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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Tristan Palmgren, author of Quietus


Please welcome Tristan Palmgren to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Quietus was published on March 6th by Angry Robot.



Interview with Tristan Palmgren, author of Quietus




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Tristan:  Hi! Thanks for having me! I'm sure I had written things before, but the first I can recall with any clarity was in fourth grade: a piece of Star Trek fanfiction in which I tried as hard as possible to mimic the books I'd read. Characters brooded! They thought in italics! I turned it in for an assignment, and can't remember what my teacher thought, but I was very excited.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Tristan:  I outline my novels in excruciating detail, pay attention to that for the first few scenes, and then bin it.

It's telling that, for my current project, I wrote detailed notes for the first few scenes and then just stopped. I haven't missed them.

To date, I also have done most (not all) of my writing in pants.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tristan:  Maintaining focus and not drifting to other tasks. It's too easy to blame social media for this, but even before I became active on such terrible places as Twitter, I would stop writing in the middle of a paragraph or sentence and hop onto some blog or website that had popped into my head for no reason.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Tristan:  Kim Stanley Robinson's SF has a contemplative side I continually find mirrored in my own writing, whether I set out to do so or not. The Years of Rice and Salt lit a fire under me. It was the first alternate history I'd read that, rather than approach history as a puzzlebox seeking a new solution (not always bad!), was an intimate story about two characters. The speculative history was a means to better explore the ways in which people perceived and lived through ours.

There's more than a little Iain M. Banks in Quietus, from the headiness of his worldbuilding to the scale of his threats.



TQDescribe Quietus in 140 characters or less.

TristanQuietus is a science fiction novel set during the Black Death about a transdimensional anthropologist, a Carthusian monk, and radical compassion in impossible circumstances.



TQWhy the Latin title? One of your characters, Niccoluccio, is a Carthusian monk. Why did you choose the Carthusian Order for Niccoluccio?

Tristan:  Quietus is a nice, underused word with some heft to it. It makes me think of not only death, but release and repose. I could think of no better single word to describe the feeling I wanted to write about.

I decided on the Carthusian order for a few reasons. Niccoluccio's historical model, Petrarch's brother Gherardo, was a Carthusian. The pervasive silence of a Carthusian monastery, and the way silence makes all the little sounds of life more noticeable (and their absence especially so), was important to the way I thought the Black Death should manifest to his senses.

The Carthusians are also relatively more severe than other orders. I did not want Niccoluccio to have an easy time when he joined. He needed to have wanted it, and demonstrably so.



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

Tristan:  Many of its descriptions, thoughts, and terror of death came from my experiences working as a coroner's assistant.

The worst of those, though, came from the same place as everybody else's: staring at the ceiling at night, sleepless.



TQWhat inspired you to write Quietus? What appeals to you about writing SF?

Tristan:  Reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century. There are only a few chapters on the Black Death, but they were written with such striking detail that I could not get them out of my head. That started a long road of research. Barbara Tuchman is a novelist's historian, and I try to take as many lessons from her craft as I can.

SF bends the real just enough to make our world seem just as alien as it actually is.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Quietus?

Tristan:  Books, books, books. Western State Colorado University's library was especially helpful here. Julie Kerr's Life in the Medieval Cloister is a good place to anyone curious about medieval monastic life to start reading.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Quietus.

Tristan:  The cover depicts a scene very early in Quietus, so no real spoiler! The anthropologist Dr. Habidah Shen has just left plague-ravaged Messina, and is waiting for her team's shuttle to pick her up. The shuttle has a modest camouflage ability. It seeps out of the clouds more than it descends from them.

The art is by the wonderful Dominic Harman, who you can find at http://dominicharman.blogspot.com/.



TQIn Quietus who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Tristan:  I thought Niccoluccio would be my biggest challenge, as there were so many details about monastic life that I felt I had to get right. The anthropologists, though they come from a different universe, were deliberately given a "modern" perspective, and so I thought their voices would come a little more easily. But Niccoluccio and I turned out to be after broadly the same things in life.

The most challenging character to write for was one of the anthropologists on Habidah's team, Meloku. Meloku is the most alien of Quietus's viewpoint characters. She's been living with an AI companion inside her head for years, embedded in her thoughts, and that's shaped her in all the worst ways you can imagine. She's not cruel, but she is cold in a way that I found difficult to write while maintaining reasons to care about her.

The key to unlocking her turned out to be her anger. She's a very angry person, though she does not acknowledge that. She has fair reason to be angry.



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

Tristan:

Q: Will the dog be all right?

A: The dog will be all right in the end.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Quietus.

Tristan:  "Courts were in session. Habidah listened in on one case, a nephew and a stepbrother disputing the inheritance of a small house. The previous owner had left a will, but all five other beneficiaries had died. When the court reconvened the next day, neither claimant arrived. Habidah tracked them down. They'd perished overnight."



TQWhat's next?

Tristan:  It's a secret--for now. But there will be a "next."



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tristan:  Thank you!





Quietus
Angry Robot, March 6, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Interview with Tristan Palmgren, author of Quietus
A transdimensional anthropologist can’t keep herself from interfering with Earth’s darkest period of history in this brilliant science fiction debut

Niccoluccio, a young Florentine Carthusian monk, leads a devout life until the Black Death kills all of his brothers, leaving him alone and filled with doubt. Habidah, an anthropologist from another universe racked by plague, is overwhelmed by the suffering. Unable to maintain her observer neutrality, she saves Niccoluccio from the brink of death.

Habidah discovers that neither her home’s plague nor her assignment on Niccoluccio’s world are as she’s been led to believe. Suddenly the pair are drawn into a worlds-spanning conspiracy to topple an empire larger than the human imagination can contain.

File Under: Science Fiction [ The Watcher | Darkness Comes | The Light of Faith | Darkness Beckons ]





About Tristan

Interview with Tristan Palmgren, author of Quietus
Tristan Palmgren has been a clerk, a factory technician, a university lecturer, a cashier, a secretary, a retail manager, a rural coroner’s assistant. In his lives on parallel Earths, he has been an ant farm tycoon, funeral home enthusiast, professional con-artist impersonator, laser pointer chaser, and that guy who somehow landed a trademark for the word “Avuncular.” Jealous. He lives with his wife, Teresa, in Columbia, Missouri.







Website  ~  Twitter @TristanPalmgren

Interview with Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions


Please welcome Laura Purcell to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Silent Companions was published on March 6th by Penguin Books.



Interview with Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Laura:  The first piece of fiction I remember writing was at school when I was about five years old. We had to write and illustrate our own little books (held together by staples). Mine was about a sentient boiled sweet named Mikey. I still have it and it makes absolutely no sense.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Laura:  A hybrid, I think. I like to plot a novel out quite thoroughly before starting, but things often change. As I get more of a sense of the main character, they take on a life of their own and decide to perform different actions…



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Laura:  Keeping belief in myself and the novel. Around the 25,000 word mark of the first draft, I tend to hit a barrier where I think it’s all terrible and I’ll never be able to finish it. Luckily, I’m used to this now and know it’s just part of the process. Still, it’s hard to push through.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Laura:  This is always a difficult question, because the answer is simply everything. My favourite books and TV shows, my love of history, exhibitions I have seen, places I have visited. The Silent Companions was heavily influenced by my enjoyment of the works of Susan Hill, Shirley Jackson, Daphne Du Maurier and Philippa Gregory.



TQDescribe The Silent Companions in 140 characters or less.

Laura:  Old paintings can often be creepy, but this time it’s not just the eyes that follow you …



TQTell us something about The Silent Companions that is not found in the book description.

Laura:  Part of the story follows Anne, the original mistress of the house in 1635. A keen herbalist, Anne treads the fine line between wise-woman and witch, suspected by the local villagers and her husband alike.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Silent Companions? What appealed to you about writing a Victorian ghost story?

Laura:  The discovery of real life silent companions – wooden fire-screens painted to depict people – made me feel they deserved a novel of their own. I had never written anything scary before, but I found the companions so creepy that I knew I would have to change my tone for this book. While the companions originated in the 17th century, I felt the Victorian era was much more appropriate for a ghost story. It was also a period I had spent time researching. Some of the earliest books I loved were Victorian Gothic – Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in particular. I couldn’t resist venturing back into that world.



TQDo you have any favorite ghost stories?

Laura:  Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black has never failed to chill me, whether in the incarnation of the book, film or stage-show. I also adore Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Silent Companions?

Laura:  I undertook research in both the Victorian and early Stuart periods, along with detailed research into the genre. I read as many ghost stories and Gothic novels as I could, trying to learn from the authors who masterfully conjure a creepy atmosphere. My protagonist Elsie owns a match factory, which led me to Victorian newspaper accounts about the conditions for factory workers. I also spent time consulting original texts from the 17th century about herbal cures to help me with Anne’s storyline.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Silent Companions.

Laura:  The cover features a real-life silent companion owned by The National Trust. This particular screen is of a young girl with a basket of apples and walnuts. She represents the first companion Elsie finds in the house.



TQIn The Silent Companions who was the easiest character to write and why?

Laura:  The hardest and why? I found Anne’s voice came to me very quickly, but this might be because her narrative was written in the first person. I struggled at times with Elsie’s brother Jolyon, who has conflicted feelings towards his sister. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if he was going to be in an indulgent mood or an irritable one.



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

Laura:  To be honest, I released in my home country of the UK back in October and I think I have been asked pretty much every question possible in the last six months. But I often find it amusing when people ask if I own a silent companion. I don’t – and if you read the book you will see why I don’t want to!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Silent Companions.

Laura:  She did not like being alone in this house: she felt it was watching her. Sensing her movements within its walls, as she felt the baby flutter in her belly.

A companion, the sweeper, watches me. Her gaze has become shameful, degrading; as if she knows every secret of my soul.



TQWhat's next?

Laura:  My next book is called The Corset. It’s about a seamstress who believes she has a supernatural power to hurt people with the clothes she makes. I also have a short story, Cameo, coming out in an anthology in the autumn. This is a tale of haunted heirlooms set in the 1920s.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.







The Silent Companions
Penguin Books, March 6, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions
“If The Silent Companions lands on your night table, don’t plan on leaving your bed anytime soon.” —Lyndsay Faye, bestselling author of Jane Steele

When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting . . .

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure—a silent companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of the estate are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition—that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, The Silent Companions is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect—much like the companions themselves.

“A perfect read for a winter night . . . An intriguing, nuanced and genuinely eerie slice of Victorian gothic.” —The Guardian





About Laura

Interview with Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions
© ph2o Photography
Laura Purcell worked in local government, the financial industry, and a bookshop before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England, with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Fascinated by the darker side of royal history, Laura has also written two historical fiction novels about the Hanoverian dynasty.










Website  ~  Twitter @spookypurcell


Interview with Sean Grigsby, author of Smoke Eaters


Please welcome Sean Grigsby to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Smoke Eaters was published on March 6th by Angry Robot.



Interview with Sean Grigsby, author of Smoke Eaters




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Sean:  I rewrote a children's book we were reading in 3rd grade, where I killed off the main character. But because it was a parody and both my mother and teacher were appalled, I'll tell you about another. In 7th grade, I wrote a story called 3D Madness about three kids who find a video game that sucks them up and plants them in a prehistoric world where they have to defeat a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was published by the school paper, and I had ideas for other levels of the game, like a Transylvanian monster mash-up level, where the kids have to battle Wolfman and Dracula and maybe even a mummy. It could have been a first novel, but it never came to be. Thankfully, in adulthood, I finish everything I start.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sean:  I'm a total panster, but I tend to keep the progression of the book in my head, many times thinking about my work-in-progress when I should be paying attention to what's going on in the real world. (Sorry, coworkers, wife, kids, general populace.) I will also pull up a sticky note on the laptop, sometimes, and type out what I want to do in the scene I'll be writing that day.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sean:  NOT feeling guilty for not writing. While it would be awesome to write every day, things come up. And I'm still averaging two books a year, so I can't be too hard on myself.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sean:  Everything, but I've always loved 80s movies, especially horror and SFF. But I also like examining society, both where we are now and what shenanigans we'll get ourselves into in the future.



TQDescribe Smoke Eaters in 140 characters or less.

Sean:  Firefighters vs. dragons in the future.



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

Sean:  In the book, anyone killed by a dragon leaves behind a ghost, called a wraith. These specters attract more dragons and fiercely protect the dragon's new, ashen territory. There are also robots.



TQWhat inspired you to write Smoke Eaters? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy? How many dragons have you fought?

Sean:  I was sitting in my new fire department's academy. Having already been through an academy once, I was bored and began thinking about a book where firefighters had to respond to dragons burning down houses. I love writing the extraordinary, be it science fiction or fantasy. With Smoke Eaters, I wanted to mix the two genres together. You could probably say the theme of the book is old meets new. Cole Brannigan and the dragons representing old, the smoke eaters and all the advanced technology being the new. I love SFF because you can do anything. As far as dragons ... I've honestly lost count.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Smoke Eaters?

Sean:  Being a professional firefighter definitely made it easier than some of my other books, but I did research dragons from mythology and lore. At my agent's suggestion, I studied cicadas and tied that in to how the dragons behave.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Smoke Eaters. 

Sean:  I have to thank Marc Gascoigne and Lee Gibbons for the cover. Marc came up with the idea, and Lee made it real. The shield the dragon is clinging to is called a Maltese cross. It's been associated with firefighters since forever. Malta was the home to the Knights of St. John who battled in the Crusades against an enemy that threw, basically, old school Molotov cocktails. The Knights of St. John fought through the flames, and I guess it just trickled down from there. The red dragon, breathing smoke, is awesome, but the cover doesn't depict any particular scene. The idea was to make it more symbolic.



TQIn Smoke Eaters who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sean:  Brannigan was definitely the easiest to write. His voice came very naturally to me. (Not sure what that says.) The other characters weren't hard to write, but I paid special attention to how I presented Cheryl, a teenage, Canadian corporate board member, and Sherry, Brannigan's wife. With great help from my editor, Phil Jourdan, I fleshed out their characters well, I think.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Smoke Eaters?

SeanSmoke Eaters talks about corrupt governments, corrupt corporations, and how they react to a disaster. I also examine religion and how people turn to it in dark times, machines taking jobs, gentrification, and how we'll someday be vaping colorful, glowing bubbles.

Why? Why not? All SFF tackles issues in some form or fashion. I saw the types of issues that would come up in Brannigan's world and wrote them down. But that doesn't mean it's not also entertaining and badass.



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

Sean:  How many books did you write before you got a book deal?

Five. It's great that some folks can hit a home run with their first manuscript, but the vast majority of us have to work hard and never give up.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Smoke Eaters.

Sean

"You never forget the smell of burning flesh, no matter how long you live."


"When I first got on the job, I had a captain who once told me, “If you’re going to eat a shit sandwich, you might as well swallow it in one bite.”
Well, I was in the middle of a super-sized quarter pounder of shit, and the only way I saw out of my predicament was to do what they’d trained us to never do, under any circumstances."



TQWhat's next?

SeanDaughters of Forgotten Light is about all-women motorcycle gangs in space, and there's a chance you might see it someday.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sean:  Totally my pleasure.





Smoke Eaters
Angry Robot, March 6, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Sean Grigsby, author of Smoke Eaters
When dragons rise from the earth, firefighters are humanity’s last line of defence, in this wild near-future fantasy.

Firefighter Cole Brannigan is on the verge of retirement after 30 years on the job, and a decade fighting dragons. But during his final fire call, he discovers he’s immune to dragon smoke. It’s such a rare power that he’s immediately conscripted into the elite dragon-fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters. Retirement cancelled, Brannigan is re-assigned as a lowly rookie, chafing under his superiors. So when he discovers a plot to take over the city’s government, he takes matters into his own hands. With hundreds of innocent civilians in the crosshairs, it’s up to Brannigan and his fellow Smoke Eaters to repel the dragon menace.

File Under: Fantasy [ Scaly Firestarters | Final Call Out | Wraith of Flames | Enter the Fireman ]





About Sean

Interview with Sean Grigsby, author of Smoke Eaters
Sean Grigsby is a professional firefighter in central Arkansas, where he writes about lasers, aliens, and guitar battles with the Devil when he’s not fighting dragons.












Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @SeanGrigsby

Interview with Clarissa Goenawan, author of Rainbirds


Please welcome Clarissa Goenawan to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Rainbirds is published on March 6th by Soho Press.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Clarissa a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Clarissa Goenawan, author of Rainbirds




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Clarissa:  When I was still in elementary school, I wrote a horror short story about a group of kids who ventured into a haunted house. I sent the handwritten manuscript to a daily newspaper based in Surabaya, my hometown. Needless to say, my amateurish attempt never made it into the paper, but I fondly remember standing in front of a mailbox by the main road, praying intently, before dropping my envelope in.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Clarissa:  A pantser! I usually have a clear idea of a beginning, a sense of ending, and some sort of key scenes I’d like to include—but nothing in-between. I just write and write and write, hoping that eventually, they’ll turn into something.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Clarissa:  Proofreading, especially after I’ve grown too close to my work. Reading from print-outs usually helps, so does taking a couple of weeks’ break.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Clarissa:  My mother tongue is Indonesian, and I think being a non-native writer influences my writing. Some people told me there is a translation quality in my writing style, which suits the kind of story I’m writing. I’m also a huge fan of contemporary Japanese literature and manga (Japanese comics), which plays a huge part in why I chose to set Rainbirds in Japan.



TQDescribe Rainbirds in 140 characters or less.

ClarissaRainbirds follows a young man’s path to self-discovery as he struggles with his sister’s unsolved murder. It’s a literary mystery with elements of magical realism.



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

ClarissaRainbirds features a lot of my favorite things: classic books, great songs, delicious foods (Japanese staples, desserts and chocolates, my usual picks from the convenience stores), beautiful sports cars from the nineties, and of course, my favorite type of weather—rainy days!



TQWhat inspired you to write Rainbirds?

Clarissa:  Sometime in 2011, a question came into my mind one afternoon: “What if one day someone I cared about suddenly passed away, and I realized too late I never got to know them well?” The idea struck me strongly, and I knew I had to write this story.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Rainbirds?

Clarissa:  A huge manga fan, I studied Japanese language and was part of the Japanese culture club in high school, so the Japanese culture wasn’t something totally new, but I wanted all the details to be as accurate as possible. I consulted a number of books and article on customs I wasn’t familiar with, for example, the funeral ceremony. As Rainbirds is set in 1994, I also studied what happened during that year. I have print-outs of the historical weather report and the moon phase data in my research folder.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Rainbirds.

Clarissa:  As a lover of beautiful covers, I do judge a book by its cover.

In the early stages, my editor asked if I had an idea of what kind of cover might be suitable. I came up with an embarrassingly long and detailed answer. But in the end, I did say something along the lines of, “You know what, just surprise me.”

Indeed, the cover wasn’t like anything I had in mind—but it’s stunning! Look at those gorgeous colors! Obviously, I’m biased, but I really love the end result. The cover is so beautiful, I remember thinking, “Wow, this is the kind of book I would buy just because it looks so pretty.”

As for the image: dream plays a big part in Rainbirds, and the goldfish is featured in one the dream scenes.



TQIn Rainbirds who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Clarissa:  I enjoyed writing Rio Nakajima, a young girl the narrator affectionately called ‘Seven Stars’, after the brand of cigarettes she smoked. She’s smart, bold, and at times—extremely rash. I love how her personality clashes with the narrator’s. I had a lot of fun writing her scenes.

The most challenging character to write is Keiko Ishida, the narrator’s seemingly perfect older sister whose death is the catalyst for the story. It took me multiple drafts over the years to figure out what kind of person she really was, why she did what she did, and all the secrets she took along with her the night she was murdered.



TQCan you talk about the magical realism elements in Rainbirds? What draws you into it?

Clarissa:  In Rainbirds, the dream world often merges into reality.

I’m always intrigued by the concept of a dream and how we perceive it. In my experience, a dream comes in various forms—sometimes it’s crystal clear, sometimes it’s muddy and confusing. A few times I dreamt of something I thought had happened, and other times something happened and I remembered I’d dreamt about it.

I’m fascinated by how dreams can seamlessly blend into real life. It’s surreal, yet also, completely natural.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Rainbirds.

Clarissa:

“Most of the noises around us are unnecessary. My ears block that noise.”

“The trouble with emotional pain is, you can’t see the wound. But it’s still there. It’s real.”



TQWhat's next?

Clarissa:  I’m currently working on two novels. One of them is literary suspense, while the other is a literary mystery. Just like Rainbirds, both of them are set in Japan. The three novels are not in a series, but they are interrelated. Characters in one book will make appearances in the others. I hope readers of Rainbirds will have fun guessing who they are.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Clarissa:  Thank you for having me ☺





Rainbirds
Soho Press, March 6, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Clarissa Goenawan, author of Rainbirds
Set in an imagined town outside Tokyo, Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut follows a young man’s path to self-discovery in the wake of his sister’s murder.

Ren Ishida has nearly completed his graduate degree at Keio University when he receives news of his sister’s violent death. Keiko was stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, failing to understand why she chose to turn her back on the family and Tokyo for this desolate place years ago.

But then Ren is offered Keiko’s newly vacant teaching position at a prestigious local cram school and her bizarre former arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s ailing wife. He accepts both, abandoning Tokyo and his crumbling relationship there in order to better understand his sister’s life and what took place the night of her death.

As Ren comes to know the eccentric local figures, from the enigmatic politician who’s boarding him to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, captivating young female student, he delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren realizes that Keiko Ishida kept many secrets, even from him.





About Clarissa

Interview with Clarissa Goenawan, author of Rainbirds
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her debut novel, Rainbirds, is the winner of the 2015 Bath Novel Award. Her short stories have won several awards and been published in various literary magazines and anthologies, such as The MacGuffin, Your Impossible Voice, Esquire, Monsoon Book, Writing The City, Needle in the Hay, and many others. She loves rainy days, pretty books, and hot green tea.


Website  ~  Twitter @ClaireClaire05  ~  Facebook

Interview with Robert Ashcroft, author of The Megarothke


Please welcome Robert Ashcroft to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Megarothke is published on February 27th by Cinestate.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Robert a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Robert Ashcroft, author of The Megarothke




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Robert:  My sophomore year of high school I wrote a piece of flash-fiction. Sort of a dramatization of the “Albatross Riddle” that ended up being around 1000 words. I remember showing it to my little sisters and cousins and thinking, “This stuff is pure gold.” I would highly recommend looking up the riddle online. I would not highly recommend reading my short story about it.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Robert:  First of all, I’m not a fan of the word “pantser.” I feel that it is too negative. Like, how is it fair that one side gets the word “plot” included in their name and the other gets a variation of the word “pants?” What if the terms were “Creative Visionary” vs “Methodical Producer of Contrived Events Ready to be Turned into a Script for Hollywood Consumption?” Because I do think that over plotting can lead to a sort of air-tight movie structure, and I one of my favorite things about books is that they can still be so ragged. You can really get lost in a book.

And if you think I’m being overly defensive here, it’s because there’s a lot of condescension among the “plotters” of the world! You know who you are!

I like to think of writing a novel like the expedition of Lewis and Clark. You’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen, but you’ve got some guns, some rations, and god dammit―you are going to get to the Pacific Ocean. In the end, I much prefer G.R.R. Martin’s terms “Gardeners vs Architects.” Under these definitions, I’m a gardener.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Robert:  Finding the courage to write about difficult subjects. We all read sex scenes as if they were nothing. But then you think about your mom or your friend reading it and all of the sudden it’s NC-17. As you write it, you see everyone you know imagining you as that particular character. This is a rather debilitating aspect that a lot of people never really address.

Let’s say your character murders someone. Or contemplates suicide. There’s a certain barrier that comes with having a loving family and its mostly an artificial one. You have to realize that your writing, to them, is just like painting or fixing cars. An awkward little hobby that they put up with during conversation. Meanwhile you have to believe in yourself to the fullest extent, to live your work, and to write through all criticism and doubt.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Robert:  I still think that J.D. Salinger is in the running for one of the greatest writers of all time. I reread Franny and Zooey recently and he’s got a masterful touch for scene variation, character description, weaving ideas into conversations―he just crushes it. As per the Megarothke specifically, here are the top ten influences:

1. I am Legend, Richard Matheson

2. Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

3. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem

4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick

5. Battle Royale, Koshun Takami

6. In the Miso Soup, Ryu Murakami

7. Girl, In Landscape, Jonathan Lethem

8. Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer

9. Burning Chrome, William Gibson

10. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn



TQDescribe The Megarothke in 140 characters or less.

“A book about a monster that brings about the apocalypse and then lives under Los Angeles while abducting humans to perform experiments on them.”



TQHow do you pronounce "Megarothke"?

Robert:  I say it, “Mega-Roth-Key.” It’s worth pointing out that my grandma’s maiden name was Roth. I’m sure psychologically this factors in somehow, but I’m not a psychologist.



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

Robert:  Sometimes I forget to mention that it’s based on the myth of the Minotaur. You’ve got Theo (Theseus), Aria (Ariadne) and the Megarothke (the Minotaur). I probably should have had it added to the description, but I was deployed during the early phases of the publishing process and really couldn’t spend as much time on it as I would have liked. That being said, the publishers wrote a really thorough two paragraph summary that really gets at the core of the book. I’m not sure I even really understood what the book was until they had summarized it for me.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Megarothke?

Robert:  The name came to me in a sort of dream-like state while living in South Korea in 2010. I wrote a short story with the same title and then began adding to it. Then it was a novella, and then a novel, and all throughout the process, people kept saying, “This is good, but you’ve got to change the name.” To me, the book only exists because of the name. I don’t think I can explain it rationally. I get these things sometimes, like an obsession, and my mind won’t let them go until the idea has been set free.



TQThe Megarothke is described as "sci-fi/horror novel infused with Nietzschean philosophy..." What appeals to you about writing SF and Horror? Why Nietzsche?

Robert:  Nietzsche is a big part of the book in the sense that the Megarothke co-opts a lot of popular misinterpretations about the ubermensch. There is a sort of love affair in some tech circles with “improvement” and I really think that the natural extension of this would lead to an other-than-human form of life. Within Zarathustra, there are a lot of really empowering lines. Lines that encourage you to go above and beyond those around you. The problem with empowerment is that sometimes it leads to selfishness and cruelty. When we’re too powerful, we lose perspective and empathy.

I first read Thus Spoke Zarathustra when I was living alone in Mexico as a twenty year old. I didn’t understand it but I would go back and reread sections, almost like you read a religious text.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Megarothke?

Robert:  I spent a lot of time looking at maps of Los Angeles.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Megarothke.

Robert:  The cover design is styled to mimic a retro, straight-to-VHS science fiction movie. The word “gonzo” got used a lot during the conversations about it’s creation, and within the right film context that makes a lot of sense. When I look at designs online, minimalist renderings of famous works often catch my eye, but I have to think: What if I was looking at stand of twenty books by authors I’d never heard of before?

The more I see it out there, the more I love it. At the end of the day I think Cinestate and their designer, Ashley Detmering, did a great job.



TQIn The Megarothke who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Robert:  The easiest character was probably Takatoshi, because his lines just sort of came from a natural place. The hardest character was Aria, the semi-love interest, because she has her own unique story line and it’s hard to capture a strong female character without giving them a lot of screen time. To be honest, this was even harder than writing the transgendered character, Mathew, because he had a lot to say.

Aria is stuck within a power structure she can’t control, surrounded by a bunch of violent maniacs with very little to lose. She needed to be tough but vulnerable, strong but likeable―I’m not sure if I succeeded. I got a lot of input from some of the members of the writing group I was a part of in Harker Heights, TX: Alexandra Burt, Sandra Desjardins, Andrea McAuley and Kat Wooley. They would say things like, “No woman in the history of the world has ever thought this sentence.” At several key points, the actions of the female characters changed in response to their insight and it’s a much stronger book because of it.

I’ve also got about sixty pages of a parallel novel from Aria’s point of view. She definitely has the most unpublished backstory throughout the book.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Megarothke?

Robert:  There’s a transgendered character in the novel. In the end, I really believe that it’s a civil rights/human rights issue and I hope that comes across within the text. Mathew is probably the most complex character in the novel. He's not airbrushed and perfect, but he really does have goals and aspirations that mature and shift as the novel progresses. Without getting too political, I believe America is a country that should lead the way in creating a space where all people can live as they choose.



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

Robert:  How much chocolate did you eat while writing the Megarothke?

Way too much. I went through entire phases of different brand loyalty and styles, and am still going through them. I write in the mornings, so I don’t even eat breakfast anymore. I just slam down chocolate with coffee until my stomach hurts and call it good. I heard once about George Harrison mentioning that he liked jelly beans (or jelly babies or some British nonsense) and then getting pelted with them on stage. I would gladly get pelted with chocolate. That being said, I’m not a Beatle.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Megarothke.

Robert:  This one gets brought up in a lot of reviews: “Intimacy can be sudden: a primal ache; a desperation that your whole life has been missing something up until that point.”

But I’m more partial to this one: “There are rooms you can sense before you actually trace their outlines, almost as if your body were able to inhale a portion of their expanding volume.”



TQWhat's next?

Robert:  I’m working on a military science fiction novel called The Bureaucracy and the Egregore. Much like The Megarothke, I’ve been told the title will never work. I hope to have the first draft finished by May, 2018, and then to be done within the year. I’ve been writing it for over a year now and I think that two to three years per novel is as fast as I can go and still feel I’m doing a good job.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Megarothke
Cinestate, February 27, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages

Interview with Robert Ashcroft, author of The Megarothke
Blade Runner meets Westworld via Resident Evil in this shocking, gripping debut sci-fi/horror novel infused with Nietzschean philosophy, exploring humanity's darkest desire for transcendence.

Seven years after the limitless depths of the Hollow War decimated Earth, leaving only 50,000 humans to fight for survival in Los Angeles, Theo Abrams is sent on a mission to destroy the enigmatic being that initiated this apocalypse, confronting the fact that humanity's yearning to transcend reality caused its downfall . . .

Robert Ashcroft, trained as cryptologic linguist, has worked as a State Department contractor and was recently mobilized to serve abroad with the US Army Reserve.







About Robert


Interview with Robert Ashcroft, author of The Megarothke
Robert Ashcroft, trained as cryptologic linguist, has worked as a State Department contractor and was recently mobilized to serve abroad with the US Army Reserve.



Website  ~  Twitter @AshcroftAuthor


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Interview with Tina LeCount Myers, author of The Song of All



Please welcome Tina LeCount Myers to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Song of All was published on February 20th by Night Shade Books.



Interview with Tina LeCount Myers, author of The Song of All




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Tina: Thank you for including me in the Debut Author Challenge! It’s such an honor. I think I was 13 or 14. I wrote a story about torch singer. I remember describing her long, red hair in detail. She was a femme fatale. I might have watched one too many movies with Lauren Bacall in my early teens.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Tina: By nature, I’m a pantser. Through practice, I’ve become a hybrid. But I still dream of being a true plotter.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tina: Sex scenes. Give me a battle any day. I get all squirmy and uncomfortable when I have to get into the nitty-gritty of a sex scene. I feel like a voyeur when I’m writing about my characters in their very intimate moments. I tend toward a “fade to black” compromise.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Tina: I came late to reading fantasy. I was in college when my best friend discovered I’d not read Tolkien. He rectified the oversight. Growing up, I read a lot of British and Russian literature. I think the epic nature of the stories by Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky stuck with me the most. I loved the drama and heartbreak in them.



TQDescribe The Song of All in 140 characters or less.

Tina: Two ancient tribes. Two innocent lives. One man who is willing to risk war in the Northlands to save his son.



TQTell us something about The Song of All that is not found in the book description.

Tina: The Immortals in the book, the Jápmemeahttun, have evolved to change their sex from female to male in the course of their long lifespan.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Song of All? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Tina: The Song of All came out of a heated discussion with my husband on what distinguishes science fiction from fantasy. He made the point that science fiction presents what is possible based on science, while fantasy generally presents magic and the supernatural and is not based on science. I argued that a fantasy story could be grounded in science. What is quantum physics if not magic? And what’s to say biological evolution won’t lead to some supernatural creatures. Compare Homo sapiens to the Neanderthals. Homo sapiens have keener eyesight, hearing, and smell due to their skeletal morphology. Supernatural powers right there!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Song of All?

Tina: Since I was on the “challenge excepted” path of a fantasy grounded in science, I did research on sound theory, multiverses, and quantum physics. I also read quite a lot of articles on evolutionary biology. And, because the language I use in the story is based on Sami dialects, I did research on the various dialects, as well as the history and culture of the indigenous groups of northern Scandinavia. But The Song of All is definitely a fantasy story and not an ethnography.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Song of All.

Tina: The cover artist is Jeff Chapman and the layout and typography artist is Shawn King. I think they both worked well together to capture the concept of an individual facing extreme elements. The reindeer are integral to the main character’s journey to find himself. The bloody footprints are from my wonderful editor Jeremy Lassen.



TQIn The Song of All who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Tina: Gunna was the easiest write. She is this feisty crone who has lived a full life and knows exactly who she is and what is important. She represents the matriarchal spirit of my Finnish family. I grew up with someone like her so she was easy o write. The hardest character to write was Bávvál, the High Priest. He is such a Machiavellian character. His emotional world kept eluding me.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Song of All?

Tina: While it is not the dominant theme in the book, the topic of migration and diaspora was in the forefront of my mind as I was writing. The main struggle between the newcomers, the Olmmoš, and the native group, the Jápmemeahttun, revolves around issues of assimilation of an immigrant community. Looking at the history of humanity, the migration of peoples is at the core of human experience from its earliest inception. The fact that we continue struggle with this reality is significant and also heartbreaking to me.



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

Tina: What is your song?

I am the daughter of waves,
washed upon these distant shores.
My journey started in far off stars.
I light the way for my shadow to follow.
I am words upon a page.
I am ink and yet ephemeral.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Song of All.

Tina: “Aillun had been surprised she could understand them. They had a thick, round accent, as if they had a mouthful of berries and feared losing one. She had stared at them in wonder and it struck her that the Olmmoš were not so very different from herself, except that, given the opportunity, they would have killed her.”



TQWhat's next?

Tina: The Song of All has some sequels in the works. Dreams of the Dark Sky is due out in 2019 and The Northern Ones in 2020. I also have this voice clamoring for a prequel where...well, I guess that still remains to be sung.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tina: Thank you for having me. I just got to answer some of my new, favorite questions!





The Song of All
The Legacy of the Heavens 1
Night Shade Books, February 20, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 452 pages

Interview with Tina LeCount Myers, author of The Song of All
A former warrior caught between gods and priests must fight for the survival of his family in this dark epic fantasy debut, set in a harsh arctic world inspired by Scandinavian indigenous cultures.

On the forbidding fringes of the tundra, where years are marked by seasons of snow, humans war with immortals in the name of their shared gods. Irjan, a human warrior, is ruthless and lethal, a legend among the Brethren of Hunters. But even legends grow tired and disillusioned.

Scarred and weary of bloodshed, Irjan turns his back on his oath and his calling to hide away and live a peaceful life as a farmer, husband, and father. But his past is not so easily left behind. When an ambitious village priest conspires with the vengeful comrades Irjan has forsaken, the fragile peace in the Northlands of Davvieana is at stake.

His bloody past revealed, Irjan’s present unravels as he faces an ultimatum: return to hunt the immortals or lose his child. But with his son’s life hanging in the balance, as Irjan follows the tracks through the dark and desolate snow-covered forests, it is not death he searches for, but life.





About Tina

Interview with Tina LeCount Myers, author of The Song of All
Tina LeCount Myers is a writer, artist, independent historian, and surfer. Born in Mexico to expat-bohemian parents, she grew up on Southern California tennis courts with a prophecy hanging over her head; her parents hoped she’d one day be an author. The Song of All is her debut novel.







Website  ~  Twitter @tlecountmyers

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Interview with Kaethe Schwehn, author of The Rending and the Nest


Please welcome Kaethe Schwehn to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Rending and the Nest was published on February 20th by Bloomsbury USA.



Interview with Kaethe Schwehn, author of The Rending and the Nest




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Kaethe:  Thanks so much for having me! I wrote a series of stories in high school that resulted in my English teacher pulling me aside to make sure I was O.K. The first was about suicide, the second was about abortion, and the third was an historical piece about a girl whose mom is about to be burned as a witch. I remember being mildly offended that the teacher expressed concern (didn’t she know it was fiction and it had nothing to do with me???) although now I genuinely understand her sense of trepidation.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Kaethe:  Pantser all the way! I’ve tried to plot because it seems like plotting would make life so much easier but I’m hopeless at it and once I have a plot I don’t feel nearly as motivated to write because I’ve lost the excitement of finding out what happens next.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kaethe:  Self doubt. Especially with writing a novel. I think every published writer has a failed novel (or more likely multiple failed novels) and although we can all wax poetic about everything those novels taught us no one ever keeps working on a novel that she knows is going to fail. (Or maybe there’s a special kind of masochist that does, but I haven’t met her yet.) So writing a novel requires a great deal of faith, especially early in the process when the work is an oddly-formed thing for which you feel a great deal of strange but tentative affection. It’s kind of like having to be certain EVERY DAY that your newborn is going to become an astronaut.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Kaethe:  Everything I’ve experienced in my lifetime, I suppose. A few things: motherhood, living in a remote community, Christianity, sexual encounters, Joni Mitchell, climate change, working in an orphanage in Ecuador, Minnesota winters, Dali, and that amazing scalp massage you receive when you get your hair cut.



TQDescribe The Rending and the Nest in 140 characters or less.

Kaethe:  Young woman finds identity, falls in love, tries to rescue best friend. Did I mention there’s been an apocalypse and women are giving birth to objects? That’s important, too.



TQTell us something about The Rending and the Nest that is not found in the book description.

Kaethe:  It’s set in Minnesota and features places like the Mall of America and the Minnesota Zoo.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Rending and the Nest? What appeals to you about writing Post-Apocalyptic SF?

Kaethe:  Although I love reading contemporary, “real-life” novels I have zero interest in writing one. While a finished post-apocalyptic/SF novel certainly has to contain certain “rules” that govern the created world, generating a first draft is so delicious and wild and fun because literally ANYTHING GOES. Anything. Richard Simmons can captain a cement mixer spewing doll parts! A jazzercise class can turn into an exorcism! Houses can siphon all of our happy memories into their duct systems while we sleep! These possibilities fill me with joy.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Rending and the Nest?

Kaethe:  My research was pretty sporadic (I say this as someone whose current project involves a ridiculous amount of research). I needed lots of little bits of information about subjects like hunting with snares, whittling, gasoline longevity, and firearms. I drove the roads the characters walk and took lots of pictures. I asked a sculptor friend questions about how she might make certain kinds of structures.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Rending and the Nest?

Kaethe:  It does depict something about the novel but explaining it would be a spoiler! What I love most about the cover is that I’ve had a few readers not recognize the connection while for others the connection is immediately obvious. So I love that the image functions as a Rorschach Test of sorts. The idea of what we reveal and what we are ready to see is central to the book and the cover reflects that—so the artists at Bloomsbury are kind of geniuses.



TQIn The Rending and the Nest who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kaethe:  Mira (the protagonist) was both the easiest and hardest. I think most authors would say that there’s some aspect of themselves in every character; this was especially true for me with Mira so I had to be really careful to make sure her choices were authentically hers and that I wasn’t peer pressuring her.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Rending and the Nest?

Kaethe:  I did not consciously choose to include social issues but upon finishing the book I realized that they’re certainly present, though not as overtly as in The Handmaid’s Tale or Children of Men or When She Woke. Central to the book are a couple questions: who has control over women’s bodies and what they “produce” and who has control over the stories we tell about our bodies and ourselves? Two dear friends of mine both went through a series of miscarriages and stillbirths during the time I was writing the book and I also realized, upon finishing it, that the anguish the women feel in the book (about a very surreal phenomenon) is connected to the anguish women often currently feel over the loss of lives they have no real way to openly grieve or remember.



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

Kaethe:

Question: What was the most significant writing feedback you received while working on the novel?

Answer: Probably that one time when my agent mentioned I needed to add more to the ending and when I asked how much more she said “about twenty thousand words.” So I went ahead and added the entire last fourth of the book and I’m so glad I did.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Rending and the Nest.

Kaethe:

“And, stupidly, it didn’t occur to me that the other members of Zion might have similarly curated their own pasts, track lighting and gleaming pedestals for the parts of themselves they wanted to remember and temperature-controlled basement storage for the parts of themselves they would just as soon forget.”

“And I want to say that, faced with the loss of my friend, or the loss of the way our friendship had been, I grieved by spending more time on the Piles or composing sonnets from the list of objects at the back of my notebook, by helping in the orchard or practicing yoga breaths. But I didn’t. I went to Rodney instead.”



TQWhat's next?

Kaethe:  I’m working on a novel that begins in 4 BCE. A pregnant woman who is training to become a doctor and a couple fleeing political and religious persecution have an encounter in a Jewish community outside of Alexandria, Egypt that changes their lives—and maybe the history of the world—forever.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Rending and the Nest
Bloomsbury USA, February 20, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Kaethe Schwehn, author of The Rending and the Nest
A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one's own story.

When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.

Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object--and other women of Zion follow suit--the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.

Like California by Edan Lepucki and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Rending and the Nest uses a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape to ask decidedly human questions: How well do we know the people we love? What sustains us in the midst of suffering? How do we forgive the brokenness we find within others--and within ourselves?





Kaethe On Tour

Northfield, MN
Thu Feb 22 7:00PM
There will be a launch party for Kaethe Schwehn, who will be signing copies of THE RENDING AND THE NEST at Imminent Brewing in Northfield, MN.
Iowa City, IA
Fri Feb 23 7:00PM
Kaethe Schwehn will be reading and signing copies of THE RENDING AND THE NEST at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, IA with Kiki Petrosino.
St. Paul, MN
Tue Feb 27 6:00PM
Kaethe Schwehn will be reading and signing copies of THE RENDING AND THE NEST with Patrick Nathan at Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul, MN.

St. Paul, MN
Wed Feb 28 7:00PM
Kaethe Schwehn will be reading and signing copies of THE RENDING AND THE NEST as part of the Fireside Reading Series at St. Paul Public Library in St. Paul, MN.
Tampa, FL
Fri Mar 9 11:00AM
Kaethe Schwehn will be signing copies of THE RENDING AND THE NEST at AWP Book Fair at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, FL.
Brooklyn, NY
Thu Mar 22 7:00PM
Kaethe Schwehn will be reading and signing copies of THE RENDING AND THE NEST with Anjali Sachdeva at WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY.





About Kaethe

Kaethe Schwehn’s first book, Tailings: A Memoir, won the 2015 Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, and her chapbook of poems, Tanka & Me, was selected for the Mineral Point Chapbook Series. In addition to holding M.F.A.s from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Montana, Kaethe has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize, a Minnesota Arts Board grant, and a Loft Mentor Series award. She teaches at St. Olaf College and lives in Northfield, Minnesota.

Website  ~ Twitter @KaetheSchwehn

Interview with David Pedreira, author of Gunpowder Moon


Please welcome David Pedreira to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Gunpowder Moon was published on February 13th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with David Pedreira, author of Gunpowder Moon




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

David:  According to my mom, I wrote (and told) some tall tales when I was in the first or second grade, but I don’t remember them. My first complete short story was for a fiction writing class in college. It was a Hemingwayesque tale about a fisherman trying to find himself, and I’m pretty sure it was awful.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

David:  For Gunpowder Moon, more of a pantser. I never wrote an outline and most of the plotting was done in my head. But once you’re working with an agent and a publisher you almost have to become a plotter, as they like to see a synopsis or outline of your next book.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

David:  Just planting my backside in front of a computer and typing the first sentence. Once you put a few lines on the page things get easier.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

David:  Books, movies, and art from a lot of different genres—everything from Joseph Conrad to Joan Didion. Gunpowder Moon is a science fiction thriller, but it also has mystery and military elements to it, so I could point to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction influences: Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula Le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Agatha Christie, John Le Carre, Michael Herr, Ernie Pyle, Colleen McCullough, Sun Tzu, etc.



TQDescribe Gunpowder Moon in 140 characters or less.

David:  The first murder on the Moon will lead to the first war on the Moon if a haunted veteran and his crew of miners can’t unmask the killer.



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

David:  I tried to keep it grounded in the possible—or even the likely. I believe we’ll be mining the Moon in fifty years with tech that’s similar to what’s in the novel. And being a bit of a cynic, I’m convinced we’ll be fighting over resources in space, much like we’ve been fighting over resources on Earth since we started knapping stones.



TQWhat inspired you to write Gunpowder Moon? What appeals to you about writing Hard SF?

David:  The Moon itself. I’ve always been fascinated by it. It shapes our lives in so many ways. It churns our oceans, guides how we hunt and fish and plant, and affects the behavior of just about every animal on our planet. As for the second part of your question, I love all SF but have always been drawn to the stories that are rooted in science, starting with Jules Verne. I remember being blown away by the scientific detail in The Mysterious Island when I was in grade school.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Gunpowder Moon?

David:  A lot! I started by studying the lunar atlas. Then I dug into lunar geology and topography. I also had to research a ton of stuff like lunar transportation and habitation, helium-3 mining, 3D printing, cosmic and stellar radiation, Lagrange points, rail guns, electromagnetic pulse weapons, high energy lasers, microgravity, orbital velocities, phenomena such as moon fountains, space law, impact craters, and fusion reaction. And I read a good bit of the Apollo mission transcripts, which were fascinating.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Gunpowder Moon.

David:  I don’t know who the artist is—I just know they did a fantastic job. We had some back and forth about the finer details, but luckily my vision for the cover synched up with Harper Voyager’s. The cover does, at least symbolically, depict a major moment in the novel.



TQIn Gunpowder Moon who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

David:  I’d say the protagonist, Caden Dechert, was the easiest to write. He’s a middle-aged white guy and so am I. It’s easier to write what you know. And like me, he’s both a cynic and an idealist. Probably the hardest characters to write were Lane Briggs and Lin Tzu. Lane is the safety office on Sea of Serenity-1. I wanted her to be a badass, being she’s the only woman on a station full of alpha males, but I didn’t want her to be too grim. I consider her to be the moral center of the novel and I hope that comes through. Lin Tzu is Dechert’s Chinese counterpart on the Moon. He operates a mining station on the nearby Mare Imbrium. He was difficult to write even though he’s only in a scene or two. When I was abroad in college we spent a day with Chinese students at Peking University in Beijing. I tried to model Tzu after a student I became friends with. He was quiet, contemplative, witty, and cautious. I hope I pulled it off.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Gunpowder Moon?

David:  I focused more on the broader issue of human conflict in Gunpowder Moon, which is pretty weighty in itself. If there’s any social commentary in the novel, it’s probably just a reinforcement of the belief that people should be judged on their individual merit and not some prejudice that others have invented to bolster their own position in life.



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

David:   Could this really happen in the near future? The answer is yes!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Gunpowder Moon.

David:

     1.  Caden Dechert arguing with Lin Tzu:
“The moon was supposed to be different, Lin. It was supposed to be demilitarized. It was supposed to be shared.”
     “Nothing so valuable ever is.”
     2. Jonathan Quarles as things are starting to get ugly on Luna:

        “So much for the Sea of Serenity. Can we call it the Sea of Impending Doom now?”



TQWhat's next?

David:  We’re talking to Harper Voyager about a second novel. Hopefully there will be more after that.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

David:  Thanks so much for having me.





Gunpowder Moon
Harper Voyager, February 13, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with David Pedreira, author of Gunpowder Moon
“Interesting quirks and divided loyalties flesh out this first novel in which sf and mystery intersect in a well-crafted plot...Pedreira’s science thriller powerfully highlights the human politics and economics from the seemingly desolate expanse of the moon. It will attract readers who enjoyed Andy Weir’s lunar crime caper Artemis.” -- Library Journal, starred review

A realistic and chilling vision of life on the Moon, where dust kills as easily as the vacuum of space…but murder is even quicker—a fast-paced, cinematic science fiction thriller, this debut novel combines the inventiveness of The Martian, the intrigue of The Expanse, and the thrills of Red Rising.

The Moon smells like gunpowder. Every lunar walker since Apollo 11 has noticed it: a burnt-metal scent that reminds them of war. Caden Dechert, the chief of the U.S. mining operation on the edge of the Sea of Serenity, thinks the smell is just a trick of the mind—a reminder of his harrowing days as a Marine in the war-torn Middle East back on Earth.

It’s 2072, and lunar helium-3 mining is powering the fusion reactors that are bringing Earth back from environmental disaster. But competing for the richest prize in the history of the world has destroyed the oldest rule in space: Safety for All. When a bomb kills one of Dechert’s diggers on Mare Serenitatis, the haunted veteran goes on the hunt to expose the culprit before more blood is spilled.

But as Dechert races to solve the first murder in the history of the Moon, he gets caught in the crosshairs of two global powers spoiling for a fight. Reluctant to be the match that lights this powder-keg, Dechert knows his life and those of his crew are meaningless to the politicians. Even worse, he knows the killer is still out there, hunting.

In his desperate attempts to save his crew and prevent the catastrophe he sees coming, the former Marine uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that, with one spark, can ignite a full lunar war, wipe out his team . . . and perhaps plunge the Earth back into darkness.





About David

Interview with David Pedreira, author of Gunpowder Moon
Photo by Lori Pedreira
A former reporter for newspapers including the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times, David Pedreira has won awards for his writing from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He lives in Tampa, Florida.







Website  ~  Twitter @DavePedreira  ~  Facebook

Interview with Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher's Flight


Please welcome Tom Miller to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Philosopher's Flight is published on February 13th by Simon & Schuster.



Interview with Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher's Flight




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Tom:  A Star Wars sequel, when I was in sixth grade, inspired by Timothy Zahn's trilogy. It followed a starfighter designer for Sienar Fleet Systems (which builds the TIE fighter), who is a rebel sympathizer and covertly joins the New Republic Navy, only to be outed and have both sides turn on him. I still have about 200 pages worth of starship and character designs which I made over several years based on the old West End Games D6 Star Wars role-playing game.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Tom:  Pantser-Hybrid. I write by the seat of my pants on the first draft, though with a few pre-planned plot points-- a man swimming for his life needs a rock in the distance to aim for. As I revise, I become much stricter about plot; I have a ton of spreadsheets and timelines for boring but essential stuff (In what year were my various different fictional forms of technology and magic developed? When was my protagonist's mother born? What names have I already used for minor supporting characters?).



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tom:  Starting.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does being an ER doctor prepare you for writing a novel?

Tom:  I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, so I look at my own book and say, "Well, that's a subconscious borrowing from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, that structure echoes Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, that's similar to season 1 of X-Men: The Animated Series," though I don't take it for granted that anyone who's familiar with those works would necessarily agree. Chuck Yeager's autobiography, which I read as a kid, as well as accounts of the astronauts and early space program, shaped my protagonist, Robert. Probably the most direct influence was Susanna Clarke's fantasy alternate history Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I read while I was in grad school, messing around with the idea of fake folk tales. I wanted to write something like it that was set in America.

As an ER doctor, I meet people from every walk of life and get to witness how they react under extreme stress (both my patients and colleagues-- and me); it's hard to imagine a better milieu for a writer. A large amount of medicine, historically and even today, is based on the notion of empirical treatment-- we don't always know why or how a medication or technique works, but we've observed its effect over and over. And every ER doctor has to be a good storyteller: we weave the patient's account of their illness together with physical exam findings, lab tests, imaging and medical knowledge to fashion a story that's succinct and compelling enough that when I call an otolaryngologist at home at three in the morning and ask her to get out of bed and drive to the hospital through a Wisconsin snowstorm, she says, "I agree it sounds like a Ludwig's angina" and not, "Go to hell, we'll see him in the morning."



TQDescribe The Philosopher's Flight in 140 characters or less.

Tom:  In a WWI America where women are best at magic, a boy who wants to join the witch-army meets a girl war-hero trying to break into politics.



TQTell us something about The Philosopher's Flight that is not found in the book description.

Tom:  One of my better lines is a parody of a Secret deodorant ad.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Philosopher's Flight? What appeals to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

Tom:  One of my first jobs out of college was as a travel writer. I was on a solo five-day hike in a remote part of New Zealand in 2004 and invented a world and characters to entertain myself. It was compelling enough idea that I tried twice to use it to write a novel using that world set in the present day, but it just didn't work. While I was in grad school, I wrote a couple of short stories set there, which took place during the Civil War and at the turn of the 20th Century. Those worked a lot better.

There was something helpful about the longer chronological distance. Part of it has to do with the mindset necessary to read historical fiction-- you're already expecting a strange, counter-factual world. If, in order to send a message to a friend who lives on the other side of the country, my protagonist rode a horse into town, spoke to a technician specially trained in an arcane code of dots and dashes, who then used a system of copper wires to transmit a message thousands of miles in a second, which was decoded by a second technician, transcribed onto paper and given to a boy with a bicycle and a funny hat to deliver, you're already imagining a fantasy world as strange and complicated as any I can invent-- it just happens to be true. Likewise, that distance is useful for writing about social issues, since we come to historical fiction expecting to encounter values, assumptions and ethics that are different than our own.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Philosopher's Flight?

Tom:  Some of the more helpful books I read were an account of the construction of the trans-continental railroad, Robert Graves's WWI-era autobiography Good-bye to All That, John Dos Passos's letters from his time as an ambulance driver in France, and several collections of diary entries and essays from the American suffrage movement. I've also had an interest in military history and aviation for many years, which has filtered into the flying scenes and world building.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Philosopher's Flight.

Tom:  We wanted the cover to suggest the time period (1917), magic, the importance of flying to the story, and the central role that gender politics plays. The floral scrollwork has a Beaux Arts look appropriate to Great War America; the sun doubles as an arcane-looking sigil; the stylized figures are flying in a posture and relatively outfit accurate to the story; and the young woman with the pony tail and raised fist suggests the fight for equal rights (as well as good aerodynamics). The last image was so striking that Simon & Schuster used it in place of their usual colophon-- the publisher's imprint on the title page. I'm told that honor was last given to a silhouette of Bruce Springsteen in his autobiography Born to Run.



TQIn The Philosopher's Flight who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Tom:  Robert's hard-bitten flight instructor at Radcliffe College, Gertrude, was easy-- I simply imagined the drill instructor from Full-Metal Jacket, made him a grandmother, and required all of her profanity to contain phrases that had never before been uttered. Robert was the hardest; the first 80% of his voice was easy, but the last 20% took me several years (and many revisions) to get right. He went from a comic, fish-out-of-water, aw-shucks country boy, to an affable Forrest-Gump-like character who happened to encounter many of the leading figures of the age, to an overly technical test-pilot/flier, before ending up as a young man with an impossible dream. Trying to balance Robert's more traditional, John Wayne ideas of masculinity (a man ought to be good with his fists, shoot well, protect the fairer sex) with his fairly progressive view of the role of women (he's been raised with the notion that an upwardly mobile, middle-class, frequently single-parent female workforce is normal, as are women in leadership positions in the military) also posed a challenge.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Philosopher's Flight?

Tom:  For the simple reason that the harder I pushed at the idea of defying traditional gender roles, the more interesting the story became. As I made the opposition to Robert joining an exclusively female group louder and crueler, I came to understand his character better. Likewise, as Danielle's efforts at entering the political arena are met with increasing misogyny and violence, I think we learn that even in a world where discrimination against a straight white male is real, a woman is going to have a much scarier fight trying to break into a traditionally male career.



TQWhich question about The Philosopher's Flight do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Tom:

Do you really expect us to believe that all these in-world famous people knew each other as teenagers?

Yes! Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones were freshman roommates at Harvard. Also, baseball superstar Ted Williams was future astronaut John Glenn's wingman when they flew combat missions in the Korean War.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Philosopher's Flight.

Tom:  From the preface, as the protagonist explains magic:

"And what is empirical philosophy—what is sigilry—except a branch of science that we don’t yet fully understand?"


From Chapter 21, as Robert meets his future mentor, Gertrude:

"“Well, this is a sorry state of affairs,” she drawled. “Out of this entire aerodrome, only two hoverers have dared mewl the phrase ‘Rescue and Evacuation’ in connection with their own names. One has fewer flight hours than any of my great-grandchildren and the other has a phallus.”



TQWhat's next?

Tom:  The sequel. I'm trying to wrap up revisions in the next few months. Making themes of wartime aeromedical evacuation, weapons of mass destruction, and gender discrimination fun to read about (while respecting that these are serious topics) has been tough. We're hoping for a publication date in mid-2019.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tom:  Any time!





The Philosopher's Flight
Simon & Schuster, February 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher's Flight
A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher’s Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.





About Tom

Interview with Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher's Flight
Photo by Abigail Carlin
Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher’s Flight, he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT, and college English instructor. He's now an emergency room doctor in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first novel

Goodreads

Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours


Please welcome Chandler Klang Smith to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Sky Is Yours was published on January 23rd by Hogarth.



Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Chandler:  I was recently visiting my parents in Springfield, Illinois, when I found a collection of short stories I wrote in second grade entitled My Big Book. It was full of invented fairy tales (like one where a knight slays an alligator to rescue a princess, only to have her plot to kill him) and surreal Kafkaesque parables (like one where a little girl wakes up with a fishtail in place of her legs). I barely remembered it existed, but saw a curious connection to my adult sensibilities. I guess I never change.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chandler:  Definitely a bit of both: I map things out for a while, get bored and dig into the minutiae of a scene… before getting back into a Big Picture Mode again.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chandler:  I'm a perfectionist so when I can't get something right the first time, I get stuck in a morass of self-loathing. I'm better now than I used to be at realizing things will turn around, but it's still a struggle.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Chandler:  Oh my God, so many things. I love pop surrealist art like the paintings of Mark Ryden. Films like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Music: Bjork, Radiohead, The Pixies. And of course I have countless literary influences – off the top of my head, Jonathan Lethem, Susanna Clarke, Angela Carter, Mark Z. Danielewski, Kelly Link, Donald Barthelme, Stephen Wright, Kazuo Ishiguro, Thomas Pynchon. Recently I've been digging Victor LaValle, Jeff VanderMeer, Dexter Palmer, and Manuel Gonzales.



TQDescribe The Sky Is Yours in 140 characters or less.

Chandler:  This is a story of what it is to be young in a very old world #dragons



TQTell us something about The Sky Is Yours that is not found in the book description.

Chandler:  This book contains an ax battle.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Sky Is Yours? Why did you set the novel in a dystopian future New York City?

Chandler:  Because I was living in a dystopian present-day New York City! That sounds like a joke, but it's not. I remember sitting outside on my lunch break, working on this novel in the shadow of the Lipstick Building where Bernie Madoff practiced his Ponzi scheme. My materials may be fantastical but I'm interested in exploring the same kinds of rottenness we see in our world.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sky Is Yours?

Chandler:  No research per se writing: this book was really about spelunking the depths of my own imagination. I did look up some technical firefighting terminology for one passage but that was about it.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Sky Is Yours.

Chandler:  The iconic neon cover was created by Michael Morris, a brilliant designer at Crown. It depicts the two dragons, yellow and green, circling over the city. Early in the novel I describe them as twisting together like the helix of DNA, which I think inspired the ouroboros motif. I absolutely adore it, and I'm dazzled by how much better it is than anything I could have come up with myself.



TQIn The Sky Is Yours who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chandler:  The easiest character to write was Uncle Osmond, the Ripple family’s decadent black sheep intellectual. His voice was an excuse to crack myself up. The most difficult character to write was the Fire Chief Paxton Trank. I went through many iterations with his character before I figured it out what his real motivation was.



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

Chandler:  Does the dog have hands? Yes, the dog has hands.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Sky Is Yours.

Chandler:

“Ripple doesn't understand delayed gratification or compromise, he's never seen the point. He doesn't want to want; he's never wanted for anything. It's not in his nature. He's been spoiled to perfection. He has foie gras for brains.”

&

“The prison colony is a special kind of damage to the city: a collaboration between the dragons and ourselves. A hell we built together.”



TQWhat's next?

Chandler:  I'm working on a new novel, a noir about an obsessive love affair that transports a couple into a heightened, unreal fantasy space. It's just as weird as this book been but in a completely different way.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chandler:  Thank you!





The Sky Is Yours
Hogarth, January 23, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours
“There have been a lot of books heralded as heirs to Infinite Jest, but I can happily say: this is it.” — Leah Schnelbach, Tor.com

A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasure


In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they’ve ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.

The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud Atlas, Super Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.





About Chandler

Interview with Chandler Klang Smith, author of The Sky Is Yours
Photo: © Eric Taxier
CHANDLER KLANG SMITH is a fiction writer from Springfield, Illinois. She graduated from Bennington College and has an MFA from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York City.










Website  ~  Twitter @leggysnake

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