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2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Mitchell Hogan

A Crucible of Souls
Sorcery Ascendant Sequence 1
Harper Voyager, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
An imaginative new talent makes his debut with the acclaimed first installment in the epic Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, a mesmerizing tale of high fantasy that combines magic, malevolence, and mystery.

When young Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, the boy is raised by monks who initiate him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery.

Growing up plagued by questions about his past, Caldan vows to discover who his parents were, and why they were violently killed. The search will take him beyond the walls of the monastery, into the unfamiliar and dangerous chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to become apprenticed to a guild of sorcerers.

But the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths he does not fully understand. As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that will bring the world to the edge of destruction.

Soon, he must choose a side, and face the true cost of uncovering his past.

Interview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015


Please welcome Beth Cato to The Qwillery. The Clockwork Crown, the second novel in the Clockwork Dagger series, will be published on June 9th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, The Clockwork Crown (Clockwork Dagger 2), will be published on June 9th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote The Clockwork Dagger (2014) to The Clockwork Crown?

Beth:  Thank you! It's wonderful to be back here.

My writing process changed pretty drastically between the two books. I always outline heavily--heck, I even outline flash fiction sometimes--but writing The Clockwork Dagger was very much a discovery process for me. My agent had me do a series of very, very heavy revisions to hone the world-building and get the book in shape to submit to editors. After all that, when my revision letter arrived from my editor at Harper Voyager, she wanted extensive revisions, too. I ended up cutting out 10% of the book!

Those deep edits helped me to prepare for The Clockwork Crown. Since it's part two of a duology, I knew I needed to tie up most all of my loose threads, and my outline was very detailed in that regard. I ended up writing the whole rough draft of Clockwork Crown in a single, frantic month. The amazing thing is, the editing process was straightforward after that. I've had 4,000-word short stories that have been more painful to edit than that whole novel. I doubt I'll ever again have a book that's so easy, so ready to write.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when The Clockwork Dagger came out that you know now?

Beth:  That I can only control so much. That's hard for me. I'm diagnosed Obsessive-Compulsive. I was enormously stressed when the book came out. I quickly learned that I could not check my BookScan numbers on Amazon or I would go crazy. I had to tell myself, "Those numbers are inaccurate. Ignore them. Do what you can elsewhere." Instead, I put my energy into more useful things, like guest blog posts and working on totally new stories.



TQThe Deepest Poison: A Clockwork Dagger Story was published on April 28th. Where does this fit in the Clockwork Dagger storyline?

BethThe Deepest Poison is a prequel story to The Clockwork Dagger, depicting a major incident between Octavia and her mentor, Miss Percival. Even though it takes place before the novel, the story can be read at any point in the series. It provides a very different perspective of Octavia and her magic because it's told from Miss Percival's viewpoint.



TQIn a prior interview [here] you stated that the most challenging thing for you about writing is "rejection." Has this changed?

Beth:  No, I think the matter of rejection simply... evolved as I became a published novelist. My books aren't going to please everyone and now I get pings when my name or book titles are mentioned. I try to avoid the worst of the negativity, but it's simply part of the business. I still get scads of rejections on poetry and short stories, too. My absolute favorite story keeps getting "almosts" at major markets and it kills me every time because I love the story so much. But I keep sending the story out there for that same reason.



TQTell us something about The Clockwork Crown that is not in the book description.

Beth:  This is really the book where Octavia grows up. At the start of The Clockwork Dagger, she was very mature in some regards. After all, she had served as a healer at the frontlines of war through most of her teen years. At the same time, she was still naive and vulnerable when it came to the real world. In Clockwork Crown, she's forced to face her deepest fears.



TQHow does the magic system in the Clockwork Dagger series work?

Beth:  Octavia's magic is drawn from the Lady, a mysterious world tree rumored to exist in the desolate plains of the Waste. Octavia is the most powerful medician (healing magus) known, but even so she has limits. Healings need to be conducted in a circle formed of copper or the herb honeyflower, and different types of injuries also require particular herbs for treatment. No herbs, no ability to call on the Lady for healing. This is why Octavia is also an accomplished doctor, though she regards mundane methods as a last resort.



TQWhich character in the Clockwork Dagger series (so far) surprised you the most?

Beth:  Oh, Leaf the gremlin. He demanded a large role in the first book, and Harper Voyager's love for him is what resulted in my book deal! He continues to play an important part in The Clockwork Crown. You get to meet many more gremlins, too. Readers really go bonkers for Leaf. I've had several people ask if plushie gremlins are in the works... I wish!



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Clockwork Crown.

Beth:  This is some of my favorite dialogue in the book--forgive me for a few extra lines! This is between Octavia Leander and Alonzo Garret.

“Your gratitude can sustain me in many ways, Mr. Garret, but it cannot replace almond chicken accompanied by a good, hard cheese.”
“I suppose I must live with that.”
“Does that mean you plan to stay in my company for some time?”
“Yes.” The word was soft, husky. “So long as we are not assassinated in the near future. Or until you do prefer a good, hard cheese to my appreciation and companionship.”
“It would need to be an especially good cheese.”



TQWhat's next?

Beth:  I'll have a Clockwork Dagger novella out in November and another short story next spring. Plus, I always have other fantasy or science fiction stories and poetry in the works. Readers can drop by my website and follow along for the latest news. Also, I post recipes every Wednesday. Come for the stories, stay for the cookies!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Beth:  And thank you! It still delights me to be part of a site that I have read as a fan for so many years.





The Clockwork Crown
Clockwork Dagger 2
Harper Voyager, June 9, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015
Rich in atmosphere, imagination, and fun, the action-packed, magic-filled sequel to The Clockwork Dagger is an enchanting steampunk fantasy, evocative of the works of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Narrowly surviving assassination and capture, Octavia Leander, a powerful magical healer, is on the run with handsome Alonzo Garrett, the Clockwork Dagger who forfeited his career with the Queen’s secret society of spies and killers—and possibly his life—to save her. Now, they are on a dangerous quest to find safety and answers: Why is Octavia so powerful? Why does she seem to be undergoing a transformation unlike any witnessed for hundreds of years?

The truth may rest with the source of her mysterious healing power—the Lady’s Tree. But the tree lies somewhere in a rough, inhospitable territory known as the Waste. Eons ago, this land was made barren and uninhabitable by an evil spell, until a few hardy souls dared to return over the last century. For years, the Waste has waged a bloody battle against the royal court to win its independence—and they need Octavia’s powers to succeed.

Joined by unlikely allies, including a menagerie of gremlin companions, she must evade killers and Clockwork Daggers on a dangerous journey through a world on the brink of deadly civil war.





Previously

The Clockwork Dagger
Clockwork Dagger 1
Harper Voyager, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.




The Deepest Poison
A Clockwork Dagger Story
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 28, 2015
eBook, 48 pages
Interview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015
Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival's medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia's natural talents far outshine her teacher's, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

Fans of Beth Cato's debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia's past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!





About Beth

Interview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015
Corey Ralston Photography (2013)
Beth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure.










Website  ~ Twitter @BethCato  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest



Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015


Please welcome Katherine Harbour to The Qwillery. Briar Queen, the 2nd Night and Nothing novel, was published by Harper Voyager on June 2, 2015.



Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015




THE GOTHIC 
by Katherine Harbour


            Gothic. The word conjures up images of vampires, penny dreadful novels, J.M.W. paintings of majestic ruins, ‘70s Hammer films, Emily Strange, the Cure, or Hot Topic.
            As a genre, Gothic fiction became popular in England during the late eighteenth century because it was sexy, subversive, horrific. It was also a little gonzo. Its hallmarks were revelations of the forbidden, the macabre, the uncanny, elements found in horror and fantasy today. The scene in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, when Dracula crawls vertically down the castle wall, has been copied in countless horror films, while the Uncanny Valley effect is a term used to describe the feeling of unease/revulsion some people experience when encountering a thing that looks human, but isn’t.
            “. . . the uncanny is something which ought to have been kept concealed, but which has nevertheless come to light.” Sigmund Freud ‘The Uncanny’
            I felt sorry for the eloquent monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (first steampunk?); fell in love with Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (although now I feel the jerk got what he deserved); was fascinated by the villain in A Modern Mephistopheles by Louisa May Alcott, (who wanted to write Gothic fiction until Little Women became a commercial success). Later works that influenced me were Arthur Machen’s ‘The White People’, M.R. James’ ‘The Turn of the Screw’, and Jane Austen’s parody of the Gothic in Northanger Abbey. And then there’s Edgar Allan Poe, the godfather of Gothic lit, whose works were saturated with blood-drenched masques, with ravens and black cats, doomed families, and mysterious women as menacing as forgotten goddesses.
            The Gothic in Thorn Jack and Briar Queen sort of sneaked in, but formed a suitable atmosphere for a modern retelling of the folk ballad ‘Tam Lin’, with the faeries in upstate New York. I did use a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ghasta’—“For thou art mine, and I am thine, ‘till the sinking of the world”—as a way for Finn and Jack to express their connection. But both know the poem is about a warrior who confronts a demonic spirit. Some elements of the Gothic that crept into my series are: haunted/abandoned houses/mansion; the damaged hero; the ordinary/familiar touched by the weird; a heroine who (sometimes) avoids a cruel fate; a malevolent supernatural force.
            The combination of mystery and romance, and, sometimes, camaraderie, set against an extravagant background of horror and secrets, has always fascinated me as a reader and a writer, and, like a phantom visitor, will probably always inhabit whatever story I write.





Briar Queen
Night and Nothing 2
Harper Voyager, June 2, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015
The dark, moody, and mystical fantasy begun in Thorn Jack, the first novel in the Night and Nothing series, continues in this bewitching follow up—an intriguing blend of Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alice in Wonderland, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream—in which Finn Sullivan discovers that her town, Fair Hollow, borders a dangerous otherworld . . .

Serafina Sullivan and her father left San Francisco to escape the painful memory of her older sister Lily Rose’s suicide. But soon after she arrived in bohemian Fair Hollow, New York, Finn discovered a terrifying secret connected to Lily Rose. The placid surface of this picture-perfect town concealed an eerie supernatural world—and at its center, the wealthy, beautiful, and terrifying Fata family.

Though the striking and mysterious Jack Fata tried to push Finn away to protect her, their attraction was too powerful to resist. To save him, Finn—a girl named for the angels and a brave Irish prince—banished a cabal of malevolent enemies to shadows, freeing him from their diabolical grip.

Now, the rhythm of life in Fair Hollow is beginning to feel a little closer to ordinary. But Finn knows better than to be lulled by this comfortable sense of normalcy. It’s just the calm before the storm. For soon, a chance encounter outside the magical Brambleberry Books will lead her down a rabbit hole, into a fairy world of secrets and legacies . . . straight towards the shocking truth about her sister’s death.

Lush and gorgeously written, featuring star-crossed lovers and the collision of the magical and the mundane, Briar Queen will appeal to the fans of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely.





Previously

Thorn Jack
Night and Nothing 1
Harper Voyager, June 24, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Published in Trade Paperback on March 10, 2015

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015
A spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth vividly imagined and steeped in gothic atmosphere.

Their creed is "Mischief, Malevolence, and Mayhem."

Serafina Sullivan, named for angels and a brave Irish prince, is haunted by dreams of her older sister, Lily Rose, a sprite, ethereal beauty who unexpectedly took her own life. A year has passed since Lily's death, and now eighteen-year-old Finn and her college-professor father have moved back to Fair Hollow, her father's pretty little hometown alongside the Hudson River. Populated with socialites, hippies, and famous dramatic artists, every corner of this quaint, bohemian community holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the alluring Jack Fata, scion of the town's most powerful family.

Jack's smoldering looks and air of secrecy draw Finn into a dangerous romance . . . and plunge her into an eerie world of shadow and light ruled by the beautiful and fearsome Reiko Fata. Exciting and monstrous, the Fata family and its circle of strange, aristocratic denizens wield irresistible charm and glamorous power— a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds perilous consequences for a curious girl like Finn.

As she becomes more deeply entwined with Jack, Finn discovers that their lives and those of the ones she loves, including her best friends Christie Hart and Sylvie Whitethorn, are in peril. But an unexpected ally may help her protect them: her beloved sister, Lily Rose. Within the pages of the journal that Lily left behind are clues Finn must decipher to unlock the secret of the Fatas.

Yet the wrathful and deadly Reiko has diabolical plans of her own for Finn, as well as powerful allies. To save herself and to free her beloved Jack from the Fatas, Finn must stand up against the head of the family and her clever minions, including the vicious, frightening Caliban—a battle that will reveal shocking secrets about Lily Rose's death and about Finn herself . . .

Evocative and spellbinding, rich with legend, myth, and folklore, filled with heroes and villains, ghosts and selkies, changelings and fairies, witches and demons, Thorn Jack is a modern fairy tale and a story of true love, set in a familiar world, where nothing is as it seems.


Thorn Jack
Night and Nothing 1
Harper Voyager, March 10, 2015
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Previously published in Hardcover and eBook, June 2014

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015
A spectacular modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth that echoes the imaginative artistry of the works of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Kami Garcia

In the wake of her older sister's suicide, Finn Sullivan and her father move to a quaint town in upstate New York. Populated with socialites, hippies, and dramatic artists, every corner of this new place holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the devastatingly attractive Jack Fata, scion of one of the town's most powerful families.

As she begins to settle in, Finn discovers that beneath its pretty, placid surface, the town and its denizens—especially the Fata family—wield an irresistible charm and dangerous power, a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds dangerous consequences for an innocent and curious girl like Finn.

To free herself and save her beloved Jack, Finn must confront the fearsome Fata family . . . in a battle that will lead to shocking secrets about her sister's death.




Bones and Heart
A Night and Nothing Tale .5
Harper Voyager, March 10, 2015
eBook, 22 pages

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015

Before Finn's arrival in Fair Hollow, Jack and Phouka are sent by Reiko Fata to New Orleans, and Mr. Bones, a creator of Grindylow. As disturbing events unfold, Jack remembers his mother's mysterious death, working with his exorcist/coachman father, and how he became Reiko's Jack in Victorian-era London.





About Katherine

Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 2015
Photo by Evelyn England
Katherine Harbour was born in Albany, NY, where she attended the Junior College of Albany and wrote while holding down jobs as a pizza maker, video store clerk, and hotel maid. She went, briefly, to art college in Minneapolis, and sold her oil paintings of otherworldly figures in small galleries and at outdoor shows. She now lives in Sarasota, FL, where she works as a bookseller and dreams of autumn and winter in her stories.




Website  ~   Facebook  ~  Twitter @katharbour

Goodreads  ~  Blog



2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Belt Three by John Ayliff


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Belt Three by John Ayliff


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


John Ayliff

Belt Three
Harper Voyager (UK), June 18, 2015
eBook, 400 pages
Trade Paperback, December 2, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Belt Three by John Ayliff
Worldbreakers do not think, do not feel and cannot be stopped.

Captain Gabriel Reinhardt’s latest mining mission has been brought to a halt by the arrival of a Worldbreaker, one of the vast alien machines that destroyed Earth and its solar system long ago. As he and his crew flee they are kidnapped by a pirate to be mind-wiped and sold into slavery, a fate worse than death in this shattered universe.

But Captain Reinhardt is hiding a secret. The real Gabriel Reinhardt died six years ago, and in his place is Jonas, one of the millions of clones produced for menial labour by the last descendants of Earth.

Forced to aid the pirate Keldra’s obsessive campaign against the Worldbreakers in exchange for his life, Jonas discovers that humanity’s last hope might just be found in the very machines that have destroyed it.

Interview with Jason LaPier, author of Unexpected Rain - May 8, 2015


Please welcome Jason LaPier to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Unexpected Rain was published by on May 7th by Harper Voyager (UK).



Interview with Jason LaPier, author of Unexpected Rain - May 8, 2015




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

Jason:  Despite being a professional computer geek by trade, I've always sought a creative outlet. For a long time this was making music (first metal, then electronic), then it became game design. I'd dabbled with writing on and off but when I was writing quests for an RPG that I'd been developing in my spare time, I found I really enjoyed it. It was in 2005 that I started working on a couple of novels (neither of which ever got finished) and some short stories. I had the bug, and within a few years I was attending workshops and devouring books on writing and just getting more serious about it in general.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jason:  I used to do a kind of partial plot and then just start writing by the seat of my pants. This is what led to two dead-end, unfinished novels. I discovered that for me to be successful, I need to plot from beginning to end. Now, let me clarify: my outlines always have a beginning, middle, and end, but they usually have a _lot_ of wiggle room in between. I understand the value of pantsing, the freedom to allow the story to evolve on its own. Personally, I need a minimum amount of structure to keep my momentum going, but I appreciate a level of flexibility.



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

Jason:  Time, time, time, there's never enough time, especially with a demanding day job. Related to that is the challenge of staying focused: I have so many grand plans, so many projects I'd love to work on that sometimes I get sidetracked. And I think there's nothing wrong with that, but when you're strapped for time, you really need to be able to focus once in a while to take a single project to the next level.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Jason:  Douglas Adams is still probably my favorite all-time sci-fi author. I like to think I'm influenced by his humor a little here and there. Followed closely by Philip K. Dick, whose dark and mind-bending stories rock my world. I really love Margaret Atwood and her ability to make such a strong emotional connection to her characters come through. More directly related to Unexpected Rain, I think influence-wise there is definitely some Isaac Asimov, Neal Stephenson, and William Gibson.



TQ:  Describe Unexpected Rain in 140 characters or less.

Jason:  Mass murder in a dome on a distant planet. The case seems easy - too easy. A rogue cop teams up with a fugitive to seek the truth.



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

Jason:  Jax and Runstom are the two central characters, but a third point-of-view character is an assassin called Dava. She's a significant character, but her arc is tangential to the murder plot that drives the novel. As a child, she was "rescued" from the deteriorating Earth, only to find herself dropped into a dome on another planet and orphaned. As a teen, she was recruited by the criminal outfit known as Space Waste. Her role will increase dramatically in Unexpected Rain's sequel.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Unexpected Rain? How did you end up writing a genre bending "space age noir murder mystery"?

Jason:  I love all manner of sci-fi, including epic space opera stuff. However, I'm also the type who wants to know about the lives of the so-called ordinary people: the bartenders, the construction workers, the security guards, the administrators, the janitors, etc. Of course, I couldn't build a whole story around "day" jobs, but I could take one example and turn it upside down with a murder. And as a bonus, it allows me to flex my dark-side muscles, and get nice and gritty in the noir style.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Unexpected Rain?

The setting of Unexpected Rain is several hundred years into the future, and high-speed travel has allowed the human race to visit and populate star systems nearest to our solar system. I try to keep techno/science-babble under control in the narrative, but as this is sci-fi, it's in there. Most of the research I've done is around exoplanets (planets around stars outside of our solar system) and the properties of various moons, especially those in orbit around gas giants. In the last several years, real-world expeditions with space probes such as Galileo and Cassini have revealed all kinds of interesting discoveries about the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Additionally, I'm a software engineer by trade, and so a lot of my day-to-day observations inform some of the underpinnings of my future world. I love to play with the disconnect between the designs of engineers and the real-world usage of their efforts by consumers.



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

Jason:  I suppose Jax, the life-support operator accused of murder, was easiest to write. He's a bit lost in his late 20s, stuck in neutral, and not living up to his potential. He's always had a hard time following through on anything - jobs, relationships - and it takes a catastrophic event to spurn him into action. I've been there, and I've seen friends who've been there (fortunately it didn't take a murder investigation to snap us out of our funks).

If I'm going to be honest, Dava was the most challenging for me to write. She's a cold-blooded assassin on the surface, but underneath, she's denying herself her true feelings. Her Earth heritage is obvious by her skin color - which contrasts with the paling effect that dome technology has on most pigments - and she grew up an outcast. What she is really looking for is a family, a place to call home.



TQ:  Which question about Unexpected Rain do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jason:

Q: What's with the title?

A: Thanks so much for asking, me! The title refers to an example of operator programming that Jax uses when he's trying to explain the systems inside a dome. In order to maintain the environment, the operators have to periodically create rain inside each dome, and since domers are sheltered folk and don't like getting wet, they get a warning when it happens. Jax comes to realize how much his example represents dome life in general, and how much he'd put up with getting all wet in exchange for the thrill of spontaneity and unpredictability. I talked about how I apply this same idea to the rocky ride to publication in this blog post: http://jasonwlapier.com/2014/12/2014-wrap-up-riding-the-unexpected/

Side note: it was years after I chose this title that I discovered there's a song called "An Unexpected Rain".



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

Jason:

(this, from Dava's point of view, while combing the underground of the domes):
There was perfection above in neat little packages, but it seemed that no matter how perfect things were, it was impossible for the human race to avoid stepping in shit eventually. She watched the sad souls that sought refuge from the transcendence of dome life looking over their shoulders, skittering from vice to vice.

(when Jax meets his cellmate):
Johnny Eyeball winked again. It was a mildly angry wink.


TQ:  What's next?

Jason:  I'm currently working on the sequel to Unexpected Rain, which will be followed by the conclusion of the trilogy. Aside from that, I've been working on an unrelated book: a modern day private-eye thriller with some mind-bending sci-fi twists.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jason:  Thanks so much for having me!





Unexpected Rain
Harper Voyager (UK), May 7, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Jason LaPier, author of Unexpected Rain - May 8, 2015
In a domed city on a planet orbiting Barnard's Star, a recently hired maintenance man named Kane has just committed murder.

Minutes later, the airlocks on the neighbourhood block are opened and the murderer is asphyxiated along with thirty-one innocent residents.

Jax, the lowly dome operator on duty at the time, is accused of mass homicide and faced with a mound of impossible evidence against him.

His only ally is Runstom, the rogue police officer charged with transporting him to a secure off-world facility. The pair must risk everything to prove Jax didn’t commit the atrocity and uncover the truth before they both wind up dead.





About Jason

Interview with Jason LaPier, author of Unexpected Rain - May 8, 2015
Born and raised in upstate New York, Jason LaPier lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and his dachshund. In past lives he has been a guitar player for a metal band, a drum-n-bass DJ, a record store owner, a game developer, and an IT consultant. These days he divides his time between writing fiction and developing software, and doing Oregonian things like gardening, hiking, and drinking microbrew.






Website  ~  Twitter @jasonwlapier

Facebook  ~  Instagram


Review: Fish Tails by Sheri S. Tepper


Fish Tails
Author:  Sheri S. Tepper
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, October 21, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 720 pages
List Price:  $32.00 (print)
ISBN:  9780062304582 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own
Upcoming:  Trade Paperback, July 28, 2015

Review: Fish Tails by Sheri S. Tepper
In her 35th novel, science fiction master Sheri S. Tepper boldly weaves together the storylines of eleven of her previous works—from King’s Blood Four (1983) to The Waters Rising (2010).

In Fish Tails, two of Sheri S. Tepper’s beloved characters—Abasio and Xulai (A Plague of Angels and The Waters Rising)—and their children travel from village to village scattered across the sparsely populated land of Tingawa. They are searching for others who might be interested in adopting their sea-dwelling lifestyle.

Along their journey they encounter strange visitors from the far-off world of Lom, characters from Tepper’s nine-book True Game series of novels—Mavin Manyshaped, Jinian Star-eye, and Silkhands the Healer—all of whom have been gathered up by an interfering, time-traveling, rule-breaking do-gooder to do one last good deed on earth before its metamorphosis is complete. For the waters are rising and will soon engulf the entire planet, transforming it utterly and irrevocably.



Brandon's Review

I think the first introduction to Tepper’s work for me was Beauty or the omnibus of The True Game. There are things that you can rely on to be present in almost all of her writing: strong female characters, eco-friendly messages, and deep seated worry for the future. Something else I find is that as dark or hopeless as some populations of humanity can be, she agrees and paints their future in bleak terms. Without fail though she also tells the story of how humanity can save itself.

Fish Tails draws on several of her previous works. Included at the end of the book was a synopsis of the stories and books involved in this story and while reading the other items first isn’t required reading this can help make sense of some of the plot points and characters. I am not really clear on why this wasn’t a preface or something more clearly offered to readers before leaping head first into a deep pool of work.

The primary mover in this book was the need to convince people of the coming of a flooded earth where normal people would not be able to survive and the only way to preserve humanity was with a genetic change allowing people to live in the water. The princess and former pauper who lead the cast on a trek to proselytize the populace struggle with the uneducated and bigoted in their path to changing the course of human existence. With a touch of Canterbury Tales meets the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Tepper draws together talking animals, griffins, aliens, monsters (human and non), and struggles with the best way to deal with a drowning planet and those who refuse to acknowledge the danger.

I am and will always be a huge fan of all of Sheri Tepper’s work because I think she isn’t wrong when it comes to the need for a more eco-feminist approach to saving ourselves from…well ourselves, but this book was not as subtle or enthralling as some of her other works and the inclusion of seemingly unrelated stories feels more like fan fiction of her own earlier works. For fans I think this is a solid book in her catalog, but for the uninitiated I would recommend starting with some of the precursor books both for the world building and to get a sense of the messages that are a little lighter than in this polemic against climate change deniers.

Interview with Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant - April 23, 2015


Please welcome Peter Newman to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Vagrant is published on April 23rd by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Peter a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant - April 23, 2015




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

Peter:  Well I had a go at writing in my early twenties. I *blushes* ran a role playing game with the idea of using it as the basis for a story. I wrote about twenty thousand words or so and then naively showed some friends, hoping for encouragement. What I got was lots of well-meaning criticism. I didn’t write again for about ten years.

I started writing properly again when my wife, Emma (an incredible writer) noticed that I was living vicariously through her achievements and suggested I started working on my own projects. I haven’t looked back since.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Peter:  I’m a bit of both. It’s as if I’m standing on a hill on a misty morning. I can see my start point and the top of the hill opposite is my end point, and that’s clear to me as well. But I have to feel my way across the valley between them as I go. With The Vagrant, the mist was especially thick! It felt like I had the whole thing sitting there, fully formed, in the darkest recesses of my brain, and I had to go and excavate it, piece by piece.



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

Peter:  The moments between finishing one project and starting another. I get a great deal of fulfilment from writing and feel slightly adrift if I haven’t written anything for a few days.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Peter:  Robin Hobb (the storytelling! And oh my goodness: the characters!), Joe Abercrombie (the pacing! Getting me to care about terrible people!), China Mieville (the language! The ideas!) and Neil Gaiman (the sense of soul).



TQ:  Describe The Vagrant in 140 characters or less.

Peter:  A silent figure wanders a far-future-post-demonic-apocalypse, bearing humanities last hope. Also: demons, singing swords, a baby and a goat.



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

Peter:  The protagonist doesn’t speak.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Vagrant? What appealed to you about writing in a futuristic post-apocalyptic novel?

Peter:  Nothing inspired me directly - he just turned up one day when I was trying to write a piece of short fiction. In terms of writing a piece of short fiction, it was an epic fail! I suppose the setting was a bit of a having my cake and eating it thing. I love the epic sweep of fantasy (and I’m a sucker for demons and swords), I like cool tech and the impact it can have on society, and I like the sense of threat and the psychological implications of a post-apocalyptic setting.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Vagrant?

Peter:  Very little! At least, very little on purpose. I’ve had a lifetime of reading / watching science fiction and fantasy and I’ve been roleplaying since the age of eleven. Other than that, I’ve got a son (now 8), so in the years leading up to writing The Vagrant, I spent a lot of time with a baby, and significant time in playgroups and things seeing lots of others.



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

Peter:  Goats are great fun to write. There should be more goats in fantasy. When the going gets tough, it’s time to get a goat (said no person ever). But yes, it’s nice to have a character that knows what she wants and doesn’t care who gets broken so long as she gets it. In terms of hardest, the Vagrant himself was challenging to write as he doesn’t speak, you don’t hear his inner thoughts and he is, by nature, quite reserved.



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

Peter:  Wow, that is a great question! And right now, I really, really, wish that I had an equally great response to it. But I don’t. Sorry.



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

Peter:

“The order to retreat comes soon after. Barely two thousand survive the first retreat.

There is no second retreat.”



TQ:  What's next?

Peter:  Well, a draft of the sequel is sitting with my editor as I write this and will be out next year. I’ve got a few more books in this world still in me that I’d very much like the chance to write. Aside from that I have a couple of unrelated projects written up and waiting to go, along with a new project currently bound in the form of a mind map. It also features demons. I have a thing for demons.

Aside from that I’ll still be creating new episodes of the Tea and Jeopardy Podcast with Emma. Check us out at: http://teaandjeopardy.geekplanetonline.com/

Latest developments can be found here: http://www.runpetewrite.com/

Or feel free to ask me on Twitter: @runpetewrite



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Peter:  Thanks for having me!





The Vagrant
Harper Voyager, April 23, 2015
Hardcover (UK) and eBook (UK/US), 400 pages
Cover Art: Jamie Jones

Interview with Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant - April 23, 2015
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.


You may read an excerpt of The Vagrant at Pat's Fantasy Hot List here.





About Peter

Interview with Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant - April 23, 2015
Photo by Lou Abercrombie
I write, I run, I sometimes pretend to be a butler…

Represented by Juliet Mushens of the Agency Group.

Debut novel The Vagrant being published by Harper Voyager 23rd April 2015
.
Co-writer of the Hugo nominated Tea and Jeopardy podcast

Find me on Twitter: @runpetewrite





Website



2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


A.F.E. Smith

Darkhaven
Harper Voyager (UK), July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Unexpected Rain by Jason LaPier


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Unexpected Rain by Jason LaPier


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Jason LaPier

Unexpected Rain
Harper Voyager UK, May 7, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Unexpected Rain by Jason LaPier
In a domed city on a planet orbiting Barnard's Star, a recently hired maintenance man named Kane has just committed murder.

Minutes later, the airlocks on the neighbourhood block are opened and the murderer is asphyxiated along with thirty-one innocent residents.

Jax, the lowly dome operator on duty at the time, is accused of mass homicide and faced with a mound of impossible evidence against him.

His only ally is Runstom, the rogue police officer charged with transporting him to a secure off-world facility. The pair must risk everything to prove Jax didn’t commit the atrocity and uncover the truth before they both wind up dead.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Vagrant by Peter Newman


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Vagrant by Peter Newman


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Peter Newman

The Vagrant
Harper Voyager, April 23, 2015
Hardcover (UK) and eBook (UK/US), 400 pages
Cover Art: Jamie Jones

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Vagrant by Peter Newman
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell HoganInterview with Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger Series - June 8, 2015Guest Blog by Katherine Harbour, author of the Night and Nothing Novels - The Gothic - June 6, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Belt Three by John AyliffInterview with Jason LaPier, author of Unexpected Rain - May 8, 2015Review: Fish Tails by Sheri S. TepperInterview with Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant - April 23, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Darkhaven by A. F. E. Smith2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Unexpected Rain by Jason LaPier2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Vagrant by Peter Newman

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