The Qwillery | category: 2013 DAC Interview | (page 2 of 8)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with V.E. Schwab, author of Vicious - September 25, 2013

Please welcome V.E. Schwab to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Vicious was published on September 24, 2013.

Interview with V.E. Schwab, author of Vicious - September 25, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

V.E.:  Thank you so much for having me! Crazy that the time has finally come.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

V.E.:  As an only child with a vivid imagination, I’ve been creating fictional worlds—of which I am queen, or God—and populating them for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been great at living in the real world, but I’m ace at making up my own. As for the writing part, I started putting stories on paper when I was in middle school, and then transitioned to poetry in high school. In college I toyed with poetry, non-fiction, screenplays, short fiction, before finally trying my hand at a book, just to see if I could. Luckily (in retrospect), that book didn’t sell, but my next one did. I simply haven’t stopped since. Though, in truth, I can still see myself trying my hand at other forms. It’s a dream of mine to write for comic books and movies. Maybe one day ;)

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

V.E.:  Like, in my writing? Or while I’m writing? In my writing, I always try to sneak in “half-” as in “half-rotted.” I have no idea why, but the phrasing always shows up. As a writer, I end up perching on the least comfortable furniture in the house, Gollum-style, when I’m plot-stuck. I’m pretty sure I mutter to myself as well.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

V.E.:  I’m a connect-the-dots-er. Before I seriously start writing a book, I come up with the 5-10 plot points/moments that must be there for the book to be my book. Sometimes they are twists and sometimes they are gasp moments and sometimes they’re very quiet beats, but they’re vital to the story I want to tell. Once I have those, I let myself find my way between them. This gives me enough freedom to discover plot without wandering too far from my charted course.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

V.E.:  The beginnings. And the endings. And the middles.

In truth, I think the most challenging thing has been getting better, because as you get better, you get worse. Worse at handling the fact that you still have to write something before you can make it better. You become more aware of what you’re doing, but you still have to get through the messing up part, and the going astray part, and the stumbling. And the self-awareness…I can tell when something’s wrong before I know how to fix it. I can predict which things people will like, or be frustrated with, or miss. Too many voices in my head.

TQ:  Describe Vicious in 140 characters or less.

V.E.:  Two pre-med students discover the key to superpowers--near-death experiences--and set out to create their own abilities. It doesn't end well.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Vicious?

V.E.:  I’ve always loved hero and villain culture, specifically the anti-hero that exists in between the classic two. I knew I wanted to write a villain lead (we all know the phrase, “Every villain is the hero of their own story”) and I wanted to play with the idea that there are no heroes and villains in the world, only people with labels put on them, by themselves or someone else.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Vicious?

V.E.:  I did a lot of medical research. The whole foundation for supernatural powers in VICIOUS is this idea that under the right circumstances—the threat of imminent demise--a permanent chemical shift could take place in a person. Eli, the book’s antagonist, claims that it’s equal parts mind and body, the mental state as important as the physical. It becomes as much about psychology as physiology. But the physiological aspects are key, especially when it comes to the bringing people back part. I consulted EMTs and medical professionals, and did a lot of research on adrenaline, various modes of death, and which of those modes one could feasibly revive from, especially with household or hospital-stolen equipment.

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

V.E.:  Victor was the easiest. My editor and I joke that Victor is my sociopathic supervillain alter ego. He lives inside my head with perfect clarity. Eli on the other hand is a much more emotional character, the product of a traumatic religious upbringing. He has a serious sense of being “burdened with glorious purpose” to borrow Loki’s phrase, and was much more challenging.

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

V.E.:  Ooooohhh, that’s hard. I honestly think Eli and Victor’s death scenes (that’s not a spoiler, they both kill themselves fairly early in the book in an attempt to generate abilities) are my favorite. Which is pretty sick, I guess, but I am intensely proud of both. ☺

TQ:  What's next?

V.E.:  So many things. I’m in the middle of a YA series about a library of the dead (the second book, THE UNBOUND, hits shelves in January). I’m writing a set of three Middle Grade books about a Doctor Who-esque guardian angel—EVERYDAY ANGEL--that kicks off next summer. And I’m working on an adult fantasy set in three Londons—one you know, two you don’t—full of cross-dressing pirates and thieves and bad magic and sadist kings.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

V.E.:  Thank you so very much for having me!


Tor, September 24, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Adult Debut

Interview with V.E. Schwab, author of Vicious - September 25, 2013
A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

About V.E. Schwab

Interview with V.E. Schwab, author of Vicious - September 25, 2013

V.E. Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing, Schwab has a penchant for tea and BBC shows, and a serious and well-documented case of wanderlust. Vicious is her first adult book.

Website  ~  Twitter @veschwab ~  Facebook  ~ Blog  

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013

Please welcome Elliott James to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Charming, Elliott's debut novel, is published today. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Elliott a Happy Publication Day! You may read Elliott's Guest Blog - Hare Extensions - here.

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Elliott:  Thank You.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Elliott:  If you mean on my own free will and time, I’d have to say around the 7th grade, probably because this was when I was discovering writers like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Roger Zelazny. I guess you could say that puberty and Fantasy Horror struck at the same time in my life. Assuming that puberty and Fantasy Horror are, in fact, two different things.

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

Elliott:  In regards to my writing habits, probably that I prefer to write early in the morning (as in 5.a.m. while I’m freebasing coffee) or at night out on my porch sipping cider. I seem to like being right on the edge of sleep, I don’t know why.

       As to my writing style, it’s probably my inability to keep my often inappropriate sense of humor from poking up like a weed or a whack-a-mole. Sometimes I find it actively frustrating. I mean, I’ll be trying to build suspense and having to fight down an impulse to make some irreverent comment about anal warts. Not that I would know how to make a reverent comment about anal warts. Perhaps you should make that a writing challenge.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Elliott:  Both, and that’s not me evading or trying to have it both ways either. I plot and create backgrounds for my characters and research, and as soon as I actually start writing it all goes awry pretty quickly. But I think I would have a hard time writing if I didn’t have a structure to rebel against.

       But just to prove that I am capable of a definite answer, I will say that I’m not a last minute packer, I’m an over-packer who has to jettison things later. If that wasn’t clear, some people underwrite and then go back and flesh everything out later, and some people overwrite and then have to go back and chainsaw their work down into something manageable. I’m one of the latter.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Elliott:  Those still points between pivotal scenes where it’s like the story stops to take a breath. Often this is where the most interesting bits are, but these are also spots that readers will sometimes skim over to get to the next plot development. These are the places where it’s really hard for me to find a balance between adding texture, moving the plot along, and being self-indulgent.

TQ:  Describe Charming in 140 characters or less.

Elliott:  A modern day descendant of Prince Charming, bitter, pursued, cursed, is led by love to stay and fight an evil new vampire queen.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Charming?

Elliott:  The truest and simplest answer is that I enjoyed it. But I also address that question somewhat in my guest blog.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Charming?

Elliott:  Mostly I researched myths and fables and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s hard to research one thing in isolation though. While I was researching werewolves I also started looking into Jungian psychology. While I was researching vampires, I looked into several theologies. When I was researching the Fae, I read a lot of history. While I was researching fortune tellers, I read a lot of palms. Buh dum bump. Rim shot. Hello? Is anyone still out there? Is this thing on?

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

Elliott:  I’ve actually answered this question in an interview that’s going to be in the back of the book, and just saying the same thing or cutting and pasting seems lame, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to approach it from a different angle.

       At some point in grad school, I read Virginia Woolf talking about Jane Austen – I think it was in The Common Reader –and Woolf was commenting about how Austen’s characters had a sense of great depth even though you saw very little of them on the surface. I think at one point Woolf implied that part of this was that Austen was an astute observer who often met people who had greater opportunities for life experiences than she did. There are always parts of other people’s personalities that are formed by experiences we never see, but the effects of those experiences, the character formed by them, tend to show consistently through small, seemingly trivial details. I think Woolf meant that Austen realized this and made it one of her great strengths as a writer.
I believe Woolf also implied that Austen had a much greater understanding of her creations than she ever showed in detail, and because of this her creations always spoke and acted in a way that seemed true even if they only showed up in a few scenes of seemingly little importance. Please feel free to read The Common Reader and argue with me or correct me if you think I’m misremembering or simplifying or whatever, because I probably am. But in any case, that idea stuck with me when a lot of things from grad school thankfully did not.

       I’m not saying I succeed, but I at least try to reach some kind of understanding of where my characters are coming from before I start writing them. Sometimes that understanding of a character deepens as I go along, but very rarely (in my vast experience as the author of one debut novel) has that understanding contradicted my original idea.

       All of which is to say that there was one character in particular, Stanislav Dvornik, who was both easy and hard to write, and for the same reason. Stanslav is a type of psychic called a kresnik, and he is aging, bitter, burned out, and secretive by nature and by choice. So writing someone as a closed off enigma is kind of easy. But giving that character a sense of texture or depth can also be difficult, especially when the narrator of the story has a tendency to dismiss or not bond with that other character.

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

Elliott:  I guess, y’know, that one that I like a lot….

       Seriously, I like different scenes for different reasons. Romantically, there’s a scene with a first kiss that I like. I try to play off the contrast between the stereotype of Prince Charming as this kind of romantic pretty boy and the ruthless, pragmatic monster hunter who I’ve envisioned. I mean, part of the joke of Charming is that John Charming isn’t charming at all, or at least not smooth and urbane. Then there’s another contrast between this hardened survivor and the disconcerted idiot he becomes when he walks ass backwards into true love and doesn’t know how to handle it. That was fun.

       In terms of action, there’s a back alley confrontation that I l choreographed like a movie scene. I mean I literally used a real location, physically walked through it, then made little figures out of twist-ties and worked out where each person would be at each point as if I were recreating a crime scene or something. I think it reads a little differently than most action scenes.

TQ:  What's next? (in which an author shares whatever he'd/she'd like to share)

Elliott:  Well, I have this bad case of anal warts…no, stop! Just kidding! I’m working on the sequel to Charming right now. I’m thinking of calling it A Law for the Wolf in reference to that Kipling poem “The Law for the Wolves,” but there are two factors to consider: one is that this might be some kind of copyright infringement for all I know. The other is that it’s entirely possible that my editor is better at coming up with titles than I am. She came up with Charming and I like it because it works on a lot of different levels.

       I’ve also got the beginnings of an idea for another John Charming short story (I’ve written four) that I’m thinking of calling “Dog Gone” because I keep coming across all of these legends and myths about big demonic black dogs. Did you know that the Son of Sam claimed to have seen a big black dog that told him to commit murders? There’s also the popular story about Robert Johnson claiming to see a big black demonic dog at the crossroads although that’s inaccurate. Robert wrote a song about hellhounds on his trail which was actually about Tommy Johnson, another blues singer who actually did claim to have met a supernatural being at the crossroads. Not sure that’s the note I want to end on, but the French, English, Scandinavians, and Romans all apparently sacrificed black dogs because they thought their spirits would guard places or ceremonies in their afterlife. I think that’s fascinating and disturbing. So naturally I want to write about it somehow.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Elliott:  Thanks for inviting me :)


Pax Arcana 1
Orbit, September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013
John Charming isn't your average Prince...

He comes from a line of Charmings -- an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is-- until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?

And short stories:

Charmed I'm Sure
Orbit, August 15, 2013
eBook, 75 pages

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013
This is the first in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

When Tom Morris encounters a naked man walking along the interstate with no memory of how he got there, the smart thing to do is drive away. The only problem is, Tom Morris has secrets of his own. Like the fact that he comes from a long line of witch finders, monster slayers, and enchantment breakers, or that his real name is Charming. John Charming.

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Orbit, September 17, 2013
eBook, 75 pages

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013
This is the second in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

Nothing with the Cunning Folk is ever free. When John Charming goes to Sarah White for help with a minor ghost problem, he soon finds himself dealing with a restless spirit on a completely different scale. And the last thing you want to be when hunting a water spirit is out of your depth...

Pushing Luck
Orbit, October 15, 2013
eBook, 75 pages

Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013
This is the third in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

Trying to make money off the grid, John Charming discovers an underground poker tournament where the hors d'oeuvres are made of human flesh and the players are gambling with much more than their money. All bets are off.

Surreal Estate
Orbit, January 14, 2014

[cover forthcoming]
This is the fourth in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013.

The line between reality and dream is never entirely clear under the best of circumstances...and when John Charming finds himself being hunted through a nightmare house, it is far from the best of circumstances.

About Elliott

An army brat and gypsy scholar, ELLIOTT JAMES is currently living in the blueridge mountains of southwest Virginia. An avid reader since the age of three (or that's what his family swears anyhow), he has an abiding interest in mythology, martial arts, live music, hiking, and used bookstores. Irrationally convinced that cellphone technology was inserted into human culture by aliens who want to turn us into easily tracked herd beasts, Elliott has one anyhow but keeps it in a locked tinfoil covered box which he will sometimes sit and stare at mistrustfully for hours. Okay, that was a lie. Elliott lies a lot; in fact, he decided to become a writer so that he could get paid for it.

Interview with K. B. Laugheed, author of The Spirit Keeper - September 20, 2013

Please welcome K. B. Laugheed to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Spirit Keeper will be published on September 24, 2013.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

K.B.:  I’d like to address this question in my blog next month.

TQ:  We're looking forward to that!

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

K.B.:  I suppose most people would consider it a quirk that I always write my first drafts by hand on 3-ring notebook paper. I do this because, for me, writing is not a linear process. It’s full of instant revisions and redirections, insertions and alterations. It is possible, of course, to do all those things on a machine, but in order to write on a machine, one must keep switching back and forth from the creative part of the brain to the mechanical part in order to perform the necessary technical functions. I think switching back and forth from one side of the brain to the other undermines the creative process.

     In order to get my creative juices flowing, I need to turn on the tap and just let it run for a while. Why interrupt the flow by pausing to make a machine perform some simple mechanical task? Once I get that “stream of unconsciousness” going, writing becomes almost an out-of-body experience, but the minute I have to stop and think about something real, suddenly I’m back in my body again and the creative tap is turned off!

TQ:  What is the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

K.B.:  For me, the most challenging part of the writing process is sharing my work with others. It’s not that I can’t take criticism—I am, in fact, usually dying for feedback—it’s just that I rarely find someone interested in giving useful advice. By far the majority of people I’ve given my writing to don’t give me any feedback at all. If I don’t hound them for a response, they never mention my work again, and if I ask specifically for an opinion, they’ll get a guilty look as they mumble, “Oh, it was good!” Obviously they didn’t even read it.

     Look, I understand people are busy and I know it’s asking a lot to solicit a reader response, but gee whiz! You can at least leave my manuscript in the bathroom and look it over a little bit each day!

     Another group of unhelpful readers are those who are willing to give all sorts of advice—usually about how to turn my work into something completely different. Instead of making the story about Indians, why not make it about baseball? And instead of chickens, why not mention the textile industry? And instead of an ax, why not make it magic shoes?

     And then there are the readers who are just hurtful. A good editor is an absolutely invaluable resource, but more than once I have had an editor insist on one small change that would make my story mean exactly the opposite of the story I wrote. Why would I want to do that? And then there was the editor who called to tell me how unbelievable my main character’s actions were—a character in a memoir, by the way, whose actions were my real-life actions. Ultimately the editor passed on my submission, saying he didn’t deal in memoirs, but if he knew he wasn’t going to publish the story anyway, why did he feel the need to insult me personally?

     And then there‘s my mother’s classic comment, which explains, I suppose, why I‘ve always had such a hard time sharing my writing. After reading a manuscript I’d worked on for more than five years, my mother smiled, patted my arm and said, “Well, you tried to make it nice!”

     Gee whiz.

TQ:  Describe The Spirit Keeper in no more than 140 characters.

K.B.:  The Spirit Keeper is an Indian captivity narrative in which a 17-year-old girl is taken from her frontier Pennsylvania home in the year 1747.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Spirit Keeper?

K.B.:  Several things happened simultaneously which forced me to write The Spirit Keeper, but they’re all pretty personal. Suffice it to say that EVERYTHING in my life converged in such a way that I had no choice but to write this book.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for this book?

K.B.:  I’ve been a student of First Nations history, mythology, and culture for over forty years. The bibliography of pertinent texts would consume many, many pages. I’ve also spent a lot of time living in 1836 as a volunteer at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana.

TQ:  What’s next?

K.B.:  What’s next for me is The Spirit Keeper Part II. This book was originally written as one massive manuscript, but various factors conspired to split my masterwork into two pieces. I trust that this is the way it’s supposed to be, but I would like to go on record as saying that Part I is nothing but a set-up for Part II, which is the real story I wanted to write. Even now, Part II is ready to go, awaiting only the response from the public to see whether or not it will ever be published.

     Obviously, I await reader reaction with great trepidation, hoping people will love this story as much as I do but fearing I’ll receive little more than that old, familiar guilty smile along with the vague, “Oh, it was good!”

     But, hey—I really did try to make it nice.

     At any rate, I’d like to thank The Qwillery for this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my work.

The Spirit Keeper

The Spirit Keeper
Plume (Penguin), September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

This is the account of Katie O Toole, late of Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, removed from her family by savages on March the 2nd in the year of our Lord 1747

The thirteenth child conceived of miserable Irish exiles, Katie O Toole dreams of a different life. Little does she know that someone far away is dreaming of her.

In 1747, savages raid her family home, and seventeen-year-old Katie is taken captive. Syawa and Hector have been searching for her, guided by Syawa s dreams. A young Holyman, Syawa believes Katie is the subject of his Vision: the Creature of Fire and Ice, destined to bring a great gift to his people. Despite her flaming hair and ice-blue eyes, Katie is certain he is mistaken, but faced with returning to her family, she agrees to join them. She soon discovers that in order to fulfill Syawa s Vision, she must first become his Spirit Keeper, embarking on an epic journey that will change her life and heart forever.

About K.B.

K.B. Laugheed grew up in the shadow of the site of the 1812 Battle of Tippecanoe. She is an organic gardener and master naturalist who has spent a lifetime feeding the earth, and her efforts have culminated in The Spirit Keeper, her first novel and largest contribution to the potluck so far.


Twitter @klaugheed

Interview with Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delia's Shadow - September 17, 2013

Please welcome Jaime Lee Moyer to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Delia's Shadow will be published on September 17th. You may read Jaime's Guest Blog - The Importance of Heroic Heroines - here.

Interview with Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delia's Shadow - September 17, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Jaime:  Thank you. I'm really pleased to be here.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Jaime:  I remember making up stories and acting them out from the time I was five years old. That was before I actually knew how to write words on paper. My first official story was written when I was about ten or eleven. I've written ever since. Getting super serious and writing toward publication began about twelve years ago.

As to why I write? I have to write. It's not just a compulsion, it's a huge part of who I am.

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

Jaime:  I'm not sure. What others see as an interesting quirk might just be a normal part of the process for me. Writing is easier for me when I have music that fits the character or the story, but lots of other writers listen to music too.

Maybe it's that I immerse myself in the characters and the story so deeply that it's as if I'm living it with them. I jokingly called it "method writing". Or maybe it's that a character's entire personality and life history just sort of falls into my head in one big chunk. When a character grows a personality they upgrade from just being a walk on. Those have turned out to be some of the best characters.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jaime:  A little of both. I don't sit down and outline, but I do know where I'm going when I start. I know the beginning, points in the middle, and the end. Novel plots and stories tend to reveal themselves to me a few chapters at a time.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jaime:  The biggest challenge is realizing that no matter how hard I try, the story I write will never match the one in my head. My vision always exceeds my grasp. That in turn means I have to reach farther and try harder, which is a huge part of the challenge.

I'm not the first writer to feel that way and I won't be the last.

TQ:  Describe Delia's Shadow in 140 characters or less.

Jaime:  Delia Martin & Lt. Gabe Ryan hunt for a serial killer in a city haunted by the ghosts of his victims. Along the way they fall in love.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Delia's Shadow?

Jaime:  Believe it or not, a dream. I had a dream about this young woman standing next to a steam locomotive and looking back over her shoulder to see who was following her. The next day I couldn't stop thinking about this dream, who this young woman was and who was following her. Once I knew she was being followed by a ghost it all fell into place.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Delia's Shadow?

Jaime:  The book is set in 1915 so the research was pretty intense. I researched current events for that year, the Pan Pacific Exposition that was held in San Francisco that year, clothing styles, slang, cars, furniture—everything I could think of that had changed in almost 100 years. I looked at thousands of photographs to set details and styles in my mind.

That was the fun research. Less fun was learning about serial killers. Reading FBI files, all online via the freedom of information act, was pretty gruesome.

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

Jaime:  Dora is the easiest character to write. She is not only Delia's teacher and friend, but she is the free spirit. Dora is sarcastic, unconventional and gives off the air of really not giving two figs what the world thinks. I love writing her because almost anything might pop out of her mouth and often does. Writing Dora is a great deal of fun.

I'd have to say the killer was hardest to write. There was a level of cold, detached insanity there that was difficult to tap into. It wasn't a pleasant state of mine to be in.

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

Jaime:  There is a scene where Gabe, Delia and Dora visit Gabe's parents to go through old case files from Matthew Ryan's days as a detective. I love the relationship between Gabe and his father, the sparring between Dora and Matt Ryan, and the grudging slow acceptance by Matt that there might be more to the world than he wants to admit.

But probably one of my very favorite scenes is one that was very difficult to write, the aftermath of the 4th of July at the Pan Pacific and what those events do to Gabe.

TQ:  What's next?

Jaime:  There are two more books coming that star Gabe and Delia, Dora, Sadie and Jack. A Barricade In Hell is set in 1917, and I'm writing the third book, Against A Brightening Sky, right now. I'm really excited about all of these books and my hope is that people who fall in love with Gabe and Delia will be excited too.

TQ:   Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jaime:  Thank you for having me! This was fun.

About Delia's Shadow

Delia's Shadow
Tor Books, September 17, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delia's Shadow - September 17, 2013
It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side.

Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest.

It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again.

And who is now aware of Delia’s existence.

About Jaime Lee Moyer

Jaime Lee Moyer lives in San Antonio with writer Marshall Payne, two cats, three guitars and a growing collection of books and music. Her first novel, DELIA’S SHADOW, will be published by TOR Books in September 2013. Her novels are represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Jaime has sold short fiction to Lone Star Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and to the Triangulations: End of the Rainbow, and Triangulations: Last Contact anthologies. She was poetry editor for Ideomancer Speculative Fiction for five years and edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association. A poet in her own right, she’s sold more than her share of poetry.

She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can.

Website  ~ Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Flickr  ~  Pinterest  ~  Goodreads

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013

Please welcome Chris Willrich to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) will be published on September 24, 2013 by Pyr. You may read Chris' 2013 DAC Guest Blog here.

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Chris:  Thanks very much! It’s good to be here.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Chris:  I was a compulsive daydreamer as a kid. Helpful (and maybe a trifle worried) adults tried to channel this in productive ways. My parents always pushed books my way, and by the time I hit middle school they weren't censoring what I read. At the same school a teacher looked at one of my assignments and suggested I might make a good writer. It was the kind of well-timed comment that can really shape a kid’s life. My first attempt was a couple of paragraphs of Star Trek fan fiction, but I ran out of steam fast. It was harder than it looked. I got a lot more serious after high school, but it took a long time to get my work into publishable shape.

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

Chris:  I don’t have a consistent work space. I’ll be all over the house or at one of a half-dozen coffeehouses. I do pick favorite spots for long stretches -- right now my usual “office” is one end of a couch, beside a window and a bookshelf, the kids’ toys at my feet. I might trip over Thomas the Tank Engine when I get up.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Chris:  Pantser all the way. Although for a project for Paizo, publisher of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, I did have to learn to work from a detailed outline. That was an interesting challenge, and I see some advantages to it. But my natural style is to make up the bulk of a story as I go along.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

For the most part, stories don’t come to life for me until I commit words to paper. Characters don’t clarify for me until I write dialogue; plot developments are hard to think through until I’m blocking out a scene.

TQ:  Describe The Scroll of Years in 140 characters or less.

Chris:  Gaunt and Bone, lovers and rogues, hope to retire and start a family. But first they must flee the West for a mysterious land in the East.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Scroll of Years?

Chris:  An old interest in writing an Asian-themed fantasy collided with wanting to find a place for my serial magazine heroes Gaunt and Bone to flee to. The pieces seemed to fit.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Scroll of Years?

Chris:  I delved into materials I’d kept from college classes on China, and some notes I took when my late mother-in-law, a first-generation immigrant, told stories from her childhood. Some specific research I did was to look again at two books by Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China and God’s Chinese Son. With the first book I looked at early chapters about the Ming Dynasty, because I was searching for a kind of baseline for my imaginary setting, and Spence’s description of that milieu was very absorbing. With the second book I reread early chapters on 19th Century China, specifically sections about bandit gangs and foreign traders. As you can see by these two examples, whatever’s historical about my setting is an anachronistic patchwork.

Other works I looked at were translations of the 9th Century poetry attributed to Hanshan (“Cold Mountain”) and the classic Tao Te Ching (Pinyin Dao De Jing), because the philosophy of these works informs the attitudes of several characters in the story. Michael Sullivan's The Arts of China was handy for visual references.

None of the above should give anyone the idea I’m some kind of authority on Chinese history. But hopefully I haven’t been a complete idiot in how I’ve used my sources.

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

Chris:  Gaunt and Bone tie for easiest characters, since I’d written several short works about them already. The hardest character was probably an important government official of Qiangguo, my imaginary country. He’s mainly an adversary, but he’s not really a villain; there are genuine villains in the story, and they were much easier to write. Rather, he has an authoritarian point of view that I'm personally not very sympathetic to. Yet in his own mind he is waging a lonely, quite possibly doomed, battle against barbarism, while trying to cling to a sense of honor.

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

Chris:  Luckily my personal favorite comes fairly early, because it introduces a character who became my favorite. It involves two young people of Qiangguo confronting an embodiment of the Nian, a monster you’re supposed to be scaring off during the Lunar New Year. My characters don’t literally believe in the Nian, so running into an incarnation of it is kind of like discovering the trick-or-treaters at your door really are mummies and vampires.

TQ:  What's next? /this is where you share whatever you'd like to share/

Chris:  I’m hard at work on a sequel to The Scroll of Years, titled The Silk Map. It sends Gaunt and Bone along their world's analog of the historical "Silk Road."

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  Thanks for having me!

The Scroll of Years

The Scroll of Years
A Gaunt and Bone Novel
Pyr, September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 270 pages

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013
It's Brent Weeks meets China Mieville in this wildly imaginative fantasy debut featuring high action, elegant writing, and sword and sorcery with a Chinese flare.

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.

About Chris

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013
Photo by Richard McCowen
Chris Willrich (Mountain View, CA) is a science fiction and fantasy writer best known for his sword-and-sorcery tales of Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone. Until recently he was a children's librarian for the Santa Clara County Library System, in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Gate, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Flashing Swords, The Mythic Circle, and Strange Horizons.

Website  ~  Twitter @WillrichChris  ~  Facebook 

Interview with Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company - September 3, 2013

Please welcome Luke Scull to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interview. The Grim Company (Grim Company 1) is published today. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Luke a Happy US Publication Day!

Interview with Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company - September 3, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Luke:  You mean outside of school? Probably at age 20, when I wrote my first module (adventure) for the Neverwinter Nights roleplaying game. I remember it had around 15,000 words, which felt like an absolute marathon at the time. At that point, the writing was secondary to learning how to script and use the game's toolset. It wasn't until the sequel when I discovered I had some actual writing talent.

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

Luke:  I struggle to write in silence. I like stuff going on around me, which I then do my best to block out! When I'm sitting there all alone my mind wanders. I find I can write well at night, but during the day I'm far more productive on, say, a beach than I am by myself in an office. Weird, huh?

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Luke:  A little of both. I begin with a basic story outline that contains the major plot points, which I then try to connect in the most interesting way possible. Too much planning removes the fun of the writing process. It's a case of knowing that sweet spot between constructing the skeleton of a great story and keeping myself interested in filling in the blanks.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Luke:  I always find going back over old chapters a nuisance. As a game designer I constantly evaluate and tweak, and that means I simply can't leave writing alone unless it's perfect. I'm always judging, analyzing, polishing. This tends to slow me down greatly unless I've enjoyed one of those rare periods where the words seem to flow flawlessly first time around. That doesn't happen often!

TQ:  Describe The Grim Company in 140 characters or less.

LukeThe Grim Company is an epic fantasy about a group of anti-heroes set in a world of long-dead gods, rampaging demons, and immortal tyrants.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Grim Company?

Luke:  I started to write The Grim Company to fill the time after I was made unemployed and my gaming project had stalled. I'd always wanted to try my hand at writing a novel and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Grim Company?

Luke:  Other than reading a lot, I did little research besides the usual Wiki-mining for subjects I knew little about (e.g., sailing). I had a lot ideas that had built up over the years, so it was mainly a case of plunging right in, establishing my narrative voice, and getting into a rhythm.

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

Luke:  The easiest character to write was probably Cole. He's an arrogant idiot with a habit of surviving by the skin of his teeth. Somewhat worryingly, it was straightforward for me to conjure up the thoughts and deeds of a self-delusional fool who could alienate everything around him while believing himself the cock of the walk...

The hardest character to write was either Yllandris or Sasha, mainly because they're both female and somewhat damaged.

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

Luke:  My favorite scene is the eventual confrontation between two characters who can probably be considered the most noble and likeable in the book. Unfortunately they happen to be on different sides. It a great action scene but also, I hope, quite moving.

TQ:  What's next?

Luke:  I'm still writing Sword of the North, which is the second book in the trilogy. It's a long and complex novel and I want to ensure that it establishes me as a fantasy writer to watch, rather than one who succumbs to that sophomore slump.

I also had a prominent role on an RPG for mobile platforms that is due out in the next 4-6 weeks. I both wrote and designed The Shadow Sun, which is set in a dark fantasy world similar to The Grim Company. It could be the next big thing on Apple devices.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Luke:  My pleasure! Thank you for having me.

The Grim Company

The Grim Company
Series:  Grim Company 1
Publisher:  Roc, September 3, 2013
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
Price:  $26.95 (print)
ISBN:  9780425264843 (print)
US Debut

Interview with Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company - September 3, 2013
The Gods are dead. The Magelord Salazar and his magically enhanced troops, the Augmentors, crush any dissent they find in the minds of the populace. On the other side of the Broken Sea, the White Lady plots the liberation of Dorminia, with her spymistresses, the Pale Women. Demons and abominations plague the Highlands.

The world is desperately in need of heroes. But what they get instead are a ragtag band of old warriors, a crippled Halfmage, two orphans and an oddly capable manservant: the Grim Company.

About Luke
(Text and photo from the Author's website)

Interview with Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company - September 3, 2013
LUKE SCULL was born in Bristol and lives in Warminster with his wife. Luke also designs computer roleplaying games and has worked on several acclaimed titles for Ossian Studios and Bioware. His latest project, iOS fantasy game The Shadow Sun is scheduled for release in 2013.

Website  ~  Twitter @Luke_Scull

Interview with Jason Mott, author of The Returned - August 29, 2013

Please welcome Jason Mott to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Returned was published on August 27, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA. You may read Jason's Guest Blog - The Power of Third Person - here.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Jason:  Thank you very much! Really excited to be doing this.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Jason:  I started when I was around thirteen or fourteen. I grew up loving the classic heroic tales such as BEOWULF, THE ODYSSEY, etc. Then, one day, I came across an excerpt from John Gardner’s book GRENDEL. I hadn’t imagined that writers were allowed to take pre-existing stories and build something new and unique from them the way John Gardner did. Well, it was a watershed moment for me. Not long after that, I started scratching out my first stories—most of them were alternate adventures for characters in The Odyssey or Beowulf. They were a lot of fun.

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

Jason:   I love writing with really, really bad movies playing in the background. I love B movies. They’re just so much fun. And, when I’m writing, I’ll often put one on to serve as background noise.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jason:  When it comes to novel manuscripts, I’m a plotter. For me, they’re just too large or an endeavor for me to fly blind. So whenever I want to start a novel, I draw up an outline first. That helps me keep a general heading when I’m writing.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jason:  Overcoming that voice inside me that says whatever I’m working on is a terrible waste of time. It happens with every project at some point. I start hating the idea, the writing, the characters. I lose faith in everything eventually and just want to walk away. But I’ve learned to push through that. I just keep writing, even if I think I’m writing badly. A bad day writing is always better than a good day not writing.

TQ:  Describe The Returned in 140 characters or less.

Jason:  What happens when those we have lost to death are suddenly thrust back into our lives?

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Returned?

Jason:  It all started with a dream. My parents have both passed away, and in the summer of 2010 I had a dream that I’d come home from work and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for me. For the rest of the dream she and I simply sat and talked. I told her about all the things that have happened in my life since her passing—she even gave me a hard time for not being married yet…as mothers do. Haha. Well, it was one of those very vivid dreams, the kind that, when you wake, you’re uncertain of whether it was a dream of reality.

That dream stayed with me for weeks. I talked about it with a good friend and he said “What if that really happened? And what if it wasn’t just her?” That was the very beginning of The Returned.

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

Jason:  I spent a little time talking to people about loved ones they’d lost. I posed the hypothetical question “How would you feel if they suddenly showed up at your door one day?” The responses were interesting. The initial answer was that they would be elated. Everyone talked about how much they’d love to see these people again. But then I followed it up with a second question: “Imagine it’s six months later and this person is still ‘back,’ does that change anything?”

This was when the answers got more complicated. People began talking about how their lives have changed since the passing of their loved one. In many cases, they’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was when my mother passed away in 2001, so if she returned today, she’d be meeting a different version of her son. There are many things that we may have agreed up back then that, now, I feel differently about. Lots of the people I talked to about this had similar responses.

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

Jason:  The easiest character to write was Harold. He’s one of the central characters and he was just pure fun to write. He’s an ornery old man and, frankly, I hope I grow up to be just like him.

The hardest character to write was Agent Bellamy. He became my proxy character and there was a great amount of my personal story wrapped up in him. Watching him deal with certain things dredged up personal memories of my mother’s death. Those made for tough writing days sometimes. But, in the end, it helped me work through some things.

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

Jason:  Haha. This is going to be tough because my favorite seen is a bit of a “spoiler,” so I can’t go into too much detail. But I will say that it occurs near the very end of the book and, for one of the characters, it’s a bit of a revelations about their motives. I really enjoyed writing that scene and seeing that character come to a better understanding of themselves.

TQ:  What's next?

Jason:  Right now I’m working on my next manuscript. I’m always working on something. I’ve got another novel due to my publisher soon and, after that, I’ve got a couple of other projects I’m chopping away at as well. I’d love to get my feet wet in the realms of graphic novels and screenwriting if I can.

Also, the big thing for me right now is watching the production of the upcoming television series. Television rights for The Returned were picked up last year and, over the winter, a pilot was shot. Well, in May ABC picked up the pilot and it will become an ongoing series titled RESURRECTION beginning early next year. They’re actually just about to go into production on season 1. I’m thoroughly excited about that!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jason:  Thanks so much for having me!

The Returned

The Returned
Harlequin MIRA, August 27, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

The eBook Prequels

The First
The Returned Prequel 1
Harlequin MIRA, June 1, 2013

In Jason Mott's haunting and unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, an impossible miracle is occurring all across the globe. Read how it all begins in this short story, The First.

It's been just over a year since Edmund Blithe died, and just over a month since his fiancée, Emily, stopped wearing her engagement ring. Emily has finally begun to move on... Until Edmund mysteriously and inexplicably returns, sending the world--and Emily--into a tailspin.

Edmund is only just the beginning. Around the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond, seeking only to reenter the lives they left behind. As the world dives deep into uncertainty, Emily and Edmund are determined to find their way back to one another...even if it means risking everything.

The reappearances continue in The Sparrow, and look for The Returned from Harlequin MIRA, a moving tale of a family given a second chance at life and a world where nothing--not even death--is certain.

The Sparrow
The Returned Prequel 2
Harlequin MIRA, July 1, 2013

In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, one determined couple seeks to reunite a young girl with the father who thought he had lost her forever...

When Heather and Matt Campbell find ten-year-old Tatiana Rusesa on the side of the highway, she is thousands of miles away from her village in Sierra Leone. She hasn't seen her family in almost two decades, not since she and her mother were killed by rebel soldiers. Now Tatiana has inexplicably returned, a lost orphan with no place to call home.

As the world dives deeper into uncertainty and chaos, Heather is determined to save Tatiana and help her find her way back to her family. But how much is she willing to lose to protect a girl she doesn't even know?

Learn how the mysterious reappearances begin in The First, and don't miss Jason Mott's unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, from Harlequin MIRA, a moving tale of a family navigating this unusual new reality and given a second chance at life.

The Choice
The Returned Prequel 3
Harlequin MIRA, August 1, 2013

In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, a man is forced to choose between the life he has now, and the one he thought was gone forever….

Peter Galvin was just seventeen when Tracy Whitland,— the love of his life—, vanished without a trace. In the years after her death, he had finally moved on, gotten married, started a family. He is content with his life now—happy, even…. Until Tracy suddenly and inexplicably returns.

For weeks, Peter and his wife, Samantha, have been watching mysterious reports of people's loved ones returning from beyond, the world spinning into uncertainty and chaos. But they never imagined it would happen to them. With Tracy's unusual homecoming, Peter and Samantha must decide where they can possibly go from here, and whether their family can survive….

Read more stories of the Returned in The First and The Sparrow. And don't miss Jason Mott's haunting debut novel, The Returned, a story of one family given an extraordinary second chance.

Note: The 3 Prequels are presently free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes. The Audible editions of the 3 Prequels are presently free at Amazon.

About Jason

Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award. He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…The Returned is his first novel.

The Returned has also been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It will air on the ABC network early next year under the title “Resurrection.”

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @JasonMott

Interview with Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season (Scion 1) - August 27, 2013

Please welcome Samantha Shannon to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Bone Season (Scion 1) was published on August 20, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Samantha:  Thank you! Glad to be here.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Samantha:  When I was about 13. I'd always loved books and I really just fancied trying my hand at writing something myself. I've written ever since.

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

Samantha:  I use the word 'turn' a lot. That's my writer's tic.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Samantha:  Bit of both. I do plot, though, so I should probably say plotter.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Samantha:  Finding the right voice was a big challenge, but now I have Paige's voice and am working on Book 2, the most difficult thing at the moment is finding time to sit down and just work on the manuscript. I like to get into a routine when I write. I'm hoping to have a few weeks over Christmas to get a lot of work done.

TQ:  Describe The Bone Season in 140 characters or less.

Samantha:  A strange, dark fantasy about clairvoyant criminals - and their enemies. A nineteen year-old woman must fight for her freedom or die trying.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Bone Season?

Samantha:  I was working in Seven Dials, a small district in London, and had a strange daydream about a girl having exactly the same day at work that I was, but she happened to be clairvoyant. There are a few shops in the area that sell crystal balls and tarot cards, which is what introduced me to the idea of clairvoyants in that district.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Bone Season?

Samantha:  I wanted my clairvoyant society to be a cross-section of historical types of divination, extending right up to encompass twenty-first century parapsychology. I did quite a bit of reading about classical and Renaissance impressions of augury, soothsaying and so on. After that I moved on to nineteenth century Spiritualism, mainly using The Book on Mediums by Allan Kardec. I also integrated Native American legend for Paige’s gift. Although I did a lot of research, I wanted to put my own spin on each type, hence the Seven Orders classification system.

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

Samantha:  Paige was both easiest and hardest. Her voice came to me naturally, but she's a complex character and I'd often have to think for a while about how she would, or should, react to certain situations.

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

Samantha:  The organ scene, the whole of Chapter 18, the Trafalgar Square scene, the butterfly's dreamscape scene.

TQ:  What's next?

Samantha:  Book 2, which will be set in London.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Samantha:  Thank you for having me!

The Bone Season

The Bone Season
Scion 1
Bloomsbury USA, August 20, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

About Samantha

Photo © Mark Pringle
Samantha Shannon was born in west London in 1991. Between 2010 and 2013 she studied English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, specialising in Emily Dickinson and Principles of Film Criticism. In 2012 the Women of the Future Awards shortlisted her for The Young Star Award. The Bone Season is her first novel and has been sold in twenty-three countries.

Blog   ~  Twitter @say_shannon  ~  Pinterest  ~  Tumblr  ~  Facebook

The Bone Season Website  ~  The Bone Season Facebook Page

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013

Please welcome Kait Ballenger to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews and the Twilight Hunter Blog Tour. Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) will be published tomorrow. You may read Kait's Guest Blog - The Specialties of the Hunters of the Execution Underground - here.

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Kait:  Thanks for having me! I’m really excited to be here.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Kait:  I wrote several short stories as a kid, but I first started writing seriously right after I graduated high school in 2008. I started writing because I love reading and I wanted to tell stories that would make people happy or affect their lives in some way.

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

Kait:  Hmmm. My only writing quirk that I can think of is that I always feel like my house has to be cleaned before I can sit down and start writing. Otherwise, I just feel really disorganized, like the environment around my effects my mood. This can cause me a lot of trouble when I’m on deadline and I don’t really have time to clean lol.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kait:  A bit of both. I’m naturally a pantser, but my books lack a solid plot structure when I write that way, so I force myself to write vague outlines before I start writing, so then the plot arc is solid.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kait:  The most challenging thing is probably just butt-in-chair, which seems silly since once I sit down, I enjoy writing, but starting can sometimes be difficult. Despite that I get paid for what I do and being an author is most certainly a full-time job, when you work from a home office, it’s hard to take yourself seriously at times. If I want, I can go to work in my pajamas every day and I can also go to work at any hour of the day, which is absolutely great for flexibility, except for when you’re feeling a little lazy and need someone to crack the whip and you have no one but yourself. It takes a lot of self-discipline.

TQ:  Describe Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) in 140 characters or less.

Kait:  A werewolf hunter partners with a female wolf to hunt a sexual sadist, while he confronts his own two-natured identity and his growing feelings for his partner.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Twilight Hunter?

Kait:  I actually started out writing YA urban fantasy with strong romantic elements. I wrote that for several years and when the manuscript I was working on at the time wasn’t hooking any agents into offering representation, I thought I would try my hand at one of the other genres I love to read: adult paranormal romance. Needless to say, it worked out well and was a perfect fit. When I was brainstorming ideas, I wanted something different and thought that it would be great to make a series where the heroes were primarily humans who hunt supernatural creatures, rather than supernaturals fighting other supernaturals like in most paranormal romances. I’m a big fan of the T.V show Supernatural and the main characters from that, Sam and Dean Winchester, really inspired me to want to write about humans involved in the paranormal—with my own original characters and unique twists, of course.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Twilight Hunter?

Kait:  My research has been more focused on all of the books rather than each specific one. There were characteristics about the city of Rochester and the surrounding geography which I researched for the series as a whole. I wanted to make sure I had some events in the novels occur in specific places around Rochester. For example, there is one scene in Twilight Hunter that takes place in Manhattan Square Park on top of a large metal structure in the park—that’s a real location, along with several other places throughout the book. I also researched different types of guns for the hunters to carry, their cars, and their poisons of choice (their favorite liquors haha), since I’m not super familiar with any of those. In Twilight Hunter, Jace uses a Mateba revolver, drives an H3, drinks Bushmill’s Irish whiskey and smokes Marlboro Reds. Something I researched specifically for that book alone was Norse mythology. Readers will see why once they get about mid-way through the novel. I don’t want to give any spoilers.

A fun fact: my husband took me out to the shooting range and taught me how to shoot all the different types of guns he has in his personal collection, which is a lot lol, as I was writing Twilight Hunter. I’m actually a decent shot now and it helped me describe how the guys would use their weapons. I already knew fighting and disarming techniques from being a black belt in Tang Soo Do, so I just needed to learn the weaponry to make it authentic.

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

Kait:  Jace’s character is the easiest I’ve written thus far in all of my books, including my YA ones, because he is such an open character emotionally. He’s very reactionary and speaks his mind in a really frank and blunt way, so I never have to second guess about how Jace feels about something; I just know. The hardest characters I’ve had to write are a tie between Damon, David, and Robert. Damon, the leader and founder of the Execution Underground, was hard to write at first because he was so mysterious, especially in Jace’s book, but once I wrote Shadow Hunter (Damon’s prequel story), which you can find in the After Dark anthology alongside a novella by Gena Showalter, he’s been easier to work with. It was really helpful for me to be able to tell his origin story even though it’s one I never intended to tell. I can’t wait to write his final full length book, Dark Hunter. Before, I was dreading it lol. David, the hero of book two, Immortal Hunter (Feb 2014), and Jace’s closest friend has been difficult because he is the character that is the least like me. He’s very calm and level-headed when he needs to be, something I am not, and he also has a really good sense of humor. Since I’m not used to writing humor, it was difficult to get into his head. His book was a bit of a struggle to get started with, but once he and I got into a rhythm, I was able to find his narrative voice well. Robert, who is the villain of Twilight Hunter, was difficult to write just because his point-of-view is so disturbing. Really gruesome stuff.

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

Kait:  Oh gosh, that’s a difficult one. A scene in Twilight Hunter I really like is a love scene later in the book between Jace and Frankie. Jace shows up on her doorstep in the middle of the night, a little inebriated, and confesses a lot of things to her he’d never say otherwise. Once he sobers up, he realizes the impact of all he’s said and from then onward everything is kind of out in the open between them. I like the vulnerability of his character in that moment.

TQ:  What's next?

Kait:  My next release for this series will be Immortal Hunter, David’s book, which releases in early February 2014. I also just turned in the third novel for this series, Shane’s book, which will follow David’s in early July 2014, and my agent is currently starting negotiations for books four, five, and six. For my adult paranormal romance, this series is my sole focus at the moment. But readers hoping for another adult series from me can periodically check my website. I keep it up-to-date with my newest releases.

Readers can also look for upcoming YA paranormal novels under my maiden name, Kaitlyn Schulz.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kait:  Thanks so much for having me! It was a pleasure to answer all your questions! I’d love to be back again sometime.

TQ:  I'm sure that can be arranged as we'd love to have you back!

The Execution Underground
Twilight Hunter
The Execution Underground 1
Harelquin HQN, August 27, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013
Hunters of the supernatural, the Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity...but what happens when danger collides with desire?

Jace McCannon has one loyalty: the Execution Underground. Despite his mixed blood, his hatred for the werewolves he hunts is legendary. But in his search for a sadistic killer, Jace finds himself face to face with a stunningly seductive packmaster…and longing for a night with his mortal enemy.

Nothing can stop Frankie Amato from defending her kind--or catching the rogue responsible for killing women in her territory. For that, this alpha female needs Jace’s skills more than she wants to admit. But as their investigation exposes evil truths, need burns into a passion that dare not be fulfilled. For to do so will have deadly consequences for them both…

After Dark
Gena Showalter and Kait Ballenger
Lords of the Underworld and The Execution Underground
Harlequin HQN, June 25, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013
A Timeless Seduction

A Unique Temptation

And a Whole World of Dark Desires...

From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

The Darkest Angel

Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he's never known desire-until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long....

And from debut author Kait Ballenger

Shadow Hunter

Vampire hunter Damon Brock's newest assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn't the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer an option when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. Forced to unite against the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they must decide between their lifelong beliefs...and their newfound desires.

And coming in 2014

Immortal Hunter
The Execution Underground 2
Harelquin HQN, January 28, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013
Hunters of the supernatural, the Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity…but at what price?

As an exorcist, David Aronowitz grew up the target of demonic assassins. Now he's a member of the Execution Underground and hellspawn everywhere fear his name. But when a demon slips into the seductive body of the only woman he's ever loved, David must confront the heartbreak of their past to save her.

The piece of her heart Allsún O'Hare gave to David so long ago left her trapped between two worlds: the Fae and the human. And when David comes to her rescue, fate reunites her with her greatest temptation—and her biggest mistake.

Now, as they're swept together into a wicked game with the demon who controls her, David must decide if saving Allsún's life is worth sacrificing his own—and the future of humanity itself.

About Kait

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013
Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published, award-winning author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series. With a B.A in English from Stetson University, Kait is currently earning an M.F.A in Writing. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she hopes to be a bestseller and to see her novels on the big screen. Look for the next two books in her page-turning Execution Underground series: Twilight Hunter, book one (August 2013) and Immortal Hunter, book two (January 2014), and don’t forget to check out Shadow Hunter, a prequel novella to the series featured in the After Dark anthology along NYT Bestseller Gena Showalter—now available in trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats. For more information, please visit or follow her on Twitter @kait_ballenger.

Website  ~  Twitter @kait_ballenger  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads

Interview with V.E. Schwab, author of Vicious - September 25, 2013Interview with Elliott James, author of Charming (Pax Arcana 1) - September 24, 2013Interview with K. B. Laugheed, author of The Spirit Keeper - September 20, 2013Interview with Jaime Lee Moyer, author of Delia's Shadow - September 17, 2013Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013Interview with Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company - September 3, 2013Interview with Geoffrey Gudgion, author of  Saxon's Bane, and Giveaway - September 2, 2013Interview with Jason Mott, author of The Returned - August 29, 2013Interview with Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season (Scion 1) - August 27, 2013Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013

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