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Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of Angels


Please welcome Michelle Belanger to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Conspiracy of Angels, the first novel in the Shadowside series, is published today by Titan Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Michelle a Happy Publication Day.



Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of Angels




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Michelle:  I started writing because there was no other choice. Words and stories clamored in my head and they all wanted out. I made my first professional sale at seventeen and I haven't looked back since. Although my initial aspirations were in fiction, I found a very comfortable place for myself writing non-fiction for many years. My Dictionary of Demons, released through Llewellyn Worldwide in 2010, remains one of my most popular works. It's in its seventh or eighth printing now. I love the detective-work of intensely research-based non-fiction, but the urge to tell stories never went away. When the Shadowside series began taking shape, I got so invested in the characters and their world that I knew it was time to make a change.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Michelle:  I'd love to be a straight-up plotter -- it always seems like it would be easier. Certainly, I start out that way, mapping out my stories in broad strokes, usually scene by scene. But in the end, the characters demand hybridization. Just when things get intense, they veer off in a direction I didn't foresee, and it's too exciting not to follow where they lead. As a writer, it's really delightful for me when the characters become so real that they can catch me off guard. I think allowing for some wiggle room for those kinds of twists enlivens the story.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michelle:  With fiction writing, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities. When I write non-fiction, sense and structure are so straight-forward. Facts are facts, and there's a clear and certain way in which to arrange them. But with fiction, every story could be a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. There are so many roads not taken, what-ifs, and might-have-beens. Each and every character faces choices that can change them and thus change the direction of the story. Even when I start with a map of the action, all those possibilities sing out and it can be hard to resist the temptation to explore. I'll admit -- every once in a while, I indulge my curiosity and write an alternate scene just to see how those might-have-beens play out.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Michelle:  Like so many who grow up to be writers, I started out as an early and voracious reader. For as long as I can remember, I've had a penchant for the weird and macabre, so one of my early favorites was the short story collection October Country by Ray Bradbury. His tales really spoke to me, maybe because he shared my Midwestern roots, but also for his subtle juxtapositions of the familiar and the strange. Bradbury is directly responsible for my love of Urban Fantasy. As a teen, I discovered Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain series, and I was hooked. Current favorites include (but are in no way limited to!) Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Seanan McGuire. Max Gladstone also blew me away with his Dracula short, "A Kiss with Teeth."



TQDescribe Conspiracy of Angels in 140 characters or less.

Michelle:  No memory. Sixty bucks to his name - and a tribe of warring angels out to do worse than kill him. Zachary Westland's having a hell of a day.



TQTell us something about Conspiracy of Angels that is not found in the book description.

Michelle:  Cleveland, Ohio is awesome. Seriously. It's an urban fantasist's dreamland. We've had Rockefeller, Langston Hughes, Thomas Edison, and Elliot Ness all living and working here. Saudi sheiks travel halfway across the world to get treated at our hospitals. There are salt mines 1800 feet under the city, epic disasters that inspired headlines like "They Died Crawling," a tangled mafia history, world-renown museums with collections that should make you green with envy -- and that's to say nothing about the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. Half my trouble is deciding which delicious nuggets of local color to weave into the world and which to save for later.



TQWhat inspired you to write Conspiracy of Angels, your first fiction novel?

Michelle:  I was sitting outside this haunted house, waiting for a local shaman to finish a ceremony to clear the ghosts -- like you do when your day job involves chasing spirits on international television -- and I started thinking about how my life had come to resemble another person's idea of fiction. And I indulged in a little game of what-if. What if this part of my life were a novel? Who would the characters be? What kinds of adventures might they have if clearing hauntings and hunting ghosts were as cool and showy as viewers wanted them to be on reality TV? Zack came out of that, and Sal and Remy soon followed. Before I knew it, I was writing furiously, and the Shadowside was born.



TQWhat appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Michelle:  Urban Fantasy holds up a darkened mirror so we can explore our current world and all of its foibles. The settings in UF revolve around cities you can find on a map right here and now, and most authors in the genre do the research to make those cities as real as possible. That unflinching verisimilitude opens the door for so many subplots relevant to the very human experiences that help to make characters vital and relatable. Juxtaposed against the supernatural elements integral to the genre, those human experiences can really shine.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Conspiracy of Angels?

Michelle:  The short answer is a lot, but then, coming from non-fiction, research is sort of my thing. I've written about vampires, demons, ghosts, and psychic phenomenon, and in the Shadowside all these things converge where I can have fun with them. I very freely mine my previous research, building the supernatural elements of Zack's world on the bones of real occult practices and beliefs. As mentioned earlier, the verisimilitude inherent in Urban Fantasy really appeals to me. When a character uses a gun, readers expect that experience to reflect how a person would use the same gun in the real world. Get the little details wrong, and for many readers, that breaks the immersion. In a similar vein, drawing upon established elements of the paranormal and occult helps to build immersion so, when I veer into the realm of the truly fantastic, it has much more impact.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Michelle:  Hands-down, the easiest character to write is Lil. Known as the Lady of Beasts, she's what you'd get if you crossed Jessica Rabbit with Deadpool - only without his penchant for breaking the fourth wall. Brash and outspoken, she delights in weaponizing the expectations of people around her -- and she's already got a pretty deadly arsenal. Everything moves more swiftly when she's on the scene. The fact that my main character Zack never knows which way to jump when she's around is just a bonus.

The character who presents the biggest challenge is Terael. He's a disembodied spirit tied to a statue at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He is completely inhuman, thousands of years old, and a little unhinged as a result. His dialogue reflects this, and I go for a lilting kind of sing-song pattern when he speaks -- almost, but not quite, blank verse. Getting the right mix of informative and inscrutable can take a few tries.



TQWhich question about Conspiracy of Angels do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Michelle:  On the back of the book, Saliriel is described as transsexual. How much does that play into the story?

Honestly, about as much as the fact that Sal has blond hair. Sal's been running around in the same body since the court of the Medicis. She is old, she is powerful, and she has finally found herself in an age where the technology exists to make her outside match how she perceives herself within. As can be expected, everyone who encounters her has different opinions on her choice, just like in the real world. But, also as it is in the real world, that choice is merely one facet of who she is.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Conspiracy of Angels.

Michelle:  For lyricism, this line from the beginning of Chapter Six remains one of my favorites: "Once in a while I passed houses, but they were an acre back or more, their lights shaping dim constellations in an otherwise starless night."

For sheer Zack-ness, I'd have to pick this, from Chapter Thirty-Two: "He was stronger than me, which only figured. As a vampire, he had an automatic edge -- faster, stronger, more fashionably inclined."



TQWhat's next?

Michelle:  Right now, I'm focusing on the Shadowside series. The second book, Harsh Gods, is already done, and I'm currently working on book three, The Resurrection Game. I can't get enough of Zack's world.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michelle:  Thank you for the opportunity to dish a little about the Shadowside!





Conspiracy of Angels
Shadowside 1
Titan Books, October 27, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of Angels
When Zachary Westland regains consciousness on the winter shores of Lake Erie, his memories are gone. All he has are chaotic visions of violence and death… and a business card for Club Heaven. There Zack finds the six-foot-six transexual decimus known as Saliriel, and begins to learn what has happened.

Alarming details emerge, of angelic tribes trapped on Earth and struggling in the wake of the Blood Wars. Anakim, Nephilim, Gibburim, and Rephaim—there has been an uneasy peace for centuries, but the truce is at an end.

With the help of his “sibling” Remiel and Lilianna, the lady of beasts, Zack must stem the bloodshed before it cannot be stopped. Yet if he dies again, it may be for the final time.





About Michelle

Michelle Belanger is a nonfiction author, a member of the vampire community, and a psychic seen regularly on the television series Paranormal State. She’s been featured on programs on HBO, the History Channel, and CNN Headline News, and teaches classes around the country on dreamwalking, energy exchange, and spirit communication.

Website  ~   Facebook  ~   Twitter @sethanikeem  ~  Pinterest

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss


Please welcome Max Wirestone to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss will be published on October 20th by Redhook.



Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Max:  This is actually my very first book, so just I started just over a year ago. I wrote UNFORTUNATE DECISIONS when I was doing collection development for my library, and I noticed that my geek readers and mystery readers overlapped on their book taste a lot, even though there were no books that scratched both itches. I thought I'd dig up a geek-themed mystery to add to the library, but I couldn't find anything. The book I was looking for didn't seem to exist, which was unbelievable to me.

So, I wrote it.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Max:  I am a panster through and through. Even when I try to plot, things go off the rails. I feel like comic writing is like doing a good improv, except that you are doing all the parts and you can go back if you mess up. Things usually get very silly, very quickly.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Max:  I have a tendency to go too big. My first drafts always start off with too many characters, and I have to cut them down as I go.. (The first draft of this interview had three people in it.) I get there, but my path is littered with bodies along the way.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Max:  My heart belongs to the stylists-- Raymond Chandler, P.G. Wodehouse, Ngaio Marsh, Raymond Carver -- writers that you instantly recognize because they have voices that jump right out at you. It's funny, because they don't necessarily have voices that that are similar to each other. I think perhaps I just appreciate their confidence. Also, most of them are funny, especially Raymond Chandler, who really doesn't get enough credit for his comedy writing. .



TQDescribe The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss in 140 characters or less.

Max:  An inept detective; a stolen weapon from an online game, a Jigglypuff cap and MURDER.



TQTell us something about The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss that is not found in the book description.

Max:  The climax of the book takes place at a Con, and is a very loving send-up of Con culture, both good and bad. If you've ever gone to an overcrowded con and thought about killing someone, this is the book for you.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss?

Max:  Aside from just thinking that it would be a nice addition to my library, I really wanted to have a book that was for geeks, by geeks. I often feel that geek characters get consigned to being sidekicks, or else they have their actions commented on by disapproving non-geek characters. I was sort of thinking: to hell with all that. Dahlia Moss is a book that's supposed to feel like you're at ComicCon or PAX-- a safe, warm, crazy place where you know that you're among your own people. It's like a hug, or perhaps a Vulcan salute, assuming the Vulcan in question was drunk and prone to saying things like "I love you, man."



TQWhat is your current favorite MMORPG?

Max:  The best MMO still is World of Warcraft, which is an unimaginative answer, but quantifiably true. My all time favorite, though, was City of Heroes, which I thought was a wonderful, weird, game that that really let players be creative. You really could spend days in the character generator, inventing your own superhero with ridiculous powers and insane cosplay. My main character in that game was Hester Prynne, who had hellfire themed powers. Her costume was ridiculous, with flames running up her legs and, of course, a scarlet 'A'. I remember running into a player who who role-playing as Sir Issac Newton and thinking: these are my people.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss?

Max:  Don't laugh, but I read quite a bit about Pokemon. One thing I was careful about was making sure that Dahlia didn't have exactly the same geek interests that I did, and let her have her own geek hobbies. To be sure, this was all deeply pleasurable research.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Max:  I find Charice, Dahlia's somewhat overdramatic roommate, very easy to write. As the parent of a four-year-old, I think I'm generally tamping down on chaos and so it's very freeing, as I do when I write Charice, to just let it run free.

The trickiest character is Detective Anson Shuler, whom I adore, but runs absolutely ram shod over any notion of plot I have. He was initially supposed to be in a single scene and then disappear forever-- his name is a Magic the Gathering joke, which should give you an idea how much currency I expected him to have-- and yet each time I revised the novel he made more space for himself. This continues to be true in the sequel. I quite like writing him, but it can be frustrating when he does not steer the novel in the direction I would want.



TQ Which question about The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Max:  I keep anticipating the question: "Just who the hell do you think you are?" which I feel certain that someone will pose, probably while throwing a drink at me. It hasn't happened yet, however. Maybe we could do it anyway, just so I won't be nervous anymore.
TQ: Just who the hell do you think you are? (throws drink, which is tricky to manage over the internet)

Max: I'm no one! No one I tell you! (sobs)
Wow, that was actually really freeing. I'm glad we did it. I feel liberated.

TQ Note: No authors were harmed virtually or otherwise in the posing of that question.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines/paragraphs from The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss.

Max:

I got up and Nathan stood quickly, stashing his bento box back into his bag. I was all but

physically shuffling him out the room, but he was stalling me. If he were a Pokémon,

this would have been where he revealed his super-effective stat reduction on me. He made pouty

eyes and scratched at his neck.

This worked surprisingly well.

“Don’t laugh, but I kind of wanted to hang out with a private detective,” he explained.

His embarrassment lasted nanoseconds, and he was bright again. “Makes you feel like you’re in

on something. You know, put the squeeze on the old up and down. Derrick the gin mill.

Hoosegow the bean shooters.”

“You’re just stringing together nonsense words.”

“Maybe,” said Nathan. “But you have to grant that I’ve got the cadence down.”



TQWhat's next?

Max:  There at least two more books coming up in the Dahlia Moss series. Astonishing Mistakes will come out next year, and is a riff on the alpha-male culture of fighting game tournaments. Also I make fun of Twitch a lot-- the streaming service, not the hip-hop dancer. Charice gets engaged, Shuler gets sloshed, and Dahlia is knocked off a steamboat. It's a good time.

I'm also brewing up a fantasy novel that's lightly inspired by It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Instead of Ethel Merman, there's a talking skeleton. (As I consider that sentence I realize it looks like some kind of madlib, but this is actually a thing that is happening.)



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!





The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Redhook / Orbit, October 20, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.

The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them.





About Max

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Photo by Elizabeth Frantz
Max Wirestone is a librarian in a small New Hampshire town. He lives in New England with his editor-husband and his non-editor son. Find him @maxwires.













Website


Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards


Please welcome Matthew Kressel to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. King of Shards was published on October 13th by Arche Press.



Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Matthew:  I've always lived in my head, making up stories for my own entertainment, even before I knew what I was doing. Eventually, after many delays, I took a class at the New School in Manhattan on writing Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. It was taught by the late Alice K. Turner, who introduced me to constructive critique. She connected me to the writers group Altered Fluid that I'm still a member of today.



TQAre you a plotter, pantser or hybrid?

Matthew:  Both methods work for me, depending on the project. I tend to overthink plots when I "pants" it, so I've found that plotting helps me reign in my tendency for too much complexity (I love detail). On the other hand, there is a wonderful sense of freedom when you are flying by the seat of your pants and not knowing if you will fly straight into a wall or into the clear blue sky. I usually have an ending in mind before I begin either way.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Matthew:  Mostly, it's a time thing. I freelance, so I'm used to jumping between projects, but certain writing projects like novels take a huge amount of directed focus. When I'm jumping between multiple tasks for work and personal life, I find that it's harder to return to that state of hyper focus the novel needs. Ultimately, it's about me setting aside time each day for just that one task.



TQYou are also an editor. How does this affect or not your own writing?

Matthew:  I used to edit a 'zine called Sybil's Garage from 2003 to 2010, but I don't edit anymore. Though I would like to edit one or more anthologies in the future, it's not part of my immediate goals. Editing allowed me to view the process from the other side of the transom. It became very clear to me that if you don't hold the editor's attention at every moment, she's going to pass on your story. If you have hundreds of stories to read per month, you are not going to wade through the slow parts of someone's story waiting for it to get good. So in my writing, having that in mind, I realize you have to hook the reader from the beginning and hold her attention throughout. It's harder, of course, but it's made me a better writer.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Matthew:  I started off as a kid reading the usual suspects. Asimov, Clarke, Niven, King, Lovecraft, Heinlein. Today some of my favorite authors are Jeffrey Ford, Kelly Link, Kim Stanley Robinson, Laird Barron, N.K. Jemisin, Mercurio D. Rivera. I love M.R. James and Poe and Shirley Jackson and....I could go on.



TQDescribe King of Shards in 140 characters or less.

Matthew:  An anonymous saint and a demon king join forces to save the cosmos from the legion of hell.



TQTell us something about King of Shards that is not found in the book description.

Matthew:  It is partly based on several esoteric Jewish myths, some of which I explore on my blog series 36 Days of Judaic Myth: http://www.matthewkressel.net/tag/36-days-of-judaic-myth/



TQWhat inspired you to write King of Shards? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Matthew:  I love the myth of the Lamed Vav, which says that there are thirty six anonymous saints who sustain the world. If any one of them cease to be righteous, the world would be destroyed. They are so hidden and anonymous that you or I could be one and not know it. It says you never know if the person whom you meet is one of these saints, so you should treat all people as if they are one. And I thought to myself, somewhat insidiously, if they sustain the world, what would happen if someone killed them all? Eventually a plot arose in my mind of a horde of clever demons trying to kill the Lamed Vav in order to bring power and life to their long suffering world. That's how King of Shards was born.

What I love most about writing fantasy is the absolute freedom. In fantasy, you are not bound by ordinary rules of space and time, and thus anything is possible.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for King of Shards?

Matthew:  I researched heavily into various Judaic myths and folklore, and also into pre-Judaic Assyrian and Babylonian myths. A lot of these folktales and so-called apocryphal stories were appropriated from earlier cultures and religions and re-framed into the Judaic concept of reality. So you get cool things like the Babylonian night succubi "lilitu" becoming the terrifying Lilith, who later becomes a potent symbol of female independence and feminism. You get to learn that along with the Leviathan of the sea and the Behemoth of the land, there is the Ziz, an enormous bird whose wingspan goes from one end of the world to the other, and whose legs are so tall that if you dropped a hammer at their top, it would take seven years before it hit the ground. And I got to learn about the Shamir worm, which is a magical worm that can crack apart the hardest stone just by its mere touch and was used to construct the ancient Jerusalem Temple. And I read how King Solomon enslaved Ashmedai, the demon king, in order to find the location of the Shamir worm. There are so many wondrous treasures like these.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Matthew:  I found Ashmedai the most fun. His voice came naturally to me. He's angry because his creator destroyed his world and almost killed him too. But he survived -- by the skin of his teeth. And now he's angry and wants justice. He's so determined that he'll do anything to get his way, even if that means killing anyone who gets in his path. Righteous indignation is a powerful motivating force. Daniel, on the other hand, was the most difficult for me. He's a Lamed Vavnik -- a saint -- though he doesn't know it at first. By nature, he's humble and kind, a do-gooder. That doesn't exactly make for an exciting character, and so I needed to have him change his behavior throughout the story without sacrificing his core morality. I never wanted him to become truly evil, merely corrupted, so it was a fine line to toe.



TQWhich question about King of Shards do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Matthew:  Who is the cover artist? His work is amazing!

The cover artist is Leon Tukker. He's an art student from the Netherlands and his work is amazing. He's only just started with this stuff and he's clearly got talent. I think more people should be aware of him, and I expect you'll be seeing his stuff on more covers soon. Check out his portfolio at: https://www.artstation.com/artist/leontukker



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from King of Shards.

Matthew:

Not where the hell, Daniel, the demon thought, but which one.

One city’s rubble is the next city’s foundation.



TQWhat's next?

Matthew:  So I have two stories coming out soon. "Demon in Aisle 6" about a high-school kid who sees a demon in his mega-store where he works, comes out in Nightmare Magazine in November. And "The Problem of Meat" about interdimensional beings that eat our emotions, is coming out in the reboot of Grendelsong at the end of October around Halloween. Other than that, I'll be working on the sequel to King of Shards.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Matthew:  Thank you so much for letting me participate!





King of Shards
The Worldmender Trilogy 1
Arche Press, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards
Across the ineffable expanse of the Great Deep float billions of shattered universes: the Shards. Populated with vengeful demons and tormented humans, the Shards need Earth to survive just as plants need water. Earth itself is kept alive by thirty-six righteous people, thirty-six hidden saints known as the Lamed Vav. Kill but a few of the Lamed Vav and the Earth will shatter, and all the Shards that rely upon it will die in a horrible cataclysm.

When Daniel Fisher is abducted on his wedding day by the demon king, Ashmedai, he learns he is a Lamed Vav, one of the hidden righteous upholding the world. The demon Mashit has usurped the throne of demonkind from Ashmedai and has been systematically murdering the Lamed Vav. On a desert-covered Shard teeming with strange creatures, pursued by a fearsome demon army, Daniel and Ashmedai, saint and demon, must join forces to stop Mashit before she destroys all of existence. Daniel’s survival means he must ally with evil Ashmedai. Yet who but a saint—a Lamed Vav—can save the world?





About Matthew

Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards
Photo by Christine Kressel
Matthew Kressel is a multiple Nebula Award-nominated writer and World Fantasy Award-nominated editor.

His novel, King of Shards, debuts October 13, 2015 from Arche Press, an imprint of Resurrection House.

His story “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” was a 2014 Nebula Award nominee for Best Short Story.

His story “The Sounds of Old Earth” was a 2013 Nebula Award nominee for Best Short Story. The story also made the 2013 Locus Recommended Reading List.

His short stories have or will appear in such publications as Lightspeed, Nightmare, Clarkesworld, io9.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, Electric Velocipede, Apex Magazine, and the anthologies Naked City, After,The People of the Book, and The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, as well as other markets.

In 2011 Matthew was nominated for World Fantasy Award in the category of Special Award, Non-Professional for his work editing Sybil’s Garage.

In 2003 he started the speculative fiction magazine Sybil’s Garageand the stories and poetry therein have received multiple honorable mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. Under the rubric of Senses Five Press, Matthew published Paper Cities, which won the 2009 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology.

Matthew co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction reading series at the famous KGB Bar alongside veteran speculative-fiction editor Ellen Datlow. The monthly series highlights luminaries and up-and-comers in speculative fiction.

Matthew has been a long-time member of Altered Fluid, a Manhattan-based writing group. He is also obsessed with the film Blade Runner.

When he’s not writing, Matthew designs websites, which he has done for Stanford University, Columbia University, the magazines Weird Tales, Fantasy, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, writers Genevieve Valentine, Nicholas Kaufmann, Chris Willrich, and many others. He has coded applications and websites for ADP, Alliance Bernstein, and Nikon, among others. He also administers office computer networks. If you’re interested in his IT services, you can check out his business website here.

WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter @mattkressel ~ Google+ ~ Pinterest

Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod


Please welcome Adrian Barnes to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Nod was published on September 1st by Titan Books.



Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Adrian:  When I was a kid, books made me feel alive--and amazed. Each new book was-and is--like that. I guess I sort of cried, ‘Me too! Me too!’ and so I did my best to join in!



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Adrian:  A bit of both, I guess. I tend to have a master plan and character or two, but after that I keep adding ‘stuff’ to make the stories cooler, funnier, and weird. My idea has always been to create novels as jammed full of...stuff! This includes stories, philosophy, and description.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Adrian:  I love the thought before I write and I adore endless editing, so I suppose it’s the actual writing that gets in the way as a necessity between the two!



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Adrian:  Invariably I give credit to Lewis Carroll, a man who blew the entire world up for me...something for which I eternally adore and respect. His two Alice books are more real than the world we see around us.

I have also always loved Harlan Ellison, the SF man who also loved Alice and who also blew our visions of life apart, replacing it with something bigger and truer. He never tried to copy life as ‘real’. Rather he would take us take us beyond ‘normal’ to something much larger. When I was a teen I had read one of his stories but wanted more! He wasn’t in the library or books near me, so I took the bus downtown and searched the stores of old books for weeks. Eventually I found six or seven of his!



TQDescribe Nod.

Adrian:  Paul wakes up one morning only to discover that no one in the world has slept in the last 8 hours. Well, a few dozen people around the world had slept--and no one knows why they were left alone. That day the newspapers blabbed that science says that we all go insane after two weeks awake. And after four weeks, we’ll all die--or be killed. Theories spread like cancers as to what brought this to our world: disease, poison, drugs, aliens, and even God. And Paul? He watches it all happen and writes it down. A book he calls NOD.



TQTell us something about Nod that is not found in the book description.

Adrian:  Paul’s book, called NOD, is about the history of ancient words. The book is stolen by a local man, who sees it as a vision of the future and begins to start a new vision of life. All around Paul, a version of NOD begins to appear, even as the world begins to die.



TQWhat inspired you to write Nod? Did you set out to write a dystopian SF novel? Why apocalypse via sleep deprivation?

I suppose I find the world sort of crazy and doomed given the way we all act and I wanted to come up with a metaphor for what I see each day. We all act as though ‘life goes on’. But it just doesn’t. Not really. And we don’t want to face that. Why? Big stuff!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Nod?

Adrian:  I read up on the basic knowledge about human insomnia, of course. Sadly, there are some people who fail to sleep for two weeks and it’s horrible, but we study them and try to learn more about how our brains, under massive pain, cope. In fact, the ‘death at thirty days’ is a guess from doctors. No one has lived longer than two weeks. But in our crazy busy world, I’m sure we’ll get there one day...



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Adrian:  The easiest character to write was Paul because, ahem, he’s a lot like me. He thinks and writes a lot! The worst? Paul’s partner, Tanya. I knew I would have to make her suffer and I felt guilty the whole time. The good news is, if I finish NOD 2...Tanya will get a second chance at life, despite her death.



TQWhich question about Nod do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Adrian:  Everyone asks me, ‘why couldn’t they sleep?’ and were sort of angry about that. I guess I wish someone would ask the questions ‘why can’t we sleep’ in a way. If that makes sense...



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Nod.

Adrian:  “She turned and walked out of the room. I watched her go with a miser’s attention. Each remembered detail of her face was precious to me.” These words, I suppose, apologize to Tanya in all her pain...



TQWhat's next?

Adrian:  Next for me is my new novel, Satan A La Mode, which comes out in December 2015. It’s my attempt to write a modern version of Alice in Wonderland: I aspire to create whimsy, seriousness, humour, poetry, politics, and so on. This new book is illustrated by the amazing artist Yuliya Kashapova. She is my partner on this project and has provided 75 pieces of art that go as far as, well, Alice in Wonderland.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.








Nod
Titan Books, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod
Dawn breaks over Vancouver and no-one in the world has slept the night before, or almost no-one. A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand can still sleep, and they've all shared the same golden dream. A handful of children still sleep as well, but what they're dreaming remains a mystery. After six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis will set in. After four weeks, the body will die. In the interim, panic ensues and a bizarre new world arises in which those previously on the fringes of society take the lead. One couple experience a lifetime in a week as he continues to sleep, she begins to disintegrate before him, and the new world swallows the old one whole...








Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod
Adrian Barnes was born in Blackpool, England but moved to Canada in 1969. He teaches English at Selkirk College, British Columbia. He is married with two children. He received an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University and Nod is his first published novel.










Goodreads


Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End


Please welcome Sigal Samuel to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Mystics of Mile End is published today by William Morrow. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Sigal a Happy Publication Day.



Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Sigal:  I started writing — mostly journals — when I was about 10 years old. It was how I made sense of the world then, and it still is. In my childhood bedroom, I have a whole bookshelf that’s entirely taken up with those journals.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sigal:  I’m definitely a plotter. I’ve lost track of how many outlines and beat sheets I made while writing The Mystics of Mile End. That said, the most enjoyable part of writing is when the story surprises you and takes control, and something comes out that’s beyond anything you could have planned for.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sigal:  When I decided to write The Mystics of Mile End from the perspectives of a little boy, a middle-aged professor, a female college student, and an old man, I thought the hardest part would be accessing an authentic voice for each. But no — the trickier thing was staying “in the zone” of any one voice long enough to finish writing that character’s section. For a while, I actually had to give up reading fiction that was written in a vastly different voice from the one I was trying to create.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Sigal:  I am influenced by contemporary Jewish magical realist writers like Etgar Keret and Jonathan Safran Foer, and by South American surrealists like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Some of my favorite authors include Miranda July, for the sheer originality of her voice, and Zoe Whittall, who writes LGBT characters that are gritty, brave and believable.



TQDescribe The Mystics of Mile End in 140 characters or less.

Sigal:  A dysfunctional Jewish family in Montreal grows obsessed with climbing the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life — even though they don't believe in God.



TQTell us something about The Mystics of Mile End that is not found in the book description.

Sigal:  In the final version of the book, the story is told from four distinct perspectives. But in the first draft, it was all from one perspective — that of the daughter, Samara. Ultimately, I decided it would be much more interesting to tell this story from multiple vantage points, especially since there’s always more than one side to a story when you’re dealing with a family.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Mystics of Mile End? Why focus on the Kabbalah?

Sigal:  I grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community and, as a girl, wasn’t allowed to show an interest in the more mystical legends in the Jewish tradition. Luckily, I had a dad who was a professor of Jewish mysticism and was willing to share its secrets with me. His after-school Kabbalah classes started when I was 12 and continued around our dining room table throughout high school. Years later, those lessons inspired me to write The Mystics of Mile End.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Mystics of Mile End?

Sigal:  I brushed up on some of the mystical legends I’d learned as a kid, and turned to scholars like Aryeh Kaplan to deepen my knowledge of them. I also spent a lot of time walking around Mile End — the half-hipster, half-Hasidic neighborhood of Montreal where the story takes place — to capture the details of how people dress, talk and behave.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sigal:  The easiest character to write was the family patriarch, David. That may seem odd since, on the surface, I don’t have much in common with this middle-aged, male, atheist professor. But I find it relatively easy to inhabit the mind of an adult like that.

The hardest character was 11-year-old Lev. Writing in a kid’s voice is tough because you have to remember that all kids, even precocious ones like Lev, are self-centered — they think the whole world revolves around them. I read Lev’s whole section out loud to myself to make sure every phrase sounded like something he would really say.



TQWhich question about The Mystics of Mile End do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sigal:  What do you hope readers will take away from The Mystics of Mile End?

I think that some of us are so hungry for meaning that we get obsessed with certain ideas — often these are seductive religious or mystical ideas — and we forget that pursuing this obsession comes at a cost to the people around us. Without making any moral judgment about this, I wanted readers to consider the question: What’s the value of devoting yourself to some notion of holiness if it means leaving behind those who love you most?



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Mystics of Mile End.

Sigal:

“I may have been hearing God’s voice, but my interest remained at the level of the sublime, sky-scraping Tree of Life; I was not about to get down in the mud of thou-shalt-and-shalt-not Judaism.”


“Don’t see signs in everything. It makes it impossible to live.”



TQWhat’s next?

Sigal:  My children’s fantasy novel, Infinity Hotel, tells the story of Zeno, an eleven-year-old boy who discovers a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. This action-packed adventure challenges readers aged 9–12 to explore the deliciously mindboggling idea of infinity. I’m currently working on a second draft.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Mystics of Mile End
William Morrow Paperbacks, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End
Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.

“This is not an ordinary tree I am making.

“This,” he said, “this is the Tree of Knowledge.”

In the half-Hasidic, half-hipster Montreal neighborhood of Mile End, eleven-year-old Lev Meyer is discovering that there may be a place for Judaism in his life. As he learns about science in his day school, Lev begins his own extracurricular study of the Bible’s Tree of Knowledge with neighbor Mr. Katz, who is building his own Tree out of trash. Meanwhile his sister Samara is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah with next-door neighbor and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Glassman. All the while his father, David, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is a non-believer.

When, years later, David has a heart attack, he begins to believe God is speaking to him. While having an affair with one of his students, he delves into the complexities of Kabbalah. Months later Samara, too, grows obsessed with the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life—hiding her interest from those who love her most–and is overcome with reaching the Tree’s highest heights. The neighbors of Mile End have been there all along, but only one of them can catch her when she falls.





About Sigal

Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End
Sigal Samuel is an award-winning fiction writer, journalist, essayist, and playwright. Currently a writer and editor for the Forward, she has also published work in the Daily Beast, the Rumpus, BuzzFeed, and the Walrus. Her six plays have been produced from Vancouver to New York.

Sigal earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Originally from Montreal, she now lives and writes in Brooklyn. The Mystics of Mile End is her first novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @SigalSamuel

Interview with Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be Crazy


Please welcome Logan J. Hunder to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Witches Be Crazy was published on July 14th by Night Shade Books.



Interview with Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be Crazy




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Logan:  Thanks for figuratively having me!

I've always had a very active imagination. I think if my parents were to answer this question they would make claims about me writing stories all the way back in first or second grade when would scrawl semi-coherent blobs and call them illustrated novels. But personally I don't think I ever created anything that could be considered an actual story until I was about twelve or thirteen and in middle school. In lieu of playing sports or talking to girls, a couple friends and I would spend our lunch hours huddled in our classroom taking turns at putting out issues of our collaborative comic series: The Dunce Hat Warrior. An epic tale of a bumbling idiot that shot a lot of guns and put dunce caps on the heads of those he killed...for some reason...it sounded much better at the time. I was (am?) a strange kid.

Writing was always a creative outlet for me. Something I could do by myself for myself. The only real difference between now and then is some people seem genuinely interested in what I come up with. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Logan:  Up until this very moment I had never heard either of those terms before. Now that I am newly educated I can say with absolute certainty that I am a proud pantser, much as that makes me sound like a guy who habitually pulls people's pants down. There's something about spontaneity that really adds to humour—just watch Whose Line Is It Anyway? I've found I actually have a more difficult time writing out points in the story that I had already planned. The words just don't come as easy. Rather, when I have no concept of what should come next and just let myself go I find I can end up in some incredibly amusing places. It's almost like I experience the story the same way the reader does in those cases.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Logan:  Sometimes motivation can be an issue. Sometimes finding the right words can be an issue. Sometimes forcing myself to cut redundant things can be an issue. Sometimes unintended repetition can be an issue. One of the challenges I find myself facing is that of brevity. Polonius says it's the soul of wit, and wit is what I want, so often times I have to take a moment and ask myself if I'm rambling a bit too much. It's a challenge I often face in real life too.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Logan:  Well it goes without saying that the pioneers of the art, Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony, have some level of influence over any of us who dare enter the hybrid realms of fantasy and making fun of things. And like virtually every other child born in the early 90s and thereafter, I was a huge Harry Potter fan growing up. However an author of whom I am a fan and probably derive influence from that one wouldn't expect would be Louis L'Amour. It's a fondness I've undoubtedly inherited from my dad, who named both me and my brother Nolan after members of the Sackett family. I still remember finding an old tattered copy of Ride the Dark Trail at an rundown book store. It split in half before I managed to finish reading it. Still sits on my shelf, though.



TQDescribe Witches Be Crazy in 140 characters or less.

Logan:  It's funny, punny, and worth your money! Witches has the action and humor you want in a big budget movie without the forced romance subplot.

That was exactly 140 characters. I'm proud of myself.



TQTell us something about Witches Be Crazy that is not found in the book description.

Logan:  Okay! So the blurb sets the scene, a goofy kingdom of scenic spots and nefarious plots. The reader is naturally expecting a story of an unlikely hero rising up to face larger than life scenarios and get repeatedly smacked across the face by circumstance, as is common in the classic quest. However what the back blurb fails to portray is the referential nature of the writing. Over the course of Witches Be Crazy I lovingly reference and pay homage to everything from Les Miserables to South Park to lyrics from one of my favorite Canadian Bands: Great Big Sea. I find inspiration from the strangest of things, and I love to incorporate it in my work. Many readers have commented on the pleasure they discern from picking out the countless Easter Eggs they come across. The best part is even if you're my mother and you don't notice ANY of them, it doesn't detract from the story itself at all.



TQWhat inspired you to write Witches Be Crazy? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy and humor?

Logan:  Fantasy has always been my favorite genre because it can be anything you want it to be. It is limited only by our own personal limitations as creative people. But even classic fantasy at its core is such a unique hybrid of drama and whimsy, fighting and fun, and the ability to incorporate it all under one cover without too many seams—if any at all. My nerdy proclivity for video games and D&D probably has had some hand in developing my tastes as well. As for writing humour, I've known for quite a long time that I have a degree of difficulty in taking things seriously—something that many of my college professors were not fans of. I still refuse to believe I'm the only person my forensic anthropology teacher had ever seen carry on a loud discussion about the merits of using a human femur as a mace. Though in retrospect I think she was just displeased I was brandishing an actual human femur at the time to illustrate my point.

That little story might seem tangential, but it was after college that I finally had reached my breaking point with writing serious things and wanted to take a foray into something offbeat. My original premise was "A few guys travel across the country to break into the castle and kill the princess rather than save her." From there I just "pants"d it, so to speak. It wasn't until I was over half way through that I even got the notion of trying to publish it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Witches Be Crazy?

Logan:  In my writing I find myself researching some of the strangest things. For Dungar naturally I had to learn a little bit about the blacksmithing process. But as an unabashed teetotaler I also had to brush up on various kinds of alcohol, how coveted they were, what they were made of, and what assumptions can be made about the kind of person who enjoys them. For Rose I had to familiarize myself with a variety of science mumbo jumbo, but my brother is literally a rocket scientist so thankfully he could always be relied upon to help me out there. Fun fact: when I'm crediting the women of SRS for various inventions, all the inventions I list (except plumbing) actually were invented by women. In writing the sequel I actually found myself watching a half hour long Youtube video describing the intricacies of making stained glass windows... All just so I could make a joke.

The part in Witches about diamonds is probably what required the most research.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Logan:  While I don't personally see it, people who know me have said that Dungar is a lot like me. I suppose that's to be expected, him being my very first protagonist and all, but even if there are similarities I don't think they're so apparent that one could call this author-insert fiction. That being said, his lines and demeanour come pretty naturally; especially when often times there's the comically unreal Jimminy to act as a basis for comparison. But despite being a complete foil to Dungar, Jimminy was startlingly easy for me to write as well. Coming up with malapropisms and pithy remarks wasn't always a no-brainer, but his overall personality and outlook were very easy to draw character from.

If I were to pick a hardest character to write, it would probably be Gilly. I am a man which, by definition, means I'm not a woman. So just writing from a female perspective means I'm having to reach a bit. I'm forced to reach a little bit more when I'm writing a character that is deeply religious whilst I have no affiliations to the divine myself. And from there the only other thing that drives her is her love for her sister... Something I also lack. There's a bond between Rose and Gilly much greater than even what I delved into in the book, and it causes Gilly to have a distrust and perhaps even dislike for Dungar, a character that I just said is pretty me-ish. With Dungar I can draw on my values, with Jimminy I can draw on my humour, but with Gilly I'm basically writing a character that is nothing like me and probably would not care for me if she knew me.



TQWhich question about Witches Be Crazy do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Logan:  Oh how fun! It has to be related to Witches Be Crazy, so I guess "Can I buy you dinner?" is out. Alright, let’s try something like this:

"Hey Logan, nice hair, so I was wondering: In your last response, you compared Dungar to yourself but also claimed there were differences. If you could take one aspect of Dungar for yourself what would it be? And if you could give one aspect of yourself to him, what would it be?"

Well hey thanks for that incredibly thought provoking question, me. If I were to take an aspect of Dungar for myself it would probably be either his bravery or confidence. Granted there were times in the story that he lacked sureness in his actions, he never crumbled under pressure and he never froze when he needed to be...er...fluid? No matter what this foreign and bizarre world threw at him, he could always persevere and find a way to keep on keepin on.

But the very reason I would admire him comes with side effects. Dungar can be more tightly wound than a catapult. Sometimes you have to be able to not take yourself or anything else too seriously. Dungar is so quick to rush to anger and violence that it's a good thing he lives in fantasy land, because that sort of thing doesn't really fly in many other places. His proclivity for punching people, even if he managed to weather the societal ramifications, surely cannot be good for his health. Sooner or later you run into someone that can punch harder than you, and even if you don't, your heart is gonna hate you. I don't think blood pressure meds exist in Jenair, so for his own good I'd prescribe Dungar some Logan chill pills.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Witches Be Crazy.

Logan:  Alright it's kind of long, but easily one of my favourite quotes is from when they first meet the pirate captain: Nobeard

"We steal from the rich and give to the poor!" Nobeard repeated as he began to sway in rhythm with the music. "But we be more than your commoner altruistic outlaw! We are the very image of that which is not changeable, we are experts in every theft tactic that is stageable, we carry out our deeds to keep the wealth all rearrangeable, despite the occupational hazards being quite unassuageable!" He paused briefly yet again and turned back to Dungar. "Really what I'm trying to say here is that in matters profitable, cartable, and sinkable, I am the very model of a modern mighty liberal!"

Also one of the reviews on Goodreads listed this exchange as one of her favourite bits. To her it was a barometer of the books wackiness. (Names left out to keep it non-spoilery)

"Who is this guy?!"
"How are you alive?"
"How did you find us?"
"Where did you get that katana?"

"Why are you all standing around letting them have this conversation!?" [Villain] yelled.



TQWhat's next?

Logan:  Well, the first draft of the sequel has been completed. It's currently being shown around to all the important people who have a say in such things. From there I definitely plan on branching out away from Dungar and the crew, but always leaving it open for to return. He's a swell guy, but ideally I'd want to establish new characters and their own adventures, then after a while I could start mixing the old with the new. Have crossovers, if you will. Endless possibilities!

I've also mulled over the idea of adapting my old Dunce Hat Warrior comics into a novel of their own. I'd have to break it down into its most basic elements in order to filter out the taint of 12 year old me, but I think it would leave some interesting building blocks. That's nowhere on the horizon yet though.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Logan:  Hey! I told my people to tell your people I'm not answering questions about this!





Witches Be Crazy
A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of Nowhere
Night Shade Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be Crazy
Real heroes never die. But they do get grouchy in middle age.

The beloved King Ik is dead, and there was barely time to check his pulse before the royal throne was supporting the suspiciously shapely backside of an impostor pretending to be Ik’s beautiful long-lost daughter. With the land’s heroic hunks busy drooling all over themselves, there’s only one man left who can save the kingdom of Jenair. His name is Dungar Loloth, a rural blacksmith turned innkeeper, a surly hermit and an all-around nobody oozing toward middle age, compensating for a lack of height, looks, charm, and tact with guts and an attitude.

Normally politics are the least of his concerns, but after everyone in the neighboring kingdom of Farrawee comes down with a severe case of being dead, Dungar learns that the masquerading princess not only is behind the carnage but also has similar plans for his own hometown. Together with an eccentric and arguably insane hobo named Jimminy, he journeys out into the world he’s so pointedly tried to avoid as the only hope of defeating the most powerful person in it. That is, if he can survive the pirates, cultists, radical Amazonians, and assorted other dangers lying in wait along the way.

Logan J. Hunder’s hilarious debut blows up the fantasy genre with its wry juxtaposition of the fantastic and the mundane, proving that the best and brightest heroes aren’t always the best for the job.





About Logan

Interview with Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be Crazy
Logan J. Hunder is a humanoid creature that sits around eating Cheetos and playing Minecraft, occasionally stopping to write something down. After graduating from college he embarked on a journey to tell fun fantasy stories laced with action, adventure, and stupid jokes. The first product of that journey is his debut novel, Witches Be Crazy, a whimsical and mischievous tale of courage, unconventional friendship, and persevering even when you're completely out of your depth. It may also involve killer fish, sexy princesses, and rocks getting punched in the face. It is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the pure of heart.




Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @ljh_writerguy


Interview with Minerva Zimmerman, author of Take On Me


Please welcome Minerva Zimmerman to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Take On Me was published on October 6th by Fireside Fiction Company.



Interview with Minerva Zimmerman, author of Take On Me




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Minerva:  I think Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary was a huge influence on my decision to become a writer at age 6. I hope some of my spelling has improved since then. I’ve dabbled in trying to talk myself out of becoming a writer ever since, but so far it hasn’t worked.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Minerva:  I am a pantser until about the two-thirds mark through a project, then I sit down and outline everything I’ve already written and everything I know needs to happen so I can get a better overview of things and start to see if stuff needs to be moved around. That way I can see if there’s a subplot that needs removing, or if I’ve got any holes that need filling. I did a project where I outlined the whole thing first and it took the joy of discovery out of the process of writing for me. I will say that the projects I’ve finished, I knew where I was going, so I’m not sure an outline is as important to me as just knowing a destination.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Minerva:  I think it depends on what I’m working on. I am not sure I’d answer this question twice the same way. Right now I think trying to live up to my own expectations for my writing is the hardest thing. A month ago I would have said doing copyedits. Launch week I’m sure I’ll say promotion.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Minerva:  I am a big mythology and fairy tale person. I also adore science and try to read a lot of interesting scientific discoveries. Strangely whenever anyone asks me about my influences I always think of authors I read when I was younger vs. anything more recent. Authors like: Edgar Eager, Alfred Sloat, E. Nesbit, Ellen Raskin, Madeleine L’engel, Susan Cooper, and Ursula K. LeGuin (Tehanu is probably the most influential book I’ve ever read. It takes a world you’re familiar with and turns it on its head by showing you a different POV with other internal information). My favorite authors are the ones that make me think, which is not the same as those whose work I’ve enjoyed the most. Right now I’m probably most obsessed with Terry Pratchett, because I came to his books late and now I’m torn between dissecting and re-reading all of them (as well as listening to all the audiobooks) to find every bit of gleanable craft… and slowly rationing them out and savoring them. So far I’ve stuck with the latter.



TQDescribe Take On Me in 140 characters or less.

Minerva:  Imagine if Joss Whedon rebooted Highlander but with vampires, set in 1986 Chicago.



TQTell us something about Take On Me that is not found in the book description.

Minerva:  I drank a lot of Tang and Vitamin Supplement Powder while writing this story. I tried to take up eating Grape Nuts too, but while I like them more than Hannah does, I just never learned to love them.



TQWhat inspired you to write Take On Me? Why vampires?

Minerva:  I wanted to write something that was enjoyable to write I knew I would finish, so I picked up a world I’d created in about 1998 but lacked the skill at the time to render it into publishable fiction. Vampires had always been one of the groups in that world and I ended up writing a scene between Alex and Hannah but decades in the future from the events in TAKE ON ME. It was just a fun little writing exercise because I was in a bad place with my writing at the time, and it happened that in this conversation they alluded to the events of how they’d originally met and what each did or did not remember about it. I just knew I had to write this story and that was the best jumping off point to bring readers into the world of The Shattered Ones.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Take On Me?

Minerva:  Alex has a tendency to flash back to events from his past that affect how he sees the events of the present time, so I had to do a lot of research to make sure those ring true and that all the medical things Alex does at that time are appropriate for what he knows at the time. It was actually hardest to find out what has changed in internal medicine since 1986 rather than the 1880s. The medical profession is kind of touchy about recently out of date medical procedures and information being easily available. I also had to do a lot of research into 1986 because even though I lived through the 80s my memory is a bit jumbled up as to what was from which year, so I had to verify a lot of stuff and I’m sure I got something wrong. The most difficult research for me, personally, was actually about Chicago as a setting. My publisher helped me consult with author Malon Edwards, who is from Chicago, to help me avoid getting things drastically wrong. I don’t think I got it perfect, but the information Malon gave me helped me drastically improve several scenes and firmly ground them in Chicago with details I never could have gotten on my own.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Minerva:  Alex is the easiest character for me to write, with Hannah a very close second. She’s a little more difficult because she’s a teenager and I have to switch over to that mindset. Alex is easy because (this is going to sound really weird) he’s very broken-in like a favorite pair of jeans. He’s just so settled in who he is without being closed off from everything that his actions and reactions are very grounded. Hannah is more reactionary. The hardest character to write is anything with is Hannah’s brother, Zachariah. His brain just creeps me out.



TQWhich question about Take On Me do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Minerva:  I wish someone would ask about the wider world in Take On Me. The world starts out very zoomed in on Alex and Hannah and as the story progresses over the next two books it zooms out to show more and more about the world. Hannah and Alex are uniquely suited characters to slowly unveil the world due to being on the periphery of different groups, families, and factions.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Take On Me.

Minerva

She poked at the garlic bulb. “How do I get it open?”
He reached above his head, pulled down a small saucepan, and handed it to her without turning away from the beef. “Hit it.”
There was a very loud thunk behind Alex.
“Uhm, Alex?”
Alex slid the fry pan to the only empty burner and turned around. Hannah stood at arm’s length from the cutting board, the saucepan in her hand. Garlic skin clung to the bottom of the pan like the mangled wings of a crushed fly. The smell of raw garlic filled the kitchen from the obliterated smear splattered over the counter and part of the wall.
Alex covered his mouth in shock. “You killed it!”
“I… I…”
He doubled over in laughter and tears ran down his face.
“It’s not funny.”
Alex gasped for breath. “Headline…” He waved his hand in front of him. “Garlic Murdered — Vampires Suspected.”
A chuckle escaped before she could scowl it out of existence.



TQWhat's next?

Minerva:  Take On Me is the first of three books we’re rapid releasing. The second book, Cruel Summer comes out in December, with the third, Running Down a Dream in February. We’re hoping when all three books are out we can put out a print collection of the three together for people who aren’t as keen on ebooks. I have a lot more stories and characters in this world that I can write about in the future. I know there’s one story in particular my editor hopes to force me to write in the future. I’m not planning on The Shattered Ones being a 24 book read them all series. My hope is to do lots of one-shot stories and short series within the world.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Take On Me
The Shattered Ones 1
Fireside Fiction Company, October 6, 2015
eBook, 238 pages

Interview with Minerva Zimmerman, author of Take On Me
Take On Me is the first book in a new series called The Shattered Ones. Book 2, Cruel Summer, is out in December, and Book 3, Running Down a Dream, in February.

Turning someone you don’t know into a vampire probably violates the Hippocratic oath. But Alex wasn’t really thinking about that when he found a girl bleeding out in his shower.

Being turned into a vampire isn’t as cool as it sounds. Especially when all Hannah wanted to be was dead. She thought she had finally escaped her brother. Until she woke up. Alive? Undead? Whatever. And now Hannah is stuck with the uncoolest vampire in existence.

As Alex and Hannah feel each other out — breaking some bones along the way — Alex’s oldest friend comes looking for help, and Hannah’s brother comes looking for her. What none of them see are the forces pushing them all on a collision course.





About Minerva

Interview with Minerva Zimmerman, author of Take On Me
Minerva Zimmerman is a statistically chaotic neutral writer of tragically funny fiction. She lives in rural Oregon and works as a museum professional. She occasionally blogs at minervazimmerman.com and spends too much time on Twitter @grumpymartian.






Interview with C.A. Higgins, author of Lightless


Please welcome C.A. Higgins to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Lightless is published on September 29th by Del Rey.



Interview with C.A. Higgins, author of Lightless




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

CAH:  I’ve written, in some form or another, for as long as I can remember, but in college I started to write more seriously. Writing to complete something, rather than just for the fun of it, gave me a sense of purpose that I found (and still find) very satisfying.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

CAH:  I am such a plotter that friends who are also plotters look at me sideways and say, “Calm down with those outlines, Higgins.”



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

CAH:  The time I have in which to do it—or lack thereof. I work during the week, and if I tried to write after I got home from work, I would end up exhausted. So I write one day out of the weekend, all day, and I defend my time on that day ferociously. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t get anything done.



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

CAH:  I love the 19th century. Dostoevsky is my favorite—the part of THE IDIOT that stretches from about the argument between Aglaia and Nastasya to the end of the novel is the most perfect hundred and fifty pages I’ve ever read. I am also a huge fan of Robin Hobb’s Farseer books.



TQDescribe Lightless in 140 characters or less.

CAH:  “The capture of a criminal on a spaceship has consequences that throw the ship, its crew, and their government into chaos.”



TQTell us something about Lightless that is not found in the book description.

CAH:  The book jacket mentions Althea and Ivan, but there is another major character named Ida Stays. Ida is an interrogator, and as much an outsider to the Ananke as Ivan is. Ivan has information that she needs, and there’s very little she wouldn’t be willing to do to get it—including things that might put the Ananke at risk.



TQWhat inspired you to write Lightless? Is Lightless hard SF, Space Opera? Genre-wise how would you describe it?

CAHLightless is a space opera and a thriller. I was inspired to write it in a physics class where we were learning about thermodynamics. We were doing an exercise where we determined the equation of state of particles in a box and I, rather fancifully, imagined those particles as people. A group of people in an isolated container aren’t that much different from an ideal gas—put pressure on them, and things heat up. As for what “box” I would put the characters in, I envisioned this strange spaceship that has a very close relationship with the concept of entropy—and that became the Ananke.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Lightless?

CAH:  I was in college for physics at the time, which was pretty helpful for a science fiction novel, especially since I was concentrating in astronomy! I did take an elective on robotic motion to get a better sense of how the computer of the Ananke would relate to its physical surroundings (and struggled with the class—I am no Althea Bastet). Otherwise, I did a bit of research on some varied psychological topics that related to the characters in the novel. And one very memorable and somewhat traumatizing research session was focused on learning about how bodies decay in different environments, which has surely, surely put me on an FBI watch-list somewhere.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

CAH:  Ivan was the easiest. I feel the closest connection to him, as troubling as that statement is, and so it was always easy to slip into his skin. Plus, he is the character who incites most of the action. Whenever I wrote a scene with Ivan in it, it never lacked for conflict.

The hardest character was Constance Harper. Like all the characters connected with Ivan’s past, certain truths about her had to be obscured—or at least, there had to be the appearance of obscurity—but Constance always wanted to be very clear and open and bold about herself and her character. Mattie, Milla, and Abigail all have more shadowy personas, but Constance is very inflexible.



TQWhich question about Lightless do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

CAH:  “How did your characters get their names?” I had fun naming them. For the crew of the Ananke: Ananke is the Greek goddess of compulsion. Althea’s name means “healing”, but she was also the mother of Meleager. Domitian is the name of a Roman emperor, and yet it translates to “tamed”. Ida is named after Mount Ida, the birthplace of Zeus. Gagnon means “guard dog”.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Lightless.

CAH:  There’s a character in the novel who speaks more poetically than the other characters do, and I’m very fond of a lot of her language. Unfortunately, everything she says is very spoilery! My favorite non-spoilery lines would have to be:

“She stood silently, ethereal wind stirring the wavelengths of her invented hair, the sightless eyes of the hologram watching Althea without a word.”

And,

““How exciting,” he said, in a tone that contended with the sun side of Mercury for aridity.”



TQWhat's next?

CAH:  LIGHTLESS will have two sequels. The next one, called SUPERNOVA, picks up where things left off in the first book and follows some of the characters as they deal with the effects of the events in LIGHTLESS. It’s got a lot of action, and it was a very exciting book to write.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

CAH:  Thank you for having me!






Lightless
Del Rey, September 29, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 304 Pages

Interview with C.A. Higgins, author of Lightless
With deeply moving human drama, nail-biting suspense—and bold speculation informed by a degree in physics—C. A. Higgins spins a riveting science fiction debut guaranteed to catapult readers beyond their expectations.

Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond—not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship’s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.

While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner—the enigmatic Ivan—may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities’ most relentless surveillance—and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.

As the ship’s systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner’s layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan’s mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever—if it doesn’t kill her first.





About C.A. Higgins

Interview with C.A. Higgins, author of Lightless
© Lisa Verge-Higgins
C.A. HIGGINS or Caitlin Higgins, is a debut author who writes novels and short stories. She was a runner up in the 2013 Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing and has a B. A. in physics from Cornell University. Lightless is her first novel, written during her time as an undergrad at Cornell.




Website  ~ Twitter @C_A_Higgs

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Interview with Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night


Please welcome Ilana C. Myer to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Last Song Before Night is published on September 29th by Tor Books.



Interview with Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Ilana:  Thank you for the welcome! I’ve been writing since I learned to read, basically—I was so enraptured by reading that I knew I wanted to write books.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ilana:  I try to plan out a general direction in advance, but most of the major decisions are made while the novel is in progress. For me the biggest challenge is that disparity between what’s on paper and what was in my head. The only solution to that—constant rewrites.



TQYou are a journalist. How does that affect or not your fiction writing?

Ilana:  Journalism, for me, mostly involved talking to lots of interesting and skilled people and extracting their expertise, and this certainly can be useful to a writer of fiction. You never know when a particular bit of information or an insight will be useful.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Ilana:  I’ve been influenced by every book I’ve ever loved, which is a long list! I’m sure somewhere in my writing is evidenced my childhood love of Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, for example. Other early influences include Lloyd Alexander, E. Nesbit, T.H. White, fairy tales and the magnificent D’Aulaires books of mythology.

Current favorite authors include Helen DeWitt, Dorothy Dunnett, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mary Renault, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, and Jane Gardam.



TQDescribe Last Song Before Night in 140 characters or less.

IlanaLast Song Before Night is set in a world where art and magic are intertwined, and the protagonists are poets.



TQTell us something about Last Song Before Night that is not found in the book description.

IlanaLast Song is a fast-paced adventure story while simultaneously it is a series of questions about art and its place in the world.



TQWhat inspired you to write Last Song Before Night? What appealed to you about writing Epic Fantasy?

Ilana:  What I most value about fantasy is the opportunity it gives us to explore great questions on a mythic scale. Last Song is about art, power, and the sometimes troubling convergence of the two—among other things.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Last Song Before Night?

Ilana:  I read many, many books, in history and mythology.



TQWhat's next?

Ilana:  Right now I’m hard at work on the sequel, which is different from Last Song in many ways, and introduces new characters and places.



TQ::  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ilana:  Thank you very much!





Last Song Before Night
Tor Books, September 29, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night
A high fantasy following a young woman's defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world's lost magic in Ilana C. Myer's Last Song Before Night.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar's connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death's return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.





About Ilana

Interview with Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night
ILANA C. MYER lives in New York City. Last Song Before Night is her first novel.












Website ~ Twitter @IlanaCT

Interview with Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of Souls


Please welcome Mitchell Hogan to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. A Crucible of Souls was published on September 22nd by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of Souls




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Mitchell:  Reading is a passion of mine and I kept coming up with characters and scenes I thought would be interesting, so one day I decided to try my hand at writing. I started around twelve years ago, and it took me ten years to finish my first book (A Crucible of Souls) due to work and life etc! In the end I resigned from my job to concentrate on finishing it, otherwise I’d regret not having done so, and I’m glad I did. My dream wasn’t to be published, only to finish the book I wanted to write.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Mitchell:  I am a pantser for the first book in a series, then somewhere in between for each subsequent book. Once the first book is finished quite a bit is already plotted out based on what happened in the first book, and what has to happen because of it. Sometimes I wish I plotted more, but I love it when my characters take me to places I’d never thought of.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Mitchell:  I find it hard to get started when I have the time, and I need a block of a few hours if I’m going to get a satisfying amount of writing done. Sometimes I get stuck (since I’m mostly a pantser), and I can agonize over a scene for way too long and lose a lot of time that could have been spent making progress on another scene.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Mitchell:  I think the authors I read as a teenager and when I was in my twenties have influenced me the most. These days I’m a lot pickier and I read far less than I used to (bad, I know!) Because I’m a fantasy author many of my favorite authors will be obvious: George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Robin Hobb, Glenn Cook, David Gemmel, R Scott Bakker… there are too many to mention!



TQDescribe A Crucible of Souls in 140 characters or less.

Mitchell:  A monastic trained sorcerer learns his precious magic has disturbing depths, and he’s dragged into a conflict where forbidden powers are unleashed.

That’s 147, so slightly over…



TQTell us something about A Crucible of Souls that is not found in the book description.

Mitchell:  There are multiple point of view characters whose story arcs are critical, but they may not intersect with the main character until book two or three…



TQWhat inspired you to write A Crucible of Souls? What appeals to you about writing Epic Fantasy?

Mitchell:  I love detailed world building and well thought out magic systems. And with epic fantasy, the world, culture and settings are as important as the characters. The stakes are usually high – the conflicts and issues are larger than life. I started writing A Crucible of Souls because I enjoyed bringing my world and characters to life, along with describing what I thought was an interesting magic system. I wrote for myself, and afterwards decided to look at publishing.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for A Crucible of Souls?

Mitchell:  I didn’t do any research. I think with years of reading fantasy and sci-fi you subconsciously absorb a lot of information from other authors on how they do things and what you like and don’t like. I don’t read anything else, so it has to rub off!



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Mitchell:  Amerdan was the easiest to write, and I think it was because I could have him do anything and get away with it. Along with the fact he can be unpredictable. And the hardest would have to be the main character, Caldan. It was tricky to guide a sheltered young man through various difficulties without making him seem stupid or shallow. I hope I succeeded!



TQWhich question about A Crucible of Souls do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Mitchell:  Most authors create a magic system and then look for ways to break it - did you, and if so what was the result? I’m glad you asked! I came up with a way of changing the game completely one day while in the shower (my best ideas appear there). Without revealing too much, the science behind experimental fusion reactors and the Large Hadron Collider gave me a way to take my sorcery to the next level.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from A Crucible of Souls.

Mitchell:  “You will not fail if you accept death. I don’t fear death, only failure.”



TQWhat's next?

Mitchell:  The sequel, Blood of Innocents, comes out in January 2016 (February for US readers). And the third book has already been delivered to Harper Voyager and will be released in August/September 2016. I’ve also just released a sci-fi space opera novel, Inquisitor. And now I’m writing a stand alone epic fantasy set in a different world, and coming up with ideas for another series set in the same world as A Crucible of Souls.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





A Crucible of Souls
Sorcery Ascendant Sequence 1
Harper Voyager, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Interview with Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of Souls
An imaginative new talent makes his debut with the acclaimed first installment in the epic Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing tale of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

When young Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery.

Growing up plagued by questions about his past, Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were violently killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers.

But the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction.

Soon, he must choose a side, and face the true cost of uncovering his past.





About Mitchell

Interview with Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of Souls
© Mitchell Hogan
When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases filled with fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For ten years he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of Souls. He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author. Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Isabelle.

Website  ~  Twitter @HoganMitchell  ~  Facebook

Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of AngelsInterview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia MossInterview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of ShardsInterview with Adrian Barnes, author of NodInterview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile EndInterview with Logan J. Hunder, author of Witches Be CrazyInterview with Minerva Zimmerman, author of Take On MeInterview with C.A. Higgins, author of LightlessInterview with Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before NightInterview with Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of Souls

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