Author Interview: G.D. Penman

Today I am interviewing G.D. Penman, author of the new urban fantasy novel, The Year of the Knife.

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DJ: Hey G.D.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

G.D. Penman: Hi DJ. I am afraid there isn’t much to tell; I am pretty much a hermit except for the whole “writing” thing. I’ve been writing professionally for about a decade, and unprofessionally for a decade more, although the book I wrote at age 10 doesn’t really hold up very well.

DJ: What is The Year of the Knife about?

G.D.: The Year of the Knife is a hardboiled detective story that just happens to be set in a world where magic exists. It follows Agent Sullivan of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation as she tries to stop a body-hopping serial killer, avoid assassination attempts, deal with her boss being turned into a parrot and navigate her love life, something slightly complicated by the fact that her girlfriend is a little bit undead.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Year of the Knife?

G.D.: Urban Fantasy books are like candy for my brain, I gobble them up at an appalling rate, but something that always bothered me about them was that the world was never substantially different; the existence of magic and monsters didn’t seem to change anything. The Year of the Knife is a bit of a rebuttal to all those worlds where everything was identical except there were vampires and wizards hanging around. Reading American history was also a big inspiration for the more political aspects of the story.

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?

G.D.: Sully is, in many ways, the typical hard-drinking and womanizing hardboiled detective, but she has enough self-awareness to realize that her habits aren’t good for her. She has spent her life surrounded by people who view her as inferior due to her gender, orientation and background but instead of it beating her down it has made her furious.

DJ: What is the world and setting of The Year of the Knife like?

G.D.: History differs from ours because of the existence of magic. Disease has had a less obvious impact on society; the native American population held its own against the invaders as a result and the gay rights movement is much more advanced as we never lost a generation to AIDS. Technological advancement has had far less effect on the outcome of conflicts; so the transatlantic slave trade never happened and many “primitive” societies around the world rose to prominence. The turnover of civilizations has ground to a slower pace as genocides was made impossible by almost every civilisation having their very own nuclear option built in from the outset; which is why the Roman. Mongolian and British Empires are all still kicking around.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Year of the Knife?

G.D.: I am a romantic at heart, so finally resolving the relationship between Sully and Marie once and for all is probably my personal highlight. I don’t feel like many romance books get to delve into the later stages of tumultuous relationships, just the honeymoon phase, so it was a lot of fun to explore.

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

G.D.: I don’t believe in books where nothing changes and everyone goes back to their usual life. I am not saying that there is a cliff-hanger, but I think readers are going to have opinions about what comes next.

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing The Year of the Knife? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

G.D.: A lot of the thematic elements in this book grew out of the history I was referencing. America had almost infinite potential as this grand democratic experiment when it first started out, untethered from the legacy of evil that ran back through so many of the Empires that spawned it. I wanted to capture at least some part of that hope.

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 The Year of the Knife that you can share with us?

G.D.: I think the first lines are probably quite quotable: “New Amsterdam was a city the way decapitation was a paper cut. Both could make a person bleed and both would hurt like hell, but only one made bystanders start screaming.”

DJ: Now that The Year of the Knife is released, what is next for you?

G.D.: Well, if enough people buy The Year of the Knife I guess I will get started on the sequel, but in the meantime I have another urban fantasy story revolving around high fashion, romance and goblins that I am tinkering with.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  

Amazon Author Page:






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

G.D.: There are two kinds of people in the world; people who think adorable 4-armed Raavi is their favorite character and people who think Eugene the demonic sailor doll is their favorite character. They are both wrong because fading vampire starlet Marie is clearly the best character.

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

G.D.: Thanks for having me!

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*** The Year of the Knife is published by Fiery Seas Publishing and is available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & NobelGoodreads | Kobo

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About the Book:

Agent -Sully- Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: -It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.-

Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.

G.D. Penman’s imaginative The Year of the Knife is a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with an engaging set of characters, most notably Agent Sully of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation.

About the Author:

G.D. Penman writes about queer monsters for a living. He is the author of Call Your Steel, The Year of the Knife, Heart of Winter, Apocrypha and many other books. He is also a full-time freelance writer and has ghost-written more than 50 books on a wide variety of subjects, although of course he can’t tell you what any of them are.

He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human.

In those precious few moments when he isn’t writing or parenting he enjoys watching cartoons, playing games, reading more books than should logically fit into a week and complaining about his diet.


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One thought on “Author Interview: G.D. Penman

  1. […] giving detective and killer mirrored resentments against the empire that trained them. Penman has described The Year of the Knife as an urban fantasy novel where the existence of magic and monsters has […]


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