Author Interview: Steve Rogers

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Today I am interviewing Steve Rogers, author of the new epic fantasy novel, City of Shards, first book in the Spellgiver series.

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

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

Steve: Thanks for the opportunity!

I have been writing most of my adult life in various capacities, but “City of Shards” and “In the Claws of the Indigen” (books 1 and 2 of Spellgiver) are my debut novels. They have been seen by an army of beta readers, as I always wanted to make them shine before I released them into the wild. I stopped work on the novels for some time in order to write short stories, and many of those have been published in on-line magazines and anthologies (my last submitted short story “Canvas Tears” will be published in May in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly).

Last year, after permanently leaving the short story world, hiring another round of beta readers and a professional cover artist/editor, I finished both books—“City of Shards” and “In the Claws of the Indigen”. The first is on pre-order at Amazon, and the second will be available for pre-order in early April.

DJ: What is City of Shards about?

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Steve: At the center of the story is Larin, a boy from a violent neighborhood who suffers horrible outbursts that cause him to shout meaningless words at random. These uncontrollable spasms have turned him into a pariah in the gang-ridden Wormpile district, where his only protection comes from his drug-addicted uncle, a man with a mysterious past who’s better with a sword than most people are with a fork.

Larin eventually learns that his outbursts have marked him as servant to an ancient evil, one that is in permanent war with the Six-Legged Gods. So, when clergy of the Six-Legged Gods erect their temple in a neighboring district, things go from bad to worse. Those priests busy themselves with good deeds and cry for social justice, gaining the people’s trust while rousing them against the throne. But Larin suspects that those fiery speeches mask a hidden agenda, and he soon finds one dismaying fact: As bad as Larin’s Master is, Larin will either follow that monstrosity or watch the city slide into an even darker abyss. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jay Chalk

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Today I am interviewing Jay Chalk, author of the new science-fiction novel, Revolution 2050.

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

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

Jay Chalk: Hi DJ! And thanks for your interest! A little about myself…I was a long-haul trucker back in the 1980s and part of the ‘90s. I received a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English from UT@Tyler in 1993 and never looked back. It was in the 1990s, during a tumultuous time in my life, that I began writing. I’m now in my 20th year of teaching high school social studies–and also with four and half novels under my belt.

DJ: What is Revolution 2050 about?

Jay: After another American civil war, a totalitarian regime called the Directorate controls the region east of the Mississippi River. The protagonist, Sam Moore, is a young school teacher and member of the Directorate Party. The story is how he transforms from a subdued school teacher to a revolutionary/guerilla fighter against the very regime he once loved.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Revolution 2050?

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Jay: I’ve always been a student of history. I’m fascinated how a whole population can be mesmerized to the point of blindness and follow a self-proclaimed “leader” off the deep end. The memoirs of Russian author and Cold War dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn heavily influenced the themes of my novels. Playwright, dissident and former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel also impacted the thought behind my stories. Havel was a thorn in the side of the Soviet Union. His non-fiction book, Open Letters, gave me a ton of behind-the-scenes ammo when it comes to how an authoritarian regime really works behind closed doors. Add in a smidgen of Bradbury, Huxley and a touch of Orwell and there you have it.

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 would sympathize with them? 

Jay: I think the most interesting thing about my characters, and several reviewers have agreed, is that my characters are common, everyday people that you can identify with. No super-hero/magical stuff here. Sam, fellow revolutionary and love interest, Katie Spencer, and her grandparents, Leo and Michelle, are the kind of people who might live next door, down the street, or perhaps co-workers you know and hangout with after work. What makes them compelling is how they interact with their surroundings–and within themselves–when faced with life-altering decisions. Those decisions not only could cost them their lives, but also could affect future generations of Americans. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ryan Wieser

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Today I am interviewing Ryan Wieser, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Glass Blade, first book in the Hunters of Infinity series.

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

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

Ryan Wieser: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me! I am an author who currently writes in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I was raised predominantly in East Africa and I have studied and travelled all around the world. When I’m not writing, I love to read and travel with my husband, our baby, and our dog!

DJ: What is The Glass Blade about?

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Ryan: The Glass Blade is about a young woman, Jessop, who saves two unsuspecting Hunters from a vicious attack in a tavern. This act leads to her being offered a place within the Hunters’ training facility, the Glass Blade. As she builds new relationships, her past, and many secrets, slowly begin to surface. Ultimately, this is a story about love, loss, and retribution.

DJ: What were some of your influences The Glass Blade and the series?

Ryan: It has always been important to me to write about powerful, strong women, who don’t need saving but who save themselves. I come from a family of strong women. While I have always identified as feminist and I have always known the importance of equality, recognition, and tolerance, it was really several years ago, when I first started writing The Glass Blade, that I took real notice of the disgusting extent to which the “Disposable Woman” was featuring in so many storylines—the woman who was written into the plot with the sole purpose of sexualisation and victimization to spur on the male lead’s agenda. Whether it’s on the page or the silver screen, it is an abhorrent representation of the female sex and the female narrative. I believe all writers, but in particular female writers, owe it to our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters, wives, girlfriends, and friends to remove this “Disposable Woman” from our media and from our culturally accepted narrative. In developing Jessop, and many of my other characters, I was heavily influenced by the people in my life. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Nat McKenzie

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Today I am interviewing Nat McKenzie, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Vengeance Code.

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

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

Nat McKenzie: I have several books published under Natalie Whipple, but for my new focus in sci-fi I’m taking on a new pen name as well. I have a BA in English Linguistics with a minor in editing, and I have always been in love with video games, anime, and good food.

DJ: What is The Vengeance Code about?

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Nat: From the back cover:

She’s a nobody in the bunker, struggling to survive.

He’s the heir to a fortune, determined to follow in mother’s fatal footsteps.

Only she knows her father was murdered, his code stolen.

His father’s virtual reality program kills people.

Linix can’t possibly trust the heir of the man who destroyed her family. And Cache can’t accept a position in an industry that kills its customers. But when the only thing more dangerous than the games is not playing them, they’ll have to figure out how to win. Together. Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Morrow

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Today I am interviewing James Morrow, author of the novelette, “Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva,” recently released as an e-book under the new Particle Books imprint from Tachyon Publications.

Over the course of a long career, Jim has published ten novels, four stand-alone novellas, and three short-story collections. He has won the World Fantasy Award (twice), the Nebula Award (twice), the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and the Prix Utopia. His fiction has been translated into thirteen languages.

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

JM: I’m known primarily as a creator of theological fantasy with a satiric edge. My most popular novels in this vein are Only Begotten Daughter (concerning the tribulations of Jesus Christ’s divine half-sister in contemporary Atlantic City), Towing Jehovah (about a supertanker captain charged with burying God’s two-mile-long corpse), and Blameless in Abaddon (in which the Corpus Dei from the previous novel is put on trial for crimes against humanity).

But I’ve also written straightforward historical fiction (albeit filtered through a fantasist’s sensibility), notably The Last Witchfinder and Galápagos Regained.

“Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva” came about because readers (mostly at science fiction conventions) occasionally challenged me to think outside my theological comfort zone. It’s all very well to play games with Christian doctrines and Western philosophy, they argued, but why don’t you try applying your sensibility to Eastern religion?

DJ: Where did “Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva” first appear?

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JM: I wrote it, at the editor’s request, for the Betwixt the Between issue of the literary journal Conjunctions: an esteemed and prestigious venue, but with a circumscribed readership. “Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva” was an ideal candidate for the Particle Books program, which is committed to offering (as the Tachyon website puts it) “a dynamic mix of original, newly-collected, hard to find, and out-of-print material.”

DJ: What is “Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva” about?

JM: The plot turns on the angst of the Abominable Snowman, Taktra Kunga, denizen of the Himalayas, who feels compelled to devour the cerebrums of doomed yuppie mountain climbers. In a quest to enlarge his soul, my yeti apprentices himself to the Fifteenth Dalai Lama, His Holiness, Chögi Gyatso, who promises to teach him about Tibetan Buddhism. Taktra reciprocates by protecting Chögi from the predations of the Chinese, who for generations have sought to destroy, or at least assimilate, Tibetan culture. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Damian Dibben

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Today I am interviewing Damian Dibben, author of the new historical fiction novel, Tomorrow.

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

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

Damian: Tomorrow is my first novel for adults having written the children’s/young adult series The History Keepers. The books, three so far, are acclaimed internationally, have been translated into twenty-seven languages with a movie under option with Working Title/Universal. Prior to writing books, I worked as a screenwriter – and occasional actor – in the UK and Hollywood, on films as diverse as Puss in Boots, Phantom of the Opera and Young Indiana Jones. I live with my partner and three dogs half in central London – on the river opposite St Paul’s cathedral – and half in rural W Sussex. I’m a keen explorer and interested in everything from cosmology to archeology to quantum mechanics. I am patron of the Kids In Museums charity and do a good deal of work for them.

DJ: What is Tomorrow about?

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Damian: The book follows the quest of a 217-year old dog who must travel through the courts and battlefields of Europe in search of the man who granted him immortality. His journey takes him from Elsinore Palace to the London Frost Fair of 1608, from the strange court of king Charles I to the wars of the Spanish Succession, the golden age of Amsterdam and to nineteenth century Venice. He befriends both humans and animals, falls in love (only once), marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for destruction and gains insight into both the strength and frailty of the human spirit. But Tomorrow’s journey is also a race against time. Danger stalks his path, and in the shadows lurks an old enemy. Before his pursuer can reach him, he must find his master – or lose him forever.

Tomorrow is a story of love that spans the centuries, of hope as the world collapses into war. A story of devotion and courage, and the unbreakable bond between two souls. Continue reading

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Author Interview: K.D. Keenan

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Today I am interviewing K.D. Keenan, author of the new fantasy novel, Fire in the Ocean, second book in the Gods of the New World series.

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

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

K.D. Keenan: Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books!
For more than 30 years I worked in Silicon Valley public relations and marketing, which was fun because I always had a little window into the future and could see new technologies under development. Silicon Valley became the setting for my first book, The Obsidian Mirror.

My mother was an archeologist, and she sparked my interest in mythologies and ancient cultures.

I live in a beach town on the Central Coast of California with my husband, my daughter, my son-in-law, two granddaughters, two elderly dogs and a cat. Between taking are of the grandkids and writing, I don’t have much time for hobbies, but I do design and make sterling silver jewelry.

DJ: What is the Gods of the New World series about?

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K.D.: It’s about the entirely preventable damage we are wreaking on the environment. The Obsidian Mirror points out that the people who are defiling the earth also have to live here. It’s not like they breathe different air and drink different water than the rest of us, so what can they be thinking?

Fire in the Ocean highlights the damage we are doing to the oceans with plastic waste and development.

The third novel in the trilogy, Lords of the Night, emphasizes the need to protect animals from our environmental destruction and casual cruelty.
That said, the books are intended to be fun adventures with a large dash of humor, not boring lectures. More honey, less vinegar. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tessa Gratton

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Today I am interviewing Tessa Gratton, author of the new fantasy novel, The Queens of Innis Lear.

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

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

Tessa Gratton: Thanks for having me! This is my adult fantasy debut, but I’ve been writing young adult fantasy since 2009–I have two series, The Blood Journals and The United States of Asgard, as well as two books for teen writers about writing fantasy. I have my degree in Gender Studies, and thanks to growing up in a Navy family I’ve lived on several continents and traveled all over the world.

DJ: What is The Queens of Innis Lear about?

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Tessa: It’s a feminist fantasy re-imagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear, and is about the different ways love and family can be poisoned by toxic patriarchy, about different forms of strength and how we make terrible choices thinking they’re for the best. There’s war, romance, international politics, violent magic and talking trees.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Queens of Innis Lear?

Tessa: Besides Shakespeare? LOL. I wanted QUEENS to feel both epic and intimate, where dynasties and family histories weave and tangle in tragic ways, which is something that I admire in writers like Juliet Marillier, especially her Daughter of the Forest series, everything N.K. Jemisin has done, but for this her Dreamblood series in particular, Anne Rice in The Witching Hour, and Melina Marchetta’s The Lumatere Chronicles. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Nathan Day

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Today I am interviewing Nathan Day, author of the new multi-genre novel, Orphan: Surfacing.

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

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

Nathan Day: DJ, thank you so much for the honor of being your guest. I’m definitely a jack-of-many-trades and master of none. Haha. I love to write in several mediums (literature, film, music, comics), and am both an actor (film, web and television) and singer. I am what I call a “story glutton”, meaning I fiend for stories from any source (films, books, theatre, gaming, song). I’m also a lover of travel who just can’t afford to do much of it, so I like to write places I hope to visit into my work, such as Positano, Italy which appears in Orphan: Surfacing.

DJ: What is Orphan Surfacing about?

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Nathan: I don’t consider this a spoiler as it is the catalyst and first event of the Orphan Saga: God is killed. The Orphan Saga follows angels, demons, normal people and everything in between in the aftermath. Angels, now lacking guidance begin to become emotional and worrisome, their reserves of “grace” now limited. The demons are becoming emboldened and more fierce. Humankind is caught in the middle, but not all are defenseless, such as the paramilitary S.W.A.R.M. teams that are throughout the world exterminating “halos and horns” (aka angels and demons) under orders from a shadowy figure named Manual Valdez.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Orphan Surfacing?

Nathan: Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness was definitely an influence on Orphan’s foundation. It paints a very vivid picture of how angels and demons war and influence mankind. Also my sister-in-law, Angela. Years ago I wanted to write and draw comics and would frequently submit to Marvel and the newly formed (at the time) Image. Angela and I were talking about my goals one day and she asked why no one makes comics about angels…so, I came up with a concept about a priest, a little boy and a guardian angel. 20 years later this idea involved into Orphan. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tim Lebbon

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Today I am interviewing Tim Lebbon, author of the new urban fantasy, horror novel, The Folded Lands, sequel to Relics.

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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 Lebbon: Thanks for having me! I’ve been writing for a long time now, published for twenty years, and I’m working hard towards becoming an overnight success. I’ve had over 40 novels published (quite a few in collaboration with Christopher Golden), dozens of novellas, hundreds of short stories, and I’ve also written a few screenplays. I’ve won some awards, and I’ve been writing for a living for over a decade. I’ve also had two movies made from my books, both starring Oscar winning actors! Pay the Ghost (Nicolas Cage) and The Silence (Stanley Tucci).

DJ: What is The Folded Land and the series about?

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Tim: In the first book Relics I established a version of our world in which the relics of mythological creatures are traded, much in the way that rhino horns or tiger pelts are traded now. When my characters discover that some of these relics are fresh … we realise that some of these creatures still exist. Some people want to help them, some want to hunt them. Some creatures want to hide, and some want to rise up against humanity. In The Folded Land I expand that story, with all these separate desires causing more conflict and trouble. I really don’t want to give too much away … hope that’s intriguing enough!

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Folded Lands?

Tim: I find it really difficult to pin down influences. I guess modern-day big game hunting and the illegal trades in ivory, and the depressing fact that some amazing creatures are edged towards extinction simply so that a small part of their bodies can be used in useless ‘medicines’. Continue reading

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