Tag Archives: orbit

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!


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.

◊  ◊  ◊

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?


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

Tagged , , , , ,

Author Interview: Leo Carew


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

◊  ◊  ◊

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?


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

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Rowenna Miller


Today I am interviewing Rowenna Miller, author of the new fantasy novel, Torn, first book in The Unraveled Kingdom trilogy.

◊  ◊  ◊

DJ: Hey, Rowenna! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Rowenna Miller: I’m a novelist, living historian, and mom of two from Indiana, and have been a stationer, college administration lackey, and college writing teacher and tutor. I have my Master’s in English—Film and Literature—and I currently use this to annoy people who watch movies with me.

DJ: What is Torn about?


Rowenna: The story follows a seamstress whose business is built on a traditional magic practice from her immigrant family—she stitches good luck charms into couture. Her business is blooming, but political unrest in her city is growing, spearheaded by her idealistic brother. As it becomes clear that revolt is likely, her attempts to remain neutral will be challenged.

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

Rowenna: One of my hobbies is living history and historical sewing, so my real-world experience with needles, thread, and draping fabric show up in the story. In developing the plotline of political upheaval, the history of eighteenth- and nineteenth century revolutions, riots, and reforms was a major influence—not just our American Revolution, but the messier French Revolution and the fear of riots and subsequent reforms in England. How do the political elite deal with discontented citizens, and how do discontented citizens face political injustice? In a lot of different ways, it turns out. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: One of Us by Craig DiLouie

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

One of Us by Craig DiLouie

(July, 17 2018 by Orbit)

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Author Interview: Josiah Bancroft

Today I am interviewing Josiah Bancroft, author of the new fantasy-adventure novel, Senlin Ascends, the first book in The Books of Babel series.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Josiah: Hello, DJ. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

Certainly! I’m a rabbit-loving, bass playing, recovering poet who has recently embarked upon the adventure of writing fantasy novels for a living. In the past, I’ve been an aspiring comic book artist, a college-level writing instructor, and a rock and roller in the band, Dirt Dirt. I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with my wife, Sharon. We’re anticipating the arrival of our first child this April.

DJ: What is Senlin Ascends about?

Josiah: It’s the story of a nightmarish honeymoon to the immense, over-populated, and byzantine Tower of Babel. Thomas Senlin travels with his young bride, Marya, to the Tower to celebrate their recent wedding, and very shortly after arriving, he loses her in the teeming crowd. In his efforts to find her, he is thrown into all sorts of unexpected adventures, none of which he is at all prepared for. At the start, Senlin is a proud and bookish know-it-all, but the Tower quickly breaks him down, and he soon realizes that if he is going to survive this horrible vacation and this merciless, deceptive place, he is going to have to grow as a person, developing both humility and courage.

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

Josiah: A number of books and films inspired the writing of Senlin Ascends. When I began writing the series, I was re-reading many of the adventure novels I’d enjoyed as a boy, including those written by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Alexandre Dumas. I find the world view and social opinions of those works extremely problematic, but the underlying sense of awe and adventure was something I wanted to recapture and update for a contemporary audience. I was also reading many South American and European magical realist novels, including Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, Gabriel Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

I’ve always loved films. My mother started me on a steady diet of classic Hollywood movies when I was young, and I never lost my love of the form. My writing has been influenced by many pictures, directors, and screen writers over the years. In particular, Senlin Ascends owes a lot to Fritz’s Lang’s Metropolis, Hayao Miyazaki entire canon of work (but particularly Spirited Away), and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. I wanted the books to provide readers with a cinematic experience without bogging them down with great chunks of world-building exposition. Hopefully, I was successful in that regard. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Jamie Sawyer

Today I am interviewing Jamie Sawyer, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Eternity War: Pariah, first book in the Eternity War series.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Jamie: Thanks so much for interviewing me! Well, I’m a science fiction writer based in the UK. Although I have a full-time job, writing has always been my passion and I’ve written SF since before I can remember. My books are exciting space adventures with a military aspect. If you enjoy tales of starships, daring space missions, and mysterious alien races, then these books are for you. The Eternity War is my second trilogy, which is set in the same universe as my first series The Lazarus War – although you don’t need to have read the first series to enjoy the second!

DJ: What is The Eternity War: Pariah about?

Jamie: Pariah is the story of Lieutenant Keira Jenkins, commanding officer of the Jackals. Jenkins and her team are members of the Simulant Operations Programme – they use technology that allows them to operate copies of themselves (“simulants”) in the most deadly theatres of war. One body dies, but you can come back in another: and you get to use whatever you learnt the first time around. But the Jackals are a green outfit, and Jenkins struggles to manage them. They discover the existence of an alien virus and become embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens to destabilise galactic peace. There’s lots of action, intrigue and adventure along the way!

DJ: What were some of your influences The Eternity War: Pariah and the series?

Jamie: I’m influenced by so many things that the list is almost endless! Video games, literature, movies, music: it all goes into the mix. In terms of authors, I’d say that my biggest influences have been Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman and John Steakley. I think that Starship Troopers, The Forever War and Armor are the triumvirate of military SF classics! But I’m an avid SF reader, and modern authors like Dan Abnett, Jack Campbell and Gary Gibson are right up there too.

For Pariah specifically, though, Enemy Mine (both the story by Barry B Longyear and the film) sort of influenced me: the idea of working with an enemy that you don’t understand, but that you have to trust, is a very enduring one.    Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Ken MacLeod

Today I am interviewing Ken MacLeod, author of the new science-fiction/fantasy novel, The Corporation Wars: Emergence, final book in the Second Law trilogy.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Ken MacLeod: Thanks for the interview! I’m a science fiction writer from Scotland, and The Corporation Wars: Emergence is my seventeenth novel. I was born on the Isle of Lewis in 1954, and my family moved to Greenock, an industrial town on the Firth of Clyde, about ten years later. I got hooked on science fiction in my early teens, and it made me want to be a scientist. I studied zoology at Glasgow University and went on to attempt a PhD in biomechanics at Brunel University in West London. I ended up with an MPhil many years later, by which time I’d married, had two children, and retrained and got a job as a programmer. After I finished my thesis in 1988 I decided to make a serious effort to write a novel, The Star Fraction, mainly to prove to myself and show my friend Iain Banks that I could do it. I didn’t expect it to be publishable and its first draft certainly wasn’t, but it went through a couple of other drafts after a push from Iain’s agent, Mic Cheetham. She became my agent (as she still is) and placed the novel with the first editor she took it to, John Jarrold. The book was launched at the Glasgow Worldcon in 1995, which was my first SF convention — in at the deep end, nobody knew me, and about an hour after I arrived I was dragged onto a panel with David Wingrove and Katherine Kerr. I met lots of fans and writers and had a great time. When my second novel, The Stone Canal, was published in 1996 I got a second two-book contract and recklessly gave up the day job. Since then I’ve been a full-time writer, along with two Writer-in-Residence posts  which I deeply appreciated:  at the Genomics Forum at Edinburgh University, and on the Creative Writing MA course (roughly equivalent to MFA) at Edinburgh Napier University. My novel Intrusion came out of the first, and my novel Descent was mostly written during the second. This year I was Guest Selector for the science fiction strand at the Edinburgh International Book Festival — again, an opportunity I greatly appreciated and I hope made the most of.

My work has swung back and forth from near-future political and social speculation to far-future space opera, and my latest trilogy is very definitely among the latter.

DJ: What is The Corporation Wars: Emergence and then the Second Law trilogy about?

Ken: The novels are about the emergence of self-awareness in robots preparing planets around another star for human settlement, and the attempts of an AI system controlled by the distant government of the Solar system to suppress them. To do this, it relies on the uploaded minds of human insurgents who got killed in bizarre ways in a final conflict back on Earth a thousand years earlier, near the beginning of the Twenty-Second Century. That war was between the Reaction and the Acceleration — ideological descendants of the alt-right and the ultra-left, basically — and was so devastating that everyone else got together to stamp them out and establish a basically utopian society, under a democratic world government called the Direction. It prepares for a long human future by sending seed ships to other stars, with thousands of people who’ve died naturally and volunteered in advance to have their brain-states scanned and stored for future rebirth as interstellar settlers — and likewise the stored brain states of dead war criminals who if necessary can be revived, downloaded at first to virtual environments for training and R&R, and then to combat robot bodies to be sent into action. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Anna Smith Spark

Today I am interviewing Anna Smith Spark, author of the new grimdark, fantasy novel, The Court of Broken Knives, first book in the Empires of Dust series.

◊  ◊  ◊

DJ: Hey 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 Smith Spark: Hello DJ, and thank you for asking me! I’m a British fantasy novelist with a background in classical history and mythology. I’m a (sadly, ex-) D&D player and Warhammer fan – for a couple of glorious years, I studied the Iliad and the campaigns of Alexander the Great all day, then played David Gemmell based D&D all night. In my past lives I’ve been an English teacher, a petty bureaucrat and a fetish model. I have dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s Syndrome.

DJ: What is The Court of Broken Knives about?

Anna: Aha ha ha. The big question. Broken Knives is my response to the hero myths and legends that I’ve loved since childhood – the Iliad, the Eddas, Beowulf, the Tain, Tolkien. It’s about violence and the cult of the war leader. Why we fight and die, why we follow someone to death. Why human society has always fetishized violence, seen prowess in war as admirable.  

It’s basically a fairly standard fantasy set-up: in a decadent city, a nobleman schemes to save his world through violence, hires a company of mercenaries to do the changing. But a member of the company has a dark secret. And violence has a way of getting out of control.

It’s grimdark epic fantasy with poetry, Joycean stream-of-consciousness battle scenes, and rude jokes. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: RJ Barker

Today I am interviewing RJ Barker, author of the new fantasy novel, Age of Assassins, first book in the Wounded Kingdom series.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

RJ Barker: Yes! Glad to. I live in Leeds, which is in Yorkshire in the UK. I’m married to Lindy and we have a little boy and a cat called Bertie. The little boy isn’t called Bertie. He’s called Rook. And we live in flat in a very old mansion that we fill with taxidermy and odd art. We surround ourselves with things that make us happy. I advise doing this wherever possible in life.

DJ: What is Age of Assassins about?

RJ: It’s a murder mystery, at its heart. And a story about the relationship between a boy, Girton Club-Foot (our hero and the book’s narrator) and Merela Karn, who has brought him up and trained him. They’re trapped in a castle and forced to find out who wants to murder the heir. It’s a pressure-cooker environment[1] and it forces Girton into a position he’s very uncomfortable with, which makes him examine himself. And of course, as it’s a fantasy book there’s also magic and intrigue and swordfights. All the good stuff.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Age of Assassins and the series?

RJ: I’m a big lover of history and I’d been writing a short play about Margaret of Anjou, so that’s in there, and I’m a HUGE fan of the King Arthur myth as well. From the other side Agatha Christie is in there and there are definite influences from American crime writers like James Lee Burke and Robert Crais. And I’ve always been a bit of an outsider, too[2], so that feeds into the creation of Girton. He’s very much on the outside of a world looking in. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Author Interview: Vivian Shaw

Today I am interviewing Vivian Shaw, author of the new paranomal fantasy novel, Strange Practice, first book in the Dr. Greta Helsing series.

◊  ◊  ◊

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

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

Vivian Shaw: My pleasure! I’ve been writing books since I was probably about eleven years old, and I’ve been an active fanfic author since the early 2000s, but this is the first time I’ve ever been actually published and I could not be happier. I’m the daughter of a couple of British scientists, born in Kenya, and we moved around a lot chasing the postdoc funding when I was little, but we moved to Maryland in 1987 and I’ve been here ever since. I have a BA in art history and an MFA in creative writing, and I live in Baltimore with my wife, the author Arkady Martine.

DJ: What is Strange Practice about?

Vivian: The very short version is this: Dr. Greta Helsing sees dead people, from ten to four on weekdays and by appointment, at her Harley Street clinic. Dead people and other individuals who might not generally be considered people at all: mummies, were-creatures, banshees, barrow-wights, ghouls, etcetera. Greta inherited the practice from her father, and she’s just pretty much getting on with things and living her normal supernatural-adjacent life when a new threat emerges – a sect of murderous monks apparently intent on dispatching both the quick and the dead – and she and her friends (and patients) have to figure out how to stop the monks if she wants to save both her practice and her life.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Strange Practice and the series?

Vivian: Well, directly, the source material: Varney the Vampyre, or The Feast of Blood; John Polidori’s The Vampyre; and the somewhat-apocryphal story of the vampire of Croglin Grange. (Dracula and Carmilla both showed up in a previous draft, but they’ll be part of this universe later on.) I read a fantastic book called Prisoner of Vampires, by Nancy Garden, when I was just a kid – and that not only introduced me to a lot of more esoteric vampire stories but did a little bit of what I’m doing here, bringing together the various classic tales into a coherent and cohesive single canon. Stylistically I think my main influences are and always have been Mervyn Peake, Robin McKinley, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman. Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,