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Interview with Kameron Hurley and Giveaway - October 3, 2011

Please welcome Kameron Hurley to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews. God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 1), Kameron's debut, was published in January 2011. Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 2) will be published tomorrow, October 4th.


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Kameron:  I’m not a terribly quirky writer, which I think has something to do with writing marketing and advertising copy for a living. I recognize that writing is a job like any other, and if the only way you can do it properly is by standing on your head in a nest full of snakes on Tuesday afternoons, you’re not going to make it in the real world.

Writing for a living means writing even (and especially) when you feel stupidly, boringly, absurdly normal.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Kameron:  I have all sorts of favorite writers right now – Genevieve Valentine, Martha Wells, Tim Akers, and I’ve been far too interested in stuff from Joe Abercrombie and Margaret Atwood lately. I’m also a fan of the old Conan and Elric novels, which is where a lot of my inspiration for Nyx came from in GOD'S WAR. I wanted to create a truly badass female Conan, with far better treatments of race and sexual politics.

As far as influences go, there’s certainly a lot of New Weird in my work, and I think most folks familiar with Geoff Ryman, Jeff VanderMeer, KJ Bishop, and China Mieville will see some of that influence. But there are also folks like Angela Carter, Octavia Butler, Annie Proulx, Christopher Priest, Michael Cunningham, Toni Morrison, Mary Renault, Sarah Waters, and Rupert Thomson whose work has really forced me to look at language and narrative in new ways.

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever got was to read outside the genre. Too often, I think, we get stuck only reading whatever’s in the SF/F section, and miss out exposure to some incredible writing because we’re busy trying to follow the “read what you want to write” advice. There are all sorts of places to steal things from. It’s good to leave SF/F regularly to mine for gold.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Kameron:  Honestly, I can’t plot my way out of a paper bag. The Bel Dame Apocrypha books are the first ones that I dared write out of order, though, because I had it in my mind that I had to write beginning to end with no breaks. But now, instead of just starting at the beginning and working my way to the end, I write in sections/scenes – middle, end, beginning whatever – and then link them together as I go. I had a vague idea of where I was going in GOD'S WAR, but too much plotting tends to take all the fun out of the discovery process for me. That said, the trouble with too little plotting is that you spend an incredible amount of time in revision. My goal is to get better at plotting beforehand so I can save some revision time on the backend and put more energy into worldbuilding and character development, which is where I have the most fun.

TQ:  Describe God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 1) in 140 characters or less.

Kameron:  After centuries of war, a godless assassin and her rag-tag team of mercenaries go looking for an alien gene pirate who could end the war.

TQ:  What inspired you to write God's War?

Kameron:  It was some combination of reading too many bloody Bible stories as a child and enjoying far too many 80’s apocalypse movies, I’m sure. I’d been wanting to write a bounty hunter story in a resource-strapped world for a long time, and started digging into Assyrian, Babylonian, and old school Biblical history. That was when I stumbled on the term “bel dame” or “blood avenger,” which is a very old, old Hebrew term that referred to somebody who collected blood debt for a family by tracking down the person who’d harmed or killed a family member. That was the kick I needed to start building a wicked band of government-sponsored assassins in a dusty, bloody, biblical-justice style world.

TQ:  Tell us about Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 2)

Kameron:  INFIDEL is the story of what happens when a group of bloody-minded government assassins decide they want to take over the world – and how one woman intends to stop them. Nyxnissa so Dasheem and her ragtag band of mercenaries are on the hunt again in this one, trying to stop a bel dame coup that could topple the government and cost them the war. There’s plenty of old friends and foes from the first book, as well as some new mangled faces, rogue shapeshifters, and mad magicians.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Infidel?

Kameron:  There’s a scene in INFIDEL when a group of bel dame assassins tracks down a character from the previous books and do some really nasty things. When I started having nightmares about bloody women bursting into my house and slaughtering my family, I knew the book was done. I also knew I’d done the scene right. One of things I wanted to accomplish with this series was to create women who were actually scary. Not what passes for “scary” women these days, with their sexy hot pants and midriff-baring shirts and tendencies to fall for vampires, but truly, deadly, crap-your-pants-while-they-murder-your-children scary. When I woke up in a cold sweat, listening for assassins on the stairs, I knew I’d accomplished that.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Bel Dame Apocrypha?

Kameron:  My Master's degree is in South African history and how the African National Congress recruited female fighters into Umkhonto we Sizwe, the militant wing of the group. Best guestimates put female guerilla fighters involved in many of southern Africa's liberation movements in the 80's at 20% or more of the armies' fighting forces. That seemed like a crazy high number to me, and a fascinating subject to explore. What drew women into the fighting forces? What made it acceptable? How did they deal with sexism and assult from their own people? And, most pressing of all, to me, was why didn't joining fighting forces to topple the existing government and social structure ever seem to translate into full equality for women after any of these groups were successful?

The answers to that are varied and complex, and led me to look a lot at racism and sexism in the U.S. as well. I went on to spend an inordinate amount of time studying genocide, Biblical homocide, Assyria, Persia, more modern Iraq-Iran (and their US-sponsored war), Islam, and a whole host of other things. I basically just went to the library, picked up 20 or 30 books, wrote down more books from the bibliographies of the best of those, and just kept churning through them until I had so much stuff in my head that I felt I was ready to create something new from it. GOD'S WAR still suffers from a lot of laziness and biases on my part, but I think that a lot of the complexity of the world that everyone comments on does come from the fact that I was full to bursting with a lot of diverse histories, vistas, politics, geography, faiths, and social mores. For fantasy writers, this kind of research is invaluable.

TQ:  In the Bel Dame Apocrypha series, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Kameron:  By far, Rhys was the toughest character to write. He’s a person of faith with some very interesting ideas about women’s place in the world (as well as his own). I wanted desperately to write a character like that in a way that was human and believable. He needed to find comfort and solace in his faith, and his surety that women needed male protection and seclusion needed to come from a positive place, for him. He was all about nurturing and protection and doing what he believed was morally right. It’s always difficult to write characters who come from a place that’s morally much different than your own and write them sympathetically. I think I did all right with him. In the second book, he was actually one of the easiest to write, because he was allowed to feel things that my main character, Nyx, was not.

That said, Nyx was the easiest to write. I built a very selfish morality for her, which - sadly - was pretty easy to create being inudated like I am with our American binge-and-purge-all-out-for-yourself culture. As I understood more about her – how she was a person of faith who had abandoned it, and how she subsumed a lot of her most human emotions in order to survive – she became a lot more interesting to write. I enjoy writing about people with non-traditional morals. I suppose folks will say that they see her as totally amoral, but to me, she simply has a different idea of morality. I love working in that gray area of personal values, and Nyx was a really fun exercise in weird but consistent screwed-up-ness.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Bel Dame Apocrypha series?

Kameron:  I’ve planned three. I’m working on the third book, RAPTURE, now. I also just recently released some free short stories from the same universe to tide folks over until INFIDEL’s release. I’ll likely do that again prior to the launch of RAPTURE, since it was a lot of fun (http://www.kameronhurley.com/?p=11619)

TQ:  What's next?

Kameron:  Next on my plate is a bloody little space opera about a mad, wandering legion of world-ships and the feuding rival families battling for control over them. Right now, I’m affectionately calling it my “BLOODTIDE in Spaaaaaace” novel. Outline, synopsis, and a couple chapters are done, but I’m trying to keep it on hold until I finish and turn in RAPTURE.

It’s easy to get distracted when you have so much cool stuff you should be working on…

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kameron:  Thanks for the invite!


About the Bel Dame Apocrypha

Infidel
Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 2
(Night Shade Books, October 4, 2011)

Interview with Kameron Hurley and Giveaway - October 3, 2011
The only thing worse than war is revolution. Especially when you're already losing the war...

Nyx used to be a bel dame, a government-funded assassin with a talent for cutting off heads for cash. Her country's war rages on, but her assassin days are long over. Now she's babysitting diplomats to make ends meet and longing for the days when killing people was a lot more honorable.

When Nyx's former bel dame "sisters" lead a coup against the government that threatens to plunge the country into civil war, Nyx volunteers to stop them. The hunt takes Nyx and her inglorious team of mercenaries to one of the richest, most peaceful, and most contaminated countries on the planet -- a country wholly unprepared to host a battle waged by the world's deadliest assassins.

In a rotten country of sweet-tongued politicians, giant bugs, and renegade shape shifters, Nyx will forge unlikely allies and rekindle old acquaintances. And the bodies she leaves scattered across the continent this time... may include her own.

Because no matter where you go or how far you run in this world, one thing is certain: the bloody bel dames will find you.


God's War
Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 2
(Night Shade Books, January 18, 2011)

Interview with Kameron Hurley and Giveaway - October 3, 2011
Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn't make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.


About Kameron

Interview with Kameron Hurley and Giveaway - October 3, 2011
Kameron Hurley currently hacks out a living as a marketing and advertising writer in Ohio. She’s lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Durban, South Africa; and Chicago, but grew up in and around Washington State. Her personal and professional exploits have taken her all around the world. She spent much of her roaring 20′s traveling, pretending to learn how to box, and trying not to die spectacularly. Along the way, she justified her nomadic lifestyle by picking up degrees in history from the University of Alaska and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Today she lives a comparatively boring life sustained by Coke Zero, Chipotle, low-carb cooking, and lots of words. She continues to work hard at not dying.


Kameron's links

Website
Twitter
Facebook
YouTube
Stumble Upon



The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:   One commenter will win a copy of Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha Volume 2) from Kameron!

How:   Leave a comment answering the following question:

What woman or women inspire you? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, October 10, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Christopher Buehlman - September 29, 2011

Please welcome Christopher Buehlman to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?



Christopher:  Perhaps it’s that I write a spare structure and layer up rather than writing in quantity and pruning. It could also be that I write ‘orally’ and always read sections aloud for rhythm and punch. But it could also be that I write in the buff while drinking mead, wearing a Viking helmet and listening to Wagner.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Christopher:  Hemingway and Fitzgerald are my favorites, which may also have nudged me towards setting my story in the 1930’s. I’m also fond of Cormac McCarthy-he has such a beautiful way of describing such gruesome events. Stephen King is seminal for me, though, as I was reading him far younger than I should have been. Maybe he taught me the what and the others taught me the how.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?



Christopher:  Ha! None of the above! Or both, if you insist. I have plot points that I sketch out, and I let the characters improvise their way between them. If the characters insist on a detour, I let them take it. Plot should come from character, never the reverse.

TQ:  Describe Those Across the River in 140 characters or less.



Christopher:  OMG Ths bk wl scr th sht out of u LOL no rlly its spooky & lush & gothic about a mn who has to nswr 4 th sins of his ancstr & hs a ht wife

TQ:  What inspired you to write Those Across The River?



Christopher:  I always wanted to write a horror novel, and finally took a stab at it in 2001. I knew the nature of the antagonists first, although I won’t discuss that here as I would prefer to let them introduce themselves to you at their leisure. Certain horrific images came to me, and soon a narrative formed itself around them. I shelved the first draft for many years and re-approached it, only now I had more life and writing experience, and a stronger bent towards the historical.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the novel?



Christopher:  I used all sorts of media-mostly books, the usual suspects, reading first-hand accounts of the Argonne offensive in the First World War, social histories of the Great Depression, histories about slavery and old plantations, books about PTSD and anything at all written during the period. I also leaned heavily on archival photos and newspaper articles. If you want to learn the cadence of 1930’s American speech, Turner Classic Movies is your friend. As is You Tube, should you wish to know how to start a Model A Ford in a hurry or clean a 1911 .45.

TQ:  Why did you set Those Across the River in Georgia?



Christopher:  It neighbors the state I grew up in (Florida), so I have been to and through Georgia quite a bit. I wanted the plantation in question to have harvested cotton rather than rice, indigo, sugarcane, tobacco or any of the other crops you might find in the Carolinas, say. Most importantly, however, I wanted the Savoyard plantation to be near the path of Sherman’s march.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Christopher:  The hardest character to write was the chief antagonist, at least until I figured out his angle. He had to have good reasons to be as bad as he was; the worst actions often come from a deep sense of moral entitlement.
The easiest was Martin Cranmer, the town’s self-educated bibliophile taxidermist, a functional alcoholic and a real wiseass.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the novel?



Christopher:  Frank and Eudora go to a nursing home to interview an old woman who actually went to the Savoyard plantation as a little girl. She doesn’t much like Eudora, and there is some wickedly funny friction between the two women. The scene also manages to convey some dreadful information-I often read that one at public events because it captures so much of the tone of the book.

TQ:  What's next?

ChristopherBetween Two Fires, coming out next Fall, is the story of a disgraced knight and a visionary little girl trying to survive in a plague-ravaged medieval France; a France that is also a battleground not only for the French and English, but for angels and devils locked in a second war for the throne of Heaven. I was unaware of the existence of a proper medieval horror novel, so I decided to write the one I wanted to read.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.




About Those Across The River

Those Across the River
Ace, September 6, 2011

Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten.

A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols's homecoming...




About Christopher

Christopher Buehlman is a writer and performer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize in Poetry and a finalist for the 2008 Forward Prize for best poem (UK). He spent his twenties and thirties touring renaissance festivals with his very popular show Christophe the Insultor, Verbal Mercenary. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in French Language from Florida State University, where he minored in History. He enjoys theater, independent films, chess, archery, cooking with lots of garlic, and thick, inky, bone-dry red wines. He lives with his wife, actress Geneva Rae, and their rescued dog, Duck, who is believed to be the result of an encounter between a Shiba Inu and a Pit Bull.
Text from:  http://www.christopherbuehlman.com/about/

Christopher's Links

Website
Twitter

Interview with Isabel Cooper and Giveway - September 26, 2011

Please welcome Isabel Cooper to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Isabel:  I don’t really need peace and quiet to write: I completed most of No Proper Lady when I was at work, and have written the sequel while on lunch break or on the train. I’m very good at tuning out distractions when I’m writing, which lets me get work done, but which I suspect makes me reasonably hard to live with.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Isabel:  My favorites in fantasy and horror: Stephen King, Mercedes Lackey, Robin McKinley, J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, S.M. Sterling, and E.E. Knight. In romance, my favorites include Emma Holly, Angela Knight, Julie Anne Long, Rose Lerner, and Susanna Fraser.

All of these writers have been pretty influential to my writing, since I pick up influences like a sponge. Lovecraft, King, Sterling, and Knight have probably contributed the most to my world-building (though I do a somewhat more optimistic universe than H.P.), while Carey, Holly, and Knight have been most influential on my romance plots.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Isabel:  That depends on how many meetings I have to sit through. I tend to write out vague plots when I’m in boring situations and need to look like I’m writing, then flesh things out more spontaneously.

TQ:  Describe No Proper Lady in 140 characters or less.

Isabel:  She’s an assassin from a future where demons rule Earth. He’s a Victorian occultist whose friend turned to a dark path. They fight crime!

TQ:  What inspired you to write No Proper Lady?

Isabel:  I tend to write stories in my head when I’m walking—I commute on foot a fair amount—and one of them started with a Victorian guy watching as a woman in leather armor skinned some sort of demon. That seemed to lend itself to time travel, and I decided I wanted to give my heroine a reason to come back in time: “sent from the future to change the past” came to mind, as it would for anyone of my generation, and the novel took off from there.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of No Proper Lady?

Isabel:  The Internet was very helpful, particularly since I wrote a lot of the novel at work, where looking things up in books would be risky! That said, I learned a lot from Daily Life in Victorian England, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, and Inventing the Victorians. It also helped that I’d taken a couple classes in college on magical belief and practice through the ages, and I keep in touch pretty well with the professor who taught them. Some of the material there provided the occult details.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the novel?

Isabel:  I’m really fond of the final confrontation and some of the lines I got there; I also quite like the dancing scenes, both the one where Simon is giving Joan lessons and the one where they’re actually at the ball. The fancy dress and the charge of dancing with someone you’re attracted to is a lot of fun to describe.

TQ:  In No Proper Lady, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Isabel:  Joan was definitely the easiest. Her voice came very naturally to me, and I had no trouble figuring out what she’d do in any given situation.
Eleanor, on the other hand, was really tough. I needed to show her progression out of trauma to a place where she can take initiative, and pacing that was hard.

TQ:  How many books are planned for Englefield series?

Isabel:  The Englefield series has three books so far: No Proper Lady, No Honest Woman, and No Time at All. Each is going to be a basically stand-alone novel, though with some characters overlapping.

TQ:  What's next?

Isabel:  Next is No Honest Woman, a novel set at Englefield when it becomes a school for future guardians of humanity—sort of Victorian magical X-Men. Two of the faculty start out fighting and end up falling for each other, while the students and their powers cause all sorts of trouble.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Isabel:  Thank you for having me!



About No Proper Lady

No Proper Lady
Englefield 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 1, 2011)

Interview with Isabel Cooper and Giveway - September 26, 2011
It’s Terminator meets My Fair Lady in this fascinating debut of black magic and brilliant ball gowns, martial arts, and mysticism.

England, 1888. The trees are green, the birds are singing, and in 200 years demons will destroy it all. Unless Joan, a rough-around-the-edges assassin from the future, can take out the dark magician responsible. But to get close to her target she’ll need help learning how to fit into polite Victorian society to get close to her target.

Simon Grenville has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Alex Reynell. The man used to be his best friend—until his practice of the dark arts almost killed Simon’s sister. The beautiful half-naked stranger Simon meets in the woods may be the perfect instrument for his revenge. It will just take a little time to teach her the necessary etiquette and assemble a proper wardrobe. But as each day passes, Simon is less sure he wants Joan anywhere near Reynell. Because no spell in the world will save his future if she isn’t in it.


About Isabel

Interview with Isabel Cooper and Giveway - September 26, 2011
Debut author Isabel Cooper lives in Boston and maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager working in legal publishing. She only travels through time the normal way and has never fought a demon, but she can waltz. Her next book, No Honest Woman, will be in stores in April 2012. For more information, please visit http://isabelcooper.wordpress.com.







The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  Two commenters will win a copy of No Proper Lady from Sourcebooks. US and Canadian mailing addresses only.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

If you were time traveling to the past, what is the one thing 
you would absolutely want to bring with you? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, October 3, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Mark Lawrence - September 23, 2011

Please welcome Mark Lawrence to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Mark's debut, Prince of Thorns, was published by Ace in August 2011.


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Mark:  I’ve got to have a quirk _and_ it’s got to be interesting? Damn. Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong... Ahem. My biggest writing quirk is that if you read anything I write backwards, it’s the devil speaking.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Mark:  Fantasy-wise my favourite recent authors have been George RR Martin and Robin Hobb, and I’ve also enjoyed Peter Brett’s work quite a bit. More generally John Irving, William Golding, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn . . . Dickens . . . I cast a wide net. I’m not sure any of them have had a direct influence. I guess GRRM influenced me to try to write more literary fantasy, and Anthony Burgess influenced my choice of character with his work in ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mark:  I make it up as I go along. More fun that way.

TQ:  Describe Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire 1) in 140 characters or less.

Mark:  Brutal literate fantasy with many layers that can be appreciated as a bloody romp.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Prince of Thorns?

Mark:  Hmmm. Well as I said above the character was inspired by Burgess’ work, but as to what inspired me to write the book . . . I’m not sure anything did. I just enjoy writing and I kept writing the book because I kept enjoying it. It’s quite cathartic to vent emotion and imagery onto a page.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create The Broken Empire world?

Mark:  Almost none. I may have typed the occasional thing into Google. Generally though when I’m making stuff up ... I make stuff up.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Prince of Thorns?

Mark:  I enjoy both of Jorg’s home-coming scenes. He always works well with an audience.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Mark:  Prince Jorg was the easiest, it’s always easier to write a character from the inside and the book is written in the first person. Also his tendency toward excess means I get to create a lot of mayhem. Prince Jorg was also the hardest character to write. It takes a light touch to deliver one story with what a character says and to deliver between those lines another story at odds with the first.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the series?

Mark:  Three.

TQ:  What's next?

Mark:  Who knows? Pantser, remember?

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mark:  And thank you.


About Prince of Thorns

Prince of Thorns
The Broken Empire 1
Ace, August 2, 2011

Interview with Mark Lawrence - September 23, 2011
A stunning fantasy debut from a major new talent!

When he was nine, he watched his mother and brother killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king...

It's time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what's rightfully his. Since the day he was hung on the thorns of a briar patch and forced to watch Count Renar's men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him-and he has nothing left to lose.

But treachery awaits him in his father's castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce, can the will of one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?


About Mark

Interview with Mark Lawrence - September 23, 2011
Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say 'this isn't rocket science ... oh wait, it actually is'.

Website:   http://www.princeofthorns.com/

Interview with Erin Morgenstern and Giveaway - September 16, 2011

Please welcome Erin Morgenstern to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews. Erin's debut, The Night Circus, was published earlier this week. You can read my 5 Qwill review here.


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Erin:  Oh, I have a lot of writing quirks. I don’t write in order, I love adverbs, I write pages and pages that I never end up using. I listen compulsively to the same music over and over again while I write. I’m not sure if any of these are particularly interesting, but there you go.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers?

Erin:  Margaret Atwood, Douglas Adams, Donna Tartt, Nick Bantock, Tom Stoppard, Dashiell Hammett, Jhumpa Lahiri, Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Tom Robbins, Diana Wynne Jones, Shakespeare.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Erin:  Traditionally I’m a pantser but having gone through so many revisions I’ve become something of a hybrid, I still write free-form to come up with material but then I try to work within a structure.

TQ:  Describe The Night Circus in 140 characters or less.

Erin:  It's about a singular circus & a competition held within it. A tale of love & choices & the shades of grey between the black & white.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Night Circus?

Erin:  The Night Circus actually began as a tangent in a different novel, since I was never much of a planner I got bored with what I was writing and sent all the characters to the circus. The circus was a lot more interesting than anything else in that novel so I focused on that instead, developing it first as a location and then building the story into it.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Night Circus?

Erin:  I didn’t research much, I mostly took a love of the time period and an overactive imagination and made things up. I would occasionally check to make sure elements weren’t overly anachronistic but I didn’t bend over backwards to make it historically accurate. I was delighted to discover after the fact that Barnum & Bailey’s circus did at one point have acrobats perform in evening wear, I’d had no idea when I dressed my own acrobats so formally.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Erin:  Poppet and Widget were the easiest, they were the very first characters created so in a lot of ways they’re the most familiar and I understood their personalities and their relationship with each other almost immediately.

Celia was the hardest, though now she’s the one I’m probably the closest to. She's a complicated character and she changes a lot during the course of the story so getting that right was a struggle, but a very worthwhile one.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Erin:  It’s very difficult to choose, as I love a lot of scenes but I am particularly fond of all the scenes that Celia and Marco share and of those the anniversary party is likely my favorite, with that burst of color and passion within all the black and white.

TQ:  What's next?

Erin:  Next up I’m about to embark on a whirlwind of a book tour, but after that I hope to get back to working on my next novel, which is still in exploration stage and I’m looking forward to figuring out its secrets.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Erin:  You are very welcome, thank you for having me!


About The Night Circus

The Night Circus
(Doubleday, September 13, 2011)

US Cover
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.



UK Cover

About Erin

Erin Morgenstern is a writer and artist. Most of her writings and paintings are fairy tales, in one way or another. She lives in Massachusetts.


Erin's Links

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter









The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of The Night Circus from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

If you could work at a circus, what would you like to do? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, September 23, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with M.J. Scott and Giveaway - September 14, 2011

Please welcome M.J. Scott to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

M.J.:  I tend to hear the characters first, so my first drafts are very dialogue heavy. I have to go back and concentrate to see what they’re doing and fill in the rest. Oh, and I write out of order when I can’t figure out the next bit.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

M.J.:  A list of my favorites could get very long. But here we go. Terry Pratchett. Lois McMaster Bujold. Jennifer Crusie. Jane Austen. Barbara Samuel/O’Neal. Guy Gavriel Kay. Megan Whalen Turner. Patricia Briggs. Ilona Andrews. Lilith Saintcrow. Keri Arthur. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Loretta Chase. Jacqueline Carey. Anne Bishop. And influences? That’s a hard one. I think every book you read influences your writing. One person who has influenced my writing is Barbara Samuel because it was doing a course on voice with her that I realized I couldn’t fight my urge to write fantasy/urban fantasy forever and opened my eyes to some things about my writing voice I hadn’t seen before. But all of my favorites are people who make me alternatively green with envy and determined to keep growing as a writer so that one day I can write a book that makes somebody feel the way I feel about my favorite books.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

M.J.:  Pretty much a pantser. I usually have a vague idea of the last scene when I start but apart from that, it’s all a blur. I do sometimes stop when I’m stuck and braindump horrible messy outlines to try and figure out any plot problem once I’m a reasonable way in but otherwise, I can’t outline in advance.

TQ:  Describe Shadow Kin in 140 characters or less.

M.J.:  Assassin fails. Sunmage falls. Mayhem ensues.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Shadow Kin?

M.J.:  I can’t claim an inspiration for this one. I’ve written other books where I wanted to write about a particular thing but really, with Shadow Kin, the heroine popped up in my head one night and started talking. What she had to say was intriguing enough that I started to write it down and just kept going.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of Shadow Kin?

M.J.:  I tend to research as I go along. I’m a character driven writer, I follow the character who shows up in my head and find out about the world as they tell me. I don’t do world building up front, other than doing a collage for the book which gives me some of the flavor of the world. I have to discover it as I go…like an excavation. I think Stephen King talks about discovering a story like a fossil…that’s kind of how I feel. And sometimes you’re excavating at midnight in a howling rainstorm with no idea at all how you’re going to get to the end.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Shadow Kin?

M.J.:  I still really like the first scene and I had lots of fun writing the action scenes, because it’s fun to write characters doing things they do very well and Lily fights well. And dirty.

TQ:  In Shadow Kin, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

M.J.:  For me, writing the villain is always hardest. Because if I get it right, I creep myself out! And Lily was the easiest. She came through clearly from the moment she showed up in my head. Which is always nice as a writer, to have a character who makes it easy.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Half-Light City series?

M.J.:  Three at the moment.

TQ:  What's next?

M.J.Blood Kin, book 2, in the Half-Light City series is out June 2012. Other than that I’m finishing up book 3 and then we’ll see what happens next!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Shadow Kin

Shadow Kin
Half-Light City 1
(Roc, September 6, 2011)
Interview with M.J. Scott and Giveaway - September 14, 2011
On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages...

Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart...



About M.J.

Interview with M.J. Scott and Giveaway - September 14, 2011

M.J Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric. She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is www.mjscott.net.


M.J.'s Links:

Website:  http://www.mjscott.net/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMJScott
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/melscott




The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Shadow Kin from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Light or Dark? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Paul Lewis and Giveaway - September 13, 2011

Please welcome Paul Lewis to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Paul:  I write on the move. I have the biggest writing room in the world! I love being outdoors and go on long walks whenever time permits. But I can hike eight miles and hardly remember any of it. My head's away somewhere else. That's how I do most of my writing. Storylines, characters, settings, even lines of dialogue ... it's all been played out in my head before I sit down at the keyboard. It's the same if I hit a problem with whatever I'm working on. I don't sit there and fret about it. I get my hiking boots on and let my subconscious deal with it. Earlier today I went out and came back with a prologue, opening chapter and beginnings of a plot for a fantasy novel that I'm going to start outlining.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Paul:  James Herbert and Stephen King got me into horror. I was in my early teens when they broke through in the 70s. I couldn't get enough of them. Herbert in particular was an inspiration because his books were set in Britain, so I could relate more to them. I actually wrote to him when I was still a schoolboy fan and told him I wanted to be a writer. He was kind enough to write back, wishing me good luck. I've still got that letter.

Ramsey Campbell was another big influence. For a while I wanted to write like him, before I realised no-one else can. But he taught me a lot about atmosphere and what you don't see being scarier than what you can.

I've read a lot of fantasy ...Tolkien, Alan Garner, Charles De Lint and Tad Williams, Susan Cooper, the list goes on. Newer favourites include Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin. But my all-time fantasy influence is Robert Holdstock. Mythago Wood was, for me, the perfect British fantasy, so original and beguiling. His untimely death robbed the world of a great storyteller and a lovely man. There are a few lines dotted around The Savage Knight that are my little tributes to him.

Outside the genre, Adam Hall, who created the Quiller spy novels, was a big influence in terms of writing action scenes. His were some of the best I've ever read, real edge-of-seat stuff.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Paul:  If I have to make the choice I suppose I'm more of a plotter ... though I don't really like the term because I tell stories, not plots. And I'm an old-fashioned kind of storyteller. I like proper beginnings, middles and ends. Very few people are good enough to do that on the hoof.

But it's not as if I come up with plots and slavishly follow them. Although I work out the main beats of the stories before I start writing, it always surprises me the extent to which they write themselves once I'm in the zone.  So I like to know where I'm going before I set out, but not necessarily the exact route. The journey often takes a few unexpected twists and turns before it's over.

With The Savage Knight, I had to write a 5,000-word outline first. Mainly because the publishers requested one, which was only fair because they were investing in the novel. But equally I needed to be sure how the storyline would unfold. With work and family commitments, and a deadline to meet, I knew I wouldn't have time to go down blind alleys.

Yet there was plenty of scope for diversions along the way. In the outline, I wrote something like: "They journey through the forest and are picked off one by one." I had no idea what would happen, no idea how they would be picked off or even exactly who "they" were as I hadn't yet created all the characters. Those dozen words led to a sustained suspense sequence running to perhaps 10,000 words, and I had a lot of fun dreaming up the gory details.

TQ:  Describe The Savage Knight in 140 characters or less.

Paul:  Brutal Dark Ages knight leaves Camelot in search of peace. Thinks he has found it. Then hideous creatures strike and he is forced to fight again.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Savage Knight?

Paul:  I wrote a short story, Act of Sacrifice, which appeared in an anthology called Swords Against the Millennium in 2000. It featured an Arthurian knight named Dodinal, known as Dodinal Le Savage. Malory refers to him a few times but only in passing, so I was able to create a personality and back story for him. Act of Sacrifice was okay. With hindsight it was a bit predictable, the writing somewhat stilted. I can't be too self-critical, though, because I was still learning. Even so, I really wanted to write a Dodinal novel. I thought the character and his world had great potential.

Last year I heard Abaddon were starting a new series of Arthurian novels, the idea being that each would be a modern retelling of a newly-rediscovered "lost" Malory tale. I sent them the basic idea that later became The Savage Knight. We exchanged emails, that basic idea was developed and I got the go-ahead. The first chapter is is an expansion of the opening of Act of Sacrifice but after that the story is completely new.

It was both hard work and great fun. I'd written two small-press novels with my regular collaborator Steve Lockley. But this was a completely different experience for me. It was much bigger in scale and daunting because I didn't have the safety net of a collaborator to bounce ideas off. At the same time it was liberating too. I didn't have to compromise. It's all me. Regardless of whether people like or hate it, I'm pleased with how it turned out.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of The Savage Knight?

Paul:  Not a huge amount, to be truthful. Much of it is set in the Dark Ages wildwood. The novel opens during a harsh winter in a forest on the Wales-England border from which all wildlife has mysteriously vanished. I live close to some fantastic Welsh countryside and I've spent a lot of time walking in the woods over the years, summer and winter. Everyone knows what woods look like so I didn't bother with long descriptions. It was more about invoking atmosphere, giving readers a feel of what it would be like to suddenly find yourself alone in this huge yet empty snowbound forest.

I'm no expert on ancient history, wildlife or hunting. Yet as I was writing the novel I actually surprised myself by how much I did know. I love books and documentaries about Britain, its history and natural world. I hadn't realised how much of it I'd absorbed. There are little details scattered throughout the novel that, while not important to the story, hopefully add a veneer of realism.

I did spend a bit of time researching the early medieval period, but not in any great detail, more to get a general idea of how people dressed, how they lived, what they ate and so on. That was more about ensuring I didn't include any anachronisms rather than making it strictly historically accurate. While it's set during a specific period of history, The Savage Knight is a fantasy, so I allowed myself some freedom. I was more interested in a world that felt real than one that necessarily was real.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Savage Knight?

Paul:  The first big set-piece is the attack on the village and I think that and the finale are my two favourite action scenes. But there are some quieter moments, mainly between Dodinal and Rhiannon, the woman who saves his life and who comes to mean a great deal to him. I liked them, too, for different reasons. I also had a lot of fun working on Dodinal's origin story, which is told in a series of flashbacks.

TQ:  In The Savage Knight, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Paul:  The most difficult was Gerwyn, a very unsympathetic character to begin with. His father is the sort-of chieftain of the village where Dodinal fetches up and he is very petulant and angry. He changes over the course of the novel. I had to come up with motivations for his boorish behaviour at the start as well as his slow transformation. The easiest was Dodinal. I had his entire story in my head before I began writing. He's no angel. He's an extremely violent, exceedingly dangerous man, but only to those who deserve his wrath. He would sacrifice his own life to save the innocent.

TQ:  What's next?

Paul:  I was working on a contemporary teen fantasy-horror called The Grey Men but put that aside to work on some other projects. I'm going back to that; if it works out they way I hope it does, it could be the start of a series. Meanwhile I've started outlining the fantasy I mentioned at the start. It has nothing to do with the world of Savage Knight but is similarly action-driven. I also have the beginnings of an idea that could be a Savage Knight follow-up or a novel for another character. We'll see.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Paul:  It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me.


About The Savage Knight

The Savage Knight
Malory's Knights of Albion
(Abaddon Books, September 13, 2011)
Interview with Paul Lewis and Giveaway - September 13, 2011
Sir Dodinal the Savage is more at home in the wild forest than in the tilting yard or the banquet hall. Keenly attuned to the natural world, but burdened with a terrible rage, he turns his back on Camelot to find peace, or a just death.

In a quiet village on the Welsh border, Dodinal believes he may have finally found a home, but the village is struck by childstealing raiders from the hills, and he must take up arms once again in his new friends’ aid. His quest will take him into the belly of darkness, as the terrible secret hidden in the hills comes to light...


About Paul

Interview with Paul Lewis and Giveaway - September 13, 2011
Paul Lewis has penned hundreds of comedy sketches for British TV and radio, along with several radio sitcoms. He has also written numerous short stories, which have appeared in publications in the UK and US, with one appearing on Dutch actor Rutger Hauer's website. Paul's collaborations with Steve Lockley include a Doctor Who contribution for BBC Books' The Story of Martha, the novels The Ragchild and The Quarry, and several novellas. The Savage Knight is Paul's first solo novel. A full-time journalist with a regional daily newspaper, he lives with his wife and teenage son in a village in South Wales.



The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  Three commenters will each win a copy of The Savage Knight generously provided by Abaddon Books.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Arthur or Lancelot?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 years old and older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Stephanie Chong and Giveaway - August 25, 2011

Please welcome Stephanie Chong to the The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Stephanie:  My most creative thoughts are usually handwritten.

I write best on scraps of paper. The more disposable, the better. Index cards. Torn-up bits of post-it notes. Napkins. Backs of receipts and the like. I have bought and received as gifts numerous beautiful journals over the years – leatherbound, embossed, gorgeously covered journals – but find that the writing that happens in them is too “precious” and nothing meaningful ever gets set down in those beautiful journals.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Stephanie:  On the literary side, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood. In commercial fiction, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and YA author Suzanne Collins. My favorite paranormal authors are Anne Rice, Maggie Shayne and Kerrelyn Sparks.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?



Stephanie:  The road to hell is paved with good outlines.

Just kidding. There is some truth in that statement for me. But some of the best writers outline extensively. In truth, I’m both a plotter and a pantser. For me, writing a novel is a complicated process that involves elements of both. I’m definitely not a linear writer. However, I think a strong sense of structure is necessary, especially in commercial fiction.

TQ:  Describe Where Demons Fear to Tread in 140 characters or less.

Stephanie:  Fledgling Guardian angel and yoga teacher Serena St. Clair must battle nightclub owner Archdemon Julian Ascher over a young actor's soul.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Where Demons Fear to Tread?

Stephanie:  A world-renowned Ashtanga teacher called John Scott came to Vancouver to teach a workshop in 2008. He recommended a book called How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach. In that book was a single line about angels. Angels don’t come up in yoga that often. In ten years of practice, that was the first time I had ever encountered the idea. When I started writing the novel in January of 2009, there was no such thing as an “angel trend.”

TQ:  Why did you set Where Demons Fear to Tread in Los Angeles, the City of Angels?

Stephanie:  LA is the most obvious city to set an angels-and-demons series in. The reason I set it there is that I know it best of any American city (I’m Canadian). My sister lives in LA, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. I have practiced at some of the “famous” yoga studios there. Even though there isn’t a lot about Serena’s daily life in the book, LA seemed to be where she wanted to live. And yet LA is still unfamiliar enough to me that I have a sense of fantasy about it.

I love to travel, so setting my novels in unfamiliar places is a chance for me to “travel” every single day. The second book takes place largely in Venice.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Where Demons Fear to Tread?

Stephanie:  There’s a scene in the Grand Canyon that I love because I struggled the hardest with it. It’s smack in the middle of the novel. Which is quite a challenging place, because it can sag. It’s by no means a perfect scene, but sometimes my favorite scenes are not perfect and not popular. I felt like my connection to the canyon came from a really deep place, but I had to push to get there.

TQ:  In Where Demons Fear to Tread, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Stephanie:  Most difficult – Serena. She’s good, and it’s tough to make good characters appealing to everybody. But I believe in good people. They inspire me, and I wanted to write about one. The world is full of enough selfishness, greed, poverty and suffering. I wanted to create a character who is trying to combat all those things.

Easiest – Luciana. She’s bad, and it’s easy to make bad people interesting. She’s beautiful, but her life is a train wreck. Who wouldn’t want to stop and stare?

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Company of Angels series?

Stephanie:  The kind you do in dreams!

That’s a coy answer. The truth is that I wrote what I knew – built a fictional world around things and places I knew.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Company of Angels series?

Stephanie:  Three so far. ;)



TQ:  What's next?

Stephanie:  The second book is Luciana’s story, The Demoness of Waking Dreams.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stephanie:  Thank YOU! It was my pleasure entirely – this was my very first interview, and I loved doing it!


About Where Demons Fear to Tread

Where Demons Fear to Tread
The Company of Angels 1
(MIRA, August 23, 2011)
Interview with Stephanie Chong and Giveaway - August 25, 2011
Fledging guardian angel and yoga teacher Serena St. Clair dares enter Devil's Paradise nightclub on a mission—to retrieve the wayward Hollywood "It Boy" she's assigned to protect. But she's ambushed by the club's owner, arch demon Julian Ascher. The most powerful demonic entity in Los Angeles, Julian is handsome as sin, a master of temptation who loves nothing more than corrupting pleasure-seeking humans. He won't release the lost soul Serena is supposed to guard. Unless she accepts his dangerous wager...
After the disastrous way his human life ended, Julian vowed that no woman would get the better of him again. Yet this sexy-sweet angel, smelling of fresh ocean air and happiness, triggers centuries-old feelings. Now, their high-stakes game of seduction, where angels fall from grace and where demons fear to tread, will lead them either to an eternity in hell...or a deliciously hot heaven.
Amazon : Barnes & Noble : Book Depository : Books-A-Million


About Stephanie

Interview with Stephanie Chong and Giveaway - August 25, 2011
Stephanie worked as a lawyer at a top-tier Canadian firm and completed five university degrees before landing her dream job: romance novelist.  Her degrees include a J.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s in Creative Writing from Oxford University.

When she’s not writing, Stephanie enjoys yoga, traveling and outdoor adventures.  She lives in Vancouver with her husband and their pug, Dexter.

Stephanie's Links

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market paperback copy of Where Demons Fear to Tread from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Angels or Demons? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Thursday, September 1, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Jeremy Wagner & Giveaway - August 23, 2011

Please welcome Jeremy Wagner to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Jeremy:  I think the fact that I need caffeine and music while I’m writing. I don’t know if those count as quirks, but my dependency on having a latte nearby and music playing while I write has become somewhat silly. But I NEED them! Haha.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Jeremy:  I’d say Stephen King, Peter Blauner, and Thomas Harris hold some heavy influence in certain ways for sure. The following list of authors have all inspired me in profound ways…these authors have hit me like no others: Stephen King, Peter Blauner, Colin Harrison, Peter Straub, Peter Benchley, Michael Crichton, Nic Pizzolatto, Elmore Leonard, Mario Puzo, Jack Ketchum, Dan Simmons, Richard Preston, Gillian Flynn, David Morrell, and Marquis de Sade.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jeremy:  I do what I call a “partial plot.” I start with an idea for a story I want to write, and then I scribble down rough notes that kind of outline the story from the beginning to end. Perhaps I’ll note some specific details here and there for important scenes I thought of beforehand. That’s it for any plotting for me. Once I start writing the story, the characters, events, and the whole damn thing all start taking on lives of their own and I find myself surprised by what happens. That’s the fun part!

TQ:  Describe The Armageddon Chord.

Jeremy:  THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD a “heavy-metal thriller” featuring a guitarist who finds himself caught between the forces of good and evil. It’s kinda like Indiana Jones with a rock star hero. A historically-tinged tale about an ancient and evil song written in strange hieroglyphics, which is discovered in a long lost pyramid beneath the Egyptian sands. Once transcribed, this song has the power to unleash the Apocalypse, and guitarist/protagonist, Kirk Vaisto, finds himself caught between the forces of divine good and monumental evil. It’s also the first thriller about an actual guitar hero faced with saving the entire world from annihilation.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Armageddon Chord?

Jeremy:  I was writing new songs for my old band, Broken Hope, and I was always laboring to write the heaviest guitar riff ever. At that time, I was thinking, “what if” some metal guitarist wrote the heaviest, most powerful guitar riff or chord known to man…a riff so devastating, it could literally cause worldwide destruction. So, on that idea, I began formulating a story…a story you now see as my novel, THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Armageddon Chord?

Jeremy:  Most of the music stuff I didn’t have to research too much. It was the historical stuff that I really had to dive into thoroughly—all the Egyptian history, Biblical history, the Holy Cross history, World War II, and a little bit of fact-finding about modern business, corporate figureheads.

TQ:  In The Armageddon Chord, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Jeremy:  The most difficult character to write may have been the protagonist, Kirk Vaisto. I say that because I could relate to him so much, I didn’t want to inject all me and my musical back-story into him. I needed to make him original. Also, I didn’t want to make him this “point-blank” superstar…I wanted him to have humble beginnings readers could relate to. All that took some doing.
The easiest character was Helmut Harkopff. I say that because I love villains and downright evil bastards you love to hate. Helmut triggered my dark side and his character just flowed from me. I guess I was meant to write horror…and pen tales of horrible people. smiles

TQ:  Do you and Kirk Vaisto have anything in common?

Jeremy:  Kirk Vaisto. Well as a recording artist/guitarist, I found myself relating to Kirk on a personal level and put some of my own touring and recording experiences into him…band experiences, too. But again, I didn’t want to make him like me…I worked to make Kirk his own character, his own person with an original personality.

TQ:  What's next?

Jeremy:  I have 2 new novels completed right now. I want to see them published in 2012. The 2 new books are unrelated to THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD or music. All my books so far are “stand alone” novels. The newer books are horror/dark fiction and I can’t wait for readers to get into them!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jeremy:  Thank you so much for the interview!


About The Armageddon Chord

The Armageddon Chord
(kRP, August 22, 2011)

Deep beneath the Egyptian sands, an ancient and evil song written in hieroglyphics is discovered in the long lost and buried pyramid of the demonic pharaoh, Aknaseth. It is written, that if this song is performed for the world to hear, it will unleash the Apocalypse upon the world of man Satan will reign and grant immortality to the chosen.

With the help of abominable Egyptologist, Helmut Hartkopff, nihilistic multibillionaire, Festus Baustone the Third will do whatever it takes to bring the song to life at any cost- even if his only daughter is to be sacrificed.

Kirk Vaisto, dubbed the "God of Guitar" by his millions of fans, soon finds himself caught between the forces of divine good and monumental evil. Vaisto begins a musical journey that takes him from an unholy chapter in ancient Egyptian history to the very remains of the Holy Cross, to the concert stage, and beyond all this, to the very edge of Hell itself. Will Kirk give the performance of a lifetime and either deliver our world from evil or will he annihilate us all with the stroke of his hand?

What will happen when Kirk Vasito strikes The Armageddon Chord?



Amazon : Barnes & Noble : Book Depository


About Jeremy

In this youth, Wagner would find himself writing short stories. The hobby grew with him as he combined his love for stories with his songwriting as guitarist in the band Broken Hope. He found that he enjoyed writing horror lyrics and that it helped him become a better writer as a whole because, he says, “all of the hundreds of lyrics I’d written were like flash-fiction pieces—all exercises in writing, crafting, and editing small blasts of fiction within the framework of a song,” says Wagner. “Lyrics turned into short-stories and eventually, short-story writing turned me into a novelist.”

Writing short stories based on his lyrics, Wagner’s stories began to be published. In the mid-'90s, Wagner started writing his first unpublished novels. Combining his writing with his knowledge of music, Wagner came up with the basic idea for THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD (kRP; September 6, 2011).

Wagner has written lyrics to more than 70 published songs along with recording six albums, two MTV videos, and touring in 16 countries with his bands, Broken Hope and Lupara. Wagner has been published in RIP, Terrorizer, Metal Edge, Microhorror magazines and works of short stories through Perseus Books, St. Martin's Press, and Ravenous Romance.

Wagner's most recent published works include the short story, Romance Ain't Dead, which appears as the first story in the zombie-romance anthology Hungry For Your Love (St. Martin's Press), and the short story The Creatures From Craigslist in the anthology, Fangbangers: An Erotic Anthology Of Fangs, Claws, Sex And Love (Ravenous Romance Publishing). Wagner is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and sponsors HWA any chance he can.

For more about Jeremy Wagner, please visit www.jeremy-wagner.com

For more about THE ARMAGEDDONN CHORD, please visit
www.thearmageddonchord.com

Jeremy on Facebook
Jeremy on Twitter


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win signed copy of The Armageddon Chord provided by Jeremy and kRP plus a signed postcard of Jeremy and some oversize The Armageddon Chord guitar picks.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite musical instrument? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Sarah Gilman - August 22, 2011

Please welcome Sarah Gilman to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Sarah:  Interesting, or crazy? *grin* Writing is often referred to as “socially acceptable schizophrenia.” Not only do my characters tell me their stories, they talk to me. They get grumpy and complain when I don’t make my word count goal for the day. Jett (the hero of book 2) and Wren (the hero of book 1) argue over which book is better. Yeah. *sigh*

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Sarah:  I have many favorite authors. One of my favorite all time authors is Charles Dickens. But of course, I can’t forget Robert L. Stevenson or Bram Stoker! In my own genre, I never miss a book from J.R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Michelle Rowen, Lara Adrian…the list goes on! They’ve all influenced my writing in some way, because when I get stuck, the best inspiration is to sit down and read.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sarah:  I’m a pantser with a plan! I always have an overall goal, motivation, conflict, and resolution in mind before I sit down to write, but the ideas flow best when I’m chin deep in a scene. I tried writing outlines, I honestly tried. I think Out in Blue had seven outlines, but as soon as I started writing, I had a new idea!

TQ:  Describe Out in Blue in 140 characters or less.

Sarah:  A fast-paced, sensual paranormal romance set on the backdrop of a dark, violent world.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Out in Blue?

Sarah:  Apart from Wren moving into my gray-matter and ordering me to? *wink* I set out to write a novel because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but Wren was the epicenter of the story from the very first words I ever typed, and I sat down to write a ghost story! He improved as a character as I developed my craft, but he never changed in my mind’s eye, and he insisted his story be told.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Out in Blue?

Sarah:  Most of the story came from my imagination, but I wanted the wings to have a realistic feel. No disappearing, no hovering, no magic, just wings that will knock over a lamp if the character isn’t careful. I’ve always been interested in birds, so most of my research had already been done. I love to watch how they move. I made a trip to VINS, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, which is a rehab center for raptors. There, I got to observe large birds up close, learn about the structure of a wing, etc.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Sarah:  Wren came naturally, as I mentioned above. But I found Ginger to be the biggest challenge. Like many romance readers, I have strong opinions about what makes a good and a bad heroine. A heroine needs to have strengths without being too perfect and flaws without being too unlikable. Creating a balanced heroine is much harder than it looks.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the novel?

Sarah:  My favorite scene is set at the top of a broadcast tower. Not a setting I get to read or write everyday!

TQ:  Who should play Wren and Ginger if Out in Blue is made into a movie?

Sarah:  I’d love to see a brand new actor and actress get their start.

TQ:  How many books are planned for Return to Sanctuary series?

Sarah:  There are several planned, but I am a debut author, so the future is not set in stone. Keep your fingers crossed!

TQ:  What's next?

Sarah:  My primary goal is finishing book 2, Deep in Crimson, currently in the revision process. I also got that ghost story written, and am revising it as well. Ghost romances are a hard pitch, so wish me luck!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Out in Blue

Out in Blue
Return to Sanctuary 1
(Entangled Publishing, August 2, 2011)

Interview with Sarah Gilman - August 22, 2011

In a violent world where fallen archangels are hunted for their valuable plumage, Wren knows one thing for certain: the human woman who saved him from a poacher attack will die if she stays with him. The demon responsible for his parents’ gruesome deaths two decades ago pines for the chance to rip apart any woman who stands under Wren’s wing.

Wren doesn’t expect Ginger to stay by his side once she discovers his ability to drain life with a mere touch, yet she lingers. When an unusual talent of her own reveals the location of Wren’s father, Wren’s isolated world implodes. With the help of the demon protectors he’s sworn never to trust again, Wren risks everything to rescue his father, confront the demon who stalks his and Ginger’s every step, and claim his eternity with the most courageous woman he’s ever known.


About Sarah

Interview with Sarah Gilman - August 22, 2011
Sarah Gilman started her first novel in third grade. She never finished that story, but never gave up the dream. Her fascination with wings also began at that age, when images of the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis captured her imagination and never let go. Now a paranormal romance writer, she employs her love of writing to bring the allure of winged creatures to the pages of her novels. Sarah lives in Vermont with her supportive husband and two spoiled cats.

Sarah's Links
Entangled Publishing 
Author website
Twitter
Facebook
Blog
Goodreads
Interview with Kameron Hurley and Giveaway - October 3, 2011Interview with Christopher Buehlman - September 29, 2011Interview with Isabel Cooper and Giveway - September 26, 2011Interview with Mark Lawrence - September 23, 2011Interview with Erin Morgenstern and Giveaway - September 16, 2011Interview with M.J. Scott and Giveaway - September 14, 2011Interview with Paul Lewis and Giveaway - September 13, 2011Interview with Stephanie Chong and Giveaway - August 25, 2011Interview with Jeremy Wagner & Giveaway - August 23, 2011Interview with Sarah Gilman - August 22, 2011

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