Tag Archives: solaris

Author Interview: Weston Ochse

3b9751_471ea17f5caf4a918396c52825a2ffd5Today I am interviewing Weston Ochse, author of the new military sci-fi novel, Burning Sky.

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

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

Weston: I’m a military veteran with 35 years of service and counting. I’ve written about 30 books and won a few awards. One of my books has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. I have three Great Danes and am married to the author, Yvonne Navarro. I like Fly Fishing, wine, and exercise. My favorite authors are Donna Tartt, Cormac McCarthy, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub, Marisha Pessl, Robert McCammon, and John Irving. My favorite book of all time is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

DJ: What is Burning Sky about?

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Weston: At the core it’s about loss of self, it’s about what is real and what isn’t, it’s about what it means to be who we think we are, but I’ve hidden these questions and their answers in a novel about a team of adrenaline junkies who want to change their fortune and become better than they are.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Burning Sky?

Weston: Cormac McCarthy was a huge influence in the book. His continuing theme of man vs nature and man’s inability to overcome nature is the fulcrum in the novel which the plot circles. I especially mined his masterpiece Blood Meridian, using some of the motifs like how he never names any major character but instead uses titles for them. In Burning Sky, the members of the team are never referred to by their names while in Afghanistan. I also loved the way McCarthy landscaped Blood Meridian and tried to use some of the landscape in Burning Sky as a dark mirror to the McCarthy’s terra damnata. I also mined several cultural icons that when seen, can’t help but bring us memories and stir our thinking. Images such as The Falling Man from the Twin Towers during 9/11, or the Burning Monk and the Napalm Girl from black and white photos from Vietnam. Each one of the images is shorthand to something terrible and I used them as interactive touchpoints for readers. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Justina Robson

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Today I am interviewing Justina Robson author of the new fantasy novel, Salvation’s Fire, second book in the After the War series. She has previously been known for her Science Fiction novels, such as Natural History and the Quantum Gravity series.

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

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

Justina Robson: Thanks for asking! I have published about twelve or thirteen SF novels and SF/Fantasy mashup books prior to writing Salvation’s Fire. I enjoy reading, gaming and living at home with my husband and three children plus a cat, dog and fish of various sorts. My background before publication was in Philosophy and Linguistics, just enough to know I didn’t know very much. I’ve also had various admin jobs and spent a few years as a fitness instructor and a yoga teacher.

DJ: What is Salvation’s Fire and then the After the War series about?

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Justina: The series focuses on some characters who were instrumental in bringing about the end of a large scale epic-fantasy style war (I’m saying epic because it includes demigods and has that sweep of genocidal humans vs monsters flavour to it). They’re trying, each in their own ways, to find new lives and new purposes as they try to salvage and rebuild after this conflict has ended. My story picks up where Adrian’s left off (that’s Redemption’s Blade) and goes to explore the nature and fate of the gods who were instrumental in bringing about the start of the war – or at least laying the conditions for it. It focuses on the original characters plus a few new ones, in particular an orphaned girl and a monster in human form.  

DJ: What were some of your influences for the After the War series?

Justina: Because the series was started by Adrian in Redemption’s Blade he had already done a massive amount of worldbuilding. I felt that it would be fun to try and continue with the same kind of rich texture and diversity he’d got as well as keeping the tone of the story’s origin, which is quite playful. It’s very much like a party adventure with some comic moments as well as action. But I’m not quite as lighthearted as Adrian is so my take on it is a little darker in some ways and a little bit more whimsical in others. I wanted to keep  a sense of cohesion with the first part of the story. At one point, when trying to make the fortress of the Kinslayer we were discussing that it was very Mordor-like, in the first book, hinted at but not expanded. I had decided to go there so we said I ought to try for Even More-dor. And that’s what I tried. The monster I mentioned is also a combination of Maleficent, Bride of Frankenstein and Miss Havisham in basic concept but her journey is very much influenced by Flowers For Algernon – she starts out as an empty vessel, without personality or intelligence, but she grows and develops at exponential speed once she gets activated. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Today I am interviewing Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Redemption’s Blade, first book in the After the War series.

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

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

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Hi there. I’ve been writing novels for ten years now, which means I’m just starting to accept that I’m no longer ‘the new guy’, I started as a fantasy writer with my Shadows of the Apt series but have also taken a lateral step into the neighbouring territory of SF, particularly with Children of Time.

DJ: What is Redemption’s Blade about?

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Adrian: So, you have an epic fantasy world, as you might expect. The various quarrelling little nations come under threat from the Kinslayer, a murderous, spiteful demigod who basically wants to ruin everything for everyone as comprehensibly as possible. A small band manage, at great cost, to sneak into his fortress and do him in. And then what? The Kinslayer’s down, his armies are still mostly around and all those little nations so recently united in their purpose are starting to come apart and remember why they didn’t like each other in the first place. Into this melting pot comes Celestaine, Kinslayer-slayer, who’s been at war ten years and is trying to make something worthwhile of the rest of her life, specifically undoing some of the more egregious acts of cruelty the Kinslayer perpetrated.

DJ: What were some of your influences Redemption’s Blade and the series?

Adrian: The easiest answer to that is “the entire fantasy canon to this point.” A little like a previous book of mine, Spiderlight (that readers who enjoyed Blade may also like), I’ve tried to make the book simultaneously a good fantasy epic in its own right, and also something of an interrogation of fantasy stereotypes and tropes. What does happen after the Dark Lord falls? Not all cakes and ale, according to this book. So the basic set-up, the Kinslayer and his war, consciously owes a great deal to Tolkien, but the point of the book is to ask the big question: What happens next? Continue reading

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Author Interview: E.J. Swift

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Today I am interviewing E. J. Swift, author of the new sci-fi, time-travel novel, Paris Adrift.

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DJ: Hey E.J.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

E. J. Swift: Thank you for asking me! I’m a writer of speculative fiction, and Paris Adrift is my fourth novel, following The Osiris Project trilogy (Osiris, Cataveiro and Tamaruq). I’ve also had a number of short stories published, including “The Spiders of Stockholm” which was longlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and most recently in anthologies The Djinn Falls in Love (“The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice”), Infinity Wars (“Weather Girl”) and 2084 (“The Endling Market”). In the non-writing part of my life I love gardening, nature, pole fitness, and of course, cats.

DJ: What is Paris Adrift about?

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E.J.: It’s a tale of time travel, bartenders and the City of Light. Hallie is a young woman who moves to Paris to try and escape her past. Initially it’s all going well: she finds a bar job and a community of fellow drifters in the bohemian district of Montmartre, but gets more than she bargained for when she discovers a time portal in the keg room, meets the mysterious Chronometrist, and finds herself caught up in a mission to prevent the end of the world.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Paris Adrift?

E.J.: I lived in Paris for 18 months and fell in love with the city, particularly the area of Montmartre which is a hybrid of the picturesque – Sacre Coeur and the brasseries and boutique stores of Rue des Abbesses – and the grubbier, seedier side of Paris. I also adore the film Moulin Rouge, although I avoided that period of history in Paris Adrift as it’s been explored so well elsewhere.

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? 

Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gareth L. Powell

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Today I am interviewing Gareth L. Powell, author of the new omnibus, Ack-Ack Macaque: The Complete Trilogy, a collection of the three books in the sci-fi trilogy, Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy.

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DJ: Hey Gareth! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Gareth: I’ve written eight novels and two collections of short fiction. I’ve won the BSFA Award for best novel, and been a finalist for the Seiun Award in Japan. I live in Bristol, in the South West of England, and enjoy reading, tea, and the smell of bookshops.

DJ: What is the Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy about?

Gareth: Put simply, it’s an alternate history thriller in which a handful of unlikely characters set out to investigate a murder and end up having to save the world.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy?

Gareth: While I was writing, I wasn’t particularly aware of any specific influence, but looking back after the fact, I’d have to say that you can definitely see traces of influence from Michael Moorcock’s Cornelius Quartet, which I read at an impressionable age, as well as work by Philip K. Dick and William Gibson.

DJ: Could you actually tell us a little about the first book in the trilogy, Ack-Ack Macaque, too? (Seeing as how this is where readers will be starting) 😛

Gareth: The first book introduces us to the setting, which is a Europe in which the UK and France agreed a political merger in the late 1950s, following an unexpected victory in Suez. The action takes place a century later, and follows former journalist Victoria Valois as she tries to discover why someone killed her ex-husband and scooped out his brain. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Guy Adams

Today I am interviewing Guy Adams, author of the new fantasy novellas, London Orbital, The Queen of Coney Island, and A City of Fools, the first three books of The Change series.

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

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

Guy Adams: Always happy to talk to people. I’m a writer, it doesn’t happen often. Occasionally, when I’m dragged, screaming, into the light to meet actual human beings I forget how to use my mouth, hands uselessly twitching, trying to tap out a reply on my nonexistent keyboard. This is why, if you want to meet writers at parties, you should go and find the table with the food on it, you’ll find them underneath it, building a nest out of half-chewed breadsticks and old notebooks.

So, yes, Guy Adams. Me. I’m the author of a frankly ridiculous number of books, including the Clown Service series of weird spy novels from Del Rey UK, Deadbeat from Titan Books and The Heaven’s Gate trilogy from those lovely enablers at Solaris. I also write comics, mainly 2000AD although I also co-created Goldtiger with artist Jimmy Broxton.

For the last couple of years, The Change aside, I’ve mainly been writing scripts for Big Finish, a lovely company who make excellent audio dramas here in the UK. I’ve written hours and hours of Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Torchwood and sundry other ranges. Nothing beats putting words into the mouth of the likes of David Tennant, Alex Kingston, Tom Baker, David Warner, Sir John Hurt, Sir Derek Jacobi… I’ve started writing a list, oh God… never start writing lists, they always get out of control. Suffice it to say I’ve been working with amazing people and having an amazing time.

DJ: What are the first three books and The Change series about?

Guy: The Change is far harder to explain than it is to experience – a fact that I can only imagine has driven my poor publicist to tears.

As a series it will view a potential extinction event globally. Imagine if The Walking Dead was actually several series all set in different locations with different characters, all facing the results of something terrible.

Like that. Sort of. But weirder, with no zombies and with more fun bits. And without characters just glowering at one another simmering like a pan of rice on the stove that someone has forgotten.

The Change itself is a moment in the early hours of a winter morning when creatures appeared above the world. Strange, Lovecraftian things. Creatures so unimaginable that looking at them was enough to kill you. It took six minutes to break the world. When they left, the world’s rules had changed. Reality has taken a beating and our cities and towns can now harbour the most impossible, terrifying and beautiful things.

It’s heavily inspired by the idea of psychogeography – a word my auto-correct refuses to acknowledge, such a joy when even my software becomes a critic. I love the notion that not only can we colour our environment but that it can colour us. Do buildings and streets hold on to the things that happened there? Do cities dream of their history? Do cities go mad?

Possibly not. But they do when I’m writing them. So my characters have to face a world where nightmare logic has taken the place of rational science. A creature made from a grotesque stew of machinery and flesh stalks the motorway surrounding London; New York’s Coney Island is alive with the dreams of the amusement parks that used to stand there; Paris is patrolled by The Impressionists, creatures made of paint. These are stories full of mad ideas sprayed all over the world in which we live.

The first three books are set in London, New York and Paris, the second three continue the adventures in London and New York (both ongoing narratives) and add a look at Tokyo.

Should the series continue beyond these first six books – which is entirely down to how many people jump onboard this strange idea of mine – I’ll continue the stories of my characters in London and New York and keep adding one-off books that look at other locations. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gail Z. Martin

Today I am interviewing Gail Z. Martin, author of the new epic fantasy novel, Scourge, first book in the Darkhurst series.

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

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

Gail Z. Martin: Hi DJ! Thank you for having me as a guest! I write epic and urban fantasy, and steampunk, mostly for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. My epic series include the new Darkhurst series with the first book, Scourge, that is just coming out in July, as well as my Chronicles of the Necromancer/Fallen Kings Cycle and my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. The urban fantasy includes the Deadly Curiosities novels, and the Steampunk is co-written with my husband, Larry N. Martin, and includes the novel Iron & Blood and the Storm and Fury Adventures short fiction/collections.

DJ: What is Scourge about?

Gail: Here’s the short answer: Three undertaker brothers in a medieval trading town battle monsters to protect their family and neighbors, only to discover that the monsters have masters and the stakes are higher than they dreamed.

Here’s the book cover answer: In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations and stop the carnage.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave. When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

And here’s the Hollywood pitch summary: Supernatural meets Game of Thrones. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Weston Ochse

Today I am interviewing Weston Ochse, author of the new SF military novel, Grunt Hero, final book of the Task Force Ombra trilogy.

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

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

Weston Osche: I’m a military veteran with 35 years of service and counting. I’ve written about 30 books and won a few awards. One of my books has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. I have three Great Danes and am married to the author, Yvonne Navarro.

DJ: What is Grunt Hero and then the Task Force Ombra trilogy about?

Weston: The Task Force Ombra Trilogy is about the lowest ranking soldier there is—the grunt. No admirals or generals here. It’s also about PTSD and how different people deal with it. In Grunt Life aliens come to Earth to try and destroy it. In Grunt Traitor, they basically destroy everything we know and love. And in Grunt Hero, we finally figure out why they did what they did and it pisses us off so much all we want is revenge.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Task Force Ombra trilogy?

Weston: There’s a section in the first book where everyone is locked up and forced to read all the great sci fi books that have been published and critically answer questions about them before they can be released. That listing contains all of my influences and I thought to myself, if we knew there was going to be an alien invasion, how could we study for it? Read what’s already been written and pay attention to the techniques, tactics, and procedures that those great authors had already gamed. Some of the authors include Joe Haldeman, David Gerrold, John Scalzi, and John Steakley. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Titus Chalk

Today I am interviewing Titus Chalk, author of the new non-fiction novel, Generation Decks: The Unofficial History of Magic: The Gathering.

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

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

Titus Chalk: Sure – I’m a British writer living in Berlin, who’s spent most of the past decade or so writing about sport and culture for outlets in the UK and here in Germany. At the moment, I’m trying to work on my fiction-writing chops, whilst also doing some news writing to pay the bills. Oh – and of course, I play a highly addictive fantasy game called Magic: The Gathering!

DJ: What Generation Decks: The Unofficial History of Magic: The Gathering about?

Titus: As the name suggests it’s the story of Magic – an iconic card game that came out in 1993. But more than that, it’s also a memoir of my time playing the game. It might sound like a very specialist subject, but really it’s as much a history of the birth of the internet age as anything else, just told through a specific lens. It’s the story of how one business grappled with the rapidly changing world – and how a whole community was suddenly formed by it and thrived, myself included.

DJ: How long have you been playing Magic for?

Titus: I’ve been playing since roughly late 1994 or early 1995 – the exact date is a little foggy at this point. My family were going through a tough time, had left England and had washed up in New Zealand. I had to start at a new school – a daunting prospect when you’re 13 – and I hit upon the game as a way to make a new friends. I wouldn’t have survived that time in my life without it and in fact, I’m still good friends with one of the guys I used to play with back then. I think many Magic players have a similar experience in their past – the game helped a whole generation of awkward teens make friends, get good at something and garner a little self-esteem in the process. Continue reading

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