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Interview with Terry Newman, author of Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf - December 22, 2014


Please welcome Terry Newman to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf was published on December 18th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Terry Newman, author of Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf - December 22, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. You've written for film, TV and radio and more. How does all that influence (or not) your novel writing?

Terry:  Thank you very much for the invitation, Sally. And can I just say that I love what you’ve done with the place. I’ve never seen so many swan feathers in one place.

That’s a very good question and I should probably explain that the only reason I initially pursued writing for radio and stage, then TV and film, was to get some contacts to help find a home for my book. I blush at my naivety, but I sort of assumed all these people lived in the same world – one that was just labelled ‘non-scientists’. Of course, the ‘other writing’ then became more important after I hung up my microscope and this definitely fed back into the novel writing. I’d have to single out radio and TV comedy writing as having the most influence, mostly because this craft teaches you about word economy – make each one count if you can.



TQ:   Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Terry:  I do a lot of scriptwriting and a lot of good scriptwriting is about structure. Maybe it’s my science training but that side of it does really appeal. However, when it comes to book writing, part of the joy is the freedom to be led by your characters, so I enjoy the pantsing side there enormously. I guess I always know where I am going though, which would make me a pretty pantsy plotter.



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

Terry:  Stopping. Stopping is very tricky. I usually take the bruised fingertips and the bleeding eyes as a hint; otherwise I might overdo it. Actually I can write anywhere, trains, buses, you name it. I always carry a notebook – you have to don’t you? However, my writing is appalling and my typing is poor too. I would never have got anywhere without the Word Processor. Let us praise the Word Processor and the Toshiba Libretto. Before Netbooks this little gem ran Word and was the size of large paperback book. I wrote just about everywhere on my Libretto, especially the N49.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Terry:  Hmm, my favourite things, eh? I feel a song coming on!

Heinlein and Hammett and Chandler and Butcher
Most Douglas Adams and some Arthur Koestler
Lloyd Biggle junior Lord of the Rings
These are a few of my favourite things

Forward and Pratchett and Kerr’s Bernie Gunther
Patricia Highsmith and lyrics by Lerner
Then Robert Holdstock and Easy Rawlings
These are a few of my favourite things

Asimov’s robots and Dalziel and Pascoe
Shardlake and Sam Spade and Umberto Eco
Dragons that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favourite things

When the orc bites
When the blade swings
When I’m bleeding bad
I’m simply remembering my favourite things
And so I don’t feel too bad.



TQ:  Describe Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf in 140 characters or less. 

Terry:  Tolkien meets Chandler in a seedy underworld bar run by a defrocked Wizard.



TQ:  Tell us something about Detective Strongoak that is not in the book description.

Terry:  Nicely makes an excellent 5-egg omelette (it’s the nutmeg). The book is actually a real who-done-it so ‘No Spoilers’ please.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Detective Strongoak?

Terry:  I was broke in Hamburg without a return ticket. It focuses the mind somewhat. (Not as exciting or intriguing as it sounds).



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Detective Strongoak?

Terry:  I read non-stop from the age of five – often when walking. I’m surprised more people don’t walk and read. Not recommended so much if you live in a big city, but anywhere with decent pavements, and not much traffic.



TQ:  In Detective Strongoak who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Terry:  The easiest to write was, of course, Detective Nicely Strongoak as he had been talking to me for so many years. After him all the other characters sort of did what they were told. He has that type of personality.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Detective Strongoak.

Terry:  Special 3 for the price of 2 offer this week on favourite lines:

“The elf was dancing the full length of the surfboard, poised between the wind and water. Despite myself, I couldn’t help but be impressed. If only the whole exercise wasn’t so, well, wet.”

“She stretched like some large cat. She was wearing a dinner dress that was cut by a master. It must have been magic that held it together, because there was little enough material. She filled it to perfection, more curves than a dragon’s tail.”

‘Now goblin, let’s try again: who are you working for?’
‘What’s the magic word?’
‘Bang.’



TQ:  What's next?

Terry:  There is another ‘Detective Strongoak’ adventure well underway and a very different type of fantasy novel currently with Harper Voyager as well. No dwarfs or elves at all, but equally close to my heart. In a different sphere of endeavour, I am writing ‘the book’ for a musical called ‘Resurrection’ for a brilliant songwriter name of David Alter. He’s got a top show with knockout songs, full of imagination, which I believe will be an absolute winner when we find the right home. Plus, there’s a couple of sit coms written that I’m very excited about – so fingers crossed for an exciting 2015.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Terry:  The pleasure was all mine, thank you for the invitation and the feathers.





Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf
Harper Voyager (UK), December 18, 2014
eBook

Interview with Terry Newman, author of Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf - December 22, 2014
Private eye Nicely Strongoak is your average detective-for-hire, if your average detective is a dwarf with a Napoleon complex. In a city filled with drug-taking gnomes, goblins packing heat and a serious case of missing-persons, Strongoak might just be what’s needed.

But things are about to turn sour. When on the trail of the vanished surfer, Perry Goodfellow, Nicely receives a sharp blow to the head, is burgled by goblins and awakes in a narcotic-induced haze on the floor of a steamwagon with an extremely deceased elf, who just happens to have Nicely’s axe wedged in his head.

Nicely must enter the murky world of government politics if he is going to crack his toughest case yet. He’ll have to find Perry, uncover who the dead elf is and leave no cobblestone unturned…





About Terry

Interview with Terry Newman, author of Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf - December 22, 2014
Terry Newman is a biomedical research scientist who used to spend most of his day in the dark in front of an electron microscope. Then he started writing comedy for the BBC and ended up as full time scriptwriter. Whether this represents a turning to or from the Dark Side is debatable. He has a weakness for linen suits and spotty dogs. He lives at drtel.co.uk, which is being redecorated.




Website





Interview with Sarah Remy, author of Stonehill Downs - December 9, 2014


Please welcome Sarah Remy to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Stonehill Downs was published in digital format on December 2nd by Harper Voyager Impulse. The Mass Market Paperback edition will be published on December 30th.







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

Sarah:  Thanks so much for having me! So excited to have a moment on The Qwillery!

Oh, like many authors I started writing early on. When I was in third grade I was confined to my bed with a really nasty case of the chicken pox. My mother (an elementary school teacher) handed me a battered copy of The Hobbit as a distraction. It was my first foray into fantasy, and I was hooked. I read every fantasy and scifi book I could find in the local library, and when I ran out of reading material, I started writing my own. I really wanted to create my own worlds, and inhabit them with my own characters.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sarah:  Entirely a pantser, which is why my first draft is usually such a mess. Generally I start a manuscript with a beginning point and ending point, and a vague idea of how to send the characters through. Then I just go. And often the final result is very different from my original expectations. The bones of the story stay the same, but so details change along the way.



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

Sarah:  Self-confidence. Definitely self-confidence. I have a strict non-reading rule when I’m writing a book, which is a very difficult thing, because I’m a bookaholic. But if I read, say, Robin Hobb or Anne Rice’s newest while I’m trying to write my own story, I usually end up feeling miserably below standard.

Luckily I’ve got a ton of passion, and the drive to write out-weighs that lack of self-confidence.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Sarah:  I’ve already mentioned Hobb and Rice and, of course, Tolkien. I cut my teeth on Narnia. Also Stephen R. Donaldson. THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT are probably responsible for any shadowy angst you find in my work. And Judith Tarr’s AVARYAN CHRONICLES for the sunshine.

I’ve got an English degree in literature, and my focus was James Joyce. I’m of Irish heritage and you’ll see a reflection of that fascination with Gaelic legend in my writing as well.

Oh, Mary Stewart’s THE HOLLOW HILLS, that’s an old one, but a Stewart was the sort of author I wanted to grow up and BE.



TQ:  Describe Stonehill Downs in 140 characters or less.

Sarah:  Ah-ha. I’ve participated in Twitter’s #pitchwars. I can do this:

When the dead walk on the downs, Mal and Avani discover an old and unfriendly magic is waking.



TQ:  Tell us something about Stonehill Downs that is not in the book description.

Sarah:  I wrote it with my children and my nieces and nephews in mind. They’re growing up in a diverse, non-binary world, and the fantasy genre (not just the fantasy genre) needs to grow up alongside. The next generation needs epic fantasy that looks like them.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Stonehill Downs? How does the magic system work in Stonehill Downs.

Sarah:  Honestly, I wanted to write a detective story in a swords and sorcery world. And I wanted to write about religion and magic together, and how the two might co-exist…or not.

Without getting into spoiler territory: the magic system isn’t terribly complicated. A magus has innate spell-casting ability. A priest, on the other hand, can cast only via book or ritual. And the sidhe are the root of it all.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Stonehill Downs?

Sarah:  Medieval forensics, mostly. Hooke’s microscope, old world medical procedures. It’s all stretched a bit in STONEHILL, because it had to be, for the sake of the story. Herbalism.

I also went to my sister, who is Indian, with questions about Hinduism. Avani is very much based on my sister, with a fantastical twist.



TQ:  In Stonehill Downs who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sarah:  Mal was pretty easy. I started writing STONEHILL after I’d suffered a loss of my own, and I went into wondering: what would a person be willing to do to reverse that loss? What would Mal be willing to sacrifice of himself? Mal started out being about loss. Luckily he grew and improved upon himself as the story unfurled.

The hardest was Jacob. I didn’t want Jacob to be my deus ex machina. I’ve spent a lot of time second-guessing that bird.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Stonehill Downs.

Sarah:
Faolan’s head swiveled. He pinned her with empty eyes.

“There are no gods,” he replied, “but us.”


TQ:  What's next?

Sarah:  The sequel to STONEHILL - ACROSS THE LONG SEA -comes out in the spring. I’m busy polishing that up. I’ve also got a young adult fantasy series going - THE MANHATTAN EXILES - and I’m hands deep in book two there, also. It’s a winter of second volumes.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sarah:  Thank you so much for having me!





Sarah Remy

Stonehill Downs
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 2, 2014
   eBook
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 30, 2014
   Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages

Malachi is the last of his kind—a magus who can communicate with the dead, and who relies on the help of spirits to keep his kingdom safe. When he's sent to investigate brutal murders in the isolated village of Stonehill Downs, he uncovers dangerous sorceries and unleashes a killer who strikes close to home.

Avani is an outsider living on the Downs, one of the few survivors from the Sunken Islands. She has innate magics of her own, and when she discovers the mutilated bodies of the first victims, she enters into a reluctant alliance with Malachi that takes her far from home.

But Mal is distracted by the suspicious death of his mentor and haunted by secrets from his past. And Avani discovers troubling truths about the magus through her visions. She could free Malachi, but first they must work together to save the kingdom from the lethal horror that has arisen.





About Sarah

In 1994, Sarah Remy earned a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Pomona College in California. When she’s not taking the service industry by storm, she’s writing fantasy and science fiction. Sarah likes her fantasy worlds gritty, her characters diverse and fallible, and she doesn’t believe every protagonist deserves a happy ending.

Sarah lives in Washington State with plenty of animals and people.

Website  ~  Twitter @sarahremywrites





Interview with Suzanne Rigdon, author of Into the Night - December 5, 2014


Please welcome Suzanne Rigdon to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Into the Night was published on December 2nd by Spence City.



Interview with Suzanne Rigdon, author of Into the Night - December 5, 2014




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

Suzanne:  I started writing at a very young age, mostly just scratching little poems on notepads. My mom actually just found one I wrote when I was six! But once I got into high school I started writing longer works much more seriously, and that’s actually when I started writing Into the Night.

Most of the time I write because I get a line or an idea stuck in my head and I can’t concentrate on anything else until I write it down. Then it just goes from there.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Suzanne:  I am absolutely a pantser. If I spend too much timing outlining or planning, I lose the drive and excitement that propels my writing. I’d rather just type as fast as my fingers will go and then fix whatever’s messiest in revision.



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

Suzanne:  Getting past the first draft. It’s such a hurdle to hit “the end” that when I start looking at the work I’ve done so far I get a little lost on where to begin. Luckily I have an excellent editor who helps me with this.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Suzanne:  I read across the board. On the paranormal side of things I’ve been a huge fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series for years. I also read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books before they hit HBO. More recently I’ve fallen in love with everything Tana French and Gillian Flynn have written; their stories are dark, and compelling, and I love their prose. But actually, my new favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck.



TQ:  Describe Into the Night in 140 characters or less.

Suzanne:  Vampire hunk saves girl by turning her. She battles being undead, a violent Queen and some less than thrilled brothers.



TQ:  Tell us something about Into the Night that is not in the book description.

Suzanne:  Selina and her best friend Jess have a serious love of belting out Eddie Money songs in the car.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Into the Night? Do your vampires follow the classic rules (can't go out in sunlight, no reflection, etc.) or are they something different?

Suzanne:  Writing about vampires happened by accident, really. I’d been heavily reading Sherrilyn Kenyon and had that immortal badassness firmly rooted in my brain when I started drafting a scene that actually made it fairly untouched into the final book. Yes, my vampires are allergic to the sun and are very hard to kill, but they also have abilities that vary from vampire to vampire, which fall much more on the paranormal side of things, including telekinesis.



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

Suzanne:  While in Boston on a business trip, I managed to sneak away long enough to walk the cobblestone streets and the parks at night to get a better sense of the place. For other settings, I mostly hand-drew them so I had a clear idea of how they looked while writing. And of course I kept on reading my favorite paranormal and urban fantasy novels.



TQ:  In Into the Night who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Suzanne:  Jess, Selina’s best friend, was the easiest character for me to write because she is just so warm and bubbly. She’s fun and friendly and always has sassy things to say, and for me, it was a joy to put them down on paper. Conversely, James, the main love interest was actually most difficult for me to write. It took several drafts to create a man who at once is dark and contemplative, but who is also sweet and funny and will dance with you under a streetlight.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Into the Night.

Suzanne:

“I woke with a start, sweat starting to pool in the hollows of my collarbone.” (I just love the sounds and the imagery of the line.)



TQ:  What's next?

Suzanne:  I’m actually deep in revisions on the sequel to Into the Night and will be posting more info about that in the coming weeks! It’s been great digging back into the world and expanding it further than what I was able to cover in the first book, including vampire lore and politics.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Suzanne:  Thank you so much for having me!





Suzanne Rigdon

Into the Night
Selina Baker 1
Spence City, December 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 328 pages

Interview with Suzanne Rigdon, author of Into the Night - December 5, 2014
When Selina Baker, a coordinator for a Boston non-profit, goes out on the town with her friend Jess, she never expects to meet the man of her dreams. And she certainly never expects him to be undead.

When things go from flirty to majorly flawed on her first date with James Lawton, he is forced to save her the only way he can--by killing her. Selina suddenly finds herself in the mix with the creatures she thought were made up solely for late-night TV.  Into the Night follows Selina’s transformation from a wallflower into an impulsive and dangerous new vampire.  With no choice in the matter, Selina becomes trapped between a new man, his wary brothers, and his cruel and controlling Queen, who wants nothing more than to watch her suffer.  Selina must walk the fine line between adjusting to her new powers, life after death, and following the rules--all while avoiding disaster.





About Suzanne

Interview with Suzanne Rigdon, author of Into the Night - December 5, 2014
Suzanne is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction and has previously had her short fiction published in The Albion Review and Word of Mouth literary magazine. Into the Night is her debut novel.

She currently lives in the D.C. Metro area, where her cross-eyed cat, Otto keeps her company amid the hype and low-flying planes.

Follow her on Twitter: @SuzyRigdon & check out her blog.



Website  ~  Goodreads


Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014


Please welcome Jessica Leake to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Arcana was published on November 11th by Talos.



Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014




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

Jessica:  Thank you! I really enjoy this blog, so it's surreal for me to be here. I was first asked this question by my agent, and when I sat down and thought about it, I had a memory of this yellow legal pad filled with an epic fantasy about a unicorn. I think I must have been about 10 or 11 at the time, so we can say that's when I started my love-affair with writing, though not in a professional sense by any means! As for why, I think the main reason is really rather simple: I would crave a certain type of story, and when I couldn't find it, I'd just write it myself.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jessica:  I will make a very loose outline of major plot points, but I predominantly fall into the pantser writing category.



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

Jessica:  Time! I know many have given that answer, but it's especially true for me with three little ones to take care of every day. But aside from making the time, there's also the challenge of using that time wisely. I usually write during my kids' nap time, but there are of course many other things I could be doing during that block of time (both productive and unproductive!), so I have to force myself to really be disciplined.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Jessica:  Oh, so many! As an early reader, I loved Roald Dahl, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry, and as I got older, I read R.L. Stine, L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike. Throughout high school, I read any romance novel I could get my hands on, but I loved Julia Quinn, Judith McNaught, and Julie Garwood. I also loved Dean Koontz. Most recently, I'm into all things YA: Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Kristin Cashore, Stephanie Perkins. My favorite authors change over time, but I have a few constants: JK Rowling, Jane Austin, Robin McKinley, and C.S. Lewis.



TQ:  Describe Arcana in 140 characters or less.

Jessica:  An Edwardian-era debutante must keep her powerful abilities hidden not only from society but a dangerous organization who seeks her kind.



Jessica:  TQ: Tell us something about Arcana that is not in the book description. The novel is described as "genre-bending." What genres does it bend?

One thing the book description fails to mention is just how family-centric the book is. A lot of Katherine's decisions are made because of, or for the good of, her siblings. It's been described as genre-bending because it is a mix of historical romance and fantasy, without truly falling into either category--those are my favorite genres, and I love books that blend them together!



TQ:  What inspired you to write Arcana? Why did you set the novel in Edwardian London?

Jessica:  I knew I wanted to write a historical--there's just something so romantic and beautiful about that setting, plus I knew throwing hidden abilities into such a rigid society would have some inherent conflict. I chose the Edwardian era because it's such an opulent and beautiful time--and I absolutely love Downton Abbey.



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

Jessica:  So much research! But it was all a lot of fun--everything from what people ate in the early 1900s (the aristocracy enjoyed decadent 10-course meals) to how they spent their time (London while Parliament was in session, and hunting and sporting in the country during the summer). It always surprised me to learn just how many technological advances they had: trains, cars, the subway in London, electricity.



TQ:  In Arcana who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jessica:  Katherine and Lord Thornewood were both the easiest to write because they had such strong voices. Lord Blackburn probably gave me the most trouble just because he has some secrets to keep hidden.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoliery lines from Arcana.

Jessica:
A deep tug at the core of me, and my power unfurls, sliding over my skin like silk. The familiar smell of energy releasing washes over me, like the refreshing scent of the earth right after it rains.


TQ:  What's next?

Jessica:  This isn't official news yet, but there WILL be a second book set in the Arcana world--though Katherine and Lord Thornewood are present in the book, the focus will be on Lucy, Katherine's sister. It's tentatively slated to be released Spring of 2016.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jessica:  Thank you so much for having me!





Arcana
Talos, November 11, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014
A romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome-or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine's family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London's most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.

Through her late mother's enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin-and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere-hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.

But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine's arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor-even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.

With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?





About Jessica

Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014
Jessica Leake has been in love with historical England ever since her first literary crush: Mr. Darcy. After embarking on a quest to bring her own intriguing and headstrong characters to life, she decided to quit her day job as a clinical therapist and spend her time weaving arcana with words. She lives in Greenville, SC with her brilliant husband, three painfully cute children, and two mischievous dogs. She invites you to visit her at jessicaleake.com.


Website  ~  Twitter @JessLeake  ~  Facebook  ~  Google+  ~  Pinterest


Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014


Please welcome Fred Venturini to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Heart Does Not Grow Back was published on November 4th by Picador.



Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014




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

Fred:  I was exposed to reading at an extremely early age by my grandmother, so the natural extension of that was to start jotting down my own stories. I don’t know why I started writing, but I know why I loved it and why I continued it into my teens and adulthood—I liked getting a reaction out of an audience. So in that regard I’m always writing to entertain people first and foremost.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Fred:  Kind of a hybrid. I’m not a rigid plotter, but I like to break down the big beats of a story before I start. I fill out a “beat sheet” much like a screenwriter would, trying to figure out the catalyst of the story, and the big breaks and twists, and the best ending I can come up with at the time. Then I just start writing, approaching those signposts, and often obliterating/changing them in the process. So I have an idea of where I’m going like a plotter would, but I still have the complete freedom of a pantser.



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

Fred:  My writing routine is a challenge to maintain, because I don’t have one. I write in little bursts on the couch, in bed, in my office, in the recliner. Some weeks I’ll generate 30,000 words, and some weeks the output is way lower. My sessions are short because I burn out quickly and my quality only feels high for the first hour or two.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Fred:  I was raised on Stephen King, so he’s obviously a favorite and an influence and I’m not alone in having him on the list. I think I started to discover my voice when I was turned on to Chuck Palahniuk, and his work clicked with me immediately. I never wrote in first person before I read his stuff, and experimenting with his generous writing tips and exercises gave me a solid foundation that I brought into my MFA program. Joe Hill, Donald Ray Pollock, Stephen Graham Jones, are some other favorites that come to mind.



TQ:  Describe The Heart Does Not Grow Back in 140 characters or less.

Fred:  A high school nobody can regenerate organs and limbs, so he gives them away on a reality show to impress/save a girl.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Heart Does Not Grow Back that is not in the book description.

Fred:  The black market for organs and body parts is alive and well, both in real life and the world of the novel. It’s the first idea Dale has for profiting off of his abilities.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Heart Does Not Grow Back? Dale Sampson does not sound like a stereotypical superhero. How is he different or not?

Fred:  The hook of the story was attractive to me, but only when I discovered the friendship between Dale and Mack did the story come to life. Superhero stories are often solitary journeys, and to have the friendship between Dale and Mack as one of the central parts of the story is something that sets it apart, and it’s also one of the most popular parts of the story, according to readers.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Heart Does Not Grow Back?

Fred:  I researched the black market for organs pretty extensively, but only a small part of that made it into the book. At one point I was calling around wondering if the FBI was going to bust me, asking about how I could go about selling body parts and whatnot. There are also medical scenes in the book, and a lot of reading and a few decisive notes from a friend in the medical field helped bring them to life in a realistic way. Well, as realistic as possible, considering the “super” aspect of the story.



TQ:  In The Heart Does Not Grow Back who was the easiest character to write and why?The hardest and why?

Fred:  No one really stands out as hard to write. Probably the producer character, Tracy, since that was a profession that required a little research to get right. It wasn’t as organic as the central characters like Dale, Mack and the twins, who all came along pretty easily from draft to draft. It felt more like unearthing relics that already existed instead of creating something from scratch (I think this simile is a riff on a Stephen King quote, and if so, it’s a damn good one).



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Heart Does Not Grow Back.

Fred:  It’s really not fair for me to open up the manuscript and handpick some lines, right? So I’ll just rattle off a couple off the top of my head.

     “Give everything.”

     “It’s a relationship, not a newborn.”

And it doesn’t get more non-spoilery than this line:

     “The heart does not grow back.”



TQ:  What's next?

Fred:  As delighted as I am to have this novel out in the world, I’m approaching this as a beginning, not a destination. You grind so hard to get a book done, and get an agent, and get a book deal, and then you want to see it in print, and then what? All you’ve done at that point is start something—you’ve started an audience, a catalog of stories. It’s story one, it’s just a brick. If you really want to build something, like a career, an audience, your dreams—you need more than one brick. You need story two, and story three, and a couple of breaks here and there. I’m working on my bricks. I have early drafts of three novels, and we’ll just have to see if one of them is strong enough to be that second brick. And if it’s not? Then I’ll just keep writing. It’s what I’ve always done, and it’s probably what I’ll always do, but I have to admit it’s a lot more fun when you start to attract readers. To me it’ll always be about having fun, and hoping that an audience cares enough to come along for the ride.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Heart Does Not Grow Back
Picador, November 4, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.





About Fred

Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014
Fred Venturini was born in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13. His story “Gasoline” is featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.






Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Goodreads  ~  Twitter @fredventurini  ~  reddit


Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014


Please welcome Martin Rose to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is published today by Talos.  Please join The Qwillery in wishing Martin a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014




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

Martin:  Like a lot of writers, I was young. I had some obstacles, but I fell into it when I was twelve. And it's hard to say why, why writing was the thing. I just had stories inside me, and it was self-evident the only natural answer was to let them out. So I started sending out stories to print publications when I was 13. I was very secretive about it, I didn't tell anyone, or ask for help. I still have my first rejection letter from Dani D'Atillio at Death's Realm back in 1994.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Martin:  Ambidextrous. Nowadays I make a general outline, but I pantsed Bring Me Flesh something fierce.



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

Martin:  Time. Always time. On the surface, it's hard for any writer who starts early in their career to find time, especially if they're not in a financially comfortable place in life. But there's this whole other aspect of time involved in writing that is just not very sexy. It's learning how to deal with time when your heart isn't in it, and how, you know, you could be spending your time on all these other very pleasurable distractions that life provides you. It's not exciting to spend hour after hour in a chair, pecking at the keyboard. And there are all these days and months and years ahead of you, spent waiting for editors and publishers and agents to get back to you. You have to learn to mitigate and leverage time, because if you don't... you give up. Nothing breaks a writer with greater efficiency than Time. And I think that's true of any profession that requires discipline and mastery.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Martin:  I read it all. A lot of books have stuck with me, but it's hard to say what made an influence, because I really, really have a deep desire to innovate language, to create a voice and a style that is all its own, and not beholden to the past. When I was a teenager, I cut my teeth on Lloyd Alexander, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Robert R. McCammon, Edgar Allen Poe, Alexandre Dumas and Edith Wharton. When I got older I found Graham Greene, David Sedaris, Donna Tartt, Robin Hobb, Charlotte Bronte. I read a lot of non-fiction. Economics, political science, history. These days I'm going through Laird Barron's back catalog with a great deal of enjoyment, as well as John Langan, Stephen Graham Jones. Read my first John LeCarre book, and I'm looking forward to reading more of him. Anyone can track my readings on goodreads.com.



TQ:  Describe Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell in 140 characters or less.

Martin:  Love the dead without the guilt. Blood, bullets, conspiracy, and a very dysfunctional family.



TQ:  Tell us something about Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell that is not in the book description.

Martin:  Well, without giving too much away, there's a suit of armor and a troublesome infestation of flies. There's a particular part I'd love to tell people about, but it would spoil the surprise.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell? Your publisher describes the novel as "...an imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel." Why zombies? Are your zombies the classic Romero zombie or something else?

Martin:  I'd written a short story with Vitus, a few years back, I think in 2009, and that became the springboard. It was just meant to be a one off short that ended up in a zombie anthology, but Vitus had a persistent voice.

Out of the entire monster catalog a writer can choose from, zombie was not really ever on my list; but I found that a zombie of Vitus's caliber gave me a lot of play I couldn't get out of other monsters that have really come back into public focus, like vampires and werewolves. And vampires and werewolves are often spun to be very sexual, mysterious and seductive creatures, in the popular sphere. But with Vitus, there was no expectation for that kind of glamor. He's not attractive, he's not happy, he's got a lot of trauma. And rather than go with classic Romero zombie – not to say you won't find an element of that in Bring Me Flesh as well – Vitus is self-aware of his monstrousness, and the only reason he has that self-awareness is because he takes medication to keep him sentient. Zombies' continuing popularity is really a sign of a zeitgeist. It's not going away anytime soon. The BBC is running a program called "In The Flesh", about a boy who happens to be a zombie, and is being integrated back into society through medication. I expect our culture will be taking this subject farther to reflect the various social, economic, and political issues that have become too controversial, or uncomfortable, to talk about openly.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell?

Martin:  Some was accidental. I have a friend who's an officer in NYC, and I'd done some research with him about evidence rooms that inadvertantly ended up forming a particular character in the book. I ended up taking the research into some interesting spaces – for instance, I spent a lot of hours poring over materials dealing with the subject of leprosy in medieval times. When I was young, my step-mother told me about a leper colony in Hawaii, and that really began to form the basis for another character. Vitus's back story takes the reader to Kosovo, and the conflicts that erupted in Yugoslavia during the 90s, the NATO airstrikes, and I brushed up on that. Hopefully I didn't screw any of that up, but if there are mistakes, they're all mine. But Kosovo is where Vitus ends up. The recent wars involving the middle east are probably the most accessible to the reader, but I wanted to delve into an area that people would be less knowledgable about, (Kosovo, Bosnia, and Sarajevo) and unable to form instantaneous opinions on.



TQ:  In Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Martin:  They're all hard. I'm not a large fan of turning my characters into avatars for myself. That doesn't mean I don't take little things from experience and just patch them in places to bolster the identity of a character and flesh them out. But because I don't necessarily want characters to reflect my attitudes or personality, it actually can be quite a grind, to build a person from scratch and make them breathe for the reader, when you may not even like the character yourself. That's what made Vitus the hardest. His brother, Jamie, was a bit of a surprise, but still hard. I did not expect him to flesh out as much as he did. There were intense psychological scenes in the last half of the book I had to take breaks through. I think having empathy makes it harder. That quality creates an obligation to care more about what happens to everyone, even the villains.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell.

Martin

"Another man walked in my shoes. I never really got to know him, the boy that I was. At twenty years of age, he died ignobly as part of a military sanctioned, pharmaceutical experiment. In his place, I was born – as a darkling encased in rotting meat, a walking, talking corpse, still picking pieces of his wife and son from his teeth. A convenient tragedy packing heat. I was a pathetic human and I made for an even more pathetic monster."



TQ:  What's next?

Martin:  Hopefully, a follow up, if Skyhorse wants it. I'll be a tourist in the zombie universe for another book or two, if circumstance allows; and then I'll move onto other pastures. I'm always writing. Anyone interested can keep up with my commentary, observations, news, and unwanted opinions over at my wordpress, www.martinrose.org.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Martin:  Thanks for having me, and happy reading to everyone. There're amazing books coming out this month; I know I'll be reading quite a few of them myself!





Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell: A Horror Novel
Talos, October 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages

Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014
Vitus Adamson is falling apart. As a pre-deceased private investigator, he takes the prescription Atroxipine hourly to keep his undead body upright and functioning. Whenever he is injured, he seeks Niko, a bombshell mortician with bedroom eyes and a way with corpses, to piece him back together. Decomposition, however, is the least of his worries when two clients posing his most dangerous job yet appear at his door looking for their lost son.

Vitus is horrified to discover the photo of the couple's missing son is a picture-perfect reproduction of his long dead son. This leads him to question the events of his tormented past; he must face the possibility that the wife and child he believed he murdered ten years ago in a zombie-fugue have somehow survived . . . or is it just wishful thinking designed to pull him into an elaborate trap?

Unfolding like a classic film noir mixed with elements of a B-movie, Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is an imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel. In Vitus Adamson, you will find a protagonist you can care about and invest in as he takes you through his emotional journey of betrayal and quest for redemption.





About Martin

Martin Rose lives in New Jersey, where he writes a range of fiction from the fantastic to the macabre. Visit martinrose.org for details.



Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014


Please welcome Amy Impellizzeri to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Lemongrass Hope was published on October 8th by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing.



Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014




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

Amy:  Thanks for having me!

I have always been a “writer” (And I have the vintage detailed diaries from childhood to prove it …) I love that Flannery O’Connor quote: “I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.” That’s always been me. Although, before I wrote Lemongrass Hope, I was a different kind of “professional” writer - a corporate litigator, in fact – and what I wrote for a living was very different than what I write now. In 2009, after thirteen years in that world, I left my career writing summary judgment motions, deposition outlines, and closing arguments, and returned to creative writing – both fiction and nonfiction.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Amy:  Are they really, truly, mutually exclusive?

If so, I have to align myself with the plotters. I need to know where I’m going in a general I-already-know-how-this-is-all-going-to-end way. In writing this novel, I did let the characters surprise me, and develop on their own. But I will often mull over the details of a scene, its dialogue, or an entire chapter for days before I actually put pen to paper.



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

Amy:  Easy. Putting it out there in the world.

For me, the writing itself is a compulsion and a necessity and generally the act of writing is one I LOVE. I wrote about this very issue recently on Caroline Leavitt’s blog. And while, I’m subject to all of the same challenges that other writers face – writer’s block, story structure problems, too many occasions of the same word in one manuscript (in Lemongrass Hope – everyone was “whispering” until I fixed the 143 word occurrences during the editing process) – it’s so hard to put anything I write out there, from articles, to blog posts, to my debut novel. Because it’s not just that I want people to like it – I want them to feel like it was genuinely worth their time to read. Really, what I’m trying to say is - I want them to LOVE it.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Amy:  Well certainly I am drawn to those who have done magical realism and done it so well. The great Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Yann Martel come to mind instantly. One of the most joyful moments I experienced on the road to publication of Lemongrass Hope was the day I obtained permission to reprint an excerpt of Life of Pi in my own novel. In terms of current contemporary fiction, I am a huge fan of Jojo Moyes, Jess Walter, and Caroline Leavitt, just to name a (very!) few.



TQ:  Describe Lemongrass Hope in 140 characters or less.

A haunting, unique story – both relatable AND magical – which explores those decisions about love and life that often give rise to some dramatic “What If’s?”



TQ:  Tell us something about Lemongrass Hope that is not in the book description.

Amy:  It will surprise you. Up until the very last page. If you haven’t read it yet, you don’t know what REALLY happens, no matter how many descriptions or reviews you have read to date. Trust me.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Lemongrass Hope? The novel is described by the publisher as "...a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel." Why add both elements of magical realism and time travel to a love story?

Amy:  The easy answer is that I had a very surreal dream a few years ago that haunted me and gripped me, and gave rise to the core magic that readers find in Lemongrass Hope. However, as the novel developed – as the love story developed - I really wanted to explore the concept of time travel in a new way that doesn’t involve time machines or flashy, abrupt transitions to the past. I wanted the transition to be seamless. I really wanted the reader to BELIEVE what had happened in the story. To lose themselves in the possibility.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Lemongrass Hope?

AmyLemongrass Hope takes place in three main regions – New York City and its suburbs; Botswana; and the Bahamas. I lived in the New York area for thirteen years and I have traveled to the Bahamas, but not Botswana (yet!) so my experiences in those first two places certainly informed certain sections of the novel. Years ago – before I started the novel - I read about the Elephant Sanctuary in Botswana and the marula forests, and was utterly fascinated. As I worked on the novel, that research was critical to the development of the story.



TQ:  In Lemongrass Hope who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Amy:  Dee was the easiest character to write. Even though she plays a small role, it’s a critical one. And I am absolutely mesmerized by her. She’s definitely a character that evolved completely on her own, with little help from me. I have fantasies about writing another book focusing entirely on her story – which I’m certain would be so very intriguing.

Rob Sutton was the hardest to write, and in fact, I had to spend a fair amount of time working on his character development during the editing process through some pretty hefty character arc exercises. Regardless of what you think about him in the final version of the novel, in the earlier versions, he was just … too unlikeable. That was never my goal for him, and so I spent a lot of time thinking about him, re-writing him, and working on him.




TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Lemongrass Hope.

Amy:
“Marula fruit,” she smiled. “You need marula drink instead of that,” she pointed to his glass of bourbon and he smiled again, straightened up and glanced over Dee’s head at the door again for the first time since Dee had sat down. “Yes,” he said. “That’s exactly why I’ve come here.”
“That’s how gambling works, Kate. To succeed, you can’t be too practical. Or too conservative.
“Ah, it’s the great inverse of life.” I clinked my glass on his.
Ian actually looked startled. “Inverse? Kate, it’s the precise analogy of life ….”


TQ:  What's next?

Amy:  I’m finishing up work on my first non-fiction book, entitled Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing) due out in Spring 2015. Which means that before year’s end, I can turn my attention to my next novel, and see which one of the two concepts that are sketched out (in true “planner’s” fashion) actually lends itself to a full-length novel. On one hand, I have been working out an idea that will be completely separate from Lemongrass Hope, and on the other – developing an idea that would explore one of my favorite Lemongrass Hope character’s back story . Stay tuned ….



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Amy:  THANK YOU!





Lemongrass Hope
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, October 8, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 302 pages

Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014
Set in the past, and present, Lemongrass Hope is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel.

Lemongrass Hope weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope.

As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When she unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been like had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope, and her greatest fears.

Lemongrass Hope will draw you in with characters so relatable and real, you will cheer for them one moment and flinch the next. A tale that invites you to suspend disbelief—or perhaps decide to believe once and for all—in the potent power of love and connection over time and choice.

Oh, and the dress. There’s this lemongrass dress . . .





About Amy

Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014
Amy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator and author. After spending a decade at one of the top law firms in the country, Amy left in 2009 to advocate for working women, eventually landing at a VC-backed start-up company, ShopFunder LLC (formerly Hybrid Her - named by ForbesWoman as a top website for women in 2010 and 2011), while writing her first novel, Lemongrass Hope, which debuted as an Amazon Best-Seller (Fantasy/Romance and Fantasy/Time Travel) and her first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted, which is scheduled to be published by the American Bar Association in 2015.

Oprah's very first Book Club Selection Author and NYT #1 Best-Selling Author, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has said “Lemongrass Hope is that fine and fresh thing – a truly new story …. Amy Impellizzeri is a bold and tender writer, who makes the impossible feel not only real, but strangely familiar.” NYT Best-selling Author, Caroline Leavitt, called Lemongrass Hope: "haunting, mesmerizing and unforgettable." Foreword Reviews Magazine chose Lemongrass Hope as one of five exemplary titles in romance fiction featured in its fall issue of "Indies We Love!", and Lemongrass Hope has received acclaim from book reviewers, bloggers, and authors alike, including all 5-star reviews on Amazon. Amy's essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, and ABA's Law Practice today, among more. Amy currently lives in rural Pennsylvania where she works and plays and keeps up on all of the latest research confirming that large volumes of coffee are indeed good for you.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @AmyImpellizzeri


Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014


Please welcome Rebecca Alexander to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Secrets of Life and Death was published on October 7th by Broadway Books.



Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014




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

Rebecca:  I can’t remember not writing but after my children came along I stopped writing fiction. I came back to it about seven years ago as the kids grew up, and found a whole new enthusiasm for fiction, both reading and writing.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rebecca:  I’m a pantser! I so wish I was a plotter, it makes so much sense to plan a book out. I often feel like my characters are taking me out for an adventure. They surprise me all the time. I was recently writing about an archaeologist excavating a well and one of my characters fell in and died. I was so upset I cried. Edward Kelley basically told me his story, I wrote it down. I sometimes worry that I have an Elizabethan man talking inside my head…



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

Rebecca:  Stopping and starting are tricky. I find it hard to stop when I’m on a roll, but if the story doesn’t come easily it’s hard to get back to it. I often get stuck right in the middle of a book and after a few frustrated days, I skip on to write the ending. That seems to help.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Rebecca:  I grew up with authors like Bram Stoker and Barbara Michaels, Dennis Wheatley and Edgar Allen Poe. I loved books with plenty of suspense, and a supernatural edge, even a bit of horror. The one book that drew me back into fantasy was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I wish I’d written that. I love contemporary fantasy too, especially Kelley Armstrong, but I also like female crime writers like Tess Gerritsen and Lisa Gardner, who write fantastic suspense.



TQ:  Describe The Secrets of Life and Death in 140 characters or less.

Rebecca:  Edward Kelley, sorcerer in Transylvania. Jackdaw Hammond, modern revenant – a soul held from heaven by sorcery. When their worlds collide...



TQ:  Tell us something about The Secrets of Life and Death that is not in the book description.

Rebecca:  Jack lives in a fifteenth century cottage, very like one I once stayed in. The cottage’s secret past provides a creepy place to imprison a dying child for magical reasons. The house I stayed in had a ‘priest hole’, a hideaway concealed space for Catholic priests to be hidden in during Tudor Protestant revivals. This one had been used for séances, and had a spooky atmosphere and was covered with scrawled messages. The cottage is in the Devon countryside and the centre of a centuries old rookery. I think the castle in Transylvania and the cottage in England help set the mood for the book.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Secrets of Life and Death? The novel is a genre blender. How would you describe the novel's genres/sub-genres?

Rebecca:  I started out writing a psychological thriller. I worked as a psychologist and wanted to explore the strange beliefs of deluded, untreated people with psychosis. My character would kidnap a child in the complete belief she was saving her life with sixteenth century sorcery. As the book developed, I started to believe it too, making it fantasy. But rather than explain all the fascinating research into John Dee and Edward Kelley I had done, I found it very easy to write their adventures alongside the contemporary, so a historical strand crept in. Then Jack found herself being drawn to Felix, and an unexpected emotional entanglement crept in. That’s what I mean by not plotted, I never meant to draw in so many genre elements.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Secrets of Life and Death?

Rebecca:  I read everything of Dee’s and Kelley’s I could find, and dozens of books about Dee. He was a fascinating man who was born in the reign of Henry VIII and died in the reign of James I eighty-two years later, having seen some of the most turbulent years in English history. I also spoke to some modern occultists, fascinating people who still research (and use?) some of the magical ideas Dee talked about. Finding out that Dee and Kelley had met Istvan Báthory, king of Poland and Transylvania, and uncle of Elizabeth Báthory. She was a sadistic serial murderer and discovering the connection was a gift to a writer. Elizabeth would have been about 25, and not yet started on her murderous path, and still a sympathetic character.



TQ:  In The Secrets of Life and Death who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Rebecca:  Jackdaw Hammond was the hardest. She is secretive, and had a very limited experience of the ‘real world’ and men. Finding herself in a friendship that might be a relationship makes her awkward, which was hard to find at first. Edward Kelley was the easiest, despite all the research. He was a trickster, who even manipulated the genius Dee. He was charming and glib but had come up from very humble beginnings, with only his charm and wits to keep him safe. I found him good company and have enjoyed following him through the sequels.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Secrets of Life and Death.

Rebecca:

The dark little room was like a prison cell. Stone walls glistened with damp and a lantern glowed from a rusty hook. Tales of kidnap, rape and murder crept into her mind.



TQ:  What's next?

Rebecca:  The sequel comes out in the UK in October, and the final book in the trilogy is in its editing underwear at the moment. I’m also writing a separate series about a younger Edward Kelley and a modern day independent, female archaeologist, who uncovers some of Kelley’s past while solving the riddle of a body in a well (A Baby’s Bones).



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Secrets of Life and Death
Broadway Books, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
(US Debut)

Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014
In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive....

In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...

As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.





About Rebecca

Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014
Rebecca Alexander is an urban fantasy, historical and crime writer, and recovering psychologist. She has brought up seven children, the youngest five in a haunted house in Devon surrounded by rooks and jackdaws. The birds and the children find their way into her novels. Her first book, The Secrets of Life and Death, will be published October 2014 by Broadway Books. It weaves the historical adventures of Edward Kelley, associate of the necromancer and sorcerer John Dee, with the fight to save a teenager’s life in the present day.






Website  ~  Twitter @RebAlexander1



Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014


Please welcome Alis Franklin to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Liesmith was published on October 7th by Hydra.



Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014




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

Alis:  Thank you so much for having me, it's great to be here! As to when I started writing... honestly, I can't ever remember not writing. Story exercises were some of my favourite things in kindergarten, and somewhere around then I got my first "publication credit"; an acrostic poem I wrote about a local river. It was collected in an anthology of work from local school children. I still remember most of the words to the poem (it started "Murmuring waters wash / Under, over and / 'Round") because I had to recite it at the book launch. Scary stuff!



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Alis:  Both, I guess. I'll tend to get an idea, let it churn around for a while, write it down as a rough outline, start writing the first draft, then go back to refine the outline if I run into plot walls. It depends on the story.



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

Alis:  Finding time to do it. Like most noob authors I have a day job, and also a husband, both of which take up good chunks of attention. So I have to grab writing time when it comes. Most of Liesmith was written on my iPhone, for example, when standing in queues at the grocery store or, well, sitting on the toilet. (No comments on that one, eh?)



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Alis:  Terry Pratchett blew my mind when I was a teenager. There's a real highwire balancing act between writing books that are "clever" and writing books that are "self-indulgent". Pratchett is extremely good at keeping on the "clever" side of that equation; his books are full of references and in-jokes, but I never feel like he's talking down to me if I don't "get" them. Plus he deconstructed fantasy for me so effectively I basically stopped being able to read anything else in the genre for years.

A bit later, Michael Marshall Smith (Spares, Only Forward) made me fall in love with unreliable narrators, first-person POV, and deft foreshadowing. Stephen King taught me the importance of character, and Poppy Z. Brite was the first time I'd ever seen queer sexuality depicted in a genre novel which was, again, mind-blowing, since I'd never seen anything before that allowed for gay characters in fiction that wasn't specifically about being gay.



TQ:  Describe Liesmith in 140 characters or less.

Alis:  "Reincarnated Goddesses, Anthropomorphic Archaeopteryxes, and the End of the World (Again), or, What I Did Over Summer" by Sigmund Sussman.



TQ:  Tell us something about Liesmith that is not in the book description.

AlisLiesmith is on third sweet romance, one third urban fantasy action-adventure, and one third wall-oozing horror.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Liesmith?

Alis:  I got really interested in Norse mythology as a teenager, partly due to growing up in a place called the Woden Valley. It was kind of a weird feeling to realise that the bus interchange I sat in every afternoon on my way home from school was named after the Viking god of death and wisdom, and it got me thinking about a place where gods really did name shopping malls after themselves.

The second element in Liesmith came from growing up geeky and studying computer science at university, and realising how much of tech culture is a mythology in its own right. I mean, in oldskool hacker circles, arguments over things like operating systems were called "religious issues" and "holy wars", and we still refer to things like the "Cult of Mac" nowadays. Plus I just kind like the idea that kids who grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons and watching Star Trek wouldn't be particularly phased by encountering things like magic and sentient non-humans. It's kind of what they've been prepping for their entire lives, after all!

Finally, the third element... well. Early on, I latched onto Loki as a favourite of all the Norse gods; he's an outsider, who doesn't always make great decisions, but is loyal in his own way and generally tries to help the gods up until the point he kinda... gets sick of it. But the character I was really fascinated by was his wife, Sigyn. We basically know nothing about her, other than the fact she stayed--at great cost to herself--with her husband after his exile from Asgard. I mean, Loki might spend an eternity being tortured in prison but at least he gets to have his revenge when he gets out. But what about Sigyn? She cares for her husband through all that time, so she must feel something for him, but we never know what it is. Is she resigned to his punishment? Does she think he deserved it? Is she with him out of fear or obligation... or is it love? And if it is love, how pissed off must she be over what happened...

... and what price would she pay to fix it?



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

Alis:  I read a lot of books on Norse mythology and played a bunch of video games. It was torture, honest.



TQ:  In Liesmith who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alis:  Lain is the easiest to write. Partly because I've been writing in his POV for years, so I'm used to it, and also because I just find present-tense first person flows really easily. The hardest are probably the gods--Baldr, Sigyn, Loki and so on--because the florid Ye Olde Speake, while fun to indulge in, is way too easy to over over-write. It's also easier to do in present tense, so swapping between the present tense first-person (for Loki) and past tense third person (for Sigyn and Baldr) can be a little tricky.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Liesmith.

Alis:  There's a scene later on in the book where Lain quotes Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings ("fly you fools!"). It's not the line itself so much as the fact I got to have him say it while... well. When people read that scene, just remember Tolkien based Gandalf on the god Odin.

So basically yeah. I'm a huge dork, it's true.



TQ:  What's next?

Alis:  Next is a holiday! We're off round the world later this year. The Hubby is taking me to New York, I'm taking him to Iceland, and it's basically going to be awesome (albeit extremely cold). Plus a bunch of plane flights should (hopefully) give me some decent blocks of writing time; I owe my publisher some sequels for Liesmith in 2015, so... iPhones out and get typing!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alis:  And thank you so much for having me!





Liesmith
Wyrd 1
Hydra, October 7, 2014
eBook, 308 pages

Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014
At the intersection of the magical and the mundane, Alis Franklin’s thrilling debut novel reimagines mythology for a modern world—where gods and mortals walk side by side.

Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.





About Alis

Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014
Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.











Website  ~ Twitter @lokabrenna  ~  Google+
Instagram  ~  Pinterest  ~  Tumblr


Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014


Please welcome Ethan Reid to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller was published on October 7th by Simon451.



Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014




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

Ethan:  As a kid, to be honest. This may sound corny, but I remember my mother helping me set up a lemonade stand when I was about seven. She baked cookies, helped get the table going, and then I spent the afternoon crafting comic books for sale alongside the treats. I only sold one, but I remember the gentleman to this day. Later, I was a bit of a punk in high school. I had an English teacher who wasn’t overly fond of me until we started with the writing portion of his class. He took me aside and told me I should think about being a writer. That continued through undergrad, and later in graduate school. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I don’t know how I would exist without it.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Ethan:  Oh, do I have to chose? I love the idea of being a pantser. Or maybe I just love the naughtiness of the word. I’m probably a plotter. My wife laughed at me when I replied to another interview saying I was meticulous in my plot creation. Obsessed was the term she used. I spend a lot of time plotting the manuscript out before I start writing. Besides really needing to know the end, I have certain elements each book part and chapter must contain before I sit down and start cranking away.



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

Ethan:  Finding the time to shut out the rest of the world and just write? I love every aspect of writing, from creation to revision to getting notes from my editor and starting the process all over again. But the way a writing career works in today’s world, so much time gets spent in social media, etc, that I feel it interferes with writing. I rarely even find the time to blog, sadly.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Ethan:  I love this question! I have so many. Stephen King was huge for me when I was younger. Clive Barker. Anne Rice. Richard Matheson is one of my favorites. Such craft. Michael Crichton. Ray Bradbury. H.P. Lovecraft was a great inspiration. William Gibson. Joe R. Lansdale. Scott Smith. Of late I’ve been enjoying Andrew Pyper. Of course I also read the current biggies -- Susan Collins, George R.R. Martin.



TQ:  Describe The Undying.

Ethan:  After a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness, a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous undying who roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie arrives in Paris for New Year’s Eve, partying until midnight when the lights go out. By morning, fireballs rain from the sky and temperatures rise. Hearing word of a comet strike, her journey takes her from the Latin Quarter to the catacombs and the Louvre. Yet she knows the worst is yet to come as she’s the only person who has witnessed the pale, vampiric survivors.

These cunning beings are known as les moribund and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie stops at nothing to keep the infant safe and escape Paris—even if she must leave all hope of rescue behind.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Undying that is not in the book description.

Ethan:  Jeanie travels to Paris from Seattle with her good friend, Ben. A lot of the book centers around their relationship, and how they deal with the horrible events they are witnessing. They make their journey in the book with a group of friends they’ve met in Paris, one being an exchange student who lived with Jeanie for a short while. There is also a little bit of a love story.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Undying? Why did you set the novel in Paris, France?

Ethan:  I have family living in the Latin Quarter and have been lucky enough to travel to the city many times. I simply adore Paris. In part I wanted to convey that feeling of discovery one gets when they reach a new city in a foreign country for the first time. And then have it all come crashing down, when the you-know-what hits the fan.



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

Ethan:  I had to research the catacombs, which isn’t as easy as one might think. And the history of Paris. I love adding little tidbits of history here and there. Jeanie is an Art History major, so she gets to give her own outlook on the city, and its fabulous history, as it is literally blown to bits before her. I enjoyed doing the technical research, too . I won’t give anything away, but after a worldwide electromagnetic pulse, communication – and how quickly humanity can reestablish those links – is paramount to survival.



TQ:  In The Undying who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Ethan:  At first I wanted to say Zou Zou, Jeanie’s Parisian exchange student. She has a lot of fire in her, born from a difficult life. She is also the yin to Jeanie’s yang early on, and as the story progresses, must lean more and more on Jeanie to try and live through the day. When I just read that last part aloud to my wife, she told me I was way off and that my voice is better within Ben. I guess Ben is in some ways my hardest yet easiest character to write, given how complicated he is. I’ve found Ben can also be a lynchpin for readers. In the end, Ben is Ben. He can’t change who he is.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Undying.

Ethan:  Can I start with the top? Here’s the first paragraph in Chapter One:

Her flight from Seattle arrived in Paris on New Year’s Eve, touching down at Charles de Gaulle Airport shortly after noon. Enough time to negotiate customs, catch the train to the Latin Quarter, find the hotel and unpack -- even split a bottle of red wine with her travel companion, Ben Rosenfeld, before heading out for the party. After the last twelve months, saying goodbye to a shit year was exactly what the doctor ordered. 

And the next few lines come from the morning after New Year’s, when Jeanie awakes after the city-wide blackout to find the power still out:

Jeanie awoke to a headache and the rolling sound of crashing waves.

The hotel room was so dark, she thought it was still night. With a groan, she sat up, her temples throbbing in protest. Stupid, she thought, not downing her mandatory three glasses of water after an evening of indulging, afraid of what may lurk in Parisian pipes. 

Guessing the odd noise was the morning commute, she grabbed her father’s watch from the nightstand. 8:42 a.m. Jeanie sighed. She should ring Ben, meet for the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast before ten. Instead, she fell back and pulled the duvet tight. Being on vacation meant she could do what she wanted, when she wanted, darn it. 

Everything heats up rather quickly after that.



TQ:  What's next?

Ethan:  I’m off to the NY Comic Con in New York, appearing on a panel two days after The Undying‘s release date. I’ll be at the Simon451 booth, if anyone wants to drop by! I’m also editing the second book in The Undying series, set for a 2015 release, while writing the third.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ethan:  You bet, thanks for sharing!





The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller
The Undying 1
Simon451, October 7, 2014
eBook, 272 pages

Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014
THEY HAVE COME FROM THE STARS…
In this riveting apocalyptic thriller for fans of The Passage and The Walking Dead, a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness and a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous “undying” who now roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.

By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey that takes them across the city, descending deep into the catacombs, and eventually to a makeshift barracks at the Louvre Museum—Jeanie knows the worst is yet to come. So far, only she has witnessed pale, vampiric survivors who seem to exert a powerful hold on her whenever she catches them in her sights.

These cunning, ravenous beings will come to be known as les moribund—the undying—and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie will stop at nothing to keep the infant safe and get out of Paris—even if it means facing off against the moribund and leaving Ben—and any hope of rescue—behind.





About Ethan

Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014
Photo by Mitja Arzenšek
Ethan Reid received his BA in English with Writing Emphasis from the University of Washington and his MFA from the University of Southern California’s MPW Program, where he studied under author S.L. Stebel, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sy Gomberg, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Frank Tarloff. Ethan is a member of the Horror Writers Association, the International Thriller Writers and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Ethan currently lives in Seattle.





Website ~ Twitter @WriterEthanReid ~ Facebook




Interview with Terry Newman, author of Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf - December 22, 2014Interview with Sarah Remy, author of Stonehill Downs - December 9, 2014Interview with Suzanne Rigdon, author of Into the Night - December 5, 2014Interview with Jessica Leake, author of Arcana - November 18, 2014Interview with Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back - November 6, 2014Interview with Martin Rose, author of Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell - October 28, 2014Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014

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