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Interview with Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves and Sworn in Steel - May 8, 2014


Please welcome Douglas Hulick to The Qwillery. Sworn in Steel (A Tale of the Kin 2) was published on May 6th by Roc.



Interview with Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves and Sworn in Steel - May 8, 2014




TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Sworn in Steel (Tale of the Kin 2), was published on May 6th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Among Thieves (2011) to Sworn in Steel? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?



Douglas:  Actually, my process didn’t change that much; but in retrospect it should have. When I wrote Among Thieves, I did it over the course of 10 years (off and on). I obviously didn’t take that long of an approach with Sworn (or have that kind of a window), but I did forget how messy my process is, especially in the early stages. I figure out a lot of the story as I go and this came back to bite me as the deadline got closer, seeing as how I hadn’t quite put the whole picture together by that time. Needless to say, I have re-evaluated my process for the third book.

I was going to say my biggest challenge is finding the time to write, but that’s not exactly true. I mean, I have plenty of demands on me (kids, family, running a household as the stay-at-home parent, etc.), but there is time in my day. I simply need to get better at managing it.

Probably the most challenging thing for me at this point is trusting the narrative. I tend to be a fiddler when I write—fiddle with this word choice, that paragraph, this narrative order—so much so that I have a hard time getting a first draft done. I need to learn to simply let the story move forward and tell myself I will come back and fix things later. I’m forever trying to write the final draft in the first pass, and that can be maddening.



TQ:  What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Among Thieves came out that you know now?



Douglas:  I have the advantage of being in a writer’s group with several other published authors. This means that I was able to see a lot of what went into publishing before I sold my first book. I knew about deadlines, revision letters, copyedits, contracts (a bit), options, and so on.

That said, there’s still no teacher like experience. Looking back, the biggest thing I wish I’d known ahead of time is how much non-writing stuff there is involved in being a writer. Not just promotional stuff before a release, but all the other business bits: writing cover copy, looking for blurbs, composing summaries, thinking about the next project, pitching proposals, and so on. And that doesn’t even include things like trying to maintain an author presence on the web (be it blogs, Twitter, or what have you). It eats more time than you think.



TQ:  Tell us something about Sworn in Steel that is not in the book description.



Douglas:  If the last book was about honor, this one is about obligations: to your friends, to your larger social group, to your family. Even though Drothe is the sole narrator, it’s a theme that runs through most of the character arcs across the book. Needless to say, not everyone in the book has the same view on these kinds of things.

Also, you get to see more degans in this book, and learn a lot more about the Order of the Degans itself. That was especially fun.



TQ:  Which character in the Tale of the Kin series (so far) surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?



Douglas:  The biggest surprise I’ve had so far is a new character that appears in Sworn. She wasn’t in the outline, wasn’t meant to be a key character when she did appear—and yet there she is. Her name is Aribah, and it was a lot of fun having her pop out up of nowhere; but it was also a pain, because I suddenly had this character pushing her way into a story that hadn’t been meant to contain her. In the end, I think she is one the things I like best about Sworn.

Hardest? I thank that would have to be another new character, named Wolf. There’s a lot of back-story I had to work in for him, and that can be hard at times, especially in a first person narrative where the person telling the tale isn’t the one with the back-story you need to convey. You want to get this information to the reader, but you don’t want to start shoveling a bunch of exposition in their direction. It’s a delicate balance, and not always one you can see until you’ve had time to step back from the work and reevaluate it.



TQ:  The Tale of the Kin series is Fantasy. What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?



Douglas:  You mean aside from the fact that I practice and teach historical rapier combat? ;)

I’m a former history major. I almost got a PhD in medieval history. For me, history and historical (or quasi-historical) settings are second nature. Medieval, Renaissance, Early-Modern, Revolutionary, Gilded Age—I’m fascinated by all of it. I invariably have at least one history book going as recreational reading at any one time, and spend almost as much time in the History section of the bookstore as I do the SF/F section.

I also tend to read fantasy pretty exclusively within the genre. I don’t mind science fiction, but it’s never grabbed me as much. Given my druthers, I find myself gravitating towards books with at least one foot in a past-like setting, as opposed to one in a future-setting. Since that’s where many of my other interests lie, it’s not terribly surprising.



TQ:  Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Sworn in Steel.



Douglas:  Most of the lines I like have a bit of set up. I tend not to be a one-offer. That said, there’s a brief interaction between Drothe and a palace guard in Djan I like. The guard has just told Drothe that only poets can enter through the elaborately decorated gate he is standing before:
He began to turn away.

“What if I said I was also a poet?” I said.

He turned back, a resigned look on his face. “Then I’d ask you to compose something on the spot to prove it.” He looked up at the gate. “Something depicted on this, probably. Something complicated.”

“And if my poem didn’t meet your standards?”

“We scrub the blood off the bricks every morning.”

It took me another half an hour to wend my way to the Dog Gate...


TQ:  What's next?



Douglas:  Well, there is a third Tales of the Kin book that I’m currently writing (no title yet). After that, I’m not sure. My publisher has an option for a fourth book, and if they want more Kin novels, I’d be happy to consider that. Otherwise, I have a stand-alone contemporary urban fantasy novel that’s almost done. I also have ideas for a fantasy series in a French Revolution style world I’d like to play with, as well an itch to explore gangs in a 1850s/60s New York-style setting, but with a dash of magic thrown in. (What can I say: I like writing about the underworld)

I’d also like to try my hand at writing some short fiction. I’ve never really done much with short stories, and it’s a medium I find both fascinating and daunting at the same time. I’ve always said my brain tends to come up with stories better designed for the longer form, which I think is true, but I would really like to push myself and do some shorter fiction after Book 3 gets handed in.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Douglas:  It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.





Sworn in Steel
A Tale of the Kin 2
Roc, May 6, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Interview with Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves and Sworn in Steel - May 8, 2014
DANGEROUS DAYS

It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and found himself unexpectedly elevated into the ranks of the criminal elite. As the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s not only gained friends, but also rivals—and some of them aren’t bothered by his newfound title. A prince’s blood, as the saying goes, flows just as red as a beggar’s.

So when another Gray Prince is murdered and all signs point to Drothe as the hand behind the knife, he knows it’s his blood that’s in danger of being spilled. As former allies turn their backs and dark rumors begin to circulate, Drothe is approached by a man who says he can make everything right again. All he wants in exchange is a single favor.

Now Drothe finds himself traveling to the Despotate of Djan, the empire’s long-standing enemy, to search for the friend he betrayed—and the only person who can get him out of this mess. But the grains of sand are running out fast, and even if Drothe can find his friend, he may not be able to persuade him to help in time…



Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
Roc, April 5, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves and Sworn in Steel - May 8, 2014
Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.





About Douglas

Interview with Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves and Sworn in Steel - May 8, 2014
Douglas Hulick has been reading fantasy literature for almost as long as he can remember. He suspects this penchant for far-away lands of yore led, in part, to his acquiring a B.A. and M.A. in Medieval History, and likewise to his subsequent study and teaching of European Historical Martial Arts. It most certainly resulted in his authoring several short stories, as well as two novels.




Wesbite  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @DougHulick

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2


This is the second in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their upcoming books for 2014. This update covers some of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge authors. Look for What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 3 on The Qwillery later this week.


What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2



Kevin Hearne

Shattered
The Iron Druid Chronicles 7
Del Rey, June 17, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
Acclaimed author Kevin Hearne makes his hardcover debut with the new novel in his epic urban fantasy series starring the unforgettable Atticus O’Sullivan.

For nearly two thousand years, there was only one Druid left walking the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword kept him alive while pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.

Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy.

And Owen has some catching up to do.

Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.

But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.

As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time . . . three’s a charm.





Douglas Hulick

Sworn in Steel
A Tale of the Kin 2
Roc, May 6, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and found himself unexpectedly elevated into the ranks of the criminal elite. As the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s not only gained friends, but also rivals—and some of them aren’t bothered by his newfound title. A prince’s blood, as the saying goes, flows just as red as a beggar’s.

So when another Gray Prince is murdered and all signs point to Drothe as the hand behind the knife, he knows it’s his blood that’s in danger of being spilled. As former allies turn their backs and dark rumors begin to circulate, Drothe is approached by a man who says he can make everything right again. All he wants in exchange is a single favor.

Now Drothe finds himself traveling to the Despotate of Djan, the empire’s long-standing enemy, to search for the friend he betrayed—and the only person who can get him out of this mess. But the grains of sand are running out fast, and even if Drothe can find his friend, he may not be able to persuade him to help in time...





John Hornor Jacobs

The Shibboleth
Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy 2
Carolrhoda Books, March 1, 2014
Hardcover, 408 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
"There are certain shibboleths to our condition."

At the end of the first book of The Twelve-Fingered Boy Trilogy, Jack and Shreve are incarcerado—physically locked up. Shreve's back in the custody of the state of Arkansas, and Jack's somewhere in the clutches of Mr. Quincrux—both problems Shreve aims to rectify.

Cages might hold Shreve's body, but the power that's been growing since his encounter with Quincrux has reached a pinnacle. Nothing can prevent his mind from scaling the etheric heights. Freed from his body, Shreve discovers the magnitude of the evil that's stirring in the east. The wave of insomnia that's paralyzed the nation is only the beginning.

To save Jack—and maybe all of the humanity he no longer feels part of—Shreve has no choice but to join Quincrux and the Society of Extranaturals.




The Incorruptibles is being published in the UK by Gollancz. No word on US publication. The cover is wonderful so I wanted to share it with you:

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2




Hannah Jayne

See Jane Run
Sourcebooks, January 1, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
I know who you are.

When Riley first gets the postcard tucked into her bag, she thinks it's a joke. Then she finds a birth certificate for a girl named Jane Elizabeth O'Leary hidden inside her baby book.

Riley's parents have always been pretty overprotective. What if it wasn't for her safety...but fear of her finding out their secret? What have they been hiding? The more Riley digs for answers, the more questions she has.

The only way to know the truth? Find out what happened to Jane O'Leary.











Darynda Jones

Sixth Grave on the Edge
Charley Davidson 6
St. Martin's Press, May 20, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it’s time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?

Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn’t come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.

Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she’s used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.





Mark Lawrence

Prince of Fools
Red Queen's War 1
Ace, June 3, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
Hailed as “epic fantasy on a George R. R. Martin scale, but on speed” (Fixed on Fantasy), the Broken Empire trilogy introduced a bold new world of dark fantasy with the story of Jorg Ancrath’s devastating rise to power. Now, Mark Lawrence returns to the Broken Empire with the tale of a less ambitious prince…

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.





Will McIntosh

Defenders
Orbit, May 13, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

When Earth is invaded by telepathic aliens, humanity responds by creating the defenders. They are the perfect warriors--seventeen feet tall, knowing and loving nothing but war, their minds closed to the aliens. The question is, what do you do with millions of genetically-engineered warriors once the war is won?

A novel of power, alliances, violence, redemption, sacrifice, and yearning for connection, DEFENDERS presents a revolutionary story of invasion, occupation, and resistance.





M. J. Scott

Fire Kin
Half-Light City 4
Roc, May 6, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
[no official description yet]





Gaie Sebold

Shanghai Sparrow
Solaris, April 29, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
Shanghai Sparrow is a Far Eastern steampunk tale of espionage, distant empires and thrilling exploits, with a dynamic heroine.

The British Empire is at war, both within and without.

Eveline Duchen was once a country child, living a life of privilege, touched by the magic that still clings to the woods and fields of Victorian England. Now she is a street urchin in a London where brutal poverty and glittering new inventions exist side by side, living as a thief and con-artist under the wing of the formidable Ma Pether.

Caught in an act of deception, Eveline is faced with Mr Holmforth, a gentleman in the service of Her Majesty’s Government, who offers her a stark choice. Transportation, or an education – and utter commitment to Her Majesty’s Service - at Madam Cairngrim’s school for female spies. The school’s regime is harsh. Eveline has already learned harder lessons. She plans to take advantage of everything they can teach her, then go her own way.

But in the fury of the Opium Wars, the British Empire is about to make a devil’s bargain. Eveline’s choices will change the future of her world, and reveal the truth about the death of her sister Charlotte.

Shanghai Sparrow is set in an alternative England and China. It contains Formidable Devices, Fay, Etheric Science, Espionage, Opium, Murder and Bartitsu and may not be suitable for those of a delicate disposition.





Jonathan Wood

No Hero
Arthur Wallace 1
Titan, March 11, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
"What would Kurt Russell do?"

Oxford police detective Arthur Wallace asks himself that question a lot. Because Arthur is no hero. He's a good cop, but prefers that action and heroics remain on the screen, safely performed by professionals.

But then, secretive government agency MI12 comes calling, hoping to recruit Arthur in their struggle against the tentacled horrors from another dimension known as the Progeny.

But Arthur is NO HERO! Can an everyman stand against sanity-ripping cosmic horrors?













Rebecca Zanetti

Forgotten Sins
Sin Brothers 1
Forever, January 28, 2014
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
(previously released as eBook)

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
His Secrets Can Destroy Her

From the moment Josie laid eyes on sexy, mysterious Shane Dean, she was in love. Their desire ignited a passionate affair, and within weeks, Shane had slipped a ring on her finger. It seemed her every fantasy was coming true . . . until her new husband disappeared without a trace. Now, two years and one broken heart later, Josie is shocked when the hospital calls: Shane has been found . . . at a crime scene with no memory of how he got there.

Her Love Can Save Him

Shane can't remember the blue-eyed angel at his bedside-or who he even is-but he knows something isn't right. His hearing is razor sharp, his physical strength incredible, and the urge to protect Josie overwhelming. For powerful enemies are hunting him, and Josie is the key to discovering why. As Shane struggles to unravel his past, dangerous new truths come to light. Can he protect the only woman he's ever loved? And can Josie trust a man she thought she knew-one who carries such a deadly secret?



Blind Faith
Sin Brothers 3
Forever, May 6, 2013
eBook, 384 pages

A betrayal he couldn't forget . . .

For Nate Dean, love is a four-letter word. As part of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be ruthless soldiers with an expiration date. They were loyal only to one another . . . until Nate laid eyes on the woman who stole his heart and blew his world apart. Now, years later, his family is still paying the price for his mistake. But as time runs out, there's only one person who can save his family: the very woman Nate swore he'd never trust again.

A love she couldn't deny . . .

The moment Audrey Madison spies Nate across a crowded ballroom, she can barely breathe. He's just as undeniably sexy as she remembers, yet there's an edge to him now that's as irresistible as it is dangerous. When he asks for her help, Audrey can't refuse. But she has secrets of her own-secrets that, if Nate ever discovers them, may cost them both their lives . .



Sweet Revenge
Sin Brothers 2
Forever, June 24, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
(previously released as eBook)

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
The One Man She Can't Have

Matt Dean was born to fight . . . and kill. A member of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be the perfect soldiers with an expiration date. Now, with time running out, he's gone rogue in a relentless quest for the one person who can save them. His mission leads him to Charmed, Idaho . . . and to a beautiful woman with eyes like emeralds and a body made for pleasure.

The One Woman He Can't Resist

Laney Jacobs knows the mysterious, handsome stranger is trouble from the moment he walks into her bar, looking for a job. She's spent years running from her own past-the last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement. But Matt's strong arms offer her protection and his gentle touch promises passion unlike anything she's ever known. As lethal forces surround them, revealing explosive secrets about Matt's past and putting everything-and everyone-he holds dear in danger, can he save them all before time runs out?



Tamed
Dark Protectors 6.5
eKensington, May 15, 2014
eNovella

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2
Caleb Donovan was never meant to be a prophet. At heart he’s a conqueror, his appetites far more carnal than spiritual. He’s not inclined to repress his passions and surrender to fate. After all, that’s what cost him Lily—three centuries ago. She married another, because it was ordained. Now that he’s in the same benighted calling—and forced into proximity with her—all the old desires are roaring back to life…

After widowhood and centuries of celibacy, Lily is eager to explore the wild side of life, except now she’s vulnerable to another forced relationship, with an enemy. But this time she’s determined to choose her own path. And if hot, furious Caleb comes charging to the rescue, it might just change both their destinies…

Love is about to start conquering…




Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011

Here are the winners of the last 5 giveaways:


Among Thieves (A Tale of the Kin 1) by Douglas Hulick

Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011




StacieDM who said...

    I like the UK cover better.














Thank You for the Flowers (US entrants) or Flowers and bonus surprise e-book (International entrants) by Scott Nicholson

Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011
Cover may vary





TheGirlOnFire who said...

    I think I like print books more than e books.












Element Zero (Revivors 3) by James Knapp

Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011



Krystal who said...

    Zombieland!!! The part with the actor dying cracks me up :)














Ascension (Dark Breed 1) by Sable Grace

Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011



Marg K. who said...

Athena, most definitely. She is after all the goddess of wisdom, strategy, female arts, and justice. And Artemis comes in at a close second place. Both are the mythological figures of Girl Power.











The Sweet Scent of Blood (Spellcrackers 1) and The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers 2) by Suzanne McLeod

Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011










Melissa (Books and Things) who said...

    Colorado! What can I say... I enjoy my state. :) Plus I can easily picture the towns and terrain in my head. I know when someone has written about CO w/o visiting. ;)

 
Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011





















Winners have been notified and have until May 12, 2011 at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time to respond or The Qwillery will very randomly pick another winner or winners.

Thank you to everyone!

Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011

Please welcome Douglas Hulick to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Douglas:  I don't know if it's a quirk, but I can worry a sentence or paragraph to within an inch of its life if I'm not careful. Write once sentence, fiddle with it for five minutes, move on to the second sentence, then go back to the first again. It doesn't make for a high word rate some days, let me tell you.

I suppose the one thing that might qualify as a "quirk" is the music I listen to when I write. I don't always listen, mind you -- usually, I prefer silence -- but if I'm in a coffee shop or waiting room or the like and there's noise? Then I put on either surf music or a playlist of songs from the "Cowboy BeBop" soundtracks (a great anime SF show from the '90s). The music is only instrumentals, though; I can't write to music with lyrics.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Douglas:  Favorite? Well, in the genre, it has to be Roger Zelazny, Barry Hughart, Sean Stewart, Joe Abercrombie and Gene Wolfe. Outside the genre, you're looking at Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, David Liss and Arturo Perez-Reverte.

As for influences...in written form, you definitely have Zelazny and Chandler and Hammett from above, as well as George Alec Effinger. I'm looking at Liss more and more to see how he fits his historical research so seamlessly into his novels, and I have to say I think Bernard Cornwell is a master when it comes to pacing an adventure story. They've all taught me something, and I've consciously studied how they structure their stories, tell their narratives, or fill their characters with life.

Outside the writer's circle it gets harder. There's so much media I've seen over the years--from old black & white gangster movies to Quentin Tarantino's work to Richard Lester & George MacDonald Fraser's 1970's Three and Four Musketeer films (which are the best ones ever made) to TV shows like "La Femme Nikita" and "Burn Notice"--where does it all stop? How can you say where one influence ends and the other begins when you get to these more transitory, or at least immediate, forms of story? I can't say one of those held a stronger sway over me than another, especially when you consider how long it took me to develop Drothe and his world; a lot of it was osmosis, picking up an idea here, and inspiration there, and turning or twisting it to fit (or not fit, in some cases) the piece I was working on. But I can't pretend these things didn't impact me as well, even if I can't point to a specific film or show or scene and say, "That one"; the acknowledgement needs to be made.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Douglas:  A little of both, but more of a panster. I always try to know where the book is going, but that of course doesn't mean the story won't change between page one and "The End." If nothing else, I make sure I know what is coming for at least the next three chapters, so that I can set up the flow from one chapter to another and make sure I don't get too much of the same thing piling up one after the other.

I'm much more of a character writer, and so I tend to let them have their heads when things get rolling. Sometimes this works exceptionally well; other times? Eh, let's just say I have a lot of "scrap" files on my computer with wonderful bits of dialog or action or what have you that will never see the light of day. However, this also makes for a lot longer writing practice, and I'm hoping to work with at least a bit more on structure as time goes on.

I tend to refer to revisions as "pulling out the machete." While I'm pretty free-wheeling on the first draft, I'm ruthless when it comes to shaping and fixing things in the second. That's where the story really comes together and the layering begins.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Among Thieves?

Douglas:  I've wanted to be a writer since I was twelve. And I knew I wanted to write fantasy. But after that? Hmmm....

I don't think there was any one thing, really. Oh, there were bits and pieces: I distinctly remember having a very cinematic picture of two people standing over a third in the rain in a stable yard. This is where I met Drothe and Degan and Jelem (Jelem was the dead one), but quickly realized that wasn't the story they wanted to be in; but that's how I found the characters. Likewise, I can point to the first time I found a copy of a "Dictionary of the Underworld" by Eric Partridge. It's a dictionary of historical thieves' cant (criminal jargon) I bought on remainder in a bookstore in college. I didn't know it at the time, but it helped me better cement the culture and practices of the underworld of Ildrecca over the years, not to mention some of the characters. Then there's the P.I.-style character I used to write on a computer bulletin board in college, which helped give me Drothe's voice....

No, I can't really point to one thing: it was a process, driven by me simply wanting to write. Everything else was just added on over the years.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Among Thieves?

Douglas:  As I mentioned above, I stumbled across the concept of actual historical thieves' cant early on. That led to both learning more about historical criminal cultures, as well as some of their practices. There are pamphlets from the Elizabethan age that tell not only about the people who performed various crimes, but also how some of the crimes were carried out. This was invaluable for me not only in being able to see how criminals of the time operated, but also into getting an idea of how they were organized as well. And that was just the beginning. It's surprising how much is out there on this kind of thing now--it seems to be a growing field of academic study, which is just great for me.

I also have a B.A. and M.A. in medieval history, which helped quite a bit, if for no other reason than it gave me a lot to draw on. History is so chock-full of fascinating (and surprising) bits and pieces, it's hard not find inspiration there. A bit of a twist, a bit of a tweak, and voila!, you have a clever bit of something for your world.

Thirdly, I've been practicing and teaching historical rapier combat for over seven years now. This came in rather handy when writing the combat scenes (although it also got in the way at times: it's easy for me to get too detailed in describing a fight, which is why it's handy to have readers who don't handle swords to tell me when I've gone over the top in terms of detail or terminology).

TQ:  Describe Among Thieves in 140 characters or less.

Douglas:  Drothe, informant for a medieval mob, finds something he's not supposed to and gets in over his head. Danger, intrigue, and betrayal ensue!

(Hah, with one character to spare, even!)

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

Douglas:  There's one scene where, after I wrote it, I simply sat back and smiled. It's not the most important or definitive or character-altering scene in the book, but the way it read just made me happy. I never changed it. And when I got my first copies of the book, I opened one and random and came to that scene again--and it still made me smile.

It's a scene where Drothe, the narrator, isn't quite all there (he's been wounded, and is sitting in the rain, bleeding), but is the one to notice an impending danger approaching and tries to do something about it. The way the images and sensation combined with his narrative voice just seemed to click. Like I said, I still smile at how it turned out.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Tales of the Kin series?

Douglas:  That's hard to say. I didn't conceive of this series as being a "trilogy" or "quartet" or anything like that. Each book is meant to stand on its own in terms of its main plot, with there being a sense of completion at the conclusion of each novel. I want the reader to be able to finish the story and not feel like they are balancing on the edge of a cliff, waiting for the next book to come out.

That said, there's also an over-arching storyline I'm trying to address in each book as well. That's more of a big-picture kind of thing, though, and something that can be dealt with in a number of ways in each novel: as a sub-plot, or part of the background, and so on. So while each book will have a definite "End", there will be aspects of the world and the occasional thread that won't always be resolved as neatly, since it is meant to be picked up again later.

But, getting back to your original question: I'm currently contracted for three books. If sales do well and my publisher wants more, I'll do some more; if not, then I'll be working overtime to finish up that bigger story arc by the end of book three. Either way, I don't want to leave readers hanging when everything is said and done.

TQ:  What's next?

Douglas:  Hard to say. Like I said, the Tales of the Kin is meant to be able to go for more books than contracted, but that doesn't mean it will. If it does, then that's what I'm going to be doing for at least a few more years; if not, well, I have a stand-alone urban fantasy that's 85% done. It's a lot of fun, and I'd love to get back to it and sell it. After that, I'm toying around with a fantasy in a French Revolution-era style setting. That's a period not as many people seem to play with in fantasy, and I think it has a lot of potential. However, I don't have anything more than one character and a very loose motivational arc for him, so that would need a lot more research and fleshing out before I was even ready to propose it to my editor. I've kicked around with a couple of steampunk ideas, too, and have a couple of protagonists in mind, but it's all tentative. Then there's the library at war with itself...

Yeah, no shortage of ideas.

Other than that? I'd like to get my life back into a regular rhythm. I've never been a fast writer, and doing a book a year is a new challenge for me ("Among Thieves" took over ten years). I'm getting a better handle on it, though, so I'm hoping that by the time I'm into Book 3, I'll have enough of a routine going that I can start fitting a few things back into my life that I've had to set aside for the last year or so while I learned how to be a professional writer.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Douglas:  Thanks so much for having me, and for featuring "Among Thieves" this April. I really appreciate it, and I hope the readers who took up the challenge to read the book enjoyed it.


About Douglas' Book

Among Thieves has 2 covers - US and UK.

Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
(April 5. 2011 - US)
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Among Thieves
A Tale of the Kin 1
(April 1, 2011 - UK)
Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011
An exciting new fantasy debut in the underground world of thieves...
 
Drothe is a Nose, an informant who finds and takes care of trouble inside the criminal organization he’s a part of. He also smuggles imperial relics on the side.
 
When his boss sends him to Ten Ways to track down who’s been leaning on his organization’s people, Drothe discovers hints of a much bigger mystery. Someone is trying to stir up trouble between lower-level criminal organizations, including the one Drothe belongs to. And there’s a book rumored to contain imperial glimmer (or magic) that a lot of very dangerous people seem to be looking for - including two crime bosses known as the Gray Princes.
 
When Drothe discovers the book, he finds himself holding a bit of swag that can bring down emperors, shatter the criminal underworld, and unlock forbidden magic…that's if he can survive long enough to use it.


About Douglas

Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 2011
Photograph by Ben Zvan Photography
Douglas Hulick was born in Fargo, ND, but spent much of his life moving about the Midwest. Somehow, he kept ending up in the vicinity of Chicago, IL, which helps explain his abiding love of deep-dish pizza, Ferris Bueller, and Goose Island beer.

Growing up, there were always books in the house, and Douglas was encouraged to read both through example, as well as by the general policy of the house, which was that the answer was never “No” when it came to getting more books. Toys, games, and so on could be “no”, but not books. You see where this is going, yes?

Given this background, it was only logical that Douglas entered the University of Illinois with a dual major in computer science and mathematical theory–logical, that is, when you consider he changed majors within a year. After a few early academic hiccups (he got kicked out of school), as well as four different majors (psychology, business, liberal arts, and pre-law), Douglas settled into the study of history, with a minor in english. A Bachelor of Arts degree was eventually achieved, followed by a Master’s in medieval history at New Mexico State University. A PhD at an Ivy League university was considered, then happily discarded, after as year of study.

Needless to say, with his broad and varied academic background, it was only a matter of time before Douglas followed the storied path of so many Liberal Arts majors and took whatever the hell job he could find. Stints as a waiter, bartender, bookstore manager, pizza delivery driver, brewery worker, freelance RPG writer, and technical/business writer followed, until Douglas finally settled into the one career he seemed destined for: stay-at-home dad.

Somewhere along the way, a copy of “A Dictionary of the Underworld” by Eric Partridge fell into Douglas’s hands. Having sold a few fantasy short stories, Douglas thought a book that defined historical thieves cant (criminal jargon) and described some of the practices of that world might come in handy at some point. Little did he know.

Among Thieves, his first novel, grew out of this unlikely seed over the course of a decade. It was acquired by Roc/Penguin U.S.A. on Douglas’s 45th birthday in 2009.

Douglas lives with his wife and two sons in Minnesota. When not writing or chasing after his kids, he likes to practice and teach 17th century Italian rapier combat (in the tradition of Ridolfo Capoferro), cook, read, and hang out in coffee shops.

Douglas' Links

Website:  http://www.douglashulick.com/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/douglas.hulick
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/DougHulick

The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of the US Mass Market Paperback of Among Thieves.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Which cover do you like better - US or UK?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011

Here are the latest additions to the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. These authors will be stopping by The Qwillery for interviews and/or guest posts during 2011. (Authors listed in alphabetical order.)

Jo Anderton

Debris (cover art by Dominic Harman)
2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011

Debris will be published by Angry Robot Books in October 2011.


Amanda Bonilla

Shaedes of Gray (Shaedes) is slated for publication in December 2011 from NAL.

For a century Darian has existed in a realm of darkness. Made and abandoned, she is a Shaede, virtually immortal with the ability to blend with the shadows once the sun sets. An assassin by trade, she spends her nights as a hired hand, meting out death for the highest bidder. She’s alone in the world, the last of her kind, merely existing—or so she thinks.


When her infatuated employer, Tyler, sends her out on a routine hit, Darian discovers that her new mark is not only another Shaede, but Alexander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation. Her not-so-chance meeting with Alexander takes her deep into the realm of who—and what—she really is. Only when she puts her life in his hands does the supernatural world unfold around her, revealing that she is not as alone as she once thought. Under the tutelage of Alexander’s fiercest warrior, she prepares to find and kill the man who set her adrift in the world of humans.


But with that quest comes danger. Not even Tyler, revealed as her unearthly protector, can save her once she crosses into their dark realm to face the truth. As her role in awakening an ancient evil is revealed, she must face who she was, who she is, and what she could become. From the author's website.

Douglas Hulick

Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin 1)
(April 5, 2011 US, ROC)
2011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 2011
Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.

Lisa Kessler

Night Walker (Night Walker Trilogy 1) is presently slated for release later this year and will be followed by Night Demon and Night Child. There will also be a novella titled Night Thief. The books will be published by Entangled Publishing.


Sandy Williams

The Shadow Reader will be published by ACE and is slated for November 2011.




As soon as there are covers and more information it will be posted in a 2011 Debut Author Challenge Update. You can also keep up to date on 2011 Debut Author Challenge happenings on the 2011 DAC page.

2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors

2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors


Here are the debut authors and their novels for April 2011. Pick one or more and let us know in the comments which one(s) you'll be reading.

Deadworld
Author: J. N. Duncan
Series: Deadworld 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (April 5, 2011)
Price: $6.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-7582-5566-2
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut AuthorsShe’s as tough as anything haunting Chicago’s streets. But to deal with an inhuman power that won’t stay buried, this FBI agent needs help that comes at an immortal price…

Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup …

So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give—even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries—and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory…


Among Thieves
Author: Douglas Hulick
Series: A Tale of the Kin 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Publisher: ROC (April 5, 2011) (US Cover)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780451463906
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
Drothe has been a member of the Kin for years, rubbing elbows with thieves and murderers in the employ of a crime lord while smuggling relics on the side. But when an ancient book falls into his hands, Drothe finds himself in possession of a relic capable of bringing down emperors-a relic everyone in the underworld would kill to obtain.















Demon Hunting in Dixie
Author: Lexi George
Format: Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Brava (April 26, 2011)
Price: $14.00
Language: English
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-0-7582-6309-4
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door…

Looking For Trouble

Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, ‘cause she’s not looking for a man. Mama’s wrong. Addy has looked. There’s just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that’s for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he’s from another dimension.

Addy couldn’t care less where he’s from. He’s gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he’s a whack job. Says he’s come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quite streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what’s going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down…


Ascension
Author: Sable Grace
Series: Dark Breed 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (April 26, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780061964404
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept.

She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both . . .

 
The following book has a March 29, 2011 release date at online booksellers, but an April 2011 release date at the publisher. I'm including it in April based on the publisher's release date.
 
Soft Apocalypse
Author: Will McIntosh
Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Night Shade Books (April 2011)
Price: $14.99
Language: English
Genre: Science Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-59780-276-5
2011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors
What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang.

New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve. Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.




Look for an interview with J.N. Duncan on April 6, 2011, Lexi George on May 4, 2011, and Sable Grace on April 26, 2011.
Interview with Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves and Sworn in Steel - May 8, 2014What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 2Winners x 5 - May 5, 2011Interview with Douglas Hulick and Giveaway - April 19, 20112011 Debut Author Challenge Update - April 10, 20112011 Debut Author Challenge - April Debut Authors

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