Tag Archives: tor books

Author Interview: Arkady Martine

Today I am interviewing Arkady Martine, author of the new science fiction novel, A Memory Called Empire, first book in the Teixcalaan series.

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

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

Arkady Martine: Hi! I’m a writer, a city planner, and a Byzantine historian (kinda in that order). I mostly write speculative fiction, academic articles, and creative nonfiction/reviews & criticism. I’m a New Yorker in that obnoxious way that New Yorkers have of declaring their city the center of the universe, but I’ve lived on three continents so far — highlights are the UK, Turkey, and Sweden — and right now I live and work in Baltimore with my wife, the author Vivian Shaw. I’m obsessed with urban architecture, climate resiliency planning, deserts, and eleventh-century Armenian-Byzantine cultural contacts, and when I’m not writing or working on adapting our cities to climate change, I climb aerial silks (badly), make chocolates (okay), and sing choral and shapenote music (decently.)

DJ: What is A Memory Called Empire about?

Arkady: It’s about empire and assimilation, and technology that makes people maybe-immortal, and how falling in love with a culture that’s eating your culture alive is a thing that really happens to people. Also it’s a big, sprawling political thriller. In space.

DJ: What were some of your influences A Memory Called Empire and the series?

Arkady: The book is in a lot of ways the fictional version of what I did a postdoctoral project on at Uppsala University in Sweden. My research there was about the contacts between Byzantium and the ‘eastern frontier’, particularly Armenia, during the eleventh century – and how those contacts were remembered, represented, and narrativized by the people who lived through them. The project was very much about borderlands as trauma spaces, about history and memory as narrative repairs to a wounded sense-of-the-world. This book came out of that project, and a lot of previous research into the history of imperialism, its methods and horrors and seductions.

I’m also highly influenced by CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner books, particularly the first six books (which, to me, form the heart of the arc of the series). Cherryh’s diplomat-embedded-in-an-alien-culture, dealing with assimilatory and existential pressures in a time of political crisis, Bren Cameron, is a direct ancestor of my Mahit Dzmare. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Cory Doctorow

photo by Jonathan Worth (JonathanWorth.com), Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Today I am interviewing Cory Doctorow, author of the new science-fiction book, Radicalized.

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

What is Radicalized about?

Cory: Radicalized collects four new novellas that use science fiction — sometimes hopeful, sometimes angry, and sometimes both — to explore privilege, individuality and collective action.

Unauthorized Bread is a story about refugee housing where everything from the toaster to the elevators are designed to spy on, control, and extract cash from people with no alternative — and about how their self-help measures to deactivate these technologies leads to a golden age, even as it puts them in mortal peril.

Radicalized is about entitled white dudes who are traumatized by watching their loved ones die of preventable illness whose treatments their insurers won’t cover; when they go online to find support on message boards, they end up radicalizing each other into suicide bombers who kill health-care execs and the Congressmen who do their dirty work — the story turns on when and how America is willing to call affluent white men terrorists.

Model Minority is about a Superman-like hero who has spent a century physically shoring up American might at home and abroad, but who reaches a breaking point and intervenes to stop the same NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner from beating up a Black man; the “hero” quickly discovers that his “Americanness,” his “whiteness” and even his humanity were all provisional conditions whose unwritten terms of service required him to turn a blind eye to the cruelty and injustice of American politics. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Paul Meloy

Today I am interviewing Paul Meloy, author of the new fantasy novel, The Adornments of the Storm, second book in the Night Clock series.

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

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

Paul: Thank you for inviting me to do the interview, DJ.

I live in Devon with my family and I work full time as a senior mental health nurse in a community team in Torquay. This takes up much of my time and energy, but when I get the chance, I write short stories, novellas and novels, and am delighted to say I’ve had some small success and met some wonderful people in the process.

DJ: What is The Adornments of the Storm and then the Night Clock series about?

Paul: A long time ago, it seems, I started writing short stories that began to develop a theme, or themes, that demanded exploration. It was an almost subconscious process, at least at first, and characters seemed to want to communicate with each other and inhabit the same world.  Eventually I realised I’d have to attempt a novel just to try and subdue the clamour from all these characters and make sense of their inter-tangled stories. Night Clock came out of that but I knew, finishing it, that there was more going on, and Adornments of the Storm was my attempt to round it all off. I intended the whole structure of the books and stories to be fairly loose, enabling the reader to dip in and out at any point and still be able to – hopefully- make sense of it. If you put all the stories together and the novels, each reader might get a unique reading experience. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jenn Lyons

Today I am interviewing Jenn Lyons, author of the new fantasy novel, The Ruin of Kings, first book in the A Chorus of Dragons series.

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

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

Jenn Lyons: You’re quite welcome. It’s a pleasure to talk to you! I suppose I could start by pointing out that I am coming to this whole writing business quite late: I was a graphic artist and illustrator for twenty years, worked in video games for another ten, and now here I am. (Add that all up and you’ll start to see I may not be a millenial.) Also–and this is important–I can’t make jello.

DJ: What is The Ruin of Kings about?

Jenn: It’s about a young man—adopted, poor—who daydreams he’ll find out that he’s a long-lost prince, which will naturally solve all his problems. Except when it happens, it’s horrible. It turns out that ‘rich’ and ‘nice’ aren’t synonyms, his new family is cruel, and he’s replaced his old problems with a whole new list of much more dangerous problems. He finds himself caught up in schemes and machinations of some astonishingly evil and powerful beings, who all want to use him to their own ends.

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

Jenn: I was influenced a somewhat unusual juxtaposition of cultures. My step-father was Assyrian and so I grew up in a household with a lot of very middle-eastern food, clothing, stories, but then I also have a strong love of mythology of all sorts, particularly celtic. If you look close, I think both those influences come through very clearly in different ways. And I was a complete D&D nerd as a child–I still am–so that can’t help but have had an impact. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Drew Williams

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Today I am interviewing Drew Williams, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Stars Now Unclaimed, the first book in The Universe After series.

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

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

Drew Williams: No problem – happy to have been asked! For starters, I’ve been a bookseller in Birmingham, Alabama for most of my adult life (longer than that, actually, depending on when you count ‘adulthood’ as setting in; I was first hired at sixteen, when I walked in off the street looking for work and the owner needed someone to fill a shift that night). That means books – reading books, recommending books, arguing about books (Moby Dick is the most overrated classic in the canon; it just is) – have been pretty much my whole life, so moving on to actually writing books only seemed natural! (Plus, I’ve been writing for my own entertainment since I was a teenager, so I managed to get through the ‘really, really dreadful stuff, just unreadable’ pretty early on.)

DJ: What is The Stars Now Unclaimed about?

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Drew: The Stars Now Unclaimed is space-opera science fiction, set in a universe that has been ravaged by an event called ‘the pulse’: basically, a strange radiation that spreads from world to world, causing local technology to collapse. In other words, on one planet, you could have perfectly functional spaceports, medical facilities, all that fun sci-fi tech, and on the same moon of that very same world, you might be stuck with pre-Industrial Revolution era technology.

So: that’s the setting. As far as the actual narrative concerns, it follows Jane Kamali, an operative of the ‘Justified’ (a kind of intergalactic peace-keeping force) tasked with rescuing ‘gifted’ children – children granted supernatural abilities by the pulse radiation – from the war-torn worlds they were born in. As the book begins, Jane’s current mission is going just swimmingly – she only nearly dies a few times – as she rescues a young telekinetic girl named Esa from her backwater home, only to find that she’s not the only one interested in Esa’s gifts: a would-be empire of intergalactic conquerors called ‘the Pax’ are also on their trail, and from there it’s a race across the pulse-stricken universe to get Esa to safety. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jo Walton

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Today I am interviewing Jo Walton, author of the new book, An Informal History of the Hugos.

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

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

Jo Walton: I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer, I’ve published thirteen novels with a fourteenth, Lent due out in May 2019. I also write poetry, and very occasional short stories, I had a short story collection out earlier this year from Tachyon Press, called Starlings. This is my second collection of blog posts, the first one was called What Makes This Book So Great and it won the Locus Award for Best Non Fiction in 2015. My novels have also won an embarrassing number of awards – I’m actually embarrassed to list them at this point.

DJ: What is An Informal History of the Hugos about?

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Jo: It’s about the history of the science fiction and fantasy genre in the second half of the twentieth century, as seen through the lens of the Hugo awards. It’s about who was writing what, what was good, what was changing and when, what the field looked like in each of those years. So it’s a survey, with additional essays about some of the books. It started off as a series of blog posts on Tor.com. And it’s very very personal. I make no attempt at objectivity, this is entirely my opinion – except that we took the best of the comments on the original blog posts and put them in the book too, so you’ll see me being wrong and being corrected, and other people’s opinions.

DJ: What were some of your influences for An Informal History of the Hugos?

Jo: I hadn’t thought about this until you asked that, but the only possible answer is “fandom”. This is very much like fannish projects and very unlike academic ones or the lists people compile. Also, and this is the whole point of the project, there’s this huge cultural pressure to say “what is the one best x” and what I’m doing here is resisting that, not saying is the winner the best book, but are the nominees the best five books. So it’s really hard to say anything is a particular influence. Continue reading

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Author Interview: David Keck

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 David Keck, author of the new fantasy novel, In the Eye of Heaven, first book in the Tales of Durand series.

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

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

David Keck: Big picture, I’m a prairie Canadian. Winnipeg is where I grew up, and it’s still the place I think of when someone asks about “home” although I’ve been living in New York City for fourteen years. Somewhere along the line I got hooked on science fiction and fantasy. I remember watching Star Trek reruns after school, and playing Hoth in the snow drifts. I will also confess to playing Dungeons and Dragons too much at high school.

I did a degree in writing at the University of Sussex and snuck off to climb around castles and henges as often as I could. I am not sure how many tombs and towers and mossy stones I’ve seen. (An Ordnance Survey map can be your best friend). Now, I’m a teacher in a Washington Heights middle school. Life can be astonishing. Oh, and, when I grow up, I also want to be a cartoonist! (I love drawing monsters and things, and a few have appeared in professional spots over the years).

DJ: What is In the Eye of Heaven about?

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David: In the Eye of Heaven is the story of a real, rust-and-muscle knight who backs into the center of a civil war full of mad dukes and sorcerous horrors. It’s the first book in a trilogy, and it sees our hero, Durand Col, miss out on an inheritance and make some terrible mistakes as he tries to find his own way. Without giving away too much, Durand earns a place in the retinue of a young man who hopes to prove himself as a tournament hero. Before the end of the novel, the half-war of those early tournaments leads Durand and his friends deep into the politics that tear their nation to pieces.

DJ: What were some of your influences In the Eye of Heaven and the series?

David: I’m a huge reader of actual history and folklore. I’m deeply interested in how people actually lived and died–and what they believed while doing it. My bookshelves are crammed with the stuff. So, when I turned to writing In the Eye of Heaven, I brought with me all of the eerie folktales and grim histories I’d been reading. In some ways, what you get is an antidote to an Arthurian romance. You will find uncanny places and ancient sorceries, but the men and women you meet must deal with broken bones, grumpy horses, and at least one scrape with medieval dentistry. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ilana C. Myers

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Today I am interviewing Ilana C. Myer, author of the new fantasy novel, Fire Dance, sequel to Last Song Before Night.

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

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

Ilana C. Myer: Thanks, it’s my pleasure to be here!

I’m the author of Fire Dance, a standalone sequel to Last Song Before Night. My books are set in a world where poets have power, and are rife with dark magic, twisty psychological conflicts, intrigues, and betrayals. Because those are things I enjoy.

I’ve also written about books–often fantasy–for various places such as the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Huffington Post, as Ilana Teitelbaum.  

DJ: What is Fire Dance about?

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Ilana: Last Song Before Night was about rediscovering lost enchantments. Fire Dance explores the consequences of that power. As a mirror to this theme, the protagonist herself, newly powerful, must come to terms with the challenges of her new position.  

DJ: Fire Dance is the sequel, but the first novel, Last Song Before Night, is actually a stand-alone; Does this mean that Fire Dance can be read as a stand-alone as well, or will readers need to be familiar with event in  Last Song Before Night before jumping in?

Ilana: I wrote Fire Dance with new readers in mind. Because Last Song ties up everything at the end, Fire Dance could have a truly new beginning, even as it takes up threads from the previous book for its backstory.

I was also determined, while I was at it, to write something completely different. I see a trilogy as an opportunity to tell a new story with each book, even if the stories are linked. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kari Maaren

Photograph courtesy of Phil Mills

Today I am interviewing Kari Maaren, author of the new YA fantasy novel, Weave a Circle Round.

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

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

Kari Maaren: I’m a Canadian writer, cartoonist, musician, and university English instructor. I live in Toronto and basically do all the things. Weave a Circle Round is my first novel, but I also have a couple of webcomics, West of Bathurst and It Never Rains, and a couple of independent albums, Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off and Everybody Hates Elves. I am not fond of puns or elves, not necessarily in that order. I grew up in Vancouver, so whenever someone in Toronto complains that it’s “too rainy,” I laugh.

DJ: What is Weave a Circle Round about?

Kari: It’s an old-fashioned kids’ adventure story about a girl named Freddy who is just generally mad at the whole world, herself included. She wants to stay under the radar at high school, but her weird stepbrother and super-smart little sister draw attention to themselves and, peripherally, to her. Then a couple of bizarre new neighbours move in next door, and the weirdness begins to surge out of control. Saying too much more would constitute a huge spoiler, but basically, with WACR, you’ve got a mystery wrapped in a fantasy adventure sprinkled over with references to mythology and Romantic poetry, all tied up with a bow made of creepiness. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Michael F. Haspil

Today I am interviewing Michael F. Haspil, author of the new urban-fantasy novel, Graveyard Shift.

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

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

Michael F. Haspil: Sure. I’ll stick to the big things. I’m a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and used to do a lot of operational stuff (“stuff” is a technical term) with Air Force Space Command. I worked as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch commander and launch director for the Air Force at Cape Canaveral. I’ve been trying to be a professional writer for most of my life, and certainly all of my adult life. I’m also a dedicated gamer. Tabletop, board games, role-playing, miniature, computer…any type of game. I’m there.

DJ: What is Graveyard Shift about?

Michael: The super short version is that it is about an immortal pharaoh, who has been blackmailed into law enforcement. He must make some unsavory alliances to stop an ancient vampire conspiracy that is trying to destroy humanity. He often has to make some pretty awful decisions to stop worse things from happening.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Graveyard Shift?

Michael: I would say most of my influences come more from film and television than literary sources, although Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series probably rubbed off a bit. Among Movie and TV influences I’m drawn to stories where the good guys and bad guys might be a little hard to tell apart unless you look really hard. So, there’s a bit of Noir creeping in throughout the book. That sort of murky morality kind of thing where there might not be a clean-cut line between right and wrong. L.A. Confidential, Justified, Chinatown. The largest influence might actually be the original Lethal Weapon. People tend to remember the Lethal Weapon series as action comedies, but I think that’s due to the latter films certainly. I would argue that the first film is a dark affair, with Martin Riggs genuinely suffering from some serious mental problems throughout and only finding some solace at the end of the film. For Graveyard Shift I wanted to graze the surface of the buddy-cop dynamic except that my characters have been forced into it for more than seventy years, have their own agendas, and might have a genuine dislike for one another. Continue reading

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