Tag Archives: inspired quill

Author Interview: David Wilkinson


Today I am interviewing David Wilkinson, author of the new sci-fi murder mystery novel, Under the Shell.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

David Wilkinson: I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t, I’m still very early in my writing career. My first novel, We Bleed the Same was written in a series of workshops bought for me as a birthday present by my wife after she got fed up with me saying I was going to write a novel. It must have gone well though, as it was both published and short-listed for the East Midlands Book Award 2015. I love writing stories about people and my thought process always starts as dialogue. However, as a physicist by day, I’m committed to keeping the science grounded even though it remains firmly in the background.

DJ: What is Under the Shell about?


David: Under the Shell is set in Engalise – a city under siege with no formal laws. Individuals have a few basic rights and these are upheld by Freedom Protection Agents. Jaq Pilakin is one such agent and specialises in murders. As a relatively unknown, independent agent, she has to build cases out of dead bodies that appear to be accidental and one such turns into a string of killings by someone who also then tries to kill her and has a good go at destroying the city into the bargain. Of course there are a lot of twists and turns and Pilakin herself has a dark, bloodstained past she is running away from, so plenty to keep the reader guessing.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Under the Shell?

David: Murder investigation in a closed megacity? Well, of course it all starts with Asimov’s Caves of Steel, which I read as a child. The wider world in which this book is set (the Anjelican Universe) is one I have been creating since early childhood and so many writers have influenced it along the way. I enjoy putting the odd word or half-sentence from such books into my writing here and there, as little Easter-eggs for those who may have also read them.

I had always had Engalise marked down as an ultra-libertarian dystopia and planned to have Pilakin character in it. I panicked a little, then, when Max Barry wrote Jennifer Government but it turned out he had come to the situation from the opposite direction. In his book the people are powerless without money, whereas here, it is my agent is. However, Jennifer Government certainly helped me crystallise my thoughts on how such a society might function. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview: James Webster

Today I am interviewing James Webster, author of Heroine Chic, a new collection of sci-fi and fantasy short fiction on the theme of ‘Heroines’.

◊  ◊  ◊

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?

James Webster: Hi! So, I’m James (my friends call me Webster), and I write weird little stories about monsters. And angels. And gods. And vampires. And witches. And spaceships. They’re usually stories about love and resistance and hope. And makeouts. There are often makeouts.

Um. Basically, I write micro/flash fictions that use speculative concepts as metaphors for everyday issues. That’s my jam. You can find them on my tumblr here.

Oh, and in the rest of my time I am: a slam-winning poet; a LARPer; a theatre marketer. All that stuff.

DJ: What is Heroine Chic about?

James: So, Heroine Chic is a collection for 52 of my microfictions, themed around the concept of ‘Heroines’. So, these stories all have female or non-binary protagonists – and the idea is to try and celebrate the heroine’s place in sci-fi and fantasy genres. There’s stories about queens, generals, thieves, gods – plus a few poems and some reworkings of myths and legends too.

Theme-wise: a lot of it is about resistance. It’s about me listening to the experiences of women and femme folks in real life and about paying attention to portrayals of heroines in fiction, and about putting a spotlight on the way they carve out space in an uneven world.

But it’s also about taking experiences that are universal and that everyone can relate to and using speculative fiction to illuminate the joy and wonder of those things. So it’s also, in a big way, about love. Not necessarily in a romantic way, but love as a transformative power and as a thing you find at the core of hardship. A thing you feel for folks when you truly see them. So I guess it’s also a bit about empathy. Continue reading

Tagged , , ,