Tag Archives: solaris

Author Interview: Steve Rasnic Tem

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Today I am interviewing Steve Rasnic Tem, Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award-Winner, and author of the new science-fiction horror novel, UBO.

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

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

Steve Rasnic Tem: I’ve been publishing professionally since the early 80’s. In that time I’ve published over 400 short stories, 10 collections, 6 novels, and a large number of poems, articles, essays, plays, etc. I’m a past winner of the Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and International Horror Guild awards. Most of what I’ve learned about writing over the years will be collected soon in Yours to Tell: Dialogues on the Art and Practice of Writing (Apex Publications), the last project I completed with my late wife Melanie.

DJ: What is UBO about?

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Steve: At its heart, UBO is a meditation on violence. A blend of science fiction and horror, the novel utilizes such historical viewpoint characters as Stalin, Himmler, Charles Whitman, Jack the Ripper, and Gilles de Raiis to explore humanity’s propensity for violent acts. Every resident of this prison located in a future Boston ravaged by riots and climate change has a similar memory of the journey to Ubo: a dream of dry, chitinous wings crossing the moon, the gigantic insects dropping swiftly over the houses of the neighborhood, passing through walls and windows as if by magic. Once there they are watched over by alien creatures who resemble giant roaches, and each day these roaches force them to relive the memories of some of history’s most violent figures. It’s a dark journey, but also an exploration of the things which make us human, with a ray of hope at the end. Continue reading

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Author Interview: K.M. McKinley

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Today I am interviewing K.M. McKinley, author of the new fantasy novel, The City of Ice, second book of The Gates of the World series.

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DJ: Hey K.M.! Thanks for stopping to do an interview!

For readers whoa aren’t familiar with you, cold you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

K.M. McKinley: You can call me Kay. I’m a writer. I have been for several years now. Before that I worked as a journalist and editor for fourteen years or so. I live in Yorkshire, in the UK. The Iron Ship book bio is out of date, as I wrote it before moving back to where I grew up.

DJ: What is The City of Ice and The Gates of the World series about?

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Kay: What is any book about? I think that’s more a question for the reader. Books are collaborations between the imaginations of the writer and the reader, what I say it’s “about” might not be what you say it’s about. On a basic level, it’s an epic, multiple point of view fantasy set in a world undergoing an industrial revolution fuelled by the science of magic. Like our world went down the road of Paracelsus in the 16th century rather than Newton. At least, that was my original thinking. It didn’t work out quite that way… I won’t be so cocky as to say it’s unique, as there are a number of good industrial fantasies out there right now. Industrial fantasy doesn’t quite get all of it. Some people say it’s steampunk, though I would say it isn’t, though it has steampunky elements.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main character(s)? Does they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Hillary Monahan

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Today I am interviewing Hillary Monahan, author of the new urban fantasy novel, Snake Eyes, third book in the Gods & Monsters trilogy.

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

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

Hilary Monahan: Why sure. I’m a New York Times bestselling author for my horror YA MARY: THE SUMMONING duology which is out with Disney Hyperion. I’m also Eva Darrows, and I wrote THE AWESOME for Rebellion to some critical acclaim and have DEAD LITTLE MEAN GIRL coming out with Harlequin Teen in March. I do romance, too, under a third name—Thea De Salle—and those books will be out with Simon and Schuster starting in February. Basically if it involves words, I probably write it.

DJ: What is Snake Eyes about?

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Hilary: Women. It’s a love letter to women. Queer women and old women and strong women and fat women and thin women and any kind of woman you can think of. Also snakes. I’m terrified of snakes and what better way to wrestle that demon than to write an entire novel about them. It didn’t work, by the way–I’m still afraid of them–but at least I got a very cool Greek mythology UF out of the deal.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Snake Eyes?

Hilary: Mad Max: Fury Road for sure. I loved how the film featured female characters who are often reduced to supporting cast for male centered stories. Also that absolutely atrocious Clash of the Titans movie—the 1981 version (so the less atrocious of the two, sorry Hollywood.) For reasons I do not know, my grade school insisted on showing us that film annually. The artful Claymation of Medusa stuck with me, I guess.   Continue reading

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Author Interview: Simon Bestwick

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Today I am interviewing Simon Bestwick, author of the Black Road series of novels, and his latest book, The Feast of All Souls.

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

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

Simon Bestwick: Hi there. Sure – I’m based in the North-West of England. I grew up in Manchester and lived in Salford until a couple of years ago, until I moved to Liverpool with my then-girlfriend. Now I still live around Merseyside, on the Wirral. And the girlfriend? Reader, I married her…

The Feast Of All Souls is my fifth novel; I’ve also published four story collections and a chapbook. Most of my work tends to fall into the horror category, with occasional forays into urban fantasy, dystopian/post-apocalyptic SF, and crime.

DJ: What is The Feast of All Souls about?

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Simon: It’s about 400 pages long. Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s about Alice Collier, who moves back to Crawbeck, a part of Salford where she used to live, when her marriage breaks up following the death of her daughter Emily. Strange things start happening in the house she moves into: ghostly children, a mysterious figure in red, and sometimes when she looks out of the windows or goes out through the door, the world outside the house is a different one – somewhere far in the past. Because she’s had mental health issues since losing her daughter, she’s afraid she’s going mad, and eventually contacts an old boyfriend, John Revell, who’s a paranormal investigator, in the hope of getting to the bottom of things. And that’s when stuff gets really weird.

Meanwhile, there’s another storyline, from nearly two hundred years earlier, in the same location: Mary Carson, on her own following the death of her father, comes to Springcross House in Crawbeck to work as a secretary to a mill-owner called Arodias Thorne. She gets drawn into a relationship with him – and all of this connects both with what Alice is going through in the present day and with the various legends and bits of folklore that have surrounded Crawbeck for centuries. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jonathan Oliver

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Today I am interviewing Jonathan Oliver, editor of the new horror anthology, Five Stories High.

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DJ: Hey Jonathan! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Jonathan Oliver: Hello. So, Five Stories High is my seventh horror anthology and my sixth for Solaris. I’ve always been a huge fan of short stories and novellas, and horror is my first genre love. So, right from the start with Solaris I wanted a shot at producing original horror anthologies. I get to work with the best writers around and all of the anthologies have been very well received. I’ve twice been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, I’ve won the British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology twice and I’ve been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award.

I’ve been the Editor-in-Chief of fiction publishing at Rebellion for eleven years, and helped found the Abaddon line of books. As well as editing, I also do a bit of writing on the side. I’ve recently put together a collection of my short stories called The Language of Beasts, which I will be shopping around publishers in early 2017.

DJ: What is Five Stories High about?

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Jonathan: Five Stories High is a collection of five novellas, each set in the same house, Irongrove Lodge, which is home to many different entities. In itself Irongrove Lodge is also something of an enigma, and there are those who say the house itself may be a haunting. Basically, these are five modern horror novellas playing with that classic horror trope—the haunted house. There is also a linking narrative between the five novellas, written by myself.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Five Stories High?

Jonathan: I’ve always loved ghost stories and tales of haunted houses. I love a traditional gothic pile, peopled by tortured spirits and melancholy wraiths. But I also love the way in which horror tropes can be subverted. So, while M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Oliver Onions and Algernon Blackwood would certainly feel right at home in Irongrove Lodge, the collection is more in the wheelhouse of those innovators of the supernatural such as Shirley Jackson, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Aickman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Thomas Ligotti. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Nik Abnett

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Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow. It was created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction. From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it was intended to help us share our love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.


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Today I am interviewing Nik Abnett, author of the new science-fiction novel, Savant.

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DJ: Hey Nik! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Nik Abnett: Hi, and thank you for having me.
Some readers will know my work for the Black Library on Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. I’ve also collaborated with my husband, the writer Dan Abnett, on a couple of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider novels and on Fiefdom for Rebellion, which was a tie-in novel to the Kingdom comic strip in 2000AD. I also write short stories for anyone who asks, and I contributed the backmatter for the acclaimed comic book Wild’s End by Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard. I’ve been writing, editing and proof-reading tie-in fiction for almost twenty years, so, with Savant I wanted to branch out and do something very different, and more personal.

DJ: What is Savant about?

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Nik: This really ought to be the simplest question in the World, but it’s the one I always struggle with most. Here goes: Savant is about a symbiotic relationship between two people, against the backdrop of a controlling state in the middle of a global crisis.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Savant?

Nik: Influences come from all over the place. I like twentieth century SF, including 80s movies, but I think the inspiration for Savant came from other things, too. I was influenced by ideas around Autism and parenting. And, to some degree, this is also a political novel; thematically, I thought a lot about the rights of the individual and how much the state can, and does, interfere in peoples’ lives.

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 will sympathize with them?

Nik: My main characters work very much as a pair, and they are opposites in many ways. Active Tobe is all about thinking, he’s a savant/mathematician, and he’s all quirks and habits. Metoo, Tobe’s carer, is all about feeling, making sure that all the routines and coping strategies are in place so that Tobe can do his job. I think both characters are compelling, because they are two sides of all of us, but polarized. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jonathan Strahan

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Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow. It was created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction. From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it was intended to help us share our love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.


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Jonathan Strahan. 2016. Copyright Cat Sparks.

Today I am interviewing Jonathan Strahan, the multiple award winning editor, and editor of the new science-fiction anthology, Bridging Infinity, fifth book in the Infinity Project series.

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DJ: Hey Jonathan! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Jonathan Strahan: Hey! Thanks for talking to me! I’m an editor, critic, and podcaster who lives in Australia. I’ve been editing books since 1996 and podcasting since 2010. I’m also the reviews editor for Locus (www.locusmag.com), and edit the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year anthology series each year.

DJ: What is Bridging Infinity about?

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Jonathan: It’s about enormous engineering projects and the problems they’re intended to solve. Science fiction loves enormous, crazy engineering projects and it loves to solve problems. So Bridging Infinity brings together a bunch of new, specially written stories that feature giant machines like Dyson spheres and man-made worlds that wrap stars.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Bridging Infinity?

Jonathan: All of the great science fiction I read while I was growing up. Stuff like Larry Niven’s Ringworld and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and a whole bunch of classic SF. Also, to be honest, the opening of Star Wars, with that incredible Imperial Star Destroyer.

DJ: What kinds of stories can readers expect in the anthology?

Jonathan: There are fifteen stories in the book and they range from hard SF tales of creatures that live inside suns to tales of environmental engineering projects that solve global warming. There’s adventure, a little comedy, and a fair bit of action. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Alex White

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Today I am interviewing Alex White, author of the new fantasy novel, Every Mountain Made Low.

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DJ: Hey Alex! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

Alex White: I live to create: photography, board games, books, music, you name it–and I take all that random stuff seriously. I’ve done videos for Presidents, released a few albums, and I’m finishing up my eighth book. I’ve even got an app in the Google Play store called Capta. The video work and the writing have been profitable for me. I can’t attest to the quality of that other stuff. J

For better or worse, I was born and raised in the American Deep South, where I live today. That’s probably why I’m always making things. I wasn’t into sports, church and cable television, so I had a lot of time on my hands.

DJ: What is Every Mountain Made Low about?

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Alex: Here’s my pitch: An autistic, working-class lesbian must make a deal with vicious ghosts to topple a capitalist oligarchy. It falls squarely into the New Weird camp with little regard for genre, considering it has elements of urban fantasy, dystopian, horror and thriller. It’s a close, small story with a lot of personal drama, but no one is going to destroy the world / galaxy / multiverse. It’s a conflict for the future of the South. The stakes are everything for my main character, though, and we see everything through her eyes.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Every Mountain Made Low?

Alex: I immediately think of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale because of the colorful characters and pervasive inequality portrayed through their lives.

Oddly, Ayn Rand was a strong influence, too. Not a positive one, but something I wanted to write against. I find the philosophies in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead disgusting, because at their core, they’re about taking anything you want without regard for those around you. Howard Roark isn’t a team player, he destroys housing for underprivileged citizens in his best moment and rapes Dominique Francon at his worst. How can people look to him as an example of how to live? Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Lovegrove

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Today I am interviewing James Lovegrove, author of the new science fiction fantasy novel, Age of Heroes, eight book in the Pantheon series].

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DJ: Hey James! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!

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

James Lovegrove: I am an author of science fiction, Sherlock Holmes novels and books in many other genres and for various kinds of readership, with well over fifty published titles under my belt. I’ve been a professional writer since the age of 22 and have just turned 50, so that’s 28 years in the saddle. I provide features and reviews on a regular basis for the Financial Times and the comics magazine Comic Heroes. I live in the sunny seaside town of Eastbourne with my wife, two sons, dog and cat. I am also a 9th degree red belt in jiu-jitsu and a well-known humanitarian, famous for spending millions on charitable causes. One of the above sentences may not be true.

DJ: What is Age of Heroes about?

James: When I submitted a proposal for the novel to publisher Solaris, the tagline I came up with ran: The demigods of Ancient Greek myth are alive and well… and dying one by one. The core concept is that Theseus, Perseus, Heracles and all the other spawn of unions between deities and mortals are still going strong and are more or less unkillable – except that someone has found a way of bumping them off and is doing so. Theseus is our protagonist, once a travelling crime fighter, currently a bestselling crime writer, living a quiet life until he gets dragged into the mystery of the demigod murders. Together he and his cousin Perseus pursue the team of hitmen who are taking out their kin… and if I tell you any more than that, I’ll be committing spoilerism. It’s a fast-paced action adventure with a whodunit element and a plot that crisscrosses the globe and ranges back in time all the way to 1500BCE. Continue reading

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