Monthly Archives: November 2019

Author Interview: James Lovegrove

Today I am interviewing James Lovegrove, author of the new fantasy novel Age of Legends, the latest and last instalment in his Pantheon series, which consists of eight novels and three novellas.

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DJ: Hi James! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

James Lovegrove: You’re welcome.

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

James: I’ve been a professional author for three decades now (which makes me feel verrrry old). I wrote my first novel, The Hope, when I was fresh out of university, and since then I have published nearly sixty books. I also review fiction on a regular basis for the Financial Times and am a trained Pilates instructor. I live on the south coast of England with my wife, two teenaged sons and tiny dog. When I’m not writing, mostly I sleep.

DJ: What is Age of Legends and the Pantheon series about?

James: Age of Legends is set in a more or less present-day United Kingdom which is toiling under a quasi-fascist government whose main policy is Make England Great Again. Large numbers of foreign nationals have been deported, minorities are oppressed, and generally the country is in chaos. But a revolution is starting, and it involves people becoming the living incarnations – I call them “eidolons” – of figures from British folklore such as Puck, Wayland the Smith, Jack Frost, the Green Man, Robin Hood and so on.

DJ: What were some of your influences for this specific novel, Age of Legends, and then the entire Pantheon series?

James: The series as a whole hinges on the relationship between humans and their gods or, in the case of Age of Legends, the creations they have invented in past ages to account for natural and unnatural phenomena – which is, I would suggest, another way of describing gods. Do these things have a life of their own, independent of us, their creators, or do they rely on us to make sense of their existences just as we have relied on them to make sense of ours? It’s a question I’ve been exploring throughout the series in various different ways, and it’s been something I’ve long wondered about as a creator myself. These fictional worlds and characters that I wrench out of my head onto the page – where do they come from? And, more to the point, why have people told one another stories about strange, superhumanly powerful entities for centuries? It’s a tradition I feel part of, and I suppose that’s how and why the Pantheon books originally came about. You might say they were, ahem, divinely inspired! Continue reading

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Author Interview: Timothy S. Johnston

Today I am interviewing Timothy S. Johnston, author of the new science-fiction thriller, The Savage Deeps.

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DJ: Hi Timothy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

Timothy S. Johnston: Hi there, thanks for having me.  This is my fifth novel and the second book in the series The Rise of Oceania.  I love science fiction thrillers, and all I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember is to contribute in some way to the genre.  I grew up watching science fiction films of the 1970s, reading Asimov, Pohl, Heinlein, and Poe. In many ways the genre got me through my teenage years.  Now I can’t see myself doing anything else.

DJ: What is The Savage Deeps about?

Timothy: It’s an espionage thriller that takes place a little over a hundred years from now.  It takes place in a very real future where global warming and rising ocean levels have taken a deadly toll on the world’s populations.  The climate catastrophe has forced the superpowers to look elsewhere for resources to sustain populations. In this case, the world’s oceans.  Seventy percent of the world is underwater. There are untold resources in our oceans, and the concept of The Savage Deeps is that a new cold war has erupted as competition has increased underwater.  There is a silent, deadly, secret war being waged in the oceans, though sometimes it’s not so silent — it flares into outright hostilities and massive submarine battles.  That’s the idea behind the novel.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Savage Deeps

Timothy: Cold war espionage thrillers like Fleming’s James Bond novels.  Also Michael Crichton’s technothrillers like Sphere and Jurassic Park.  I prefer my novels grounded in reality with a driving narrative that involves science in some way.  It has to be integral to the plot. In this case, the quest to develop the oceans depends on new technologies to dive deeper and move faster underwater.  The nations that have the best technology and weaponry will claim more resources than those that don’t, and sometimes nations will steal and go to war to gain technology they don’t have.  It’s all due to the climate catastrophe we’re currently witnessing on the surface. As our crops die and as our populations explode, we’ll need new resources to sustain our nations, and the oceans are a natural next step for us. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Christopher Hinz

Today I am interviewing Christopher Hinz, author of the new science-fiction novel, Starship Alchemon. 

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DJ: Hi Christopher! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

Christopher Hinz: I’ve written seven novels including “Starship Alchemon.” My first book, “Liege-Killer,” won the Compton Crook award for best first novel and earned a nomination for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. I’ve also done graphic novels and screenplays, co-authored a novelette and scripted comics for DC and Marvel. 

DJ: What is Starship Alchemon about?

Christopher: Explorers aboard a powerful AI vessel sent to investigate an “anomalous biosignature” on a distant planet realize their mission has gone to hell. After numerous freakish and deadly incidents, the crew end up fighting not only for their own survival, but for the fate of all humanity.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Starship Alchemon

Christopher: The novel falls into the “monster on the spaceship” subgenre of SF. Similar works that impacted the story include Ridley Scott’s Alien and A.E. Van Vogt’s “Voyage of the Space Beagle.”

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? 

Christopher: There are extreme differences between the two main characters, Captain Solorzano and the young psychic woman, LeaMarsa. The captain is brave and virtuous whereas the psychic is deeply tormented by her abilities, a true lost soul. A character such as LeaMarsa — not really likeable in the traditional sense — isn’t normally found within the borders of SF. But I wanted to explore the genre’s outer edges.    Continue reading

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Author Interview: Anna Mocikat

Today I am interviewing Anna Mocikat, author of the new fantasy novel, Shadow City. 

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DJ: Hi Anna! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

Anna Mocikat: Hi DJ! Thank you for your interest in me and my work. I’m excited about this interview.

I studied screenwriting at Film School Munich and worked in the German movie and videogames industry as a screenwriter and game writer for more than ten years before I made my childhood dream come true and published my first novel. I had four books published by a traditional publisher before I left Germany for the US to continue my writing career here. Although I have published before, my recent book Shadow City is in a way my debut since it’s my first book in English for the US market.

DJ: What is Shadow City about?

Anna: Shadow City is Sci-Fi/Dark Fantasy story set in post-apocalyptic LA. 

It’s about a tiny human community that must take a stand against super-vicious creatures from another dimension who feed on suffering and violence. Larger-than-life heroes emerge, willing to sacrifice everything in a final clash with the way more powerful enemy. But heroes and villains are not what they seem in Shadow City, and in the end, there is no light and there is no dark, only shadows.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Shadow City

Anna: I’m an avid video gamer, and fans of the “Fallout” series will surely recognize the influences these games had on Shadow City. Besides, I took inspiration from pen&paper PRGs such as for example Shadow Run. In my book, the city is divided between different factions and inhabited by humans and non-humans, which is very typical for RPGs.
Continue reading

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Author Interview: E.E. Knight

Today I am interviewing E.E. Knight, author of the new fantasy novel, Novice Dragoneer. 

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DJ: Hi E.E.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

E.E. Knight: I’m a born-and-raised Upper Midwesterner, if you don’t count some brief stints in San Diego, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada as a child.  I’m married and we have three kids of elementary school age, currently living one block from the Chicago city limits. I’ve been a novelist since Way of the Wolf was published in 2001.

DJ: What is Novice Dragoneer about?

E.E.: It’s about a 14-year-old dragon-loving girl who has been fascinated by dragons since first meeting one as a child.  She runs away from her orphanage and tries to win an apprenticeship with an order of dragonriders famous throughout her little mountain republic.

DJ: What were some of your influences Novice Dragoneer and the series

E.E.: Anne McCaffrey was the original touchstone for so many of us, the Dragonlance books.  There are some early-aviation influences as well, like the Blue Max and Biggles books and the air warfare pulps.

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? 

E.E.: Ileth is a girl mixing with the upper crust.  Rich and powerful families in her land like to have a connection to the Dragoneers and they’ll send off sons, and once in a while, daughters, to make connections, much as you used to sort your children into lawmaking, army and naval service, or the priesthood.  On paper her republic is egalitarian, but there’s a lot of institutional memory from when the dragoneers were limited to the aristocrats. She has speech processing issues (a challenge I faced and my eldest son as well), and while the dragoneers admit both men and women – because that’s the way the dragons like it – she’s a poor minority in a wealthy man’s world. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jennifer Roberson

Today I am interviewing Jennifer Roberson, author of the new fantasy novel, Life and Limb, first book in the Blood & Bone series. 

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DJ: Hi Jennifer! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

JenniferI have a BS in journalism, minor in British History, which seems fairly prosaic, but I was very fortunate to do my final semester in London on an American Foreign Studies program.  Classes were held three days a week, and the rest of the time I was taking trains all over England, Scotland, and Wales. While born in Missouri, at the age of four we moved to Phoenix and I have been an Arizonan ever since.  Currently I reside in Tucson with a collection of cats and Cardigan Welsh Corgis—the Corgi with the tail.  I’m also a former rodeo queen and have been a reporter, bookstore employee, advertising copywriter, and doggie daycare handler.

DJ: What is Life and Limb about?

Jennifer:   Life and Limb is the first volume in an ongoing urban fantasy series about the End of Days, and two perfectly ordinary young men who are strangers to one another who have been conscripted to join the heavenly host in a battle against Lucifer’s spec ops troops: demons who now inhabit characters and creatures from fiction, history, myths, legends, and folklore.  But the angels have agendas, and Gabe and Remi—an ex-con biker and Texas cowboy—must also come to grips with the unwelcome discovery that they themselves are not after all entirely human, even as they climb the steepest of learning curves in an attempt to save the world.  It’s myth, and magic; gods and goddesses; angels and agendas. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for Life and Limb and the series? 

Jennifer:  Books, certainly, but also movies and TV shows.  I intend it to be a very visceral, visual series, and it harkens to many of the archetypes and themes found in so many shows and films.  I call it a “kitchen sink” series in that everything and the kitchen sink will be thrown into the mix, including literature, pop culture, movies, myth, and music.  There are homages and references to many favorite f/sf shows. I think readers will sense overtones of popular genre shows such as X-Files, Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, Grimm, Highlander, and others.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ricardo Victoria

Today I am interviewing Ricardo Victoria, author of the new science fantasy novel, Tempest Blades: The Withered King.

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DJ: Hi Ricardo! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

Ricardo Victoria: First, thank you for having me here. I’m a Mexican author and I currently live in Mexico, where I work as full-time lecturer and researcher. I lived in UK for three and a half years while I was working on my PhD on sustainable design. I’m married and I have three little dogs. I started writing during college, mostly fantasy short stories. But the real push to be a writer came around the time I was getting married, when a few friends and I, started a collective writers’ press called ‘Inklings Press’ to develop our skills. Then came the Sidewise nomination for a story I co-authored about time-travelling, spacefaring dinosaurs. The rest, it has been just work and writing. And toy collecting.

DJ: What is Tempest Blades: The Withered King about?

Ricardo: Mostly, it’s a story about second chances and learning to forgive yourself and move on. That may sound too philosophical, but that’s part of the core message. At the outset, it’s an adventure, told mostly from the point of view of the character that is filling the role of a mentor – probably the most dangerous job in a fantasy story. Fionn is a retired war hero who has an ability – called the Gift – which manifests differently in each person that has it; in his case, as a healing factor. Fionn has been living in seclusion after a mistake derailed his life. But when a friend asks him for help to find a missing person, he returns to the game – albeit reluctantly. He ends up becoming the leader of an eclectic group and mentor to a new generation of heroes in a race against time to stop an ancient evil that is hell-bent on world domination. And Fionn, while he might be feeling down, is not planning to die anytime soon. So, I’m basically taking the trope of the mentor dying on the adventure and turning it upside down while trying to tell an entertaining story. I hope I achieved it. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rose Marie Machario

Today I am interviewing Rose Marie Machario, author of the new fantasy novel, The Amulet of Elements.

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DJ: Hi Rose! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Rose Marie Machario: I am an actress, model, creator/hostess of my show Dream Big/Dream Big Radio, and I am now a published author. 

DJ: What is The Amulet of Elements about?

Rose: It is about a young girl who discovers she is destined to rid the world of an evil wizard, and the only one who can harness the true power from The Amulet of Elements. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Amulet of Elements ?

Rose: It literally came to me in a dream. I wrote everything down that I could from memory, and then the story was born. 

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? 

Rose: Princess Ellyria Rose was sheltered at birth until her sixteenth birthday, she was not confident at all, and her innocence ends up getting her in a lot of trouble. She has a kind heart, even when the man she fell for betrays her, she still helps him to rescue his father. The bond with her family is strong, but when she finds out from strangers that she is destined to be the Chosen One it devastates her. Although she may be insecure about herself, her bravery is the only part of her that helps her on the many challenges she faces. Her childlike essence is probably her biggest quirk per say.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Elle Katharine White

Today I am interviewing Elle Katharine White, author of the new fantasy novel, Flamebringer, final book in the Heartstone series. 

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

Elle Katharine White: Hey there! Thanks so much for having me here. I’m Elle, I write sci-fi and fantasy books and love all things nerdy, especially things with dragons.

DJ: What is Flamebringer and then the Heartstone series about?

Elle: Flamebringer is the final book in the Heartstone trilogy, which started as a reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice in a fantasy world with dragons and dragon-riding monster hunters. I’d always wondered what life looked like for Elizabeth and Darcy after their happily ever after, and if they had to work as hard to keep their HEA as they did to find it in the first place. For the characters in Flamebringer, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Unfortunately for them, they have the added pressure of saving their kingdom from a monstrous invasion, which will make for some very interesting marriage therapy sessions later in life.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Heartstone series

Elle: The first book began with a mash-up of Pride & Prejudice and the movie How to Train Your Dragon, but in the second and third books I wanted to expand the world of Arle, giving it depth and history beyond its Regency counterpart. For that I turned to mythology. (I was and still am a huge myth nerd.) Many of the non-human characters were inspired by creatures I’d met in folklore. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kaaron Warren

Today I am interviewing Kaaron Warren, author of the new horror novel, Into Bones Like Oil.

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DJ: Hi Kaaron! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

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

Kaaron Warren: I’m an Australian writer of short and long fiction. I grew up in Melbourne, but I’ve also lived in Sydney, Fiji and Canberra. I wanted to be a writer from the start, as soon as I learned how to read. This is my bio:

Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019. 

She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. Her most recent short story collection is A Primer to Kaaron Warren from Dark Moon Books. Tide of Stone recently won the Aurealis Award and the Australian Shadows Award, and was shortlisted for the Locus Award and the Ditmar Award. She has won the ACT Writers and Publishers Award four times and twice been award the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers. In 2018 she was Established Artist in Residence at Katharine Susannah Prichard House in Western Australia. She’s taught workshops in haunted asylums, old morgues and second hand clothing shops and she’s mentored several writers through a number of programs.

DJ: What is Into Bones Like Oil about?

Kaaron: The novella is set in a rooming house, the sort of place where people live for a few years or a few months. The Angelsea sits above a beach, looking over the site of a long-ago shipwreck, and the building is haunted by the people who drowned at sea. The main character, Dora, has left her life behind after a terrible tragedy. She is driven by grief and guilt; these things direct everything she does. The ghosts and the living inhabitants connect in ways that will cause irreparable damage.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Into Bones Like Oil

Kaaron: This story came from many, many places and has been percolating for a long time. I stayed in a rooming house in Melbourne about 25 years ago and was fascinated by the daily routines, and by the relationships that formed in the dining room and the hallways. I was struck by how transient many people are in life, how we are who we say we are in new places where others don’t know us.

I also gathered stories of disappearances and murders where a rooming house was mentioned. “Last seen near…” There are quite a number of these. I’ve always been fascinated in the possibility of ghosts, and of messages from the ‘other side’. The possibility of absolute proof of an afterlife is interesting, and I like to explore that in different ways. Continue reading

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