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Interview with Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger - September 16, 2014


Please welcome Beth Cato to The Qwillery as part of the  2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Clockwork Dagger is out today from Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Beth a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger - September 16, 2014




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

Beth:  Thanks for having me here! It's an amazing feeling to be on a site that I've visited for years as a reader.

I was the odd four-year-old who wrote and illustrated my own stapled-together books. I continued to dream of being an author into my teenage years, at which point reality and my own insecurities smacked me upside the head. I gave up on writing for a decade. I was at home with my toddler son while my husband deployed in the Navy and I realized I wasn't being true to myself. I needed to do something more. I needed to write again.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Beth:  I'm a dedicated plotter but I leave a lot of wiggle room in my outlines. My stories always manage to surprise me!



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

Beth:  Oh, rejection. No question. It's hard to work on something for weeks or months and see it turned away with a form rejection, or worse, a personal rejection that let's you know it was oh-so-close to be accepted. I've developed a thicker skin over the years but it's still hard sometimes. My husband is acting as the screener for my book reviews so that I mostly see the positives ones.



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

Beth:  I adore C. E. Murphy's Walker Papers series. I found her books when I was starting to write again and I desperately wanted to be published, and I studied her books to figure out why they worked. I also love Elizabeth Moon's work--in particular, her Paksenarrion and Vatta's War books. On a personal level, she inspires me because she was a prolific writer while raising a son with autism, just as I am. I really needed a role model like that, especially during my son's hard preschool years.



TQ:  Describe The Clockwork Dagger in 140 characters or less.

Beth:  Healer on airship. Murder, spies, poison, cute gremlins & world tree that seriously plays favorites. Epic fantasy meets steampunk!



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

Beth:  The setting is based on post-World War I Europe, while the geography is based on western Washington state.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Clockwork Dagger? What appealed to you about writing a steampunk mystery novel? What do you think is the appeal of steampunk and why do you believe that steampunk blends so well with other genres / subgenres?

Beth:  I knew I wanted to write about a healer. I've loved steampunk for ages. My mom raised me on Agatha Christie mysteries. Everything mashed together in my brain. I initially pitched the idea to my agent as "Murder on the Orient Express, on an airship, with a healer."

First of all, steampunk is just plain fun. The clothes! The gadgets! The manners! Yet there's also depth to it. The Victorian and Edwardian periods were filled with such scientific promise and excitement, but at the same time you had the horrors of colonization and the dark side of industrialization. Steampunk literature lets us rewrite history or use that framework on a different world (as I do). Women can fight for empowerment, and minorities are given a greater voice. The real-life steampunk community reflects that, too--all ages, all body types, all backgrounds. Everyone is accepted and celebrated.

Steampunk blends well with other genres--mystery, post-apocalyptic, future science fiction--because there is so much inherent conflict, and anyone can be the hero.



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

Beth:  I read a number of books set during the American Civil War and World War I, fiction and nonfiction, though I most heavily relied on books about battlefield medicine. Within The Clockwork Dagger, the Lady's herbs are the only thing I invented. Other herbs, tools, and usages are drawn from history--things like the use of iodine for tender-feet.



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

Beth:  Leaf was by far the easiest to write. He's also the character that readers are the most crazy about. I based Leaf on my cat Palom--I thought, what would Palom be like if he understood more language and had wings? The hardest character was Octavia. In early drafts she was an extreme good-two-shoes. I had to soften her a lot to make sure she was relatable.



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

Beth:

"I'll try not to grope you without a legitimate medical excuse."

Apparently, one doesn't make friends by assaulting fellow passengers with a serving tray.



TQ:  What's next?

Beth:  I just wrapped up revisions for the second book in the duology, The Clockwork Crown. It's set to come out next autumn. I also have another steampunk series in the works, but no guarantees about that yet!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Beth:  Thanks for letting me be part of the site!





The Clockwork Dagger
Harper Voyager, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger - September 16, 2014
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.


You may read an excerpt from The Clockwork Dagger at Tor.com here.





About Beth

Interview with Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger - September 16, 2014
Photo by Corey Ralston
Beth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure.







Website  ~ Twitter @BethCato  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest




Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson: "You Got Western in my Fantasy!" - September 13, 2014


Please welcome Arianne 'Tex' Thompson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. One Night in Sixes will published on July 29th by Solaris Books.



Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson:




"You Got Western in my Fantasy!"


Nonsense – it was already there.


This year, I had an egregiously good time at ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas. One of the panels I participated in was called Space Westerns - moderated by the unrelentingly excellent Bill Crider. At one point, he asked us a question: how should we define a Western?


Well, it's set in the American West, for one thing. (Except when it's Australian, like Quigley Down Under, or Canadian, like the Trail of the Yukon series, or African, like The Jackals - and let's not even get into all those Zapata Westerns in Mexico.)


And there's cowboys, of course. You can't have a Western without a hefty helping of square-jawed gunslingers. (Disregarding Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Little Big Man; and Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage, naturally.)


But it's about the time period, more than anything – the frontier and the closing of the West in the 19th century. (Provided we don't count Justified, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, or any of the Leatherstocking Tales.)


In seriousness, though, I believe the question is worth asking: what is the essence of a Western? Of all genres, it's the one that seems most bound to a particular place and time – and yet it's constantly spilling over into other places and times, and even other genres. We've got spy Westerns (Wild Wild West), thriller Westerns (No Country for Old Men), comedy Westerns (Blazing Saddles), kids' Westerns (Rango), and absolutely every flavor of supernatural sci-fi and fantasy Western imaginable.


So there must be more to it than the big hats and six-guns – something behind the tropes and props that keeps us coming back to Sheriff Woody, even in the age of Buzz Lightyear. Certainly there must be a reason why the 19th century American West is so much more firmly cemented in our imaginations than, say, the antebellum South, or colonial New England. But what is it?


Well, here is a thought. Whether we're talking about the marshal versus the outlaws, the lone man braving the wilderness, or the coming of the railroad, the Western has an uncanny knack for tapping into some of our oldest fears. Watch yourself, it seems to say. Look sharp and step lightly – because you're on your own out here.


And let me tell you something – that is EXACTLY the feeling I get from all my favorite fantasy. Now there's a genre that's short on prerequisites! No maps, dates, or genre checklists needed here: the only requirement for fantasy is that it takes place outside the world as we know it. Maybe we're leaving the Shire behind to venture into the big, wide world. Maybe strange creatures are stepping out of the shadows of midtown Manhattan – or maybe we're the ones stepping out of the wardrobe and into Narnia. Regardless, our only guarantee in this part of the bookstore is that we're not in Kansas anymore.


Which, if you ask me, makes it a perfect complement for the Western. At the end of the day, the Western ultimately centers on the conflict between the world you know and the world you don't – and fantasy is the world you don't.


And if that's true, then maybe these two genres share more DNA than we thought – in fact, maybe they have a common ancestor. Think about Beowulf. Think about the Danes huddled together in their mead hall, desperately hoping to survive the night... and think about the dark, wild world outside the fire's light. Enter the hero, the stranger, the gunslinger who will fight the monsters in defense of humanity and civilization – leaving behind ordinary people who know they won't see a man of his caliber again. It's a hell of a story, isn't it? Hardly surprising that we've been telling it for literally thousands of years.


So maybe it's time we stopped thinking of Firefly and The Dark Tower and all the rest as cross-genre novelties and gave them their proper acknowledgement: as stories told with two facets of an idea that's as old and potent as we are.





One Night in Sixes
Children of the Drought One
Solaris, July 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson:
The border town called Sixes is quiet in the heat of the day. Still, Appaloosa Elim has heard the stories about what wakes at sunset: gunslingers and shapeshifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight.

And the daylight is running out. Elim's so-called 'partner' - that lily-white lordling Sil Halfwick – has disappeared inside the old adobe walls, hell-bent on making a name for himself among Sixes' notorious black-market traders. Elim, whose worldly station is written in the bastard browns and whites of his cow-spotted face, doesn't dare show up home without him.

If he ever wants to go home again, he'd better find his missing partner fast. But if he's caught out after dark, Elim risks succumbing to the old and sinister truth in his own flesh - and discovering just how far he'll go to survive the night.





About Tex

Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson:
Arianne "Tex" Thompson is home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from UT Dallas and a master’s degree in literature from the University of Dallas, she went on to become a community college professor, teaching the fundamentals of English to adults writing below the eighth-grade level. Now a master teacher for academic tutoring and test prep services, as well as the managing editor for the DFW Writers Conference, Tex is a regular feature at high schools, writing conferences, and genre conventions alike.

With her first book, a ‘rural fantasy’ novel called One Night in Sixes, Tex joins the growing ranks of Solaris authors committed to exciting, innovative and inclusive science fiction and fantasy.  Find her online at www.thetexfiles.com and on Twitter as @tex_maam!


Interview with Gregory Sherl, author of The Future for Curious People - September 11, 2014


Please welcome Gregory Sherl to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Future for Curious People was published on September 2, 2014 by Algonquin Books.



Interview with Gregory Sherl, author of The Future for Curious People - September 11, 2014




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

Gregory:  I began writing (with the realization that I was writing) when I was nineteen. I had dropped out of college and moved back home. My life was directionless. I got a job at Starbucks, which was terrible—I couldn’t handle the stress of making people’s drinks. I was always so worried about screwing up an order for a caramel macchiato or a latte, which often happened. (Pathetic, I know.) At the time I was searching—a theme that can be found through most of my writing—for anything. A purpose to go back to school; something to attach my name to. A couple months after dropping out of college, I visited my old high school English teacher. I asked her what I should do with my life. She said two words. She said, “Go write.”

I have ever since.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Gregory:  Is there something in between? I’ll call myself a desperate—if I’ve got an idea, all the better; if not, I’ll take whatever my mind will give me at the time.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? How has being a poet influenced your prose writing?

Gregory:  The most challenging thing lately has been finding the time to write. When I was working on The Future for Curious People, all I had was time. But lately, I’m finding that I don’t have enough time. This is new for me (but then again, so is growing up).

I was focusing solely on poetry for about three years before diving into The Future for Curious People. I’m glad you asked me this question because I’ve thought about it a lot. I was a fiction writer before I was a poet, but devoting all of my writing to poetry for so long had a huge effect on my prose writing. For one, I had forgotten how to write a scene. I was used to writing a poem—a page or two in length that would be a singular self-contained piece of work. Scenes involved so much more. They involved scenes that led to other scenes that led to other scenes. They had to fit together, this puzzle of sorts. The upside of working solely on poetry before starting on the novel was that it allowed me to strengthen my voice, the language that went into my sentences, into my scenes. This translated into my prose.



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

Gregory:  Kanye West and Bob Hicok.



TQ:   Describe The Future For Curious People in 140 characters or less.

Gregory:  Where love dies and then is found and almost dies again. Also, bunnies, swim lessons on benches, and the Babymakers.

Or:

What Lloyd Dobler would read if he wasn’t too busy holding up a boombox.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Future For Curious People that is not in the book description.

Gregory:  Doing abstract art as a form of couple’s therapy is not a good way to fix a relationship.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Future For Curious People?

Gregory:  First, I should mention the collaboration process that went into writing The Future for Curious People. (There's an author's note in the back of the novel explaining this.) The original idea for The Future for Curious People came from Julianna Baggott—a bestselling novelist and poet who has published more books than I have fingers or toes. I met Julianna as an undergraduate at Florida State University. I took her fiction workshop and then I took her fiction workshop again and in these workshops is where I began developing as a writer. Julianna has been a mentor ever since.

At the time I started working on the novel, I was an Adjunct English Instructor at a community college by my parents' house. I had moved back home at twenty-seven, after dropping out of graduate school. (Insert more of that searching theme here.) When Julianna approached me about the book, it was one of those aha! moments. I was concerned about my own future, or lack of one. The struggles of the characters in the novel were the same struggles I was dealing with myself. I grew excited with possibilities. What if this was true? What if we really could see our futures? What if we knew we were destined to be alone? What if we knew if we’d ever find out what happiness was? What the hell is happiness? I had to be a part of it.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Future For Curious People?

Gregory:  There's a scene about halfway through the book where Godfrey wanders into a convenience store. He's looking to get drunk and bold, but he left his wallet at home and, because of circumstances, going home to retrieve his wallet just isn’t an option. But Godfrey finds thirteen dollars balled up in a pocket of his pants. The novel takes place during a Baltimore winter, so I decided he should be drinking whiskey, but I’m not a big drinker, and know very little about whiskey. What could Godfrey buy with thirteen dollars? Well, the Internet told me, a bottle of Evan Williams, which the Internet reassured me, cost a cool $11.99.



TQ:  In The Future For Curious People who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Gregory:  The easiest was probably Adam Greenberg, a patron of the library that Evelyn and Dot work at. An aficionado of sweater vests and maybe prescription glasses. I imagined what a love child of Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and my best friend, who the character is named after, would look like.

He would look a lot like Adam Greenberg.

The most difficult character had to be Evelyn Shriner. Before The Future for Curious People, I had never written in a woman’s voice. I was hesitant, and Evelyn’s chapters took much longer to write than Godfrey’s—the novel alternates points of view between the two characters—but the challenge was half the fun.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoliery lines from The Future For Curious People.

Gregory:  “Is anyone thinking about me right now? If not, do I exist just a little less?”



TQ:  What's next?

Gregory:  I just finished a new poetry manuscript, currently titled Is This Fire, and I've started work on my next prose project. I'm incredibly excited about both, and I hope they get the chance to crawl themselves into the world one day.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Gregory:  Thank you for letting me join you at The Qwillery!





The Future for Curious People
Algonquin Books, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Gregory Sherl, author of The Future for Curious People - September 11, 2014
“Comic and Exuberant . . . A fine and tender tale for anyone who has tried to let go of the past and envision the future while falling in love.” —Rhonda Riley, author of The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

What if you could know your romantic future? What if an envisionist could enter the name of your prospective mate into a computer that would show you a film of your future life together?

In The Future for Curious People, a young librarian named Evelyn becomes obsessed with this new technology: she can’t stop visiting Dr. Chin’s office because she needs to know that she’ll meet someone and be happy one day. Godfrey, another client, ends up at the envisionist’s office only because his fiancée insisted they know their fate before taking the plunge. But when Godfrey meets Evelyn in the waiting room, true love may be right in front of them, but they are too preoccupied—and too burdened by their pasts—to recognize it.

This smart, fresh love story, with its quirky twists and turns, ponders life’s big questions—about happiness, fate, and our very existence—as it follows Evelyn and Godfrey’s quest for the elusive answers.

“A love story about love stories . . . The pages burst with laugh-out-loud scenes and crisply original set-ups. I loved it!” —Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine

“Somewhere between Jorge Luis Borge’s ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’ and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind you will find Gregory Sherl’s warm, intelligent debut novel.” —Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State

“Enormously appealing . . . Evelyn and Godfrey are two unforgettable characters you’ll root for and remember long after you’ve read the last page of this wildly  original, deeply moving novel.” —Mindy Friddle, author of Secret Keepers





About Gregory

Gregory Sherl's debut novel, The Future for Curious People, is out now from Algonquin Books. He is also the author of three collections of poetry, including The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail, shortlisted for the 2012 Believer Poetry Award. He can be found online at www.gregorysherl.net.


Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 2014


Please welcome Deborah Blake to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Wickedly Dangerous, the first Baba Yaga novel, was published on September 2, 2014 by Berkley. This is Deborah's fiction debut.



Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 2014




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

Deborah:  Which time? (Laughs.) I started writing when I was young. I think I wrote my first novel when I was in 6th grade. (It was very short, and SF, that’s about all I remember.) Then I sent out a bunch of short stories when I was a teen and got a lot of rejections, so I stopped for a while. Then I started again in my late 20’s, got a bunch of rejections…well, you see where this is going. In truth, I got serious after I sold my first nonfiction book (about modern witchcraft) to Llewellyn. Suddenly, I had no more excuses. I’d finished a book. If I could finish one, I could finish another. This was in 2006. As for why—honestly, I think it is just in my blood.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Deborah:  Yes. Oops, sorry, that’s not helpful, is it? I started out as a pantser, but after writing my first two books that way (and not getting an agent), I realized I needed to be more focused. My third book had a 21-page outline as well as detailed character studies before I ever wrote the first chapter. And yes, it did get me an agent, on its first round of submissions. These days, I am a little bit of both. I still start with detailed character studies and a general outline, but how much is outlined and how far into the book that outline reaches varies from book to book.



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

Deborah:  Revisions. Some authors love revisions, and hate first drafts. I’m the other way around. I love the first draft process, when the story springs into being. Dealing with revisions, first from my First Readers, then my agent, then my editor…not so much. On the other hand, the book is always much better when I’m done, so I’ve learned to more-or-less embrace them.



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

Deborah:  That’s a pretty long list. I have lots of favorite authors, from Jennifer Crusie (romantic comedy) to Jim Butcher and Kim Harrison (urban fantasy) to Donna Andrews (humorous mystery). The Baba Yaga series was most influenced by books written by Tanya Huff and Patricia McKillip, who are definitely two of my favorites.



TQ:  Describe Wickedly Dangerous (Baba Yaga 1) in 140 characters or less.

Deborah:  A not-so-wicked witch and her dragon-dog help some people, work some magic, and yes, there’s a guy. Absolutely nothing is as it seems.



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

Deborah:  Barbara Yager (the Baba Yaga in this book) is my favorite of all the characters I have ever written. (Shhh…don’t tell the others.) I love how cranky she is. To me, that makes her very real.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Wickedly Dangerous? Why is the series named after Baba Yaga and who or what is Baba Yaga?

Deborah:  My agent (Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency) and I were talking at one point about what I was going to write next—just spit-balling ideas, really. She said that she loved my witch characters (I’d written a couple of other ones) and we both agreed that we really liked modern retellings of old fairy tales. After we got off the phone, I starting thinking about which fairy tales hadn’t been overdone, and also had witches in them. Baba Yaga came into my mind right away, and once I had done some research, I knew I wanted to write about her.

The Baba Yaga was a Russian and Slavic fairy tale witch who is well known in Europe, but not so much here in the US. She was neither good nor evil, although she was certainly a scary figure sometimes used to scare children who didn’t eat all their peas. Instead, how she reacted was often based on the behavior of those who approached her; worthy seekers received help, those who were not so worthy, well…let’s just say it wasn’t a good idea to mess with the Baba Yaga. I decided to create a story based on a modern, kick-ass version of the old Baba Yaga, updated for today’s world.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Wickedly Dangerous?

Deborah:  I read every old Baba Yaga tale I could find, plus did a fair amount of plain old research about her, some of which gave me some great ideas for the book. In addition, I researched other elements of the book, like fracking (which is a huge issue where I live, but I had to find out a bunch of scientific things I didn’t already know), pit bulls, Airstream trailers, Rusalkas (you’ll have to read the book to find out what they are), and other strange things.



TQ:   In your opinion, does a romance novel always have to have a Happily Ever After?

Deborah:  Well, it at least has to have the potential for a happily ever after. Some series I’ve read don’t always resolve things in the first book, but I do think that eventually, there has to be one. One of my favorite things about the way this series ended up (with different Baba Yagas in each book) is that meant I could give each one her happily ever after. Let’s face it—life doesn’t always come with a HEA…isn’t it nice if we can at least get it in a book?



TQ:  In Wickedly Dangerous, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Deborah:  Chudo-Yudo was probably the easiest (and the most fun). He’s Baba’s dragon companion who travels with her these days disguised as a giant white pit bull—at least in the first story. He was a very elemental creature, and not very complicated. Mostly, he was very loyal and very ready to eat things. I think Liam, the sheriff who is Barbara’s love interest, was the hardest to write. He had to be flawed enough to be an interesting character, and yet strong enough to deal with Barbara, which wasn’t easy. He isn’t your typical “alpha male” protagonist, because really, the alpha of this story was Barbara herself. But he had to be her equal, and worthy of her love. NOT an easy character to write.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Wickedly Dangerous.

Deborah:  When Liam finally gets to see Chudo-Yudo in his true dragon form (instead of as a giant white pit bull, the way he usually appears), he is very impressed, of course. Then Chudo-Yudo turns back into a dog and continues speaking, to which Liam says, “Jeez—you can talk!” and Chudo-Yudo rolls his eyes and responds (and this is the line I love), “Right. So a talking dragon is okay, but a talking dog freaks you out? Dude, you are going to have to adjust to this crap a lot faster than that if you are going to be any help.”



TQ:  What's next?
 
Deborah:  The second book in the Baba Yaga series, Wickedly Wonderful, is coming out in December 2014. I’m really excited to have two books out back-to-back. And I’m working on something completely different, a humorous contemporary romance. Nary a witch nor a dragon to be seen, although there is one small dog. Plus a Sekrit Project for Llewellyn that I’m not free to talk about yet.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Deborah:  Thanks so much for having me here!





Wickedly Dangerous
A Baba Yaga Novel 1
Berkley, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
(Fiction Debut)

Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 2014
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…



Also out now:

Wickedly Magical
A Baba Yaga Novella
Berkley Sensation, August 5, 2014
eNovella, 73 pages

Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 2014
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one…

Barbara Yager loves being one of the most powerful witches in the world, but sometimes she’d rather kick back in her enchanted Airstream with a beer in her hand than work out how to grant the requests of the worthy few who seek her out.

But when a man appears with the token of a family debt of honor, Barbara must drop everything to satisfy the promise owed by her predecessor—and she isn’t above being a little wicked to make sure the debt is paid in full…



Upcoming:

Wickedly Wonderful
A Baba Yaga Novel 1
Berkley, December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 2014
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Though she looks like a typical California surfer girl, Beka Yancy is in fact a powerful yet inexperienced witch who’s struggling with her duties as a Baba Yaga. Luckily she has her faithful dragon-turned-dog for moral support, especially when faced with her biggest job yet…

A mysterious toxin is driving the Selkie and Mer from their homes deep in the trenches of Monterey Bay. To investigate, Beka buys her way onto the boat of Marcus Dermott, a battle-scarred former U.S. Marine, and his ailing fisherman father.

While diving for clues, Beka drives Marcus crazy with her flaky New Age ideas and dazzling blue eyes. She thinks he’s rigid and cranky (and way too attractive). Meanwhile, a charming Selkie prince has plans that include Beka. Only by trusting her powers can Beka save the underwater races, pick the right man, and choose the path she’ll follow for the rest of her life…





About Deborah

Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 2014
Deborah is the author of seven non-fiction books from Llewellyn. Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (2007), Everyday Witch A to Z (2008), The Goddess is in the Details (2009), Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) Witchcraft on a Shoestring (2010), Everyday Witch Book of Rituals (2012), and The Witch's Broom (2014).

She is also the author of the Baba Yaga series from Berkley Romance, including Wickedly Magical (novella), Wickedly Dangerous, and Wickedly Wonderful.

When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 100 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.


Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @deborahblake  ~  Goodreads

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Chrysler Szarlan

The Hawley Book of the Dead
Ballantine Books, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan
For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.


Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014


Please welcome Carol J. Perry to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Caught Dead Handed, the first Witch City Mystery, was published on September 2, 2014 by Kensington. This is Carol's adult debut.



Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014




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

Carol:  I probably started writing fiction when I was in the first grade! But my first published effort was my middle grade novel “Sandcastle Summer” in 1988. I’d been a non-fiction writer for a long time, writing articles for magazines and newspapers, when I met a writer who’d written a book for youngsters and I thought-- “I could do that!” At the time I was researching an article for Southern Travel magazine about the world’s tallest sandcastle which was being built near my home in Florida. That became the background for the book. It was followed by several other novels for young people, as well as a couple of biographies.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Carol:  I always begin as a plotter—that is, I know what the beginning, middle and end should be. . .but a pantser as far as filling in the details.



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

Carol:  The most challenging thing for me is time management. My books for this series are all about 90,000 to 100,000 words. I have six months to produce a finished book, so I try to set a reasonable word count for every day, allowing time at the end for the editing process.



TQ:  How different is it writing adult fiction versus YA fiction?

Carol:  There’s not too much difference in writing adult vs. YA for me. I like both genres.



TQ:  Describe Caught Dead Handed (A Witch City Mystery 1) in 140 characters or less.

Carol:  Lee Barrett faces a deep disappointment – a dilemma – a drowning – a decision – a drama – a delightful date – a devilish development – a dreadful death – a disaster – a deception – and finally – a dynamite discovery!



TQ:  Tell us something about Caught Dead Handed that is not in the book description.

Carol:  I named the character River North after the North River which flows through Salem. That’s something probably nobody except people from Salem, and readers of The Qwillery will know!



TQ:  What inspired you to write Caught Dead Handed? Why did you set the novel in Salem, Massachusetts?

Carol:  Salem Massachusetts, known world wide as “the witch city,” is my birthplace and a city I know well. It’s a never-ending source of story ideas. . . witches, ghosts, old buildings, a famous seaport, twisty narrow streets, hiding places, historical events. . .Salem has it all!



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Caught Dead Handed?

Carol:  I researched Tarot cards, crystals, scryers, the Salem witch trials, TV studios, camera operation, psychic terms and vocabulary. I also used maps and Google Earth a lot to be sure I had streets correctly plotted. I went to Salem and photographed landmarks and restaurants and a hotel to be sure my descriptions were accurate.



TQ:  In Caught Dead Handed, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Carol:  The easiest character to write was probably Lee, since the story is told from her point of view, so I had to be in her head all the time. The hardest one to write was George because he is so complex. Of course it was wonderful fun to write about O’Ryan the cat, who’ll be an important character in all of the books in this series. Aunt Ibby is fun too because she’s a combination of my favorite aunt and my dear ex-mother-in-law.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Caught Dead Handed.

Carol:  Here’s one I like. Page 158:

“We’d made the turn onto Winter Street, and even that familiar stretch of road, with its mellow brick sidewalks, fine old homes and sturdy trees, had somehow been turned into a scary, alien place. Leafless branches clawed at a starless sky and long, wavering shadows stretched from between darkened buildings.”



TQ:  What's next?

Carol:  Next in the Witch City Mystery series is “Tails, You Lose” It’s due out in April of 2015. Lee, O’Ryan and Aunt Ibby, along with Lee’s hunky boy friend Pete Mondello, face some more adventures as Lee takes a job in haunted school.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Caught Dead Handed
A Witch City Mystery 1
Kensington, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
(Adult Debut)

Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014
She's not a psychic--she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it's home. This October she's returned to her hometown--where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives--to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it's starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch--especially when O'Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer--or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .



A peak at Tails, You Lose (Witch City Mystery 2) coming 2015:

Tails, You Lose
A Witch City Mystery 2
Kensington, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages


Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014
Her instincts may be killer--but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts--known as "The Tabby"--in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school's handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee's clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull's Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store's history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers--and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she's certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store's attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose. . .





About Carol

Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014
Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s largest sand castle which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more.

Carol has always been an avid reader of mysteries. Her debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves O’Ryan, a most mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween Eve! Carol and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a Black Lab.

Website


Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014


Please welcome Sylvia Izzo Hunter to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Midnight Queen is published on September 2, 2014 by Ace. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Sylvia a very Happy Publication Day!


Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014



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

Sylvia:  Hi, and thank you! I'm delighted to be here :)

I don't really remember when I started writing; if you ask my mom, she'll tell you that I've been making up stories and inflicting them on people basically since I learned to talk, and at some point I started writing them down. Creative writing assignments were always my favourite thing. I also started writing fanfiction long before I had ever heard the term "fanfiction". For instance, I may be the only person ever to have written All of a Kind Family fic -- at least, I'm the only one I know -- but I spent almost the whole of Grade 6 doing that, in a very big stack of exercise books. Pro tip for teachers: do not assign your students to write a novel unless you are REALLY SURE that's what you want!

I started writing this particular book because of a conversation that I started overhearing in my head (don't look at me like that; it happens!) between two people in a garden. Which, not coincidentally, is one of the places where THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN does in fact start.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sylvia:  Um … let's say I'm trying to become more of a plotter and leave it at that, okay?



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

Sylvia:  Plot! Hands down, it's plot. (Well, that and carving out time to write in the first place.) That probably sounds weird, but: I'm good at the mechanics of writing (in my day job, I'm an editor), I enjoy worldbuilding, and I only occasionally struggle to work out what a character is about. I'm always coming up with interesting premises and really cool first lines. But then what? What are these characters I like so much going to do? Where in this really cool setting I just thought up is there going to be a story? One of the hardest writing tasks for me is doing a synopsis, because synopses are completely made of plot.



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

Sylvia:  In terms of the language and the setting, this book in particular owes quite a lot to Jane Austen, who is in fact one of my favourite authors, and in some of the characters there are echoes of my favourite Austen novel, Persuasion. I won't pretend that my book is as clever as any of hers, though.

My favourite authors are those I can re-read. I almost hesitate to start making a list because we could be here a long time … but here goes. In no particular order, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jo Walton, Kate Elliott, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Sarah Rees Brennan, Violette Malan, Naomi Kritzer, T.H. White, Marie Brennan, Georgette Heyer, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Rutu Modan, Gabrielle Roy, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, André Norton, Holly Black, Goscinny & Uderzo, Madeleine L'Engle ...

Yeah, I'm just going to stop now.



TQ:  Describe The Midnight Queen in 140 characters or less.

Sylvia:  Magic, mystery, mayhem, and marriages, set in a Europe where Christianity never really took off.



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

Sylvia:  There is a lot of music in this book, and it's not just for decoration. All the songs in it are real ones (or are based on real ones).



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Midnight Queen? What attracted you to Regency England for a setting?

Sylvia:  Well, as I mentioned earlier, one day I overheard these two characters having a conversation in my head. One of them was a university student, and for some reason he was working in the garden. The other was the daughter of some important person whom the student was, for whatever reason, worried about. I didn't know much about them to begin with, but I did know their names! At first I thought the setting was sort of Edwardian, but the more I wrote about these characters the clearer it became that they belonged in an earlier, more mannered and agrarian age -- or, at least, to a world without steamships and a comprehensive rail network. And of course, as generally happens to me, their world turned out to have magic in it.

So the worldbuilding does owe a lot to Regency England, but there are some pretty crucial differences -- the first and most obvious of which are, of course, the very different borders of the Kingdom of Britain (which includes what in our world are bits of France, but does not include Scotland) and the fact that this kingdom has a king, not a Prince Regent. The absence of Christianity as a load-bearing wall in the edifice of society is also a crucial difference: some of the things we take for granted are shifted around a bit, or approached from a different angle, because of that change.

I'm not sure how to answer the question "Why the Regency-ish setting?" except to say that these characters wanted their story told in that kind of voice, and as soon as I worked that out, the writing got easier. I expect that makes me sound a bit unhinged, but it's the best I can do!



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

Sylvia:  To keep the voice/style on track, I did a sort of continuous-loop Austen re-read for quite a while, and also spent some quality time with the OED Online. I read books about social customs and etiquette (and food and clothing and crockery) in Regency England, and did a lot of research online. I researched Roman wedding customs, Roman and Celtic gods and goddesses, Greco-Roman temple architecture, contredanses, and the history and micro-geography of Oxford colleges (particularly Balliol, which is in many ways the model for Merlin College). I drew lines on Google Maps, researched types of carriages and who used them, and pestered horse-loving friends for equine and equestrian information. I acquired an English-Breton phrasebook, a book on classically influenced interior decorating in Regency England, a Welsh phrasebook, and a great big Latin vocabulary file (and I threw myself on the mercy of some friends who have actually formally studied Latin, who helped me avoid some fairly embarrassing faux pas). Also, I once proofread a book on the topic of ceramics and society in the Regency period, and the author generously gave me a comp copy, which I used quite a bit for visual references.

And then I mixed it all together, stirred briskly, and made a bunch of stuff up.



TQ:  In The Midnight Queen, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sylvia:  I found both Sophie and Gray very easy to write, but perhaps easiest of all was Joanna -- whom I originally intended to be a minor character who would provide a bit of comic relief in one chapter and a bit of drama in the next, then exit stage left to make way for the main plot, and who instead marched into the book, grabbed onto the plot with both hands, and refused to be shifted. Joanna might actually be my favourite character (but don't tell any of the others!). The only bit of her that gave me trouble was her name, which, as you'll have noticed if you know your etymologies, is completely inappropriate to a non-Biblically-influenced world, and which I tried and tried to change but couldn't. You will not be surprised to hear that Joanna is an extremely persistent person who really knows her own mind (and also where her towel is).

The character I had most trouble with is probably Sophie and Joanna's sister Amelia. Whereas many of the other characters had very strong personalities right up front, Amelia didn't -- but I didn't want to write her as stock footage of Every Young Woman in an Austen Novel Whom I Dislike. There's more to Amelia than may at first appear.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from The Midnight Queen.

Sylvia:  When I thought about this, I realized that most of my favourite lines belong to Joanna. Here she is summarizing her father's approach to ethics and fair play:

"Father can scarcely manage not to cheat at chess, if he sees any possibility of losing; what might he do in a contest whose outcome truly mattered?"



TQ:  What's next?

Sylvia:  Well, right now I'm working on the sequel to The Midnight Queen -- it hasn't yet got a real title -- which continues the adventures of Sophie, Gray, Joanna, et al. a couple of years later. After that, book three!

On the back burner I've got a kind of quirky fantasy novel set in present-day Toronto, where I live, and one day I want to write the "Jewish colony in space" story that includes this line:

Even were we all wise, all women of understanding, it would still be our duty to tell the story of the departure from Earth. And the more one tells of the departure from Earth, the more is she to be praised.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sylvia:  And thank you for having me! :)





The Midnight Queen
A Noctis Magicae Novel 1
Ace, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014
In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…





About Sylvia

Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014
Author Photo by Nicole Hilton
Sylvia Izzo Hunter was born in Calgary, Alberta, but now lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter, and their slightly out-of-control collections of books, comics, and DVDs.



Website

Twitter @sylwritesthings





Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014


Please welcome Angus Watson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Age of Iron will be published on September 2, 2014 by Orbit.



Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014




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

Angus:  At school, because they made me. Then, at boarding school I used to spend a lot of time composing hilarious and brilliantly written (I thought) letters to friends at other schools (this was way before email). The first time I wrote something big for pleasure was backpacking round India for three months when I was nineteen. I wrote a book full of observations on India, travelling, travellers and my life so far. That book was stolen from a train between Varanasi and Delhi on my second last day in India.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Angus:  I’m sort of a mix. I have a general overarching plot with an endpoint, but then I plot in chunks of maybe five chapters at a time as I go along. Then I don’t usually stick to that plot.



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

Angus:  Probably that there’s so much of it. I’m about halfway through writing book three of the series now and it seems that I’ve been sitting at my desk writing for about ten lifetimes.



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

Angus:  There are loads and they are varied, but since this is an American blog, I’ll give you my favourite Americans – Carl Hiaasen, John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Patrick De Witt, Stephen King and of course George R R Martin.



TQ:  Describe Age of Iron in 140 characters or less.

Angus:  Lazy ageing warrior, beautiful fierce archer and weird magical child unite to defend Britain from Caesar’s unstoppable dark legions



TQ:  Tell us something about Age of Iron that is not in the book description.

Angus:  The lazy ageing warrior has a very serious fight with a chimpanzee.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Age of Iron? What is the Iron Age? What attracted you to the Iron Age as a period setting?
Angus:  I wrote an article on Iron Age hillforts for a British newspaper. There are loads of these gigantic forts – ditches and ramparts dug around the flattened top of a hill - all over Britain. The Iron Age was a busy, massive, but totally unknown part of British history despite being relatively recent (it runs from roughly 2800 to 2000 years ago. The pyramids in Cairo are 4500 years old). Walking on a hillfort with an expert called Peter Woodward, I asked him if the British Iron Age was like Conan the Barbarian, full of muscle-bound warriors rescuing virgins from snake temples. He said that as far as we know, yes. I decided to write a novel set in the period there and then.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Age of Iron?

Angus:  Because the ancient Brits didn’t write, we know very little about the Iron Age and there are just a few books on it. I read all of them, and visited a load of hillforts. The next two books in the trilogy focus more on Rome and the Romans. There are tons of books written about that, so I was able to do a lot more book based research.



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

Angus:  Dug was probably easiest, because he’s a naturally lazy man in his early forties who finds himself living a busy life and looking after others. That’s not miles away from me. The hardest are probably all the minor characters, because each of them has to actually be a character with loves, hates, a back story etc, so it slows down the writing a lot to have to stop and work them out every time a new one pops up.



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

Angus:  ‘Dug fled’. Is my favourite line. Another one picked at random is: ‘Big badgers’ balls,’ said Dug. ‘I don’t like the look of this.’



TQ:  What's next?

Angus:  I’m finishing off the Age of Iron trilogy at the moment and should be done by February 2015. After that I’m thinking of sending some of the surviving characters to prehistoric north America, where there may be a war going on, possibly between humans and bigfoots. I’m not just saying this because you’re American, but I do love the States and would love an excuse to spend more time there. I already go there quite often with my wife to drive, hike, eat and take photos. We go less now we have baby, but he has already been to Las Vegas and hiking in the desert. He’ll be one next month.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Angus:  You’re welcome, thanks for asking me along!





Age of Iron
Iron Age Trilogy 1
Orbit, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 576 pages

Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014
LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE MADE.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.

Now Dug's on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­-- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that might get them all killed . . .





About Angus

Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014
Photo by Nicola Watson
ANGUS WATSON is an author and journalist living in London. He's written hundreds of features for many newspapers including the Times, Financial Times and the Telegraph, and the latter even sent him to look for Bigfoot. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, Angus came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for the Telegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain's ancient paths for further articles. You can find him on Twitter at @GusWatson or find his website at: www.guswatson.com.

Website  ~  Twitter @GusWatson


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Chloe Benjamin

The Anatomy of Dreams
Atria Books, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook,  320 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin
Long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

“A sly, promising and ambitious debut.” —Publishers Weekly

“Chloe Benjamin is a great new talent.” —Lorrie Moore, author of Bark: Stories

It’s 1998, and Sylvie Patterson, a bookish student at a Northern California boarding school, falls in love with a spirited, elusive classmate named Gabe. Their headmaster, Dr. Adrian Keller, is a charismatic medical researcher who has staked his career on the therapeutic potential of lucid dreaming: By teaching his patients to become conscious during sleep, he helps them to relieve stress and heal from trauma. Over the next six years, Sylvie and Gabe become consumed by Keller’s work, following him from the redwood forests of Eureka, California, to the enchanting New England coast.

But when an opportunity brings the trio to the Midwest, Sylvie and Gabe stumble into a tangled relationship with their mysterious neighbors—and Sylvie begins to doubt the ethics of Keller’s research, recognizing the harm that can be wrought under the guise of progress. As she navigates the hazy, permeable boundaries between what is real and what isn’t, who can be trusted and who cannot, Sylvie also faces surprising developments in herself: an unexpected infatuation, growing paranoia, and a new sense of rebellion.

In stirring, elegant prose, Benjamin’s tale exposes the slippery nature of trust—and the immense power of our dreams.




2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Rooms by Lauren Oliver


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Rooms by Lauren Oliver


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Lauren Oliver

Rooms
Ecco, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
(Adult Debut)

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Rooms by Lauren Oliver
The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.


Interview with Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger - September 16, 2014Guest Blog by Arianne 'Tex' Thompson: "You Got Western in my Fantasy!" - September 13, 2014Interview with Gregory Sherl, author of The Future for Curious People - September 11, 2014Interview with Deborah Blake, author of the Baba Yaga novels - September 8, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler SzarlanInterview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Benjamin2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Rooms by Lauren Oliver

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