Today I am interviewing Rich Larson, author of the new science-fiction novel, Annex, first book in the Violet Wars trilogy.
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DJ: Hi Rich! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Rich Larson: I was born in Galmi, Niger and now live in Ottawa, Canada. My work has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, Czech, French and Italian. I write a lot of short stories: I was the most prolific author of short science fiction in 2015, 2016 and probably 2017 as well. My debut novel, Annex, comes out from Orbit Books in July 2018, and my debut collection, Tomorrow Factory, follows in October 2018 from Talos Press. Alongside writing, I like travelling, learning languages, playing soccer, watching NBA basketball, shooting pool, and dancing kizomba.
DJ: What is Annex about?
Rich: Annex is about kids fighting aliens, but also about loyalty, family, and outsiderhood.
DJ: What were some of your influences Annex and the series?
Rich: Annex is heavily influenced by Garth Nix’s Shade’s Children, Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord and K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs. It also has shades of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket / Daniel Handler. Basically, it’s a love letter to all the books I devoured as 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?
Rich: The two main characters are Bo and Violet. Bo is single-minded when it comes to playing rock-paper-scissors and has an alien parasite in his stomach that gives him superpowers. Violet hates baseball but is talented at maiming biomechanical othermothers with a baseball bat.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Annex like?
Rich: The book opens several months after the alien invasion of an unnamed Canadian city. The ruined city is kept isolated by a dome of mysterious gray fog; a spiky black mothership hangs in the sky overhead. The adult inhabitants are stumbling around in the rubble with brain implants showing them a perfect virtual reality, while the kids have been taken to warehouses and injected with alien parasites for nefarious purposes. Escapees are hunted down by twisted cyborg versions of their mothers, but resistance is brewing thanks to Wyatt and his gang of Lost Boys.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Annex?
Rich: I got into a really nice groove writing Annex. I was staying at my parents’ place in Grande Prairie for a summer, and every day I would get up and walk to a coffee shop and write 1000 words. The whole thing went pretty fast. I’ve never had that kind of experience since.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Rich: Whatever intrigued or bothered them most, I assume. The important thing is that they talk — that’s how I learn.
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 Annex that you can share with us?
Rich: This is a bit with Bo and Gloom, his one alien ally, who is a shapeshifting sapient mass of nanobots.
“Gloom’s outstretched wing was trembling, pocked with tiny holes. More and more of them started to open and the air shrieked through; Bo could see individual motes in the wing tremble and come apart from the others.
‘I lost so many motes.’ Gloom’s voice was a panicked groan in Bo’s ear. ‘And there is not enough sunlight. It is possible this was careless. Sometimes I am careless.’
Bo’s breath stuck to his ribs. ‘Don’t drop me,’ he said. ‘Please don’t drop me.’
‘I am your friend, Bo,’ Gloom said, sounding hurt. ‘I will not drop you.’ A ripple went through his wings. ‘You might still die, though,’ he added. ‘When we hit the ground. We are falling too fast.’”
DJ: Now that Annex is released, what is next for you?
Rich: I have a short story collection coming out in October called Tomorrow Factory, and in October I also have to hand in the sequel to Annex, so I am working on that.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: I see you have links to a lot of free short stories on your website. Can you recommend a few?
Rich: There’s “Meat And Salt And Sparks,” which is about a depressed chimpanzee detective, “Carouseling,” which is about long distance dancing and quantum magic, and “Our King and His Court,” which is a post-apocalyptic Sicario / Mad Max mash-up. For sneak peeks and behind the scenes stuff, you’ll want to hit up my Patreon page.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Rich: Thanks for having me, DJ.
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In Rich Larson’s astonishing debut Annex, only outsiders can fight off the true aliens.
At first it is a nightmare. When the invaders arrive, the world as they know it is destroyed. Their friends are kidnapped. Their families are changed.
Then it is a dream. With no adults left to run things, Violet and the others who have escaped capture are truly free for the first time. They can do whatever they want to do. They can be whoever they want to be.
But the invaders won’t leave them alone for long…
This thrilling debut by one of the most acclaimed short form writers in science fiction tells the story of two young outsiders who must find a way to fight back against the aliens who have taken over her city.
About the Author:
Rich Larson was born in Galmi, Niger, has studied in Rhode Island and worked in the south of Spain, and now lives in Ottawa, Canada. Since he began writing in 2011, he’s sold over a hundred stories, the majority of them speculative fiction published in magazines like Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Lightspeed, and Tor.com.
His work appears in numerous Year’s Best anthologies and has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, French and Italian. Annex, his debut novel and first book of The Violet Wars trilogy, comes out in July 2018 from Orbit Books. Tomorrow Factory, his debut collection, follows in October 2018 from Talos Press.
Besides writing, he enjoys travelling, learning languages, playing soccer, watching basketball, shooting pool, and dancing salsa and kizomba.