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2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2020 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it. 

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on September 30, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite September 2020 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Lauren Panepinto
Cover art by Sasha Vinogradova
Cover copyright © 2020 by Hachette Book Group, Inc.





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Daniel Strange





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
Intial concepts by Francesca Myman





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by Sam Gretton





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Jacket design by Yeon Kim
Jacket Image © Chipmunk131 /Shutterstock (silhouette)





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Chris Panatier and Glen Wilkins





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by Anka Lavriv
Cover and interior design by Dana Li





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

Interview with Dan Hanks, author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire


Please welcome Dan Hanks to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire was published on September 8, 2020 by Angry Robot.



Interview with Dan Hanks, author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire




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

Dan:  The very first I can remember, at about age 9, was a straight rip off of the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom mine cart chase, followed by some gruesome attack by the Hoth wampa from The Empire Strikes Back. I was deservedly called out for my copying and didn’t write another story (that I can remember) for years afterwards. However, I’m pretty proud I at least knew I should copy from the best.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Dan:  I’ve tried everything, but I’ve found my groove right in the middle. I like to plot out my structure so I know where the story rises and falls and where the beats roughly need to be. Yet in between these plot points I really prefer to fly by the seat of my pants and give the characters licence to roam. That way the writing process is still exciting, because I have no idea how they will get from A to B, but I know that at the end of the first draft it’s going to be structurally pretty sound. (Usually.)



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Dan:  Twitter. And I’m only half joking, because there are so many distractions and feeds to doomscroll that it’s incredibly difficult to start writing. Once I get those first few words down, it’s okay. But the first step continues to be the trickiest part of the process.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does being a "vastly overqualified archaeologist" influence your writing?

Dan:  I always use the “vastly overqualified archaeologist” title as a bit of a joke, because even with two degrees in the subject I still wasn’t able to earn a long-term career in the field. Mainly because I should have spent my time in an actual field doing the work instead of reading about it.

However, I adored my time studying archaeology and the knowledge I soaked up gave me the confidence to tackle some of the aspects of the subject that lie at the heart of this book. Admittedly, I also spent far too much time studying the more fringe elements of archaeology – flood myths, catastrophes, lost centres of information – which directly influenced the story itself.

In terms of general influences, I’m still in a place where 80s movies are playing a big role. The sense of storytelling fun from that era is something I miss and am trying to channel into my writing.



TQDescribe Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire using only 5 words.

Dan:  Can I go for five unconnected words?

Archaeology Adventure Exhaustion Monsters Seaplane



TQTell us something about Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire that is not found in the book description.

Dan:  Great question! Wow, okay.

The book was originally called ‘Captain Moxley and the Ashes of the Gods’. The team at Angry Robot came up with the current and much better title, but both related to the idea that the end goal of this book – the Hall of Records - is connected to a much wider universe. It’s all about the remnants of empire. And this works on a couple of levels in the book, it’s not just about physical material culture left behind, but ideologies too.



TQWhat inspired you to write Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire?

Dan:  I love Indiana Jones. Grew up with the first three movies and couldn’t wait to see the fourth. I’ve since made my peace with it, but my initial viewing didn’t sit well and prompted me to rather egotistically think I could write my own – so I sat down and wrote a script of Indy 5.

This obviously wasn’t going to go anywhere. So I decided to revise it with new characters and a more twisted and fantastical story, before eventually adapting it into a book and having it evolve even more. And my inspiration behind this rewrite was to create a hero who was far more exhausted and cynical than any I’d seen before in this type of adventure. Someone who also saw the age-old archaeological treasure hunt in a different light. And that someone was Captain Samantha Moxley.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire?

Dan:  This is a fantastical alternate history adventure… so my research was fairly light! I knew I could draw on the archaeological thinking already in my head for that core plotline, so my main concern was trying to convey the 1950s setting in an authentic light (while not distracting from the story). And that was a lot of fun, because it’s a really fascinating era.

I wanted Sam to be a former Spitfire pilot because my grandfather was one and I grew up wanting to be one myself. And although she isn’t drawn from any particular person, there are a wealth of stories of incredible women from the Second World War that I used to give her that stubborn spirit and refusal to bow down in the face of oppression. The brilliant author Tara Moss recently wrote a piece on seven of these women which you should totally take a few minutes to read: https://msmagazine.com/2020/09/02/seven-indomitable-women-of-world-war-ii/




TQPlease tell us about the cover for Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire.

Dan:  The cover is a dream. Literally, this has been my dream for as long as I’ve been writing. I love those old school film poster style illustrations and the artist here, Dan Strange, is an absolute master of them. I saw his work initially on a book by S.A. Sidor called Fury From the Tomb and fell in love with that so much (the book is also AMAZING). So when Angry Robot suggested Dan should be my cover artist I was so incredibly happy. And this cover is perfect. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.

Does it depict anything from the novel? Yes! In that old school style you’ve got the main cast, you’ve got a couple of hints about set pieces, you’ve got a hint of a badder baddie than the bad guy you can see, and there is an artefact too. Also some weird, undead hands at the sides, which I guess you might see too…



TQIn Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Dan:  Sam was the most fun. Writing someone who reacts badly to corrupt and shady governments and is tired of everyone’s crap – as most of us are in 2020 – was a joy. Especially because she gets to fight back. Wish fulfilment? Maybe.

The hardest… I’m not sure. I had to take more time with one of the ‘bad guys’, a military man called Colonel Arif, because I wanted to give him a level of righteousness which we can understand. Yes, he’s bad. But also… he’s right. He’s justified in his hatred of western interference in Egypt and his distrust of the American Agents (and Sam). He also has an arguably noble intention of restoring his country’s position as a shining light on the international stage. So that took a few versions and some brilliant guidance from my editor Eleanor Teasdale to get right.



TQDoes Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire touch on any social issues?

Dan:  Absolutely. Storytelling versions of archaeology have always made it seem romantic. Travelling the world, picking up mystical artefacts, and taking them back to your country to show ‘the world’. Yet this idea is rooted in colonialism. Those aren’t our artefacts to take away from their cultural context or display in our countries for a select group of outsiders to ogle.

I was taught old school archaeology. I appreciate the importance of studying our past and I LOVE museums as places of learning and safeguarding material culture. But thanks to some powerful voices out there, I now understand how the execution of these concepts has been – and can still be – problematic. So this issue is explored in the book as a clash of thinking between our cynical hero and her archaeologist sister.



TQWhich question about Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Dan:

“This story reminded me of that old click and point adventure game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Was that intentional?”
“Why yes, thank you so much for noticing! I loved that game when I was a teenager and it played a huge part in influencing some of the story and the general feel of lots of this book.”



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire.

“Our gaze into history should always be humble and respectful and undertaken with a light touch.”

I love this quote from Sam’s older professor friend Teddy, not only because it’s pretty much how I feel, but also because it comes shortly before the destruction of a whole site of ancient artefacts and tons of fighting. Best laid plans and all that.



TQWhat's next?

Dan:  I’m heading towards the end of a middle-aged-parent-ghostbusters-at-Christmas story right now, as well as working on something else which is a huge, exciting project. So I’m busy writing other books and finally in a position where I can give them my full focus, after many years of writing around day jobs and freelance gigs.

As for future Captain Moxley adventures… I’d love to write more. Let’s see what happens. :)



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Dan:  Thanks so much for having me and for so many wonderful questions!





Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire
Angry Robot, September 8, 2020
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 394 pages

Interview with Dan Hanks, author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire
An ex-Spitfire pilot is dragged into a race against a shadowy government agency to unlock the secrets of the lost empire of Atlantis…

In the post-war peace of 1952, ex-Spitfire pilot Captain Samantha Moxley should be done fighting bad guys. Instead, she finds herself dragged into a clash with a mysterious US government agency known as The Nine, when they take an interest in the work of Jess, her archaeologist sister.

Pursued by The Nine, former Nazis, and a host of otherworldly monsters, Sam must fight to protect her sister and uncover two hidden keys which promise to unlock the greatest archaeological find in history: the fabled Hall of Records.

From the skies over New York, to the catacombs of Paris, and finally to the ruins of Ancient Egypt, her quest takes her into the ashes of the past in search of the dying embers of an empire….and a discovery that could transform the world, or bring it to a terrible end.

File Under: Fantasy  [ Top Women | Riff-RAF | Pyramid Scheme | Bash the Fash ]





About Dan

Interview with Dan Hanks, author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire
Dan is a writer, editor, and vastly overqualified archaeologist who has lived everywhere from London to Hertfordshire to Manchester to Sydney, which explains the panic in his eyes anytime someone asks “where are you from?”. Thankfully he is now settled in the rolling green hills of the Peak District with his human family and fluffy sidekicks Indy and Maverick, where he writes books, screenplays and comics.








Website  ~  Twitter @dan_hanks

Interview with Chris Panatier, author of the Phlebotomist


Please welcome Chris Panatier to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Phlebotomist was published on September 8, 2020 by Angry Robot.



Interview with Chris Panatier, author of the Phlebotomist




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

Chris:  Thanks for asking me onto your blog! As far as my first fiction piece, this would have been during grade school, when I was perhaps ten or eleven years old. I recall some slapped together knight and dragon fantasies based on some Dungeons & Dragons I’d played. I never wrote more than three or four pages as I discovered that writing is hard and I was lazy. As a kid I was definitely more attracted to the idea of writing rather than the actual doing of it.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chris:  I am a total pantser when I sit down to write the words, but it would be inaccurate for me to say I do that to the exclusion of plotting. I do an immense amount of plotting before I begin the book, though I write down very little. I don’t like to feel hemmed in or committed to ideas and writing them down seems to do that. The premise, character, and plot ideas sit in my brain like a nebula and I just let them coagulate on their own. At some point, when the general direction becomes clear, I’ll sit down to write. Things are never fully fleshed out before I start, as the process tends to do this for me.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chris:  Valid self-doubt. Writers like to talk about imposter syndrome. Some of it is likely attributable to the particular neuroses that accompanies writing. I think it has something to do with the empathy and observational awareness we’re constantly employing in order to understand characters and people. Writers are already wired, I think, to be hypervigilant and overly self-critical. For me, this invariably crops up during the writing process when comparing my imagined story to what actually ends up on the page. They don’t always match no matter how hard I try.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Chris:  Having been a visual artist for so long before I got serious about writing, I knew I loved creating something from nothing. Turns out I enjoy building with words even more than I do with pencil, ink, or watercolor. And I want to push that creativity as far as I possibly can while still maintaining a coherent story. I am influenced and inspired by writers who do that. I think about Cameron Hurley, Philip K. Dick, Jeff Vandermeer, N.K. Jemisin, and Tamsyn Muir right off the bat.



TQ Describe The Phlebotomist using only 5 words.

Chris:  Oppression. Blood. Grandmother. Vengeance. Fun!



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

Chris:  There’s a murderous teenager in it.



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

Chris:  I was (and am) very angry about income inequality and the lengths to which the ruling class will go to keep the rest of the population under its boot. I decided that marrying a near future science fiction story with an apt fantasy trope was the best way to make my point. Science Fiction has always been such a great way to explore social and political issues. Sometimes when you remove events and conflicts from their present context and place them into another setting, they gain clarity. Also, readers’ alliances and prejudices are often challenged.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Phlebotomist?

Chris:  Oh, a lot. The society of The Phlebotomist is based upon a government-mandated blood draw called the Harvest and a cash-for-blood exchange called the Trade. There is varying demand for each of the blood types based on their compatibility with potential recipients—so each type fetches a different price. Society is thus segregated by blood type. Since I was creating an economy based on blood, I had to make sure it was scientifically accurate. I did plenty of internet research, bought a Phlebotomist’s Quick Reference Guide (laminated), and reached out to experts in the area. Some even talked to me! Amazing.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Phlebotomist.

Chris:  This cover brings me absolute joy. I wanted it to be hot pink from day one and this thing is more like surface-of-the-sun pink. It’s brilliant. Angry Robot keyed in on doing a vintage medical illustration theme, which I love. I ended up doing the illustration of the heart and lilies. The cover itself has five distinct nods to parts of the story.



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

Chris:  The excommunicated marine long-gun specialist turned blood hacker, ‘Lock’ came most naturally to me. She’s this older woman who is tired of your shit. I had a very specific old friend in mind when I wrote her. Maybe that’s why her distractable manner of speaking—a hybrid tech-slash-frontier gibberish—came so naturally to me. She’s also a bit unhinged. So I relate.

The hardest character to write was the protagonist, Willa. This is interesting because I know who she is. Her personality, brains, values, fears, and motives were all very clear to me from the start. It got hard when she was thrust into a string of increasingly bonkers situations that nobody in history has ever actually been subject to. Figuring out how a real person would react when dropped into one of these scenarios had me doing a lot of trial and error to make sure I got it right.



TQDoes The Phlebotomist touch on any social issues?

ChrisThe Phlebotomist is an allegory for a number of social issues. Segregation is front and center. Interestingly, this is an issue that many people (including a number of Justices on our Supreme Court) might believe is no longer relevant, but I think it’s more relevant than ever. The story also grapples with wealth inequality, urban food deserts, privacy, and consent.



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

Chris:

Q: Did you ever entertain any other potential titles for the book?
A: I briefly considered calling it The Evens. If you read it, you’ll see why!



TQ Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Phlebotomist.

Chris:

“Holy shit, Willa, you look like Beelzebub,” said Lock. “Rub a little of that inside Llydia so it looks like you brained yourself genuinely.”



TQWhat's next?

Chris:  I have a few short stories coming out soon. I’m always plugging away on those as it’s nice to start and finish something when novels take so long. As for novels, I took a flyer on this absolutely insane premise and I’m almost done with the first draft. It’s so nuts that I don’t know if I’ll ever even show it to anyone. Sort of The Matrix + Monsters, Inc., but with angels and they’re all drunk on turpentine. Maybe I’m drunk on turpentine.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  Thank you very much!





The Phlebotomist
Angry Robot, September 8, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 344 pages

Interview with Chris Panatier, author of the Phlebotomist
In a near future where citizens are subject to the mandatory blood draw, government phlebotomist Willa Wallace witnesses an event that makes her question her whole world…

To recover from a cataclysmic war, the Harvest was instituted to pass blood to those affected by radiation. But this charitable act has led to a society segregated entirely by blood type. Government blood contractor, Patriot, rewards you generous gift based on the compatibility of your donation, meaning that whoever can give the most, gets the most in return.

While working as a reaper taking collections for the Harvest, Willa chances upon an idea to resurrect an obsolete technique that could rebalance the city. But in her quest to set things into motion, she uncovers a horrifying secret that cuts to the heart of everything.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Blood Will Out | This Might Hurt a Bit | Be positive | Bloody Nightmare ]





About Chris

Interview with Chris Panatier, author of the Phlebotomist
Chris Panatier lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, daughter, and a fluctuating herd of animals resembling dogs (one is almost certainly a goat). He writes short stories and novels, “plays” the drums, and draws album covers for metal bands. He plays himself on Twitter @chrisjpanatier.

Website  ~  Twitter

Facebook  ~  Tumblr

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Interview with Alice James, author of Grave Secrets


Please welcome Alice James to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Grave Secrets was published on September 1, 2020 by Solaris.



Interview with Alice James, author of Grave Secrets




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

Alice:  When I was little, I was obsessed with dragons and elves – also boiled frankfurter sausages, but that’s another story. My mum was disappointed, I think because she was a mahoosive Science Fiction fan but also she hated frankfurters. Anyway, my sister and I wrote a very complicated saga set on a magical world with a canal that went all the way round. Our heroine got stranded alone on the lower deck of an abandoned boat – I have no idea how – and gradually found her way to the upper roof where of course there was an enchanted jungle garden filled with elves and Nice Things. Cue happily ever after the end yada yada. I don’t have a copy of it anywhere, sadly, but my sister and I still call it The Barge Story and argue about plot elements. Don’t listen to her, by the way. She’s wrong.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Alice:  Total 100% pantser – no question, no doubt. I start my books with a strong feeling of atmosphere and one or two key scenes that I like the idea of … and then I just span backwards to find out how they got set up in the first place and forwards to find out what happens as a consequence. I don’t have the organisational abilities to be a plotter. I am bad enough at planning breakfast. As a result breakfast is often just coffee and complaining – which is bad, but not as bad as no coffee. I talk to writers who have a spreadsheet at hand all the time, flow diagrams, coded folders... I am so disorganised the closest I get to a timeline is an incomplete list of character names so I can remember how to spell them. My books are very very character driven, and the plot just has to work around that.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alice:  Keeping things short. My agent never asks for additions, just cuts. (He always takes 99% of the sex scenes out too – what’s with that?) I think it’s because as a wire journalist, which I was for nine years, you are always crimping down everything to fit the page, and so it’s nice to take a more freeform approach in creative writing. But there’s got to be a happy medium set between writing soliloquies and getting on with the story line. When we were editing Grave Secrets, my agent would say: “Where’s the plot gone this time, Alice? Did it roll under the sofa?” and I would sigh and get out my red pen.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Alice:  I love to travel, and do think that influences me. I will see a fascinating geographical location and start setting things up in it in my head… My Dad is a history buff, too, and he is always phoning me up to tell me a fascinating factoid about the ancient Persian army or how they first farmed vanilla in Madagascar. That often plants little seedlings in my brain. And I read way too many novels and comics and watch too many films as well – not to mention play too many computer games – so I am always immersing myself in new fantasy and science fiction.



TQDescribe Grave Secrets using only 5 words.

Alice:  “Whodunit with zombies and vampires” – that’s five, right?



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

Alice:  OK, I don’t know if I have told anyone this yet, but I gave my Dad a cameo role. He’s the coroner who is also a conveyancing solicitor! He gets a slightly larger part in the later books but I liked the idea of sliding something personal like that in for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Growing up in the countryside as a coroner’s daughter was eye opening. The police would ring all the time, and of course it was always about the deaths that were unclear – or all too clear in Bad Ways. I don’t view death as entertaining, quite the opposite, but I had to take a very pragmatic approach to it from an early age because it was all around me all the time.



TQWhat inspired you to write Grave Secrets? What appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Alice:  I love the genre. I first came across it at uni when a friend leant me the first in the Barbara Hambly James Asher books, Travelling with the Dead. I think the allure for a lot of people is that you take the real world and change just this one thing: you make a little bit of the darkness real. The macabre and the numinous creep out of your imagination and into reality. It makes the genres uncomfortably relatable.

For Grave Secrets, I was inadvertently inspired by a couple of books I was reading. One was a volume of short stories about zombies, and I didn’t like it because not one of the stories was actually about the zombies. It was just about people who encounter zombies. I thought it missed a trick and I decided to fill that gap.

The second books was a glorious genre mashup, the first of the Gaslight series of short stories that pitch Sherlock Holmes against the eldritch forces of darkness. That’s where I decided that cosy crime, romance, zombies, vampires, horror and a whodunit could all join forces with an LGBT+ friendly Aga saga under one cover.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Grave Secrets?

Alice:  Mostly I just cheated and wrote about what I know – messing up relationships, growing up in Staffordshire, having a totally crap car, spending too much on clothes, taking a very random degree at Bristol University. I don’t think my heroine and I have a lot in common character-wise, but we have quite a lot of overlapping background due to me being lazy and not wanting to do a lot of research.

But when I stepped out of my comfort zone, I did do some research. For example, there is a scene with a nail gun – no spoilers, I promise – but I had never used a nail gun so I went out and bought one. It’s been remarkably useful to be honest! Money not wasted.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Grave Secrets.

Alice:  I love that cover so much. We went through many, many versions because my editor Kate Coe and my agent Simon Kavanagh were most determined to find a visual that screamed Cosy Crime and Urban Fantasy in equal amounts. The artist is the amazing Sam Gretton, and Sam somehow found a way of keeping us all happy and ticking every box and not just leaving the building Elvis-style when we requested Yet Another Rework. Sam even redid everything a final time, when it was honestly already gorgeous, because I moaned that the car wasn’t actually the heroine Toni’s car. (She drives a clapped-out vintage Morris Traveller.)

There are loads of little touches that just warm my heart, too. I asked if Sam could add the little skull in the ‘I’ of my name, and it’s just the cutest thing ever. For styling, I appreciate how the subheading is the text on the gravestone instead of just underneath the title and the way Solaris tucked their spine logo into the gravestone....

There were a lot of ideas that we threw about and then threw out too. The process of creating a book cover is a lot more labyrinthine than I realised. But I am very fortunate in that Solaris is part of the Rebellion group, with its graphic novel empire, so they know an awful lot about artwork compared with many publishers.



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

Alice:  Toni’s brother has a boyfriend called Henry, and he was super easy to write because he is the only character – apart from the coroner – who is shamelessly based on a real person. He’s based on a cousin of mine, who is always chilled and reassuring even when the sky is falling, the hedge has caught fire and you have run out of wine.

The toughest was probably Grace, one of the vampires who is a bit part in this book but has more airplay later in the series, because I just don’t know anyone like her. She is hard. She is cool and collected. She shows little soft emotion on the surface but clearly has a lot that’s passionate hidden underneath. I worked on her because I wanted her to be convincing, but in fairness I don’t think she comes into her own until Book Two.



TQDoes Grave Secrets touch on any social issues?

Alice:  Not intentionally, but I do often find when I have finished any creative writing that many of my main characters are bisexual. It’s not something I plan for, and it tends to be pointed out to me by my proof readers.

Elsewhere, with Toni – who is the lead character in Grave Secrets – I wanted to avoid the “feisty female” trope, because I didn’t want her to be stereotyped in that way even though she certainly has some of those elements. She is passionate. She is flawed. She makes decisions in haste and regrets them. She is always broke. She wants to be driven by her head but her heart is always in the way. She is loyal. She gets scared. She can be self-confident or insecure. I think I have ended up with someone who is feminine but a feminist, who has to battle the sexism of modern day England, as well as vampires and other evils, but is ready to do so.



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

Alice:  “Please can we make a long-running HBO series of your novel?” No, seriously, I love it when people ask questions full stop because it means they have read the book and are interested in finding out more. I would like to be asked what I see making Grave Secrets different from other urban fantasies… and it’s my no-angst pledge. The one thing I went overboard with when I wrote this was to try to keep it 100% free of angst:

Think about the first Star Wars film. Death, suffering, betrayal, totalitarian regimes committing genocide on a whim – and yet it’s all done with such a light touch that you are lifted up not cast down. A lot of urban fantasies with female protagonists in feature rape, too, and a lot of sex where everything is so fraught that the characters don’t appear to be actually enjoying it. I was determined that if my characters got any shagging in, everyone would be having A Good Time. And Toni faces a lot of Bad Stuff but, while she gets scared or set back, she never gives in to despair. So there are some tough scenes in the book, and it’s not free of gore because at the end of the day it’s also horror, but there is no drag-me-down angst.



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

Alice:
  • Here’s one I am like: “Please Oscar, try shutting up again. It was working really well.”
  • I think this one is also a Toni classic: “Round here, we’d say you got all the custard but not the mustard, if you get my drift, Mr Gambarini.”
  • And just to keep people going: “He didn’t look particularly cool with his trousers at half-mast and his todger wagging about, and I could tell he knew it.”


TQWhat's next?

Alice:  So, this is a series of ten, and I am on volume eight, so there is still some work to go on the Lavington Windsor Mysteries, I know! That said, I have put them down for now until after the launch of Grave Secrets because I find it confusing to work on two books from the same series at the same time.

In terms of my next projects, I just finished my first science fiction novel. I do love it and I can’t wait for people to read it. It’s got the whole shebang: tentacled aliens, spaceships on fire, interstellar war, abandoned planets and a locked room murder mystery set in space.

My current work is an old-fashioned swords and sorcery trilogy with deserts and dragons. It’s the first creative thing that I have written that is not a mystery, and that gives me a lot more flexibility in terms of where I take the narrative. That’s surprisingly unhelpful, though. In a mystery novel, you have to solve it shortly and you have to do so just before the end, so much of the story flow is predetermined. With this one, I have to make it up all myself which is harder! But it’s got some great characters and I am having to learn about sword fighting and ancient Egyptian mythology. Watch this space!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alice:  Thank you! Ask me again next year when volume two is out…

TQAbsolutely!





Grave Secrets
The Lavington Windsor Mysteries 1
Solaris, September 1, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 300 pages

Interview with Alice James, author of Grave Secrets
Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with croquet and zombies.

"Fun, fast debut... Fans of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse will want to check out Toni." -- Publishers Weekly

Toni Windsor is trying to live a quiet life in the green and pleasant county of Staffordshire. She'd love to finally master the rules of croquet, acquire a decent boyfriend and make some commission as an estate agent.

All that might have to wait, though, because there are zombies rising from their graves, vampires sneaking out of their coffins and a murder to solve.

And it's all made rather more complicated by the fact that she's the one raising all the zombies. Oh, and she's dating one of the vampires too. Really, what's a girl meant to do?

"Raises the zombie genre from the grave."- Jack Hayes

"Dead funny."- Mark Beech


Readers are loving the newest necromancer in town. Read advance praise for Grave Secrets from NetGalley:

"Heads up to all fans of True Blood and Buffy, our new favourite heroine is here, she's a necromancer, and she's kind of a hot mess!"- NetGalley review

"A thrilling five-star read."- NetGalley review

"A fun filled, laugh out loud page turner."- NetGalley review





About Alice

Interview with Alice James, author of Grave Secrets
Alice works as a writer, specialising in finance and travel. She is currently International Editor for Dante Magazine, who don’t seem to mind that all her columns are about getting lost in a different international destination, and Content Writer for the French business school EDHEC. She was previously a journalist and TV presenter for Bloomberg before becoming press and PR director of a $1 billion US hedge fund for 18 months. That turned out to be the worst period in history for hedge funds, so she retired wounded and decided that perhaps writing fantasy was a safer career. She has also worked as a project manager, creating business supplements for The Sunday Times, which involved more spreadsheets than she would like to see again. Ever. Alice has a degree in Maths from Bristol University – and half of a diploma in silversmithing from UCE University because it turns out that making the ladies’ version of the One Ring is a lot harder than she thought. She likes cats and ramen noodles and lives in a converted chapel in Oxfordshire because when people tell you that you will grow out of being a Goth, what they actually mean is that they’d like their black leather coat back now. She has written nine and a half novels; recently an interfering friend suggested that she should trying finding a publisher.

Website  ~ Twitter

Interview with Carole Stivers, author of The Mother Code


Please welcome Carole Stivers to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Mother Code was published on August 25, 2020 by Berkley.



Interview with Carole Stivers, author of The Mother Code




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

Carole:  The first fiction piece I remember writing was one I penned in about the fourth grade, called “Carbuncle and I.” The story was based on Sherlock Holmes, but the detective and his assistant were cute and cartoonish. I can’t remember the plot, but a picture I drew of the characters is forever etched in my mind.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Carole:  I started out as a pantser, but that wasn’t very rewarding—so much work ended up on the cutting room floor! Now I’m a hybrid. I try to start a novel with a clear beginning and end in mind. Then I write my way through, adding beats on a separate sheet as I go along to guide the narrative. This allows things to take surprising turns, while still maintaining the focus of the original theme and desired ending.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Carole:  I do lots of research before even starting, which is more like work than fun. Then I slog through getting the first draft on paper. But after that comes the joy, when I get to flesh out the story and get more into the characters, their emotions and motivations. For me, the revision phase is best, knowing that I have something solid to work with and to mold.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Carole:  Whenever I start to lose momentum and hope for my work, I find solace in reading good authors. I love new authors who take chances with their writing, like Devi S. Laskar (The Atlas of Reds and Blues) and Rachel Howard (The Risk of Us). And of course I love the greats, like Margaret Atwood, whose prose sinks into the mind so effortlessly, and Isabel Allende, whose worlds are so beautifully built.



TQDescribe The Mother Code using only 5 words.

Carole:  A child discovers his mother.



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

Carole:  Kai is not alone in his quest to decide the fate of his Mother. There are other children, two little girls in particular, who are instrumental in his trajectory. And there are many other important female characters who drive the plot.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Mother Code? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction.

Carole:  I had the first spark of an idea for The Mother Code while traveling in the desert Southwest with my family in 2003. At the heart of the story, I wanted there to be a reliance by a child on his “Mother” robot in this setting, because, so far as he knew, there was no other life left on the planet. The rest of the story—the origins of the pandemic that set the stage, the origins of the Mothers and their children, the conflict that arose as the children and their Mothers matured and changed, and the few human adults who remained afterward to shepherd the children, all grew out of that original idea.

I was a scientist for many years, and I feel comfortable writing about scientists and laboratory settings. But writing science fiction also allows me to place characters in strange circumstances and watch them fight their way through. By forcing my characters to face the uncanny, I can leverage that “defamiliarization” to ask questions in a fresh way that is not confrontational to the reader and might inspire them to think or feel differently.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Mother Code?

Carole:  I travelled to the sites where my story takes place: the San Francisco Presidio, Los Alamos, the desert Southwest, and the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. I took a tour of the Hopi Reservation, talked to current residents about their lives and livelihoods, and read books about Hopi history and tradition.

I researched robotics and AI to develop a picture of what my Mother robots would have to look like, how they would be programmed, and what materials would be used in their construction. For specifics, I consulted with a good friend who is a pilot, a computer systems manager, and a science fiction fan.

I also researched the genetic engineering of human fetuses, innovative bionic prostheses, and advances in man-machine brain interfaces. One difficult issue I faced was how to destroy most of human life on planet Earth, while leaving all else intact. My “IC-NAN” is based on current research in DNA therapeutics at Northwestern University.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Mother Code.

Carole:  The cover is meant to depict nurturing in the form of the cupped hands—a protection of something fragile from the hardships of the desert (portrayed in the desert palette colors). The “Mother Code” that directs the hands in their duties is depicted as symbols at the top of the image, which degrade into sand and dust at the bottom of the image to give a sense that the Code itself is fragile.



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

Carole:  For me, Kai was easiest to write. As a child, Kai is a seeker; he came to the story as a blank slate, learning as he went along. The hardest character for me to write was Rick Blevins, a military man—it was difficult for me to avoid stereotypes when writing him. But the most fun to write was Kendra Jenkins, a character who only occurred to me when I was well into the novel. A problem-solver with a can-do attitude, Kendra is most like me in her approach to life, and she has a quirky side to her that I enjoyed portraying.



TQDoes The Mother Code touch on any social issues?

Carole:  At the time I began work on The Mother Code, I was most concerned about the possible use of bioagents in warfare and what they might inadvertently do if they got out of control. I know that COVID-19 was not developed for warfare. But it has certainly given rise to greater concern about such agents—which I think is a good thing.



TQ:  Which question about The Mother Code do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Carole:

Q: Do you really think that a machine like Rho-Z, Kai’s Mother, could be programmed to care for a child?

A: I think that a machine could definitely be designed that would serve the basic needs of a child. The trick would be the human element, which is key for a child to truly thrive. In The Mother Code, that human element develops in a surprising way. But I believe that such an outcome is indeed probable.



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

Carole:  My favorite quotes relate to Kai’s instinctive relationship with his Mother:

“But at night, when they were alone, that feeling was as strong as ever— the feeling that he couldn’t possibly know where he ended, and his Mother began.”

“And he responded, not in words but in song—the song of the Mother Code.”



TQWhat's next?

Carole:  I’m currently working on a tale that I call Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Story of Your Life. I only hope it matches up to either of those two classics—especially the second, which was written by the amazing Ted Chiang.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Mother Code
Berkley, August 25, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Carole Stivers, author of The Mother Code
What it means to be human—and a mother—is put to the test in Carole Stivers’s debut novel set in a world that is more chilling and precarious than ever.

The year is 2049. When a deadly non-viral agent intended for biowarfare spreads out of control, scientists must scramble to ensure the survival of the human race. They turn to their last resort, a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots—to be incubated, birthed, and raised by machines. But there is yet one hope of preserving the human order: an intelligence programmed into these machines that renders each unique in its own right—the Mother Code.

Kai is born in America’s desert Southwest, his only companion his robotic Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and motivations of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. But as children like Kai come of age, their Mothers transform too—in ways that were never predicted. And when government survivors decide that the Mothers must be destroyed, Kai is faced with a choice. Will he break the bond he shares with Rho-Z? Or will he fight to save the only parent he has ever known?

Set in a future that could be our own, The Mother Code explores what truly makes us human—and the tenuous nature of the boundaries between us and the machines we create.





About Carole

Interview with Carole Stivers, author of The Mother Code
Photo: © Alan Stivers
Carole Stivers was born in East Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She went on to post-doctoral work at Stanford University before launching a career in medical diagnostics. She now lives in California, where she’s combined her love of writing and her fascination with the possibilities of science to create her first novel, The Mother Code.


Website  ~  Facebook


Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds


Please welcome Micaiah Johnson to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Space Between Worlds was published on August 4, 2020 by Del Rey.



Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds




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

Micaiah:  Noooo, it’s so embarrassing! My grandma had an electric typewriter and I definitely wrote a story where my dogs were detectives who had to solve a chicken’s murder.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Micaiah:  I am a pantser in denial. I will forever be “about to start” outlining.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Micaiah:  You know that news article about the horse who pretends to be dead every time it has to give someone a ride? That’s me with editing. It’s an essential and unavoidable part of my job, and I *hate* it. It’s like listening to my own voice. It’s so painful.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Micaiah:  Everything. I see so much of what has surrounded me manifest in my work. It’s not just what I’ve read – though a childhood spent trapped in the car with my grandmother’s murder mystery audiobooks definitely accounts for my love of twists – it’s my desert upbringing mixed with every late-night bar conversation I’ve ever had mixed with that three-legged cat I petted one time. It’s so exciting to be on the third or fourth read-through and suddenly realize “holy crap, I’m describing my second grade teacher’s house” or something.



TQDescribe The Space Between Worlds using only 5 words.

Micaiah:  Girl dies tons, has adventure.



TQTell us something about The Space Between Worlds that is not found in the book description.

Micaiah:  The House! One of my favorite parts about this world is how the sex providers operate as a community resource, which is a spin on how essential these establishments actually were during the “wild” west period.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Space Between Worlds?

Micaiah:  Because of my failure at outlining, I often write toward images. For this book, the image I had was someone walking through the desert and coming upon their own face. I was captivated by it. The desert is such a lonely place. The plant life is low and sparse, so you can never delude yourself that there is anyone around you. You are alone, and you utterly know it. Imagine being in that setting and finally coming up on another human, and that human is you. Their face is your face. Are you still alone? Does this count? I kind of started from there and went off.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Space Between Worlds?

Micaiah:  Tons, and all entirely outside of my field. I owe so much to Brian Greene, Carlo Rovelli, and Michio Kaku for being the kind of very smart scientists whose writing is also accessible enough for a lit major to learn something from it.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Space Between Worlds.

Micaiah:  The breathtaking American cover for the book is actually an oil painting by artist Cassandre Bolan, and the moment I found out she was my artist I was stoked. I remember her website saying something along the lines of, “I create strong women in fantasy to inspire strong women in reality” and I was instantly like “gimmie gimmie I need it!” I knew featuring two queer women of color on the cover would be audacious, but I couldn’t have predicted it would be so beautiful.



TQIn The Space Between Worlds who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Micaiah:  Exlee was both! I loved writing Exlee, but I also know them and deeply wanted to get them right which paralyzed me. What (very) little nonbinary representation we get is often Eurocentric: straight-bodied white people in monochrome vests. And that is absolutely valid as a nonbinary expression, but it’s not the only valid expression, and pretending it is leaves out cultures where gender expression is more bombastic. Trying to tackle this character with that in mind was a ton of joy and a lot of pressure.



TQDoes The Space Between Worlds touch on any social issues?

Micaiah:  Certainly, I think anytime you are talking about walls – like the walled city in my book – you are actually talking about borders and immigration. Likewise, anytime you are dealing with a super-advanced tech city of the future, you are also talking about Western capitalism and at what cost that advancement has been bought. I would argue that Science Fiction as a genre, by virtue of daring to imagine alternate futures, is always operating in the territory of social issues…even if by omission.



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

Micaiah:  “Was Dell based on Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice?” so I can scream “YES! YES! THANK YOU FOR NOTICING! YES!”



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Space Between Worlds.

Micaiah:

“What they don’t tell you about getting everything you’ve ever wanted is the cold-sweat panic when you think about losing it. For someone who’s never had anything to lose, it’s like drowning, all the time”

“Killing should take longer than a heartbeat. Murder should be unignorable, always.”



TQWhat's next?

Micaiah:  I’m so torn about next steps. Part of me wants to spend more time in this world and with these characters, part of me wants to take a dramatic turn and write horror or a cookbook (which is just saying “horror” again, since I truly can’t cook). I can’t be trusted. I’m easily bored and impossible to satisfy.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Space Between Worlds
Del Rey, August 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds
An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens the very fabric of the multiverse in this stunning debut, a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Gorgeous writingmind-bending world-buildingrazor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.”—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

“Clever characterssurprise twistsplenty of action, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.”—Library Journal (starred review)





About Micaiah

Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds
Photo: © Rory Vetack
Micaiah Johnson was raised in California’s Mojave Desert surrounded by trees named Joshua and women who told stories. She received her bachelor of arts in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside, and her master of fine arts in fiction from Rutgers University–Camden. She now studies American literature at Vanderbilt University, where she focuses on critical race theory and automatons.

Twitter @micaiah_johnson

Interview with Cherie Dimaline, author of Empire of Wild


Please welcome Cherie Dimaline to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews for her US Debut. Empire of Wild is published on July 28, 2020 by William Morrow.



Interview with Cherie Dimaline, author of Empire of Wild




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

Cherie:  I used to get in trouble all the time during class because I would write stories on the back of math tests… and forget to do the math. This started in grade 2 and 3. I’m sure they were short and terrible, but I remember in those moments when the classroom was quiet and there was an hour stretching in front of me, all I could do was write. I remember one story about some kids who find a dragon in the woods behind their house after school one day.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Cherie:  Total hybrid. Usually I start with a seed of an idea, or a voice and then I plot once I have a bunch of pages teetering on the edge of my desk.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Cherie:  It’s tough to shut out the public before it’s time to let them in. I lose myself in the story and it’s so beautiful. But then I start to think about the readers who are my partners in the project and my confidence falls. So I have to try to build walls in order to write, which then makes me feel like a bad partner. Maybe anxiety is the biggest challenge then.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Cherie:  Other writers like Omar El Akaad and Jesmyn Ward and poets like Gregory Scofield inspire me and anger me- how can they write so damn well?!. And always, my grandmother who was the first person to tell me stories, is my main inspiration. She told my stories about the rogarou who plays a huge role in this book. And, full disclosure, I binge watched True Blood to de-stress and that sulky, supernatural-ness may or may not have seeped in to the prose here and there….



TQDescribe Empire of Wild using only 5 words.

Cherie:  Gothic, lush, magic, sex, survival (Oh, sex survival sounds like a good reality show)



TQTell us something about Empire of Wild that is not found in the book description.

Cherie:  I started writing it on the back of a barf bag during a redeye flight. I still have that bag. Thankfully there was minimal turbulence so it didn’t have to be used for anything other than story notes.



TQWhat inspired you to write Empire of Wild?

Cherie:  On that same flight, I read an article in a magazine (Walrus magazine) about these new well-funded missionary churches that were going into Indigenous communities to bring the people in off the land and to god. They were headed by Indigenous preachers, at least publically. It made me wonder about a lot of things like why now, and who was funding the missions, and what did this mean for traditional people and the community overall.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Empire of Wild?

Cherie:  I really thought about wolf culture globally, which surprisingly brought me to the Inquisition in Germany where they tried werewolves along with witches.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Empire of Wild.

Cherie:  We really wanted to find an image that spoke to the magic and fear and seduction of the woods and all the things that could be lurking there. So the trees and the stars in one image really gives the idea of possibility and adventure.



TQIn Empire of Wild who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Cherie:  Joan was the easiest to write because she is based on so many strong women who I love dearly, real badass, beautifully flawed and remarkable women. Cecile was the hardest because she was a villain and started off as such a cliché. She had no nuance, no rationale that you could connect to. And a villain without nuance is a paper doll. So I sat down to write her backstory and it ended up in the book.



TQDoes Empire of Wild touch on any social issues?

Cherie:  Everything I write end up having social issues embedded in them. This one has resource extraction, cultural survival and colonization. You know, just the small stuff.



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

Cherie:

Was it fun to write the sexier scenes in the book?

Oh hells yes it was!



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

Cherie

Old medicine has a way of being remembered, of haunting the land where it was laid. People are forgetful. Medicine is not.


He had generous lips and a wide smile. But his teeth? It was like God put a bunch of potentials in a Yahtzee cup and tossed, thinking Fuck it, let’s just hope for the best.



TQWhat's next?

Cherie:  I’m working on the TV adaptation to my YA book The Marrow Thieves. And researching souvenirs, road trips and witchcraft for a new project. Oh yeah, it’s going to be a wild one!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!





Empire of Wild
William Morrow, July 28, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Cherie Dimaline, author of Empire of Wild
“Deftly written, gripping and informative. Empire of Wild is a rip-roaring read!”—Margaret Atwood, From Instagram

Empire of Wild is doing everything I love in a contemporary novel and more. It is tough, funny, beautiful, honest and propulsive—all the while telling a story that needs to be told by a person who needs to be telling it.”—Tommy Orange, author of There There

A bold and brilliant new indigenous voice in contemporary literature makes her American debut with this kinetic, imaginative, and sensuous fable inspired by the traditional Canadian Métis legend of the Rogarou—a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of native people’s communities.

Joan has been searching for her missing husband, Victor, for nearly a year—ever since that terrible night they’d had their first serious argument hours before he mysteriously vanished. Her Métis family has lived in their tightly knit rural community for generations, but no one keeps the old ways . . . until they have to. That moment has arrived for Joan.

One morning, grieving and severely hungover, Joan hears a shocking sound coming from inside a revival tent in a gritty Walmart parking lot. It is the unmistakable voice of Victor. Drawn inside, she sees him. He has the same face, the same eyes, the same hands, though his hair is much shorter and he's wearing a suit. But he doesn't seem to recognize Joan at all. He insists his name is Eugene Wolff, and that he is a reverend whose mission is to spread the word of Jesus and grow His flock. Yet Joan suspects there is something dark and terrifying within this charismatic preacher who professes to be a man of God . . . something old and very dangerous.

Joan turns to Ajean, an elderly foul-mouthed card shark who is one of the few among her community steeped in the traditions of her people and knowledgeable about their ancient enemies. With the help of the old Métis and her peculiar Johnny-Cash-loving, twelve-year-old nephew Zeus, Joan must find a way to uncover the truth and remind Reverend Wolff who he really is . . . if he really is. Her life, and those of everyone she loves, depends upon it.





About Cherie

Interview with Cherie Dimaline, author of Empire of Wild
Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and became the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library. She is the author of the young adult novel The Marrow Thieves, which was a Canadian bestseller and won several honors, including the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Kirkus Prize in the young adult literature category, and was a fan favorite in the 2018 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads. She lives in Christian Island, Ontario.




Website  ~  Twitter @cherie_dimaline

Interview with John P. Murphy, author of Red Noise


Please welcome John P. Murphy to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Red Noise was published on July 7, 2020 by Angry Robot.



Interview with John P. Murphy, author of Red Noise




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

John P. Murphy:  Oh gosh. Does anyone have an answer to this that isn't horribly embarrassing? I wrote pretty much constantly when I was a kid, and it all kind of blended together. Some kind of generic epic fantasy thing, with airships. The airships bit, at least, I remember. I was a huge JRPG fan starting in the early 90s - we got a copy of Final Fantasy with Nintendo Power magazine, and I was absolutely hooked on it. I pretty much immediately started writing stories that were really very thinly veiled copies, driven mostly by people having cool names rather than personalities.

The first piece I remember letting people read was probably a one act play. I was really into theatre in high school, and we were allowed to write skits and short plays to put on for credit. I'm not sure if this was the first one, but I remember writing one about a writer who handcuffed himself to his desk to make himself finish on deadline, and all his terrible drafts were acted out in front of him. That was pretty fun; I hadn't thought of that in years.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

JPM:  These days I'm a plotter. Part of that is that I have so little time to write, so that I spend time during the day planning out what I'm going to write, and can then generally speed through it. I don't often finish according to plan, though: if it's going an interesting direction, I keep at it, and then revise the plan. But what I need most is to know the ending, especially the emotional payoff - I need that north star if the plot is going to work, and for me I can't just pants that.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

JPM:  Finishing! I pretty reliably hit a rough spot at about the two-thirds spot in almost everything I write. By that point I've hit most of the things I hadn't fully thought through, the shine of the idea has worn off, and I'm convinced that nobody will ever like it. I've abandoned a few drafts at that stage, but mostly it just takes a lot of energy and motivation to get through. I bribe myself with good whiskey and home-roasted coffee.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

JPM:  This one had a lot of influences. I'm kind of a cultural magpie. I've been really enjoying some of the more recent space-based science fiction lately; I love the way Aliette de Bodard's science fiction paints a different kind of space-faring future than we're used to seeing. I read a lot of old-school noir in preparing for this, like Chandler and Hammett, and newer more horror-oriented noir like Cassandra Khaw. I was obviously pretty strongly influence by samurai flicks and the grittier style of Western - think Clint Eastwood, not John Wayne. A fair bit of anime, especially Cowboy Bebop and Planetes. Firefly, too. The Fallout games likely had an influence on the aesthetic. Heck, there's even a Dwarf Fortress reference in there, but if anyone gets that I'll be amazed.



TQDescribe Red Noise using only 5 words.

JPM:  Space samurai flick with explosives.



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

JPM:  So, if you'll just look over there at that fascinating bird, I'm definitely not re-reading my own book description right now. Oh, it flew away.

Maybe this is implied in the description, but I did want to say that the plot of Red Noise isn't so much about being a badass, as it's about being clever. The Miner possibly could take down all the baddies in a frontal assault, but I don't think it would be as fun a story if she did. I've always found Odysseus more interesting than Achilles; Loki more interesting than Thor. So she can fight, yeah, but it's more important that she can think.



TQWhat inspired you to write Red Noise? What appeals to you about writing Space Opera?

JPM:  Well, to go way, way back, I was introduced to samurai films back in college, and then wrote essays on them during a study abroad in Japan twenty years ago. I just love that aesthetic. I'd watched a lot of Westerns growing up, since my dad was a fan, and they felt like both a missing piece and a distillation of the form. Yojimbo in particular struck me, and I did a paper on it and the later movies that were based on it, as well as going back and looking at its own antecedents, particularly Hammett's Red Harvest. I decided early on that I wanted to take my own stab at the genre, specifically in space, but it took the 2016 election and the use of social media to rile up so much of society against itself to really spur me to write it.

As for Space Opera in particular... It's such a wonderful sandbox for storytelling, and I think there are good reasons it has such overlap with Space Westerns. There's a tolerance for handwaving, for one thing. Readers will appreciate as much science as you feel like throwing in, but the focus is on the story more than on the tech. That's a comfortable place to be for someone like me, who can't help but geek out a bit but who still would rather write about Sturm und Drang than scribble out another doctoral thesis.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Red Noise?

JPM:  Most of my research was non-technical, trying to get the feel right. I especially did research into how I wanted to write the action. I hadn't written much before, and I tend to dislike it in a lot of books that I read -- I find it too drawn-out, too focused on the wrong things. I watched a bunch of Westerns and samurai movies, and reread some books that I thought did action well. I found that the fights that worked best for me were short and punchy (sorry! sorry!) and at their best were pulling double-duty in illuminating character. I'm pretty happy with how the fight scenes turned out, and how they differ from the Miner's point of view versus someone like Screwball.

I also did some research into nuclear weapons, and I kind of wish I hadn't. Some of these things are hard to forget.



TQDoes having a PhD in Engineering and a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering help or hinder your writing of Red Noise?

JPM:  A little of both. As a background thing, knowing the shape of how things are likely to work is a huge help. Understanding how systems interact and how they break helps me fill in the little details that make the world feel a little more real, or rather more realistically broken. Plus having all this miscellaneous knowledge, like how listening devices work or how robotic systems operate. A bigger benefit is knowing how to research, how to come up to speed on new things quickly.

On the other hand, I don't have a lot of interest in writing hard SF. I don't really read it much either, and anyway most of what passes for hard SF narrowly focuses on getting just one field right at the expense of dozens of others. But still I worry a lot about expectations: Are people going to pick up the book knowing I have a PhD and expect all the science to be spot-on? Most of the time I try not to write stuff I know is absolute nonsense, but sometimes I have to shrug, quietly apologize to my professors, and move on. That's part of the appeal of space opera as a genre, that lessened expectation of rigid correctness.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Red Noise.

JPM:  The cover process was fun, and Angry Robot was so good about it. It's very abstract, just that foil sword piercing the title, with stars in the background, pulled off brilliantly by Kieryn Tyler. I put together a Pinterest board of all these things that I loved in visual design, that the book made me think of. The Criterion Collection DVD covers for Yojimbo and Seven Samurai, for example, even sumi-e paintings. I really enjoy the effect of black and white and red. Kieryn took all that amorphous mess and really ran with it.



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

JPM:  Takata was the easiest to write, and Angelica the hardest, for the same reason: they're the two characters who are most like me. Takata is off to the side, and he gets to pretty much just react to what's going on. His role in the story is to be opinionated and provide a little bit of an outside moral compass. And boy, I can talk. So he was easy to write.

Angelica, on the other hand, has to act and antagonize. To write her, I had her mostly do what would come naturally to me - but as a result, she tended to blend into the background in the early drafts and just sort of exist; then when she acted it would seem to come from nowhere. Forcing myself to double back and think through and make her motivations as clear as the others, especially when she doesn't have that much page time, was hard.



TQDoes Red Noise touch on any social issues?

JPM:  Several of them, some intentionally, some not. It doesn't take much reading to see political parallels, but I'll leave those for the reader. In a way, it's a poor book that doesn't touch on anything important to the author. One of the big questions of the book, though, is the point of argument between Takata and Herrera: what has to come first, justice or peace? The argument is explicit sometimes, but that question was on my mind a lot when writing. It reads differently to me in the summer of 2020 than it did when I handed in the manuscript last year, and I'm pleased by that. I expect it will read differently next year, too.



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

JPM:   "Tell us about the food in Red Noise"

Also JPM:  I'm glad you asked! Eating and drinking is a big part of world building, and I'm such a foodie that I always enjoy those parts of books. Station 35 is way out in the middle of nowhere, muddling through with a combination of local production and cheap shipped-in stuff. After six months of fighting, what's left in the pantry is weird - and kind of prophetic of what's left in my own pantry after a few months of avoiding grocery stores. Staples bought in bulk, the "maybe later" frozen food, and home-grown vegetables that maybe don't look so great. The Miner mostly lives on emergency rations (partly inspired by my own experiments with that Soylent stuff), but one of the characters is trying to run a restaurant, and the other is the universe's worst bootlegger.



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

JPM:

       “How bad are these nurses?”
       “I caught Skeeve doing what he thought was cocaine off a bedpan.”
       Mills struggled with that sentence and landed on, “Skeeve?”
       “Technically ‘Other Skeeve’ but nobody’s seen Original Skeeve in a while, and if he’s dead, then Other Skeeve feels he inherits because ‘a man has rights’.” Joff’s expression grew haunted. “That is a sentence that has come out of my mouth. I can’t take it back, Arun.”


       “You ever killed anybody?”
       The Miner glanced sideways at her, but couldn’t read anything but idle curiosity. “Some.”
       “How come?”
       She shrugged. “You can’t like everybody.”



TQWhat's next?

JPM:  I'd been working on a near-future thriller, picking up some of the themes I'd been writing about in my novella Claudius Rex (about an AI private detective) but near-future is a bit rough writing these days. I've got a couple short stories in the works, and a fantasy legal thriller that I've been tinkering on for a while now.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

JPM:  Thank you for having me! This has been fun!





Red Noise
Angry Robot, July 7, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with John P. Murphy, author of Red Noise
Caught up in a space station turf war between gangs and corrupt law, a lone asteroid miner decides to take them all down.

When an asteroid miner comes to Station 35 looking to sell her cargo and get back to the solitude she craves, she gets swept up in a three-way standoff with gangs and crooked cops. Faced with either taking sides or cleaning out the Augean Stables, she breaks out the grenades…





About John P. Murphy

Interview with John P. Murphy, author of Red Noise
John is an engineer and writer living in New Hampshire with his partner and two ridiculously fluffy cats. His previous work, The Liar, was shortlisted for a Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2016. He was a SFWA Director-at-Large until 2018 and is now the Short Fiction Committee Chair. He has a PhD in Engineering and a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering.








Website  ~  Twitter @dolohov


Interview with John Fram, author of The Bright Lands


Please welcome John Fram to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Bright Lands is published on July 7, 2020 by Hanover Square Press.



Interview with John Fram, author of The Bright Lands




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

John:  I think I was five or six when I wrote a the start of a really morbid piece of Sherlock Holmes fan fiction involving a corpse being lobbed at the door of 221B Baker Street. I still want to know what happened to that body.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

John:  A hybrid, I think. I started with a lengthy outline but of course the demands of good dialogue and good characterization mean your story inevitably starts heading off in new directions.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

John:  Finding ways to afford all the free time it demands.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

John:  The Bible and Final Fantasy will teach you pretty much everything you need to know about metaphor and action and theme. The rest is just practice.



TQDescribe The Bright Lands using only 5 words.

John:  Young men with big secrets.



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

John:  It has a double-digit body count.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Bright Lands? Why write a supernatural thriller?

John:  I looked out the window and saw that the world had taken a hard turn into the horror genre. I'm just trying to keep up.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Bright Lands?

John:  I talked to lots of young high school football players on Instagram. Seeing what happens in this book, I have a feeling they don't want me to say another word about them.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Bright Lands.

John:  It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?



TQDoes The Bright Lands touch on any social issues?

John:  I'd say so. I'm tired of fiction that takes prisoners and I wrote The Bright Lands to be a brick through everyone's window. If someone doesn't walk away from it shaking, I feel like I've failed.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Bright Lands
Hanover Square Press, July7, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages

Interview with John Fram, author of The Bright Lands
A Library Journal Best Winter/Spring Debut 2020

“Marks the debut of an already accomplished novelist.” —John Banville

The town of Bentley holds two things dear: its football, and its secrets. But when star quarterback Dylan Whitley goes missing, an unremitting fear grips this remote corner of Texas.

Joel Whitley was shamed out of conservative Bentley ten years ago, and while he’s finally made a life for himself as a gay man in New York, his younger brother’s disappearance soon brings him back to a place he thought he’d escaped for good. Meanwhile, Sheriff’s Deputy Starsha Clark stayed in Bentley; Joel’s return brings back painful memories—not to mention questions—about her own missing brother. And in the high school hallways, Dylan’s friends begin to suspect that their classmates know far more than they’re telling the police. Together, these unlikely allies will stir up secrets their town has long tried to ignore, drawing the attention of dangerous men who will stop at nothing to see that their crimes stay buried.

But no one is quite prepared to face the darkness that’s begun to haunt their nightmares, whispering about a place long thought to be nothing but an urban legend: an empty night, a flicker of light on the horizon—The Bright Lands.

Shocking, twisty and relentlessly suspenseful, John Fram’s debut is a heart-pounding story about old secrets, modern anxieties and the price young men pay for glory.




About John

Interview with John Fram, author of The Bright Lands
© Luke Fontana
John Fram was raised in Texas. A resident of New York, he has written for The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and elsewhere. This is his first novel.












Website  ~  Twitter @johnsfram  ~  Instagram



Interview with C. T. Rwizi, author of Scarlet Odyssey


Please welcome C. T. Rwizi to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Scarlet Odyssey was published on July 1, 2020 by 47North.



Interview with C. T. Rwizi, author of Scarlet Odyssey




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

C.T.:  The very first thing I wrote is not something I’d ever let anyone read. Ever. It was a cheesy, racy drama featuring cheating spouses, oversexed neighbors, soap opera style twists, fast cars and lots and lots of clichés. It was laughably bad. But I was trying to get the hang of writing at the time so I chose to do so in a way I’d find entertaining. Surprisingly, it worked. I was motivated to keep coming back to my crazy plot, and along the way I refined a writing process that works for me. I never got to finish the story though, since halfway through I decided to get more serious about my writing. I do return to it once in a while when I feel the need to laugh at my past self.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

C.T.:  Now there’s a fun word. Pantser. Pantster? Either way, I would say I am perhaps a tenth that. Mostly, I plot. I’ll have serious writers block if I sit in front of my computer and I don’t have a plan for where my chapter or scene begins and where it ends. Often, whenever I’m stuck, it’s because I haven’t planned things in enough detail.

What I usually do is create a skeleton of the whole book—i.e. beginning, middle and end—allowing for flexibility along the way. But I will plan each chapter in great detail before attempting to write it, and always with an awareness of what needs to happen next.

Sometimes, however, I’ll be in the middle of writing a scene and realize that it might work better if I deviated from the plan. When that happens, I stop writing, create a new plan to fit in this new idea, then continue. I almost never just write and see where things go.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

C.T.:  Editing a completed first draft can be fun and easy because most of the hard work has been done. The story’s broad strokes have been painted and the manuscript is no longer a nebulous idea in your head. It’s real, and you can see what needs to be improved, what should be removed, what’s missing, etc.

Getting to this point, however, is not easy. It requires endurance and motivation. You need to believe in your project enough to keep coming back to it. And that’s one of the most difficult things about writing: maintaining belief in your own work. Resisting the temptation to scrap it and start all over, or simply to give up. It can be difficult to keep going even when you’re not feeling confident, but that’s part of the process.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

C.T.:  The space operas of Alastair Reynolds and Peter Hamilton. I love books that impart a sense of awe at the size and age of the universe, works that deal with big ideas on a cosmic scale, and yet stay close to their characters. My work is not a space opera, but I vied to evoke the same sense of awe in my readers.



TQDescribe Scarlet Odyssey using only 5 words.

C.T.:  Bizarre. Mysterious. Magical. Chilling. Queer.



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

C.T.:  The world on which the story is based orbits a binary star—i.e., it has two suns: one yellow, one white. It also has a red moon, and a blue comet that shoots across the sky once every year.



TQWhat inspired you to write Scarlet Odyssey? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

C.T.:  I’d started a project based in a medieval European setting, but I was increasingly drawn to a supporting character from a southern continent, to the extent that I realized, based on the amount of time I was giving him, that I wanted him to be the star of the show, and to write about his society, which was more familiar to me than medieval Europe. Thus was born Scarlet Odyssey, a fantasy set in an African-inspired society.

As for what appeals to me about writing fantasy, I guess I blame my overactive imagination for seeking an outlet. I grew up reading Harry Potter like many other kids my age, though I craved to read similar works starring young black people like myself. But there weren’t many options at the time, so I was only stuck with what was available and my own imagination.

Things are beginning to change now, fortunately, with many writers of color being given the stage to write their own stories. Being a writer in the genre right now means I can be part of that change.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Scarlet Odyssey?

C.T.:  The starting point for many of the ideas I used was personal experience or knowledge I acquired by virtue of having grown up in southern Africa. The drystone architecture of my main character’s society, for example, was inspired by the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, which are not far from my grandfather’s farm in the Masvingo province of Zimbabwe, and which I have visited on many occasions. The bullfighting ritual featured early on in the book was inspired by a similar ritual performed by young men in Eswatini at the king’s royal kraal. The beasts that appear are inspired by several African mythologies, from the tikoloshe of South Africa and Swaziland to the ilomba of Zambia.

So I was going off on myths and cultures I was already familiar with, and that are regularly seen or practiced or discussed among southern Africans. I did have to take my knowledge a step further, however, and I did this by reading scholarly research into African myths as well as the histories of the ancient Shona, Zulu and Swazi peoples.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Scarlet Odyssey.

C.T.:  The cover was designed by Shasti O’Leary Soudant. It depicts a sunset in the savannahs, which definitely features in the novel as a significant portion of it takes place in grassy velds similar to what you would find in south and east Africa.



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

C.T.:  The main character, Salo, is an outcast due to his failure to conform to his society’s standards of masculinity, which are higher for him since he’s the chief’s firstborn son. Though he’s a very different person from me, I empathized with him greatly because I myself am familiar with the social pressures born of toxic masculinity—to be seen as the strong one even when you don’t feel strong, to avoid anything even remotely feminine lest people question your manhood or sexuality, to repress your emotions at all costs. My personal experiences were handy as I wrote Salo’s character.

Conversely, the hardest character to write was the Maidservant, mostly because she has to do some pretty terrible things even though she knows they are wrong. I’ll admit; it was hard to empathize with her at times.



TQDoes Scarlet Odyssey touch on any social issues?

C.T.:  My book explores the toxicity of strict gender norms and the struggle of those who fail to conform to them. It also touches on tribalism and xenophobia, attitudes that still plague many African societies.



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

C.T.:  How much fun did you have writing this book?

Honestly? Lots. There were times I’d spend whole weekends in front of my computer without noticing the passage of time. This book is why I’ll be writing for as long as I am physically able to do so.


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


C.T.:

“I’ve seen people in glistening cities do the most savage of things, and people in the heart of the hinterlands do the noblest. I don’t think civilization is a place or a culture or a level of technological development. I think it’s simply the recognition that all life is valuable and must be treated as such. Everything else follows from there.”



TQWhat's next?

C.T.Requiem Moon, the sequel to Scarlet Odyssey, will be coming out in the spring of 2021. It’s out with the copy editors so it’s very close to done. But that will not be the last you hear from me.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

C.T.:  It has been a pleasure.





Scarlet Odyssey
Scarlet Odyssey 1
47North, July 1, 2020
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 559 pages

Interview with C. T. Rwizi, author of Scarlet Odyssey
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.

Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.

Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.

On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption.





About C. T. Rwizi

Interview with C. T. Rwizi, author of Scarlet Odyssey
C. T. Rwizi was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Swaziland, finished high school in Costa Rica and got a BA in government at Dartmouth College in the United States. He currently lives in South Africa with his family, and enjoys playing video games, taking long runs and spending way too much time lurking on Reddit. He is a self-professed lover of synthwave. Scarlet Odyssey is his debut novel.







Twitter @c_t_rwizi


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September DebutsInterview with Dan Hanks, author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the EmpireInterview with Chris Panatier, author of the PhlebotomistInterview with Alice James, author of Grave SecretsInterview with Carole Stivers, author of The Mother CodeInterview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between WorldsInterview with Cherie Dimaline, author of Empire of WildInterview with John P. Murphy, author of Red NoiseInterview with John Fram, author of The Bright LandsInterview with C. T. Rwizi, author of Scarlet Odyssey

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