Author Interview: Antonia Honeywell

Today I am interviewing Antonia Honeywell, debut author of the new speculative fiction novel, The Ship.

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

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

Antonia Honeywell: Hello DJ – it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me. I’m a British writer, thrilled that my first novel is making the trip across the Atlantic and hoping that one day I’ll get to follow in person. As well as writing, I bake, make jam, teach, play piano and sing in an award-winning barbershop chorus. And I drink a lot of tea.

DJ: What is The Ship about?

Antonia: The Ship is about a world in collapse, and a girl trying to find her future. Lalla Paul’s father is wildest-dreams wealthy, and he knows he cannot keep his daughter safe in a world that’s falling apart, so he buys a huge luxury cruise ship and stocks it not only with food, but with art materials and sports equipment and the digital contents of every library, museum and art gallery in the world. He finds 500 worthy people – good, kind, loving people – and offers them sanctuary on the ship in return for providing a nurturing environment in which his daughter can grow up. However, he doesn’t make allowances for the fact that his sixteen-year old daughter might just have ideas of her own, and that she, alone on the ship, may have questions he doesn’t want to answer.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Ship?

Antonia: I read a lot, so it’s hard to tease out exactly what’s influenced me, but I love the work of Margaret Atwood and the way that she uses speculative futures as a meditation on the state of the world. I read and loved John Wyndham, John Christopher and Ursula le Guin growing up, and their alternative universes, in which I found my own thoughts and feelings reflected, have stayed with me. I read a great deal of non-fiction, too, and am fascinated by the way that repressive regimes have risen and taken over democratic systems all over the world, throughout history. It’s too easy to sit back and ask, ‘How could people let that have happen?’ It’s much harder to interrogate ourselves and our own influence upon the times into which we’re born. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Mark Lawrence

Today I am interviewing Mark Lawrence, winner of the 2014 and 2016 David Gemmell Legends Award, and author of the new epic fantasy novel, Red Sister, first book of the Book of the Ancestor trilogy.

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

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

Mark Lawrence: Hey. Thanks for asking.

My first book Prince of Thorns was published in 2011 and I became a full-time writer in 2015, giving up my day job as a research scientist. I divide my time now between writing and caring for my youngest daughter (13) who is severely disabled. My latest book, Red Sister, hit the shops a few days ago.

DJ: What is Red Sister about?

Mark: It’s an entirely new story unconnected to my previous work and focuses on the experiences of a young girl who takes a rather unusual path into a convent where the nuns school the novices in faith but also the arts of war, magic and murder.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Book of the Ancestor trilogy?

Mark: I always find that one a difficult question. I don’t have any clear (to me) influences, though I must admit that listening repeatedly to Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series (written in the 1940s about a posh girls’ boarding school) with my daughter may have steered me into the all-female “school” setting. It is very different from Malory Towers though. I guess it must owe something to The Name of the Wind, Blood Song, Ender’s Game, A Wizard of Earth Sea, and even Harry Potter! Continue reading

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Author Interview: Cassandra Rose Clarke

Today I am interviewing Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of the new space opera novel, Star’s End.

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

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

Cassandra Rose Clarke: I’m a writer living in Houston, and I love to write across genres and age groups. I have two cats named Robert and Cheeto. I’m also a teacher.

DJ: What is Star’s End about?

Cassandra: Star’s End is a space opera crossed with a family drama. The main character, Esme Coromina, slowly uncovers some dark family secrets related to her father and her youngest sister, and she has to learn how to deal with the ramifications. And all of it takes place in space!

DJ: What were some of your influences for Star’s End?

Cassandra: The biggest influence was actually the Alien movies! One of the recurring themes in those movies is the way Weyland-Yutani, the evil corporation, is always trying to weaponize the xenomorphs. This is such a clearly terrible idea that I always wondered why there pursued it so relentlessly. Then I started imagining what might happen if they were successful. And that was the seed for Star’s End.

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? 

Cassandra: Esme is a pretty flawed character. She is pulled between doing what she feels is right and fulfilling her father’s expectations for her. She cares deeply about her sisters but often struggles with showing that in any meaningful way. Continue reading

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Author Interview and Giveaway: Rites of Azathith by Frank Cavallo

I have one (1) free copy (ebook or paperback) of Rites of Azathoth to go along with this interview! The link and details for the giveaway are located at the bottom of the post, following the interview:)

Today I am interviewing Frank Cavallo, author of the new dark fantasy novel, Rites of Azathoth.

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

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

Frank Cavallo: Thanks for having me, I’m happy to be here. By way of introduction, I’m a writer of dark fantasy and horror. I’ve published four novels, a novella and a bunch of short stories over the last ten years or so. When I’m not writing I’m an attorney, focused on criminal defense work.

DJ: What is Rites of Azathoth about?

Frank: This is a bit of a genre-blending novel, as most of my stuff tends to be. It follows parallel stories of a burned-out FBI profiler who takes on a case investigating an escaped serial killer responsible for several occult murders. At the same time, a specialist in ancient languages is approached by an eccentric billionaire, and asked to translate a text that shouldn’t exist, which claims to unlock a path to summoning the Great Old Ones. That text has a connection to the rituals of the killer-at-large, bringing the two together.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Rites of Azathoth?

Frank: As the title suggests, this is heavily steeped in the Cthulhu Mythos of HP Lovecraft, dealing with his gods and his cosmology. There’s also a fair amount of hooks and chains and bloody mutilations, along with some explicit sex & death linkage, so I’m sure it’s not hard to figure out that I’m a big Clive Barker fan as well. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Deborah A. Wolf

Today I am interviewing Deborah A. Wolf, debut author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Dragon’s Legacy, first book in The Dragon’s Legacy series.

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

Deborah A. Wolf: Hi, thanks for having me!

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

Deborah: I had kind of a weird life; I grew up on wildlife refuges until my family moved to a small village in the middle of Alaska and settled down. I’ve been an underwater photographer on Maui (did not hate that job), an Arabic linguist (the dating pool was exemplary) and a single mom (best gig yet). I’m fond of animals, less than fond of crowds, and have the attention span of—SQUIRREL!

DJ: What is The Dragon’s Legacy about?

Deborah: THE DRAGON’S LEGACY is almost as strange as its author. It’s about the threat to human survival by ecological forces–huge ecological forces, in this case, with wings and scales and all—and how different societies react to that threat. It’s bout indigenous societies caught between warring empires, and a struggle to maintain cultural identity. Mostly it’s about the small human stories of everyday people trying to go about their lives and loves while these events are taking place.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Dragon’s Legacy and The Dragon’s Legacy series?

Deborah: George Martin was definitely an influence in that he opened the door for stories that don’t follow a predictable path. Martin, Steven Erikson, and probably even Robert Jordan, whose work isn’t much like mine, showed me how much I like epic sagas that tell myriad stories of human-ness. Anne McCaffrey made me want dragons, and Pat Rothfuss made me want to make it all pretty.

Growing up in an indigenous society, being a soldier, and immersion in the Arabic language and Middle East cultures made me want to tell stories of desert warriors in a tribal society.

And you can blame it all on Tolkien in the first place. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kieran Shea

Today I am interviewing Kieran Shea, author of the new science-fiction novel, Off Rock.

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DJ: Hey Kieran! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Kieran Shea: Speculative fiction author, crime fiction and gallows humor fan. Mildly off-center about most things.

DJ: What is Off Rock about?

Kieran: Essentially it’s a black comedy about temptation, bad choices, and the things that, even when you think you have it all figured out, inevitably go wrong. There’s more than a dash or two of satire regarding corporate downsizing.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Off Rock?

Kieran: Well, a lot of places. Caper comedies for one. Two, I’d have to say Gerry Anderson. I watched a lot of Space:1999 and UFO and all that “Supernarionation” stuff. Journey to the Far Side of the Sun freaked me out when I was a kid.

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?

Kieran: Jimmy Vik is an everyman who’s a bit bewildered by what’s become of him after a couple of decades of blue collar work in the interstellar mining industry. Having little to show for his efforts, he’s aware his days are numbered and he wants out for good. When he discovers an unexpected gold pocket, Jimmy decides to thumb his nose at the status quo and rip off the company. Like anything worth doing in life, he needs to take an enormous risk. As for Jimmy’s quirks, he builds models and raises terrarium plants in his idle time. Picture a breezy, bohemian gent that likes rugby and partying who’s not as smart as he thinks he is. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Lee Irby

Today I am interviewing Lee Irby, my former college professor and gym buddy, and author of the new thriller novel, Unreliable.

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DJ: Hey Professor Irby! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Lee Irby: I’m a history professor at Eckerd College who has published three novels in addition to my usual scholarship, which is on trailer trash as a cultural construct.

DJ: What is Unreliable about?

Lee: The novel is about a writing instructor named Edwin Stith, who drives home to Richmond, VA, for his mother’s wedding. He’s done something, we’re not sure what, and since he’s a failed novelist, he understands the conventions of the mystery/thriller genre, and so he toys with the reader—has he killed his ex-wife? A waitress at a TGI Friday? Is he on a killing spree—or is he just a lonely man with few friends and a boring life he despises?

DJ: What were some of your influences for Unreliable?

Lee: Edgar Allan Poe. He is from Richmond, as I am, and I based the entire story off of his last trip to Richmond before he died, when he re-united with an old flame whose brother hated Poe. That became the outline of my plot. Continue reading

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Author Interview: J.S. Lenore

Today I am interviewing J. S. Lenore, author of the new exciting paranormal mystery, Burner, first book of the Affinity Series.

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DJ: Hey J. S.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

J.S. Lenore: Sure! I live in Indianapolis with my husband and daughter. I settled here after college, but grew up outside of Chicago. I’ve always been a big fan of books and started reading very young. Once I could write my own stories, I started and basically never stopped. Most of my early work was fan fiction, but I switched to original fiction in college. I decided to try my hand at writing a novel in 2014, and finished Burner at the end of 2016.

DJ: What’s Burner about?

J.S.: Burner is set in an alternate universe where part of the population can interact and communicate with ghosts. These people are called Mediums. One of the interesting parts about being a Medium is that they bond to a ghost as the final step of their training. That ghost strengthens the Medium’s power, and the bond stops the ghost from Turning, which is a process where ghosts lose their humanity and become dangerous. Burner is about one of these Mediums, a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department named Kim Phillips, and her ghost partner, Priya, and follows them as Kim tries to solve a series of murders.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Burner?

J.S.: I read a lot, so it’s hard to pinpoint specific influences for Burner. Just a couple off the top of my head would be Jim Butcher’s Dresden series, Lynn Flewelling’s Tamir Triad, and J. R. Ward’s In Death series. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Randy Henderson

Today I am interviewing Randy Henderson, grand prize winner of the Writers of the Future, 2009 Clarion West graduate, and author of the new urban fantasy novel, Smells Like Finn Spirit, final book of the Finn Fancy trilogy.

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

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

Randy Henderson: So if I do this interview, you release me from the binding circle, that’s the deal, right? Fine. I wouldn’t call that “agreeing” exactly.

A little bit about me? Well, interestingly, I only exist as long as you are reading something I’ve written. And you can either measure how fast I am writing, or where I am at in my writing, but not both.

DJ: What is Smells Like Finn Spirit and then the Finn Fancy Necromancy trilogy about?

Randy: I guess if you mashed up Dresden Files and the Addams Family, you’d be pretty close to the Finn Fancy series. I tried for a balance of dark fantasy adventure, and humor.

Finn is from a quirky family of magic users, and was framed for a crime back in 1986, at the age of 15, and his spirit banished to a Fey Other World while a changeling took his place here. At the start of the series, he is just returning to our world 25 years later to his 40-year-old body and immediately framed for a new crime.

The series follows his adventures as he tries to stop the people who framed him from ruining his life and from starting a magical race war. Along the way, he deals with his comically dysfunctional family, sasquatch mercenaries, gnome mobsters, unwanted body hair, a crazed jorōgumo, gets involved with some feyblood activists, starts a matchmaking service for magicals, and tries to figure out the whole dating thing himself.

In Smells Like Finn Spirit, everything comes to a head when the bad guys hatch a plan for a Feypocalypse. Finn, his family and his girlfriend are caught right in the middle of it. Book 3 also features some 90s humor and a couple of scenes inspired by 90s video games. Continue reading

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