Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview: Stephen Zimmer

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Today I am interviewing Stephen Zimmer, author of the new YA dystopian, modern fantasy novel, Dream of the Navigator, first book in the Faraway Saga.

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

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

Stephen Zimmer:  Hi DJ! It is wonderful to be back on your site, and for those who may not know me just yet, I am an author and filmmaker currently living in the heart of the Bluegrass State of Kentucky.  I write speculative fiction and love exploring new horizons. My work includes fantasy, epic fantasy, steampunk, horror, cross-genre fiction, and now YA/Dystopian fiction. I love hearing from readers, so if you are enjoying any of my books, please do drop me a message with any comments or questions!

DJ: What is Dream of the Navigator about?

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Stephen:  Dream of the Navigator follows the story of two teenage boys and two teenage girls who are growing up in a near-future setting in which society is run by technocrats, and cities have been replaced by massive urban centers called technates.  

Technology controls everything in a person’s life at this point and the only real escapes appear to be through virtual reality, other forms of entertainment, or substances.  The four main characters make big discoveries about the true nature of dreams and consciousness, and come to realize that they are not as confined as they originally thought.   Whole new worlds are opened up to them.

The storyline follows their response and what they do with this powerful new knowledge in the quest to gain freedom from the stifling world that they have been born into.

DJ: What were some of your influences Dream of the Navigator and the series?

Stephen:  Both dystopian and fantastical literature have had an influence on me when it comes to this series, but I have to say that 1984, by George Orwell, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis are the most profound.

This series involves a mixture of dystopian and utopian elements within the methods of control used by the ruling class over the broader society.  Some aspects are pleasant to experience, such as the virtual reality realms that so many citizens spend their days within, while others are suffocating, such as the constant monitoring, warning, and penalizing in response to an individual’s behavior and its adherence to the rules set in place. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jon Hollins

Author_Photo_TwitterToday I am interviewing Jon Hollins, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Bad Faith, final book in The Dragon Lords trilogy.

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DJ: Hi 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 Hollins: Hi! Thanks so much for having me here.  As for who I am… well, probably the first thing to reveal is that the name Jon Hollins is a lie.  Or as some people would call it, a pseudonym. My real name is Jonathan Wood, and I’m an Englishman living in New York.  I work in advertising by day, and write by… well, “night” would be the cool way to finish that sentence, but mostly it’s on my commute each day.  Prior to writing The Dragon Lords, I wrote four urban fantasy novels under my own name.  The first of that series is No Hero.

DJ: What is Bad Faith and then The Dragon Lords trilogy about?

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Jon: Bad Faith is the story of a group friends (of questionable morality and intelligence) most of whom have found themselves dead at the hands of a despotic and chronically drunk deity.  It charts their journey all the way from the underworld to the heavens themselves as they struggle to get revenge, and to free their homeland from tyranny. There are hijinks and mishaps along the way—as there tend to be in these sorts of things—including their decision to team up with a small army of dragons, which simplifies attacking a god, but complicates pretty much everything else.

This being the third and concluding volume of The Dragon Lords, these events obviously building on a lot of things that have happened before.  The first book, Fool’s Gold, charts the way the friends come together, initially as little more than a group of wannabe thieves, and then as accidental leaders of a revolution against evil dragon overlords.  Then in False Idols, the same bunch of fools find themselves in an expanded fight for their whole world as the dragons come back in a bid to rule not just the land, but the very heavens.  That’s when the gods start to get involved, and things go rapidly downhill for everyone from there. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Francesco Verso

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Today I am interviewing Francesco Verso, Italian SF writer, editor of the multicultural project Future Fiction and author of the novel Nexhuman, just published by Apex Books.

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

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

Francesco Verso: After 8 years spent in IBM, the PC Division where I was working as IT Specialist has been sold to Lenovo and 2 years later I’ve decided to quit working in the IT sector to dedicate my whole life to writing and publishing Science Fiction.

Over the last 10 years I’ve won 2 Urania Mondadori Award (e-Doll in 2009 and Bloodbusters in 2014), 1 Odissea Award (Livido in 2012) and 1 Italia Award (Livido in 2013). Livido in particular has been published in English as Nexhuman, first in Australia by Xoum and now in the USA by Apex Books.

So far, I’ve published 5 novels and around 10 short stories in three, four languages. On top of that, since 2014 I’ve started the Future Fiction multicultural project: a no-profit small press dedicated to publishing the best SF authors from all over the world in translation from seven languages so far (Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Russian and Italian of course).

DJ: What is Nexhuman about?

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Francesco: The main idea of book was inspired by a real fact that I’ve experienced some years ago: I was going out of a flea market in Rome with my wife when we noticed – inside a big garbage bin – an 8 year old boy who had just found a doll as tall as him; he was cleaning it, taking care of it and caressing it as if it was his own girlfriend. Then his mother came along protesting to move along and don’t waste any time with the doll as he should have been searching for more valuable things. This image, touching and terrible at the same time, started Peter Payne’s personal drama and his seemingly impossible love. It is no secret that hyper-consumerism and overproduction is leaving on the ground of every city the price that we have to pay for our neglect and lack of respect for the environment. In Nexhuman I’ve pushed this alarming situation to the extreme consequences of a process that is already visible almost everywhere. Continue reading

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Author Interview: R.J. Barker

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Today I am interviewing RJ Barker, author of the new fantasy novel, King of Assassins, final book in the Wounded Kingdom trilogy.

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

RJ Barker: Oh, no problem, it is a joy to be interviewed by you. I’m quite tired after having been away for a week so if some of my answers don’t make sense that’s why. Although, to be fair, quite often I don’t make sense when I’m awake.  

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

RJ Barker: I’m English, I live in the north of England (or Stark country, if you learn your geography through GoT) which is unanimously agreed by all English people to be the best bit of England. I collect old taxidermy that’s gone a bit wrong and have a wonderful wife and little boy. Since Age of Assassins has been released it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve been shortlisted for: The Kitschie Golden Tentacle, the Gemmel Morningstar and the British Fantasy Society’s Best Newcomer and Best Novel awards. I’ve also been a judge in the James White short story award. I love to read (unlikely I’ll make it to the US in the near future but if I do my readings are fun) and I love to write but mostly I like people.

Erm, I am also enthusiastic.

DJ: What is King of Assassins and then the Wounded Kingdom trilogy about?

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RJ: So MANY things. In the most basic way each book is a murder mystery and as a trilogy it’s the story of the assassin Girton Club-Foot. We grow with him, from quite a simple view of the world in Age of… to a much more nuanced understanding in King of… and the lynchpin of his world is the relationship he has with his teacher, Merela Karn. But, like with all books, there’s huge amounts of subtext, ideas about power and who holds it and the price that’s paid, of redemption and forgiveness, of friendship and familial love. There’s loads going on in the books but I think it’s important to make things accessible so you can ignore all the subtext and allegory and just read an exciting story with lots of battles.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Wounded Kingdom trilogy?

RJ: A Huge influence was The Chronicles of Morgaine by C.J. Cherryh which is also based around a platonic m/f friendship. A lot of people have pointed out similarities to Robin Hobb’s Farseer books but, although I have read them and undoubtedly they are stored in my mind (and Robin is fantastic) they weren’t a conscious influence on Girton, the tone was much more influenced by C.J. Sansom’s Shardlake books about a lawyer in Tudor England. Also, a whole lot of history books too (probably written by people with the initials C.J. as it seems to be a theme.) Also, Patrick O Brian and American crime writers like James Lee Burke and Robert Crais. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Paul Tassi

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Today I am interviewing Paul Tassi, author of the new science-fiction novel, Herokiller.

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

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

Paul Tassi: I’ve been writing about video games, movies, TV and tech for about a decade now. I’ve been writing for Forbes specifically for eight years. Herokiller is my fourth book, where my first three are a different science-fiction series called The Earthborn Trilogy. I work from home so I’m able to find a lot of time to write, which is fantastic, and what helps me finish these books, even if it’s not my full-time job.

DJ: What is Herokiller about?

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Paul: It’s the year 2035 and a televised TV deathmatch, the first of its kind between death row inmates, has just been ruled illegal. Its founder, media mogul Cameron Crayton, decides to form a new kind of tournament called The Crucible, one that operates on a volunteer basis with competitors signing up to win a billion dollar first prize if they can survive. They fight with armor and medieval weapons, updated for modern day use in a shining new Colosseum that Crayton builds in the Las Vegas desert.

Mark Wei is a former CIA operative who was instrumental in crippling China during the second Cold War, but lost his family due to Chinese retaliation. His old handler calls him back into the field to sign up for The Crucible, infiltrating the contest to get close to Cameron Crayton, who the US government believes is a puppet for a foreign power. As he trains and fights he befriends some of the other combatants he’s supposed to kill, but runs into others that are among the most dangerous men and women on earth. If he can reach the end, he might learn the truth about Crayton, but the road to get there is a razor’s edge, and his past demons haunt him as he tries not to lose his mind the way America itself has seemed to, reveling in the bloodlust of the tournament. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jo Walton

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Today I am interviewing Jo Walton, author of the new book, An Informal History of the Hugos.

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

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

Jo Walton: I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer, I’ve published thirteen novels with a fourteenth, Lent due out in May 2019. I also write poetry, and very occasional short stories, I had a short story collection out earlier this year from Tachyon Press, called Starlings. This is my second collection of blog posts, the first one was called What Makes This Book So Great and it won the Locus Award for Best Non Fiction in 2015. My novels have also won an embarrassing number of awards – I’m actually embarrassed to list them at this point.

DJ: What is An Informal History of the Hugos about?

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Jo: It’s about the history of the science fiction and fantasy genre in the second half of the twentieth century, as seen through the lens of the Hugo awards. It’s about who was writing what, what was good, what was changing and when, what the field looked like in each of those years. So it’s a survey, with additional essays about some of the books. It started off as a series of blog posts on Tor.com. And it’s very very personal. I make no attempt at objectivity, this is entirely my opinion – except that we took the best of the comments on the original blog posts and put them in the book too, so you’ll see me being wrong and being corrected, and other people’s opinions.

DJ: What were some of your influences for An Informal History of the Hugos?

Jo: I hadn’t thought about this until you asked that, but the only possible answer is “fandom”. This is very much like fannish projects and very unlike academic ones or the lists people compile. Also, and this is the whole point of the project, there’s this huge cultural pressure to say “what is the one best x” and what I’m doing here is resisting that, not saying is the winner the best book, but are the nominees the best five books. So it’s really hard to say anything is a particular influence. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tom Toner

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Today I am interviewing Tom Toner, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Tropic of Eternity, final book in The Amaranthine Spectrum trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Tom Toner! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Tom Toner: Hello! Thanks for having me. I’m a thirty-one year old science fiction author from Somerset, England. My debut novel, The Promise of the Child, was released in 2015.

DJ: What is The Tropic of Eternity and then The Amaranthine Spectrum trilogy about?

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Tom: The Amaranthine Spectrum is a space opera series set in over 12,500 years, in the 147th century, when humanity has diverged into dozens of separate species and spread throughout the galaxy. The Tropic of Eternity is the third book in the series, wrapping up as much of the story as possible.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the The Amaranthine Spectrum trilogy?

Tom: SF/genre influences: Iain Banks, Brian Aldiss, Arthur C Clarke, Terry Pratchett. I’m a big fan of Colm Toibin and Hilary Mantel, too.

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? 

Tom: The main protagonist is a three meter-tall, colour-changing giant named Lycaste. Though he suffers from a crippling shyness he’s forced to leave his home, gradually coming out of his shell throughout the course of the series. In the second novel he makes friends with the supremely confident spirit of a murdered artificial intelligence named Perception, who I came up with after hearing the John Grant song ‘Greatest Motherfucker’. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Lauren C. Teffeau

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Photo courtesy of Kim Jew Photography Studios

Today I am interviewing Lauren C. Teffeau, author of the new cyberpunk novel, Implanted.

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

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

Lauren C. Teffeau: I’m a speculative fiction writer from New Mexico. I grew up on the East Coast in the suburbs outside of Philly, went to undergrad and graduate school in the South, worked as a university researcher in the Midwest, and now live in Albuquerque. I love writing and reading (natch!), biking, hiking, video games, and spending time with my family.

DJ: What is Implanted about?

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Lauren: The book is about a young woman named Emery Driscoll who’s blackmailed into working as a courier for a shadowy organization and what happens when the life she was forced to leave behind comes back to haunt her after she’s left holding the bag on a job gone wrong. Action and adventure abound, along with high-tech gadgets, light espionage, romance, and hard questions about the future.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Implanted?

Lauren: Take Johnny Mnemonic, add a dash of Person of Interest, mix with Logan’s Run, and wrap it all up in a Blade Runner-meets-solarpunk aesthetic.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little more about your main character Emery?

Lauren: Sure! Emery has just graduated from the prestigious College of New Worth and is debating whether she wants to meet one of her close friends in person for the first time after years of synching via their neural implants, which allow for the near-instantaneous exchange of thought-text. (Hello, cyberpunk!) But after growing up in the Terrestrial District, Emery’s slow to trust, even though they have so many things in common, including a love for the city’s Arcades where their implants pair with the latest cutting-edge tech for super-immersive games like the one that introduced them in the first place. She also has a BIG secret she’s been keeping from him, and most everyone else in her life, making her easy prey for the folks wanting to turn her into a courier. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Today I am interviewing Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Redemption’s Blade, first book in the After the War series.

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

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

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Hi there. I’ve been writing novels for ten years now, which means I’m just starting to accept that I’m no longer ‘the new guy’, I started as a fantasy writer with my Shadows of the Apt series but have also taken a lateral step into the neighbouring territory of SF, particularly with Children of Time.

DJ: What is Redemption’s Blade about?

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Adrian: So, you have an epic fantasy world, as you might expect. The various quarrelling little nations come under threat from the Kinslayer, a murderous, spiteful demigod who basically wants to ruin everything for everyone as comprehensibly as possible. A small band manage, at great cost, to sneak into his fortress and do him in. And then what? The Kinslayer’s down, his armies are still mostly around and all those little nations so recently united in their purpose are starting to come apart and remember why they didn’t like each other in the first place. Into this melting pot comes Celestaine, Kinslayer-slayer, who’s been at war ten years and is trying to make something worthwhile of the rest of her life, specifically undoing some of the more egregious acts of cruelty the Kinslayer perpetrated.

DJ: What were some of your influences Redemption’s Blade and the series?

Adrian: The easiest answer to that is “the entire fantasy canon to this point.” A little like a previous book of mine, Spiderlight (that readers who enjoyed Blade may also like), I’ve tried to make the book simultaneously a good fantasy epic in its own right, and also something of an interrogation of fantasy stereotypes and tropes. What does happen after the Dark Lord falls? Not all cakes and ale, according to this book. So the basic set-up, the Kinslayer and his war, consciously owes a great deal to Tolkien, but the point of the book is to ask the big question: What happens next? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Richard Godwin

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Today I am interviewing Richard Godwin, author of the new crime novel, Insenserity

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

Richard Godwin: Thank you for hosting me DJ!

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

Richard: A man of many parts.

I am the critically acclaimed author of Apostle Rising, Mr. GlamourOne Lost Summer, Noir City, Meaningful Conversations, Confessions Of A Hit Man, Paranoia And The Destiny Programme, Wrong Crowd, Savage Highway, Ersatz World, The Pure And The Hated, Disembodied, Buffalo And Sour Mash, Locked In Cages, Crystal On Electric Acetate, The Glass House, Android Love, Human Skin, We Take What Fathers We Can: All The Broken Things, Inhabit,and Insincerity. My stories have been published in numerous paying magazines and over 34 anthologies, among them an anthology of my stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man, and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Mystery, alongside Lee Child. I was born in London and lectured in English and American literature at the University of London. I also teach creative writing at University and workshops. You can find out more about me at his website www.richardgodwin.net , where you can read a full list of my works, and where you can also read my Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, my highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

I have met criminals for my research and travelled widely. I am also an MMA practitioner and sports enthusiast.                                                                                                                                                                         

DJ: What is Insenserity about?

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Richard: OK here is the Blurb, think love, think passion, intrigue and a homicidal mind, thunk enclosure within the mental space of a homicidal mind:

An ex-military PI obsessively tracks a deadly killer who is watching her every move, and while she has a personal motive, so does he for the surveillance he places her under.

Tammy Wayne tracks serial killers for a living. And with the help of her colleague Arlene, she is trying to locate a killer known as The Pimp, who killed her sister Holly. But The Pimp has her under surveillance and he is coming and going to her house as he wants, and sending her Holly’s body parts. She is also trying to locate another killer known as The Beekeeper. Both men collect body parts, but while The Pimp watches his victims before he kills, The Beekeeper abducts women and coats them in latex before killing them. As Tammy tries to get inside their heads she is targeted, with her offices being blown up. 

Meanwhile Karen Sincere, married to dangerous and disturbed Micky, meets the handsome Julius Gold in the exclusive Attic bar in Canary Wharf and starts an affair with him. She is convinced her husband is leading a double life as a killer. And he is obsessed by bees. She hires Tammy, who begins tailing Micky.  And there is a connection that goes all the way from Gary to The Beekeeper. As Karen and Julius meet, someone is watching them. The model Kitten Rogers, aka Ashley Greene, who is also having an affair with Julius, has hired a detective. Ashley is convinced Julius is hiding something. Meanwhile The Pimp closes in, abducting Tammy, Arlene and Ashley. It seems that only Julius can save them. Insincerity is a novel replete with characters who are leading double lives, and it never yields its secrets until the final pages.                  Continue reading

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