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2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato


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


Beth Cato

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

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
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.


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner


The winner of the August 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Monster's Wife by Kate Horsley with 44 votes equaling 43% of all votes. The Monster's Wife is published by Barbican Press


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner
Artwork by Jason Anscomb of Rawshock Design




The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner




The August 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner


Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the September Debut covers starting on September 15, 2014. Look for the list of September's Debuts on September 1st.


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith


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


Karina Sumner-Smith

Radiant
Towers Trilogy 1
Talos, September 23, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith
Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.

When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body—any body—so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless—until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.

With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.


Note: This is the actual cover!


Interview with Lauren Owen, author of The Quick - August 21, 2014


Please welcome Lauren Owen to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Quick was published on June 17, 2014 by Random House.







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

Lauren:  Thank you! I started writing when I was quite young, just for fun – I didn’t know that you could be a writer as a job, I just found it really enjoyable to come up with new ideas for characters and stories.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lauren:  I love to plot, and I have a lot of fun writing elaborate plans before I start writing. I definitely like to have a journey mapped out before I begin. But once I do actually commence writing I usually deviate wildly, and have to rewrite my plans to match what I’ve written.



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

Lauren:  The most challenging thing is probably pushing through moments of doubt, the writing slumps. There are times when I feel like I’m getting nowhere – the best solution is to carry on writing, but that feels like the last thing I want to do. If I can’t bully myself into pushing on, I find the other thing that helps is spending a lot of time reading.



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

Lauren:  I am very influenced by the writing of the nineteenth century, which I loved growing up – many of my favorite authors are drawn from this period, including Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, and Oscar Wilde.



TQ:  Describe The Quick in 140 characters or less.

Lauren:  A gothic mystery set in late-Victorian London. A woman searches for her brother, who has vanished under sinister circumstances.



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

Lauren:  Two characters visit the premiere performance of Lady Windermere’s Fan in London, and Oscar Wilde makes a brief cameo appearance.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Quick? Why did you set the novel in Victorian London?

Lauren:  I find the Victorian period absolutely fascinating – particularly the later decades of the era, where a lot of the old certainties were beginning to crumble, and new ideas and inventions were emerge. The Quick is to a great extent a response to the gothic fiction of this era – books like Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Beetle, which brought the gothic genre to late-nineteenth-century London.



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

Lauren:  A lot of my research was done in the library – I was lucky enough to have access to the British Library some of the time, which was a wonderful opportunity to look up details on 19th century life. I also visited a couple of places in London which still have some similarities to their Victorian incarnations – the Natural History Museum, and Kensal Green graveyard.



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

Lauren:  Liza was one of the easiest characters to write, because in spite of her unusual circumstances she also has a number of typical child feelings – she wants to be important and brave, she wants approval, she’s frightened, she wants her mother.
Mould was one of the harder characters to write, simply because his narrative strand includes a lot of explication – I ended up having to cut a lot of superfluous detail.



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


Lauren:  Two of my favourite lines from Chapter One, which I think illustrate the relationship between the siblings Charlotte and James, and one of the major themes of the book:

‘They would lie all night like that, snug as the pair of pistols that lived in the blue-lined case in Father’s study.’

And:

‘The library was full of treasures.’



TQ:  What's next?

Lauren:  I’m currently working on a sequel to The Quick, which will continue the story into the next century.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lauren:  Thank you!





The Quick
Random House, June 17, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 544 pages

For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London

1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.





About Lauren

LAUREN OWEN studied English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown prize for the best fiction dissertation. The Quick is her first novel. She lives in northern England.



Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014


Please welcome Stephanie Feldman to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Angel of Losses was published on July 29th by Ecco.



Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014




I don't have a lot in common with Marjorie, the young literature scholar who narrates The Angel of Losses, but there is this: we're both obsessive researchers. Early in the book, she describes her summer in the university library:

“My back ached and my ribs were tender from hugging the books so close. I wasn’t burdened, though. I was driven. Obsessed. If I found one useful sentence, one fact, in four hundred pages, I felt triumphant, like I had pulled a rare fossil from the desert.”

       She's describing me, as well, as I prepared to write this book. The early phase of a writing project is my favorite: I become a collector of possibilities, with no editing, no paring down, no choices that require discarding a great detail or line of dialogue or image.
       When I began researching my story, I was looking for Wandering Jews. I had fallen in love with the legendary immortal--sometimes sinister, sometimes tragic--I had discovered in gothic novels, but I didn't want to employ the anti-Semitic tradition that bore him. (His name doesn’t indicate faith; “Jew” signals rejection of Christ, and being “Other.”) So I decided to take him in what would be, ironically, a new direction: I would make him Jewish.
       I found many similar figures: Benjamin of Tudela, the Spanish Jew who documented his travels across Europe and the Orient in the eleventh-century; the prophet Elijah, who appears anonymously to help good people in need in folklore; and Rabbi Akiba, the second-century political leader and mystic who, according to legend, attempted to enter paradise, which is forbidden to mortals.
       I learned that mystics like Akiba practiced angel magic--using names and formulas to command angels. So I began reading whatever I could find about Jewish angels. I was prepared to continue my furious note-taking and photocopying; I worked as if I were Marjorie, writing a dissertation instead of a novel.
       Except here's the thing about Jewish angels: there is no canon. No scholar ever systematized the variety of claims about angels in the Bible, rabbinical texts, and folklore from the far reaches of the globe. Instead, there is an abundance of competing thought.
       Some sources claim that angels are perfect expressions of God’s intentions; others that they can misbehave. Some grant them human personalities; others insist they embody forces, like creation or pestilence. Some say each person has two guardian angels, while others give us four. Some say the first angels numbered 70, one for each nation on earth. Some say angels are made of half fire and half water.
       At first, I was frustrated—how could I create a character that honors such a wildly diverse tradition? But the big, messy nature of the subject was actually a gift. I didn’t need to serve the Angel; instead, the Angel served me, my characters, and their journeys.
       Yode’a, the Angel of Losses himself is referenced in a letter from the 18th-century Eastern-European rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. It is believed that the rabbi invented him.
       And with that—an evocative name, a concept, and no history to attend to—I was done with my angel research. I created him anew, using a few stray “facts” I’d picked up before abandoning my reading. My angel isn’t a cosmic force, but a personality with his own intentions. He has perfect knowledge of the universe, except for one thing: he doesn’t know when the Messiah will return, when God will redeem the fallen world.
       After the book went to press, someone contacted me. She had seen the title, and she knew about Rabbi Nachman’s—my—angel. Apparently there’s more about him, all in Hebrew, a language I don’t read.
       A part of me is curious, but mostly I’m content with not knowing. Not knowing is what allowed me to write this book.





The Angel of Losses
Ecco, July 29, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014
The Tiger's Wife meets The History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a miracle worker named the White Rebbe and the enigmatic Angel of Losses, both protectors of things gone astray and guardians of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

Years later, when Eli's granddaughter Marjorie stumbles upon his notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To learn the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, Marjorie embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from the medieval Holy Land to eighteenth-century Venice and Nazi-occupied Lithuania. What she finds leads her back to present-day New York City and her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.





About Stephanie

Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014
Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband and her daughter. For more on her writing and inspiration, visit her at: http://stephaniefeldman.com/.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @sbfeldman  ~  Pinterest

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus Watson


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus Watson


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



Angus Watson

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

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Age of Iron by Angus Watson
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 . . .



2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall


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


Peyton Marshall

Goodhouse
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 30, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall
A bighearted dystopian novel about the corrosive effects of fear and the redemptive power of love.

With soaring literary prose and the tense pacing of a thriller, the first-time novelist Peyton Marshall imagines a grim and startling future. At the end of the twenty-first century—in a transformed America—the sons of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state—removed from their homes and raised on "Goodhouse" campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a savage place—part prison, part boarding school—and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemer’s Church of Purity, is intent on destroying each campus and purifying every child with fire.

We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched as the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and killed nearly everyone he’d ever known. In addition to adjusting to a new campus with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a brilliant, medically fragile girl who wants to save him, and with her father, the school’s sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse itself.

Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will—and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.


Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014


Please welcome Sharona Muir to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Invisible Beasts was published on July 15, 2014 by Bellevue Literary Press.



Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014




Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas

In 2009, in The Economist’s science section, a reviewer of Frans de Waal’s latest book wrote, “Every day the world seems more like Aesop’s ‘Fables.’” The book was The Age of Empathy and, as in Our Inner Ape, de Waal argued that traits long considered exclusively human were part of the evolutionary makeup of many animals—his point being, as usual, that human nature must be studied in the context of primate evolution. That same year, in the PMLA, a column titled “Why Animals Now?” led a cluster of articles. Literary scholars were studying beasts: the puppy in The Great Gatsby, Jack London’s wolves. A colleague sent me the issue and I began playing catch-up. I’d been waiting, as they say, all my life for these new ideas now carried on the wind. I read the 2002 reissue of Janine Benyus’ Biomimcry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. My father, an inventor, had studied snake fangs to make hypodermic needles; now this method had a name, and a professional stance of regard for nonhuman ways. In 2006, Martha Nussbaum, the Chicago polymath, redefined justice for animals in Frontiers of Justice. In 2007, Paul Churchland, a neuroscientist, stated in Neurophilosophy At Work that the brain’s structure did not suggest that consciousness was tied to language—blowing away an old tenet of human exceptionalism. 2007 also saw the publication of the English translation of Jacques Derrida’s book, The Animal That Therefore I Am, which starts with the great deconstructionist exiting the bathroom shower while his pet cat stares at him.

As I read, my narrator, Sophie, took shape; her voice distilled the main ideas I’d learned. In the epigraph of Invisible Beasts: Animal life is mindful, and the mind’s life is animal. In the introduction: Human beings are the most invisible beasts, because we do not see ourselves as beasts. But it took the mojo of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill to crystallize my stack of fables into a meaningful literary form. Sure, it’s a novel, it reads like fiction. But if “novel” is its genus, “bestiary” is its species. And what’s that?

Long before science existed, the bestiary did. Catalogues of beasts with curious lore, bestiaries gave us the unicorn and the phoenix. Their compilers were ancient naturalists, or monks in wildest, darkest Europe. Treasure troves of enchanting imagery, moral lessons, and religious wisdom, traditional bestiaries described how snakes stun prey with their dazzling beauty, wolves eat the wind and whelp during thunderstorms, and the halcyon calms the stormy sea. What these books did not do was concern themselves with scientific accuracy. So, to a modern reader, their beasts are too heavily symbolic, too human-centered, as if carved into the rich frame of a mirror. But in Invisible Beasts, the biological facts in each fable show the faces of other realities, other species, their different ways, and the necessity of knowing them—and ourselves—as animals among animals.

The happiest moment of this novel’s writing was when, with biology on my mind and a good dog by my side, Plato’s antique symposium suddenly revealed something quite unexpected about love. My novel tells any reader who enjoys its flights of fancy or wisdom: Go learn a little from your fellow beasts. For the climate of ideas is changing.





Invisible Beasts
Bellevue Literary Press, July 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 256 pages

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014
Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.





About Sharona

Guest Blog by Sharona Muir: My Invisible Beasts and the Changing Climate of Ideas - August 15, 2014
Photograph by Tom Muir
Sharona Muir’s writing has appeared in Granta, Orion magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and English at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Invisible Beasts is her first novel.
















2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts


It's time for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for August 2014!


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2014 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to seethe real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on August 24, 2014.


Vote for your favorite August 2014 Debut Cover
  
pollcode.com free polls 




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts
Cover Design by Lisa Marie Pompilio
Cover Illustration by Michael Koelsch




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Debuts
Jacket Art by Victor Mosquera



Interview with Patrick Swenson, author of The Ultra Thin Man - August 14, 2014


Please welcome Patrick Swenson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.  The Ultra Thin Man was published on August 12, 2014 by Tor Books.



Interview with Patrick Swenson, author of The Ultra Thin Man - August 14, 2014




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

Patrick:  I appreciate being here on the site! Thank you.

If you don’t count “Mr. Mooney Goes to the Moon,” written when I was a nine-year-old, I started scribbling stories in notebooks in high school. But it wasn’t until a few years after college that I started sending stories out with any regularity.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Patrick:  I’m a total pantser. The Ultra Thin Man started with the title, an “ah-ha” moment, and two detectives who had to work the case. From then on, I told them to figure it out for me, and I just went along for the ride, finding out the mystery as the reader might. Naturally, I had to go back and tweak this and move that, to make everything fit together. Without any kind of deadline looming, I’ve approached book two the same way. I’m well into it, and I still don’t know exactly how it’ll end.



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

Patrick:  It really is that old excuse about finding the time to write consistently. I’m a full time teacher, a newspaper adviser, the publisher, editor, art director, and everything else for my own small press, and a father to a son with some special needs. Once I’m in front of my story, butt in chair, the words usually flow well.

I wrote most of this novel at the high school where I teach in 30-45 minute increments every day. This schedule hasn’t solidified as much for book two. I find it’s difficult to write at home, so I often grab my tablet computer and hole out somewhere. I have my “writer crawl” days, when I might visit two or three different establishments, order a drink, a little bit of food, and sit and write in one spot until I feel like I’ve worn out my welcome, then slip out and find another place. Sometimes it’s a coffee shop like Starbucks (although I don’t drink coffee), sometimes a fast food restaurant, sometimes a quiet bar.



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

Patrick:  I was brought up with science fiction from an early age. I discovered Dune by Frank Herbert in junior high, and have never been the same since. I loved many of the Golden Age science fiction writers as well as fantasy writers, including Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Leguin, Robert Silverberg, Patricia McKillip, Samuel R. Delany, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I also love mystery, and my favorites there include Robert B. Parker, Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, and James W. Hall, as well as noir writers Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Then I can point to more recent writers I love, including Robert Charles Wilson, Connie Willis, Nancy Kress, James Van Pelt, and so many others. One of my favorite writers is Steve Erickson, author of Tours of the Black Clock. (Not Steven Erikson the fantasy writer.) His work does have some SF/Fantasy sensibilities, but he’s a literary writer. Cormac McCarthy is another favorite, as is Jeanette Winterson.



TQ:  You are the publisher and proprietor of a small press specializing in speculative fiction. How does this influence your own writing?

Patrick:  I’ve learned a lot about writing by running the press. I also had a small press magazine, Talebones, that ran for fourteen years. Read a slush pile for any length of time, and before long you understand what makes a story work and what doesn’t. I’ve also met many influential people in the field that may have cultivated a wider audience for my writing. Running the press can be frustrating at times, particularly when I’m up against deadlines for books, and I have to take so much attention away from my own writing. Much juggling ensues.



TQ:  Describe The Ultra Thin Man in 140 characters or less.

Patrick:  Two detectives, standing in the way of a terrorist network intent on threatening the galaxy, discover a larger, more insidious conspiracy.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Ultra Thin Man that is not in the book description.

Patrick:  The aliens known as Helks have Four Clans. The First Clan Helks are the largest, and dwarf humans by quite a lot. They’ve got height and breadth over us, and they have sharp teeth. In the older days they didn’t mind chowing down on other intelligent species. There’s an uneasy coexistence between them and humans now, but the leader of the terrorist movement is one of these aliens, which doesn’t help matters much.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Ultra Thin Man? What appealed to you about writing a genre blending Science Fiction (near-future) Thriller? Do you want to write in any other genres or sub-genres?

Patrick:  As mentioned above, most of my genre reading included science fiction and mystery (and thrillers). The title obviously has a noir feel, a nod to Hammett’s The Thin Man, but from the start, the book was going to blend the two genres I had fallen in love with.

I’d like to try my luck writing a fantasy series, or at least a standalone. There’s a published short story I’d like to try expanding. Also, some dark fantasy. I have eight chapters of a ghost murder mystery set in the rainforest of the Pacific Northwest that I had to put aside so I could finish The Ultra Thin Man.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Ultra Thin Man?

Patrick:  The research I did centered on weather control technology, as well as the best way to crash a moon into its planet, and the implications of what would happen because of it. There are other important details I had to research, including information about x-rays, antimatter, nanomachines, and superaccelerators. Revealing anything more about all that would be spoilerish!



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite character in The Ultra Thin Man?

Patrick:  David Crowell, one of the two detectives, was easy for me, as he’s somewhat an extension of who I am. Not completely of course, but he has my voice, so to speak. Alan Brindos was the hardest because he had a difficult past, his motivations are hard to understand, and he goes through a lot in the novel (to say the least). In that respect, Brindos might be my favorite character. I’m also pretty enamored with Tem Forno, one of the Helks who has to work with Crowell when they are on the run and trying to figure out the mystery.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from The Ultra Thin Man.

Patrick:

A see-through cube on the front edge of the desk contained a blue and gold fluidic mass that budded, twisted, and elongated through the nano-slurry inside that controlled it.

They could put a man on a ship to the stars but they still couldn’t make an umbrella that would last.



TQ:  What's next?

Patrick:  I’m 85,000 words into a sequel to The Ultra Thin Man called [insert super sekrit title here]. I’m guessing I’ll hit the ending around 100,000 words. After that, if the publishing gods are kind, there’s a third book in the series, but I won’t know what it’s about until I finish this one and figure out the new title.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Patrick:  Thanks for letting me be a part of it!





The Ultra Thin Man
Tor Books, August 12, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Patrick Swenson, author of The Ultra Thin Man - August 14, 2014
In the twenty-second century, a future in which mortaline wire controls the weather on the settled planets and entire refugee camps drowse in drug-induced slumber, no one—alive or dead, human or alien—is quite what they seem. When terrorists manage to crash Coral, the moon, into its home planet of Ribon, forcing evacuation, it’s up to Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization, to solve a case of interplanetary consequences. Crowell’ and Brindos’s investigation plunges them neck-deep into a conspiracy much more dangerous than anything they could have imagined.

The two detectives soon find themselves separated, chasing opposite leads: Brindos has to hunt down the massive Helkunn alien Terl Plenko, shadow leader of the terrorist Movement of Worlds. Crowell, meanwhile, runs into something far more sinister—an elaborate frame job that puts our heroes on the hook for treason.

In this novel from Patrick Swenson, Crowell and Brindos are forced to fight through the intrigue to discover the depths of an interstellar conspiracy. And to answer the all-important question: Who, and what, is the Ultra Thin Man?





About Patrick

Interview with Patrick Swenson, author of The Ultra Thin Man - August 14, 2014
© 2012 Bobbie Climer
Patrick Swenson’s first novel The Ultra Thin Man is forthcoming from  Tor in 2014. He edited the small press magazine Talebones magazine  for 14 years, and still runs Fairwood Press, a book line, which began in 2000. A graduate of Clarion West, he has sold stories to the anthology Like Water for Quarks, and magazines such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Figment, and others. He runs the Rainforest Writers Village retreat every spring at Lake Quinault, Washington. Patrick, a high school teacher for 28 years, has a Masters Degree in Education, teaches in Auburn, Washington, and lives in Bonney Lake, Washington with his twelve-year-old son Orion.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~   Twitter @patrick_swenson


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