Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview: Kay Kenyon

Today I am interviewing Kay Kenyon, author of the new historical fantasy novel, At the Table of Wolves, the first book in her Dark Talents series. It’s published by Saga Press and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

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

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

Kay Kenyon: Thanks for inviting me, DJ! I live in Washington state on the sunny side (yes, there is one!) with my husband Tom. I’ve written 14 science fiction and fantasy novels including The Entire and The Rose quartet. Last year, I served as a judge for the World Fantasy awards and lost about three months of my life living in other people’s universes. I came out the other side, amazed and addicted to caffeine. Tom and I have three children and a tabby cat. The cat is still bunking with us.

DJ: What is At the Table of Wolves about?

Kay: It’s a spy thriller of dark powers, Nazi conspiracies and espionage set in 1936 England. In this alternate history, the Nazis have been weaponizing psi-Talents in preparation for the next war. England’s Secret Intelligence Service is desperate to uncover the details of an invasion plot that may be based upon a newly-discovered super power. It’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meets X-men, with a strong female hero commanding psi powers both subtle and scary.

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? 

Kay: My major character is Kim Tavistock, a woman with a super power that is valued by the secret intelligence service: a gift for hearing truths people want to hide. (A Talent called the spill.) Raised in America but born in England, Kim is now back in the country of her birth, struggling to reconcile life with a Talent that most people resent and one that could get her killed. Having lost her beloved older brother in World War I, she is disturbed to find that the English–and particularly in the salons of aristocratic fascists–seem blind to the Nazi threat. When she meets a charming and dangerous German intelligence officer, Erich von Ritter, she is on her own in combating a looming invasion. Other characters: Julian, her father, who may be a traitor; Alice, whose Talent of trauma view exposes the dark side of peoples’ lives; and Rose, a developmentally disabled young woman who may hold the key to a mysterious power over ice and cold. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Vivian Shaw

Today I am interviewing Vivian Shaw, author of the new paranomal fantasy novel, Strange Practice, first book in the Dr. Greta Helsing series.

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

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

Vivian Shaw: My pleasure! I’ve been writing books since I was probably about eleven years old, and I’ve been an active fanfic author since the early 2000s, but this is the first time I’ve ever been actually published and I could not be happier. I’m the daughter of a couple of British scientists, born in Kenya, and we moved around a lot chasing the postdoc funding when I was little, but we moved to Maryland in 1987 and I’ve been here ever since. I have a BA in art history and an MFA in creative writing, and I live in Baltimore with my wife, the author Arkady Martine.

DJ: What is Strange Practice about?

Vivian: The very short version is this: Dr. Greta Helsing sees dead people, from ten to four on weekdays and by appointment, at her Harley Street clinic. Dead people and other individuals who might not generally be considered people at all: mummies, were-creatures, banshees, barrow-wights, ghouls, etcetera. Greta inherited the practice from her father, and she’s just pretty much getting on with things and living her normal supernatural-adjacent life when a new threat emerges – a sect of murderous monks apparently intent on dispatching both the quick and the dead – and she and her friends (and patients) have to figure out how to stop the monks if she wants to save both her practice and her life.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Strange Practice and the series?

Vivian: Well, directly, the source material: Varney the Vampyre, or The Feast of Blood; John Polidori’s The Vampyre; and the somewhat-apocryphal story of the vampire of Croglin Grange. (Dracula and Carmilla both showed up in a previous draft, but they’ll be part of this universe later on.) I read a fantastic book called Prisoner of Vampires, by Nancy Garden, when I was just a kid – and that not only introduced me to a lot of more esoteric vampire stories but did a little bit of what I’m doing here, bringing together the various classic tales into a coherent and cohesive single canon. Stylistically I think my main influences are and always have been Mervyn Peake, Robin McKinley, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gareth Worthington

Today I am interviewing Gareth Worthington, author of the new science-fiction novel, Children of the Fifth Sun.

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

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

Gareth Worthington: Hey! Okay, well, I’m 37 years old, father of two living in Switzerland. I currently work for the pharmaceutical industry bringing new cancer medicines to patients. In my life I always try to improve on myself, and so attempt to achieve a lot. I have a degree in Marine Biology, a PhD in endocrinology, have lived in the USA, all over Europe and in Asia; play guitar; draw; have trained in Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai and MMA; hand tagged sharks; and been a model. I’m also the Director of Business Development for a new books-to-TV/film company called the Vesuvian Media Group. I keep busy, LOL.

DJ: What is Children of the Fifth Sun about?

Gareth: Children of the Fifth Sun is an action adventure story with a dash of science fiction thrown in. Think Indiana Jones meets the Abyss!

The main premise is that in the late 1940s, Chinese explorers found the frozen corpse of a strange animal in Siberia. The US government stole it and for more than 60 years have been conducting experiments. In the last few years, they managed to clone it and create a live specimen.

The animal, known as K’in, is believed to be part of a race of beings that evolved alongside humans, even giving our kind science, math and civility. But many millennia ago, we killed them all.

Now, there is a covert war between various governments, and even cults, who want to harness the intelligence/power K’in is believed to have locked inside.

When a mission goes wrong in the South China sea, the US government is forced to recruit a civilian to help. This civilian, Kelly Graham, will change everything – in ways no one could have guessed.

It’s one hundred and forty thousand words – because there is a lot of story! I hope that readers will think I’ve done the topics justice. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Wendy N. Wagner

Today I am interviewing Wendy N. Wagner, author of the new sci-fi novel, An Oath of Dogs.

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

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

Wendy N. Wagner: I live in Portland, Oregon, and my day job is working as the managing/associate editor of Lightspeed and Nightmare magazines. I also used to write tie-in fiction for the Pathfinder role-playing game, including two novels. That was a great way to get free RPG materials! Everyone in my whole family is obsessed with games (role-playing, board, and video–it doesn’t matter), so that was a nice perk.

When I’m not writing or gaming, I’m usually puttering in my garden. I’m a total dirt nerd!

DJ: What is An Oath of Dogs about?

Wendy: It’s about a woman and her therapy dog who move to a new planet. When they get there, she begins to suspect her company killed her boss–and that it’s part of a much larger corporate cover-up.

DJ: What were some of your influences for An Oath of Dogs?

Wendy: It’s mostly inspired by my experiences growing up in southern Oregon in the early ’90s. We lived in a beautiful area where it rained more than 100 inches a year, and beautiful mossy forests stretched everywhere. The planet in Oath is very much like that: giant trees, lots of moss, constant rain.

But since there are lots of trees, the timber industry is very powerful. My hometown was entirely dominated by the timber industry–everything depended on those companies. Not just the loggers and the millworkers, but the restaurants, the churches, the schools, local law enforcement. When the timber industry dried up, my hometown essentially died. I wanted to write about what it was like to live in a town where one industry could dominate not just the economy but the entire culture and landscape of a community. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Richard Martins

Today I am interviewing Richard Martins, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Trench.

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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 Martins: Thank you for inviting me DJ. I’m a retired pharmacist. I was in the business for 35 years but have been retired for the last 11 years. I’ve been married to my wife Diana for 46 years and we have a son who’s a journalist in Los Angeles.

DJ: What is The Trench about?

Richard: It’s a young man’s quest to save his mother. Fifteen-year-old Seth Tyler has spent his entire life on the run with his parents. Who they are running from and why he is kept in the dark are only two of the mysteries he has learned to live with. Tragedy strikes when first his grandfather, then his

father is murdered and his mother poisoned. Seth sets out to find the cure for his mother and the truth about his parent’s past. A misstep in the mountains of Germany drops him into a primitive underworld peopled by strange creatures and gifted humans. The Trench is a feral land where danger lurks for the unwary and Seth finds himself immediately fighting for his life. When he discovers that this underworld is the birthplace of his parents and the truth about their heritage he knows the answers he seeks lie here below.

But the people of the Trench still value that sixth sense lost to those on the surface and they see something unique in Seth. With the help of a huge dog who adopts him and a growing menagerie of companions Seth must travel the length of the Trench to confront the evil lurking at the bottom. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Edward Willett

Today I am interviewing Edward Willett, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Cityborn.

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

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

Edward Willet: Sure! I’m the author of more than fifty books of science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction for readers of all ages. I was born in New Mexico, started school in Texas, and then moved to Saskatchewan when I was a kid. I grew up in the small city of Weyburn, where I returned after studying journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, and began my writing career as a reporter/photographer and eventually news editor of the weekly Weyburn Review. I moved to Regina, the provincial capital (where I’ve lived ever since), in 1988 as communications officer for the then-fledgling Saskatchewan Science Centre, then in 1993 I quit my job to become a fulltime freelance writer. My first book was the riveting Using Microsoft Publisher for Windows 95. (My second book was the equally riveting sequel, Using Microsoft Publisher for Windows 97.) My first novel, a young adult fantasy entitled Soulworm, came out in 1997, and my fiction ever since has been a mixture of young adult and adult science fiction and fantasy, while my non-fiction has run the gamut from children’s biographies (of people as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Johnny Cash and the Ayatollah Khomeini), to science books and books about Saskatchewan history. I won a Saskatchewan Book Award in 2002 for my YA fantasy Spirit Singer (Tyche Books), and in 2009 I won the Aurora Award for best Canadian science fiction novel in English for Marseguro, which was my second science fiction novel for DAW Books, after 2005’s Lost in Translation. The Cityborn is my eighth novel published by DAW, but only the fourth under my own name: I wrote the steampunkish adult fantasy novel Magebane as Lee Arthur Chane, and the YA/adult crossover fantasy trilogy The Masks of Aygrima as E.C. Blake. I’m married to an engineer (a good career move for a freelance writer) and have a brilliant and talented teenaged daughter. Oh, and in addition to being a writer, I’m an actor and singer who has performed in numerous plays, musicals, and operas, both professionally and just for fun.

DJ: What is The Cityborn about?

Edward: The Cityborn takes place in the mountain-ringed Heartland, which is split down the middle by the great Canyon. At the center of the Heartland, straddling the Canyon, stands the towering, dripping, corroding and crumbling metal City, divided into thirteen Tiers. The City is ruled by the First Officer in the name of the semi-mythical Captain, who supposedly lives on the top Tier but nobody has ever seen. The First Officer’s rule is enforced by the ruthless armed Provosts and enabled by the other Officers, who live luxuriously in the Twelfth and Eleventh Tiers. Meanwhile, at the base of the City, the poor struggle just to get by in the First and Second Tiers. (The middle class lives, appropriately enough, in the middle Tiers.)

The City has stood above the Canyon so long that it has filled the chasm with rubbish, a dangerous, gang-ruled wasteland called the Middens, where criminals and outcasts are trapped, scavenging to survive. When Alania, raised by cold, distant Officer on the Twelfth Tier, is unexpectedly attacked, she flees into a nearby trash elevator, and to her horror finds herself dumped into the Middens. There she is rescued by Danyl, a young man who has lived his whole life in the the Middens and dreams only of finding valuable salvage he can barter for entry into the City. He thinks Alania might be just what he’s looking for—except almost at once they find themselves pursued by Provosts, for reasons they can’t imagine. As they flee deep into the Canyon, then into the Heartland, to the mountains of the north and back to the City again, the secrets they discover about who and what they really are, and the decisions they make because of those secrets, will determine not only their fates, but the fate of everyone in the Heartland. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Theodora Goss

Today I am interviewing Theodora Goss, author of the new fantasy novel, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

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

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

Theodora Goss: I have red hair, a cat named Cordelia, and a PhD in English literature. I found the cat as a stray kitten, wandering around the streets of Boston. The PhD I actually had to work for, but that’s where the idea for my novel came from. What else? I was born in Budapest, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl writing fantasy stories in a unicorn notebook, and I now teach writing at Boston University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program. This is my first novel, but I’ve been publishing short stories, essays, and poems for about ten years.

DJ: What is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter about?

Theodora: It’s about the adventures of Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein in late 19th- century London. Mary is of course the daughter of the respectable Dr. Jekyll, who had a disreputable assistant, Mr. Hyde. She helps Sherlock Holmes solve a series of gruesome murders, and in the process she finds the other girls, who have all been created by mad scientists in some way—including Diana, who claims to be her sister. As the girls talk, they start to put together their own histories and realize that there is a bigger story for them to uncover . . .

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter?

Theodora: My doctoral dissertation was on late Victorian gothic fiction, so I was researching and writing about texts such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Island of Dr. Moreau. My influences were really those 19th-century gothic texts, as well as the stories of Sherlock Holmes. I love all that material—technically, I’m a Victorianist, which means I’m supposed to be an expert in 19th-century literature, although I find that the more I learn, the more there is to learn. Those stories about monsters and mad scientists were my main influences. I wanted to explore them further, but from the point of view of the female characters who were destroyed or killed in the originals. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Michael F. Haspil

Today I am interviewing Michael F. Haspil, author of the new urban-fantasy novel, Graveyard Shift.

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

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

Michael F. Haspil: Sure. I’ll stick to the big things. I’m a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and used to do a lot of operational stuff (“stuff” is a technical term) with Air Force Space Command. I worked as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch commander and launch director for the Air Force at Cape Canaveral. I’ve been trying to be a professional writer for most of my life, and certainly all of my adult life. I’m also a dedicated gamer. Tabletop, board games, role-playing, miniature, computer…any type of game. I’m there.

DJ: What is Graveyard Shift about?

Michael: The super short version is that it is about an immortal pharaoh, who has been blackmailed into law enforcement. He must make some unsavory alliances to stop an ancient vampire conspiracy that is trying to destroy humanity. He often has to make some pretty awful decisions to stop worse things from happening.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Graveyard Shift?

Michael: I would say most of my influences come more from film and television than literary sources, although Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series probably rubbed off a bit. Among Movie and TV influences I’m drawn to stories where the good guys and bad guys might be a little hard to tell apart unless you look really hard. So, there’s a bit of Noir creeping in throughout the book. That sort of murky morality kind of thing where there might not be a clean-cut line between right and wrong. L.A. Confidential, Justified, Chinatown. The largest influence might actually be the original Lethal Weapon. People tend to remember the Lethal Weapon series as action comedies, but I think that’s due to the latter films certainly. I would argue that the first film is a dark affair, with Martin Riggs genuinely suffering from some serious mental problems throughout and only finding some solace at the end of the film. For Graveyard Shift I wanted to graze the surface of the buddy-cop dynamic except that my characters have been forced into it for more than seventy years, have their own agendas, and might have a genuine dislike for one another. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Nicky Drayden

Today I am interviewing Nicky Drayden, author of the new fantasy, science-fiction novel, The Prey of Gods.

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

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

Nicky Drayden: Hello! Thanks for having me! Well, I’m a systems analyst out of Austin, Texas who’s been writing fiction for about 15 years. I mostly dabble in science fiction, fantasy, and weird–usually all three combined.

DJ: What is The Prey of Gods about?

Nicky: THE PREY OF GODS is a near future thriller set in South Africa in which a diverse set of characters imbued with supernatural abilities by a street drug called Godsend must band together against a disenfranchised goddess who intends to remake their world and change the fate of humanity forever.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Prey of Gods?

Nicky: The initial concept came to me after reading Ian McDonald’s River of Gods, which is set in a futuristic India. I’d been to Port Elizabeth, South Africa back when I was in college, and I thought it’d be interesting to imagine how the experiences I had there could translate into a work of speculative fiction.

As far as character influences go, the first character I wrote for this book, a disenfranchised demigoddess working as a nail tech, came to me while I was driving around downtown Houston and saw a salon sign that said “Magic Nails.” I thought about how cool it would be if they really did use magic to do nails, but then wondered what kind of person would be giving manicures if they could do magic…and from that character sketch Sydney was born. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jon Del Arroz

Today I am interviewing Jon Del Arroz, author of the new steampunk novel, For Steam and Country.

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

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

Jon Del Arroz: Happy to be here, thank you! I’m a sci-fi/fantasy author who started with a superhero webcomic, Flying Sparks, which garnered a lot of attention back in 2011-2013. From there I was picked up as a staff writer for the Doomtown: Reloaded card game, producing a short story or more for the progressing storyline there that was set in the Deadlands RPG universe. Over that time I wrote four novels, of which two have been released now. Star Realms: Rescue Run, a space opera based on the card game, is my most famous to date, but there’s a lot of rave reviews for my new book, For Steam And Country.

DJ: What is For Steam and Country about?

Jon: It’s a Steampunk fantasy adventure about a girl who inherits an airship and has to make hard decisions on how to help her country of Rislandia fend off an invading army. It’s a true hero’s journey.

DJ: What were some of your influences for For Steam and Country?

Jon: Elizabeth Moon really informs my writing style more than anyone else. Though it’s a different genre, I try to utilize characterization/prose much in the same way she does. Sharon Lee is another on that front. Both have beautiful books. On the steampunk side, Beth Cato’s Clockwork series did a lot for my imagination. The Final Fantasy video games did as well, of which you’ll see a lot of easter eggs referencing those games in the book. Continue reading

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