Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview: Michael Williams

Today I am interviewing Michael Williams, author of the new mythical fiction/magic realism series, the City Quartet. 

◊  ◊  ◊

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: I’ve been around for a while, starting in the mid-1980s, when I was a ground-floor member of the DRAGONLANCE team.  I wrote the songs for the original Weis/Hickman books in the series, and contributed several novels to the series.  Later on, I published a trilogy for Time/Warner Books, and then a pair of novels, Arcady and Allamanda, released by ROC in the U.S. and Hodder & Stoughton in the U.K.  Arcady received some very favorable notice, being long-listed for the Locus Awards.

More recently, I’ve been publishing with smaller presses, which are more amiable to taking chances with experimental, genre-bending work.  My recent City Quartet are four novels released by Seventh Star Press.

DJ: What is the City Quartet about?

Michael: The City Quartet are four novels, mythic and magical realist (I call the blend “mythical realism”) set in a city that is and is not Louisville, Kentucky. My fictional Louisville is both historical and imaginal, the streets often identifiable as the real, geographical city, but underlaid with magical pockets and side streets, with neighborhoods transformed by myth and mythological patterns.  Four separate stories, one for each novel: a coming-of-age story with ghosts (Trajan’s Arch); a Greek tragedy that the ancient gods revisit (Vine: An Urban Legend); a haunted film festival with a nightmarish, historical secret (Dominic’s Ghosts); a biography of a homeless man who becomes a mythical creature (Tattered Men).  When you read one novel, you follow its principal plot, but the plots of the other novels brush against your vision: you will see an important scene from another book play out as secondary to the story you’re in, and major characters in one book will be minor or even cameo characters in another.  The books stand on their own, but are interwoven across space and time, so that you don’t have to read them in a specific order, and you can enter the world of the quartet through any of them. Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Author Interview: Kathe Koja

Today I am interviewing Kathe Koja, author of the new short-fiction collection, Velocities

◊  ◊  ◊

DJ: Hi Kathe! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview! 

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

Kathe Koja: Hi, and thanks for the invitation! I’m a writer – working on my 18th book now – and an event creator, putting together creative artists from various disciplines to make immersive events. 

DJ: What is Velocities about?

Kathe: Velocities is my second fiction collection, bringing together stories I chose that seemed to have a similar feeling, or mood, or attitude. It wasn’t a strict or even really conscious process, more like arranging a bouquet of strange flowers than assembling a construct.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Velocities

Kathe: I’ve written a lot of short stories. And my last collection, Extremities, came out quite awhile ago. And I had two unpublished stories I wanted to share, so  . . . It was the right time to put together a new collection. 

DJ: What kinds of stories can readers expect in the anthology?

Kathe: There are straight-up horror stories here, there are historical stories, there are totally unclassifiable stories. But all of them offer a reader a moment of connection with a character. All my fiction, stories and novels, begins always with a character. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview: Jon Skovron

Today I am interviewing Jon Skovron, author of the new fantasy novel, The Ranger of Marzanna, first book in The Goddess War trilogy.

◊  ◊  ◊

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 Skovron: Hi DJ! I live just outside Washington DC with my two teenagers and two cats. My first novel was published way back in 2009. It was a YA novel from Amulet called Struts & Frets. I went on to write three other YA novels before deciding to switch to writing “adult” novels. Well, not really deciding, I guess. I just started writing it and after about six chapters realized it was not YA. That ended up becoming Hope and Red, my debut adult fantasy novel, and the first book of the Empire of Storms trilogy from Orbit Books, which was completed back in I think 2017? Or thereabouts. My editor wanted me to release them nine months apart, so that whole period in my life is a little bit of a blur… 

DJ: What is The Ranger of Marzanna about?

Jon: The Ranger of Marzanna is set in a wintery fantasy landscape inspired largely by my ancestral Poland and Czarist Russia. It’s a land that was conquered two decades before by a vast empire. Those who tried to stop the empire from their conquest, the fabled and mysterious Rangers of Marzanna, were nearly exterminated in the aftermath. Only one elderly Ranger managed to escape the purge but he manages to pass on his mystical secrets to a young woman named Sonya. When Sonya’s father is murdered by the empire, she resolves not merely to get revenge, but to liberate her people from the empire. Unfortunately, her younger brother Sebastian, a profoundly gifted wizard, becomes enthralled by the charismatic imperial commander and decides to join the empire instead, setting the siblings on a collision course that gets very messy indeed.  Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Breanna Teintze

Today I am interviewing Breanna Teintze, author of the new fantasy novel, Lady of Shadows, second book in the The Empty Gods series.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Breanna Teintze: Hi there! I’m always having to wrack my brain to figure out what would be interesting about me–outwardly I have a fairly plain life. I’m a registered nurse, I live more or less in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by orchards and onion farms, and I was homeschooling my three kids before the entire world had to start emergency homeschooling. I’ve been writing since I was small, and last year Jo Fletcher Books published my debut novel, Lord of Secrets, about the extremely unlucky, bad-at-adulting wizard Corcoran Gray.

DJ: What is Lady of Shadows and then The Empty Gods series about?

Breanna: Mostly the book is about consequences: the after-effects of saving the world. Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray and his partner, Brix Rivest, are trying to rebuild their lives and adapt to the weird challenges that happen when people who have done extraordinary things try to return to normal life. Of course, life doesn’t stay normal for long, and they wind up forced to work with the organization that Gray has been spending most of his life avoiding in order to stop a magical plague.

That’s right–a plague, which is a little difficult in this present day! But I wrote the book in 2018 specifically thinking about grit, recovery, and optimism. I hope that even right now–maybe especially right now–people will find the story both fun and cathartic.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the The Empty Gods series

Breanna: It’s difficult to narrow them down! I think both the action and the humor in my novels owe something to 1999’s The Mummy, as well as the great over-the-top, full-of-beasties, so-bad-they’re-good space fantasy epics of the 1980s like Krull. As for actual storylines, after seeing too many stories that didn’t know what to do with a relationship once the pair got together, I wanted to write about a couple kept having adventures. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Matthew Ward

Today I am interviewing Matthew Ward, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Legacy of Ash, first book in the Legacy trilogy. 

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Matthew: I’m English – a Midlander by birth, for my sins. Though I love cities (especially ones steeped in history) I’m much more at home a footstep away from the wilderness. In a past life, I was employed at Games Workshop, building the Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and The Lord of the Rings game worlds through rules writing, range planning and fiction. These days, I split my time between being an author and working as a creative consultant.

DJ: What is Legacy of Ash about?

Matthew: Legacy of Ash is a tale of a new generation fighting the mistakes of the one that came before. The decaying Tressian Republic faces an invasion from the Hadari Empire to the east and strife from within – for the first time in a generation, long-held truths are ripe for challenge. Gods are stirring. What comes next turns on the actions of a handful of characters and their choices – whether they’ll uphold the enmities and compromises of the past, or set aside old quarrels and build something greater for the future.

It’s epic fantasy shaped by the choices of its characters. Lots of action, intrigue and impossible choices. 

DJ: What were some of your influences Legacy of Ash and the series? 

Matthew: The Lord of the Rings has always been a huge influence on my writing, though these days it’s present much more in ‘behind the curtain’ disciplines like worldbuilding and mythology. More direct influences spring from television shows like Babylon 5 and Jack Pulman’s I, Claudius and the works of Bernard Cornwell.

Visually, I draw a lot from Britain’s wealth of historical sites – particularly North Wales and Cornwall, as well as older cities like York. I like places where you can close your eyes and feel the past resonating around you. That sense that there’s something vast lurking somewhere just out of sight. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Tim Lebbon

Today I am interviewing Tim Lebbon, author of the new eco-horror thriller novel, Eden. 

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Tim: It’s a pleasure, thanks for having me! I’ve just hit 50, and I’ve been writing for a living for 14 years, with a few years before that writing part-time. Since my first novel was published over twenty years ago I’ve had over forty novels published, dozens of novellas, hundreds of short stories. I’ve had two movies made from my books, with a few other TV and movie projects ticking over at various stages of development. I live in a nice village in South Wales with my wife and two lovely kids (they’re 21 and 17, and they’d hate me calling them kids). I’ve read compulsively since I was young, a love instilled in me by my mother. I read James Herbert’s The Rats when I was ten years old, and it didn’t do me any harm. Did it? I love real ale, endurance sport, walks in the countryside, nature, and cake.    

DJ: What is Eden about?

Tim: Eden is one of a number of Virgin Zones established in the near future to fight climate change. Given back to nature, these zones are off limits to humanity, and intended to become the lungs of the Earth. But there are always people tempted by such wild places, and adventure racing teams target the zones as the most challenging, dangerous locations to race across. One such team enters Eden––each member with her or his own personal agenda––and they discover that here, Nature no longer welcomes humanity.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Eden

Tim: My fear for the planet, and the increasing urgency in acting to try and slow down the climate change we’ve caused. Also my love of endurance sport, and my growing desire the older I get to embark on a big wild adventure of my own. I would rather not visit Eden, though. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview: Michelle Black

Today I am interviewing Michelle Black, author of the new fantasy romance novel, The Outsiders. 

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Michelle Black: Hello. I’m a doctor and baker who really enjoys reading and writing. I’ll admit I end up reading more manga and light novels than actual books these days, but it keeps me happy. 

DJ: What is The Outsiders about?

Michelle: It’s a fantasy romance novel that follows Ray Telor, an attorney from London who wishes for a break from his everyday life. It leads him to a village named Aesil, where he meets the hated Gale, a healer shunned by the other villagers. Aesil is a land lost in time, just like its inhabitants. Ray falls for the quiet, but gentle Gale, and learns of his gift to heal with his hands, and why the other villagers hate him. Gale’s gift allows him to stop death by bringing about death. 

Drawn into the village life and Gale, Ray embarks on a journey of discovery and adventure, to find missing children and men, to search for the other extraordinary inhabitants of the mystical land, and an unfortunate battle against a man-eating demon.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Outsiders

Michelle: There weren’t any influences really. The Outsiders was supposed to be a short story about a healer, but it turned into what it is now. I can’t explain how that happened.  Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview: Kyle Richardson

Today I am interviewing Kyle Richardson, author of the new fantasy novel, Beast Heart, first book in the Steambound trilogy. 

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Kyle Richardson: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me. A little about myself? Let’s see … I’m a Hawaii-born author who now lives in snowy Canada, an oft-bumbling husband, a father to two little rascals, and I’m still waiting for my superpower origin story (which I’m hoping will result in a traditional power, like telekinesis, rather than something bizarre—like the ability to tickle insects, or something).

I’m a traditionally published writer of flash fiction and short fiction, have worked as an assistant editor and co-editor, and now I’m making my novel-length fiction debut with Beast Heart.

DJ: What is Beast Heart about?

Kyle: This is a question that appears so simple, yet strikes fear into the hearts of writers everywhere. Oh, the challenges of summarizing an entire story in a paragraph or two! 😀

We follow two strangers, Gabrielle and Kemple, as they navigate their youths (and, later: their teenagehood) along the fringes of Iron Bay, a city full of carriages, airships, clockwork beings, and creatures that go bump in the night.
Their two lives will inevitably intertwine, in the most explosive of ways, but neither of them knows it … yet.

DJ: What were some of your influences Beast Heart and the series? 

Kyle: I didn’t write with any specific influences in mind, though I’m sure the book owes a lot of its ideas to the various stories and films I consumed growing up. Looking at the finished product, I can definitely see a lot of Bubblegum Crisis in it (a cyberpunk Anime from the late 1980s, following a team of young women in mech-suits who fight monsters to protect the city), along with a healthy splash of American Werewolf in London. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview: Roy Freirich

Today I am interviewing Roy Freirich, author of the new psychological thriller novel, Deprivation. 

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Roy Freirich: Thank you! I would love to say less is more and try to be enigmatic, but that probably wouldn’t be the result. I’m from suburban NY, was an absurdly pretentious self-pitying teenaged poet, studied real poetry in college and grad school and ran away to the mountains of California where I weaseled my way into writing song lyrics with/for Warner Brothers recording artist Bill LaBounty.  Moved to LA, became a lyricist with various songwriter contracts and songs recorded by some actual legendary R&B singers, but decided I needed a new wall to bang my head against and that since I saw lots of movies, I could write them. The jury’s out. One of my first efforts was written simultaneously as my first novel Winged Creatures and became the  (studio-retitled) film Fragments, featuring Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Josh Hutcherson, Guy Pearce, Walt Goggins, and lots of recognizable others to whom I am grateful. Since then, the movie business hasn’t been as straightforward for me, but it’s a safe bet I’ve failed to adapt as it became more driven by event (OK, superhero) fare and less by the kind of literary / psychological drama I write.

DJ: What is Deprivation about?

Roy: Elevator pitch?  Honestly, it feels like people have tried to pry the doors apart between floors, so here’s a short version: “A New England tourist island struck by mass insomnia.”  What’s it about thematically? The idea that dreams keep us sane, and without them, we’ll each go crazy in our unique way— as our own unresolved experiences increasingly drive us in our waking lives. It’s about mass hysteria, too, and how our individual psychology makes us vulnerable to it. And then, yes, about how we collectively blame and scapegoat and murder each other.  We are the creatures who kill us.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Deprivation

Roy: Jose Saramago, Cormac McCarthy, Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness, James Salter, John Updike, Raymond Carver, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies,  Robert Stone.  Did I mention Robert Stone? Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Author Interview: J.T. Nicholas

Today I am interviewing J.T. Nicholas, author of the new science-fiction novel, Re-Coil.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

J.T. Nicholas: I’m a sci-fi author (primarily, anyway) who lives in North Carolina.  I’ve wanted to be an author for pretty much as long as I can remember, but it’s a long journey, so I spent a large chunk of my career in the exciting and dazzling world of insurance data analysis.  I know, I know… it’s difficult to imagine leaving something so exciting behind for a career as mundane as authordom, but such is the road I’ve taken. I’m happily married with two Australian Shepherds who have a bigger social media following than I do (@ronin_and_gambit on Instagram) one of which is whining at me right this very moment.  I love reading (unsurprising), writing (also unsurprising), games (video and tabletop) and anime.  

DJ: What is Re-Coil about?

J.T.: I think of it as a whodunnit set against the backdrop of a gritty cyberpunk/sci-fi world where mankind has conquered death by backing up the human consciousness and stuffing it into a new body (or coil in the parlance of the book) when you die.  The main focus of the story has the protagonist trying to figure out why he and his crew disappeared on what should have been a routine salvage mission. There’s corporate greed, coverups, and a dash of existential threat thrown in for good measure.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Re-Coil

J.T.:  L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s sci-fi has always had an ethical twist to it, which certainly has influenced my writing.  All of the cyberpunk regular suspects (Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson, Richard K. Morgan, Katsuhiro Otomo) influenced my vision of the future.  Isaac Asminov and Phillip K. Dick were also big influences, particularly since I think the two of them were some of the biggest voices in the “detective sci-fi” world.  I’ve been reading sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery for 3 decades, so there are a lot of other influences. And that’s just the books. I also draw influence from movies, tv shows, anime, video games, and people watching. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,