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The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas


Today marks the publication of the Three Queens in Erin, the 4th and final novel in the Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas. Douglas was featured in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge for his debut novel - Something Red.

Sadly Douglas passed away nearly a year ago. He was a remarkable writer of both poetry and prose. There is a deep beauty to his writing - exciting and melodic at the same time. His Something Red novels (and one short story) are gorgeous, lush and deeply engaging.

I've not yet read Three Queens in Erin (it showed up on my eReader early this morning). I am hesitant to read it because this will be the last time I read a novel by Douglas Nicholas for the first time; the last time I can immerse myself in a new part of his Something Red world. In lieu of a review of Three Queens in Erin (which I will write) here is information for all of the novels and my review of Throne of Darkness (Something Red 3).

You may read my interviews with Douglas here, here and here.



The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas



Three Queens in Erin
Something Red 4
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Maeve and her family - her granddaughter, Nemain; Nemain's husband, Hob; their six-year-old daughter, Macha Redmane; and Maeve's lover, Jack Brown - have decided it is time to return to Ireland and reclaim her tribal lands. Journeying over the sea, the family finally learns the secrets behind their long exile: a clan of Viking/Scots known as the Norse Gaels slayed the chief warrior and leaders of Maeve's clan through cunning black magic. But in returning to Ireland, Maeve and her family must face the three leaders of the Norse Gaels. These three queens, dark version of Celtic goddesses, are evil sisters whose abilities rival Maeve's own formidable powers...

When a monster is unleashed upon the countryside, Maeve and Nemain must create a beast of their own, at a cost of great sorcerous effort to themselves, With Nicholas' signature blend of historical adventure and supernatural fantasy, Three Queens in Erin is a rich addition to his critically acclaimed series.





Previously

Something Red
Something Red 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, June 18, 2013
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 18, 2012

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
From debut novelist Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting fantasy of love, murder, and sorcery set in one of the coldest winters of thirteenth-century England.

In an intoxicating blend of fantasy and horror, acclaimed debut novel Something Red transports you to the harsh, unforgiving world of thirteenth-century England. An evil and age-old force stalks the countryside—who dares confront it?




The Demon
An eShort Story
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 18, 2014
eBook, 32 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Mixing history, fantasy, and legend, The Demon is an exclusive e-short story from acclaimed novelist Douglas Nicholas, perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

In England’s wild North Country, the men of Blanchefontaine, led by the castellan Sir Balthasar, must hunt an unearthly creature that stalks the nearby woods. But all is not as it seems…

Note that The Demon is free!




The Wicked
Something Red 2
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 25, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
The mesmerizing and highly anticipated sequel to Something Red transports readers to the harsh and enchanting world of thirteenth-century England, where a group of unlikely heroes battles an ancient evil.

A thrilling and intoxicating journey to a land of legend, where nothing is quite as it seems. . . .

Something evil has come to reside in a castle by the chill waters of the North Sea: men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses, knights ride out and return under an enchantment that dulls their minds. Both the townspeople and the court under Sir Odinell’s protection live in fear, terrorized by forces beyond human understanding. But rumors of a wise woman blessed with mysterious powers also swirl about the land. The call goes forth, and so it comes to be that young apprentice Hob and his adopted family—exiled Irish queen Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, and warrior Jack Brown—are pitted against a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife.

Richly set in the inns, courts, and countryside of thirteenth-century northwest England, The Wicked is a darkly spun masterpiece that will leave fans of epic fantasy thirsty for more.




Throne of Darkness
Something Red 3
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 31, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, this novel from acclaimed author Douglas Nicholas continues the gripping dark fantasy series that Kirkus Reviews describes as “a more profound Harry Potter for adults.”

It’s 1215 in northwest England—the eve of the signing of the Magna Carta—and mystical Irish queen Maeve and her unlikely band of warriors must protect the region from a chilling fate. Word of a threat reaches the Northern barons: King John has plotted to import an African sorcerer and his sinister clan of blacksmiths, whose unearthly powers may spell destruction for the entire kingdom. Along with her lover, Jack, her gifted niece, Nemain, and Nemain’s newlywed husband, Hob (whose hidden talents will soon be revealed), Maeve must overcome a supernatural threat unlike any she’s seen before.

With his characteristic blend of historical adventure and intoxicating mythological elements, Nicholas once again “goes for the throat…with brilliant writing and whip-smart plotting” (New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry). This is a richly woven tale that will leave you hungry for more.



Qwill's Thoughts

In Throne of Darkness Douglas Nicholas returns to the world of Molly, Nemain, Jack and Hob that he introduced us to in Something Red and continued in The Wicked. In Throne of Darkness King John I of England (of Magna Carta fame) is building a sinister army to defeat the Barons. Molly (Queen Maeve) is approached to counter King John's plans. She's not really asked this time but is coerced into her greatest challenge yet.

Molly and Nemain are Queens of clans from Ireland. Molly is in England building allies and biding her time until she can return to Ireland and she and Nemain can reclaim their thrones. And build allies she does. Throughout the 3 novels, Molly's and her group's adventures have been genuinely riveting and entertaining.

Molly is the leader. She is easy to love and admire. She's regal, intelligent, kind and a formidable practitioner of the (supernatural) Arts. She is also not someone to trifle with. Nemain is her granddaughter. I've watched Nemain grow up during the series. She is fierce, a skilled fighter and also a practitioner of the Arts she learned from Molly. Jack Brown is a former mercenary with a secret. He came to Molly for help and has never left. He is a huge man, skilled at war, but is also a gentle and kind soul. You do not, however, want to be on the wrong end of his battle axe. And Hob, now Nemain’s husband - I've also watched him grow up throughout the novels. In some ways Throne of Darkness is more his story. I finally understood Hob's potential and future in Throne of Darkness. He's become a brilliant fighter throughout the series. Hob is in for some big changes, some of which left me quite emotional.

Douglas Nicholas' writing is lyrical and elegant. He places you deeply into the era he is writing about. You can see the sunlight flickering through the trees and the dust lift off the road as the wagons go by. You can feel the joys and sorrows of the people. You can practically taste the food.

Nicholas imbues his Something Red series with the supernatural, which is really superbly done. He  is a master of placing his story and characters within the context of real events and making you believe in them, care about them and root for them.

Throne of Darkness is a wonderful novel, full of history, thrills, the supernatural, and deeply engaging characters. I absolutely love this series and highly recommend that you read each book in order.


Note: Nicholas provides a pronunciation guide, a Glossary of Irish Terms and a Glossary of Archaisms and Dialect Terms.





About Douglas

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Photograph by Kelly Merchant
Douglas Nicholas was an award-winning poet, whose work has appeared in numerous poetry journals, and the author of six previous books, including The Wicked Something Red and Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by New York City.He is survived by his wife, Theresa, and Yorkshire terrier, Tristan.





Website

Facebook

Twitter @DouglasScribes




Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia


Everything You Want Me to Be
Author:  Mindy Mejia
Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books, January 3, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print); US$13.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781501123429 (print); 9781501123443 (eBook)

Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
People’s Best New Books Pick

“Readers drawn to this compelling psychological thriller because of its shared elements with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Mejia’s confident storytelling pulls those themes into an altogether different exploration of manipulation and identity.” —Booklist (starred review)

12 Books Gone Girl Fans Should Have on Their Wish List —BookBub

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront...and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?



Deb's Review

As Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia hits its mark, we see eighteen year old Hattie Hoffman’s escape from rural Pine Valley to New York, or Boston, or anywhere, fail miserably. But the failure comes with a revelation for Hattie. Considering all of the pain that has brought her to this moment, she finds the will to shed the false faces she presents to the world, and begin living her truth. It's a bold decision from a character with a strongly written voice. Unfortunately, in the next chapter, Sheriff Del Goodman is tasked with finding out who brutally killed Hattie in a community so small that everyone knows your history, has discussed and analyzed your faults, and might be willing to help justice along if law enforcement doesn't move fast enough to suit.

Everything You Want Me to Be is told in the first person through the eyes of Hattie, Del, and Peter Lund, Hattie’s English teacher who is a newcomer to Pine Valley’s closed ranks. Along the way, we get to know Hattie’s best friend, Portia, her boyfriend Tommy, and a number of other townspeople who all seem to share one common trait: they're trapped. By memories. By bad marriages. By obligation. There is an underlying lack of joy in this town full of suspects that makes just about everyone a possibility, although some far more likely than others.

Mejia spends ample time bringing the setting into the foreground and it's the perfect backdrop to showcase teenage restlessness and the struggle with the fundamental human need for something more. Some of the characters are interesting and three dimensional, full of flaws and humor and realistic viewpoints for their backgrounds. Mejia is stellar at weaving detail, clues, and red herrings into the fabric of the story. The solution to the puzzle of who killed Hattie Hoffman was not obvious to me. I changed my mind several times as I looked over Sheriff Goodman’s shoulder while he worked, and watched Pine Valley interact with Hattie and Peter.

The underpinnings of the story – the character archetypes and relationships – sometimes felt a little too familiar. The character of Hattie seemed new and inventive, but much of the time she was surrounded by unfulfilled creatives, dutiful daughters, bloodless farmers’ wives, and dopey jocks. The final chapters, however, were well-plotted. There are no true happy endings here, but the wrap-up is satisfying and a fitting coda for Hattie, the girl denied the one thing she wanted more than anything else, to truly live.

Everything You Want Me to Be is a thoughtfully constructed mystery; an easy to read story that's both fresh and just a bit stale at times. I would recommend the book to mystery and suspense fans for Mejia’s deft plotting and heartfelt portrayal of youth at the very border of adulthood.

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching


Please welcome Ezekiel Boone to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Hatching was published on July 5th by Atria/Emily Bestler Book.



Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Ezekiel:  I started writing seriously about ten years ago. Before that, I wanted to be a writer, but I hadn’t yet realized that meant I actually had to work at writing. I was a stay-at-home dad, so writing time was hard to come by. We invested in a babysitter to come by for two hours, twice a week. Back then, the fifty dollars a week we paid for those four hours felt like a lot of money, and I didn’t want to waste it. Like a lot of writers, I started because I was a serious reader. Always have been. I don’t care what the genre is, good writing is good writing, and the best books feel like a sort of magic. I guess I was hoping I could capture some of that.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ezekiel:  I’m a hybrid. Depends on the book and the project. With The Hatching, particularly since it’s the first book in a series, I’ve been planning out more and more before I start writing. It’s easier to keep the reader in suspense if I know what’s coming next. That being said, there’s a certain freedom to leaving yourself some discovery as a writer. Sometimes you think you are going one way, but if you’re open to change, your writing can lead you somewhere even better.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ezekiel:  The most challenging thing is remembering to treat something that is an incredible privilege like the job that it is. Some days I roll out of bed and can’t wait to get to the computer, and other days there are distractions. But the days I can force myself past the distractions — errands to run, friends who want to meet for lunch, the internet — end up being the best writing days. It’s easier now, because writing is my job, but it was harder when I first started.



TQ What has influenced / influences your writing?

Ezekiel:  My kids. The way they can get lost in a book is inspiring, and I’m trying to recreate that feeling for my readers. More than anything, I want these books to be fun. Sure, The Hatching is scary, but only scary enough that you’re afraid to put it down. I wanted the book to be a kind of thrill ride that makes you remember that reading is supposed to be a joy.



TQDescribe The Hatching in 140 characters or less.

EzekielThe Hatching is Jurassic Park meets World War Z. It’s as if Stephen King and James Patterson had a baby and that baby was a swarm of spiders that ate everything in its path.



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

Ezekiel:  Well, I know that in advanced reading copies, we didn’t indicate that The Hatching was the first book in a series, and I think that took some people by surprise. But that’s not a very fun answer. How about this: for a scary book, there’s really a decent amount of humor.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Hatching? What appeals to you about writing Horror?

Ezekiel:  I didn’t want to write the book at first. It’s about an ancient form of spiders that hatch in a meat-munching frenzy, and I’m absolutely terrified of spiders. I had the idea and set it aside, but then I started having crazy nightmares about spiders. I figured the best thing to do was write it to get it out of my system. As for horror, I think the appeal is that we live in a world and a time when real life can be truly frightening, but scary books give readers a safe place to be afraid. Plus, it’s fun.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Hatching? Why spiders?

The spiders in The Hatching are fictional, but I tried to keep them grounded in fact. My editor had a question about the eggs hatching after such a long period of stasis, and I was able to point her to a university professor who’s hatching eggs that have been in wait for seven hundred years. It’s a bit like Michael Crichton: fiction grounded in fact. As for why spiders, the answer’s easy: there’s a reason we’re afraid of spiders.



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

Ezekiel:  Tough question. The Hatching has a big cast, and I loved all of them. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t have made it past revision. But easiest? How about the spiders? Just kidding. I think the answer that is probably agent Mike Rich. He would have done well in a stand-alone crime thriller, and it was fun to see him instead dealing with spiders. The hardest was the trio of Scottish characters. The character part wasn’t hard, but their connection to the story may not be as obvious as some of the other threads.



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

Ezekiel:

Q: Do you have any interest in doing a photo shoot with spiders crawling all over you?
A: Hell, no!



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

Ezekiel:

1) As it got closer, Miguel took another step back, but by the time he realized that it wasn't actually a river, that it was not water of any kind, it was too late.

2) “You were right,” Julie said.
“Of course I was right,” Melanie said. “About what?”



TQWhat's next?

Ezekiel:  Book two, Skitter, comes out in 2017, but I also just finished a new book that I’m hoping to be able to talk about soon. No spiders, but some good scares.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ezekiel:  Thank you for having me. Now go read The Hatching!





The Hatching
The Hatching Series 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Book, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching
“An apocalyptic extravaganza of doom and heroism…addictive.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s been too long since someone reminded us that spiders are not just to be feared, but also may well spell doom for mankind. Fortunately, Ezekiel Boone has upped the ante on arachnophobia. This is a fresh take on classic horror, thoroughly enjoyable and guaranteed to leave your skin crawling.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.




About Ezekiel

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching
Photograph by Laurie Willick
Ezekiel Boone lives in upstate New York with his wife and children.






Website  ~  Twitter @ezekiel_boone

Facebook  ~  Instagram



2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching
The Hatching Series 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Book, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
“An apocalyptic extravaganza of doom and heroism…addictive.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s been too long since someone reminded us that spiders are not just to be feared, but also may well spell doom for mankind. Fortunately, Ezekiel Boone has upped the ante on arachnophobia. This is a fresh take on classic horror, thoroughly enjoyable and guaranteed to leave your skin crawling.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015


Please welcome Douglas Nicholas to The Qwillery. Throne of Darkness, the 3rd novel in the Something Red series, will be published on March 31st by Atria/Emily Bestler Books.



Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015




TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Throne of Darkness is the 3rd novel in the Something Red series. Tell us something about Throne of Darkness that is not found in the book description. How far after The Wicked does Throne of Darkness take place?

Douglas:  Thanks for having me!

One thing that’s not mentioned in the book description is that we learn quite a bit more about Hob’s earliest memories. Throne of Darkness takes place about three years after the end of The Wicked; Hob is nearly 18 and Nemain is nearly 19 in this book.



TQ:  How does being a poet affect (or not) your novel writing?

Douglas:   I think it has a great deal to do with my prose “voice”; a tendency to vivid use of language, attention to the music in a phrase, and a search for the telling image—see the third example from the book, below. There’s also a slightly elevated, slightly formal tinge to the writing.



TQ:  How has your novel writing process changed over the course of the 3 novels in the Something Red series?

Douglas:  I don’t know that it has changed, much—I still need to have an idea of the arc of the story before I get started. In Something Red I stumbled upon a tripartite division of the book, with each part devoted to a different (and ultimately deceptive) refuge—The Monastery, The Inn, The Castle. I liked this three-part structure so much that I’ve decided to keep it for all four novels.



TQ:  Over the course of the 3 novels, Something Red (2012), The Wicked (2014) and Throne of Darkness (2015) which character has surprised you the most? Which character has changed the most?

Douglas:  I think that to some extent the character that surprised me the most was Milo the ox. Molly has named him “Milo” because somewhere in her travels she has heard or even read—she’s intellectually formidable, our Molly, and has a wide circle of friends, and knows a great many things—the story about Milo of Croton, who lifted a calf in his youth and, in a triumph of progressive resistance, became a strongman as the calf grows to a bull. (This won’t work in real life, folks, because calves grow up too fast, but the principle is sound.) Hob’s very fond of him, and calls him “Lambkin” when no one else is about, an affectionate nickname he only barely remembers from before his parents were killed.

I knew oxen were timid, at least relative to bulls, and I had Milo hide his face against Hob’s chest early in Something Red when the cry of the monster is heard in the forest. Later in the book I had Milo try to conceal himself from a fierce wild bull by putting his head behind Hob’s back, with the idea that “if I can’t see the bull, the bull can’t see me.” After the publication of the book a friend told me that she had visited a woman who kept two oxen, that the animals were very shy, and that one of them had hid his face behind his “mom.” I felt an affection toward this big, amiable, slothful, timid animal, and so I kept giving him more and more business to do, and people would write and say how much they loved this nonhuman and very peripheral character. That was surprising to me.

I think Hob has changed, and will change, the most. He’s a boy, after all, when the first book begins. Nemain is also growing up, but she is a year older than Hob, and has led a more varied existence, and is by training and heredity a priestess of the Mórrígan and a warrior queen in her own right, back in Erin, so she’s more grownup from the beginning. Hob is a teenager from a time before teenagers were a tribe unto themselves: you were a child, and you wanted to take your place in the adult world, and as soon as possible, you did so, imitating the adults, who knew more than you did. He’s a good person, but he’s not a goody-goody type—he’s just aware that those around him are excellent models, and he’s trying to learn from them; he’s down with the program.



TQ:  You’ve done extensive research for the prior 2 novels. What research did you do for Throne of Darkness?

Douglas:  I had to find out a lot about hyenas! There were other topics about which I needed to learn more than I knew at the outset. For example, the fascinating people who call themselves the Imazighen, or “the free and noble ones,” and whom others call Berbers, which comes ultimately from “barbarian,” and which they don’t like. (Compare the people whom the English call “Welsh”, which comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “foreigner, stranger, enemy”; the Welsh call themselves “Cymry,” the “fellow-men.”)

The hook that I started with is a story about King John told by Matthew Paris, a monk writing in the middle of the thirteenth century. He said—and it’s almost certainly a libel: the monks hated John for his financial pressures on the monasteries to support his mercenaries—at any rate, Paris wrote that King John sent an embassy to the Emir of Morocco, and offered to submit to him and to convert England to Islam, if the Emir would help him against his enemies. The emir refused, saying that if John would betray his religion he would betray the emir. I thought, What if the embassy, waiting to go home in defeat, were to encounter a Moroccan sorcerer who could help the king with his rebellious barons? I was aware of the pagan Berber resistance against the advance of Arab Islam in the seventh century, and I posited that there would be some holdout pagans, and even sorcerers. When I researched North African legends and found the bouda, blacksmiths who could change into hyenas—a variant is found as far south as Ethiopia—I was fascinated. The story grew from there.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Throne of Darkness.

Douglas:
They lay panting for a while, and then he rolled on his back and pulled her atop him, and contrived to cover her with his shirt, and held her for a while. He lay, utterly happy, looking up at the underside of the boards that were the floor of the hayloft: bits of hay poking down into the spaces between the planks; the square heads of hand-forged nails driven into a beam; a spider in its web, hanging motionless with a terrible stony patience.
* * *
The archway that led back into the corridor showed an impenetrable black. The ticking footsteps resumed, then paused. With hideous slowness, the misshapen mask of a hyena peered around the jamb of the arch. Black lips drew back from a jumble of huge teeth, and round mad eyes glared in at him. From the creature’s lips broke an eerie titter, followed by a bass snarl. A moment later it loped around the corner and sprang at him.
* * *
       From a chest in the far corner da Panzano withdrew a packet with the papal seal, and tendered it to Molly, who put it into a fold of her garments without looking at it.

     “You do not look?” asked da Panzano.

     “I will look later; if ’tis not what you promised, sure I’ll come to you again, my lad.”

      For something said so unemphatically, thought Hob, this managed to convey a sense of terrible menace: the creak of a longbow at full draw.


TQ:  Will we be seeing more of Molly, Jack Brown, Nemain, and Hob in the future?

Douglas:  There will be more, in the fourth volume, but I’d hate to see Something Red #37Hob and Nemain Go to Las Vegas. I’d like the series to end where, without my saying it, the reader knows that They Lived Happily Ever After.



TQ:  If a reader wanted more information about the historical period during which the novels are set, which books would you recommend?

Douglas:  W.L. Warren, King John; Frances and Joseph Gies, Life in a Medieval Village; Matthew Paris, The History of England; Elizabeth Hallam, The Plantagenet Chronicles.



TQ:  What’s next?

Douglas:  Next is the fourth and final book in the tetralogy, Three Queens in Erin, in which Molly will return to Ireland and take her revenge.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Douglas:  My pleasure entirely.





Throne of Darkness
Series:  Something Red 3
Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 31, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $16.00 (print)
ISBN:  9781476755984 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015
Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, this novel from acclaimed author Douglas Nicholas continues the gripping dark fantasy series that Kirkus Reviews describes as “a more profound Harry Potter for adults.”

It’s 1215 in northwest England—the eve of the signing of the Magna Carta—and mystical Irish queen Maeve and her unlikely band of warriors must protect the region from a chilling fate. Word of a threat reaches the Northern barons: King John has plotted to import an African sorcerer and his sinister clan of blacksmiths, whose unearthly powers may spell destruction for the entire kingdom. Along with her lover, Jack, her gifted niece, Nemain, and Nemain’s newlywed husband, Hob (whose hidden talents will soon be revealed), Maeve must overcome a supernatural threat unlike any she’s seen before.

With his characteristic blend of historical adventure and intoxicating mythological elements, Nicholas once again “goes for the throat…with brilliant writing and whip-smart plotting” (New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry). This is a richly woven tale that will leave you hungry for more.



Qwill's Thoughts

In Throne of Darkness Douglas Nicholas returns to the world of Molly, Nemain, Jack and Hob that he introduced us to in Something Red and continued in The Wicked. In Throne of Darkness King John I of England (of Magna Carta fame) is building a sinister army to defeat the Barons. Molly (Queen Maeve) is approached to counter King John's plans. She's not really asked this time but is coerced into her greatest challenge yet.

Molly and Nemain are Queens of clans from Ireland. Molly is in England building allies and biding her time until she can return to Ireland and she and Nemain can reclaim their thrones. And build allies she does. Throughout the 3 novels, Molly's and her group's adventures have been genuinely riveting and entertaining.

Molly is the leader. She is easy to love and admire. She's regal, intelligent, kind and a formidable practitioner of the (supernatural) Arts. She is also not someone to trifle with. Nemain is her granddaughter. I've watched Nemain grow up during the series. She is fierce, a skilled fighter and also a practitioner of the Arts she learned from Molly. Jack Brown is a former mercenary with a secret. He came to Molly for help and has never left. He is a huge man, skilled at war, but is also a gentle and kind soul. You do not, however, want to be on the wrong end of his battle axe. And Hob, now Nemain’s husband - I've also watched him grow up throughout the novels. In some ways Throne of Darkness is more his story. I finally understood Hob's potential and future in Throne of Darkness. He's become a brilliant fighter throughout the series. Hob is in for some big changes, some of which left me quite emotional.

Douglas Nicholas' writing is lyrical and elegant. He places you deeply into the era he is writing about. You can see the sunlight flickering through the trees and the dust lift off the road as the wagons go by. You can feel the joys and sorrows of the people. You can practically taste the food.

Nicholas imbues his Something Red series with the supernatural, which is really superbly done. He  is a master of placing his story and characters within the context of real events and making you believe in them, care about them and root for them.

Throne of Darkness is a wonderful novel, full of history, thrills, the supernatural, and deeply engaging characters. I absolutely love this series and highly recommend that you read each book in order.


Note: Nicholas provides a pronunciation guide, a Glossary of Irish Terms and a Glossary of Archaisms and Dialect Terms.





About Douglas

Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015
Photograph by Kelly Merchant
Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet, whose work has appeared in numerous poetry journals, and the author of four previous books, including Something Red and Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by New York City. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife Theresa and Yorkshire terrier Tristan.




Website

Facebook

Twitter @DouglasScribes









Previously

Something Red
Something Red 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, June 18, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Published in Hardcover, September 18, 2012

Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015
In an intoxicating blend of fantasy and horror, acclaimed debut novel Something Red transports you to the harsh, unforgiving world of thirteenth-century England. An evil and age-old force stalks the countryside—who dares confront it?


The Demon
An eShort Story
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 18, 2014
eBook, 32 pages

Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015
Mixing history, fantasy, and legend, The Demon is an exclusive e-short story from acclaimed novelist Douglas Nicholas, perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

In England’s wild North Country, the men of Blanchefontaine, led by the castellan Sir Balthasar, must hunt an unearthly creature that stalks the nearby woods. But all is not as it seems…

Note that The Demon is presently free!


The Wicked
Something Red 2
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 25, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015
A thrilling and intoxicating journey to a land of legend, where nothing is quite as it seems. . . .

Something evil has come to reside in a castle by the chill waters of the North Sea: men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses, knights ride out and return under an enchantment that dulls their minds. Both the townspeople and the court under Sir Odinell’s protection live in fear, terrorized by forces beyond human understanding. But rumors of a wise woman blessed with mysterious powers also swirl about the land. The call goes forth, and so it comes to be that young apprentice Hob and his adopted family—exiled Irish queen Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, and warrior Jack Brown—are pitted against a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife.

Richly set in the inns, courts, and countryside of thirteenth-century northwest England, The Wicked is a darkly spun masterpiece that will leave fans of epic fantasy thirsty for more.

Review: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes


I Am Pilgrim
Author:  Terry Hayes
Publisher:  Atria/Emily Bestler Books, May 27, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 624 pages
List Price:  $26.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781439177723 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
This astonishing debut espionage thriller depicts the collision course between two geniuses, one a tortured hero and one a determined terrorist, in a breakneck story reminiscent of John le Carré and Robert Ludlum at their finest.

PILGRIM is the code name for a world class and legendary secret agent. His adversary is a man known only to the reader as the Saracen. As a young boy, the Saracen barely sees his dissident father beheaded in a Saudi Arabian public square. But the event marks him for life and creates a burning desire to destroy the special relationship between the US and the Kingdom. Everything in the Saracen’s life from this moment forward will be in service to jihad.

At the novel’s opening, we find ourselves in a seedy hotel near Ground Zero. A woman lies face down in a pool of acid, features melted off her face, teeth missing, fingerprints gone. The room has been sprayed down with DNA-eradicating antiseptic spray. All the techniques are pulled directly from Pilgrim's book, a cult classic of forensic science written under a pen name.

In offering the NYPD some casual assistance with the case, Pilgrim gets pulled back into the intelligence underground. What follows is a thriller that jockeys between astonishingly detailed character study and breakneck globetrotting. The author shifts effortlessly from Pilgrim’s hidden life of leisure in Paris to the Saracen’s squalid warrior life in Afghanistan, from the hallways of an exclusive Swiss bank to the laboratories of a nefarious biotech facility in Syria.

The inevitable encounter between Pilgrim and the Saracen will come in Turkey, around the murder of a wealthy American, in a thrilling, twisting, beautifully orchestrated finale. 



Qwill's Thoughts

I Am Pilgrim is a deeply engaging thriller by Terry Hayes. It's filled with everything I love about thrillers - great characters, a frightening scenario, the slow and unrelenting build of suspense, and a deeply layered story.

Pilgrim is brilliant but so is Saracen, the person he is trying to track down to avoid a disaster of epic proportions. Watching Pilgrim's mind work is a real joy. He's clever and inventive. He is the first to admit to his shortcomings. He does make mistakes. He's not omniscient, but when it comes to investigating he has no peer.  He puts things together is ways that are remarkable yet explainable (and are explained). This adds a great deal of depth and veracity to the novel. We get to see how Pilgrim thinks. He also works hard. He hunts down clues. He's a man of action when necessary.

The Saracen is also very intelligent. His life history is slowly shown to the reader throughout the novel. The reader is privy to why he's become single-minded in his quest to bring down the United States. The Saracen is very, very patient. He is one man, more or less off the grid, planning unimaginable destruction. The plan he eventually concocts appears frighteningly real which heightens the intensity of the novel.

In addition to trying to stop the Saracen, Pilgrim is also figuring out a couple of murders that are unrelated to the Saracen plot. I enjoyed this part of the story as well because it gave me additional opportunities to see Pilgrim in action and see how his mind works.

I Am Pilgrim is a beautifully written novel with excellent pacing, wonderful twists and turns and plenty of action. The story not only switches back and forth between Pilgrim and Saracen, but there are flashbacks to Pilgrim's past. The reader gets to learn quite a bit about Pilgrim's life and who he is. Hayes handles this back and forth and the shifting story lines skillfully. There is a very strong cast of well-developed supporting characters who help or hinder Pilgrim in various ways.

I Am Pilgrim is a nail-biter. Even after 600+ pages I was disappointed that the novel ended. I wanted keep reading about Pilgrim and to be in his mind a bit more. If you enjoy well-crafted, exciting espionage thrillers this is an absolute must read.



Look for an interview with Terry Hayes and giveaway of I Am Pilgrim on May 27th.


Interview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014


Please welcome Douglas Nicholas to The Qwillery. Douglas is the author of the fabulous Something Red series: Something Red (2012) and The Wicked which was published on March 25, 2014.



Interview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014




TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. The Wicked, the 2nd novel in your Something Red series, was just published on March 25, 2014. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Has this changed from when you wrote Book 1 to Book 2?

Douglas:  I write slowly, partly because I like to make sure that real-life details (as opposed to the fantasy elements) are correct, and partly because I care a great deal about the language, and want to get the prose just right, while a the same time telling a gripping story. I’d like people not to be able to put it down, to keep turning the pages, but then feel that they’d like to go back, sooner or later—or even immediately!—and reread it, just to savor the language. Some people have posted that they went back, two of them immediately, to read Something Red again; one person has read it three times since it came out in 2012.



TQ:  What do you wish you'd known about publishing when Something Red (Book 1) came out that you know now?

Douglas:  I’ve said it before: I was quite surprised at what a sweet bunch I have to deal with at Emily Bestler Books/Atria—not at all like the type of cold cutthroat corporation one sees portrayed, either for chills or for humor, in books and on TV. More like a group of chums.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Wicked that is not in the book description.

Douglas:  The villain, Sir Tarquin, is one of the most evil critters you never want to meet:
Sir Tarquin’s strong pale face was a mask of malignant hunger. Hob had seen a hawk standing with taloned foot on a mouse and tearing it with its hook-knife bill, and it was a model of sweetness beside this face, this expression, that might have been the portrait of Satan in a rage.
And his lady wife is not far behind:
Beside [Sir Tarquin]: Lady Rohese, a woman of smoldering beauty, a woman neither young nor much past youth, dark-haired, dark-eyed. Hob had just begun to think how beautiful she was when she looked at Molly’s table, and he thought to see an expression of the sourest evil, covered over with an attempt at neutral cordiality—an effect as of powdered sugar on a dish of spoiled meat.
Also in The Wicked, Jack acquires a very devoted dog, there’s a shipwreck, a storm, music, two “bar fights” of sorts, bandits, a giant (in the basketball-player sense) knight, a magic water-mirror spy device, a mano-a-mano sorcerous duel between Molly and Lady Rohese, a final conflict that involves swordplay and grim heavy sorcery, and a wedding between two of our favorite characters. That raven on the cover is not just decoration, either: it’s important.



TQ:  What research have you done for The Wicked?

Douglas:  I did a lot of research about the North Sea coast—its appearance, its flora, its fauna, and its history. For example, I needed fresh-plowed fields in August to foreshadow a later metaphor (I told you I work hard at the prose), so I had to find out what one might be planting so late in the summer (the flax and hemp were harvested in July, and then the turnips were planted in August).

As in Something Red, all the names are chosen from thirteenth-century tax rolls or court records. Jack’s dog, Sweetlove, has a name borne by at least three women in the thirteenth century who paid taxes or were involved in a legal dispute. Spellings varied a bit—one was “Sueteloue”—but in other words it’s a perfectly likely name. Another major character, Sir Odinell, is of the De Umfrevilles; he has a castle on the North Sea. There really was an Odinell de Umfreville, but he stayed in Normandy. Remember that at this time the Normans, who had come from France, often had property on both sides of the Channel—King John spent a lot of his time trying to hold on to the parts of France (Anjou, mostly) that were his by inheritance.

The North Sea, by the way, was called the German Sea by the English in the Middle Ages. The Dutch called it the North Sea, because it was north of the Netherlands, and this became the current name.

One noble whose name is not particularly Norman is Sir Tarquin—I chose his name to evoke the Etruscan kings of Rome, before Rome overthrew them and became a republic—Tarquin the Elder, and the last king of Rome, Tarquin the Proud. Why? Because at one point Molly realizes that Sir Tarquin is much older than he appears, and may have been around “for many a long, long year.” (No, he’s not the Devil himself. But he’s working on it.)

YouTube is good for taking virtual walks around Northumberland, and for learning how charcoal is made, including the curious one-legged stool the charcoal-burners employ, which found its way into the book. (If you’ve ever had spaghetti carbonara, that’s pasta “charcoal-burners’ style.”)



TQ:  What appeals to you about thirteenth century northwest England?

Douglas:  When I began Something Red, as a short story(!), I wanted it to end in an isolated, wintry mountain castle. If you want mountains in England, you have to be in the north, where the Pennines run from the Scottish border to about a third of the way down England. Northumberland today (it was bigger in the Middle Ages, and was called Northumbria) is still the most deserted area of England, and was even more so, of course, 800 years ago. The more I looked into the culture and dialect and history of Northern England, the more interesting it became. You say “northwest” England, but Something Red only starts there, and then our little family is trying to get over the central Pennine range to get to Durham and York, cities on the northeast coast. They’re stranded in the north-central castle, Blanchefontaine, and only get underway to the east coast at the end of the book. The Wicked takes place almost entirely on the northeast coast, by the “German Sea.”

I started the tale in 1995, then put it aside for a while. Sometime after that Susanna Clarke also made much of the North Country in her excellent Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but I’d already chosen the area for my story.

I discovered that there’s a sort of cultural unity between northern England and southern Scotland, with a lot of linguistic sharing of terms, etc. There are some Scottish villains in The Wicked (even though my half-Irish, half-Scottish mom was from Glasgow), because the Scots were such a formidable warlike people who presented Norman lords with a constant threat of raids, and when they’re bad, you have to take them seriously.




TQ:  In the series so far who is your favorite good 'guy', bad 'guy' or ethically ambiguous character?

Douglas:  We will meet an ethically ambiguous character in the third volume of this series, the papal operative Monsignor Bonacorso da Panzano, but most of the characters in the first two books fall into the good-guy bad-guy categories.

I find it hard to choose: I’m very fond of our four main characters. Nemain is the most prickly, and has not yet grown into the mature kindness of Molly. Sir Balthasar is interesting to me: he’s frightening even to the men he leads, and more so to his enemies, but he’s absolutely gentle with his wife, Dame Aline, a merry character who was also a pleasure to write. Others: the restless, hyperactive, dangerous Sir Jehan and his wife, the enigmatic Lady Isabeau.

I like a lot of the minor characters, some of whom only appear for a page or two: Hodard Squint, the lawman who warns Molly in Something Red, or the dog groom Herluin in The Wicked. The unnamed aged but strong winch-tender in SR, who tells what is essentially a complete murder ballad in one page of dialect (which I hope impatient readers will sound out and not skip). Also from SR, the atte Well twin daughters, Margery and Parnell, and Osbert atte Well himself. From TW: Erec the Irish wolfhound puppy. Rollo, another Irish wolfhound puppy. (There’s a strong canine thread in The Wicked.)



TQ:  Which character has surprised you the most?

Douglas:  They don’t surprise me: I don’t let them. “Stand there—no, a little to the left—and say your lines,” I tell them. “No, once more, and put a little feeling into it.” I have a story to tell; I can’t let them begin to sass me.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from The Wicked.

Douglas:  I’ll give you three sentences; two are just for context—the middle sentence is the one I’m fond of:

She watched the road where it curved out of sight. The sea grumbled; the moon burned along the ridges of the waves. Around the bend came a double column of Sir Tarquin’s bewitched knights.



TQ:  What's next?

Douglas:  Next year is the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. In volume three of this series, Molly will defeat an evil plot by King John to massacre the barons assembled for the signing, including her friends Sir Jehan, Sir Odinell, and Sir Balthasar.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us again at The Qwillery.





The Wicked
Something Red 2
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 25, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014
A thrilling and intoxicating journey to a land of legend, where nothing is quite as it seems. . . .

Something evil has come to reside in a castle by the chill waters of the North Sea: men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses, knights ride out and return under an enchantment that dulls their minds. Both the townspeople and the court under Sir Odinell’s protection live in fear, terrorized by forces beyond human understanding. But rumors of a wise woman blessed with mysterious powers also swirl about the land. The call goes forth, and so it comes to be that young apprentice Hob and his adopted family—exiled Irish queen Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, and warrior Jack Brown—are pitted against a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife.

Richly set in the inns, courts, and countryside of thirteenth-century northwest England, The Wicked is a darkly spun masterpiece that will leave fans of epic fantasy thirsty for more.



The Demon
An eShort Story
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 18, 2014
eBook, 32 pages

Interview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014
Mixing history, fantasy, and legend, The Demon is an exclusive e-short story from acclaimed novelist Douglas Nicholas, perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

In England’s wild North Country, the men of Blanchefontaine, led by the castellan Sir Balthasar, must hunt an unearthly creature that stalks the nearby woods. But all is not as it seems…

Note that The Demon is presently free!



Something Red
Something Red 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, June 18, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Published in Hardcover, September 18, 2012

Interview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014
In an intoxicating blend of fantasy and horror, acclaimed debut novel Something Red transports you to the harsh, unforgiving world of thirteenth-century England. An evil and age-old force stalks the countryside—who dares confront it?





About Douglas

Interview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014
Photograph by Kelly Merchant
Douglas Nicholas is an award-winning poet, whose work has appeared in numerous poetry journals, and the author of four previous books, including Something Red and Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by New York City. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife Theresa and Yorkshire terrier Tristan.



Website


Facebook

Twitter @DouglasScribes





Interview with Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly - February 11, 2014


Please welcome Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly to The Qwillery. Conquest, the first novel in their Chronicles of the Invaders series, is out today. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Jennifer and John a Happy Publication Day.



Interview with Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly - February 11, 2014




TQConquest is the first novel (out of many) that you have co-authored. How did your writing process change for Conquest?

John:  I'm not by nature a planner. I tend to know the beginning of a book, and then I work my way gradually in the general direction of the end. Obviously, though, that process doesn't work if you're collaborating, so I had to outline for the first time. Oh, and because I'd always worked alone in the past, I had to learn to concede points occasionally, and develop some diplomatic skills, which probably didn't hurt me to do.



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

Jennifer:  Fear, and deadlines! Fear of deadlines! And starting: actually sitting down and starting to write is terrifying, as is forcing out that first line, which always seems tortured and overthought. After that it gets easier some days, but even when it doesn’t flow you still have to keep putting those words one after the other, even when they clang and clunk like deadweights. However, when you’re done there’s nothing like it.



TQ:  Which strengths did your co-author bring to the novel?

Jennifer:  John bought the vision, the staying-power, a wealth of experience, rigorous attention to detail and probability – I’d think up wondrous things and he’s go “not possible” – and mostly a vivid, dark, dream-filled imagination, tempered by science. He’s a force to be reckoned with…

John:  Jennie writes well about, and in the voice of, teenagers, so she gave them a depth and personality that I probably would not have, or at least would not have in the same way. She also has a good eye for detail, so she tends to spot errors and inconsistencies.



TQ:  Describe Conquest in 140 characters or less.

Jennifer:  It’s the story of the first female alien born on earth after the invasion…

JohnConquest tells of the first alien child to turn 16 after her people's invasion of earth, and of her discovery of the reality of that invasion.



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

Jennifer:  Oooh, spoilers. There’s a dog called Lex. The last time you see him will choke you up. If it doesn’t, you’re probably a cat person. Or dead.

John:  It's often very funny, I think. It's not completely dark, although it has some dark moments.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Conquest? Why Science Fiction?

Jennifer:  John had an idea about a story he wanted to write, and he felt he needed a female touch (that sounds bad!), because the main protagonist was a teenage alien girl. I think perhaps it’s a metaphor for his own teens…

We both enjoy science fiction, but I loathe the cliché that is the hammier, tri-boobed, Lycra-clad variety: it alienates many females. I wanted strong, adventurous, intrepid, imperfect but interesting females to take an active part in the action – much like the women in my own life. 
There is much out there that girls love about science fiction, yet when young women are sold scifi it’s usually packaged as less-threatening fantasy: just look at the wild success of the Hunger Games. But so much can be explored through the genre… it’s unfair that such a cool thing has become a boy thing. I hope we can help redress that.

John:  Well, the initial idea was mine. I have always loved science fiction, both in the form of classic novels (John Wyndham, H.G. Wells) and, more particularly, science fiction film. I wanted to write something that expressed my love of the genre, but with an awareness that the science fiction label is often off-putting to female readers. I wanted to redress that imbalance, perhaps.



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

John:  I'm curious about physics, and possible future developments in, for example, fuels and medicines, so some of that comes through in the book. Otherwise a lot of my research was trying to recall what it was like to be a teenager, and then realizing that I was still a bit of a teenager inside, which was helpful.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Who is your favorite good guy, bad guy or ethically ambiguous character?

Jennifer:  I think I got Syl best of all, because I spent the most time with her, getting to know her, fleshing her out. She’s most like me, but she doesn’t really care if people like her, which isn’t like me at all. I admire the freedom that gives her. I admire her courage. I also enjoyed Fremd, and Just Joe, and “designing” Syrene.

The hardest was probably Gradus, because there’s a fear of turning a bad guy into pastiche.

Meia is my absolute favourite character, because you don’t know if you should love her or hate her, and her motives are so shadowed. I adore her intrigue. I rather like the baddy Vena too, and of course I love Syl and Ani, because I identify with them best of all.

John:   I enjoyed writing Meia because she has interesting layers, but I suppose there's a bit of me in all of the characters. I don't think you can create believable characters without finding a personal connection, even with the worst of them. Paul and Syl were relatively easy for me, Ani less so. I don't know why. I did get a kick out of writing the Sarith Entities, who are really quite awful, but most of the Illyri are very morally complex. We tried very hard to shy away from conventional bad guys. The Illyri, by and large, are just trying to make the best of a difficult situation, and any evil in them comes out of hurt, or selfishness, or simple expediency.



TQ:  What's next?

Jennifer:  We’re writing Empire, the next in the Chronicles of the Invaders trilogy

John:  Well, I have the new Charlie Parker book, The Wolf in Winter, coming out this year, but I'm currently working on Empire for a UK release date later this year.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

John:  My pleasure! Thanks for inviting us.





Conquest

Conquest
The Chronicles of the Invaders 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, February 11, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly - February 11, 2014
Earth is no longer ours. . . .

It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders.

Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home.

For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun. . . .



About Jennifer
(text from The Chronicles of the Invaders website)

Interview with Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly - February 11, 2014
Photograph by Cameron Ridyard
JENNIFER RIDYARD spent a happy, sun-drenched childhood in the mining town of Benoni, South Africa, during the 1970s and 1980s—her only defense for this being ignorance.

On leaving school she embarked on a rocky career path including a short stint as a nurse, several waitressing jobs (the best was at an ice-cream parlor), a prolonged run as a bank clerk, and a span as a barmaid.

She worked as a check-out girl, conducted market research surveys, and was even a Sunday School teacher, albeit briefly.

Finally in 1994—the year of South Africa's first democratic election—Jennie became a cub reporter at a local newspaper. Her first job as a newshound was literally a wild goose chase, rushing to the scene when a rare waterfowl landed in someone's swimming pool. Unfortunately the bird left before she got there. She went on to become the lifestyle editor on a national daily newspaper.

In 2004 she moved to Ireland, but spends much time in South Africa.

She writes, reads, recycles, tries to paint, doesn't eat meat, loves cake, and enjoys long walks with the family pound puppies, Sasha and Coco.

Jennie has two children, Cameron and Alistair.

The Chronicles of the Invaders Website  ~  Twitter @JennieRidyard



About John
(text from The Chronicles of the Invaders website)

Interview with Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly - February 11, 2014
Photograph by Ivan Gimenez Costa
Ivan Gimenez Costa
Ivan Gimenez Costa
JOHN CONNOLLY grew up in Dublin, Ireland. Before he started to write books, he worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University.

John's first novel for young people, The Gates, was published in 2009, followed by a sequel, Hell's Bells/The Infernals, in 2011. The third Samuel Johnson novel, The Creeps, will be published in autumn 2013. He is best known to adult readers as the creator of detective Charlie Parker, who has appeared in eleven novels, beginning with Every Dead Thing (1999), and most recently The Wrath of Angels (2012). John is also the author of Bad Men (2003), The Book of Lost Things (2006), and a collection of short stories, Nocturnes (2004). He is the co-editor (with Declan Burke) of Books to Die For (2012), a prize-winning collection of essays from the world's top crime writers.

John hosts a weekly radio show, ABC to XTC, on Internet radio station RTE 2XM.

John lives in Ireland, but also spends time in Portland, Maine, where many of his novels are set.

You can read more about him on his author website.

The Chronicles of the Invaders Website  ~  Twitter @jconnollybooks  ~  Facebook



The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas NicholasReview: Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy MejiaInterview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel BooneInterview with Douglas Nicholas and Review of Throne of Darkness - March 30, 2015Interview with Terry Hayes, author of I Am Pilgrim, plus Giveaway - May 27, 2014Review: I Am Pilgrim by Terry HayesInterview with Douglas Nicholas, author of Something Red and The Wicked - March 27, 2014Interview with Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly - February 11, 2014

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