Tag Archives: angry robot

Author Interview: Ron Walters

Ron Walters Angry Robot photo
Today I am interviewing Ron Walters, author of the new sci-fi thriller novel, Deep Dive.

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

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

Ron Walters: Thanks for having me! I’m originally from Savannah, GA, but moved around a lot as a kid because my dad was in the Coast Guard. At the moment I live in Germany with my wife, two daughters, and two rescue dogs. When I’m not writing I work as a substitute teacher at the high school where my wife teaches language arts.  

DJ: What is Deep Dive about?


Ron: Deep Dive is a sci-fi thriller about a video game developer named Peter Banuk who’s so obsessed with salvaging his floundering career that he spends more time working than he does with his wife and young daughters. When he tests an experimental VR headset designed by his tech genius business partner and friend, the headset malfunctions and knocks Peter out. After coming to he discovers that his daughters no longer exist, and he’s somehow the hugely successful game developer he’s always dreamed of being.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Deep Dive

Ron: There are so many to choose from. Dark Matter and Recursion by Blake Crouch were definitely more recent influences in terms of the kind of book I wanted Deep Dive to be. Same with Tad Williams’ Otherland series, which I read way, way back when I was in college–nothing I’ve read since has quite surpassed its scope and inventiveness, especially where VR is concerned. I’m also an avid gamer, so when I first started plotting Deep Dive I knew I wanted it to focus on video games in some way. It really wasn’t until I watched a documentary on the development of God of War (the 2018 one) that I finally nailed down the main character and plot. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephen Deas

Today I am interviewing Stephen Deas, author of the new fantasy novel, The Moonsteel Crown, first book in the Dominion series. 

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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 Deas: Well… male, early fifties but young at heart, good sense of humour… Oh, wait, you probably mean the books? Right. So, I’ve been publishing novels under various names in various different genres for… fifteen years I think. But what got me started writing was fantasy. It was reading fantasy that made me want to write stories of my own, the first stories I tried to write were fantasy and it was as a fantasy novelist that I was first published. I’ve been off doing SF and crime and historical stuff for the last few years… it’s seven years since The SIlver Kings came out. Wow. It doesn’t feel that long. Anyway, I’m really pleased to be writing fantasy again for Angry Robot, and particularly pleased that it’s The Moonsteel Crown.

DJ: What is The Moonsteel Crown about?

Stephen: Essentially, it’s a trio of misfits who hang out as part of a small-time crime gang calling themselves The Unrulys. The boss has ambitions and so he falls in with a shady character who wants to use the Unrulys to steal something special and just happens to know where and when it might be possible. So our heroes are roped into doing the job, which they do, only to discover that what they’ve stolen is far too hot to handle, and that, like or not, they’re now in the middle of something much, much bigger than them. Most of the rest of the story is about them trying to extricate themselves from this mess with their skins intact while everyone is out to get them, occasionally stabbing each other in the back, and also dealing with their own ongoing problems.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Moonsteel Crown and the series? 

Stephen: That’s hard. The Moonsteel Crown is quite contained in scope but the series is going to broaden out later. So when you look at the setting for the series as a whole, it’s basically the classics of epic fantasy: Tolkein, Moorcock, all those old names. It’s difficult to remember – the bones of this story were laid down twenty years ago. But when you get into the nitty-gritty… I wanted to write something where the characters weren’t particularly special, and were mostly just trying to survive. I hadn’t read any grimdark then (I want to say it didn’t really exist, but someone will immediately prove me wrong, so let’s say I hadn’t discovered it). There are definitely echoes of Scott Lynch, but again, he hadn’t been published either, back then. I guess there’s a streak of Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork in the grubbiness of Varr. I sort of wanted a Fellowship of the Ring who were all ‘No! We don’t want that! Nothing to see here, move along! You take it!’ and tried their absolute damndest to spend the whole story getting drunk in The Prancing Pony while somebody else sorted out the whole saving-the-world business. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kristyn Merbeth

Today I am interviewing Kristyn Merbeth, author of the new science-fiction novel, Fortuna, first book in the The Nova Vita Protocol series.

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

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

Kristyn Merbeth: Hi! Thanks so much for having me (again!). I’m the author of the post-apocalyptic Wastelanders series as K.S. Merbeth, and Fortuna is my first step into the space opera genre. I love video games, Dungeons and Dragons, cooking, and my bulldog, Albus. Since the last time you interviewed me here, I moved from northern California back to my hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

DJ: What is Fortuna about?

Kristyn: Fortuna is about the Kaisers, a family who smuggles contraband between five human-settled planets. After the family matriarch takes a risky job, the smugglers are drawn into the system’s first interplanetary war. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Scorpia, the pilot and family screw-up, and Corvus, who was the favorite child and intended heir before he left the family three years ago.

DJ: What were some of your influences on Fortuna and the series? 

Kristyn: The story began as a mash-up of the real-life discovery of Trappist-1 and the idea of a family of criminals from the show Animal Kingdom. Beyond that, it’s always hard for me to draw direct lines of influence, since I feel like I’m always subconsciously absorbing inspiration from all of the stories I read, watch, and play, across a variety of genres – from fun space opera jaunts like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy, to games like Starcraft II and Frostpunk, to the work of my favorite authors, such as Kameron Hurley, V.E. Schwab, Paul Tremblay, and Riley Sager. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Paradox Delilah

Today I am interviewing Paradox Delilah, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Race.

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

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

Paradox Delilah: I’m an Australian-Canadian writer, currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Other than writing, I love eating vegan food, reading, hanging out with my partner and our cats, and my day job — I work as a boom operator in the film and television industry.

DJ: What is The Race about?

Paradox: Here’s my teaser for it… Ikka’s days are consumed with speeding across the endless desert, competing against other racers in her colossal eight-wheeled X-Runner. She is aware that she can only remember one day at a time, but she doesn’t know why. But one night, Ikka witnesses another X-Runner disappear, and her repressed memories begin to resurface in terrifying fragments. Soon she remembers being held captive, chained in a glass-walled cage. She doesn’t know who put her there, or how she ended up in the competition, but now she is faced with a choice. Hide and protect herself, or risk everything to uncover the true purpose of The Race…

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Race

Paradox: Coming from a film background, I must admit that the story is more heavily influenced by movies than by other books. Mad Max: Fury Road, The Matrix, and even Star Wars: A New Hope were strong influences in terms of world building, pacing and tone. Thematically, the story takes cues from the novels The Handmaid’s Tale and The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Lovegrove

Today I am interviewing James Lovegrove, author of the new fantasy novel Age of Legends, the latest and last instalment in his Pantheon series, which consists of eight novels and three novellas.

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

James Lovegrove: You’re welcome.

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

James: I’ve been a professional author for three decades now (which makes me feel verrrry old). I wrote my first novel, The Hope, when I was fresh out of university, and since then I have published nearly sixty books. I also review fiction on a regular basis for the Financial Times and am a trained Pilates instructor. I live on the south coast of England with my wife, two teenaged sons and tiny dog. When I’m not writing, mostly I sleep.

DJ: What is Age of Legends and the Pantheon series about?

James: Age of Legends is set in a more or less present-day United Kingdom which is toiling under a quasi-fascist government whose main policy is Make England Great Again. Large numbers of foreign nationals have been deported, minorities are oppressed, and generally the country is in chaos. But a revolution is starting, and it involves people becoming the living incarnations – I call them “eidolons” – of figures from British folklore such as Puck, Wayland the Smith, Jack Frost, the Green Man, Robin Hood and so on.

DJ: What were some of your influences for this specific novel, Age of Legends, and then the entire Pantheon series?

James: The series as a whole hinges on the relationship between humans and their gods or, in the case of Age of Legends, the creations they have invented in past ages to account for natural and unnatural phenomena – which is, I would suggest, another way of describing gods. Do these things have a life of their own, independent of us, their creators, or do they rely on us to make sense of their existences just as we have relied on them to make sense of ours? It’s a question I’ve been exploring throughout the series in various different ways, and it’s been something I’ve long wondered about as a creator myself. These fictional worlds and characters that I wrench out of my head onto the page – where do they come from? And, more to the point, why have people told one another stories about strange, superhumanly powerful entities for centuries? It’s a tradition I feel part of, and I suppose that’s how and why the Pantheon books originally came about. You might say they were, ahem, divinely inspired! Continue reading

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Author Interview: Timothy S. Johnston

Today I am interviewing Timothy S. Johnston, author of the new science-fiction thriller, The Savage Deeps.

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

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

Timothy S. Johnston: Hi there, thanks for having me.  This is my fifth novel and the second book in the series The Rise of Oceania.  I love science fiction thrillers, and all I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember is to contribute in some way to the genre.  I grew up watching science fiction films of the 1970s, reading Asimov, Pohl, Heinlein, and Poe. In many ways the genre got me through my teenage years.  Now I can’t see myself doing anything else.

DJ: What is The Savage Deeps about?

Timothy: It’s an espionage thriller that takes place a little over a hundred years from now.  It takes place in a very real future where global warming and rising ocean levels have taken a deadly toll on the world’s populations.  The climate catastrophe has forced the superpowers to look elsewhere for resources to sustain populations. In this case, the world’s oceans.  Seventy percent of the world is underwater. There are untold resources in our oceans, and the concept of The Savage Deeps is that a new cold war has erupted as competition has increased underwater.  There is a silent, deadly, secret war being waged in the oceans, though sometimes it’s not so silent — it flares into outright hostilities and massive submarine battles.  That’s the idea behind the novel.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Savage Deeps

Timothy: Cold war espionage thrillers like Fleming’s James Bond novels.  Also Michael Crichton’s technothrillers like Sphere and Jurassic Park.  I prefer my novels grounded in reality with a driving narrative that involves science in some way.  It has to be integral to the plot. In this case, the quest to develop the oceans depends on new technologies to dive deeper and move faster underwater.  The nations that have the best technology and weaponry will claim more resources than those that don’t, and sometimes nations will steal and go to war to gain technology they don’t have.  It’s all due to the climate catastrophe we’re currently witnessing on the surface. As our crops die and as our populations explode, we’ll need new resources to sustain our nations, and the oceans are a natural next step for us. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Christopher Hinz

Today I am interviewing Christopher Hinz, author of the new science-fiction novel, Starship Alchemon. 

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

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

Christopher Hinz: I’ve written seven novels including “Starship Alchemon.” My first book, “Liege-Killer,” won the Compton Crook award for best first novel and earned a nomination for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. I’ve also done graphic novels and screenplays, co-authored a novelette and scripted comics for DC and Marvel. 

DJ: What is Starship Alchemon about?

Christopher: Explorers aboard a powerful AI vessel sent to investigate an “anomalous biosignature” on a distant planet realize their mission has gone to hell. After numerous freakish and deadly incidents, the crew end up fighting not only for their own survival, but for the fate of all humanity.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Starship Alchemon

Christopher: The novel falls into the “monster on the spaceship” subgenre of SF. Similar works that impacted the story include Ridley Scott’s Alien and A.E. Van Vogt’s “Voyage of the Space Beagle.”

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? 

Christopher: There are extreme differences between the two main characters, Captain Solorzano and the young psychic woman, LeaMarsa. The captain is brave and virtuous whereas the psychic is deeply tormented by her abilities, a true lost soul. A character such as LeaMarsa — not really likeable in the traditional sense — isn’t normally found within the borders of SF. But I wanted to explore the genre’s outer edges.    Continue reading

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Author Interview: Christopher Hinz and Etan Ilfeld

Today I am interviewing Christopher Hinz and Etan Ilfeld, co-authors of the new fantasy novelette, Duchamp versus Einstein.

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DJ: Hi Christopher Hinz & Etan Ilfed! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Christopher Hinz: I’m the author of seven novels as well as screenplays, graphic novels, short stories and comics for DC and Marvel. As well as Duchamp Versus Einstein co-written with Etan Ilfeld, I also have a new novel, Starship Alchemon, coming out in November.

Etan: I’m a publisher, chess player and serial entrepreneur. I studied physics at university so this book brings together many of my passions: chess, art, physics, sci-fi and history.

DJ: What is Duchamp versus Einstein about?

Christopher: An ethereal female, able to move freely through space and time, arranges for the artist Marcel Duchamp and the scientist Albert Einstein to play a surreal game of chess that could have a major impact on world history. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for Duchamp versus Einstein?

Christopher: I’ve always been fascinated by Einstein, whose pivotal theories have so strongly influenced scientific and technological development. For instance, our modern-day GPS wouldn’t be accurate unless the underlying math took into account Einstein’s theory of general relativity.  

Etan: I’ve always been inspired by both Duchamp and Einstein. Duchamp was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and a master provocateur. For a decade he gave up art and became a master chess player–representing France in several chess olympiads. Both had failed first marriages and stable second marriages. Duchamp’s first wife was so jealous of his passion for chess that she glued his chess pieces to the board, which made him furious and precipitated the end of their short lived marriage. Continue reading

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Author Interview: TJ Berry

Today I am interviewing TJ Berry, author of the new sci-fi novel, Five Unicorn Flush, second book in the Space Unicorn series.

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

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

TJ Berry: Thank you for having me! I write science fiction and horror, along with a smattering of fantasy. As a kid, you would have found me in either the US state of New Jersey or on the island of Hong Kong. Living between a bustling international metropolis and a sleepy little sheltered town taught me how to be adaptable and open to listening and learning.

DJ: What is Five Unicorn Flush and then the Space Unicorn series about?

TJ: The heart of this series is how good people cope with—and resist—the horrors of an authoritarian regime. Every day can’t be the fight of your life. There are down moments when people have to get to work and earn a living, even while society crumbles around them. These books are about making hard choices and eking out a life in the margins while having a little bit of fun.

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

TJ: A lot of the irreverent tone of both Space Unicorn Blues and Five Unicorn Flush was heavily influenced by the tv show Firefly. I grew up watching the original Star Trek and Next Generation, which were incredible, but also… people don’t speak like that. Firefly managed to combine the wonder of space opera with the jaunty sarcasm of real life. I tried to capture that feeling in the Space Unicorn books. Continue reading

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