The Qwillery | category: Deadroads


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Robin Riopelle, author of Deadroads - April 24, 2014

Please welcome Robin Riopelle to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

Interview with Robin Riopelle, author of Deadroads - April 24, 2014

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

Robin:  Hi – thanks again for having me.

Always. In the crib, I think. Although I’ve had a really interesting series of creative careers [see earlier blog post, maybe a link?], I always had to write. During lunch hours, after the kids were asleep, I wrote. Writing feeds a different part of my soul. About five years ago, I decided I was going to push myself further and start submitting things. I didn’t want to have any regrets about roads not taken.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Robin:  Oh, I am a plotter. I am clearly a chronic, over-the-top plotter of epic proportions. Because I’m also an illustrator, my outlines often look like annotated drawings. If people are amazed at how quickly I can turn out words, it’s because I spend stupid amounts of time working the outline.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Robin:  Giving myself permission to take the time to do it. So much else seems to crowd in and will eat my attention if I’m not vigilant and determined.

TQ:  Describe Deadroads in 140 characters or less.

Robin:  Classic loner gets over it.

What? Something more? Oh, okay.

Sol Sarrazin lays ghosts to rest, but after his father is murdered, he must face down demons to save his estranged family.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Deadroads? Why did you write a novel of ‘Supernatural Suspense.’ Are there any other genres or sub-genres in which you’d like to write?

Robin:  I’ve always liked a good ghost story. Ghosts work well as a metaphor for unfinished business, for past mistakes, for things that we try to ignore that keep coming back. It’s difficult to pin down what Deadroads actually is, genre-wise: part thriller, part family drama, part horror. Character-driven supernatural suspense is as close as I can come.

Fractured families interest me. Separation, reunion – as an adopted person, these are the ideas that I want to take apart, examine, and put through their paces. A natural extension of this idea is le grand dérangement – the historical expulsion of Acadians from maritime Canada – which tore families apart, with some ending in the swamps of Louisiana, where Deadroads begins.

Other genres? I’m partial to all sorts of fantasy, and I definitely would like to write something set in an alternate history. Really well-written creative non-fiction appeals to me, too. I’d love to research the hell out of a topic and write something accessible about it. Like writers Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City) or John Vaillant (The Golden Spruce).

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Deadroads?

Robin:  For Deadroads, I had a research vector: Cajun and Acadian history and culture; the lure of “The West”; and paramedicine. I live in Ottawa, where I use French a lot. I talked to francophone friends about language and culture; I read a lot. I listened to Quebecois, Cajun and Acadian music almost non-stop, though that never was and never will be a chore. As for The West – well, Jack Kerouac came in handy. Because my character Sol is a paramedic, I pestered my EMT friends about what they loved and hated about their jobs. And due to a hiking accident and subsequent 2-hour ambulance ride, I had a rambling, drug-fueled conversation with a very nice paramedic about the entire contents of her rig, the injuries that still make her queasy, and the difficulties of maintaining a love life.

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

Robin:  Sol Sarrazin screws up so royally, and is so flawed, that he’s a joy to write. Sol witholds: his love, his tongue, his approval, his temper…until he doesn’t. As a writer, I tend to hold back myself, let the reader fill in the blanks, so maybe that’s why he resonated with me.

Writing his sister Lutie wasn’t difficult so much as harrowing. Lurking under her poise and her seemingly cold indifference is a monumental hurt. She masks it by straight-arming anyone who comes close to her. When I felt her warming up to Baz, this long-lost brother who is happy as a balloon at a kid’s party, it was painful, the return of sensation, like pins and needles. She’s a hard person to like, and writing her self-imposed distance made me ache.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Deadroads?

Robin:  When Sol figures out that the stranger he assumed his brother Baz’s date is actually their sister, Lutie. You could describe Sol as beleaguered and harried, at the best of times. He’s juggling about twelve things at once: lying to his girlfriend, dealing with his dead father’s ghost, trying to keep Baz safe, and then there’s this chippy girl who’s giving him grief. He more or less throws her out from Baz’s motel room. But when the penny finally drops, when he understands the enormity of what’s going on, and how he’s going to have to face it—it’s a whole new level of harried. I knew, as Sol knows, that he’s going to have to tackle all this emotional crap he’s swept under the rug. It’s delicious.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Deadroads.

Robin:  Sol, in response to his paramedic partner Wayne’s assertion that the best part of the job is the thank-you sex, before recapping Sol’s daring rescue of an injured construction worker:

“Bon,” said Sol, nodding. “That’s why I do it. So I can see your little face light up like that.” He grimaced. “Not for the thank-you sex. Jesus.”

I like this line because Sol is not generally funny. He had to take on a lot of responsibility on at an early age, and it made him serious and solemn. I really like the relationship he has with Wayne, how Sol’s easier around him, doesn’t put up as many fronts. It also reveals that while Sol will joke around with the EMT crews, he’s serious about his relationship with his girlfriend. He’s a decent guy, at the core.

I also love listening to my completely bilingual friends, how they slip in and out of two languages in the same sentence.

TQ:  What's next?

Robin:  There’s more to the story I start in Deadroads. I based the story on an old French folksong: Les trois hommes noirs. There’s three of those devils, right? So I’ve been writing the sequel.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


Night Shade Books, April 15, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
(eBook published March 17, 2014)

Interview with Robin Riopelle, author of Deadroads - April 24, 2014
Lutie always wanted a pet ghost-but the devil's in the details.

The Sarrazins have always stood apart from the rest of their Bayou-born neighbors. Almost as far as they prefer to stand from each other. Blessed-or cursed-with the uncanny ability to see beyond the spectral plane, Aurie has raised his children, Sol, Baz, and Lutie, in the tradition of the traiteur, finding wayward spirits and using his special gift to release them along Deadroads into the afterworld. The family, however, fractured by their clashing egos, drifted apart, scattered high and low across the continent.

But tragedy serves to bring them together. When Aurie, while investigating a series of ghastly (and ghostly) murders, is himself killed by a devil, Sol, EMT by day and traiteur by night, Baz, a traveling musician with a truly spiritual voice, and Lutie, combating her eerie visions with antipsychotics, are thrown headlong into a world of gory sprites, brilliant angels, and nefarious demons-small potatoes compared to reconciling their familial differences.

From the Louisiana swamps to the snowfields of the north and everywhere in between, Deadroads summons you onto a mysterious trail of paranormal proportions.

About Robin

Interview with Robin Riopelle, author of Deadroads - April 24, 2014
Robin Riopelle lives on the border between French and English Canada with her criminologist husband, two seemingly adorable kids, and an obstreperous spaniel. In addition to writing for museums and magazines, Riopelle also illustrates children’s books. Deadroads is her first novel.

Website  :  Twitter @Robin_Riopelle :  Facebook

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

It's time for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for April 2014!

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 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 2014 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator 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 24, 2014.

Vote for your favorite April 2014 Debut Cover free polls 

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts
Design © Emily Mahon.

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts
Design by Steven Seighman

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 Debuts

The View From Monday - March 31, 2014

Happy last Monday in March! This is a very full release week including a tremendous number of books out on April 1st. No fooling!

The View From Monday - March 31, 2014

There are 2 debuts:

Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy 1) by Aidan Harte;


Deadroads by Robin Riopelle.

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Cursed by Alexa Egan;

The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn;

Immortal Hunter (Execution Underground 2) by Kait Ballenger;

Covenant (Books of Raziel 2) by Sabrina Benulis;

Turned (Belladonna Agency 1) by Virna DePaul;

The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher;

Marked (Mindspace Investigations 3) by Alex Hughes;

Drowning in Fire (Elementals 3) by Hanna Martine;

Tomorrow, the Killing (Low Town 2) Daniel Polansky;


Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James.

March 30, 2014
The Wanderer's Tale (ri) David Bilsborough F - Annals of Lindormyn 1

March 31, 2014
Small Doses of the Future: A Collection of Medical Science Fiction Stories Brad Aiken SF - Collection
Death's Daughter (e) Kathleen Collins PNR - Realm Walker 2
Minding the Stars: The Early Jack Vance Volume 4 Terry Dowling (ed)
Jonathan Strahan (ed)
SF/F - Collection
Cursed (e) Alexa Egan PNR - The Complete Imnada Brotherhood Novellas
Dangerous Angel (e) Stacy Gail PNR - Earth Angels 4
At Star's End (e) Anna Hackett SFR
The Compleat Crow Brian Lumley F - Titus Crow Stories

April 1, 2014
The Goblin Emperor Katherine Addison F
The Bird Eater Ania Ahlborn H
Circle of Desire Keri Arthur FR - Damask Circle 3
Wild Wolf Jennifer Ashley PNR - Shifters Unbound 6
Immortal Hunter (e) Kait Ballenger PNR - The Execution Underground 2
Lexicon (h2tp) Max Barry SF
Dark Eden Chris Beckett SF
Hecate's Own Dana Marie Bell PNR - Heart's Desire 2
Covenant Sabrina Benulis F/Go - Books of Raziel 2
What the Doctor Ordered Michael Blumlein H - Collection
The Days of the Deer Liliana Bodoc F - Saga of the Borderlands 1
A Killing Notion Melissa Bourbon PCM - Magical Dressmaking Mystery 3
Riveted (tp2mm) Meljean Brook SPR - Iron Seas 3
The Devil's Eye (e) Dawn Brown GoR - Shivers 10
Blameless (ri) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 3
Changeless (ri) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 2
Soulless (ri) Gail Carriger SP - Parasol Protectorate 1
Upon a Sea of Stars A. Bertam Chandler SF - John Grimes Saga 5
Peacemaker C. J. Cherryh SF - Foreigner 15
Savage Panet Stephen Coonts SF - Saucer 3
Quicksilver Soul Christine D'Abo PHR - Shadow Guild 2
The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti: A Tor.Com Original A.M. Dellamonica F
Turned Virna DePaul PNR - Belladonna Agency 1
The Ophelia Prophecy Sharon Lynn Fisher SFR
Shards of Time Lynn Flewelling F - Nightrunner 7
Magical Misfire (e) Kimberly Frost PNR - A Southern Witch Novella
Severed Gary Fry H
Vampire's Hunger Cynthia Garner SFR - Awakening 1
The Revolutions Felix Gilman SF/R
Legacy of Darkness (e) Jane Godman GoR - Shivers 9
The Awakening (ri) Heather Graham
(Shannon Drake)
PNR - Alliance Vampires 5
Darkening Around Me (e) Barbara J. Hancock GoR - Shivers 1
Games Creatures Play Charlaine Harris (ed)
Toni L.P. Kelner (ed)
UF - Anthology
Empty Space: A Haunting (h2tp) M. John Harrison SF/H
Dream a Little Dream (e) Megan Hart PNR
Irenicon (D US) Aidan Harte F - Wave Trilogy 1
The Crimson Shield Nathan Hawke F - Gallow 1
Marked Alex Hughes SF - Mindspace Investigations 3
Ghost of a Gamble Sue Ann Jaffarian PCM - Ghost of Granny Apples 4
Tempting the Demon Elle James PNR
Enchanting the Beast Kathryne Kennedy PHR - Relics of Merlin 4
Wicked Games Angela Knight PNR - Collection
Appalachian Overthrow (h2mm) E.E. Knight SF - Vampire Earth 10
Baltic Gambit E.E. Knight SF - Vampire Earth 11
The Frangipani Hotel Violet Kupersmith Gh - Collection
When He Was Bad (ri) Shelly Laurenston
Cynthia Eden
PNR - Stories
The Fearful Gates Ross Lawhead F - An Ancient Earth 3
Into the Void: Star Wars Tim Lebbon SF - Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi
The Forever Knight (h2mm) John Marco F - Bronze Knight 1
Reign of Ash Gail Z. Martin F - Ascendant Kingdom 2
Drowning in Fire Hanna Martine PNR - Elementals 3
Step Back in Time Ali McNamara TTR
Like a Dead Man Walking William F. Nolan
Jason V. Brock (ed)
SF/H - Collection
Ghost Seer Robin D. Owens PNR - Ghost Seer 1
Tomorrow, the Killing Daniel Polansky DF - Low Town 2
Stoker's Manuscript (h2tp) Royce Prouty H
Prince's Fire Amy Raby FR - Hearts and Thrones 3
Fall Rod Rees SF/Dys -  Demi-Monde Saga 4
Evil Never Dies Mick Ridgewell H
Deadroads: A Novel of Supernatural Suspense (D) Robin Riopelle Su/Sus
Keith Roberts SF Gateway Omnibus Keith Roberts SF - SF Gateway Omnibus
Shattered Moon Moira Rogers PNR - Bloodhounds
Black Rose (e) Jenna Ryan GoR - Shivers 3
Silence for the Dead Simone St. James Go
Bob Shaw SF Gateway Omnibus Bob Shaw SF - SF Gateway Omnibus
Conversations with William Gibson Patrick A. Smith (ed) SF - Literary Conversations
Running Free Jorrie Spencer PNR - Northern Shifters 5
Angel City (h2mm) Jon Steele Su/P - Angelus Trilogy 2
The Homecoming (h2tp) Carsten Stroud Su/H - Niceville 2
From Civil War to World War Peter G. Tsouras AH - Britannia's Fist Trilogy1
The Seventh Child Erik Valeur Go
Circle of Blood Debbie Viguie F/P - Witch Hunt 3
The Way of All Flesh Tim Waggoner H
Mark of the Bear NJ Walters PNR - Hades' Carnival 2
The King J.R. Ward PNR - Black Dagger Brotherhood 12
Gothic Science Fiction: 1980-2010 Sara Wasson (ed)
Emily Alder (ed)

April 2, 2014
The Devil in America: A Tor.Com Original Kai Ashante Wilson F

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - Reissue or Reprint

AH - Alternate History
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopia
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
Gh - Ghosts
Go - Gothic
GoR - Gothic Romance
H - Horror
LC - Literary Criticism
P - Paranormal
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SP - Steampunk
SPR - Steampunk Romance
Su - Supernatural
Sus - Suspense
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy

Interview with Robin Riopelle, author of Deadroads - April 24, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April 2014 DebutsThe View From Monday - March 31, 2014

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