Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview: Jenn Lyons

Today I am interviewing Jenn Lyons, author of the new fantasy novel, The Ruin of Kings, first book in the A Chorus of Dragons series.

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

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

Jenn Lyons: You’re quite welcome. It’s a pleasure to talk to you! I suppose I could start by pointing out that I am coming to this whole writing business quite late: I was a graphic artist and illustrator for twenty years, worked in video games for another ten, and now here I am. (Add that all up and you’ll start to see I may not be a millenial.) Also–and this is important–I can’t make jello.

DJ: What is The Ruin of Kings about?

Jenn: It’s about a young man—adopted, poor—who daydreams he’ll find out that he’s a long-lost prince, which will naturally solve all his problems. Except when it happens, it’s horrible. It turns out that ‘rich’ and ‘nice’ aren’t synonyms, his new family is cruel, and he’s replaced his old problems with a whole new list of much more dangerous problems. He finds himself caught up in schemes and machinations of some astonishingly evil and powerful beings, who all want to use him to their own ends.

DJ: What were some of your influences The Ruin of Kings and the series?

Jenn: I was influenced a somewhat unusual juxtaposition of cultures. My step-father was Assyrian and so I grew up in a household with a lot of very middle-eastern food, clothing, stories, but then I also have a strong love of mythology of all sorts, particularly celtic. If you look close, I think both those influences come through very clearly in different ways. And I was a complete D&D nerd as a child–I still am–so that can’t help but have had an impact. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Joe Ollinger

Today I am interviewing Joe Ollinger, author of the new science-fiction novel, 10,000 Bones.

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

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

Joe Ollinger: I’m an author. I’m a lawyer. I live in Los Angeles. I grew up in a small town in eastern Florida. I went to USC, where I studied screenwriting and psychology. I worked as a script reader for a while and read a lot of screenplays and some books in that role. Personality-wise, I take The Beatles over Elvis, coffee over tea, pizza over burgers, Batman over Superman, and Kirk over Picard. It’s a narrow margin for all of those except that first one.

DJ: What is 10,000 Bones about?

Joe: 10,000 Bones is a sci-fi thriller set on a world where calcium is used as currency. It follows a Collections Agent named Taryn, whose job it is to hunt down black market calcium to bring it back into the currency system. A job recovering the corpse of a little girl leads her onto the trail of a dangerous conspiracy, which threatens her life and forces her to confront her conflicted emotions toward the world she wants to leave.

DJ: What were some of your influences for 10,000 Bones?

Joe: In terms of literary influences, I grew up reading the classic sci-fi authors. Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Dick. Larry Niven came a bit later, but he’s my personal favorite, and his body of work is comparable to those guys. Years later, I read a lot of thrillers and became interested in the unique challenges of telling an emotional story in that mode of storytelling. In terms of real-life influences, the germ of the idea came from an academic interest in the power of money: the ability or inability of governments to control its value and manipulate it to their ends, the consequences of the use of the power. Continue reading

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Author Interview: S. Andrew Swann

Today I am interviewing S. Andrew Swann, author of the new fantasy novel, Marked.

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

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

Andrew Swann: I’ve been writing SF and Fantasy for a little over 25 years now, averaging a book a year during that time. I live in the Cleveland area, the setting for a number of my stories, including MARKED. I’m married and share a small sort-of farm with my wife, a horse, three sheep, two Boxers and a pair of cats.

DJ: What is Marked about?

Andrew: It’s about a woman, Dana Rohan, who has a tattoo-like mark on her back that allows her to go to various alternate pasts and futures. She doesn’t know the source of the mark or its powers, and she’s kept it hidden from those around her. She’s built a life as a police detective, where she’s secretly used the mark’s powers to help her in her job. Her life is upended when an apparently crazy man accosts her speaking a language she doesn’t know and is abruptly killed by an armored swordsman coming out of nowhere. The dead man bears a mark like her own. Soon after she’s chased by zombie-like creatures bearing their own perverse marks, and is racing through myriad alternate worlds in a quest to find out about the mark and her own past.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Marked?

Andrew: The most direct and obvious influence is Roger Zelazny’s AMBER series which I read in high school. It gave me the seed of the idea that would eventually become MARKED. But there are a lot of other influences, from various police procedurals, to the more recent DAWN OF THE DEAD and WORLD WAR Z. We can also blame the airships on GIRL GENIUS by Phil and Kaja Foglio. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Eyal Kless

Today I am interviewing Eyal Kless, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Lost Puzzler, first book in The Tarakan Chronicles.

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

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

Eyal Kless: I am a performing classical violinist and a teacher (currently teaching violin in Tel Aviv University). The fact that I can now add the title ‘Author’ to my name is still mind boggling and I always hesitate when I tell it to people who ask me “what do you do for a living”

“Eh, I am a violinist… and an author”

The usually response is” wow, how interesting and exciting, but what do you do for a living?”

I am a devoted father to my four years old, I love martial arts and train MMA in a very sporadic way. I used to play D&D way too much and I still dream up new adventures in old rules. 

DJ: What is The Lost Puzzler about?

Eyal: Okay, it is a reasonable enough question, but to summarize 550 pages of exciting adventures, fights, chases, mysteries and fun dialogues to several sentences is quite a challenge for me, especially since I do not want to throw in spoilers (deep breath), right:

Four generations after a Catastrophe killed most of civilization, the survivors are spread thinly around the globe. Some are reduced to “sticks and stones” other still know how to use technology but not how to produce it (like most of us today). The only way to get your hands on high-tech is to raids the ruined cities of the mysterious Tarakan empire and brave its dangers. The mercenary groups sent to those cities are called Salvationists.

In the relative safety of the City of Towers, a secondary scribe is sent on a close to impossible mission: he must locate an elusive and dangerous Salvationist mercenary, Vincha, and convince her to tell the story of Rafik, a boy-mutant who disappeared long ago. This boy, now long dead, might be the key to yet another  dramatic change in human history, either bringing civilization back to the age of light or giving it one final, deadly blow. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gareth Hanrahan

Today I am interviewing Gareth Hanrahan, author of the new fantasy novel, The Gutter Prayer, first book in the The Black Iron Legacy series.

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DJ: Hi 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 Hanrahan: By day, I’m a game designer, creating adventures and rules supplements for tabletop roleplaying games. So, I spend all day writing about monsters and heroes and sinister plots, then switch over to Scrivener and… write about monsters and heroes and sinister plots.

Fortunately, I like monsters and sinister plots. Heroes… are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

I’m based in Ireland. Bearded. Early 40s. Two or three children, depending on when this interview gets posted.

DJ: What is The Gutter Prayer about?

Gareth: Three thieves in a fantastical city are betrayed by the master of the thieves’ guild. One’s caught and imprisoned, one escaped, and the third is ransomed by an eccentric history professor after she starts to have bizarre magical visions. The three thieves reunite and plot to use this new power to get revenge on their former master. What they don’t realise is that this strange gift has deep and terrible connections to the secret history of the city, and they’re not the only people who seek to use this gift.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Gutter Prayer and the series?

Gareth: It’s sort of a conceptual stew – there’s lots and lots of stuff in there. Worrying about climate change and just-in-time delivery while wandering around a grocery store. Tim Powers novels, especially DECLARE. Dungeons and Dragons monsters. Thinking about what the Crimean War – and the 19th century in general – might have looked like with magic alchemy. Some old BBC Series like the original House of Cards and Seven Wonders of the Victorian Age. Time misspent on World of Warcraft. Robert Holdstock’s Lavondyss. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Samuel Ebeid

Today I am interviewing Samuel Ebeid, author of the new novel, The Heiress of Egypt.

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

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

Samuel Ebeid: Hi DJ. Thank you for interviewing me. Well, I like to introduce myself as a multicultural person full of many dimensions of diversity. I’m an American author with Egyptian background. I was born and raised in Egypt where I studied Political Science and published a non-fiction book, titled, “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World”. After moving to the United States, I became a Community Solutions Fellow for the International Exchange Alumni program of the US Department of State. I currently live in Pennsylvania, with my lovely wife, Karen, and I manage a small hotel in Western Maryland.

DJ: What is The Heiress of Egypt about?

Samuel: The Heiress of Egypt is the story of Princess Merit who survives the bloody massacre of her royal family. To claim her father’s crown and take her true place on the throne of Egypt, she has to overcome impossible odds, and she goes on an epic journey full of aliens, mummies, living sphinxes, mythical creatures, supernatural gifts and extraordinary occurrences.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Heiress of Egypt?

Samuel: Mainly, there were two things: my passion and my background. On one hand, I love fantasy books with rich environments, mythical creatures, a lot of actions and strong protagonists courageously fighting for what are rightfully theirs. For instance, I really enjoy George Martin’s A Game of Thrones. On the other hand, I know that there are a lot of readers out there who are interested in reading more about Egypt and its history. So, when I decided to mix my passion with my background, a light went on, and an “action-packed fantasy thriller” novel set in Ancient Egypt bloomed from that. Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Rollins

Today I am interviewing James Rollin, author of the new thriller novel, Crucible, fourteenth book in the Sigma Force series.

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

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

James Rollins: What many readers might not know about me is that I can still neuter a cat in under thirty seconds.  While my full-time job nowadays is writer, before that I was a veterinarian. I always resent when I’m introduced as “former veterinarian,” as I still do some volunteer work as local shelters helping with spaying and neutering.  Beyond this hobby of removing genitalia, I also enjoy a pursuit that started back in my college years, namely caving. So besides hiding behind a surgical mask, you can often find me far underground, sometimes stuck in a tunnel that was narrower than I thought.

DJ: What is Crucible and then the Sigma Force series about?

James: Sigma Force is a team of former special forces soldiers who have been drummed out of the service for various reasons. But because of special aptitudes and abilities, they’ve been recruited in secret by DARPA—the Defense Department’s research-and-development agency—and retrained in various scientific disciplines to act as field agents for DARPA. Their mission is to protect the globe against various emerging threats. Basically, they’re scientists with guns.

In Crucible, the team is faced by one of their most daunting—yet personal—adventures of the entire series. On Christmas Eve, a pair of Sigma Force teammates arrive home after a night of carousing to find their home ransacked and their respective lovers kidnapped, along with the two young daughters of one of the men. This attack is connected to a real-world threat, one that Stephen Hawking once described as the “worst event in the history of civilization.” That Elon Musk fears will lead to World War III. Even Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that whoever controls this event will control the world. That event is the creation of the first human-like artificial intelligence. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Bailey Ordiway

Today I am interviewing Bailey Ordiway, author of the new murder, romance novel, Death Do Us Part.

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

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

Bailey Ordiway: I always find that this is the hardest question to answer! Simply put I am happily married with a kid on the way. I am a very busy person with work, friends, and family, but I always make time for writing.

DJ: What is Death Do Us Part about?

Bailey: It is from the POV of a psychopath and follows him as he juggles his newfound romance and blood lust. That is a very simplified explanation, but I feel like anymore would ruin the fun of it.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Death Do Us Part?

Bailey: I have never actually read any romance, murder, thriller, or suspense books. I thought it would be interesting to write something that I was completely unfamiliar with. Maybe I would unknowingly put a spin on it that no one else does.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Death Do Us Part?

Bailey: It is a very adult-themed book. My first book was YA and my second wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular, but it wasn’t adult-themed. This one DEFINITELY is, and it was very fun to not hold back at all. Continue reading

Author Interview: Matt Maxwell

Today I am interviewing Matt Maxwell, author of the new horror, crime novel, The Queen of No Tomorrows.

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

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

Matt Maxwell: Hey there. Thanks for letting me on.

Well, I’m older than people typically think I am (probably because I know how to put together my own technology out of the box and none of my VCRs flash 12:00 or anything like that.) I learned how to drive in the parking lot of the only ziggurat in Orange County (as seen in the original DEATH RACE 2000), I worked in an arcade in a mall in 1987 (and spent too many hours in them once they became a thing many years before that.) I’ve played in a noise/rock/drone band called The Roswell Incident (http://www.highway62.bandcamp.com). I also, uh, write stuff, like this new book.

DJ: What is The Queen of No Tomorrows about?

Matt: The perils of writing fiction, maybe. Or that whole fondest wish coming true and watch out thing. Mostly it’s about Cait MacReady, who’s an ex-punk rocker and librarian in eighties Los Angeles and what happens when she forges a book that shouldn’t exist. There’s a lot of other stuff going on in it, but I’ll let the readers discover that for themselves.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Queen of No Tomorrows?

Matt: I came up with a big influence map for it and explained a lot behind it on my blog. Here’s the big long link (feel free to hide it and just link in text.)

https://www.highway62press.com/single-post/2018/09/19/MAPS-AND-LEGENDS—QUEEN-OF-NO-TOMORROWS-one-of-six

The short form is that a lot of the book was informed by my own life and experience. Not the cosmic horror stuff, but the life in LA circa 1987 stuff. At that time I was in college in Orange County, but visited the city a lot to check out weird bookstores and shows going on then. I wanted to get a little taste of the subcultures and honestly how different things were back then when everyone wasn’t carrying around a super-computer in their back pockets. But beyond the lack of tech, I was interested in looking at LA as its own place, so yeah, it’s definitely a character in the book. Aside from that, I’ve a host of writers and art that I enjoy and has shaped me, but I’m not sure that any of it is apparent in my own fiction. Continue reading

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Author Interview: William C. Dietz

Today I am interviewing William C. Dietz, New York Times best selling author of the new alt. history novel, RED ICE, first book in the Winds of War series.

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

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

William C. Dietz: I’m the author of more than 50 mostly military science fiction novels, a well trained husband, and an avid traveler. My wife and I have been to six of the seven continents. Antarctica is too damned cold.

DJ: What is RED ICE about?

Bill: RED ICE is a near-future alternate-history military thriller, set shortly after the start of the WWIII. The story begins with a battle in the South China Sea, moves to the conflict in Afghanistan, and winds up in the Bering Strait where the Russians are trying to invade Alaska.

If that seems improbable, remember that the strait is only 51 miles wide, wars run on oil, and Alaska has 26.5 billion barrels of the good stuff in the ground.   

DJ: What were some of your influences RED ICE and the series?

Bill: The plot has a Tom Clancy feel, some Dale Brown elements, and was heavily influenced by that William Dietz guy. Continue reading

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