The Qwillery | category: 2015 DAC Interview | (page 3 of 9)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Tom Toner, author of The Promise of the Child

Please welcome Tom Toner to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Promise of the Child is published on September 22nd by Night Shade Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Tom a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Tom Toner, author of The Promise of the Child

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

Tom:  Thanks! I suppose I only began writing in earnest about four and a half years ago, when I sat down with some ideas and just never stopped working. The whole thing was a bit of an accident - I'd genuinely never imagined becoming a writer, and was pretty surprised by the time I'd banked a few thousand words and the feel of the novel was developing. Before then all I'd really wanted to be was a painter, having studied art at university and painted the odd commission here and there. Now, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Tom:  At first I pantsed it all the way, not having the slightest clue what I was doing, which with hindsight possibly made the whole thing richer and stranger for being so accidental. Now that I'm deep into the sequel and thinking carefully about a great many fine details in multiple future books, I can see the benefits of plotting. I still look at sections of The Promise of the Child that arrived organically and wonder where on earth they came from, so I suppose something could be said for winging it once in a while. I work in notebooks, sketching out ideas and scenes until they're as fully formed as possible, so there are stacks of the things on my desk, all colour-coded. The plans for books 4, 5 and 6 in the series (and beyond) are in there too, and I take a break to work on future stuff whenever I'm tired of what's in front of me.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tom:  Self-doubt and over analysis. I'm also fighting a losing battle with man boobs sitting here writing all day.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Tom:  At the moment (while writing) all I'm reading are travel books (Paul Theroux, Colin Thubron, Bill Bryson and Patrick Leigh Fermor) and non-fiction like Jared Diamond. I have absolutely no idea if that's the right thing to do - like I said I'm seriously new to this and winging it - but it's a nice escape from fiction. My absolute favourite author, someone not remotely linked to SF, is Colm Tóibín; his 2004 book The Master is the most perfect novel I've ever read. I try to read it once a year in the hope that some of its beauty might one day rub off. As for SF, I'm a huge fan of the late and great Iain Banks, David Mitchell, Arthur C Clarke, Brian Aldiss and Stephen King (particularly his Dark Tower novels), though I'm not really very well-read in the genre.

TQDescribe The Promise of the Child in 140 characters or less.

Tom:  The 147th century. The world is elderly, a lair of monsters. In the heavens hominid trolls squabble as a shy young man runs for his life.

TQWhy did you choose "Amaranthine Spectrum" as the series title? Does it have anything to do with the meaning of the Greek amarantos ("unfading") the word that Amaranth is derived from?

Tom:  Precisely. It hopefully means something on each level, in a kind of fractal way. The first three novels will hint at a colossal story buried just beneath the surface, material I've been working on parallel to the Spectrum that will become the fourth book in the series. The Amaranthine themselves are unfading (an imperfect title that demonstrates more their own arrogance than anything else), and this is ostensibly the story of their time, told most often through the hapless life of poor, shy Lycaste. The novels to me are also all about colour, with a distinguishing palette for each one.

TQTell us something about The Promise of the Child that is not found in the book description.

Tom:  It's a novel with hideous giant protagonists, talking birdlife, men that live for tens of thousands of years in hollowed planets, singing sea monsters, silk currency, a villain with a surprising twist, foods and metals that grow on trees and vast foldable paper cities.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Promise of the Child? What appealed to you about writing Space Opera?

Tom:  The Promise of the Child wasn't planned as Space Opera - the first couple of drafts never left Lycaste's cove. I hadn't even thought of it as SF until a spaceship made an appearance, at which point I sat back and had to rethink the thing, realising I couldn't deny the SF geek inside me any longer. I'd been reticent at first when friends asked if I was enjoying myself, feeling a little self-conscious at indulging in such absurd science fiction all day while other people did grown-up things. But that's Space Opera though - that's the appeal. It's like turning up to direct a film and being told you've been given a trillion dollar budget and all the studios, prosthetics, animators, model makers and IMAX cameras the world can hold. How much you choose to use is up to you, but the extremes are limitless, and it was the extremes that I wanted to try to capture. It's the greatest and most intoxicating freedom, an embarrassingly enjoyable way to spend your day.

In terms of inspiration, it all arrived from a single thought. I was standing in the sea in Greece (wondering, as you do, whether there might be any sharks around that might fancy a leg or two if I went too deep) when I turned around and just looked at the beach. The place was the setting for Odysseus's kingdom in the Odyssey (an island called Ithaka that features in a few scenes of the novel) and everything had that hot, bleached look of antiquity, a place of wizened olive trees that stretch right up to the shore and brilliant blue water. I was wondering about the future of the place as I thought about its past, and trying to imagine what would be there, on that beach, thousands of years hence ended up as the beginning of a novel.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Promise of the Child?

Tom:  Quite a bit, despite the fantastical subject matter. Everything from the order of the closest stars to the distances between European cities is accurate, as far as I know, a nice solid background to all the craziness.

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

Tom:  Those that are most like me, I suppose, are the easiest to write: Corphuso and Eranthis are both fairly undiluted variants of my personality - a tiny bit worrying, come to think of it, since neither's human male.

Lycaste - despite the fact that I know his character so well - is more complex than a lot of the supporting cast, so not as easy to write as I'd have expected while still having the capacity to surprise me. The hardest character to write was the most opaque, in this case the antagonist, Aaron the Long-Life. Certainly, in The Promise of the Child, his true personality is veiled, filtered through so many layers that we only see glimpses of him, really.

TQWhich question about The Promise of the Child do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: Who would play the major leads in a movie adaptation of your book?

A: It's always fun to imagine stuff like this, even though I'm not under any illusion that it would ever happen. All the central characters that aren't Amaranthine would need to be distorted in some way, either through digital effects or outright motion capture (i.e the Prism). The Melius (Lycaste, Impatiens, Melilotis etc) could simply be performances augmented in post production, rather like the effects from Where the Wild Things Are. Even though I don't imagine their faces in great detail, Ed Harris and Marion Cotillard would make superb Amaranthines Maneker and Voss, respectively. Also, while this is certainly not the way I visualise him, I'd pick Benedict Cumberbatch for Aaron the Long-Life over almost anyone else I can think of, with Christoph Waltz making a marvellous Venerable Sabran.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Promise of the Child.

Tom:  'Corphuso had only found out later - after hearing their unsettling slurping sounds through the night - that they used their own saliva to bathe, licking themselves clean with long pink tongues.'

TQWhat's next?

Tom:  The first draft of the sequel to the Promise of the Child - which I'll exclusively reveal here will be called Celestial Meridian - should be finished in a month or two, so I'm having a great time working on that at the moment.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tom:  Thank you!

The Promise of the Child
Volume One of the Amaranthine Spectrum
Night Shade Books, September 22, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 460 pages

Interview with Tom Toner, author of The Promise of the Child
It is the 147th century.

In the radically advanced post-human worlds of the Amaranthine Firmament, there is a contender to the Immortal throne: Aaron the Long-Life, the Pretender, a man who is not quite a man.

In the barbarous hominid kingdoms of the Prism Investiture, where life is short, cheap, and dangerous, an invention is born that will become the Firmament’s most closely kept secret.

Lycaste, a lovesick reclusive outcast for an unspeakable crime, must journey through the Provinces, braving the grotesques of an ancient, decadent world to find his salvation.

Sotiris, grieving the loss of his sister and awaiting the madness of old age, must relive his twelve thousand years of life to stop the man determined to become Emperor.

Ghaldezuel, knight of the stars, must plunder the rarest treasure in the Firmament—the object the Pretender will stop at nothing to obtain.

From medieval Prague to a lonely Mediterranean cove, and eventually far into the strange vastness of distant worlds, The Promise of the Child is a debut novel of gripping action and astounding ambition unfolding over hundreds of thousands of years, marking the arrival of a brilliant new talent in science fiction.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Book Depository : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Pay : Kobo

About Tom

Interview with Tom Toner, author of The Promise of the Child
Tom Toner was born in the English countryside to two parents employed by the BBC (his mother was a set designer for Doctor Who). He studied fine art and painting in Loughborough before moving to Australia to write. He collects giant fossilized shark teeth and recently returned to London, where he lives with his girlfriend.

Twitter @Tom__Toner

Interview with Stephen Aryan, author of Battlemage

Please welcome Stephen Aryan to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Battlemage will be published on September 22nd by Orbit.

Interview with Stephen Aryan, author of Battlemage

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

Stephen:  Thanks. I've always loved writing and started writing stories from an early age, but I started writing novels when I was 18 or 19.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Stephen:  Mostly a plotter. There's some flex in the plan which allows me to make discoveries as I go, but I don't start writing until I know the start, middle and end at the very least. I wrote one book as a pantser and it was hideous, so never, ever, again. It just doesn't work for me.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Stephen:  Finding the energy to sit down and write after a busy day at work.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Stephen:  David Gemmell, Frank Herbert, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Stephen King Dean Koontz. These are just some of my favourites who also influenced me from an early age. I have so many the list could just go on and on.

TQDescribe Battlemage in 140 characters or less.

Stephen:  It's a book about power and the death of magic, a world war, and the repercussions.

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

Stephen:  There is a sub plot that involves espionage that grew significantly as I wrote the book.

TQWhat inspired you to write Battlemage?  

Stephen:  It was the kind of fantasy book that I wanted to read. It mixes a lot of things together, old and new, humour and mythology, and it contains fantastical elements like overt magic and non-human races that I didn't see a lot of elsewhere.

TQHow does the magic system work in Battlemage?

Stephen:  All magic comes from the Source, a seemingly limitless energy well. Those born with the ability can tap into it from a very early age, but they must learn to control it otherwise accidents and death will follow. There are no potions, wands, magical staffs or spoken words needed to use magic, and gesturing isn't strictly necessary, but most Battlemages do it anyway as it helps them focus. There are also things called Talents, these can be very useful and powerful, or small and quite random. Some people may have a very minor Talent and not even realise, like always being able to tell which way is north without a compass, or it could be something more useful like seeing the dark. A Talent must be unravelled and laboriously studied before it can be taught to someone else.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Battlemage?

Stephen:  I read a lot of fantasy and science books for 30 years.

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

Stephen:  Balfruss was the easiest, because he's hungry for knowledge, restless and never satisfied, which is a bit like me. The most difficult were the non-human characters as I wanted them to feel different and new, not just elves or goblins, but with a different name.

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

Stephen:  Does the front cover have a mysterious character on it wearing a hood? No. No, it does not.

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


“Were you listening to a single word I said?” asked the boy.
“No, and I’ve more interest in listening to a donkey fart all day,” said Vargus.

TQWhat's next?

Stephen:  Books 2 and 3 in the Age of Darkness trilogy are being published next year. In addition to that I've got a couple of comic book projects in the works, but I can't give any details just yet.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Age of Darkness 1
Orbit, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Interview with Stephen Aryan, author of Battlemage
When you fight magic with magic, nothing is certain...

Balfruss is a battlemage, one of the last of a vanishing breed, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears and despises his kind.

Vargus is a soldier, and while mages shoot lightning from the walls of the city, he's down in the front lines getting blood on his blade.

Talandra is a princess and her father's spymaster, but the war may force her to take up a greater responsibility, and make the greatest sacrifice of all.

Known for their unpredictable, dangerous power, society has left battlemages untrained and shunned. But when a force unlike anything ever imagined attacks them, the few remaining are called upon to go to war -- to save those who fear them most, and herald in a new age of peace, built on the corpses of their enemies.

About Stephen

Interview with Stephen Aryan, author of Battlemage
Stephen Aryan was born in 1977 and was raised by the sea in northeast England. After graduating from Loughborough University, he started working in marketing, and for some reason he hasn't stopped. A keen podcaster, lapsed gamer and budding archer, when not extolling the virtues of Babylon 5, he can be found drinking real ale and reading comics.

He lives in a village in Yorkshire with his partner and two cats.

Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @SteveAryan  ~  Goodreads

Interview with Edward Ashton, author of Three Days in April

Please welcome Edward Ashton to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Three Days in April is published on September 15th by Harper Voyager Impulse. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Edward a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Edward Ashton, author of Three Days in April

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

Edward:  I know this is cliche, but I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I made my first attempt at a novel when I was twelve. It was two hundred pages long, written in longhand, in pencil, on loose-leaf notebook paper. The only person who read it was my father. He told me it was "hackneyed and derivative." He hasn't read Three Days in April yet. I'm kind of hoping he gives this one a better review.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Edward:  Oh, definitely a pantser. I usually start off with a single image, or maybe a short scene. For my most recent short piece, for example, I began with a man stepping onto the tarmac of a deserted airfield in the dead of winter. I had no idea who he was or why he was there, but I thought he'd probably wind up doing something interesting. Three Days in April actually began with the climactic scene. Once I knew how that was going to go, I just had to figure out how to get there.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? What were some of the particular challenges you found in going from writing short fiction to writing a novel?

Edward:  For me, the most difficult part is always maintaining discipline about my storylines. I have a tendency to become overly interested in minor characters, and to wind up following them on sub-plots that don't tie cleanly back to the main flow of the story. Obviously, this tendency is much more dangerous when you're working on a novel than when you're limiting yourself to four thousand words. During the editing phase of Three Days in April, I wound up cutting over thirty thousand words, including a couple of chapters that were probably the ones that I had the most fun writing. At the end of the day, though, they wound up leading down blind alleys, and they had to go.

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

Edward:  I'm pretty eclectic in both my reading and my writing, and different pieces that I've written over the years are definitely flavored by the authors I happen to have been reading at the time. There's a short list of authors that I've read and re-read, though. In no particular order: Douglas Adams, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, David Brin, Margaret Atwood, and George R. R. Martin (pre-GoT, which I don't actually like all that much. Dying of the Light is probably my all-time favorite book.)

TQ:  Describe Three Days in April in 140 characters or less.

Edward:  Anders Jensen has a really crappy week. Hagerstown explodes. His house explodes. His best friend’s digestive tract explodes. Hilarity ensues.

TQ:  Tell us something about Three Days in April that is not found in the book description.

Edward:  The book actually addresses some serious issues about the shifting balance between the right to privacy, and the state's need to protect us from our own worst impulses. Also, although many bad things happen over the course of Three Days in April, there are no actual bad guys -- just lots of people with conflicting ideas about what it means to be good.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Three Days in April? What appealed to you about writing a speculative thriller?

Edward:  The original inspiration for the book came from one of the approaches to cancer therapy that my lab was working on at the time. In the interests of not giving too much away, let's just say that it occurred to me that the basic idea we were exploring could potentially be applied in a much less beneficial way. As far as writing a speculative thriller goes, I don't think I ever really thought about it in those terms. I just had a story that I wanted to tell.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Three Days in April?

Edward:  One of the most over-used pieces of advice given to beginning writers is to write what you know. Believe it or not, that's pretty much what I did here. I'm a stickler for technical accuracy, so I had to look up some details--like the actual velocity of a de-orbited kinetic energy weapon, and the energy that weapon releases on impact--but most of the sciency stuff in the book overlaps very closely with my educational and professional background.

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

Edward:  There are four POV characters in Three Days in April. Gary, the probably-on-the-spectrum data-thief roommate, was definitely the easiest to write. He's easily distracted, so it was okay to flit from one interesting topic to the next when he was narrating, and he has absolutely no social filters, so he wound up with all the best one-liners. Elise, who's the only survivor of the disaster that sets the plot rolling, was easily the hardest, mostly because it's always a challenge for me to write in first-person from the perspective of a character of the opposite gender. My first readers are both women, and I cannot tell you how many times Elise's chapters came back to me with notes pointing out that a woman in this or that situation would never think/do/say what I'd just written.

TQ:  Which question about Three Days in April do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: How speculative is this book, really?

A: Not nearly as much as you probably wish.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Three Days in April.


1. As God is my witness, I will never understand how people like this drove people like me to extinction.

2. Doug pulls a pound of butter from the refrigerator and a pint of vodka from the freezer. He eats the butter like a muppet—jaws flapping enthusiastically, but at least half of what goes into his mouth falling back out—then washes it down with all of the vodka.

“Not too worried about cholesterol, huh?” I ask.

TQ:  What's next?

Edward:  Well, I'm currently about half-way through the first draft of Untitled Novel #2 (or #3, depending on whether you count Hackneyed and Derivative.) I've also been trying to put out a new short piece every month or so. I've got one I'm really proud of coming out some time in September in Daily Science Fiction. It's called "Listen," and it's set in the same basic milieu as Three Days in April, though it definitely has a much darker tone.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Edward:  Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Three Days in April
Harper Voyager Impulse, September 15, 2015
eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Edward Ashton, author of Three Days in April
Anders Jensen is having a bad month. His roommate is a data thief, his girlfriend picks fights in bars, and his best friend is a cyborg…and a lousy tipper. When everything is spiraling out of control, though, maybe those are exactly the kind of friends you need.

In a world divided between the genetically engineered elite and the unmodified masses, Anders is an anomaly: engineered, but still broke and living next to a crack house. All he wants is to land a tenure-track faculty position, and maybe meet someone who's not technically a criminal—but when a nightmare plague rips through Hagerstown, Anders finds himself dodging kinetic energy weapons and government assassins as Baltimore slips into chaos. His friends aren't as helpless as they seem, though, and his girlfriend's street-magician brother-in-law might be a pretentious hipster—or might hold the secret to saving them all.

Frenetic and audacious, Three Days in April is a speculative thriller that raises an important question: once humanity goes down the rabbit hole, can it ever find its way back?

About Edward

Interview with Edward Ashton, author of Three Days in April
Edward Ashton lives with his adorably mopey dog, his inordinately patient wife, and three beautiful but terrifying daughters in Rochester, New York, where he studies new cancer therapies by day, and writes about the awful things his research may lead to by night. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of venues, ranging from Louisiana Literature to Daily Science Fiction. THREE DAYS IN APRIL is his first novel.

Website  ~  Tumblr

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters

Please welcome Ellen Herrick to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Sparrow Sisters was published by William Morrow on September 1, 2015.

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters

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

Ellen:  Now, this might make you go “Whaaaaaat.” I used to work for a big publisher in New York. I read all the time, I read great stuff and not so great stuff and I did publicity for all the books. When you read and write for a living it is hard to think about telling a story. So, when I moved to London with my family I…OK, truth: I did dookey until the year before we came back to the States. My youngest basically dared me to write a novel. I had NEVER considered such a thing but as soon as my daughter set off on a ten day holiday with her brothers and my husband (leaving me alone to eat ice cream out of the carton, sing into my hairbrush and read), I sat at my kitchen counter and began The Sparrow Sisters, or something very like it. As President of the REALLY Late Bloomers’ Club let me say, Shwew, I did it.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ellen:  Total pantser! I literally start every new writing day with “Once upon a time…” and hope for the best. I do lie around at night or while I driving start to play out where the story might go but my teeth start to itch if I try to outline.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ellen:  Finding a clean, well-lighted place, as Virginia Woolf said. And, acknowledging that what I do has value so I deserve the time and space to do it. I know, it’s a lot about confidence, I’m working on it.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Ellen:  In no particular order, and all influences: Laurie Colwin, John Irving, Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, Marisa de los Santos, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, Stephen King….wait, wait I’m not done!

TQDescribe The Sparrow Sisters in 140 characters or less. 

Ellen:  Three beloved sisters in a seaside village find themselves at the center of a modern-day witch-hunt. Please don’t make me count that…and can I include ‘oh, crap’?

TQTell us something about The Sparrow Sisters that is not found in the book description.

Ellen:  Sorrel has wanderlust and is the only one of the three who would really like to leave, at least for a time.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Sparrow Sisters

Ellen:  First, I was living in London (I lived there for nearly twenty years) and, frankly, was homesick for New England vs Olde England! Next, I am lucky enough to have a house on Cape Cod so all around me are plants and flowers, and salt and sea and those elements are a major part of The Sparrow Sisters. Then, there really are some Sparrow Sisters living in my town (they are VERY different from my girls)! Finally, I wanted to read a book about some mysterious sisters in a slightly magical town by the ocean and since Alice Hoffman was busy, I wrote it!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sparrow Sisters?

Ellen:  I am a keen gardener myself but in terms of all the knowledge Patience Sparrow has about herbs and flowers, I spent many (usually rainy) afternoons in the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. It was founded in the mid-17th century and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in Europe. Walled and quiet, secreted away only a few streets away from my house, I did a lot of damp note-taking there!

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

Ellen:  Perhaps Matty’s father was the hardest. Rob Short is already so fragile and then events simply tip him into a million, angry pieces. Making him still worth knowing and saving was hard.

TQWhich question about The Sparrow Sisters do you wish someone would ask? Ask it
and answer it!

Ellen:  Probably the hardest is “do you think herbs and plants are magical?” And yes, I do. Perhaps not quite as magical as Patience can make them but I know that when I am in my garden or when I eat the herbs and veggies I gown I am absolutely transported. I also count on some herbal remedies including Stinging Nettle, Mint and Kelp!

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Sparrow Sisters.


“They were both so frightened of losing the other that, through silence, they did.”

“Her eyes were glazed, and as Henry brushed her hair away from her face, she leaned into his hand like a cat.”

“Be quiet, you over-emotional oaf!”

TQWhat's next?

Ellen:  You know, readers have asked my about Sorrel, will her story be told? I know that I want to tell more tales about the town of Granite Point and I know there are lots of other characters that have stories to tell. So, I have been thinking about Sorrel, but I have also been thinking about some villagers we haven’t met yet. And, I have been noodling about the connection between New and Old England. Sorrel certainly deserves her own adventure!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ellen:  Thank you so much. Can I say Qwillery a lot?

(TQ:  Yes, please do!)

Ellen Herrick

The Sparrow Sisters
William Morrow Paperbacks, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters
With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of Eastwick, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

About Ellen

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters
Ellen Herrick was a publishing professional in New York City until she and her husband moved to London for a brief stint; they returned nearly twenty years later with three children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a small town on Cape Cod very much like Granite Point.



Twitter @ellygg

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery

Please welcome Gerrard Cowan to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Machinery will be published by Harper Voyager UK on September 10, 2015. You may read a guest post by Gerrard - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy
- here.

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery

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

Gerrard:  The ‘why’ is easy! I loved fantasy novels as a child, and spent much of my time dreaming up my own worlds and stories. I always knew it was something I wanted to have a crack at.

The ‘when’ is a bit harder. I made dozens of attempts at starting to write over the years, but I could never really get into a routine. I had the idea for The Machinery in 2008, but I would say it took me another two years to get into a proper rhythm. That was the real breakthrough for me.

TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Gerrard:  Both. I plot a novel out in broad brushstrokes, and by the time it’s done it bears a vague resemblance to what I had originally planned. I find that as I write, things tend to go off in unexpected directions. For example, a character you had originally intended to serve in a minor role may actually become more interesting, so you give them more time and space to develop. I need to have an idea of where I’m going, but I also need the plan to have flexibility.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Gerrard:  Pushing on even when you don’t feel like it. A writer friend told me years ago that you should look on writing as an athlete looks upon training: there is a certain period of time every day that you need to set aside for it, no matter how you feel. It took me a long time to get into that routine. These days, I will sit down and write, even for a short while, and even if it’s total drivel.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Gerrard:  I didn’t have anyone at the front of my mind when I wrote The Machinery. In fact, I think I was mainly reading non-fiction at the time. That being said, my favourite fantasy author is Mervyn Peake: I love the sense of weirdness in his novels, and I really hope The Machinery has a similarly surreal, gloomy feel.

TQDescribe The Machinery in 140 characters or less.

Gerrard:  The Machinery has Selected the leaders of the Overland for ten millennia, bringing glory. But the Machinery is breaking, and Ruin is coming.

TQTell us something about The Machinery that is not in the book description.

Gerrard:  It has (I hope) a creepy, surreal aesthetic. This is a world where immortal beings interfere in human affairs and shadowy, masked figures called Watchers haul Doubters off to a mysterious Prison, from which no one has ever returned.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Machinery? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Gerrard:  I actually started with just the central idea: what if a machine existed that could choose the best leaders of society? I developed the background over time, but it was always clear to me that it would be a fantasy, even though the central concept gives it a kind of sci-fi flavor. I loved the scope that fantasy could give me for the sense of weirdness I wanted to convey.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Machinery?

Gerrard:  The book is not intended to be a kind of alternate vision of a historical period, so I didn’t want to get too bogged down in technical details. That being said, I gave it a Renaissance-type setting, in which society is grappling with various technological advances like gunpowder and the printing press. I read a good deal about early-modern Italian city-states, as well as Ancient Rome, as I wanted the setting to convey a mixture of the two.

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

Gerrard:  The easiest was Annara Rangle, an old woman who has been chosen by the Machinery to serve as Tactician of the West. She has a sardonic outlook on the world that I enjoyed writing.

The hardest was Charls Brandione, who is General of the Overland’s armies. I think I found him difficult as he was one of the earliest I created, and I was still trying to find my way into the book.

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


Question: Is there magic in the book?

Answer: It isn’t called magic as such, but all sorts of strange powers can be found within!

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

Gerrard:  More a paragraph than a line, just to set it in context. It’s the last line I like the most.

‘In return for this gift, the Operator asked only one thing; that the people must never question the Selections of the Machinery.’
‘And long may it continue,’ said Amile. ‘The Machinery knows.’
‘The Machinery knows,’ said Alexander. And I know the Machinery.

TQWhat's next?

Gerrard:  I am currently deep into Book 2, The Strategist, which is tentatively planned for release next May. Once that’s done I’ll dive straight into Book 3, and after that, who knows? Hopefully I will be able to convince someone to publish more books, either in the world of The Machinery or another.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The Machinery
The Machinery Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager UK, September 10, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery
For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…

About Gerrard

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery
Gerrard Cowan is a writer and editor from Derry, in the North West of Ireland. His debut fantasy novel, The Machinery, will be published by HarperVoyager UK in September 2015. It is the first in a trilogy.

His first known work was a collection of poems on monsters, written for Halloween when he was eight; it is sadly lost to civilisation.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @gerrardcowan

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus

Please welcome Paul Tassi to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Exodus is published on September 11th by Talos Press. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Paul a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus

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

Paul:  Thanks for having me! I wrote my first story in probably fifth grade. It was about a magic pencil where its drawings came to life, and sadly, it did not secure me a publishing deal. I ended up seriously considering writing as a career in college when I wrote for my student paper. I graduated with an economics degree, but I went straight into writing about pop culture full time. I'm still a journalist to this day, but I also love writing novels. I always had a million ideas bouncing around in my head, but it was only after my cousin finished his first novel and self-published it on Amazon that I set a similar goal for myself. I swore that within the year, I'd finish my first book, and that ended up being The Last Exodus. Once I was done, I fell in love with the process and the world I created, so it evolved into a trilogy. Now, I write because I almost have to. There's simply always a book in my head I have to get down on paper.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Paul:  Probably a hybrid. I don't freestyle entire books, but I don't sit down and write pages and pages of outlines either. I have a clear idea of the end I'm going for, and certain major plot points along the way. But how I get from point to point is variable, so sometimes I will end up writing scenes spontaneously within the larger framework I have in my head. I believe in having a clear end goal, but how I get there can be a bit up in the air.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Paul:  Sometimes it's hard to stay motivated to continue writing a book after writing all day for my regular job. If I've already put in 10,000 words for work, it's a bit challenging to put in a few thousand more. Lately, I've also had a tough time picking a specific project and sticking to it. I have so many ideas I want to get down, and I can find myself jumping between two or three different books which makes it difficult to commit to one and see it through until the end.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Paul:  For The Last Exodus specifically, I was influenced by many different books (along with a few movies, TV shows and video games for good measure). Cormac McCarthy's The Road was a heavy influence during the initial earth sections. I still have never read another dystopian book like it. Joe Haldeman's Forever War influenced some of the space aspects. As the series evolves in books two and three, it's probably influenced by Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon, John Scalzi's Old Man's War and a whole bunch more. Other favorite authors include Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, William Gibson, Max Brooks, Margaret Atwood, George RR Martin, HP Lovecraft, James SA Corey, Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Orson Scott Card and others.

TQDescribe The Last Exodus in 140 characters or less.

Paul:  Traveler, bandit, alien. All want to kill each other, but none of them wants to die. They must leave a ruined Earth together, or not at all.

TQTell us something about The Last Exodus that is not found in the book description.

Paul:  The description implies that The Last Exodus mostly takes place on Earth in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, but a fairly big chunk of it actually takes place in space itself. For a while, it becomes a bit of a "bottle" where three characters are stuck on a rather small ship, and conflict comes from that. And once they're in space, that's when they start to be pursued by the book's ultimate antagonist, who is absent for quite a while in the beginning. I wanted to make sure the entire first book didn't have the characters trapped on earth for the entire duration, so in essence, it kind of switches sub-genres midway through.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Last Exodus? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Paul:  I had the initial scene where Lucas finds the wrecked ship in the crater wall written for years before I finally picked it up again and turned it into a book. I've always liked dystopian sci-fi and alien invasion stories, but I just had the idea for a simple premise of "what if the world was destroyed, but one man had the chance to leave it all behind and go somewhere unknown?" Not some mass exodus into survival ships. Not some plan to rebuild society and fix the world. But just a handful of (very) different people trying to survive. I like science fiction specifically because it gives you the freedom to develop your universe however you want. Working in the "real" world comes with many more limitations, but with sci-fi? You can be as creative as you want. The same is true for fantasy in many ways, but even that has its limits. I think sci-fi is one of the only truly limitless forms of fiction.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Last Exodus?

Paul:  This is not "hard sci-fi," so I do not spend loads of time describing the minutiae of the tech. I'm okay with saying "this ship generates its own gravity" without going into exact detail as to how that could be physically possible. I recently heard someone describe James SA Corey's The Expanse as a series that doesn't spend a ton of time describing how a transmission works in a car. They just step on the gas, and go. I did do research into the locations I talk about in the book, Portland, Norway, etc, and a bit about the solar system.

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

Paul:  Lucas was probably the easiest because the voice just came naturally to me. I also really liked writing for Alpha. Originally, he wasn't going to speak at all, and Asha didn't even exist, which would have made for a pretty boring book, I imagine. Asha ended up being my favorite character by the end of the series, though I always question if I'm writing a woman well or not as a male author. I really wanted her to be a complete and utter badass, but I realize there are also certain tropes that come with that too, so it's a tough balancing act. While she was probably the hardest to write, I liked her the best out of anyone by the end.

TQWhich question about The Last Exodus do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Paul:  I'm surprised no one asks me what Alpha's voice actually sounds like when run through a translator, because I don't want people thinking it's just flat and monotone and robotic. There's actually supposed to be a lot of emotion that translates through the tech. I've always though of it like if Kiefer Sutherland's voice was run through a bit of electronic filtering.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Last Exodus.


"Why did you come here?"
The alien looked out the black viewscreen.
"Why we always come. To conquer. To pillage. To strip your planet bare to fuel our war."
"Your war? The war against Earth?"
The alien paused.
"I did not say our war was with you."

The last voice was not any of their own, and sounded as if it had been spoken right beside his ear. His eyes darted around as the voice continued.
"It appears I have misjudged your taste in allies, traitor."
The voice was deep and dark, speaking in perfect English. It was coming from inside Lucas's own head.
"They will have to be studied and dissected instead of destroyed. This species subset is the most violent we have encountered to date. And these two, to fight on your behalf with such devotion and ferocity? Fascinating."

TQWhat's next?

Paul:  There are two more books in the Earthborn trilogy, The Exiled Earthborn (#2) and The Sons of Sora (#3), which will also be released in a few months, as I've had the whole trilogy written for a little while now. I'm also deep into my fourth book, a new story that has traces of dystopia, but is only set 20 or so years in the future. After that, I have one high fantasy book and another full sci-fi book planned out, though I'm not sure which of my new projects will spawn sequels, if any.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Paul:  Thanks for having me!

The Last Exodus
The Earthborn Trilogy 1
Talos Press, September 8, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 348 pages

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus
The Earth lies in ruins in the aftermath of an extraterrestrial invasion, the land devastated by a desperate war with no winners between mankind and a race of vicious, intelligent creatures. The seas are drying up while the atmosphere corrodes and slowly cooks any life remaining on the now desolate rock. Food is scarce, trust even more so, and the only people left alive all have done horrific things to stay that way.

Among the few survivors is Lucas, an ordinary man hardened by the last few years after the world’s end. He’s fought off bandits, murderers, and stranded creatures on his long trek across the country in search of his family, the one thing that drives him to outlive his dying planet. What he finds instead is hope, something thought to be lost in the world. There’s a ship buried in a crater wall. One of theirs. One that works. To fly it, Lucas must join forces with a traitorous alien scientist and a captured, merciless raider named Asha. But unless they find common ground, all will die, stranded on a ruined Earth.

Combining gritty post-apocalyptic survival and epic space opera, The Last Exodus is the beginning of a new action-packed science fiction adventure where the future of the human race depends on its survivors leaving the past behind.

About Paul

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus
Paul Tassi decided after years of consuming science fiction through a steady diet of books, movies, TV shows, and video games to try writing his own stories in the genre. He didn't imagine he’d ever actually finish a single book, but now that he’s started writing, he doesn't want to stop. Paul writes for Forbes, and his work has also appeared on IGN, the Daily Dot, Unreality, TVOvermind, and more. He lives with his beautiful and supportive wife in Chicago.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @PaulTassi  ~  Google+

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept

Please welcome Adam Rakunas to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Windswept was published on September 1st by Angry Robot Books.

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept

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

Adam:  First grade.

No, really! The first story I ever wrote was after my dad took me to my first baseball game, the California Angels versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The Angels were my home team, and they got stomped. The next day, we had a class assignment to write a story, so I wrote one about I had gone to a baseball game and heard the Blue Jays’ manager say they were going to cheat. I told the umpire, the Angels won, and I saved the day. Clearly, I was meant to be a fantasist.

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

Adam:  I’m a Reformed Pantser. I need structure to keep a story moving, so I spend all my agonizing time working on outlines. Windswept took two years for a first draft; its sequel took six months, all thanks to Mark Teppo’s Twenty-Five Chapter Structure (ALL PRAISE TEPPO). By having a framework, I can focus on having Padma talking.

TQYour bio states that you've been a "virtual world developer" among other things. How has this experience affected or not your novel writing?

Adam:  That was the weirdest desk job I ever had. I still can’t believe I was paid to do that or that people made large amounts of money during that Second Life land rush. I suppose that experience reminded me that business is weird, and that it’s a miracle the whole economy doesn’t implode on a more regular basis.

I supposed its greatest effect was that it reminded me that I am terrible at working with clients.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Adam:  Douglas Adams for the absurdity. Kurt Vonnegut for the humanity. Beverley Cleary for the character focus.

TQDescribe Windswept in 140 characters or less.

Adam:  Padma Mehta is in a race against time to save her city, her world, and Occupied Space...all before Happy Hour.

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

Adam:  It’s the science fiction screwball noir you never thought you needed until now.

I love screwball comedies. I love the way the dialogue crackles. I love how smart the characters are. I could see Padma mixing it up with Cary Grant and besting him.

TQWhat inspired you to write Windswept?

Adam:  I was in Honolulu to officiate a wedding (I’m a non-denominational minister, and I work for beer and tacos), and I was sitting at the hotel bar before the rehearsal dinner. All the people working there had name tags with their home towns, and no one was from Hawaii. Everyone had come here to one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and they were pouring drinks or bussing tables. All over the island, people were doing the jobs that kept the place running. If I were in their place, would I be able to focus on work, or would I be thinking about running around Diamondhead or surfing on the North Shore or doing anything other than wanting to work?

I started pecking away on my phone and wrote out the first scene: Padma sitting at her local bar, thinking about work. She wanted to quit to enjoy the beautiful place she lived in, but she couldn’t yet. Why?

And then we were off to the races.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing Science Fiction? In your opinion, should SF tackle big issues, just be entertaining, or do both?

Adam:  I grew up reading science fiction, starting with Douglas Adams and Star Trek before a college friend loaned me his copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Three Californias. It hadn’t occurred to me that you could write stories about futures like that. You can make a blueprint for the future you want (like Pacific Edge) or the ones to avoid (like The Wild Shore or The Gold Coast).

But you also have to tell a good story, and those books did that in spades. Tackling issues is important, but I like a story that sneaks in the editorials.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Windswept?

Adam:  I bookmarked a lot of pages on Wikipedia about sugarcane, rum, and horrible plant diseases. I winged it for the rest.

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

Adam:  Padma was both. It was a lot of fun to write her snappy rejoinders, but I had a hell of a time making her be little more than a quip machine. I hope I pulled it off.

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

Adam:  Why a crane chase? Because I thought it would be funny.

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

Adam:  “Your level isn’t on the level. You’re so crooked it defies physics.”

TQWhat's next?

Adam:  I’m revising the sequel to Windswept right now. As soon as I turn that in to my cybernetic overlords at Angry Robot Books, I want to get started on a story about family stories and talking guns.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Adam:  Thanks for having me!

Windswept 1
Angry Robot Books, September 1, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept
Padma Mehta has to save her city, her planet, and Occupied Space from a devastating crop-killing plague — all before Happy Hour.

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies.

As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. And suddenly retirement seems farther away than ever: she’s just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she’s going to have to fight her way through the city’s warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Plagues, Plots & Planets • One-Eyed Wonder • Bad Tips, Good Tipples • This Little Bar I Know ]

About Adam

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept
Adam Rakunas has worked a variety of weird jobs. He’s been a virtual world developer, a parking lot attendant, a triathlon race director, a fast food cashier, and an online marketing consultant.

Now a stay-at-home dad, Adam splits his non-parenting time between writing, playing the cello, and political rabble-rousing. His stories have appeared in Futurismic and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Windswept is his first novel.

You can find Adam online at his website:, on Twitter @rakdaddy and on Facebook and Tumblr.

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson

Please welcome Kai Ashante Wilson to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps was published on September 1st by

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson

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

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I think like most writers I began as a tiny child, and started because writing seemed a natural extension of reading, my first and truest love. It wasn’t until 2010, though, after the six-week course at Clarion San Diego, that I began to write with the goal of publication.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I make it up as I go along, though I hold off beginning a story until I have a sure idea of the ending.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  Being patient with my crazy process is a challenge for sure. Beginning a ten chapter book, for example, I’ll usually write a random selection of five chapters quickly. But those five missing chapters will each take me as long to write singly as the first five chapters collectively, costing all the blood, sweat and tears in the world.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I love Kenneth Rexroth’s translations from the Japanese and Chinese. I love Christopher Logue’s adaptations of the Iliad. I’m always excited about the next Tananarive Due novel. Paladin of Souls and Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold are both on my private list of “ten best epic fantasies ever.” And though this might not make sense to anyone else, Carmen McRae’s singing—where and just how she puts the emphasis in a song—has shaped my own sense of narrative rhythm, emotional beats, and how to inflect a sentence. (Pop over to YouTube and check out her versions of “Midnight Sun” and “As Time Goes By”.)

TQDescribe The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps in 140 characters or less.

Kai Ashante Wilson:  A nice country boy joins a wild fraternity while dating his dorm RA on the sly. But the boy’s a demigod; the frat, caravan guardsmen; the RA, last of the old world knights.

TQTell us something about The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps that is not found in the book description.

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I wrote this book before everything else I’ve ever published. I’m incredibly excited to see it finally in print!

TQWhat inspired you to write The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I’ll answer the second question first: I enjoy a broad array of genres as a reader, but I only ever write fantasy. That’s where my inspiration arises.

I was sick enough to believe I was living in my last year when I began writing The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. (A six year old MRSA infection, failing antibiotics, long story). Some people would have gone on a long road trip, but I wanted to finish at least one piece of writing longer than a short story… yet not so long that I might not manage to write finis. With that impetus—under that shadow—I threw all my ideas into one pot, pulled out all the stops authors put into place under normal circumstance, and wrote the novella’s first draft. I could never write a story quite like this now; the specter of mortality charges the mind irreproducibly. Any reader, then, looking for a sedate and measured read: beware!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  When I began the novella, I knew next to nothing about big-cat predation, sub-desert topography, or the practical mechanics of apotheosis. The Brooklyn main library at Grand Army Plaza was wonderfully helpful on these and other topics.

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

Kai Ashante Wilson:  Demane was the easiest to write. By nature, he has all the compassion I try to cultivate in myself. Writing him was encouragement for my own best impulses. Captain was the hardest to write. He’s socially maladept in exactly the manner I am, and has all my self-destructive tendencies unsuppressed, given full rein. It was hard going there.

TQWhich question about The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Kai Ashante Wilson:

“Is this novella part of a greater continuity with your stories ‘Super Bass’ and ‘Légendaire’? And are you writing or have you written other works in the same continuity?”

What lovely, perceptive questions! And the answer to both is yes. I hope that my related, second novella, A Taste of Honey, will appear some time in 2016.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

Kai Ashante Wilson:  Here are a couple lines concerning the captain that I couldn’t find space for, though I tried and tried: “A dog that cowers and whines any fool can see has been kicked around. But what of the one that lunges, savage and snarling, at every hand no matter whose or how kindly, even the one that feeds? Damn, that’s mean dog! Is that what you say?”

TQ:  What's next?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  In the short term, I have short story, “Kaiju maximus®,” forthcoming in the December issue of Lightspeed. In the long term, I dearly hope to finally figure out the missing chapters of my first full novel: In the Country of Superwomen.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Note: You may read "Super Bass" here at

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson
Critically acclaimed author Kai Ashante Wilson makes his commercial debut with this striking, wondrous tale of gods and mortals, magic and steel, and life and death that will reshape how you look at sword and sorcery.

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors' artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.
The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.
The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.

About Kai Ashante Wilson

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson
Kai Ashante Wilson's stories "Super Bass" and the Nebula-nominated "The Devil in America" can be read online gratis at His story "Légendaire" can be read in the anthology Stories for Chip, which celebrates the legacy of science fiction grandmaster Samuel Delany. Kai Ashante Wilson lives in New York City.

Interview with Tom Toner, author of The Promise of the ChildInterview with Stephen Aryan, author of BattlemageInterview with Seth Dickinson, author of The Traitor Baru CormorantInterview with Fran Wilde, author of UpdraftInterview with Edward Ashton, author of Three Days in AprilInterview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow SistersInterview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The MachineryInterview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last ExodusInterview with Adam Rakunas, author of WindsweptInterview with Kai Ashante Wilson

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?