Tag Archives: orbit

Author Interview: Jason Arnopp

Today I am interviewing Jason Arnopp, author of the new horror novel, Ghoster.

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

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

Jason Arnopp: Hi there DJ! Thanks for having me here. I’m a writer of scary novels, who also tries to make you laugh from time to time. My background’s in journalism, originally rock journalism for the weekly UK magazine Kerrang! The exclamation mark is in the mag’s title, by the way. My first novel for Orbit Books was 2016’s The Last Days of Jack Sparks, about an arrogant celebrity who sets out to prove that the supernatural doesn’t exist and ends up in trouble with certain parties when he laughs during the exorcism of a teenage girl. And now here we are with Ghoster.

DJ: What is Ghoster about?

Jason: It’s about a paramedic called Kate, whose boyfriend Scott disappears on the eve of her moving across the country to live with him. When she breaks into his apartment, all his possessions have disappeared too… except for his mobile phone. As a self-identified phone addict, should Kate crack into Scott’s phone to find out where he’s gone and why he’s done this to her. Why do scratches keep appearing on the inside of the front door? And why does she feel so very watched? 

Beyond that summary of the premise, Ghoster is about modern dating, digital addiction and exactly what the hell the internet might have done to our brains.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Ghoster

Jason: In terms of real-world influence, as with The Last Days of Jack Sparks, the story was driven by my concerns about the dark sides or consequences of all this hyper-connectivity. I certainly feel like my attention span has reduced a fair bit over the last 10 years and I’m none too sure of how I feel about that. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gareth Hanrahan

Today I am interviewing Gareth Hanrahan, author of the new fantasy novel, The Gutter Prayer, first book in the The Black Iron Legacy series.

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

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

Gareth Hanrahan: By day, I’m a game designer, creating adventures and rules supplements for tabletop roleplaying games. So, I spend all day writing about monsters and heroes and sinister plots, then switch over to Scrivener and… write about monsters and heroes and sinister plots.

Fortunately, I like monsters and sinister plots. Heroes… are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

I’m based in Ireland. Bearded. Early 40s. Two or three children, depending on when this interview gets posted.

DJ: What is The Gutter Prayer about?

Gareth: Three thieves in a fantastical city are betrayed by the master of the thieves’ guild. One’s caught and imprisoned, one escaped, and the third is ransomed by an eccentric history professor after she starts to have bizarre magical visions. The three thieves reunite and plot to use this new power to get revenge on their former master. What they don’t realise is that this strange gift has deep and terrible connections to the secret history of the city, and they’re not the only people who seek to use this gift.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Gutter Prayer and the series?

Gareth: It’s sort of a conceptual stew – there’s lots and lots of stuff in there. Worrying about climate change and just-in-time delivery while wandering around a grocery store. Tim Powers novels, especially DECLARE. Dungeons and Dragons monsters. Thinking about what the Crimean War – and the 19th century in general – might have looked like with magic alchemy. Some old BBC Series like the original House of Cards and Seven Wonders of the Victorian Age. Time misspent on World of Warcraft. Robert Holdstock’s Lavondyss. Continue reading

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Author Interview: R.J. Barker

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Today I am interviewing RJ Barker, author of the new fantasy novel, King of Assassins, final book in the Wounded Kingdom trilogy.

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

RJ Barker: Oh, no problem, it is a joy to be interviewed by you. I’m quite tired after having been away for a week so if some of my answers don’t make sense that’s why. Although, to be fair, quite often I don’t make sense when I’m awake.  

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

RJ Barker: I’m English, I live in the north of England (or Stark country, if you learn your geography through GoT) which is unanimously agreed by all English people to be the best bit of England. I collect old taxidermy that’s gone a bit wrong and have a wonderful wife and little boy. Since Age of Assassins has been released it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve been shortlisted for: The Kitschie Golden Tentacle, the Gemmel Morningstar and the British Fantasy Society’s Best Newcomer and Best Novel awards. I’ve also been a judge in the James White short story award. I love to read (unlikely I’ll make it to the US in the near future but if I do my readings are fun) and I love to write but mostly I like people.

Erm, I am also enthusiastic.

DJ: What is King of Assassins and then the Wounded Kingdom trilogy about?

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RJ: So MANY things. In the most basic way each book is a murder mystery and as a trilogy it’s the story of the assassin Girton Club-Foot. We grow with him, from quite a simple view of the world in Age of… to a much more nuanced understanding in King of… and the lynchpin of his world is the relationship he has with his teacher, Merela Karn. But, like with all books, there’s huge amounts of subtext, ideas about power and who holds it and the price that’s paid, of redemption and forgiveness, of friendship and familial love. There’s loads going on in the books but I think it’s important to make things accessible so you can ignore all the subtext and allegory and just read an exciting story with lots of battles.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Wounded Kingdom trilogy?

RJ: A Huge influence was The Chronicles of Morgaine by C.J. Cherryh which is also based around a platonic m/f friendship. A lot of people have pointed out similarities to Robin Hobb’s Farseer books but, although I have read them and undoubtedly they are stored in my mind (and Robin is fantastic) they weren’t a conscious influence on Girton, the tone was much more influenced by C.J. Sansom’s Shardlake books about a lawyer in Tudor England. Also, a whole lot of history books too (probably written by people with the initials C.J. as it seems to be a theme.) Also, Patrick O Brian and American crime writers like James Lee Burke and Robert Crais. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rich Larson

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Today I am interviewing Rich Larson, author of the new science-fiction novel, Annex, first book in the Violet Wars trilogy.

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

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

Rich Larson: I was born in Galmi, Niger and now live in Ottawa, Canada. My work has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, Czech, French and Italian. I write a lot of short stories: I was the most prolific author of short science fiction in 2015, 2016 and probably 2017 as well. My debut novel, Annex, comes out from Orbit Books in July 2018, and my debut collection, Tomorrow Factory, follows in October 2018 from Talos Press. Alongside writing, I like travelling, learning languages, playing soccer, watching NBA basketball, shooting pool, and dancing kizomba.

DJ: What is Annex about?

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Rich: Annex is about kids fighting aliens, but also about loyalty, family, and outsiderhood.

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

Rich: Annex is heavily influenced by Garth Nix’s Shade’s Children, Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord and K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs. It also has shades of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket / Daniel Handler. Basically, it’s a love letter to all the books I devoured as a kid.

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?

Rich: The two main characters are Bo and Violet. Bo is single-minded when it comes to playing rock-paper-scissors and has an alien parasite in his stomach that gives him superpowers. Violet hates baseball but is talented at maiming biomechanical othermothers with a baseball bat. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Craig DiLouie

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Today I am interviewing Craig DiLouie, author of the new dark fantasy novel, One of Us.

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

Craig DiLouie: I’m very happy to be here!

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

Craig: I’m what’s called a hybrid author, meaning I publish through traditional publishers, usually big standalone novels, while also self-publishing, typically pulpy series of dime novels. I’m prolific as to genre, playing with dark fantasy, horror, apocalyptic, and military historical fiction. What I think my signature is for these very different works is putting ordinary people you care about in extraordinary situations, and putting fantastic elements–whether it be monsters, what have you–in a very realistic, gritty world. Otherwise, I was born in America, live in Canada, and I’m a proud dad of two wunderkinds.

DJ: What is One of Us about?

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Craig: One of Us is a dark fantasy novel about about a disease that results in a generation of monsters who are now growing up in poverty-stricken and abusive orphanages in the rural South. As they come of age, they must find a way to fit in–or fight for what’s theirs. Author Claire North called it “The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird,” which I think nails it.

DJ: What were some of your influences for One of Us?

Craig: I wanted to write a novel about prejudice in all its forms–societal, institutional, and individual–while taking it to its extreme. What if humanity produced a generation of frightening monsters who had the hearts and minds of children? What if these children achieved extraordinary powers as they grew up–would we admire or fear them even more? If Spider-Man half looked like a real spider, would he still be a hero? If Superman had horns and a tail?

My goal wasn’t to preach or offer a single solution but instead entice readers to experience the topic in their gut and reflect on what they felt. In its basic concept, the story is reminiscent of The Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men. Otherwise, the story screamed for a Southern Gothic treatment, with influences ranging from Carson McCullers to Cormac McCarthy. Violent and over the top, the Southern Gothic lit tradition often features a society in decay, taboo, the grotesque, prejudice, and larger than life characters. In my view, combining monster fantasy and Southern Gothic wasn’t a mashup but a natural fit. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Sebastien De Castell

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Today I am interviewing Sebastien de Castell, author of the new fantasy novel, Spellslinger, first book in the Spellslinger series. Some readers might know him from the swashbuckling fantasy series, The Greatcoats.

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

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

Sebastien de Castell: I’m one of those terribly confused individuals who reads a book as a teenager and then tries to pattern his life around an unfeasible profession. In my case, when I was fifteen I read a book called BARD by Keith Tailor and decided I wanted a life of music, adventure, swordfighting, and storytelling. Over the years that ambition translated into a string of odd careers from being a full-time musician, a fencer and fight choreographer, and, of course, a novelist.

DJ: What is Spellslinger about?

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Sebastien: Spellslinger is a series about magic and what price we’re willing to pay to have it. The books are full of wondrous spells and mysterious playing cards, but they’re also about the forms of magic that are available to all of us. Music can be a kind of magic, as can dance, or even human decency . Oh, and there’s a talking squirrel cat whose favourite pastimes are thievery and blackmail.

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

Sebastien: Oddly, in many ways SPELLSLINGER was driven not so much by influences as a desire to look at the other side of many of the fantasy novels I loved years ago. The Harry Potter series is terrific, for example, but I wanted to explore what it’s like to not be the chosen one – to in fact discover you’re the weakest of your people and your family, and to have to go out in search of other ways to make yourself special. That’s true of so many of the books that influenced me when I was a teenager. I loved the stories, but I knew I wasn’t the chosen one, so the question became: what do I do now? I was fortunate to have people in my life who – instead of assuring me that I was special – suggested I go out and find ways to make myself unique. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alex White

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Today I am interviewing Alex White, author of the new science-fiction novel, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, first book in the Salvagers trilogy.

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

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

Alex White: I am definitely not three cats in a trenchcoat, that’s for sure!

For real, though, I’m an American from the deep south, living in Huntsville, Alabama, colloquially referred to as “Rocket City.” Huntsville is the birthplace of the space program, and that always had a major influence on me growing up. In high school, I drove by a full-size space shuttle and Saturn V every day, so it was hard not to dream about space. I’m a huge nerd, and I love making music, taking photos and board games.

DJ: What is A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe about?

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Alex: It’s a high-octane space fantasy! Nilah Brio, a pampered race car driver, witnesses a murder on the track, and she’s framed for it. Trying to get to the bottom of things, she goes into hiding, where she runs into Boots Elsworth, a washed-up treasure hunter turned con artist. Together, they have to team up with the starship Capricious, Boots’s old crewmates, and uncover a galactic conspiracy. Also, there are a ton of magic spells, explosions, killer robots and romance!

DJ: What were some of your influences A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe and the series?

Alex: It often gets the Firefly comparison, but I was always more of a Cowboy Bebop guy. I can safely say that if you liked either of those, you’ll love it. I’m a major Formula One fan, so there’s a bunch of that in there. The magic system comes from basic electrical engineering equations, and there’s a ton of magic tech, similar to Final Fantasy III. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rob Boffard

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Credit: Nicole Simpson

Today I am interviewing Rob Boffard, author of the new sci-fi novel, Adrift.

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

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

Rob Boffard: I am Iron Man. Well, I would be, if Tony Stark was South African. Also if he had terrible hair, a ton of tattoos, no money, was unable to build anything without it breaking, couldn’t do math, had an accent like a Canadian being punched in the voicebox, and wrote about spaceships and explosions for a living. But other than those things, I am absolutely Iron Man. Honest.

DJ: What is Adrift about?

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Rob: OK, so you’ve been on vacation, right? And I’m guessing you’ve been on one of those terrible tour buses with the sticky plastic seats and the crackly PA system and a guide who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Now imagine that: but in space. A tiny, shitty tour ship, going around a luxury hotel in the far reaches of the galaxy, while the tourists inside gawk at the Horsehead Nebula. The hotel is attacked and destroyed by a mysterious ship, and these tourists in their little cruising vessel are the only survivors. They’ve got minimal supplies, no weapons, and nobody back home knows they’re alive…

DJ: What were some of your influences for Adrift?

Rob:  Too many trips on crappy tour buses. But in terms of books: The Langoliers, by Stephen King, and Day Four by Sarah Lotz – both stories about ordinary people trapped in a pressure-cooker situation.

This question also has a slightly weird answer, because one of the books that also influenced it was Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman. It’s this amazing sci-fi story with space battles and killer viruses and psychotic AI, and blew my mind. The thing is, though, I actually read it after I wrote Adrift. It definitely affected how I rewrote the book, and raised the bar for the kind of things I wanted to accomplish.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tyler Whitesides

2040D016-DE0C-4F3D-94DE-CFB3ECA53A64Lisa (@ Over the Effing Rainbow), Jorie (@ Jorie Loves a Story) and imyril (@ One More) are delighted to bring you WYRD AND WONDER, where they plan to celebrate all things fantastical throughout the month of May!


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Today I am interviewing Tyler Whitesides, author of the new fantasy novel, The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn, first book in the Kingdom of Grit trilogy.

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

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

Tyler Whitesides: Hi! Thanks for interviewing me! I live in northern Utah with my wife and son. I’m the author of two fantasy series for young readers, JANITORS, and THE WISHMAKERS. ARDOR BENN is my first venture into fantasy for adults. I’m so excited!  

When I’m not writing, I love to get out into the mountains near my house and enjoy hiking, skiing, and fly fishing. I studied music in college (specifically percussion) and I still try to play as often as I can. I’ve always been cursed with an overabundance of interests, and you know what they say about a jack of all trades…

DJ: What is The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn about?

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Tyler: The story centers around a con man, Ardor Benn, who calls himself a “ruse artist extraordinaire.” After years of successful heists, he’s hired by a priest for his biggest job yet – to steal the king’s coat and crown. To do it right, Ard needs to play the long game, consulting with expert criminals as he and his team infiltrates high society to gain access to the king.

DJ: What were some of your influences The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn and the series?

Tyler: I love smart heist movies and tv shows such as Leverage, and White Collar. I wanted to capture a similar feeling in a fantasy world. I also love the complexity and unique nature of the magic systems in Brandon Sanderson’s books, so I definitely found some inspiration there as well. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Leo Carew

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Today I am interviewing Leo Carew, author of the new fantasy novel, The Wolf, first book in the Under the Northern Sky trilogy.

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

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

Leo Carew: My pleasure, thanks for having me! I am 26, from London, and aside from writing, I spend most of my time training to be an army doctor. My real passion though is in wilderness and exploration. I’ve spent a lot of my life in very cold or wild places, and most recently overwintered alone in a cabin on an abandoned island, writing the sequel to The Wolf.

DJ: What is The Wolf about?

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Leo: It imagines a world in which more than one species of human survived the Ice Age, and went on to set up their own society. At the beginning of the book, the leader of the Anakim (the main alternate race of people) is killed, and his untested son Roper is dropped into a power-struggle. The Wolf follows his struggle to survive, and simultaneously secure his kingdom from an invasion.

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

Leo: My genre of choice is historical fiction, which is where I get my main literary influences. I love authors like Bernard Cornwell and Hilary Mantel and their ability to submerge you in a lost world which you can smell and touch. I very much wanted that for The Wolf. I drew a lot from fantasy too. The Golden Compass is one of my favourite ever books, and I loved the imagination of the different worlds, and how they’re used to explore our own. Philip Pullman has such a great understanding of tone as well, which allows his books to say a lot without having to spell it out.

Lots of my inspiration also came from real history. Roman politics was splendidly twisted and underhanded, and provided endless ideas for evil machinations. The Spartans also made a big contribution for their social structure, which was extraordinary. Continue reading

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