Tag Archives: titan books

Author Interview: Nick Setchfield

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Today I am interviewing Nick Setchfield, author of the new fantasy novel, The War in the Dark.

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

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

Nick Setchfield: I’m the features editor on SFX magazine and also occasionally write for Total Film. I’ve been a local journalist, a movie reviewer for the BBC and a scriptwriter for ITV’s Spitting Image. The War in the Dark is my first shot at a novel, though I’ve had the itch to write one for a while – since I was a kid, in fact. I finally nailed myself to a desk and here we are.

DJ: What is The War in the Dark about?

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Nick: It’s an espionage story and a supernatural adventure, full of spies and demons, intrigue and magic. It’s set in the earliest, chilliest days of the Cold War and races across Europe in 1963, powered by a quest for an occult secret of world-changing power. It’s also about second chances, the secrets of cities and why you should never trust a man who picks the raisins from an apfelstrudel.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The War in the Dark?

Nick: James Bond was crucial – both Ian Fleming’s original novels and the movies, though the tone of the book is closer to early Connery than Moore (I love the Moore films, in all their outsized glory, but this is a darker, icier take). Indiana Jones is another huge inspiration: I love that sense of globe-trotting adventure, the sheer pulp momentum of those Lucas and Spielberg movies. I also took inspiration from my love of Hitchcock and Hammer. And the ghost stories of MR James, which have such a lovely sense of dread to them that I thought would mix nicely with a John le Carré backdrop. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Francesco Dimitri

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Today I am interviewing Francesco Dimitri, author of the new fantasy novel, The Book of Hidden Things.

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

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

Francesco Dimitri: I am Italian. I live in London now, and I write in English, but once upon a time I used to live in Rome and publish books in Italian. At some point I decided to start from scratch in another language. The only problem being – I did not speak that language yet.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Book of Hidden Things?

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Francesco: I have very wide tastes. I think you can see traces of Robert Macfarlane, with his perfect sense of the connection between people and place, and Joe Lansdale, with his uncanny capacity to write stories you read in three hours and stay with you forever. Donna Tartt taught me the kind of magic I wanted to write about, and I regularly go back and study Angela Carter to learn new things about sensuousness in prose. That said, I try to keep the real world in mind as my main influence. I do like the real world quite a lot, with all its shortcomings.

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?

Francesco: I wanted them to act, move, and feel, like real people. Not particularly good or bad, just human, with their human foibles, incoherences, and so on. Tony is the one I feel closer to: he believes that friends and family come before everything else, and so do I. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Daniel Godfrey

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Today I am interviewing Daniel Godfrey, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Synapse Sequence.

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

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

Daniel Godfrey: Hello! I am a science fiction writer from northern England. My first novel, New Pompeii, was included in both the Financial Times’ and Morning Star’s ‘Books of 2016’ lists. It was followed by a sequel, Empire of Time.

My latest novel, The Synapse Sequence, is a stand-alone SF thriller.

DJ: What is The Synapse Sequence about?

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Daniel: The novel revolves around two competing technologies that are being used to solve crime. The first, preferred by the police, uses algorithm and AI to focus resources based on likelihood and probability. The second is the newly developed ‘Synapse Sequencer’ which allows an investigator (our hero!) to explore memories via a VR-style environment.

The central crime of the novel – the catalyst for the action – is the kidnap of a teenage girl… but the only person who might know what happened has been knocked into a coma. To prove the Sequencer has a place in law enforcement, our hero has to find the girl before the AIs and their army of bots.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Synapse Sequence?

Daniel: I’ve been fascinated for a number of years about the deployment of AI technology. It seems to be everywhere in the news at the moment, from medicine, to law enforcement, to call centres. It got me thinking about what that would actually mean for policing in the future. Is there room for a traditional detective in this setting? Would there be room for alternative ways of solving crimes? Continue reading

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Author Interview: Deborah A. Wolf

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 Deborah A. Wolf, author of the new fantasy novel, The Forbidden City, second book in The Dragon’s Legacy series.

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

Deborah A. Wolf: My pleasure! Thanks for having me back.

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

Deborah A. Wolf: Aw, I’m just your run of the mill ex military, martial arts studying, horseback riding, single momming, fishing, adrenaline junkie fantasy nerd.  😉

DJ: What is The Forbidden City and then The Dragon’s Legacy series about?

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Deborah: It’s about young people coming of age and having to correct the mistakes of their elders, while fucking the world up anew. It’s about friendship and love in the face of disaster. It’s about power imbalance and abuse, the absolute absurdity of war, gender norms… and, most especially, it’s about dragons.

DJ: What were some of your influences for the The Dragon’s Legacy series?

Deborah: Growing up in a mostly Athabascan village in the middle of Alaska, immersion in the Arabic language and cultures, and a passion for Tolkien make for a very potent brew. Also, George R. R. Martin basically gave me permission to really fuck my characters up, so blame him.

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? 

Deborah: I love all my characters. Each of them is imperfect, and flailing through life as best they can. Sometimes they fuck up, and those fuckups can have terrible, irreparable consequences, but they keep trying. Jian, for instance, lives in a slave empire and is constrained by his half-dae heritage to become a member of Sindan’s elite military force, but he tries to create a small bubble of safety and normalcy for those he loves. Sulema is dragged into politics when all she wants to do is ride her horse and be a warrior for her people, but she tries her best to live up to her new responsibilities. And Hafsa Azeina really is trying to kill fewer people. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Roger Levy

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Today I am interviewing Roger Levy, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Rig.

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

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

Roger Levy:I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. I grew up with the Alan Garner books, and Ursula LeGuin, Michael Moorcock, and lots more, of course, but these come first to mind. I love stories and reading, but somehow I became a dentist, and I’m still doing that alongside writing. I guess they use different parts of the brain. My first three books, Reckless Sleep, Dark Heavens and Icarus (which was shortlisted for the BSFA Best Novel in 2007) were followed by a long pause in writing, as a result of real life intruding rather dramatically. The Rig is my return.

Otherwise, I live in London, I’m married and have two children, and I relax listening to jazz and blues, taking pictures (mainly black and white; I’m colourblind) and watching movies. And reading, of course.

DJ: What is The Rig about?

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Roger: The premise is an organisation called AfterLife, which is to Facebook as Facebook is to smoke signalling. The novel has taken ten years to complete, and it’s an interesting happenstance that just as it comes out, social media is suddenly right in the news for its potential to be used antisocially. The Rig is also about a couple of kids who grow up to become a great deal more than the sum of their parts, building a crime syndicate that makes the mafia look like a gang of pickpockets. And that’s just the start of it.

And that’s also the surface of The Rig. It’s about how we need stories to give us meaning, and how social media fits into that. And I’ve always been interested in what makes us need or hold on to faith, since all faiths are at heart stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. The Rig is a look at what social media might become if taken it to the ultimate degree, feeding our need for story, for structure and narrative, as well as other positive functions that faith provides. That makes it sound dry, and The Rig isn’t dry at all. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tim Lebbon

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Today I am interviewing Tim Lebbon, author of the new urban fantasy, horror novel, The Folded Lands, sequel to Relics.

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

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

Tim Lebbon: Thanks for having me! I’ve been writing for a long time now, published for twenty years, and I’m working hard towards becoming an overnight success. I’ve had over 40 novels published (quite a few in collaboration with Christopher Golden), dozens of novellas, hundreds of short stories, and I’ve also written a few screenplays. I’ve won some awards, and I’ve been writing for a living for over a decade. I’ve also had two movies made from my books, both starring Oscar winning actors! Pay the Ghost (Nicolas Cage) and The Silence (Stanley Tucci).

DJ: What is The Folded Land and the series about?

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Tim: In the first book Relics I established a version of our world in which the relics of mythological creatures are traded, much in the way that rhino horns or tiger pelts are traded now. When my characters discover that some of these relics are fresh … we realise that some of these creatures still exist. Some people want to help them, some want to hunt them. Some creatures want to hide, and some want to rise up against humanity. In The Folded Land I expand that story, with all these separate desires causing more conflict and trouble. I really don’t want to give too much away … hope that’s intriguing enough!

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Folded Lands?

Tim: I find it really difficult to pin down influences. I guess modern-day big game hunting and the illegal trades in ivory, and the depressing fact that some amazing creatures are edged towards extinction simply so that a small part of their bodies can be used in useless ‘medicines’. Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Brogden

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Today I am interviewing James Brogden author of the new supernatural thriller, The Hollow Tree.

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DJ: Hi 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 Brogden: In my day job I’m an English teacher which means I am simultaneously deluded enough to believe that I can create Great Literature whilst being surrounded by so much of it on a daily basis that I know I never will. I write mostly horror and contemporary fantasy, and while I have been tempted to stray into science fiction occasionally I’m basically too lazy to make the science bit of it fit together. This is my second book for Titan and my fifth overall. I like to set my books in the Midlands, where I live. I am a cat person, a Scorpio, and I possess more lego than is reasonable for a grown man.

DJ: What is The Hollow Tree about?

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James: When Rachel Cooper loses her left hand in a boating accident, she experiences phantom pains in her missing limb, as many amputees do. But her sensations develop into an ability to touch the shadowy realm of the umbra which lies behind reality. She discovers that she can bring things through from the umbra – usually it’s just junk (things like dead leaves and bits of rubble, basically the detritus of the living world), but every time she does it she disturbs the balance between life and death and the umbra lashes back in reaction. Then she encounters a human hand, and accidentally pulls through a woman who has no memory beyond that her name is Mary, at which point hell literally breaks loose. Figures emerge from the umbra to reclaim Mary, and the only way they can be defeated is if Rachel can help Mary to figure out who she is and how she died, but the answers lie in a dark secret buried in the past of Rachel’s own family. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gareth L. Powell

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Picture © Gemma Beynon

Today I am interviewing Gareth L. Powell, author of the new science-fiction novel, Embers of War, first book in the Embers of War trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Gareth! Welcome back again for another interview

For readers who aren’t familiar with you or may have missed our previous chat, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Gareth L. Powell: I’m a novelist. I mostly write science fiction, but I’m also trying to branch out into crime/thrillers. I’ve been lucky enough to win a BSFA Award and be a finalist for the Seiun Award in Japan. I’m the author of the novels Embers of War, Ack-Ack Macaque: The Complete Trilogy, and The Recollection, among others.

DJ: What is Embers of War about?

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Gareth: At its heart, Embers of War is the story of a group of misfit characters searching for atonement and meaning in the wake of a particularly brutal war. It’s also a story about loyalty, forgiveness, and the families we create for ourselves. And it features some insane space battles.

DJ: What were some of your influences when writing Embers of War and the trilogy?

Gareth: I wasn’t consciously channeling any particular influences while writing the books, but I’m certain books such as Nova by Samuel Delany, the entire Culture series by Iain M. Banks, and maybe Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice unconsciously influenced them.

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? 

Gareth: The main character is the sentient warship Trouble Dog. During the war, she was a heavy cruiser—a machine with the capacity for unimaginable destruction. Unfortunately, because part of her neural architecture runs on cloned human cells, she accidentally grew a conscience. And following a devastating war crime, she turns her back on the military and sets out to do some good in the world. However, she’s still a warship t heart and has to contend with her military conditioning and conflicted loyalties. One the one hand, she’s this incredibly powerful weapon, and on the other she’s like a confused fourteen year-old girl. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Aliya Whiteley

Today I am interviewing Aliya Whiteley, author of the new horror, sci-if novel, The Beauty.

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

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

Aliya Whiteley: Hi, and thanks for hosting me! I write mainly speculative fiction that can include science fiction, fantasy, horror and the weird, as well as literary fiction every now and again.

DJ: What is The Beauty about?

Aliya: It’s about the end of the human race. A disease has killed all the women, and the men are living out their lives with no hope. In one small community in rural North Devon, one of the youngest men notices strange mushrooms sprouting on the graves of the women. Then these mushrooms start to take on familiar forms…

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Beauty?

Aliya: John Wyndham’s ability to evoke growing strangeness was a huge influence, as was Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy. I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic tales, so that whole genre was floating around in my mind.

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? 

Aliya: Nathan, the young man who first discovers the mushrooms, is a storyteller, and he really loves his job. He tries to keep the memories of the women alive for their husbands, fathers, sons, but he is aware that his stories keep changing. He can’t help it. When he starts to tell the group about the mushrooms, he uses his way with words to influence them, and this creates tensions that lead to violence. He’s a very slippery narrator! Readers have to make their own decisions about the morality of his actions. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Mark A. Latham

Today I am interviewing Mark A. Latham, author of the new Victorian SF novel, The Legion Prophecy, third book in The Apollonian Case Files.

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

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

Mark: Thanks very much for having me. I’m a nineteenth-century-obsessed book nerd from Staffordshire, UK, and writer primarily of science fiction and Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Before that some people might know me from my time in the tabletop wargames industry – I was editor of Games Workshop’s White Dwarf magazine for a few years. I still do a sideline in games design now, working mainly on licensed products like Batman and The Walking Dead. I’ve been editing a Harry Potter game recently, which is seriously cool. But my main job is writing, which I’ve been doing full-time since Titan published the Lazarus Gate. I mention the previous jobs for two reasons: firstly, the discipline I gained from being a magazine editor has proved invaluable in managing my writing workload. Secondly, everything I’ve ever worked on in my adult career has been in some way related to sci-fi, fantasy and horror, which is a lifelong passion.

DJ: What is The Legion Prophecy and then The Apollonian Case Files about?

Mark: The actual Legion Prophecy of the title is actually a massive spoiler, so I won’t give away what it actually is, except to say that it was set up in book one, and is essentially the payoff I think a lot of readers have been waiting for. I like to horrify my readers and torture my characters a bit though, so don’t expect roses and birdsong on the way.

The casefiles are the records of the Order of Apollo, which is a secret agency based in the Apollonian Club, one of London’s exclusive gentlemen’s clubs. The Apollonian is fictional, but the idea came to me when I was reading the history of Athenaeum and the Reform clubs. With their exclusivity and secrecy, as well as high-ranking members of government within their membership, it seemed like the perfect recruiting ground for spies. The Order of Apollo basically recruits agents of the Crown, with a remit to investigate and combat threats beyond the capabilities of the Army or Special Branch – esoteric threats, in this case, from a parallel universe called the Otherside.

The first two books sort of set up this mythos – The Lazarus Gate was set in 1890, and introduced my hero, John Hardwick, who gets recruited by the club, manipulated at every turn, and ends up fighting threats he’s really not equipped to deal with. The second book, The Iscariot Sanction, was a bit of a curveball I think – it was a prequel, set in the Otherside, and ten years earlier. I like to make things difficult for myself! This was the story of how the Othersiders came to be bad, and is more of an action-driven tale rather than the investigative mystery of book one. It introduces the key threats: the Riftborn, who’re these Cthulhu-esque, world-eating demons, and the vampires.

Fast forward to the Legion Prophecy, and we’re back with John Hardwick, who is now a very bitter and twisted man, moulded by the things he’s seen, and the dark things he’s  done in the name of Queen and country. He has to reconcile that pretty quickly, because the latest threat is a very personal and very deadly one. Continue reading

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