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Interview with Corry L. Lee, author of Weave the Lightning


Please welcome Corry L. Lee to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Weave the Lightning was published on April 7, 2020 by Solaris.



Interview with Corry L. Lee, author of Weave the Lightning




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

Corry:  I was in 5th grade. My “novel,” written on loose leaf notebook paper, was about a group of aliens called rock-moose (moose-like sentients with a symbiotic relationship to the rock-like creatures living on their long, shaggy fur). The water on the surface of the world turned solid during the day. An expedition from Earth had portal-ed in and was having trouble. It was a hybrid first-contact / survival story.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Corry:  Hybrid. I work out the way-points of my plot before I start writing - the ending, big events, that sort of thing - but my efforts to do more substantial outlines tend not to be very productive.

I do always write up a full outline once I finish a draft, as it helps me see the book from a different perspective when I’m pondering a revision. And I’ve started writing revision outlines (of the thing I’m revising toward) to try and iron out some of the bugs before doing all that re-writing.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Corry:  Despite outlining only rough way-points for a draft, I like having a plan. My subconscious, on the other hand, is more like a squirrel, darting off after shiny ideas. Often those ideas are in fact better than the plan, but I still get pissed when stomping through uncharted idea-underbrush. “But whyyyyy?” I moan to all who will listen. Though I often later admit that, yes, the squirrel was chasing a diamond and not a shiny bottlecap.

I might need to make peace with the squirrel.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Corry:  N.K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie, Yoon Ha Lee, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Ann Patchett, Tanya Huff.

Also, I was (okay, still am and always will be) a huge Babylon 5 fan.



TQDescribe Weave the Lightning using only 5 words.

Corry:  Russian-inspired. Storm magic. Travelling circus.



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

Corry:  It’s about hope, trust, and building a better world. I’m fundamentally an optimist, and it shows.



TQWhat inspired you to write Weave the Lightning? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Corry:  I wanted to develop a big, crunchy magic system that tied deeply into characters’ emotional space. I love magic that feels rich and organic, as complex as the people wielding it. I also love when technology develops alongside magic, when the world is constantly evolving with power dynamics shifting.



TQWhich period in Russian history was your inspiration for Weave the Lightning?

Corry:  It’s a mash-up. Technology is 1910s era, but Bourshkanya is a secondary world with Russian-flavored culture, heavily influenced by storm magic. A fascist regime has held control for the last 20-odd years, becoming increasingly repressive. In its historical underpinnings, it’s a bit Soviet, a bit pre-WWII Germany.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Weave the Lightning?

Corry:  I read and watched a lot of WWI, WWII, and Soviet-era books, films, and documentaries. Stand-outs are Lucie Aubrac’s memoir Outwitting the Gestapo and the Newberry nominated Breaking Stalin’s Nose. I chewed on discussions of fascism, like Robert O. Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism, and tried to understand how growing up under an oppressive regime affected a nation’s youth.

I also read and watched lots of circus-related material, which was much more fun!



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Weave the Lightning.

Corry:  I love the cover! It’s hard to see its full beauty in photos because the lightning bolt is spot-varnished, which means that if you tip the book back and forth, the lightning seems to flash!

The high wire walker stepping across the lightning is Celka Prochazka, a young female resistance fighter whose family are “The Amazing Prochazkas,” a travelling circus’s top-billed act of high wire walkers - modelled lightly off the real-life Flying Wallendas.



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

Corry:  Celka was the easiest. She’s bold and enthusiastic. She’s struggling to understand her magic and determined to fight the regime. She begins with a very clear sense of “right” and “wrong,” which ends up being challenged in interesting ways in the book.

Gerrit was much harder. He’s the son of the fascist state’s Supreme-General. He was trained at a top military mage academy, and so spent his life steeped in the regime’s “might makes right.” But he’s a good person at heart, if horribly entitled. Walking the line between making Gerrit the person his father wants him to be - who he’s spent his life striving to become - and a sympathetic character we can root for was an interesting challenge.



TQDoes Weave the Lightning touch on any social issues?

Corry:  Fantasy is often laden with sexism, even if the protagonists are female and the magic doesn’t discriminate along gender lines. I wanted to develop a society with deep-seated gender equality, because I believe in the power of fiction to light the way to a better world.

So despite being set in a fascist state with 1910s-era technology, women and men aren’t pigeon-holed into gender roles, non-binary pronouns are unremarkable, and love is love.



TQWhich question about Weave the Lightning do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Corry:  Are there any hidden gems or call-outs?

The minor character named Lucie is named after Lucie Aubrac, an amazing woman in the WWII French resistance who stood up to some nasty Gestapo monsters in Lyon. She fought, she loved, and she did much of it while pregnant. She’s a real-life badass, so I wanted to salute her.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Weave the Lightning.

Corry:

“Most people thought time marched at an unwavering pace, each second as long as the next. Those people had never walked the wire.”

~~~

“Why are you staring at me like I have a bayonet sticking out of my chest?” he asked.

She huffed a surprised laugh. “You’re serious?”

He looked down at his chest. “Not about the bayonet.”



TQWhat's next?

Corry:  I’m currently revising Weave the Lightning’s sequel, The Storm’s Betrayal (due out in 2021). I love how it has given me a chance to open up the world and dig into different aspects of the magic system. Also, a new character (I don’t want to spoiler who, because they’re in the first book) gets a POV... and it’s delightful.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Corry:  Thank you for having me!





Weave the Lightning
Solaris, April 7, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Corry L. Lee, author of Weave the Lightning
Russian-inspired epic of magical revolution & romance

Empire. Revolution. Magic.

Gerrit is the son of Bourshkanya’s Supreme-General. Despite his powerful storm-affinity and the State’s best training, he can’t control his magic. To escape the brutal consequences, he flees.

Celka is a travelling circus performer, hiding both her link to the underground and her storm-affinity from the prying eyes of the secret police. But Gerrit’s arrival threatens to expose everything: her magic, her family, and the people they protect.

The storms have returned, and everything will change.





About Corry

Interview with Corry L. Lee, author of Weave the Lightning
Corry L. Lee is a science fiction and fantasy author, Ph.D. physicist, award-winning science teacher, data geek, and mom. In Ph.D. research at Harvard, she shed light on the universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang. At a major tech company, she connected science to technology, improving the customer experience through online experimentation. She’s currently obsessed with cross-country skiing, yoga, and single origin coffee. A transplant to Seattle, Washington from sunny Colorado, she is learning to embrace rainy days. Learn more at corrylee.com


Twitter  @CorryLLee  ~  Facebook

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 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 April 30 , 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

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




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts
Cover design by Jim Tierney





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts
Cover by Ian Whates,
utilising a photo by Michael Gaida





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts
Cover art by Richard Oriolo





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts
Cover design by Charlotte Stroomer - LBBG
Cover illustration by Larry Rostant





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts
Cover by Francesca Corsini





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 Debuts

The View From Monday - April 6, 2020


Monday again!

There are 4 debuts this week:

The Immortals of Tehran by Ali Araghi;

Weave the Lightning by Corry L. Lee;

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth;

and

Legacy of Ash (Legacy Trilogy 1) by Matthew Ward.

The View From Monday - April 6, 2020The View From Monday - April 6, 2020
The View From Monday - April 6, 2020The View From Monday - April 6, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Barnes & Noble page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Dark Age (Red Rising 5) by Pierce Brown is out in Trade Paperback;

and

Titan's Day (The Carter Archives 2) by Dan Stout.

The View From Monday - April 6, 2020The View From Monday - April 6, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Barnes & Noble page.



The View From Monday - April 6, 2020



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

April 7, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Immortals of Tehran (D) Ali Araghi MR/Pol/Sagas
The Red-Stained Wings (h2tp) Elizabeth Bear F - Lotus Kingdoms 2
Malicroix Henri Bosco
Joyce Zonana (Tr)
STR/Psy/Gothic
Dark Age (h2tp) Pierce Brown SF/Dys - Red Rising 5
Secrets in the Dark Darcy Coates H/Occ/Sup/AP/PA/SupTh/Dys - Black Winter 2
Overruled! Hank Davis (Ed)
Christopher Ruocchio (Ed)
SF - Anthology
A Tale of Truths Berit Ellingsen F
L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 36 David Farland (Ed) SF/F - Anthology - Writers of the Future  36
A Time of Courage John Gwynne F/HistF - Of Blood & Bone 3
Fantastic Hope Laurell K. Hamilton  (Ed)
William McCaskey (Ed)
Dys/F/SF - Anthology
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires Grady Hendrix H/SupTh/Southern
Eden Tim Lebbon SupTh/H/SF
Weave The Lightning (D) Corry L. Lee F
The Beetle (ri) Richard Marsh H/Gothic/Sus/SupTh
Middlegame (h2tp) Seanan McGuire CF/DF
The Obsoletes (h2tp) Simeon Mills SF
The Age of Witches Louisa Morgan Occ/Sup/HistF/HistR
Starborn and Godsons Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle
Steven Barnes
SF - Heorot 3
The Time Seer Richard Phillips F - Endarian Prophecy 5
The Malevolent Volume Justin Phillip Reed Poetry
Chosen Ones (D-Adult) Veronica Roth CF
Bonds of Brass Emily Skrutskie SF/SO - The Bloodright Trilogy 1
The Glass Magician Caroline Stevermer HistF/RF
Titan's Day Dan Stout The Carter Archives 2
Temptation Janos Szekely
Marl Baczoni (Tr)
UF/DF
The Nothing Girl Jodi Taylor RF/HU - Frogmorton Farm 1
The Ancestor Danielle Trussoni LF
Legacy of Ash (D) Matthew Ward F - Legacy Trilogy 1



April 8, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Little Free Library: A Tor.com Original (e) Naomi Kritzer UF



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
BlHu - Black Humour
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CH - Cultural Heritage
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - Cyperpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
Esp - Espionage
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator(s)
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PP - Police Procedural
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Spec - Speculative
STR - Small Town and Rural
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary and Metaphysical

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts


There are 9 debut novels for April 2020.

Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The April debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite April cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 15, 2020.



Ali Araghi

The Immortals of Tehran
Melville House, April 7, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
As a child living in his family’s apple orchard, Ahmad Torkash-Vand treasures his great-great-great-great grandfather’s every mesmerizing word. On the day of his father’s death, Ahmad listens closely as the seemingly immortal elder tells him the tale of a centuries-old family curse . . . and the boy’s own fated role in the story.

Ahmad grows up to suspect that something must be interfering with his family, as he struggles to hold them together through decades of famine, loss, and political turmoil in Iran. As the world transforms around him, each turn of Ahmad’s life is a surprise: from street brawler, to father of two unusually gifted daughters; from radical poet, to politician with a target on his back. These lives, and the many unforgettable stories alongside his, converge and catch fire at the center of the Revolution.

Exploring the brutality of history while conjuring the astonishment of magical realism, The Immortals of Tehran is a novel about the incantatory power of words and the revolutionary sparks of love, family, and poetry—set against the indifferent, relentless march of time.





Asaf Ashery

Simantov
Angry Robot, April 14, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 392 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Women disappear from streets, clubs, and rooftops leaving the police dazed and confused. The mystical Soothsayer Task Force must use their special skills to divine the truth and solve the mystery.

When detective Mazzy Simantov is called up to investigate the case of a missing girl, little does she know it is linked to a series of other mysterious disappearances of women. She is forced to partner with Yariv, her one-time lover and sometimes-colleague, but as the investigation continues, otherworldly clues begin to appear at the crime scenes, including a black feather unlike that of any bird…

As the clues mount, it becomes clear that an apocalypse is looming, as Heaven’s secret orders threaten to collide in a head-on war that imperils everyone on Earth. Can Mazzy and Yariv come together to save the world from being torn apart?

This is the English translation from the original Hebrew text, translated by Marganit Weinberger-Rotman.

File Under: Fantasy [ Bad Omens | Angels & Humans | Apocalypse Now | Big Guns ]





Camilla Bruce

You Let Me In
Tor Books, April 21, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 256 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
You Let Me In delivers a stunning tale from debut author Camilla Bruce, combining the sinister domestic atmosphere of Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects with the otherwordly thrills of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Cassandra Tipp is dead...or is she?

After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy—everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie's infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far).

Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body—just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript.

Then again, there are enough bodies in her past—her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother.

Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story—but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods—and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare...





Hao Jingfang
Ken Liu (Translator)

Vagabonds
Gallery / Saga Press, April 14, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 608 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
A century after the Martian war of independence, a group of kids are sent to Earth as delegates from Mars, but when they return home, they are caught between the two worlds, unable to reconcile the beauty and culture of Mars with their experiences on Earth in this spellbinding novel from Hugo Award–winning author Hao Jingfang.

This genre-bending novel is set on Earth in the wake of a second civil war…not between two factions in one nation, but two factions in one solar system: Mars and Earth. In an attempt to repair increasing tensions, the colonies of Mars send a group of young people to live on Earth to help reconcile humanity. But the group finds itself with no real home, no friends, and fractured allegiances as they struggle to find a sense of community and identity, trapped between two worlds.

Fans of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Naomi Alderman’s The Power will fall in love with this novel about lost innocence, an uncertain future, and never feeling at home, no matter where you are in the universe. Translated by Ken Liu, bestselling author of The Paper Menagerie and translator of Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem, Vagabonds is the first novel from Hao Jingfang, the first Chinese woman to ever win the esteemed Hugo Award.





RB Kelly

Edge of Heaven
Newcon Press, April 14, 2020
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 370 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
2119: The bi-level city of Creo Basse towers over the wastelands of central France. Built as a permanent relocation centre for the dispossessed, Creo has become a hotbed of simmering resentment and unrest. The authorities keep tight control, not least because outlawed a-nauts (artificial humans) are known to hide among its citizenry.

In the dark, honeycomb districts of the lower city, Boston Turrow is searching desperately for black-market meds for his epileptic sister when he encounters one of the many ways Creo can kill a person. His unlikely rescuer is Danae Grant, a woman recently made homeless when the bloc she lived in was condemned. Danae knows people, Boston knows where she can stay...

The tinderbox that is Creo catches light when a deadly plague erupts among the populace. Is it really a terrorist weapon unleashed by the a-nauts as the authorities claim, or does that just hide a deeper, darker secret? Danae and Boston are determined to survive, if only to discover the truth; of course, that might be easier said than done...

RB Kelly's stunning debut novel, Edge of Heaven, is the winner of the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair Award.





Corry L. Lee

Weave the Lightning
Solaris, April 7, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Russian-inspired epic of magical revolution & romance

Empire. Revolution. Magic.

Gerrit is the son of Bourshkanya’s Supreme-General. Despite his powerful storm-affinity and the State’s best training, he can’t control his magic. To escape the brutal consequences, he flees.

Celka is a travelling circus performer, hiding both her link to the underground and her storm-affinity from the prying eyes of the secret police. But Gerrit’s arrival threatens to expose everything: her magic, her family, and the people they protect.

The storms have returned, and everything will change.





Molly Pohlig

The Unsuitable
Henry Holt, April 14, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Molly Pohlig's The Unsuitable is a fierce blend of Gothic ghost story and Victorian novel of manners that’s also pitch perfect for our current cultural moment.

Iseult Wince is a Victorian woman perilously close to spinsterhood whose distinctly unpleasant father is trying to marry her off. She is awkward, plain, and most pertinently, believes that her mother, who died in childbirth, lives in the scar on her neck.

Iseult’s father parades a host of unsuitable candidates before her, the majority of whom Iseult wastes no time frightening away. When at last her father finds a suitor desperate enough to take Iseult off his hands—a man whose medical treatments have turned his skin silver—a true comedy of errors ensues.
As history’s least conventional courtship progresses into talk of marriage, Iseult’s mother becomes increasingly volatile and uncontrollable, and Iseult is forced to resort to extreme, often violent, measures to keep her in check.

As the day of the wedding nears, Iseult must decide whether (and how) to set the course of her life, with increasing interference from both her mother and father, tipping her ever closer to madness, and to an inevitable, devastating final act.





Veronica Roth

The Chosen Ones
John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 7, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
(D - Adult)

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
SAVING THE WORLD ONCE MADE THEM HEROES. SAVING IT AGAIN MAY DESTROY THEM.

Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice—catastrophic events known as Drains—leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him.

After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal . . . for everyone but them. After all, what do you do when you’re the most famous people on Earth, your only education was in magical destruction, and your purpose in life is now fulfilled?

Of the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD—and her huge attitude problem—but really, she’s hiding secrets from them. secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.

On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold—bigger than the world itself.

And this time, fighting back might take more than Sloane has to give.





Matthew Ward

Legacy of Ash
The Legacy Trilogy 1
Orbit, April 7, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 800 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts
Legacy of Ash is an unmissable fantasy debut–an epic tale of intrigue and revolution, soldiers and assassins, ancient magic and the eternal clash of empires.

A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families — once protectors of justice and democracy — now plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives. Blinded by ambition, they remain heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.

Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. A warrior without equal, he hides a secret that would see him burned as a heretic.

Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. A political prisoner, he dreams of reigniting his mother’s failed rebellion.

And yet Calenne Trelan, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy; to escape the expectation and prejudice that haunts the family name.

As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their home. Yet decades of bad blood are not easily set aside. And victory — if it comes at all — will demand a darker price than any of them could have imagined.
Interview with Corry L. Lee, author of Weave the Lightning2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2020 DebutsThe View From Monday - April 6, 20202020 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts

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