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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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Author Interview: Anna Kashina

Today I am interviewing Anna Kashina, author of the new fantasy novel, Shadowblade.

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

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

Anna Kashina: I am a fantasy author and a scientist, and I have far too many hobbies and interests, including ballroom dancing, sword fighting, world mythologies, reading, and cooking, just to name a few.  I grew up in Russia, and did a lot of traveling. In my novels, I feed on all these backgrounds and experiences.

DJ: What is Shadowblade about?

Anna: It’s about a young girl who overcomes enormous odds to become an elite blademaster, only to be volunteered for a suicide mission to challenge the imperial succession. In short, the book is exactly what is promised by the cover, a fantasy with elements of romance, and hopefully a fun read.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Shadowblade?

Anna: I love multicultural elements in my books. Shadowblade is a mix of Middle Eastern and oriental. The setting has parallels with the Mogul Empire and ancient Middle East. The weapons and blade fights are influenced by both European and Eastern styles. The politics were influenced a lot by ancient China, where games of power and imperial succession have really been elevated into state of the art. It was a really fun mix to work with. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Dan Moren

Today I am interviewing Dan Moren, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Bayern Agenda, first book in the Galactic Cold War series.

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

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

Dan Moren: Hello! Absolutely. By day I’m a millionaire playboy, by night I fight crime dressed as a bat. Wait, sorry, wrong interview! I’m a sci-fi author, freelance tech journalist, and podcaster. My first book, The Caledonian Gambit, came out in May 2017 from Talos, and my latest book is The Bayern Agenda, which is now out from Angry Robot. For my day job, I write about tech for places like Macworld and Six Colors and host tech podcasts Clockwise and The Rebound. And, in my “spare” time, I also host a few shows on The Incomparable podcast network, including nerdy quiz show Inconceivable!

DJ: What is The Bayern Agenda about?

Dan: The Bayern Agenda is a sci-fi spy thriller, set against the backdrop of a galactic cold war between two rival superpowers: the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth of Independent Systems. Our story follows Simon Kovalic, a covert operative for the Commonwealth, as he tries to get to the bottom of mysterious ties between the Illyricans and the independent financial hub of Bayern. Unfortunately, when he’s wounded on a mission, his team of operatives is put temporarily under the command of his ex-wife. Intrigue ensues!

DJ: What were some of your influences The Bayern Agenda and the series?

Dan: Sci-fi and spy stories are two of my favorite genres, so the opportunity to mix them together was hard to resist. On the epsionage side, I love the works of John Le Carré, TV shows like The Sandbaggers, the Mission: Impossible film series, classic Hitchock thrillers, Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country spy comics—pretty much any great espionage story. On the sci-fi side, I tend towards fun space adventures that are full of intrigue and complicated characters, including the works of Lois McMaster Bujold, John Scalzi, and James S.A. Corey. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Amber Royer

Today I am interviewing Amber Royer, author of the new science fiction novel, Pure Chocolate, second book in the The Chocoverse series.

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

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

Amber Royer: Hi DJ!  Thanks you for the opportunity.

I write science fiction, much of it comic.  I also teach creative writing to both teens and adults for Writing Workshops Dallas and UT Arlington.  About a million years ago, I was a youth librarian, so I come at books and writing from a number of different directions.

I’m also a bit of a geek and a bit of a foodie, and both of those show when you read the Chocoverse books.

I’m known among my friends for making decorated cupcakes.

DJ: What is Pure Chocolate and then The Chocoverse series about?

Amber: You have a future where aliens (the Krom) make a secret first contact.  They buy samples of commodities, which they then plan to share with the galaxy.  They take coffee and sugar cane, but they miss chocolate. Which becomes the only unique thing Earth has that the galaxy is hungry for.

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

Amber: This story is basically a telenovela on the page.  So it’s going to share a lot of the plot elements and sensibilities from that genre.  And there will be novela-ish character arcs. There’s glitz and glamour and celeberazzi fun.  Think how people react in soap operas . . . there’s going to be that level of drama. But at the same time this is a comedy, and I’m playing with the overused soap opera tropes as the punch lines to jokes, to the point where by the time you get to the second book Bo is actively wondering how her life has taken on so many elements of a novela.

There’s also a bit here from the culinary mystery tradition, especially in the first book (a number of corpses do hit the ground in this series).  Bo’s the daugher of one of Earth’s biggest celebrity chefs, and after her acting career crashbangs, she flees to the other side of the galaxy to get away from the press — and her family, who think she has behaved badly.  Bo’s boyfriend, Brill is also a foodie — he’s a galactic trader who specializes in luxury foodstuffs and he’s also a connoisseur of fine wine.

And of course, this is space opera.  There’s tons of geeky in references to everything from Jurassic Park to Star Wars to The Thing to E.T., but there’s a big bit about how we didn’t get the first contact Star Trek promised. Continue reading

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Author Interview: D.B. Jackson

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Today I am interviewing D.B. Jackson, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Time’s Children, first book in the Islevale Cycle.

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DJ: Hey D.B.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

D.B. Jackson: Gladly – and thanks so much for taking time to chat with me. I’m a veteran of the fantasy and science fiction field, having been at this professionally for over twenty years. Writing as D.B. Jackson, and also under my own name, David B. Coe, I’ve published twenty novels and at least that many short stories. I’ve written epic fantasy, urban fantasy, media tie-ins, and a bit of science fiction. I’m probably best known for the the LonTobyn Chronicle, my first series, which won the Crawford Award, and for the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. I also have a Ph.D. in U.S. history. Most important, I’m married to the World’s Best Spouse, and I have two daughters, ages 23 and 19.

DJ: What is Time’s Children about?

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D.B.: Time’s Children is the opening volume in an epic fantasy/time travel series. It tells the story of Tobias a fifteen-year-old time traveler, or Walker, as they’re known in Islevale. He is sent to a royal court, where the sovereign directs him to Walk back in time 14 years to prevent a war. Just after Tobias arrives in that past, though, the sovereign, most of his ministers, and most of his family are killed by assassins. Tobias survives, as does the sovereign’s infant daughter. Tobias, with help from Mara, his friend and love, who follows him back through time, has to keep the princess safe, restore the royal line to power, and find his way back to his own time. But he’s being pursued by the assassins, and, well, it kind of takes off from there.

DJ: What were some of your influences Time’s Children and the series?

D.B.: The world itself is an homage to Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea. The original Earthsea trilogy has long been among my favorite works – along with Lord of the Rings, it’s the reason I fell in love with fantasy. I’ve created lots of worlds through my career, but I wanted this one to be different from those others, and so I made it a world of islands and seas, archipelagos and straits. As I say, similar to Earthsea, though it has plenty of unique elements.

And then, I would say that I was influenced in this project, as with all my work, by the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay. Guy may well be my favorite fantasist. I so admire the flow and beauty of his prose, the complexity of his settings and characters, the intricacies of his plotting. I strive for the same qualities in my own writing. Continue reading

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Author Interview: N.S. Dolkart

14754448Today I am interviewing N.S. Dolkart, author of the new epic fantasy novel, A Breach in the Heavens, final book in The Godserfs series.

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DJ: Hi N.S! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

N.S: Sure! I’m an author, Israeli Folk dancer, and cooking enthusiast from the Boston suburbs. I’ve read a lot of Torah in my time, and have many opinions about it, some of them delightfully blasphemous. I have a tremendous amount of fun and I can’t get away from myself, so I must be fun to be around, right?

DJ: What is A Breach in the Heavens and then The Godserfs series about?

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N.S: The trilogy follows a group of foreign refugees as they seek community, safety, and meaning on an unwelcoming continent, choosing which gods to appease and which to defy and just generally trying to survive when it seems like everyone in heaven and on earth might have it in for them. And that’s not to mention the fairies, who definitely want to eat them.

In the first book, Silent Hall, the main characters stuck together for safety and comfort while doing everything they could to avoid getting squashed by some god or other. They made some questionable choices, but seemed to come out of it okay.
In the second, Among the Fallen, they split up to pursue individual goals, sometimes to disastrous effect, but still managed to keep it together and even advance in the world, for all the danger that that entails.

Now, in the final book, their questionable choices from Silent Hall really come back to bite them as they seem to have unwittingly set an apocalypse in motion. They’ve all got their separate power bases and their separate ideas for how best to respond, and their allies are pushing them in different directions too. Something’s got to give, and, um, that “something” might well be the sky? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Lauren C. Teffeau

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Photo courtesy of Kim Jew Photography Studios

Today I am interviewing Lauren C. Teffeau, author of the new cyberpunk novel, Implanted.

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

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

Lauren C. Teffeau: I’m a speculative fiction writer from New Mexico. I grew up on the East Coast in the suburbs outside of Philly, went to undergrad and graduate school in the South, worked as a university researcher in the Midwest, and now live in Albuquerque. I love writing and reading (natch!), biking, hiking, video games, and spending time with my family.

DJ: What is Implanted about?

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Lauren: The book is about a young woman named Emery Driscoll who’s blackmailed into working as a courier for a shadowy organization and what happens when the life she was forced to leave behind comes back to haunt her after she’s left holding the bag on a job gone wrong. Action and adventure abound, along with high-tech gadgets, light espionage, romance, and hard questions about the future.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Implanted?

Lauren: Take Johnny Mnemonic, add a dash of Person of Interest, mix with Logan’s Run, and wrap it all up in a Blade Runner-meets-solarpunk aesthetic.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little more about your main character Emery?

Lauren: Sure! Emery has just graduated from the prestigious College of New Worth and is debating whether she wants to meet one of her close friends in person for the first time after years of synching via their neural implants, which allow for the near-instantaneous exchange of thought-text. (Hello, cyberpunk!) But after growing up in the Terrestrial District, Emery’s slow to trust, even though they have so many things in common, including a love for the city’s Arcades where their implants pair with the latest cutting-edge tech for super-immersive games like the one that introduced them in the first place. She also has a BIG secret she’s been keeping from him, and most everyone else in her life, making her easy prey for the folks wanting to turn her into a courier. Continue reading

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