Tag Archives: ace books

Author Interview: Angus Macallan

Today I am interviewing Angus Macallan, author of the new fantasy novel, Gates of Stone, first book in the Lord of the Islands series.

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

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

Angus: Hi DJ! I’m Angus Macallan. I’m an Englishman, of Scottish descent, 53, married, two kids: a girl, 10, and a boy 7. I live in the UK, in Kent, about 30 miles outside London. When I’m not bashing out adventure stories in my garden office, I like travelling, reading, drinking, country walks, watching rugby on TV, and cooking for my family. I’m making my debut this month as an epic fantasy novelist with my Indonesian-inspired yarn Gates of Stone. This will be the 12th novel I’ve written: I usually write historical fiction under the name Angus Donald.

DJ: What is Gates of Stone about?

Angus: Gates of Stone is a 500-page epic fantasy novel set in an imaginary world that resembles Indonesia about two or three hundred years ago. It depicts a cut-throat pirate society in the warm southern tropical ocean called the Laut Besar. The chief cut-throat is the Lord of the Islands and he loosely controls the trade in obat – an opium-like drug, that can only be cultivated in this region. Two great world powers – the Celestial Republic to the north (a sort-of China) and the Indujah Federation to the west (a sort-of India) are vying for control of this very lucrative yet addictive and deadly drug trade in the Laut Besar.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Gates of Stone and the series?

Angus: The main influence for the book was reading George RR Martin’s brilliant series A Song of Ice and Fire. But I had wanted to try my hand at epic fantasy for years before that – since reading Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings as a boy, I guess. The specific inspiration for the extraordinary world of the Laut Besar came from a time in the late 1980s when I worked at an anthropologist in Indonesia. I was studying magic, witchcraft and sorcery in a remote village in Bali as part of my field work for a Masters degree. I spent five months in a remote rice-farming village on the slopes of Bali’s sacred mountain, a lovely, tranquil place but without electricity, or shops or restaurants, and with almost no residents who spoke English. I had an extraordinary time there, living in a bare room above a chicken house, and witnessed some incredible things. The magical parts of Gates of Stone are based on my weird and sometime very scary experiences there. I hung out with the local witch-doctors, known as balian, and came away a changed man. I didn’t believe in magic then, and I still don’t, but I saw things which were hard to explain rationally. I witnessed exorcisms of demons who were infesting sick people, and went to ceremonies at which people became possessed by gods and spirits. I thought I saw – or perhaps I hallucinated – a lot of very strange things. It was absolutely fascinating – and I knew that one day I would have to write a novel about my time there. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Genevieve Cogman

Today I am interviewing Genevieve Cogman, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Lost Plot, fourth book in The Invisible Library series].

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

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

Genevieve Cogman: I live and work in the north of England, and I’m over 40: my day job is Classifications Specialist for NHS Digital. (It involves working with the medical codes that are used to record diagnoses and operations in hospitals in the UK. I’ve written the ongoing Invisible Library series, and have also done some freelance writing for roleplaying games (the pen-and-paper sort, such as Exalted and GURPS).

DJ: What is The Lost Plot and then The Invisible Library series about?

Genevieve: It’s a series about a mysterious interdimensional Library, and the Librarians who work for it, collecting unique works of fiction from alternate worlds in order to support the structure of reality, and dodging both dragons (creatures of order) and Fae (creatures of chaos) in the process. The Lost Plot involves Irene (the protagonist) having to investigate Library involvement in lethal dragon politics, and ending up in a 1920s America world dodging guns, gangsters, and bootleg gin. (Actually, the bootleg gin isn’t that bad.)

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Invisible Library series?

Genevieve: There are a lot of sources for mysterious libraries out there, but I’d include Pratchett’s L-Space from Unseen University, Neil Gaiman’s library of Dream, the library of the Archangel Yves from the In Nomine roleplaying game; magic and naming in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books, and the Speech in Diane Duane’s Wizardry books; dragons from Chinese mythology and legend, and a lot of other places; and Sherlock Holmes. To name a few. There are lots more. Continue reading

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