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A blog about books and other things speculative

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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

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - She Came From Beyond! by Nadine Darling


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - She Came From Beyond! by Nadine Darling


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.



Nadine Darling

She Came From Beyond!
The Overlook Press, October 13, 2015
Hardcover, 272 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - She Came From Beyond! by Nadine Darling
A darkly comic debut novel, a hilariously told story of love, attachment, anxiety, and nerd culture.

Easy Hardwick has it made. At just about thirty, she’s got a tumbledown cottage in small-town Oregon and an uncomplicated acting gig as the space-babe eye candy on a sci-fi parody show. She spends her downtime online, bickering with fans and fellow culture vultures about film trivia and relishing her minor-but-satisfying celebrity.

Enter Harrison. What begins as a jocular online flirtation spills into a messy IRL affair, and Easy finds herself pregnant with twins and sharing her home with the love of her life…plus the teenage daughter, baby son, and slightly unhinged, soon-to-be-ex wife she kind of didn’t totally know he had.

Easy may play a space ditz in hot-pants on TV, but her voice is restlessly intelligent, negotiating the absurdities of a world lived onscreen and online and striving to make sense of heady problems: love affairs, ex-wives, teen girls, eating disorders, and whether cannibalistic flies count as zombies. Like the captive great white shark that sets Easy’s story in motion, Nadine Darling’s writing has got teeth. Her pointed, precise dialogue, empathetic insights, and live-wire observations elevate this novel from zany domestic drama to outlandish comic masterpiece. She Came From Beyond! is an audacious, fresh debut from a writer to watch.

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 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!

Tom:

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


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Sigal Samuel

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

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel
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.

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.

Stephen:

“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.





Battlemage
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!

Edward:

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.

Edward:

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

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Inherit the Stars by Tony Peak


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Inherit the Stars by Tony Peak


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Tony Peak

Inherit the Stars
Roc, November 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Inherit the Stars by Tony Peak
An epic debut set on the edges of space, where one botched job could mean death—or so much worse…

Wanderlust runs in Kivita Vondir’s blood. She dreamed of salvaging like her father when she was young, and now it’s her addiction, getting her through pit stops filled with cheap alcohol and cheaper companionship and distracting her from her broken heart.

Her latest contract to hunt down a fabled gemstone is exactly the kind of adventure she craves. But this job is more than meets the eye. For one thing, her duplicitous employer has hired rebel Sar Redryll—Kivita’s former lover—to stop her at any cost. For another, Kivita’s recovery of the relic unleashes in her powerful new abilities. Abilities that everyone in the Cetturo Arm—human, alien, and in-between—desperately wishes to control…

As she avoids a massive galactic manhunt, Kivita teams up with two unlikely allies: Sar and his enigmatic new partner. Only, as the gem’s mysteries are revealed and danger draws near, Kivita begins to wonder if her ex has truly changed, or if he’s just waiting for the right moment to betray her once again…

Interview with Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - She Came From Beyond! by Nadine DarlingInterview with Mitchell Hogan, author of A Crucible of SoulsInterview with Tom Toner, author of The Promise of the Child2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal SamuelInterview 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 April2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Inherit the Stars by Tony Peak

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