Monthly Archives: June 2017

Author Interview: Dana Fredsti

Today I am interviewing Dana Fredsti, author of the new dark urban fantasy novel, The Spawn of Lilith, first book in the series.

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

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

Dana Fredsti: Hi there! Thanks for having me as your guest! Let’s see… a little bit about myself. First of all, to quote my official bio: Dana Fredsti is an ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical combat (a skill she utilized in Army of Darkness as a sword-fighting Deadite and fight captain). Through seven plus years of volunteering at EFBC/FCC, Dana’s been kissed by tigers, and had her thumb sucked by an ocelot with nursing issues. She’s addicted to bad movies and any book or film, good or bad, which include zombies. She’s the author of the Ashley Parker series, touted as Buffy meets the Walking Dead, the zombie noir novella, A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat, and the cozy noir mystery Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon.

And that’s enough of talking about myself in the third person. 🙂

I love writing, reading, wine-tasting, am involved in animal rescue, and live in San Francisco with my husband, a horde of cats, and our dog Pogeen (which means “little kiss” in Gaelic). David, my husband, is also a writer and we’re co-writing a science-fiction series for Titan Books called Time Shards.

DJ: What is The Spawn of Lilith about?

Dana: Well, for a short and spoiler-free answer, it’s about Lee Striga, a stuntwoman who discovers there’s more in her family tree during a film shoot that’s plagued by demons. Supernatural creatures of all sorts are a part of the world of Spawn of Lilith, although they go under the radar for the most part.

It’s hard for me to give a detailed response because the story arcs of each book are, to some degree, intertwined with the series arc and we all hate spoilers. Each book stands on its own as far as wrapping things up for that particular piece of the series arc, while also giving a little more of Lee’s background and family history. So hopefully readers will not finish any of the books with Empire Strikes Back syndrome. My second book in the Ashley Parker series really did end on a “Han frozen in carbonite” cliffhanger, but I ran out of my allotted word count. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ren Warom

Today I am interviewing Ren Warom, author of the new science-fiction, cyberpunk novel, Virology, follow up novel to Escapology.

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

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

Ren Warom: Hi, it’s a pleasure to be here!

Well, I’m a mum of three teenagers, herder of a multitude of cats, I’m a Film and TV Masters student, hopefully going on to do a PhD, and a multi-published writer of weird sci fi with quite a few stories out there, a psychological literary novella called The Lonely Dark, and of course Escapology and Virology, two gonzo-weird cyberpunkafunkadunk novels which came about from a mixture of frustration with the subbing process and needing to just let loose on something crazy.

DJ: What is Virology about?

Ren: Set four weeks after the events of Escapology, it follows my little ragtag crew of hackers kids, who have gone into hiding to keep Shock from all the criminals (gang and corporate alike) who want him so they can control what he controls, until the doubled horns of a dilemma throw them out of hiding (somewhat brutally) and up to the hubs to stop a horror far worse than Hive Queens and to save the Patient Zeros from the grip of a virus that may or may not be connected.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Virology?

Ren: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, just a beautiful book about consciousness that helped me form my ideas of AI life. Imaginary Cities by Darren Anderson, a sort of exploration of the weirdness of cities. I wanted the hubs to have their own sort of insular quirks—they needed to be recognisably the cities of earth but decades of floating semi-isolation has also remade them strange little worlds of their own. Gibson’s Blue Ant trilogy is my biggest influence fiction-wise, for his brilliant depictions of the messiness and insanity/normality of the world—the lovely mix of tech and art and commerce. I also watched lots of movie action sequences because I hate writing action and the visuals help. So (amongst many others) I watched John Wick, The Raid 1&2, Oldboy, As Above, So Below (for the great shots of the Paris catacombs) and some heist movies. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Laura Lam

Photo credit: Elizabeth May

Today I am interviewing Laura Lam, author of the new sci-fi thriller, Shattered Minds.

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

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

Laura Lam: Thanks for having me! I’m a former Californian who now lives in Scotland. I write primarily SFF, and my other books include False Hearts and the Micah Grey trilogy: Pantomime, Shadowplay, and Masquerade. I also teach part-time on the Creative Writing MA at Napier university in Edinburgh. My life is reading and writing, pretty much, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

DJ: What is Shattered Minds about?

Laura: When I do my elevator pitch I tend to say: “Female Dexter with a drug problem meets Minority Report. It’s about addiction, identity, and the darkness within.”

DJ: What were some of your influences for Shattered Minds?

Laura: Serial killers in general, and perhaps even vampire literature, despite the fact there are no vampires in this book. I read loads growing up and was always interested by that resistance a character shows against that desire to kill. I was also influenced by cyberpunk, government and corporate leaks, hacking, and Orphan Black.

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? (aka What makes them compelling?)

Laura: Carina has become deliberately addicted to dream drugs so she’s only killing people in her imagination instead of in real life. In these dreamscapes she crafts criminals only to kill them slowly, deliberately, in all the ways she likes best. I actually don’t care if people sympathize with Carina. She is, in many ways, unlikeable. But I do want readers to empathize with her, to put themselves in her shoes, even though that can be very uncomfortable. The villain, Roz, gets some screen time, and she’s sort of a cross between Rachel from Orphan Black and Dr. Frankenstein. She is very twisted. Dax, meanwhile, is the moral breath of fresh air. He’s one of the hackers who has a strong moral compass and knows to do the right thing. If Roz and Carina are super Slytherin, he’s more Hufflepuff. Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Morrow

Today I am interviewing James Morrow, satirist, science fiction writer, and author of a recent fantasy novella, The Asylum of Dr. Caligari.

Over the course of a long career, Jim has published ten novels, four stand-alone novellas, and three short-story collections. He has won the World Fantasy Award (twice), the Nebula Award (twice), the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and the Prix Utopia. His work has been translated into thirteen languages.

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

JM: Within my circumscribed but loyal readership, I’m best known for my philosophical and irreverent Godhead Trilogy, comprising Towing Jehovah (a Nietzschean sea saga), Blameless in Abaddon (a modern-dress retelling of the Book of Job), and The Eternal Footman (a vision of a post-theistic world). All three books turn on the premise that God has died, leaving behind a two-mile-long corpse—a bald and arguably overbearing conceit, to be sure, but after living inside it for most of the nineties, I, for one, began to believe it.

Although I’m an atheist, I recently figured out that I don’t really write as an atheist—I write as a heretic, somebody who loves to play with grand theological and cosmological ideas. If it weren’t for God, I’d be out of a job. Most of my readers would describe themselves as nonreligious or even antireligious, but I’m always gratified when a churchgoer sends me a fan letter saying I sent his or her thoughts spinning off on unexpected directions.

DJ: What is The Asylum of Dr. Caligari about?

JM: Beyond all my scoffing at religion, much of my oeuvre critiques the popular notion that war is a good way for human beings to solve their problems. Back in 1986 I published This Is the Way the World Ends, mocking the Reagan Administration’s nuclear saber-rattling. The plot concerns “the unadmitted,” hypothetical humans whose lives were canceled when their would-be ancestors extinguished themselves in World War III. The unadmitted end up putting the perpetrators of Armageddon on trial, under the Nuremberg precedent, for crimes against the future.

Then came my stand-alone novella Shambling Towards Hiroshima, set in 1945 and keyed to the conceit that the U.S. Navy has developed biological weapon that strangely anticipates Godzilla. My hero, based on the horror-film actor Lon Chaney, Jr., must put on a lizard suit and demonstrate this horrendous biotechnology before a Japanese delegation.

In The Asylum of Dr. Caligari, I take potshots at war profiteering. Most of the action unfolds at the fictional Träumenchen Asylum during the early months of World War I. The title character, who happens to be a sorcerer, has created a jingoistic oil painting so hypnotic it can compel entire regiments to rush headlong into battle. The plot turns on the efforts of my hero, Francis Wyndham, an art therapist at Träumenchen, and his most gifted pupil, the supernaturally talented Ilona Wessels, to defeat Caligari’s wicked masterpiece with a Guernica-like painting of their own. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Today I am interviewing Pamela Schloesser Canepa, author of the new dystopian time-travel novel, Detours in Time.

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

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

Pamela Schloesser Canepa: I live in the southeast United States and have a young adult son, a patient significant other, and a cute little dog that gets me outdoors regularly. I am a teacher of Middle School English, and writing keeps me busy on the weekends and during summer.

DJ: What is Detours in Time about?

Pamela: A struggling artist and an awkward Science professor set off on a journey to the future. What was supposed to be fun soon turns quite intense when they make discoveries about their future selves and end up on other “detours,” as well as disagreeing on actions they should take when their appearance seems to threaten a life.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Detours in Time?

Pamela: Bladerunner, Back to the Future, and Fringe, the TV show. I’m quite a sci-fi fan. Yet, I’m still inspired by my nightly walks with my dog and observing his behavior. There are some interesting animals as well as people in this novel.

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? 

Pamela: The main characters are very different from each other, yet there is an attraction. They disagree on many things, but at the heart of it, they trust each other. Pinky is a petite little fireball, independent, stubborn, and unstoppable. Milt is brilliant, awkward, a little aloof, and sweet, just sweet and loyal. He is also disturbed by the fact that Pinky sometimes skips meals. He has an Italian mother and regular meals are always a necessity for him. As he would say, “A body has to eat. It’s just Science.” Continue reading

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Author Interview: Curtis C. Chen

Today I am interviewing Curtis C. Chen, author of Kangaroo Too, the second novel in the Kangaroo series of science fiction spy thrillers.

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

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

Curtis C. Chen: Hi DJ, thanks for inviting me! I’m a freelance writer living near Portland, Oregon. My first short fiction was published in 2006, and my first novel (Waypoint Kangaroo) in 2016. I’m a former software engineer and one of the co-founders of Puzzled Pint, a free event that happens in over 40 locations around the world every month.

DJ: What is Kangaroo Too about?

Curtis: It’s about 300 pages long. (rimshot) I’m telling that joke as an example of the dumb jokes you can expect throughout the book, because that’s the kind of person Kangaroo is. There are also spaceships, robots, future spy tech, secrets, lies, and betrayals. Fun for the whole family!

DJ: What were some of your influences for Kangaroo Too and the Kangaroo series?

Curtis: One obvious touchstone is James Bond (007), though I very consciously wanted to subvert a lot of spy fiction tropes. And I’m a lifelong Star Trek fan, but I wanted a more grounded science fiction setting for Kangaroo. Yes, there are spaceships, but they don’t go faster than light; no, we haven’t met any aliens, and we kind of have our hands full dealing with other humans. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Nicole Galland

Today I am interviewing Nicole Galland, co-author of the new speculative-fiction, time-travel novel, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

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

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

Nicole Galland: Hi there. I’m mostly a writer of historical fiction, generally medieval and Renaissance (I’m a Shakespeare nerd). But I’m not good about “branding” myself, since I’ve also written a contemporary romantic comedy, and I write a tongue-in-cheek advice column for the Martha’s Vineyard Times (my hometown paper). Also, my background is in theatre (did I mention I’m a Shakespeare nerd).

DJ: What is The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O about?

Nicole: It’s about 740 pages. ;-P It’s about a top-secret government agency that figures out how to use magic for strategic purposes. Because Neal Stephenson is involved, there is (of course) a hard-science explanation for how magic works. Also, time travel.

DJ: Actually, where did the idea for yourself and Neal to co-author this book from? Have you done this before or had you two been joking around with the idea and finally decide to give a go for real?

Nicole: With five other writers, we worked together on a series called The Mongoliad. It started out with the six of them – all guys – and a female friend pointed out that it could use a female touch. Neal knew my historical fiction and asked me to join in since it was my general era (medieval Europe). As that project was wrapping up, he had the idea – I think the premise came to him all in a flash – for what is now The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., and he asked me to collaborate again, just the two of us this time. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Benjamin Patterson

Today I am interviewing Benjamin Paterson, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Shadow of His Hand, first book in the Markulian Prophecies series.

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

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

Benjamin Patterson: I’m a 34 year old father of four from a regional town in Northern Australia. Currently it’s winter where I live and on a really cold night the temperature might drop as low as 12 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit). Hence, I love sport and camping. Fun fact: I was made redundant last week as the company I’m working for folded. Argh!!

DJ: What is The Shadow of His Hand about?

Benjamin: It’s a low epic fantasy novel about a prophecy, a forgotten god and a reluctant soldier. The story starts with the nations of the Realm severely overmatched by an invading force and needing a miracle to survive. Our soldier, Fredrick, just so happens to get caught up in a plot that’s trying to produce that miracle, a plot that involves an inconsolable infant who only hushes when he’s around.

Add to that a few other plot lines that involve a miserable High King and an ascendant returned to the living and you’ve got yourself volume 1 of the Markulian Prophecies.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Shadow of His Hand and the series?

Benjamin: That’s hard to say. When I began reading I was a huge Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth fan. I love the old school fantasy series. I guess they’ve shaped my story telling. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Richard A. Kirk

Today I am interviewing Richard A. Kirk, author of the new sci-fi, fantasy novel, Necessary Monsters.

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

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

Richard A. Kirk: Sure, I am an author, illustrator and visual artist. I was born in Kingston Upon Hull and immigrated to Canada with my parents when I was young. I grew up in an industrial town on the shore of the Great Lakes. My work written and illustrative is informed by those two facts. Writing, reading and drawing have always been my primary interests, and they have always been interwoven in my mind. Anyone who is familiar with my drawing would not be surprised by my writing. I love all literature and try to read as widely as I can, but branch the contains science fiction, fantasy, weird fiction and horror fiction is where I live creatively. In my fiction I like to work across genres, because I believe that it where the interesting stuff happens. In a single work, I might incorporate elements of high fantasy, horror, and literary fiction. This isn’t so much a strategy as simply an outcome of how I work. The kinds of books I like to read follow a similar path. When writing I like to challenge the reader’s expectations. I like to be surprised by what I am writing. I write every day, even when I am very busy with other projects. Of all my creative endeavors, writing is the one I where I truly lose myself.

DJ: What is Necessary Monsters about?

Richard: It’s about learning to face the truth about yourself. Lumsden Moss is an escaped convict, living under a false identity. He was set on a bad path during his childhood when a girl he loved, named Memoria, fell from a sea wall and drowned. When the book opens, Moss has spent his life feeling a heavy burden of guilt for Memoria’s death. He learns that she is still alive when a monstrous underworld figure blackmails him into looking for her. The book is Moss’s journey from ancient port city to a forbidden island. Throughout, Moss puts his life on the line as a child-witch named Elizabeth, and her demon, Echo pursues him. The story leads to Nightjar Island where he confronts the fact that his story is part of a mystery much larger than himself. The book is very much about how environment and circumstance shape our perceptions and identity. How much do we owe the past? What is our obligation to those who fundamentally change over time? How do you grapple with the monstrous both internally and externally? These are questions Moss has to deal with as he pierces the layers of the mystery. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Linda Nagata

Today I am interviewing Linda Nagata, author of the new SF military novel, The Last Good Man.

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

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

Linda Nagata: Sure! My first published story came out just over thirty years ago in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Since then I’ve published numerous novels and short stories, mostly high-tech science fiction but some fantasy too. My first novel, The Bohr Maker, won the Locus Award for best first novel, a novella, “Goddesses,” won a Nebula, and more recently, my military thriller The Red: First Light was nominated for a Nebula award and named as a Publishers Weekly best book of 2015.

I like writing science fiction because it’s a chance to explore our relationship with technology—both the real-world challenges, and extrapolated possibilities that we might face “if this goes on.”

My books often trend into political issues, and I like to explore not just what I think people ought to do, but what I think they might do, whether I think it’s a good idea or not.

DJ: What is The Last Good Man about?

Linda: Meet True Brighton, a US Army helicopter pilot, now retired and working for Requisite Operations, a small private military company that she helped to found alongside former special operator and long-time friend, Lincoln Han. Like so many in the US Army, True comes from a military family. Both her father and her son served—but her son was brutally killed in the line of duty. True is haunted by his death. When a chance discovery during a hostage rescue mission indicates there is more to his death than she’s been told, she resolves to uncover the truth, regardless of the cost.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Last Good Man?

Linda: Prior to The Last Good Man I wrote the Red trilogy—a series of near-future military thrillers. I learned a lot in the course of writing those books, so it seemed like a good idea to use that knowledge by writing something similar-but-different. The Last Good Man turned out to be quite different. One of the big influences, as the story developed, was the growing impact of autonomous robotics in the defense industry. In the story, the use of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons is a critical factor in the success of a small PMC like Requisite Operations, exponentially enhancing the power of a small team of soldiers. Continue reading

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