Tag Archives: ace

Author Interview: Jack Campbell

Today I am interviewing Jack Campbell, author of the new military SF, space opera novel, Vanguard, first book of The Genesis Fleet series.

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

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

Jack Campbell: I’m a retired US Navy officer who lives in southern Maryland with my wife and three kids. I’ve lived a lot of places and done a lot of different jobs, but basically I’m a sailor. I started writing seriously back in the mid-1990s, mostly science fiction and fantasy, but a few other things as well. Vanguard will be my 30th book in print.

DJ: What Vanguard about?

Jack: Humanity is expanding rapidly into new star systems, many people wanting to leave behind the rules and restrictions on crowded worlds. But when they left behind the old restrictions, they also left the old protections that had maintained order. When some of the new worlds decide to take advantage of their neighbors, seeing opportunity for power and gain where others had seen freedom, the new worlds have to depend on improvised weapons and volunteers to defend themselves. If they fail, the growing power of aggressor worlds could turn regions founded on freedom into the first interstellar empires.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Vanguard and The Genesis Fleet series?

Jack: Vanguard is a prequel of sorts to the popular Lost Fleet series, with The Genesis Fleet series showing how and why the Lost Fleet’s Alliance first formed. It’s the Lost Fleet universe still in terms of how things work and in familiar star systems. I had to keep Vanguard consistent with that.

My other influences are the authors I admire who told big stories. Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett, Robert Heinlein, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and C. J. Cherryh, just to name a few. I have to add Tolkien to that mix, because he showed me the importance of building a big, new world where everything makes sense in the context of that world. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Cherie Priest

Today I am interviewing Cherie Priest, author of the new historical fantasy novel, Brimstone.

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

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

Cherie Priest: I’m a Leo who was born in Florida, on the day Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. Also, I write books. I’ve had about twenty published, mostly in sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres – though recently I’ve also begun to write for young adults.

DJ: What is Brimstone about?

Cherie: A talented young clairvoyant and a shell-shocked veteran of the Great War who came back from the front with the ghost of a vengeful German poltergeist. In a nutshell. It’s largely set in Cassadaga, Florida, a real-life historic spiritualist camp not terribly far from Orlando.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Brimstone?

Cherie: Going down to Cassadaga for a few days, to do research and get a feel for the place. Everyone was just lovely, and I had a most excellent time kicking around with my cousin (who lives nearby – and was kind enough to let me crash with her).

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Cherie: The Chihuahua. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Mark Lawrence

Today I am interviewing Mark Lawrence, winner of the 2014 and 2016 David Gemmell Legends Award, and author of the new epic fantasy novel, Red Sister, first book of the Book of the Ancestor trilogy.

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

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

Mark Lawrence: Hey. Thanks for asking.

My first book Prince of Thorns was published in 2011 and I became a full-time writer in 2015, giving up my day job as a research scientist. I divide my time now between writing and caring for my youngest daughter (13) who is severely disabled. My latest book, Red Sister, hit the shops a few days ago.

DJ: What is Red Sister about?

Mark: It’s an entirely new story unconnected to my previous work and focuses on the experiences of a young girl who takes a rather unusual path into a convent where the nuns school the novices in faith but also the arts of war, magic and murder.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Book of the Ancestor trilogy?

Mark: I always find that one a difficult question. I don’t have any clear (to me) influences, though I must admit that listening repeatedly to Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series (written in the 1940s about a posh girls’ boarding school) with my daughter may have steered me into the all-female “school” setting. It is very different from Malory Towers though. I guess it must owe something to The Name of the Wind, Blood Song, Ender’s Game, A Wizard of Earth Sea, and even Harry Potter! Continue reading

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Author Interview: Holly Jennings

Today I am interviewing Holly Jennings author of the new science-fiction novel, Gauntlet, second book of the Arena series.

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

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

Holly Jennings: I’m Holly Jennings: author, gamer, and nerd – not always in that order but at least one of the three at any given time. I write kick-ass futuristic science fiction and my heart swoons over a good action scene. When I’m not writing, I’m usually playing video games.

DJ: What is Gauntlet and then the Arena series about?

Holly: Set in the near-future, the Arena series combines competitive gaming with full immersion virtual reality. Imagine plugging into the Matrix to play a game, and then competing for millions of dollars to win.

Gauntlet is the sequel to the debut novel, Arena, where our heroes Team Defiance are thrown into an all-star tournament against the greatest players in the world and a game that learns the players’ weaknesses and gets harder with every round.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Arena series?

Holly: Being a futuristic novel about virtual reality competitive gaming, Arena is what happened when Neuromancer and an eSports documentary had a baby in my imagination. The gladiatorial-style game inside the VR world came from watching one too many episodes of Spartacus. Continue reading

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Author Interview: S.K. Dunstall

Photo credit: Andrew Kopp

Photo credit: Andrew Kopp

Today I am interviewing S.K. Dunstall, author of the new science-fiction novel Confluence, third book in the Linesman series.

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DJ: Hey S.K.! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

Let’s start with you; for readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

S.K. Dunstall: Hi DJ. Great to meet you. Thank you for having us.

S.K. Dunstall is the pseudonym for two sisters, Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall. (If you could actually call it a pseudonym.) We’re from Australia, and we both live and work in Melbourne, which is the capital of Victoria, a state in the south-eastern part of the country. Melbourne is famous for being the city of four seasons in one day. And sometimes yes, we really do have four seasons in one day. We have saying, if you don’t like our weather, wait five minutes.

We both work full time, and nowadays, outside of work, most of our life is consumed by writing. We write on the train, in food courts and cafés, on park benches, and anywhere else we have five minutes to spare. (That’s when we’re not reading.) If we are not writing, we are often talking about writing.

DJ: What is Confluence and also the Linesman series about?

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S.K.:The Linesman series came about as a ‘what if’ question. What if humans had discovered faster than light travel from ‘lines’ in an abandoned alien space ship they found? They used that technology to spread out into the galaxy, without fully understanding how it worked. (Although they thought they did.)

Five hundred years later they find another alien ship (yes, only the second in all that time). The two major galactic powers are about to go to war, and each side wants that ship, for they believe the weapons on it can help them win.

Enter our protagonist, Ean Lambert, self-taught linesman, who sings to the lines, and is uniquely positioned to communicate with the new ship. Who finds that maybe the lines aren’t just ‘technology’ after all.

Being space opera this is all mixed in with politics, war, battles, power struggles and, we hope, a dash of humour.

Confluence is the third book in the series. It’s the end of a major political story, and the lines are starting to take a more active role.

It stars Ean’s bodyguard, Radko, as a main point-of-view character. We learn a lot more about her (and her family), and she gets a mission (no spoilers, but there’s a reason), while Ean’s left to manage a volatile situation where it seems that someone in the New Alliance is not working for the side they should be. Lancia is being pushed further out of the political mainstream. And the alien ships are behaving strangely. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jean Johnson

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Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow. It was created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction. From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it was intended to help us share our love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.


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Today I am interviewing Jean Johnson, author of the new science-fiction novel The Blockade, third book in the First Salik War series.

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DJ: Hey Jean! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

Let’s start with you; for readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Jean Johnson: I’m an author of genre fiction, writing primarily in the science fiction, fantasy, and romance categories, because those are my favorite types of books to read. I also enjoy superhero stories, occasional steampunk fantasies, and so forth, but I’m not a big fan of horror. Growing up in a little patch of rurality surrounded by suburbia, I didn’t have a lot of friends living close enough for me to walk over to their house and visit, so I spend a lot of my childhood reading. My parents encouraged it, taking me frequently to the local libraries and so forth, but after a while, I realized there were stories I wanted to read that no one was writing, and it finally dawned on me that if I wanted to read them, I would have to write them myself. So here I am, twenty-plus books later, with many more still to go.

DJ: What is The Blockade and also the First Salik War series about?

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Jean: The First Salik War series is about, well, the first Salik War, which takes place in the late 2280s, according to our calendar. It’s about humans from Earth reaching out into interstellar space for the very first time, exploring multiple star systems beyond our own, only to encounter aliens that are not only hostile, but whom have already managed to encounter humans who are not from Earth.

In THE TERRANS, the first book, we see things from the Terran perspective, and most of the action takes place either in space we’re become familiar with, or on Earth itself. The first book covers a lot of first contact and political doubts on what humanity—Earth humanity—should do about what they’re discovering. We do get to meet the Salik at the start, but the war effort ends up taking a back seat to the conflicts of trying to figure out how two very different cultures can peacefully interact even when it’s technically the same species.

In the second book, THE V’DAN, we learn a lot more about this other race of humans that has been living for thousands of years on this other world hundreds of lightyears from Earth. The protagonists do that by going to that world to figure out who they are, what they’re like, and how to interact with them. Once the Terrans know how to do that, they hope they can make the transition to interacting with the truly alien, non-human races out there in easier ways…but they still run into trouble because the V’Dan are very different from the Terrans, despite being completely biologically human.

It’s very much a book on cultural clashes, another aspect of both first contact and political troubles. These tensions are worsened by the fact the V’Dan and the other Alliance races are losing their war against the Salik, because the technological playing field favors the aggressor being able to lay plans and carry them out without the defenders being able to adequately prepare against their attacks in time. The Terrans have some seriously good technology that could completely overturn their losing war into a victory…but the cultural clashes are making it difficult to want to volunteer anything for that task.

THE BLOCKADE, final book of the trilogy, works hard to resolve a lot of the problems from the previous two books, while exposing the main characters to the actual war. They can no longer stay in the halls of political power, but must instead go to the various warfronts to make sure that the Terrans are integrating without too many troubles into the Alliance’s efforts to stop the Salik invasions. At this point in the overall timeline of this universe, nobody wants to wipe out the Salik as a race, because xenocide—genocide by any other name—is an horrific thing. But these people are running out of options because the enemy is psychologically committed to hunting and battling everyone they deem inferior. Saving the day will require a lot of hard bluffing and a serious bit of cleverness—based on some actual science, yay!—to save the day.

It’s not as hard-core military science fiction as the first series, Theirs Not To Reason Why, and there is a bit of a lovestory woven throughout all three books, but to be fair, I try not to write cookie-cutter stories and/or characters. Everything is going to be a bit different than what came before. The previous series was very military, to the point I have been accused dozens of times of surely having served in the military. (Confession: I have not.) This one is far more political, cultural, and first contact confusion & clash in its flavoring, but that’s perfectly fine. When we do have a first contact scenario, once you can communicate in each other’s languages—and the Terrans have a pretty good trick for doing that—then you focus on getting to know each other, and hope you don’t make too many obnoxious-to-the-other-side mistakes out of ignorance as you go along. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Will Panzo

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Today I am interviewing Will Panzo, debut author of the new grimdark, fantasy novel, The Burning Isle.

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

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

Will Panzo: Thanks for having me! I’m a physician assistant by trade, working in a busy emergency room, but writing is my passion. The Burning Isle is my debut novel. I live in New York City with my fiancé.

DJ: What is The Burning Isle about?

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Will: I describe it as a dark and violent revenge tale, set in a fantasy ancient Rome with lots of intrigue and lots of magic.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Burning Isle?

Will: The story is, on one level, about a mysterious stranger who arrives in a lawless island run by two gangs, and his attempts to play both sides against each other. In this way, the story has obvious ties to Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Dashiel Hammet’s Red Harvest. On another level, the story is a dark revenge story with a central mystery that acts as the primary driver of the action. I love revenge stories but my favorite is probably The Count of Monte Cristo.

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? 

Will: Cassius is a young spellcaster, very naïve and very powerful. Obsessed with myths and legends, he fancies himself a kind of white knight figure who comes to this lawless town, Scipio, to right a great injustice. Although he strives to live by a strict moral code, he’s soon confronted by a harsh world that tests his resolve. Death and violence seems to be the only means to effect change. It’s tough work and it weighs on Cassius heavily. I think it’s the dissonance between these two aspects of Cassius, the hero he wants to be and the hardened killer he has to become to do his work, that is most compelling. Continue reading

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Author Interview: J. Patrick Black

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Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow. It was created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction. From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it was intended to help us share our love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.


Photography courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan

Today I am interviewing J. Patrick  Black, debut author of the new post-apocalyptic, science-fiction novel, Ninth City Burning.

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DJ: Hey Patrick! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Patrick J. Black: Well, I’m new to the literary world, so I’d be a little surprised if your readers knew all that much about me (most of them, anyway–Hi mom!). Ninth City Burning is my debut novel, but I’ve been writing for years. Pursuit of that all-important day job has taken me all over the place professionally–I’ve tended bar, designed video games, somehow ended up with a law degree–though geographically I’m a New England guy. I still work as a homebuilder in the town where I grew up (a suburb of Boston). It’s a total thrill to finally see something I’ve written on the shelves, and even better to meet people who’ve actually read it (even enjoyed it every now and then).

DJ: What is Ninth City Burning about?

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Patrick: Ninth City Burning is an epic sci-fi fantasy set five centuries after an alien invasion of Earth. The invaders came wielding a power we had no way to fight–more than the sort of advanced technology that might have begun with fire and wheel and evolved through internal combustion engines and semiconductors, it allowed them to completely rewrite the rules of reality. For a while, it looked like that was it for human society, but then we discovered we could hijack this power and use it for ourselves. It didn’t quite turn the tide in our favor, but it allowed us to survive, and eventually fight the enemy to a stalemate. By the time the story begins, the world is pouring its resources–human and material–into winning the ensuing war, and it looks as though the end might be in sight. The invaders have other plans, however, and that’s where the action and adventure ensue. Continue reading

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Excerpt and Giveaway: The Bloodbound Trilogy by Erin Lindsey

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Erin Lindsey is on a quest to write the perfect summer vacation novel, with just the right blend of action, heartbreak, and triumph. The Bloodbound series is her first effort. She divides her time between Brookyn, NY and Calgary, Alberta. She also writes fantasy mysteries as E.L. Tettensor.


*The pubsliher was kind enough to provide one (1) set of the entire Bloodbound trilogy by Erin Lindsey, to go along with this except! That’s all three (3) books!!!! The link and details for the giveaway are located at the bottom of the post, following the interview :)


The Bloodsworn (Bloodbound #3)

by Erin Lindsey

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Continue reading

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