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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013

Please welcome Sean Pidgeon to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Finding Camlann, Sean's debut, was published on January 7, 2013.  You may read Sean's Guest Blog - How to Write an Ancient Celtic Poem - here.



Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013



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

Sean:  The first serious piece of fiction I remember writing was the tale of an adventurous cat named Sam, penned when I was about eight years old, and I suppose I have been creating long and rambling stories ever since. This has always felt like a natural activity for me.


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

Sean:  A headmaster at a school I attended in England once told me I was good at writing “rolling” sentences, by which he probably just meant they had too many words in them.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sean:  I suppose my natural inclination is toward the latter approach, and this is how the early drafts of my novel came into being. But I don’t think it worked very well for me. The version that became the final draft was plotted in intricate detail before I began writing it in earnest.


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

Sean:  I am never satisfied, and I find it very hard to let go of a particular passage and call it finished.


TQ:  Describe Finding Camlann in 140 characters or less.

Sean:  A literary and romantic Arthurian quest set in a landscape evoked by the secret places and powerful mythology of the British countryside.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Finding Camlann?

Sean:  The fragmentary evidence for the historical King Arthur found in scraps of ancient chronicle and verse has been a source of fascination to me for many years. I wanted to write a novel that would allow me the freedom to explore these themes and perhaps even to advance some of my own ideas, but above all I wanted to tell a good story.


TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Finding Camlann?

Sean:  Probably far too much. I found that I wanted to know everything there was to know about certain aspects of British history and mythology, which made the writing process both fascinating and slow.


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

Sean:  My male protagonist, the archaeologist Donald Gladstone, came the most easily. As to why, I couldn’t say for sure, but perhaps because he is a little bit like me? Julia Llewellyn, with her complex scholarly quirks and unusual mindset, was more of a challenge; but her scenes were not too hard to write once I had her character traits properly fixed in my mind.


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

Sean:  The opening scene in the pub, with a roaring fire and a game of Scrabble, would come near the top of the list. Also, I would say, Donald’s visits to his father, and Julia’s return to Dyffryn Farm.


TQ:  What's next?

Sean:  I’ve been mulling over some ideas for a second novel for a few years now.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





About Finding Camlann

Finding Camlann: A Novel
W.W. Norton & Company, January 7, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013
An ancient poem and a mysterious burial inspire an enthralling historical and literary quest.

Despite the wealth of scholarship that pretends to offer proof, archaeologist Donald Gladstone knows there is no solid evidence that a real King Arthur ever existed. Still, the great popular tales spun by medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and embroidered by Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and so many others, must have found their inspiration somewhere. A dramatic archaeological find at Stonehenge and the rediscovery of an old Welsh battle poem, buried among the manuscripts of the Bodleian Library, open up enticing—and misleading—new possibilities.

When the beguiling Julia Llewellyn, a linguist working on the Oxford English Dictionary, joins Donald on the trail of clues, their fervent enthusiasms, unusual gifts, and unfulfilled yearnings prove a combustible mix. Their impassioned search for truths buried deep in the past, amid the secret places and half-forgotten legends of the British countryside, must ultimately transform them—and all our understandings of the origins of Arthur.

An intellectual and emotional journey of myriad pleasures, Finding Camlann is at its heart a love story—not only of romantic love but also the love between parents and grown children; the intense feelings of professors and students; the love of language, place, and home; and the thrill of scholarly research and detective work. Throughout, Sean Pidgeon’s lyrical prose brings together history, myth, and dream, sweeping the reader into the mysteries of the past and the pure delight of storytelling.






About Sean

Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013
Sean Pidgeon is a reference publisher at John Wiley & Sons. Born and raised in the south of England, he now lives in New Jersey with his American wife and children. Finding Camlann is his first novel.






Website : TwitterFinding Camlann on Facebook





Interview with M.C. Planck, author of The Kassa Gambit - January 7, 2013

Please welcome M.C. Planck to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Kassa Gambit will be published on January 8, 2013 by Tor Books.



Interview with M.C. Planck, author of The Kassa Gambit - January 7, 2013



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

M.C.:  Thanks for inviting me.


TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

M.C.:  About twenty years ago I took a short-story writing class at a community college. I felt I had read enough sf & fantasy that I was ready to write some. Ten years later I managed to actually produce a novel. Ten years after that I managed to sell a novel.


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

M.C.:  Alliteration. I like sentences that have the same sounds in them. For some reason, it makes me think of classical guitar.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

M.C.:  I have to know how it begins and how it ends. Everything else writes itself; I just have to pick a level of detail to fractally extrapolate down to. Which turns out to be trickier than it sounds, as the 200-odd pages of my fantasy novel sitting in the bin testify.


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

M.C.:  Escaping the whirlpool of distraction that is my two-year old daughter.


TQ:  Describe The Kassa Gambit in 140 characters or less.

M.C.:  Aliens attack! Followed by much heroic brooding.


TQ:  What inspired you to write The Kassa Gambit?

M.C.:  My wife doesn't like fantasy. So I wrote her a sci-fi story where everything was exploding on the first page.


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

M.C.:  Mostly, reading my wife’s book, Song of Scarabaeus. Also, watching Firefly. I did have to look up some star names, which I then proceeded to misuse.


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

M.C.:  Easiest – The old professor, because he was inspired by a real person I admire.

Hardest – The junk dealer, because he was inspired by a real person whom I don’t like.


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

M.C.:  When she rents a pair of party shoes. Although it’s a trivial scene, it’s probably the most original idea in the book.


TQ:  What's next?

M.C.:  I have a finished fantasy manuscript in my agent’s hands (hence the previously mentioned page slaughter). It’s a trilogy, which can be described as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court + Dungeons & Dragons, but without the snark. I am also working on another sf novel set in contemporary times, with a yet another dark and brooding female protagonist. It has a tricky ending, though, and I’m not sure I can land it.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

M.C.:  It’s great to be here!





The Kassa Gambit

The Kassa Gambit
Tor Books, January 8, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Interview with M.C. Planck, author of The Kassa Gambit - January 7, 2013
Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.

Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren’t always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He’s been undercover so long he can't be trusted by anyone—even himself.

While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.

But something tells them there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity’s concerns.




About M.C. Planck

Interview with M.C. Planck, author of The Kassa Gambit - January 7, 2013
After a nearly-transient childhood, Micheal hitchhiked across the country and ran out of money in Arizona. So he stayed there for thirty years, raising dogs, getting a degree in Philosophy, and founding a scientific instrument company. Having read virtually everything by the old Masters of SF&F, he decided he was ready to write. A decade later, with a little help from the Critters online critique group, he was actually ready. He was relieved to find that writing novels is easier than writing software, as a single punctuation error won't cause your audience to explode and die. When he ran out of dogs, he moved to Australia to raise his daughter with her cousins. Now he is a father, author, and immigrant. Fitzgerald was wrong. There are second acts to some American lives, even if they start in other countries.


Website : Blog


Interview with Lori Sjoberg, author of Grave Intentions - January 3, 2013

Please welcome Lori Sjoberg to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Grave Intentions is published today. A very Happy Publication Day to Lori!



Interview with Lori Sjoberg, author of Grave Intentions - January 3, 2013



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Lori:  Thanks, it's great to be here!


TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Lori:  Strange as it sounds, it all started in 2004 with my addiction to the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. After I devoured the last book of the series at that time (To the Nines), I was desperate for a Plum fix. That led me to the wonderful world of fan fiction. Unfortunately, there wasn’t nearly as much Morelli fan fiction as there was for Ranger, which is what spurred my first foray into fiction writing.


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

Lori:  I come up with some of my best ideas while in the shower.


TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lori:  I'm more of a pantser. When I start a story, I begin with a general story idea and write whichever scenes spring to mind. (For Grave Intentions, I actually wrote the final scenes first.) Once I get to a certain point (usually somewhere around the 40,000 word mark) I start piecing them together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.


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

Lori:  Keeping my focus when I get near the end of the manuscript. By then, my brain is already thinking about the next book, so it takes a bit of discipline to keep my attention locked on the story I'm currently working on.


TQ:  Describe Grave Intentions in 140 characters or less.

Lori:  Lifetime skeptic Sarah doesn't believe in the supernatural. Imagine her surprise when she learns her handsome neighbor is Death incarnate.


TQ:  What inspired you to write Grave Intentions?

Lori:  It may sound odd, but the final chapter popped into my head one day while walking my dog. It was so emotional and compelling, I walked an extra couple miles figuring out who this guy was, and what had turned his life upside down. As soon as I got home, I scribbled down everything I'd come up with and went from there.


TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Grave Intentions?

Lori:  Since the hero of Grave Intentions is a reaper, a lot of the research for his character revolved around death and ways of dying. My heroine is a medical research scientist, so most of the research for her was in the areas of lab procedures, experimentation, and mental health. Toss in Google searches for Bigfoot, meth labs, industrial accidents, the Korean War, and pitt bulls, and you have one very strange Google search history!


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

Lori:  David was probably the easiest character to write because he had so much baggage. Sarah did a lot of things that I would personally have a hard time doing, so getting into her head to understand her point of view was a bit more difficult.


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

Lori:  Isn't that kind of like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite? LOL. I don't know if I have a favorite, but I do love the chapter where everything Sarah thinks she knows gets turned on its head. It was fun to explore her reaction to such a drastic change to the landscape of her reality (I'm trying really hard not to spoil anything.).


TQ:  What's next?

Lori:  At the moment, I'm working on the sequel to Grave Intentions. Death of a cruise ship - sounds like fun, eh?


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lori:  Thanks for having me! It's been a blast!




About Grave Intentions

Grave Intentions
Grave Intentions 1
eKensington, January 3, 2013
eBook, 96,100 words

Interview with Lori Sjoberg, author of Grave Intentions - January 3, 2013
He’s handsome, reliable, and punctual—the perfect gentleman when you want him to be. But this dream man is Death’s best agent—and now he’s got more than his soul to lose…

One act of mercy before dying was all it took to turn soldier David Anderson into a reaper—an immortal who guides souls-of-untimely-death into the afterlife. But the closer he gets to atoning for his mortal sin and finally escaping merciless Fate, the more he feels his own humanity slipping away for good. Until he encounters Sarah Griffith. This skeptical scientist can’t be influenced by his powers—even though she has an unsuspected talent for sensing the dead. And her honesty and irreverent sense of humor reignite his reason for living—and a passion he can’t afford to feel. Now Fate has summoned David to make a devastating last harvest. And he’ll break every hellishly-strict netherworld rule to save Sarah…and gamble on a choice even an immortal can’t win.




About Lori

Interview with Lori Sjoberg, author of Grave Intentions - January 3, 2013
Growing up the youngest of three girls, Lori never had control of the remote. (Not that she’s bitter about that. Really. Okay, maybe a little, but it’s not like she’s scarred for life or anything.) That meant a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits – you name it, she watched it. It fed her imagination, and that came in handy when the hormones kicked in and she needed a creative excuse for being out past curfew.
After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Lori spent over a decade working in the fun-filled worlds of retail management, financial planning, and insurance. The writing bug bit a few years later. After completing her first manuscript, she joined the Romance Writers of America and Central Florida Romance Writers. Now she exercises the analytical half of her brain at work, and the creative half writing paranormal romance. When she’s not doing either one of those, she’s usually spending time with her husband and children of the four-legged variety.

Website : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads



Interview with Sean Pidgeon, author of Finding Camlann - January 15, 2013Interview with M.C. Planck, author of The Kassa Gambit - January 7, 2013Interview with Lori Sjoberg, author of Grave Intentions - January 3, 2013

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