose of herbalism as well as horsemanship (horsewomanship) and a good bit of cultural critique.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Age of Witches

Louisa: As a Downton Abbey devotee, I became fascinated by the wealthy American girls who were more or less sold off to obtain noble titles. It’s a complex and rather strange history, and I was deeply interested in what became of these girls after the grand marriages and the handover of the dowry. I’m always interested in horses, and herbalism as well, so that came naturally for me. And witches–well. I’m into all things magical. Continue reading

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Author Interview: M.R. Carey

Today I am interviewing M.R. Carey, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Book of Koli, first book in the Rampart trilogy. 

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DJ: Hi M.R.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

M.R. Carey: For sure. I’ve been writing my whole life, but I only started doing it as an actual career back in 2000. Before that it was a hobby, and my day job was teaching English at post-16 and adult education levels.

I started out writing exclusively comic books, because that was where I got my break, but I gradually branched out from there into other forms of writing – novels and short stories, then screenwriting, radio, console games… The last two don’t appear on my resume because I didn’t get on with them all that well.

I always write in genre. My comfort zone stretches from horror through dark fantasy into science fiction. Even when I write comedy, which is very occasionally, there’s always a fantasy element. I have no interest whatsoever in writing what has come to be called literary fiction.

DJ: What is The Book of Koli about?

M.R.: It’s a post-apocalyptic narrative, set a few centuries in the future. Our current world-spanning civilisation has fallen apart for many different reasons. There was resource depletion, which caused resource wars. There was a catastrophic decline in biodiversity. The climate broke down, in spite of our best efforts – and throwing science at the problem mostly made things worse. In trying to make plant species hardier and more resilient, we’ve created forests of killer trees that trap and feed on anything that moves.

As a result of all these crises, the human population has spectacularly declined. The survivors live in small, isolated communities – so small that they’re probably not even genetically viable in the longer term. The level of technology has gone back to something close to a medieval level – except for a few precious pieces of tech salvaged from the old times. The people who wield this tech are known as Ramparts, and the protagonist of the book, Koli Woodsmith, desperately wants to become one. But it’s very much a case of “be careful what you wish for…” Continue reading

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Author Interview: Adrian J. Walker

Today I am interviewing Adrian J. Walker, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Human Son. 

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

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

Adrian J. Walker: Hi, DJ, thanks for having me! I’m a writer of speculative fiction, British, mid-forties, married with two kids, a dog and two cats. We’ve moved about quite a bit – London, Edinburgh, France, Houston – but we’ve settled in a beautiful part of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The Human Son is my seventh book, and people might know me from my second, The End of the World Running Club.

I also sometimes work writing software, and I love running, forests, hills and guitars.  

DJ: What is The Human Son about?

Adrian: The Human Son is set 500 years in the future on a utopian earth populated by the erta, a small population of beings genetically engineered by humans to fix climate change. Super-intelligent and free from the fears, desires and self-interests of their creators, the erta succeed, but only by first removing one crucial element from the equation — us. 

The story is about how they decide whether or not to resurrect humanity, and this they do by experiment. To gather the data they need, a quiet and clinical atmospheric chemist named Ima (our hero) volunteers to raise a single human child as her own. And as every parent will know, this leads to unexpected results.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Human Son

Adrian: I read a lot of non-fiction in the months before I began writing. Sapiens and Homo Deus by Noah Yuval Harari, for example, gave me the idea for the erta – this kind of perfect development of humanity without all its flaws and with some interesting modifications. The Storms of my Grandchildren by James Hansen and Conscious by Annaka Harris also made an impact on me.

When I’m writing, a lot of my influence comes from music. My soundtrack during The Human Son was a rotation of tracks by artists like A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Eluvium, and Hammock – dark drones and expansive planes of sound to help me build the erta’s strange utopia.

Although that’s not to say the book is dark, by any stretch. There’s a lot of hope and humour in there, most of which comes from Ima’s ever-changing voice.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Michael Williams

Today I am interviewing Michael Williams, author of the new mythical fiction/magic realism series, the City Quartet. 

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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: I’ve been around for a while, starting in the mid-1980s, when I was a ground-floor member of the DRAGONLANCE team.  I wrote the songs for the original Weis/Hickman books in the series, and contributed several novels to the series.  Later on, I published a trilogy for Time/Warner Books, and then a pair of novels, Arcady and Allamanda, released by ROC in the U.S. and Hodder & Stoughton in the U.K.  Arcady received some very favorable notice, being long-listed for the Locus Awards.

More recently, I’ve been publishing with smaller presses, which are more amiable to taking chances with experimental, genre-bending work.  My recent City Quartet are four novels released by Seventh Star Press.

DJ: What is the City Quartet about?

Michael: The City Quartet are four novels, mythic and magical realist (I call the blend “mythical realism”) set in a city that is and is not Louisville, Kentucky. My fictional Louisville is both historical and imaginal, the streets often identifiable as the real, geographical city, but underlaid with magical pockets and side streets, with neighborhoods transformed by myth and mythological patterns.  Four separate stories, one for each novel: a coming-of-age story with ghosts (Trajan’s Arch); a Greek tragedy that the ancient gods revisit (Vine: An Urban Legend); a haunted film festival with a nightmarish, historical secret (Dominic’s Ghosts); a biography of a homeless man who becomes a mythical creature (Tattered Men).  When you read one novel, you follow its principal plot, but the plots of the other novels brush against your vision: you will see an important scene from another book play out as secondary to the story you’re in, and major characters in one book will be minor or even cameo characters in another.  The books stand on their own, but are interwoven across space and time, so that you don’t have to read them in a specific order, and you can enter the world of the quartet through any of them. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kathe Koja

Today I am interviewing Kathe Koja, author of the new short-fiction collection, Velocities

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DJ: Hi Kathe! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview! 

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

Kathe Koja: Hi, and thanks for the invitation! I’m a writer – working on my 18th book now – and an event creator, putting together creative artists from various disciplines to make immersive events. 

DJ: What is Velocities about?

Kathe: Velocities is my second fiction collection, bringing together stories I chose that seemed to have a similar feeling, or mood, or attitude. It wasn’t a strict or even really conscious process, more like arranging a bouquet of strange flowers than assembling a construct.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Velocities

Kathe: I’ve written a lot of short stories. And my last collection, Extremities, came out quite awhile ago. And I had two unpublished stories I wanted to share, so  . . . It was the right time to put together a new collection. 

DJ: What kinds of stories can readers expect in the anthology?

Kathe: There are straight-up horror stories here, there are historical stories, there are totally unclassifiable stories. But all of them offer a reader a moment of connection with a character. All my fiction, stories and novels, begins always with a character. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jon Skovron

Today I am interviewing Jon Skovron, author of the new fantasy novel, The Ranger of Marzanna, first book in The Goddess War trilogy.

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DJ: Hi 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 Skovron: Hi DJ! I live just outside Washington DC with my two teenagers and two cats. My first novel was published way back in 2009. It was a YA novel from Amulet called Struts & Frets. I went on to write three other YA novels before deciding to switch to writing “adult” novels. Well, not really deciding, I guess. I just started writing it and after about six chapters realized it was not YA. That ended up becoming Hope and Red, my debut adult fantasy novel, and the first book of the Empire of Storms trilogy from Orbit Books, which was completed back in I think 2017? Or thereabouts. My editor wanted me to release them nine months apart, so that whole period in my life is a little bit of a blur… 

DJ: What is The Ranger of Marzanna about?

Jon: The Ranger of Marzanna is set in a wintery fantasy landscape inspired largely by my ancestral Poland and Czarist Russia. It’s a land that was conquered two decades before by a vast empire. Those who tried to stop the empire from their conquest, the fabled and mysterious Rangers of Marzanna, were nearly exterminated in the aftermath. Only one elderly Ranger managed to escape the purge but he manages to pass on his mystical secrets to a young woman named Sonya. When Sonya’s father is murdered by the empire, she resolves not merely to get revenge, but to liberate her people from the empire. Unfortunately, her younger brother Sebastian, a profoundly gifted wizard, becomes enthralled by the charismatic imperial commander and decides to join the empire instead, setting the siblings on a collision course that gets very messy indeed.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Breanna Teintze

Today I am interviewing Breanna Teintze, author of the new fantasy novel, Lady of Shadows, second book in the The Empty Gods series.

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

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

Breanna Teintze: Hi there! I’m always having to wrack my brain to figure out what would be interesting about me–outwardly I have a fairly plain life. I’m a registered nurse, I live more or less in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by orchards and onion farms, and I was homeschooling my three kids before the entire world had to start emergency homeschooling. I’ve been writing since I was small, and last year Jo Fletcher Books published my debut novel, Lord of Secrets, about the extremely unlucky, bad-at-adulting wizard Corcoran Gray.

DJ: What is Lady of Shadows and then The Empty Gods series about?

Breanna: Mostly the book is about consequences: the after-effects of saving the world. Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray and his partner, Brix Rivest, are trying to rebuild their lives and adapt to the weird challenges that happen when people who have done extraordinary things try to return to normal life. Of course, life doesn’t stay normal for long, and they wind up forced to work with the organization that Gray has been spending most of his life avoiding in order to stop a magical plague.

That’s right–a plague, which is a little difficult in this present day! But I wrote the book in 2018 specifically thinking about grit, recovery, and optimism. I hope that even right now–maybe especially right now–people will find the story both fun and cathartic.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the The Empty Gods series

Breanna: It’s difficult to narrow them down! I think both the action and the humor in my novels owe something to 1999’s The Mummy, as well as the great over-the-top, full-of-beasties, so-bad-they’re-good space fantasy epics of the 1980s like Krull. As for actual storylines, after seeing too many stories that didn’t know what to do with a relationship once the pair got together, I wanted to write about a couple kept having adventures. Continue reading

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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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