Author Interview: Beth Cato

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Today I am interviewing Beth Cato, author of the new fantasy steampunk novel, Breath of Earth.

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DJ: Hey Beth! Thanks for coming by AGAIN this month! This time, for your new novel, Breath of Earth.

So tell us: What is Breath of Earth about?

Beth Cato: The book follows Ingrid Carmichael, a secretary for the Earth Wardens in San Francisco. Unbeknownst to the wardens, she is a far more powerful geomancer than they are. When most of the wardens are killed, it falls on Ingrid to act as a buffer to keep earth energy from causing a cataclysmic earthquake in the city. At the same time, tensions are high with Chinese refugees in the city, and everything threatens to explode at once.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Breath of Earth?

BC: Foremost, my own background as a native Californian growing up with earthquakes and a great deal of curiosity about the “Big One” that hit San Francisco in 1906. I don’t hide that an earthquake happens in my book, but the reasons for it are quite different. I also harken back to the video games I loved growing up. Readers like to find the tribute Easter eggs I hide throughout my books.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters?

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BC: Ingrid Carmichael is twenty-five, and as a woman and a person of color, she is regarded as nigh worthless in society. She grits her teeth and holds back her wit and her magic as she pours coffee for the wardens. Thanks to her adoptive Japanese father, she is highly educated, and she loves to read. Mark Twain is a favorite of hers.

Another of my characters is Cy Jennings, a southern gentleman and a machinist by trade. He runs a repair shop South of the Slot along with his recalcitrant partner, Fenris. Cy has the bearing and discerning eye of a soldier, and more than a few secrets in his past. He also considers Mark Twain to be a favorite author of his.

DJ: What is the setting for the Breath of Earth series like?

BC: It’s an alternate version of 1906. The American Civil War ended early thanks to a Japanese alliance with the Union, and now, decades later, the two forces are partnered as the Unified Pacific and trying to dominate China. Many desperate Chinese refugees have crowded into San Francisco, but America is not offering much of a refuge. I don’t shy away from the racism of the period, and even though it’s alternate history, most everything I cite is based on fact. Ingrid deals with her share of racism, too, but she deeply loves San Francisco. It’s her home. She’ll do whatever she can to keep it safe.

DJ: Could tell us more about these geomancers and what your magic system is like?

BC: Geomancers act as buffers during an earthquake–they draw in the energy that would cause a quake. However, this energy creates heat in their bodies, and the high temperature can kill them in minutes unless they are in contact with a special kind of rock, kermanite. Kermanite draws the energy out and traps it inside until it can be tapped by machinery, wherein it’s like a battery. Kermanite runs everything from flashlights to airships. Therefore, geomancers are a major force for public safety and they also effectively channel the energy that powers the economy and the military expansion.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Breath of Earth?

BC: The research. Which was my least favorite part, too. I learned so much in writing this book, and I could probably continue to research until the end of time in my effort to get all the details right!

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

BC: Fenris. People adore Fenris. He steals every scene he’s in.

DJ: What is your goal in writing the Breath of Earth series? Breath of Earth is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when it is finally told?

BC: I’m really glad you asked this! At the end of the book, I included an author’s note where I break down what really happened in history. I delve into a lot of things that we aren’t taught in school about what happened in California at the turn of the 20th century and how Chinese immigrants were treated. I include my research bibliography in the book–and on my website–with the hope that readers might seek out nonfiction on these topics. It can make for difficult reading, but it’s relevant in our current world.

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Breath of Earth that you can share with us?

BC: I have a line from Cy that shows his developing relationship with Ingrid: “I’m doubly honored, miss. You didn’t shoot me, and now you want to lend me books.”

DJ: Now that Breath of Earth is released, what is next for you?

BC: Edit its sequel, Call of Fire! That is due out next summer.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Site and blog: http://www.bethcato.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/BethCato

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beth.cato

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2937730.Beth_Cato

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BethCato/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/bethcato/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Cato/e/B006S84MNO

DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Breath of Earth that we haven’t talked about yet?

BC: There’s more magic than geomancy in this book. Magical creatures play a major part, too.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

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*** Breath of Earth is published by Harper Voyager and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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About the Book:

After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy series from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.

When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.


61YHbXwBAHL._UX250_About the Author:

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER (a 2015 finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel) and THE CLOCKWORK CROWN (an RT Reviewers’ Choice finalist) from Harper Voyager. Her next book, BREATH OF EARTH, is out in August.

Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.


 

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Author Interview: Timothy C. Ward

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Today I am interviewing Timothy C. Ward, author of the new, apocalyptic fantasy novel, Revolt, first book in the Godsknife series.

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DJ: Hey Tim! Thanks for stopping by (again!) to do this interview!

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, or read any our two previous interviews, could you tell us a little about yourself? What’s new since Scavenger: A.I.’s release?

Timothy C. Ward: I mean, how could someone not have heard of me? It sounds like I practically live here. To steal a line from my bio: I’ve been broke, lost and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world, but now dream up greater adventures from my keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa.

Scavenger: A.I. was my second and possibly last book in my post-apocalyptic scifi series set in Hugh Howey’s world of Sand. I published that in June, and am publishing my first fantasy novel August 22 through Evolved Publishing. It has been a crazy busy summer. I go to WorldCon in three days, where I will hopefully not let my nerves get the best of me as I stand behind a dealer’s table smiling and offering my card as I wait and pray for my stacks of books to steadily shrink into thin air.

DJ: What is Revolt about?

TCW: It is about people I think readers should love. People who have grown up in philosophical systems and imperfect family dynamics that have made them the imperfect heroes of their own story.

In more concrete terms, it’s the violent return of magic to a world like ours, set in Iowa and pieces of the Abyss inspired by my time in South Korea. Characters will fight giant praying mantises and darker corners in their hearts that make them wonder if they’re up for the battle to keep their world steady as it heaves itself end over end. Continue reading

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Author Spotlight: Famished: The Farm by Ivan Ewert

About the Book:

Destiny, manifested.

Having defeated the Gentleman Ghouls of the Farm and the Commons, Gordon Velander—and his attendant spirits, Orobias and Sylvie—head west. They seek to destroy the most remote branch of the cannibal cult that founded America and gnaws at the roots of the free world.

However, Gordon now fights a battle both within and without. His contentious allies first struggle, then revolt, following their own agendas. At the same time, Rancher Dylan Wildye has chosen a new tactic to preserve the family bloodline.

Warring for mastery of his own body, mind, and soul, Gordon must choose not only sides, but also his fate.

Famished: The Ranch is the third and final book in the Gentleman Ghouls series from Ivan Ewert and Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

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Today I am interviewing Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, author of the new non-fiction book, Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg.

Traveler of Worlds is a book of conversations in which Alvaro asks Robert Silverberg all sorts of questions about his life experiences, love of travel and art and music, and of course his long and prolific career, in and out of science fiction.

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DJ: Hey Alvaro! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro: Thanks for having me! I’m a science fiction and horror writer. I also write nonfiction about science fiction, fantasy and horror, and like to study the history of the fields.

I was born in Madrid, Spain, went to high school in Munich, Germany, and then returned to Madrid for a BS in Theoretical Physics. I’m sure this diverse background contributed to my interest in a type of fiction that specializes in what-ifs, in the creation of alternative worlds and cultures.

DJ: What is Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg about?

AZA: As mentioned in your introduction, the book is a series of candid, relaxed conversations with Robert Silverberg. Some of the topics we discuss: Silverberg’s extensive travel and anecdotes pertaining to such, collecting artifacts, art theory and art history, painting, classical music, film, all manner of writers, Silverberg’s personal habits, his views on society and science, political positions, his youth and early pets, the “sense of wonder,” existentialism, thoughts on his long career and the meaning of awards,

his library, and the process of getting old. As I was working on the book I also solicited questions from readers and fans via Facebook, and integrated these into our conversations.

DJ: I’m going to ask the obvious question: why Robert Silverberg? Of all the sci-fi authors, what was it about him that made you want to undertake this project?

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AZA: When I was seventeen years old, back in that distant year of 1996, I discovered Robert Silverberg’s work with Nightwings. The subtle melancholy of its three lyrical novellas moved me deeply and I hunted down as many books by him as I could find. Over the next two years I read fifty of his novels and non-fiction books on history and archaeology. I was bowled over by the vast range of his work, and how inhumanly prolific he was. I heard about a mysterious breakdown through overwork in the 1960s, a perplexing mid-career retirement in the ’70s, and other unusual developments that added to my fascination. And he had an uncommon persona, cool and phlegmatic, that further contributed to the intrigue.

After years of correspondence, the blooming of a friendship, and our collaboration on a fiction project, When the Blue Shift Comes, in 2012, I thought it would be enjoyable and enlightening to converse with him about a long life well spent, and record his thoughts on various subjects.

I hope that fans of his work, as well as more casual readers who wish to know about the writing life and the history of science fiction, will find the result of interest.

DJ: Why did you want to write this type of book?

AZA: I’ve always been fascinated by writers and the writing process. In addition, in the case of Bob Silverberg, I was struck by a growing number of questions. How could one person have written so much, and at such a high level? His characters seemed to express every possible view and opinion—what did he think, and why? Where had his travels taken him? What kind of music and films did he enjoy? What were his eccentricities and foibles and hobbies? Above all, wherefrom sprang the creative well that had thrust up so many works of visionary wonder?

Traveler of Worlds is my attempt to peel back the layers and connect with Silverberg the man and artist, documenting my journey of discovery along the way.

DJ: Believe it or not, I have never read anything by Robert Silverberg! What are some of your favorite novels by him?

AZA: My friend, you’re in for a treat! You can’t go wrong the following novels: Dying Inside, The Book of Skulls, The World Inside, Son of Man, Tower of Glass, Nightwings and Downward to the Earth. These are all from the late 60s and 70s; intense, and stylistically admirable. If you’re looking for something adventure-oriented, with wonderful attention to setting, and more epic in scope, Lord Valentine’s Castle is a joy to read. From the more recent novels, two of my favorites are The Face of the Waters, for its ending, and The Alien Years, because of the generational, multi-perspective approach to its narrative, and the inscrutability of the aliens’ motives.

DJ: Silverberg has quite an extensive collection of short-stories, but could you name some of your favorite from them too?

AZA: This is tricky. Silverberg has published over a thousand stories, and over the last decade or so his most important science fiction stories have been collected in a staggering nine volumes by Subterranean Press. Out of all these hundreds, here’s a baker’s dozen that I consider top-of-the-line: “To See the Invisible Man,” “Flies,” “Passengers,” “The Science Fiction Hall of Fame,” “Sundance,” “Capricorn Games,” “Born with the Dead,” “The Pope of the Chimps,” “Sailing to Byzantium,” “Multiples,” “Homefaring,” “The Feast of St. Dionysus,” and “Thebes of the Hundred Gates.” Some of these are available in the excellent career retrospective The Best of Robert Silverberg: Stories of Six Decades.

DJ: What were a couple of the greatest things (surprises) you learnt about Robert Silverberg while writing the book?

AZA: People tend to think of Silverberg as an unflappable, aloof guy with a sardonic sense of humor and highbrow interests. Fair enough; but there’s also a mischievous twinkle in the eye and a playful nature behind that persona, as evidenced by some of the anecdotes he shared.

I was surprised about some of Silverberg’s childhood experiences. For instance, he was actually extroverted at the age of six or seven, and then became shy later on, as a result of his extroversion getting him in trouble with classmates. I didn’t know much about Silverberg’s relationship with his parents and that was also fascinating.

DJ: How was the overall experience of putting this book together?

AZA: The conversations that make up the text of Traveler of Worlds happened over the course of 2015 in Silverberg’s living room. My girlfriend, Rebecca, and I drove up to visit Bob and his wife Karen Haber four times, and that provided ample time for the conversations to unfold. I then transcribed and edited them, with Silverberg’s approval, for the book. Gardner Dozois wrote an Introduction and Karen an Afterword. I was lucky enough to get some great blurbs from Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick, Kim Stanley Robinson, Sheila Williams and Jack Skillingstead. It was a delightful experience, all around.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg?

AZA: Planning the questions I was going to ask Bob was a blast, because I could roam far and wide in my research on fun subjects. The challenge of adhering to my set questions, while letting the conversations take their own natural course and satisfying my curiosity in the moment, was also stimulating. Bob was pleased with the outcome when he read the final manuscript, and that pleased me. Finally, having produced a book that I myself would have snapped up, had it been written by someone else, is also rewarding.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

AZA: They may meet a Robert Silverberg who doesn’t match their expectations; or they may confirm their initial impressions but glean further insights. Either way, I would be pleased if readers felt like they got a better sense of who Robert Silverberg is, and the way his mind works.

DJ: What was your goal in writing the Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers?

AZA: I hope the book’s informal approach will entertain readers, providing an interesting glimpse into an unusual life and career. Silverberg has gone on record saying he will not write an autobiography, so this may be the closest thing we get. Not everything Silverberg and I talk about will interest everyone, but hopefully something will be of interest to just about everyone who is curious about science fiction and writing. And maybe some folks will find themselves creatively inspired, or will want to learn more about some of the many writers, artists, etc. we talk about.

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg that you can share with us?

AZA: Here are four of my favorites:

  • “I’ve never been an activist. I believe in the futility of marches.”
  • “The indifference of a cat is a beautiful thing to observe.”
  • “I’m a moderate man because I’m designed to be moderate. I wrote an immoderate amount of fiction.”
  • “You can look through a telescope on both ends. If you want to feel like a really big person, look through the other end of the telescope at all that small stuff there.”

DJ: Now that Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg is released, what is next for you?

AZA: I’d like to try my hand at a science fiction novel next, something short and intense, in the mode of some of my favorite works from the 1970s. I also plan to continue writing short stories, book and film reviews, and would be open to doing another book of Conversations with a different author as well.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Alvaro-Zinos-Amaro/e/B009FQH1MU/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alvaro.zinosamaro

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6563092.Alvaro_Zinos_Amaro

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AlvaroZinos/posts

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alvaro-zinos-amaro-10413687

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AZinosAmaro

Website: http://myaineko.blogspot.com/p/home-page.html

DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg that we haven’t talked about yet?

AZA: I just want to thank you for your questions and interest! The book comes out on August 16th, from Fairwood Press, and may be purchased directly from them, or via Amazon, or from IndieBound. Additionally, for those folks attending WorldCon, there will be a special panel to discuss the book on Saturday 20th at 1 pm. And I hope to be able to travel to San Francisco in September for a discussion and Q&A on the book with Bob for the “SF in SF” series, on Sunday the 11th.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

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*** Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg is published by Fairwood Press and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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About the Book:

In addition to exploring Silverberg’s career, now in its sixth decade, this collection of transcribed conversations delves into aspects of Silverberg’s life-such as his extensive travel, passion for film, opera and classical music-not covered elsewhere.

A decade-and-a-half-long friendship, and working together on When the Blue Shift Comes, afforded Alvaro the opportunity to speak at length with Silverberg. The result: a remarkably candid series of conversations that will be of interest to science fiction readers and anyone curious about the writing life.

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AZAbioAbout the Author:

Alvaro started publishing around 2008, and has had more than thirty stories appear in magazines likeAnalogNatureGalaxy’s EdgeThe Journal of Unlikely EntomologyLackington’sMothership Zeta,Farrago’s Wainscot and Neon, as well as anthologies such as The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of MoriartyThe Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper TalesThe 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure GuideCyber WorldThis Way to the End Times [edited by R. Silverberg], Humanity 2.0and An Alphabet of Embers. Alvaro’s essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Review of BooksThe First LineAsimov’sStrange HorizonsClarkesworldSF SignalFoundation,The New York Review of Science Fiction and Intergalactic Medicine Show; he also edits the roundtable blog for Locus.

 

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Guest Post: Sweet Secrets Big Idea by Stephanie L. Weippert

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Stephanie is bibliophile — full stop. Leave her alone for ten minutes and she will be reading or writing.

Stephanie is married and claims she and her husband are naturally insane in a fun an harmless way. Together they do filking and other musical hobbies. Their teen boys often drive them toward the not-fun insanity (Nature or Nurture? – you decide).

With former careers as a legal assistant and a licensed massage therapist, Stephanie now gets to make writing a full time endeavor thanks to her awesome husband.


Sweet Secrets Big Idea

by Stephanie L. Weippert

At a cloth covered table in a ballroom filled with authors eager to sign their books, I smile as a burly man with his kid in tow make a bee line for me. He drops a copy of my book in front of me on the table with a bang. “Hey,” he asks. “What’s the big idea?”

I look up from the copy of my book Sweet Secrets he’d dropped, my pen in my hand to sign it and my eyes twinkled with delight.

“Food is magic,” I say, then sign with flourish and hand it back to him with a grin. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kij Johnson

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Today I am interviewing Kij Johnson, author of the new fantasy novella, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe.

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

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

Kim Johnson: I try never to write the same sort of story twice, so this is hard to answer. I’ve written some historical fantasy and some secondary-world fantasy, as well as some SF and a lot of short experimental works. I also occasionally write things that can only by a real stretch be called genre at all. The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe is me writing a classic sort of story in a classic sort of way.

DJ: What is The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe about?

KJ: The book is set in the dreamlands of H. P. Lovecraft: a professor of Mathematics in the ancient university town of Ulthar has to retrieve one of her students, who has eloped with a man from the waking world. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Robot Dragons Can’t be Literary by Paige Orwin

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Paige Orwin was born in Utah, to her great surprise. At the age of nine she arranged to rectify the situation.  She now lives in Washington state, next to a public ferry terminal and a great deal of road construction, and has never regretted the decision.

She is the proud owner of a BA in English and Spanish from the University of Idaho, which thus far has not proven terrifically useful for job prospects but she knew the risks of a humanities degree going in. She also survived the 8.8 Chilean earthquake in 2010, which occurred two days after her arrival in the country (being stubborn, she stayed an entire year anyway).

She began writing The Interminables when her favorite video game, City of Heroes, was shut down in late 2012.

Her partner in crime wants a cat. This, thus far, has not happened.


Robot Dragons Can’t be Literary

by Paige Orwin

I was fortunate enough to go to college.

There is, in the US, a standardized test called the SAT, and a “pre-test” for it called the PSAT. In high school, I took the PSAT, and apparently I did pretty well. I did so well that I got a letter from the “National Merit Scholarship Corporation” saying that I was a “semifinalist” in a contest I wasn’t aware I had entered. Later, they decided that I was a “finalist” and a “National Merit Scholar.” The University of Idaho thought that was a big deal, and offered me a four-year, full-ride scholarship. Continue reading

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Author Interview: K.B. Wagers

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Today I am interviewing K.B. Wagers, debut author of the new science fiction novel, Behind the Throne, first book in the Indranan War trilogy.

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DJ: Hey K.B! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

K.B. Wagers: Thanks! It’s nice to be here.

I am a tragically unhip, tattooed Coloradoan, who’s owned by four cats. I have a degree in Russian studies from CU Boulder that seems to impress my potential employers and means I can talk about how much I dislike Tolstoy until people’s eyes cross. I like weightlifting and whiskey, and I am terrified of heights.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Behind the Throne and the Indranan War trilogy?

KBW: I’d love to claim that Star Wars played an influential role, but really if it did it was all subconsciously. *laughs* Instead the two major Sanskrit epics from ancient India—the Mahabharata and the Raymayana—were influential factors as well as a movie called Seven Days in May from 1964. I was also putting the finishing touches on it when Mad Max: Fury Road came out and I think that ended up having an impact on the final pace of the book. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gaie Sebold

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Today I am interviewing Gaie Sebold, author of the new steampunk, urban fantasy novel, Sparrow Falling.

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DJ: Hey Gaie! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Gaie Sebold: Sparrow Falling is my fourth published novel, the second in the Gears of Empire series. The first in the series was Shanghai Sparrow. The previous two novels are fantasy, Babylon Steel and Dangerous Gifts.. I’ve been writing for most of my life – I’ve had a number of short stories and a book of poetry published. I also teach writing workshops. I also garden, cook, draw, paint, and make things. (I recently went on a course to make a bronze sword, which was fun).

DJ: What is Sparrow Falling about?

GS:The series follows the adventures of a street child and professional con-artist Eveline Sparrow, in a fantasy Victorian era where the Fey and many other mythical beings exist in a world just alongside our own. Eveline gets caught up in events where the politics of our world overlap dangerously with those of the Fey while discovering the truth about her past and trying to protect herself and those she cares about in the present. In Sparrow Falling Eveline is trying to attain a regular – and respectable – income for her school, our world is on the brink of war, there is a desperate man trying to manipulate Eveline for his own purposes, her friend Liu the fox-spirit is risking his life for his father and there are more ventures into the beautiful but lethal worlds of supernatural beings both British and Chinese.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Sparrow Falling?

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QS: In terms of non-fiction, Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, which is an astonishing series of pieces of Victorian investigative journalism. Grim reading, but fascinating. Fictional influences are much harder to specify – though I’ve always had a liking for roguish characters, and Eveline definitely falls into that category! Maybe she has Raffles somewhere in her literary genes.

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 will sympathize with them? 

GS: Eveline, having grown up on the streets, is a survivor. She’s smart and tough, sometimes sharp-tongued. She’s an extremely good con-artist, and proud of it, but has her own moral boundaries – she doesn’t believe in stealing from people who are worse off than herself. She’s intensely loyal to those she cares about. And because she grew up half-starved she’s almost always hungry. Her friend Liu is half fox-spirit, and lives with a foot in both the mundane and supernatural worlds. He’s a basically decent person whose decency sometimes makes his life difficult. Beth is a very talented engineer who finds machines easier to get on with than people. Ma Pether is loud, brash, touchy, fierce, and started off as one of those minor characters who sometimes decides they don’t want to be minor, thank you…

DJ: What is the universe/world for Sparrow Falling like?

GS: Sparrow Falling is based in an alternative late Victorian era, where mythical creatures (fey, goblins, fox spirits, dragons) exist alongside our world, and where steam-driven technology has reached heights and abilities that would not be possible in the real world. It also has etheric science, the speciality of Eveline’s mother Madeleine, which uses sound to create mood. As it’s set in the Victorian period it’s quite dank, smoggy and smelly a lot of the time, especially the bits in London. The social structures of the era are pretty much those of the time, though I’ve played with history here and there (I have the martial art Bartitsu coming to England earlier than it actually did, for example, because it was too cool not to use).

DJ: Can you tell us about the ancient magic in this world?

GS: The ancient magic, such as it is, is really that of the mythology of the British Isles and other countries. There isn’t a magical system as such – mythology isn’t that organized or logical, it accretes around ideas and places over centuries.

DJ: What is the Sparrow School?

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GS: It is a school set up by my heroine to take on young women and give them useful skills, and a chance at independence. At least, on the surface. Some of the girls are also taught rather more esoteric skills, like disguise, breaking and entering, how to do a pigeon drop (a traditional con-game)…Eveline has Plans for her girls.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Sparrow Falling?

GS: Hard to say! The flight of the Aerymouse, the glittering, dangerous palaces of the Queen of the Fey and the Dragon King, scheming villains – it’s all fun to write.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

GS: I hope they all find something worth discussing. But I think as a writer you often find that people get very different things from your work than you expected – so any speculations I might make about what people will pick up from it are likely to be wildly off the mark.

DJ: What is your goal in writing Sparrow Falling? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when it is finally told?

GS: My goal is always to tell an entertaining story. There are messages in there, certainly, about exploitation and the misuse of power, and I hope those come across, but if they don’t I hope people just enjoy the read.  

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Sparrow Falling that you can share with us?

GS: “Consider always whether what you desire will cost you what you love.”

DJ: Now that Sparrow Falling is released, what is next for you?

GS: I am working on another fantasy novel with a secondary world setting, and have several other projects in hand, including future Babylon Steel novels, and a steampunkish collaboration with my partner, David Gullen.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gaie-Sebold/e/B005ISC21Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1470686645&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4385310.Gaie_Sebold

Linkedin: https://gb.linkedin.com/in/gaie-sebold-27477522

Twitter: @GaieSebold

Website: http://gaiesebold.com/

DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Sparrow Falling that we haven’t talked about yet?

GS: That sometimes rogues and villains are the most fun to write – I hope they’re as much fun to read.

DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?

GS: I hope your readers find the above interesting – and if they have any questions I’m on Twitter, or they can contact me through my website.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

GS: Thank you for giving me the chance to talk about Sparrow Falling.

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*** Sparrow Falling is published by Solaris and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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About the Book:

Master spy, former con-artist, Eveline Duchen returns in adventure set in a world of steam and magic.

Eveline Sparrow (formerly Duchen) hopes to put her past experiences as a thief and con-artist to more legitimate use; which is why some of the girls at her Sparrow School receive private lessons in burglary, fakery, and other such underhand practices.

But it’s hard to get honest work when few businesses will employ young ladies in the security professions.  The duns are at the doorstep, her friend Liu the half-fox-spirit is in some sort of trouble, and the rivalries of the Folk are in danger of overspilling into the mundane world and forcing the Empire into a bloody and horrifying war.  Can Eveline pull things out of the mire this time, or will the Sparrow’s wings be clipped once and for all?


61szUm3RzwL._UX250_About the Author:

Gaie Sebold was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since she was very small. She is still quite small, but older.
Her first published novel, ‘Babylon Steel’, came out from Solaris in 2012. The second in the Babylon Steel series, ‘Dangerous Gifts’, came out in 2013. A steampunk novel, ‘Shanghai Sparrow’, is due in 2014.
She has a number of short stories in current anthologies including the David Gemmell memorial anthology ‘Legends’ and the ‘World War Cthulhu Fiction Anthology’.
Gaie occasionally hits people with latex swords and has been known to read poetry, in public, for money. She has had a number of jobs, none of them as much fun as writing or running writing workshops. The most interesting thing she ever had to do for a day job was travel on the Underground while carrying a 6 foot carriage whip and an artificial severed finger.
She lives with writer David Gullen and has a paranoid cat, a shaggy garden, and rather a lot of hats.


 

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What Books I Want to See on Film

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Have any of you heard of the new speculative fiction site, The Semiotic Standard? Well, if you haven’t let me give you a reason why you should: The Collective.

One of the features they have, that is run by Andrea @LittleRedReader, is a round table panel called “The Collective”, which is where a question is posed and each panelist give their answer.

A couple of weeks ago (okay, more like a month ago now) I was invited on to answer the question:

WHICH SCIFI/FANTASY BOOK WOULD YOU MOST LOVE TO SEE AS A MOVIE? WHAT SCENE ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING ON THE BIG SCREEN?”

Check out my answer along with what other bloggers, authors, editors, and publishers had to say :) http://semioticstandard.com/news/2016/7/14/the-collective-bringing-books-to-film

 

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