The Qwillery | category: Interview | (page 4 of 58)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Steve McHugh

Please welcome Steve McHugh to The Qwillery. A Glimmer of Hope, the 1st novel in The Avalon Chronicles, was published on April 1st by 47North.

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

Steve:  I knew I wanted to be an author when I was at school, so about 13 or 14, and my English teacher told me to go get some books from the library that were out of my usual comfort zone. I got Stephen King’s It, Terry Pratchett’s Men At Arms, and David Gemmell’s Legend. That was when I knew I wanted to be an author.

Fast-forward a few years, to when I was about to become a father for the first time at 25, and I knew I needed to start writing seriously. I didn’t want to be that person who said, “One day,” so I started writing. I joined an online writing group, and I learned the craft.

So, it was really a combination of wanting to write, and needing to write, but also the fact that I wanted to be able to say that I at least tried.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Steve:  A hybrid, definitely that. Before I start a book, I sit down with a notepad and some pens and I go over the world-building and character creation. As I’m doing that, I let the story start to build, and I start jotting down bits that I want to have happen during the story.

By the time it comes to actually sit down and write, I’ll know the beginning and end of the story, and the main scenes that I want. The later of which, might not always be in the right order—and they have a tendency to change as needed—but it’s usually a good indication of where everything will finish.

So, when I write, I know what I want in the chapter I’m working on, and the next one after that, although it’s often a massive surprise to me when something happens I wasn’t expecting.
I tried just plotting everything out in detail, and it sucked. I got irritated that it didn’t go the way I’d planned, because characters don’t always do what they’re told. My hybrid way works for me as it allows me to keep the surprise of what happens, but gives me a framework to move around in.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Steve:  Two years ago I went fulltime author. I was on book 5 in the Hellequin Chronicles (I think), and I had 3 years of work lined up, so I took the plunge. Turns out working from home is not the beautiful paradise land that I expected.

My TV is here. As is my PS4, and books, and all the cool stuff I could be playing around with when not writing. Actually forcing myself to sit down and get on with my job is something that isn’t always easy. I love being an author, it’s easily the best job I’ve ever had, but working from home can be an exercise in having to force yourself to get away from distractions.

There’s also the issue of being shut away in my office for days and weeks at a time, especially when I have deadlines, so there’s a constant need to remember to go see people. Now, that’s not so bad because I have a wife and 3 children, who are more than happy to remind me that I don’t need to lock myself away, but it’s still hard work to stay on top of seeing people outside of the house. I’ve gotten better at it, but that work/life balance, took some getting used to.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Steve:  Short answer: everything.

It’s not really the most descriptive answer ever, but it’s pretty close to being accurate. Long answer; my wife, my kids, my friends and family, anime, movies, music, books, comics, videogames… the list really does go on.

More specifically, I’ve always been influenced by Asian cinema. I grew up watching a lot of films from Japan/China/South Korea etc, and as I’ve grown up, that love of the way they make action films and thrillers, is something that has continued. Same with Anime. Both of those things influence my writing, at the very least they influence how I write action scenes, and use magic in stories.

There are scenes from comics I read growing up, that inspired me to write one scene or another, and I’ve played videogames that did something I thought was cool and figured out if I could incorporate something similar.

Inspiration comes from all around me, which is probably why my brain rarely switches off.

TQIn December 2017 the 7th and final book in the Hellequin Chronicles was published. Now you have a new Urban Fantasy series starting with A Glimmer of Hope, the first novel in the Avalon Chronicles. Do these Urban Fantasy series have anything in common?

Steve:  Both series are set in the same world, and both have some of the same characters. The end of the Hellequin Chronicles left the world in a very different place to where it started, and while the first Avalon book takes because before that shift, the second and third take place after. They’re both action-adventure series with magic, monsters, and mayhem, and they were both a ton to write.

As someone who loves Mythology, it’s nice that my world has mythologies from all different regions and periods of history, so I can pick and choose which ones to use for which book. The Hellequin books had a lot of Greek, Arthurian, and Mesopotamian, but the Avalon books have a lot of Norse mythology.

So, while there are quite a few similarities, and the series take place in the same world, Layla is a very different character to Nate, so it’s been nice to write something different, but familiar at the same time.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Steve:  Mostly, because it’s fun. That’s why I write anything. If I’m not enjoying the genre, I probably won’t enjoy the story I’m telling.

I like the idea of taking characters from mythology and bringing them into the 21st century, sometimes kicking and screaming all the way, I like looking through myths and trying to figure out exactly what could be considered fact from fiction. For example, I had the idea that most of the stories regarding Zeus changing into animals to have sex with people, were made up by Hera in revenge for him being an absolute arse to her. It’s fun being able to twist the characters that most will have heard of, into something very different. And being able to then take that into a modern setting is a very interesting idea.

Also, urban fantasy lets me have my cake and eat it. I can write about Hades living in Canada one chapter, and then have another realm, which is linked to earth, but is more epic fantasy in nature. The ability to write a fantastical story that incorporates different genres I love is something that makes me happy to work with the Urban Fantasy genre.

TQTell us something about A Glimmer of Hope that is not found in the book description.

Steve:  It has one of my favourite actions scenes I’ve written to date. It starts with a car chase, and ends with a run through the woods while monsters are chasing them. It’s was a huge amount of fun to write, not just because of the action and fighting that take place, but also because it’s the introduction of one of my favourite characters from the Hellequin Chronicles to this book, and the first thing he says is a line from Terminator.

Whenever I write a book, I like to make sure that no matter what it’s about, it has elements to it that make me smile, and that one chapter pretty much made me smile the entire time I was writing it.

TQIn the A Glimmer of Hope who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Steve:  There are a few which were quite easy to write. Most of the cast from the Hellequin Chronicles are easy now, considering I’ve spent so long with most of them. Tommy the werewolf star wars geek, and Remy the… well, Remy, are probably the easiest two as with Tommy I get to let lose my own Star Wars nerd, and with Remy I get to write all the things people probably shouldn’t say out loud, and he just does.

The hardest was probably Layla to begin with. As the main protagonist of the story, I needed to get her right, and make sure that she was interesting to follow. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, and has some issues she’s avoided for a large part of her life, so it was difficult trying to figure out how a 21 year old woman, who had gone through so much, would react to these massive changes in her life.

TQWhich question about A Glimmer of Hope do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Steve:  That’s a hard question. Probably, who is your favourite character that was created for the A Glimmer of Hope?

That’s a great question, Steve’s brain. Probably Harry. I like Harry a lot. Harry is the son of a Chinese-American general in the US army, and a British doctor mum. He’s in his 20s, and his entire life plan is to stay in further education as long as possible so he doesn’t have to go and get a proper job. He’s one of the few humans in the book that become involved with the story as he’s one of Layla’s best-friends. Harry is just a genuinely nice person who is amazed at everything he discovers about a world he had no idea existed, and it’s interesting to have him just think everything is so cool and not freaking out over having met werewolves, sorcerers, and the like.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from A Glimmer of Hope.

Steve:  The first one is from Tommy, just after Layla discovers the world she knew isn’t exactly the full story: This world will crush you if you think you’re a monster when you’re not. There are enough actual monsters out there already.

The second is Layla thinking about her job, which in many ways was a cathartic moment for me to write as it mirrors how I felt about a job of mine at the time: “It wasn’t that the job was hard, or that the people were bad; it was just a combination of boredom and a complete and total apathy from those in management. It was as if they didn’t care what happened to the majority of people who worked for them, and it created a “them and us” scenario that made work feel like she was constantly trying to do a good job for no reason whatsoever.”

TQWhat's next?

Steve:  I have a few things that are next for me. The second and third Avalon Chronicles books will be out in July and October respectively (A Flicker of Steel, and A Thunder of War). Seeing how they’re both written and off to my publisher, I’m going to be spending the rest of the year writing the first book in an Epic Fantasy series I’ve been wanting to work on for a few years now, as well as the first book in the series after the Avalon Chronicles. So, I guess I’ll be kept busy for a while yet.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Steve:  Thank you for having me.

A Glimmer of Hope
The Avalon Chronicles 1
47North, April 1, 2018
Hardcover and Kindle eBook, 351 pages

From Steve McHugh, the bestselling author of The Hellequin Chronicles, comes a new urban fantasy series packed with mystery, action, and, above all, magic.

Layla Cassidy has always wanted a normal life, and the chance to put her father’s brutal legacy behind her. And in her final year of university she’s finally found it. Or so she thinks.

But when Layla accidentally activates an ancient scroll, she is bestowed with an incredible, inhuman power. She plunges into a dangerous new world, full of mythical creatures and menace—all while a group of fanatics will stop at nothing to turn her abilities to their cause.

To protect those she loves most, Layla must take control of her new powers…before they destroy her. All is not yet lost—there is a light shining, but Layla must survive long enough to see it.


A Flicker of Steel
The Avalon Chronicle 2
47North, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

About Steve

Steve McHugh is the bestselling author of the Hellequin Chronicles series and the new The Avalon Chronicles, whose first book A Glimmer of Hope (47North) is out now.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @stevejmchugh

Interview with Eric Barnes

Please welcome Eric Barnes to The Qwillery. The City Where We Once Lived was published on April 3rd by Arcade Publishing.

Interview with Eric Barnes

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Eric:  Besides the fact that writing is the hardest work I've ever done (harder than construction, than working in a fish processing plant in Alaska, than laying off whole divisions of companies), and that the simple act of committing to the work of writing a book is just breathtaking, I'd say that the publishing process is the hardest part. You put in all that solitary work, finally get to the point you feel good about what you've done, then you're faced with the harsh but real realities of the business side of publishing.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Eric:  I tend to write my way into a book. I have an idea. I have a few sentences. I find a voice. I write forward, erratically, sometimes out of order, still trying to find the voice and some sort of rhythm. And then, after 50 to 75 pages, I'll stop and try to figure out a plot. Then I outline heavily, with great detail, and write to that outline, all the while varying from the outline I spent so much time refining.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Eric:  The most influential books now are The Road (Cormac McCarthy), White Noise (Don DeLillo), and For the Time Being (Annie Dillard). But Vonnegut remains so influential. And I'd have never started writing, I don't think, if I hadn't read Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, who wrote about the kind of people I grew up around, and which made me think, "Wait, I have stories to tell that people might want to read."

TQDescribe The City Where We Once Lived in 140 characters or less.

Eric:  A novel about a city that's been abandoned and the people who choose to live there. Think Detroit, or New Orleans after Katrina. Or NYC in the 70s.

TQTell us something about The City Where We Once Lived that is not found in the book description.

Eric:  That's a great question. It's a deeply quiet book.

TQWhat inspired you to write The City Where We Once Lived?

Eric:  I have always been fascinated by the environmental and political decisions that lead to the harm or descruction of places, whethere it's small towns wrecked by big box retailers or cities in Eastern Europe polluted by coal plants or New Orleans left vulnerable by decades of inattention to the risks of a hurrican.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The City Where We Once Lived?

Eric:  Not much. I hate research. So I write about things I know about, have read about.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The City Where We Once Lived.

Eric:  I love that cover. I had minimal input on it, and not in a bad way. The cover captures the vague, quiet, passively accepted madness of the city in the book.

TQIn The City Where We Once Lived who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Eric:  Easiest.... The Minister, because he's an innately hopeful person, who only lightly lets on to the many wounds he has.

Hardest.... The narrator, because the more I wrote, the more he became like me.

TQWhy have you chosen to write about the effects of climate change in The City Where We Once Lived? Do you consider The City Where We Once Lived part of the Cli-Fi genre?

Eric:  I definitely don't think the book is part of the Cli-Fi genre, mostly because I didn't know such a thing existed. (Not that it's a bad thing. I just had no idea.)

I din't really mean to write about climate change. I wrote about a city that failed, for many reasons, environmental issues being part of that, but political decisions being just as important. Climate was originally meant to be a bit of an afterthought, backdrop to the way people lived.

But, climate took on a bigger meaning, definitely, as I wrote. It was the ultimate expression of the dismissiveness and disregard people had for the city. They thought, in other words, they could only abuse the city. In fact, they were abusing the world.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The City Where We Once Lived.


"At night, even covered by the many blankets on my couch, I hear a crash, thick and deep and distant, as another levee collapses to the north, the hiss of water rushing southward, the sound in the air echoing heavily, the water from the bay moving another few blocks toward me."

"I type quickly on the typewriter, the sounds loud and steady, and sometimes as I sit here alone in this office finishing my stories, for a moment I'll think it is the sound of the typewriter that I'm creating, not the words in the stories themselves."

TQWhat's next?

Eric:  I'm happy to say that Arcade will be publishing a prequel to CITY, called ABOVE THE ETHER, to be published in spring 2019.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The City Where We Once Lived
Arcade Publishing, April 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 244 pages

Interview with Eric Barnes
In a near future where climate change has severely affected weather and agriculture, the North End of an unnamed city has long been abandoned in favor of the neighboring South End. Aside from the scavengers steadily stripping the empty city to its bones, only a few thousand people remain, content to live quietly among the crumbling metropolis. Many, like the narrator, are there to try to escape the demons of their past. He spends his time observing and recording the decay around him, attempting to bury memories of what he has lost.

But it eventually becomes clear that things are unraveling elsewhere as well, as strangers, violent and desperate alike, begin to appear in the North End, spreading word of social and political deterioration in the South End and beyond. Faced with a growing disruption to his isolated life, the narrator discovers within himself a surprising need to resist losing the home he has created in this empty place. He and the rest of the citizens of the North End must choose whether to face outsiders as invaders or welcome them as neighbors.

The City Where We Once Lived is a haunting novel of the near future that combines a prescient look at how climate change and industrial flight will shape our world with a deeply personal story of one man running from his past. With glowing prose, Eric Barnes brings into sharp focus questions of how we come to call a place home and what is our capacity for violence when that home becomes threatened.

About Eric

Eric Barnes is the author of two previous novels, Shimmer and Something Pretty, Something Beautiful. He has published more than forty short stories in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, the Literary Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications. By day, he is publisher of newspapers in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga that cover business, politics, the arts, and more. On Fridays, he hosts a news talk show on his local PBS station. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @ericbarnes2

Interview with James Maxwell

Please welcome James Maxwell to The Qwillery. Iron Will, the final novel in The Shifting Tides tetralogy, was published on March 13th by 47North.

Interview with James Maxwell

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

James:  I remember quite clearly a piece that I wrote aged eleven. There was a young writer’s retreat I really wanted to go to, but you had to be submit a work of fiction to win a place. I remember my piece so well because of how much effort I put in. I didn’t have any experience with short fiction – I thought stories and novels were the same thing: always long. So I wrote a 40,000 word fantasy novelette with the highly-imaginative title Golden Dragons. It was a sprawling homage to everything I liked about fantasy. I went to the retreat and worked with published authors and hung out with other young writers, which was incredible.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

James:  People who know me would definitely say I’m a plotter. I work with very detailed outlines! But surely no one can truly be a pantser? Even if all you have is a character, a quest, and maybe a title, that’s still planning. I see it as a sliding scale. You can certainly over-plan – there needs to be space to invent things as you go, in the moment of writing. But under-planning can be a problem too. That’s when you end up retroactively planning while editing, which I think is harder.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

James:  Procrastination. Definitely. The modern world puts a lot of demands on our attention and it’s always tough to shut out the world so you can spend time inside your head for a while. When I’m heavily engaged with writing a book I end up playing all sorts of tricks on myself. Turning my phone off; leaving it in another room. Not opening mail. Leaving my wife to answer the door. Getting out of the house and writing in the library. I do think you end up with better work when you stay in the moment as much as possible, and that means not getting distracted.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

James:  Travel, history, film & television, fiction, non-fiction, conversation, dreams, walking around and observing… It all goes in and gets scrambled and then something comes back out. In the end I think you write what you loved as a child, combined with the observations you have made about the world since.

TQTell us something about Iron Will that is not found in the book description.

James:  There’s a twist that readers of the previous Shifting Tides novel, Copper Chain, may or may not see coming. There’s also an epic sea adventure, a trek through the ice and snow, a search for an ancient artefact, a major evacuation, and a love that’s tested beyond endurance.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Shifting Tides series? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

James:  For a time I was fortunate enough to live on the island of Malta, right in the middle of the Mediterranean. There is so much history there; you walk past incredible things every day. I also love sailing, and the roving nature of Homer’s stories. It all got me thinking about Greek mythology and modern fantasy and wondering if I could combine the two in a new and original way. We’re used to Middle Ages fantasy but it’s incredible how developed the ancient world was. For example, 500 years before Julius Caesar they were building wooden ships that were so big it wasn’t until the period of European colonisation that they got bigger. I'd better stop now; I can talk about this stuff all day! As for why I write fantasy… I think I just love the fact that anything is possible.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Shifting Tides Series?

James:  I did quite a lot of background research into the period. I didn’t want to write historical fiction – not at all – but it’s important that the world be consistent. I read a bunch of books about Alexander the Great and the Greco-Persian wars but the hard part was answering my questions about daily life, so I ended up getting quite specific with the stuff I was reading.
Ideally, though, you want the research to disappear into the background. World building is amazing fun, and after setting some ground rules I like to let my imagination run free.

TQYou've written two tetralogies - The Evermen Saga and The Shifting Tides. Why 4 books for each series?

James:  I think it came down to the kind of story I wanted to tell. Trilogies are fantastic – I’m actually working on one for my next project. But in the case of my previous two series I wanted to have a bit more freedom to roam and play in the worlds I’d created. I always try to give each individual book a conclusive ending, and that’s actually easier with four books than it is for three. There’s a lot to keep track of, however, and you end up with a lot of narrative threads to tie up. That’s why a five book series might be one too many!

TQIn The Shifting Tides series who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Which character surprised you?

James:  The easiest would have to be Kargan, who starts off as the fleet commander on the enemy side and continues to rise through the ranks as the series progresses. He is ambitious, and he is a bully, and he is utterly contemptuous of other cultures. He just rolled right onto the page.

There is another character, Kyphos, who is the right-hand man of a king who has returned to claim his throne. He was a bit more difficult to write because I wanted him to be both ruthless and likeable. It’s his loyalty to his king that made it work, despite some of the terrible things he does.

The character that surprised me was Aristocles, the father of the heroine, Chloe. A politician, he is used to wealth and power, and when he is betrayed and cast out of his city he is thrown into a completely new world. He’s out of his depth, yet he finds a way to keep going.

TQWhat are your feelings on concluding The Shifting Tides series.

James:  It’s always a bit sad to finish a series. I end up feeling very close to my characters and I know I’m saying goodbye to them when I wrap it all up. At the same time, I love getting started on a new project. It’s a really exciting time.

TQWhat's next?

James:  For my next project I’m really letting my imagination soar. I’m blending genres a bit more, and rather than using a setting based on history I’m building something fresh and new. It’s the most threatening world I’ve created yet. There will be three books, and I’m writing them back to back, which will help a lot with immersing myself in the story.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

James:  Thank for having me! And let me take this opportunity to thank all my readers. I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am.

Iron Will
The Shifting Tides 4
47North, March 13, 2018
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 416 pages

Interview with James Maxwell
The epic conclusion to James Maxwell’s gripping fantasy series.

The world is facing a war to end all wars, a confrontation that will destroy everything Dion and Chloe hold dear. With Palemon’s dragon army growing in number, time is running out…

Dion is doing everything in his power to prepare his kingdom, but he knows it will not be enough. Although he needs Chloe’s help, recent tragedy makes him terrified for her safety. Magic is dangerous. Only Palemon is too arrogant to see it.

As chaos engulfs the land and Palemon risks civilization itself, Dion and Chloe must unite people of all nations to have any chance of survival.


Golden Age
The Shifting Tides 1
47North, May 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 464 pages

Interview with James Maxwell
The first book in an epic fantasy series by James Maxwell, author of the bestselling Evermen Saga.

War is coming to Xanthos. The king refuses to face the truth, but his overlooked second son, Dion, can see the signs: strange warships patrolling, rumors of a new tyrant across the sea, and the princess of a neighboring land taken hostage…

The princess, Chloe, refuses to be a helpless pawn in this clash of nations. She and Dion will need allies to turn the tide of war – and there are none more powerful than the eldren, a mysterious race of shapeshifters who live in the Wilds.

As a world-spanning conflict begins, a king is betrayed, a prophecy is fulfilled, and Dion learns a secret about his past that changes his life forever.

Silver Road
The Shifting Tides 2
47North, November 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 492 pages

Interview with James Maxwell
Chloe’s quest to escape the Oracle’s prophecy leads her to a magus with a secret: the eldren are not the only race to use magic in warfare. An ancient power is rediscovered, and a forgotten people will return.

Meanwhile, cursed by his birth, Dion tries to forge a new life at sea, away from both the eldren and his former life in Xanthos, but the one thing he can’t leave behind is his heritage.

Two kings on opposite sides of the ocean prepare for war.

The clash of civilizations has only just begun…

Copper Chain
The Shifting Tides 3
47North, August 3, 2017
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 380 pages

Interview with James Maxwell
When a desperate king threatens Dion and everything he loves, only dangerous magic can keep him safe.

Dion, now king of Xanthos, is finally in command of the naval fleet he’s always dreamed of. But his hopes for peace are jeopardized when King Palemon, in dire need of ships to rescue his starving people from the frozen wastelands of the north, invades the Salesian city of Malakai.

Too weak to confront Dion directly, Palemon turns to magic: mysterious copper chains from the lost civilization of Aleuthea, which have the potential to control dragons…and Dion.

With the people he loves in danger, and his own freedom at risk, Dion’s only hope is Chloe and the power she struggles to tame.

About James

Interview with James Maxwell
James Maxwell is the bestselling author of The Evermen Saga and The Shifting Tides series, and has previously ranked in the top 5 bestselling authors on Amazon worldwide. The final book in The Shifting Tides series, Iron Will, is out now in paperback with 47North, Amazon Publishing. Find out more about James and his books here.

Website  ~  Twitter @james_maxwell  ~  Facebook

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy

Please welcome Michelle Hauck to The Qwillery. Steadfast, the 3rd novel in the Birth of Saints trilogy, was published on December 5, 2017 by Harper Voyager Impulse.

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Steadfast (Birth of Saints 3), was published on December 5th. How does it feel to see the end of the trilogy published?

Michelle:  I admit at first it was a giant relief. That was back in June when the deadline was days away and I was still polishing. It was the closest I ever came to not being done by a deadline. There was a lot of pressure then. Now that another milestone has come and gone with the release date, I’m feeling rather nostalgic. If you spend three years working on anything, day after day, there’s bound to be some regret when it ends. I’m going through a grieving period before I can really connect to another story. I think every writer faces that to some degree, even if it’s just putting your head into a different world and different characters.

TQHas your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Grudging (Birth of Saints 1) to Steadfast?

Michelle:  There’s more confidence now. A little less editing and revising. I have more trust that what I produce is worthwhile. But my process is pretty much the same. Write in the morning before work. Do a short read through to edit before I add new words. Never plan more than three chapters ahead. I’m not big on outlining or making plans. I’d rather wing the writing process. I didn’t have the ending thought out for Steadfast until more than halfway through writing the draft. I’m still a fly by the seat of my pants writer. Which is kind of interesting because if I don’t know the ending, the characters can’t broadcast it either.

TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Grudging came out that you know now?

Michelle:  I have to go with how much harder marketing and promotion is than the actual writing. I mean you hear that all the time from published writers, but it doesn’t really resonate until you’re in that situation. It’s painful to have to ask for reviews or to ask for people to buy your book. I think most of us have been trained since childhood not to be that way, not to ask for help for ourselves or to push our own agenda. Maybe that’s a female thing, or maybe it’s just me.

TQWhich character in the Birth of Saints trilogy surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Michelle:  Some of the minor characters really surprised me. As I said earlier I’m a pantser and I don’t really outline or plan. Sometimes I throw in what feels like a minor character, and all of a sudden, they end up with their own point of view. Father Telo was such a character. He was supposed to be in a few scenes to counsel a major character, Alcalde Julian, and I just couldn’t shake him. Father Telo grew to have his own agenda and his own mission to assassinate the Northern leader and he just took on a life of his own, becoming a major thread in Faithful and Steadfast.

The fact that he was a priest made him perhaps my hardest character to write. He was just outside of my experience and the whole write-what-you-know ideal. Father Telo is just so different from me. He had no romance interest. He’s more religious. He’s a male. I had to do a lot more research to write him than any other of my six point-of-view characters.

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

Michelle:  There’s very much an element of women in a male society coming into their own. A subplot of the series is about the male leader of the city—Julian—being forced out due to some mistakes, and the women coming forward to vote in record numbers and installing his wife—Beatriz—as the new elected official—and not just for one city-state, but for two. And then there’s the whole character arc of the husband and wife learning to deal with the power shift in their relationship. I’m afraid there’s a fire in my heart over the whole “She Persisted” situation in the real world and that carried over to my writing.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in the Birth of Saints trilogy?

Michelle:  As I mentioned in the last question there’s the whole women as a segment of society coming into their own. But there’s also a theme of kindness. Let’s not be like the people oppressing us. Let’s choose kindness. Let’s choose tolerance. Let’s care for the suffering of the people being suppressed and see the value in everyone. There’s been too much hate in national policy lately. And I’m really feeling that need to respect all people these days. You see this even more in Steadfast where we finally see the Northern side of this clash of cultures.

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

Michelle:  This is a quote from a speech by Beatriz to her people: “The Northerners are a people of violence and bloodshed. They took our city—my child—our children. I would not have us be like them. I would have us show them the meaning of kindness.”

And here is Claire trying to convince the Women of the Song to help her against the Northern god. You can guess from her speech that it doesn’t go too well: “The god’s power wiped a squad of soldiers out in the blink of an eye. This is not a joke. We need to be marching out of our swamp to help stop more killing. Even a ‘snit of a girl’ can see that. But unfortunately, that girl is talking to a bunch of old hens, clucking around instead of acting! Stupid and worthless! If we all die, it will be your fault!”

TQWhat's next?

Michelle:  So far what’s next is being lazy. I’ve taken a few months off from writing to just allow myself the free time to splurge on binge watching Netflix. Or to read. My writing heart is still connected to the characters from Birth of Saints and so I’m waiting for a little distance to turn my brain to new characters. Mostly. As I’m going through my writing vacation, I’m also slowly completing chapters for an almost finished rewrite of an epic fantasy I envisioned years ago. Old familiar characters given a new life, but not something completely new. When that’s done then I’ll look toward something totally original.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michelle:  Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s been great fun!

Birth of Saints 3
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 5, 2017
     eBook, 560 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, January 9, 2018
     Mass Market Paperback, 560 pages

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
The final novel in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints trilogy, Steadfast follows Grudging and Faithful in telling the fateful story of Claire and Ramiro and their battle against a god that hungers for blood.

When the Northerners invaded, the ciudades-estado knew they faced a powerful army. But what they didn’t expect was the deadly magic that was also brought to the desert: the white-robed priests with their lethal Diviners, and the evil god, Dal. Cities have burned, armies have been decimated, and entire populaces have been sacrificed in the Sun God’s name, and it looks as if nothing can prevent the devastation.

But there are still those with hope.

Claire, a Woman of the Song, has already brought considerable magic of her own to fight the Children of Dal, and Ramiro, a soldier who has forsaken his vows to Colina Hermosa’s cavalry in order to stand by her side, has killed and bled for their cause. Separated after the last battle, they move forward with the hope that the saints will hear their prayers, their families will be saved, and that they’ll see each other once more.

A stirring conclusion to the Birth of Saints series, Ramiro and Claire’s journey finds completion in a battle between evil and love.


Birth of Saints 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 17, 2015
     eBook, 432 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 22, 2015
     Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo of Michelle Hauck's the Book of Saints trilogy that combines the grace of Ellen Kushner's Swordpoint with the esprit de corps of Django Wexler's Shadow Campaign series.

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…

and the invaders who would destroy everything

The north has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.
The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

Birth of Saints 2
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 15, 2016
     eBook, 384 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, December 27, 2016
     Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

About Michelle

Interview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints Trilogy
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. She is the author of the YA epic fantasy Kindar's Cure, as well as the short story “Frost and Fog,” which is included in the anthology Summer's Double Edge.

Website  ~  Twitter @Michelle4Laughs  ~  Facebook

Interview with Ryder Windham, co-author of Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor

Please welcome Ryder Windham to The Qwillery. Ryder and Adam Bray are the co-authors of Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor from Harper Design.

Are you looking for a great gift for the Star Wars fan on your list? Here you go!

The QwilleryWelcome to The Qwillery. Your book, Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor, was recently published by Harper Design. Why did you decide to explore the evolution and design of Stormtroopers?

Ryder Windham:  I'd previously worked on Star Wars: The Complete Vader, which I co-authored with Pete Vilmur, so when becker&mayer editor Delia Greve offered me the assignment, that's all the reason I needed to a closer look at the faceless soldiers behind Vader.

TQHow did your collaboration work?

RW:  Adam Bray and I worked on separate sections of the book, and actually decided to split it up by time period. I wrote the chapters that covered the 1970s through the early 1990s, and Adam wrote the subsequent chapters.

TQTell us something about Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor that is not found in the book description.

RW:  The book is an affectionate tribute to concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, sculptors Brian Muir and Liz Moore, numerous toy designers, and members of the 501st Legion. I'm especially fond of the Star Wars costumers who've helped me organize and promote blood drives all over the world. In 2014, I co-founded the World Blood Drive, an annual international event, and designer Juan José Matamoros, a member of 501st Legion Ecuador Outpost, used a stormtrooper for that year's emblem.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor.

RW:  Rosanna Brockley, a designer at becker&mayer, designed the cover for Stormtroopers. She did a great job.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor?

RW:  I have a fairly extensive library of Star Wars books and magazines, so I went through those to gather as much as I could about stormtroopers. I re-read all the Star Wars comic books and comic strips from the 1970s and early 1980s so I could note the various stories that featured unmasked stormtroopers, without their helmets, as I found that information interesting. I also interviewed several people, including Anthony Forrest, who played the sandtrooper that Ben Kenobi "mind-tricks" at the Mos Eisley roadblock in Star Wars (1977).

TQWhy do you think that Stormtroopers are so iconic?

RW:  I could talk at length about the transformative power of a mask and costume, but Imperial stormtroopers are so iconic because no one else ever made white armor look so sexy.

TQIn your opinion, what is the most striking change made to the Stormtrooper design over the years?

RW:  The lenses in First Order stormtrooper helmets offer better visibility than the original helmets, but the original 1970s costumes are infinitely more sexy.

TQWhat's next?

RW:  I'm writing a tie-in novel for Scraper™, an upcoming virtual-reality game produced by Labrodex Studios. I know Adam is also working on some exciting upcoming projects, but unfortunately he is sworn to secrecy.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

RW:  You're welcome, and thank you for having me!

Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor
Harper Design, October 24, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 176 pages

Foreword by John BoyegaJust in time for the next blockbuster, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this unique and beautifully designed compendium with removable features traces one of the franchise’s most iconic characters—the stormtrooper—from initial development through all nine Star Wars movies to their many iterations in TV, comics, videogames, novels, and pop-culture.

Star Wars: A New Hope, the very first installment in the beloved science-fiction series, introduced the Imperial stormtroopers—the army of the fearsome and tyrannical Galactic Empire. Charged with establishing Imperial authority and suppressing resistance, these terrifying, faceless, well-disciplined soldiers in white have become a universal symbol of oppression.

Star Wars Stormtroopers explores these striking warriors and their evolution in depth for the first time. Ryder Windham and Adam Bray trace the roots of their creation and design, and explore how these elite troops from a galaxy far, far away have been depicted in movies, cartoons, comics, novels, and merchandizing.

Filled with photographs, illustrations, story boards, and other artwork, this lavish officially licensed book comes complete with removable features, including posters, stickers, replica memorabilia and more, making it an essential keepsake for every Star Wars fan, as well as military, design, and film aficionados.

About the Authors

Ryder Windham has written more than seventy Star Wars books, including The Complete Vader with co-author Pete Vilmur, The Bounty Hunter Code with Daniel Wallace, and Millennium Falcon Owner’s Manual. An avid blood donor, he has worked with members of the Star Wars costumer clubs—the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, and Mandalorian Mercs—to help promote voluntary blood donations all over the world.

Adam Bray is the author of guides to Star Wars Rebels and a coauthor of numerous books about Star Wars, LEGO Star Wars, and Marvel. He has written for and National Geographic News, and contributed to around forty guides to travel in Southeast Asia. His talents have extended to other spheres, including illustration, music, archaeology, spelunking, and working with chimpanzees. Follow Adam Bray on Twitter and Facebook: @AuthorAdamBray, at, and at

From the collection of Gus Lopez

From the collection of Gus Lopez

From the collection of Gus Lopez

From the collection of Gus Lopez

Ksenia Topps Troopers: Topps Trading Cards by Ksenia Zelentsova, 
© Topps, image courtesy of the artist

Gentle Giant McQuarrie Stormtrooper bust: courtesy of Steve Sansweet

Interview with Glynn Stewart

Please welcome Glynn Stewart to The Qwillery. Interstellar Mage, the first novel in the Starship's Mage Red Falcon series, was published on October 14th by Faolan's Pen Publishing.

Interview with Glynn Stewart

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

Glynn:  Thanks for having me!

I have always written. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write, I always had so many ideas to try and get out of my head.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Glynn:  Mostly a plotter, though probably at least partially a hybrid. I write an outline, of varying levels of detail, before I get started, but the final book usually has at least one major divergence from the outline.

TQDescribe Interstellar Mage in 140 characters or less.

Glynn:  Magic meets light speed as a simple cargo starship – powered by magic – is dragged into politics and an underworld crime war.

TQTell us something about Interstellar Mage that is not found in the book description.

GlynnInterstellar Mage brings back many of the characters from Starship’s Mage that didn’t show up in the rest of the series—and they’re about the only people on the new ship without secret agendas!

TQDoes Interstellar Mage tie-in to any of your other series - Starship's Mage, Castle Federation or Duchy of Terra?

Glynn:  It’s the first book in the second series of the Starship’s Mage universe, starting off a trilogy that runs in parallel to the second and third books of that series.

The first Starship’s Mage series follows Damien Montgomery as he goes from an unemployed (and desperate) jump mage to Hand of the Mage King. It starts with Starship’s Mage itself, but readers can also start with Hands of Mars.

This second series is intended as a second starting point for readers, following the captain of Damien’s first ship – David Rice – as he takes over the Red Falcon and has misadventures of his own.

TQWhat is Space Fantasy?

Glynn:  It depends on who you ask! Star Wars is, of course, the biggest known example of it. There have been a few series over the years with magic in space, or with psionics to the point where it may as well be magic!

For myself, it’s taking a setting where the engineering and science and so forth are done with as much fidelity as possible, and then a layer of magic is put in place to allow for the “impossible” things that are such a feature of the space opera genre.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Interstellar Mage?

Glynn:  A lot of my technical and scientific research for this setting is already done and written up in assorted setting bible documents.

One of the things I had to codify for Interstellar Mage though was freight rates and scale. Given the scale of interstellar shipping in the setting—starship captains rarely deal in less than a standard 10,000 ton shipping container—the numbers get odd when you break them down to a per-ton level.

For the cost of getting about ten tons of cargo from China to the United States today, you could get a 10,000 ton shipping container from Earth orbit to orbit of the Alpha Centauri colonies.

Of course, getting it into and down from orbit is an entirely different story!

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

Glynn:  Easiest was David Rice. I’ve already been in his head and he fits into one of my standard “character archetypes” quite handily.

Hardest was probably Maria Soprano. I’ve written female characters before who were, basically, Honor Harrington style badasses. Soprano is a badass in her own right, but she’s also a more actively sexual and feminine character, which was a difficult balance to walk and not one I’m sure I got right.

TQWhich question about Interstellar Mage do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Glynn:  “Who else is coming back from Starship’s Mage?”

A bunch of people, but most notable I think are Kelly LaMonte and Alaura Stealey, two very different, very badass ladies who both have a dramatic impact on the story.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Interstellar Mage.

Glynn:  “So far two people have tried to kill you and we’ve been dragged into one major political crisis. This all feels far too familiar. Are you sure Damien was our bad luck charm?”

TQWhat's next?

Glynn:  We have a release schedule up on the website at that we keep reasonably updated.

Next release after this is Changeling’s Fealty, another foray into Urban Fantasy for me, followed by the sixth and final Castle Federation book, Operation Medusa, which I am currently writing.

My co-writing project with Terry Mixon should also see a second release this fall, and the Red Falcon series has two more books next year.

And then, well, we return to the Starship’s Mage primary timeline with the first book of UnArcana Rebellions.

I have a busy year coming up!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Glynn:  Thank you for having me!

Interstellar Mage
Starship's Mage: Red Falcon 1
Faolan's Pen Publishing Inc., October 14, 2017
Kindle eBook

Interview with Glynn Stewart
Mars destroyed his ship — but gave him a new one.
Mars drafted his Mage — for the good of humanity!
He should have known that wouldn’t be the end of it…

Captain David Rice has a new ship, a new crew, and a new set of Jump Mages to carry him between the stars. All he wants is to haul cargo, make money and keep his head down.

His past, however, is not so willing to let him go. An old enemy is reaching out from beyond the grave to destroy any chance of peace or life for Captain Rice—and old friends are only making things more complicated!

All he wants is to be a businessman, but as the death toll mounts he must decide what is more important: his quiet life or the peace humanity has enjoyed for centuries…

About Glynn

Interview with Glynn Stewart
Glynn Stewart is the author of Starship’s Mage, a bestselling science fiction and fantasy series where faster-than-light travel is possible–but only because of magic. Stewart’s other works include the science fiction series Castle Federation and Duchy of Terra, as well as the urban fantasy series ONSET.

Writing managed to liberate Stewart from a bleak future as an accountant. With his personality and hope for a high-tech future intact, he now lives in Canada with his wife, his cats, and a portable cast of thousands for readers to meet in future books. You can learn more about Glynn Stewart at his website,

 Facebook  ~  Twitter @glynnstewart

Interview with Glynn Stewart Interview with Glynn Stewart
Interview with Glynn Stewart Interview with Glynn Stewart
Interview with Glynn Stewart

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy

Please welcome Tom Doyle to The Qwillery. War and Craft, the 3rd American Craft Trilogy novel, was published on September 26th by Tor Books.

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy

The QwilleryWelcome back to The Qwillery. War and Craft, the 3rd and final novel in the American Craft Trilogy, was published on September 26th. What are your feelings about the Trilogy being finished?

Tom Doyle:  Thank you very much for having me back!

My go-to simile about finishing a trilogy is that it’s like sending the last kid to college: bittersweet mixed with a lot of “So now what?”

But it’s also a big victory for me, because back in 2014 when I was diagnosed with throat cancer, I thought this might not happen. But I and the book made it, and we’re both fine, thanks.

TQDescribe War and Craft in 140 characters or less.

TMD:  Lt. Scherie Rezvani faces Furies, vengeful spirit of Madeline Morton, Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.

TQTell us something about War and Craft that is not found in the book description.

TMD:  The strange friendship between 21st century soldier Scherie Rezvani and oft-times evil 19th century ghost Madeline Morton (the smaller figure in white on the cover) is the central bond of this novel, and what these two characters are willing to do for each other is an important hinge of the plot. In a trilogy of odd couples, this may be the oddest.

TQWhat appealed to you about writing an alternate historical America?

TMD:  The original hook for me was writing a distinctly American mythos, like what L. Frank Baum did with Oz, only for adults. That mythos had to emerge from our history, literature, and folklore. I don’t think many SF/F writers have tried that--mostly, they import bits of old European folk & myth and Americanize them.

Once that was my course, I decided that I would follow the Tim Powers rule--I would strive to get all the factual historical details correct, yet I’d give an occult, cryptohistorical explanation to those facts.
The whole process was a lot of fun. I could pick out shining bits of history like a magpie and create connections with paranoid-schizophrenic abandon.

TQIn the American Craft series who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

TMD:  The easiest character was Roderick Morton, who is Madeline’s even eviler twin brother and the main villain of the trilogy. Perhaps I should have made him more difficult to write, more morally gray or nuanced, but I have a lot of those sorts of characters in my books, and I wanted one character who was self-consciously and unabashedly the bad guy. He was so easy to write because he’s usually having so much fun being evil. That’s not to say that he’s beyond reason or that we can’t relate to some of his desires. He wants an immortality that’s not also a cage, and he wants the power to defend it. He’s willing to risk the entire world for his goals, but it’s a calculated risk. Where he goes utterly beyond moral understanding is in his relations with women, and the model for those relations is his abuse of his sister, Madeline. The deep conflict between brother and sister is one of the major arcs of the trilogy.

The Puritan craftsman, Major Michael Endicott, has maintained his position as my most difficult character to write. In the earliest draft of American Craftsmen, he started as an extremely obnoxious two-dimensional foil for the main protagonist Dale Morton. But I found that the story kept on wanting a lot more from Endicott. So I rewrote him as a bit stiff and hapless, but also as a fundamentally decent person in a difficult position. Still, at the end of book 1, he had a lot of room to grow, so I made him the first-person point-of-view character for my second book, The Left-Hand Way. Lo and behold, he turned out to be a great leading character to write. I sometimes wonder if Anne Rice was as surprised by Lestat.

TQIn the American Craft series which character surprised you the most?

TMD:  Madeline Morton has replaced Endicott as the character who most surprised me. If the main character is the one who changes the most, then Madeline is the trilogy’s main character. She begins as joyfully chaotic evil, driven by a desperate yet ambivalent clinging to her centuries-long life. After Madeline’s physical death, she is unusually protective of Scherie, though she offers this protection in a manner peppered with rage, sarcasm, and mockery. As noted above, her friendship with Scherie is central to War and Craft. Madeline’s changes aren’t simple (she doesn’t become a good spirit), but they are nonetheless fundamental.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in the American Craft novels?

TMD:  When I started the series, I gave the books a very centrist and what I thought was a largely noncontroversial politics: that America and its institutions could unite people with disparate values in its service. That point seemed more important than my personal views on any given issue.

One of these characters united by American ideals was Scherie Rezvani, an Islamic-American daughter of Iranian immigrants. This wasn’t something I made a fuss over, because structurally this is a very old move: tales of the military heroism of American newcomers are as old as the country. But times have changed since I wrote War and Craft, and Scherie’s background is now a political statement--and one I stand by.

One other statement in War and Craft has become more political than I first intended: “no one in the West seemed to care that, in Russia, that thing from Lubyanka’s subbasement was in charge at the Kremlin.” (This thing is earlier identified as the “Tsar of Bone.”) I was making a small jab at the authoritarian regime in Russia, not realizing that soon the struggle with that regime would move much closer to home.

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

TMD:  I’m apparently notorious for putting Easter Eggs and other allusions into my writing, so here are a couple of particularly obscure ones that I’ve wished someone would ask about. The names of Dale’s father (Willard L. Morton) and grandfather (Benjamin Franklin Morton) are nods to two fictional characters associated with two different wars. “Willard L.” is from Captain Benjamin L. Willard, Martin Sheen’s character in Apocalypse Now, and “Benjamin Franklin” is from Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce, a.k.a. “Hawkeye” from MASH.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from War and Craft.

TMD:  Instead of trying to come up with a quote from later in the story, here’s the opening hook from the prologue “Terrible Beauties Are Born”:
        “All was quiet on New Year’s Day before dawn. Near Galway, below a thatched cottage like they kept for the tourists, the quiet old man called Oz came suddenly awake in his cave, as if the lack of noise had startled his sleep. He got up from his warm cavern bed and rubbed his gray stubble, cross with the world. He hadn’t had a foreboding since the peace in the North, except for the gentle one that came to all the old and told him that he must pass on his gifts soon, lest they be lost.

No use complaining. In the dark, Oz put on his worn white Aran sweater and one of the fancy fiber macintoshes the young ones preferred. He slung his rifle over his shoulder and, every joint hurting, climbed up the ladder to his cottage home.

He stepped outside. Beyond his yard’s low wall of rounded stone, the ground was flat and exposed. There’d be no surprises today. He made a sign of the cross in the air, and walked toward the town. They’d be coming from there, rested and ready.”

TQWhat's next?

TMD:  I’m working on a novel-length extension of my edgy space opera, “Crossing Borders.” I’m also creating abridgments of my three American Craft books for possible use in Graphic Audio productions.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

TMD:  Thank you for your thoughtful questions and your support of my work.

War and Craft
American Craft 3
Tor Books, September 26, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
America, land of the Free…and home of the warlocks.

The Founding Fathers were never ones to pass up a good weapon. America’s first line of defense has been shrouded in secrecy, magical families who have sworn to use their power to protect our republic.

But there are those who reject America’s dream and have chosen the Left Hand Path. In this triumphant conclusion to Tom Doyle’s imaginative alternate historical America, we start with a bloody wedding-night brawl with assassins in Tokyo. Our American magical shock troops go to India, where a descendant of legendary heroes has the occult mission they’ve been waiting for.

It all comes to a head in a valley hidden high in the mountains of Kashmir. Our craftspeople will battle against their fellow countrymen, some of the vilest monsters of the Left Hand Path. It’s Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.


American Craftsmen
American Craft 1
Tor Books, June 30, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Hardback and eBook, May 6, 2014

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
Ancient magic meets SEAL Team Six-with the fate of the United States hanging in the balance-in Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier-a "craftsman." After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon's highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.

The Left-Hand Way
American Craft 2
Tor Books, August 11, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
Poe's Red Death returns, more powerful than ever. Can anyone stop him before he summons an apocalyptic nightmare even worse than himself?

In The Left-Hand Way, the second book of Tom Doyle's contemporary fantasy series, the American craftsmen are scattered like bait overseas. What starts as an ordinary liaison mission to London for Major Michael Endicott becomes a desperate chase across Europe, where Endicott is both hunted and hunter. Reluctantly joining him is his minder from MI13, Commander Grace Marlow, one of Her Majesty's most lethal magician soldiers, whose family has centuries of justified hostility to the Endicotts.

Meanwhile, in Istanbul and Tokyo, Endicott's comrades, Scherie Rezvani and Dale Morton, are caught in their own battles for survival against hired assassins and a ghost-powered doomsday machine. And in Kiev, Roderick Morton, the spider at the center of a global web, plots their destruction and his ultimate apotheosis. After centuries of imprisonment, nothing less than godlike power will satisfy Roderick, whatever the dreadful cost.

About Tom

Interview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft Trilogy
Tom Doyle is the author of a contemporary fantasy trilogy from Tor Books. In the first book, American Craftsmen, two modern magician-soldiers fight their way through the legacies of Poe and Hawthorne as they attempt to destroy an undying evil--and not kill each other first. In the sequel, The Left-Hand Way, the craftsmen are hunters and hunted in a global race to save humanity from a new occult threat out of America's past. In the third book, War and Craft (Sept. 2017), it's Armageddon in Shangri-La, and the end of the world as we know it.

Some of Tom’s award-winning short fiction is collected in The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories. He writes in a spooky turret in Washington, DC. You can find the text and audio of many of his stories on his website,

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @tmdoyle2

Interview with Sage Walker

Please welcome Sage Walker to The Qwillery. The Man in the Tree was published on September 12th by Tor Books.

Interview with Sage Walker

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sage:  The first most challenging thing about writing is doing it. The second most challenging thing about writing, once I’ve fought myself into doing it, is stopping for things like, oh, food and rest.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sage:  The biggest influence always has been and always will be the experience of reading wonderful books.

TQDescribe The Man in the Tree in 140 characters or less.

Sage:  Life inside the hollow asteroid Kybele can be heaven or hell. How that works out is up to you and me and our neighbors. Ready for that? Here we go.

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

Sage:  The food is really good and Mena’s wines are coming along nicely. In fifty years or so, they will be magnificent.

TQThe Man in the Tree is described as hard science fiction. What appeals to you about writing hard SF?

Sage:  Once upon a time I did a “scientific experiment” and wrote an opening chapter in a fantasy world. I wrote the same characters and plot in an sf setting. Hands down, my critique group voted for the sf version. I accept their wisdom, for now.

TQWhat makes a story hard SF?

Sage:  Your question sent me out on a research loop. I like Ben Bova’s definition – “stories in which some aspect of future science or technology is so central to the tale that if you took out the science or technology, the story would collapse. ” MiT could have been set on one of the mythical “lost continents” that were popular after the West’s discovery of the Americas, so it doesn’t fit Bova’s definition. But it tastes like hard SF. It’s all in the flavor.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Man in the Tree?

Sage:  Generation ship stories tend to give me a “But, wait…” reaction, and I’ve read many, many variations of how they might work and how they might fail. Reading really fun stuff is sort of research, isn’t it? I find the ftl dodge a bit dodgy, and if you’re going to build a star-crosser that might have an infinitesimal change of getting somewhere, you have to deal with the possible. Thereby hangs a lot of study. Beyond the basics of distance, speed, and materials, I looked at many odd things. A partial list of them can be found here:

TQIn The Man in the Tree who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sage:  Archer had his lines and his quirks ready before I called him on stage. He’s an amalgam of some wonderful role models and mentors I’ve had the good fortune to know.

Helt was the hardest. I’m not a guy, and I don’t have a guy’s reactions to certain things, like what Helt thinks about the morning after sex. I depended on the males in my crit group to vet some of those reactions. Let’s just say I learned a lot, and if you think I’m smiling while I’m writing this, you’re right.

TQDo Whiteout, your debut novel, and The Man in the Tree share anything thematically?

SageWhiteout and The Man in the Tree have some family continuity in that Elena, in MiT, is the grandchild of Jared in Whiteout. Both novels probably show my fascination with the ways humans modify tech and tech modifies humans.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Man in the Tree.

Sage:  “I don’t waste that head of hers on committee meetings.” Mena Kanakaredes, displaying how not to waste a human resource.

TQWhat's next?

Sage:  There are seven generations of possibilities on Kybele. When the drones come back from Nostos with some analyses of destination biology, the definition of “human” may undergo some changes. Just sayin’.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sage:  You’re welcome!

The Man in the Tree
Tor Books, September 12, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Sage Walker
Humanity’s last hope of survival lies in space…but will a random death doom the venture?

Our planet is dying and the world’s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet.

Everything is set for a bright adventure…and then someone is found hanging dead just weeks before the launch. Fear and paranoia spread as the death begins to look more and more like a murder. The authorities want the case settled quickly and quietly so as not to cause panic…and to prevent a murderer from sabotaging the entire mission.

With The Man in the Tree, Locus Award-winning author Sage Walker has given us a thrilling hard science fiction mystery that explores the intersection of law, justice, and human nature.

“Rapid-fire storytelling from start to finish!”—Greg Bear

Also by Sage Walker

Tor Science Fiction, October 3, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Sage Walker
Sage Walker's suspenseful, Locus Award-winning first novel, Whiteout, takes us to a twenty-first century Earth where government means multinational corporation.

And daily living means a struggle to survive the effects of overpopulation, poverty, pollution, and hunger.

One last hope remains: Antarctica, the only source of pristine water and food left on the planet. Antarctica is protected from human exploitation by international treaty—and that treaty’s due for renegotiation.

The people who have the talents to influence the outcome of these negotiations run Edges, a company of media manipulators. They’ve been hired by one of the corporations for whom the current situation suits them just fine, and they’d like to keep it that way. This team knows that they have the skills to make whatever they want happen. But they also know that if they succeed, they might doom the planet.

About Sage

Interview with Sage Walker
Courtesy of the Author
SAGE WALKER is the author of Whiteout, which garnered critical acclaim and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. She was born in Oklahoma and grew up steeped in simile and sultry south wind from the Gulf. She entered college as a music major and exited with a B.S. in Zoology and eventually a M.D. A long time Taos resident, her company established the first full-time Emergency Physician coverage in hospitals in Taos, Los Alamos, and Santa Fe. She stopped practicing in 1987 and describes herself as a burned-out ER doc who enjoys wilderness, solitude, good company...and telling stories.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest

Michael J. Martinez Interviews Paul Weimer!

The Qwillery is extraordinarily thrilled to welcome Michael J. Martinez and Paul Weimer to The Qwillery discussing Paul's trip Down Under! The Qwillery highly recommends Paul's DUFF Report. It is beautifully written and lushly illustrated. And now over to Michael and Paul:

Fan Down Under: Paul Weimer on his DUFF experiences

By Michael J. Martinez

The absolutely lovely humans who run the Qwillery have been early and generous supporters of my work, for which I remain grateful indeed. And yes, I have a new book out Sept. 5, MJ-12: Shadows, the second in my series of super-powered Cold War spy thrillers.

But, you know, I figure if “super-powered Cold War spy thriller” didn’t grab you, I don’t know what a guest post could do to rectify that. So instead, I’m using this space to interview prolific SF/F reviewer, podcaster and super-fan Paul Weimer about his trip to Australia and New Zealand as part of the DUFF program. Because both Paul and DUFF are super cool.

What is DUFF? The Down Under Fan Fund helps American fans head to Australia and New Zealand for science fiction and fantasy conventions, and also helps fans from Down Under head to fan conventions elsewhere in the world. Paul was the DUFF delegate for 2017, and you can read about his adventures in his DUFF Report, available here for $7, with all proceeds going to the Down Under Fan Fund.

Without further ado, here’s the interview:

You've been involved in the SF/F community for a very long time. Tell me about the book, or books, that made you take the leap from reader to fan. Barring that, was there an incident or experience of some kind instead?

The advent of the High Blog Era of the Internet is what let me get into fandom in a real way, rather than just reading quietly. In the mid 2000's, I started to write short book reviews on my then-blog. This led to me participating in an online community that SF Signal was building. That got me gigs at The Functional Nerds, SF Signal itself, and I was off to the races. Podcasting came almost hand in hand with that, when I got invited to a SF Signal episode.

You're also an avid traveler. I've often thought travel has made me a better writer. Has it made you a better reader? A better community member/fan? A better reviewer?

Yes. Looking back on a travel adventure, its framed as a narrative, a story. Its moments, tender pieces, encounters, and an overall story from start to finish. Seeing how I construct my own story of my travels helps me write and think about how fictional stories work, or don't work.

What keeps you going within the fandom community? What keeps you coming back and staying involved?

Stubborness, persistence, determination and a desire to try and do good. I can try and do good, and use my powers to help illuminate authors, books, communities. Besides, I have one of the most mundane and boring jobs out there. Fandom is a way to channel my creative energies and escape the monochrome mundanity of daily life.

How different or similar is fandom in Aus/NZ? What stands out the most there?

For New Zealand, it was its tiny and very intertwined fandom/author community. The con in Taupo got 150 to attend, which means you could drop them into a Worldcon and have difficulty finding them again. There is also a strong recognition of the native (Maori) community and what that historical perspective and narrative brings to NZ SF and fantasy.

Australian fandom felt like a thousand points of light that do not interconnect as much as they themselves might like. The size of Australia meant that a National Convention (which moves every year) is mostly just the local population, with a few infusions from elsewhere. This means that the National Convention every year is a rotating set of people, rather than a repeat of the same far flung community. This gives Australian fandom the feel of a moveable feast.

For that matter, from what you've read and experienced, what perspectives to Aussies and Kiwis bring to the genre that we're missing out on?

The Aussies and Kiwis are very cognizant of being small players in the SF world. Getting visibility outside of their two smallish worlds is something they crave, and even more to the point, even New Zealand writers want more visibility just across "the ditch" in Australia.

There is also a strong ecological perspective in Australasian SF and fantasy, because climate change, invasive species, and other ecological problems are something they live with and cannot escape. It shows in their fiction, and in their panels and discussions.

What authors from Down Under should we be reading?

Plenty, but I will name just a couple: Thoraiya Dyer's debut fantasy novel, Crossroads of Canopy provides a lush world of Gods and life in the canopy of a rainforest. Cat Sparks strongly engages ecological perspectives in her fantasy and science fiction. Readers of Epic fantasy should be reading Helen Lowe, who has been quietly (too quietly from my perspective) putting out a strong, traditional epic fantasy series, the Wall of Night series. Even for its relatively comfortable lines, Lowe features strong female characters and a world where the often overweening patriarchal crap a lot of fantasy worlds revel in is nowhere to be seen.

What U.S. authors do you think would resonate particularly well with Aussie/Kiwi readers?

Kate Elliott, because I think writing in Hawaii as she does, has helped give her a perspective on worlds and societies and a global sort of understanding that Aussies and Kiwis can resonate with. Similarly, Max Gladstone, who has spent a lot of time in Asia, a part of the world very important to Australasia, has themes and ideas that will resonate well with readers down there. Similarly in the same vein, Ken Liu's fiction, both short and epic, would be something I think they could and should eat up with a spoon.

Your report has some gorgeous photography along with it. How long have you been shooting, what drew you to it, and for the photo nerds in the crowd, what rig are you using?

I came very late to photography in my life. Oh, I had a film camera since back in the early 90's, but many of the pictures I took on my first Trip to London them were plagued with pink blobs. I had no idea what I was doing and it showed. I discarded photography as a hobby worth doing for years.

Although I lost the roll and never developed the pictures, my last full day in Orange County, in 2003 was the next major attempt at trying photography again. I tried to document my trip to San Juan Capistrano, and started to feel what I had felt, and denied back on that London trip a decade earlier--that taking photographs of places, of adventures, was something I liked.

I got a digicam not long after arriving in Minnesota, ahead of a camping trip with my friends the Olsons. I thought taking some photos of our trip to Yellowstone might be fun. We went in 2005. Boy was I right. My first attempt at photography on a vacation turned out wonderfully, especially since I had a "big sister" in my friend Felicia, who had a DSLR and was not afraid to use it. I started practicing and learning more after that trip with my digicam, exploring Minnesota with my friends and on my own.

A second camping trip in 2007 to the Canadian Rockies was the clincher. Plenty of waterfalls and mountains convinced me that, yes, I liked this photography thing, especially a travel photography thing, and I wanted to capture better images. I bought a DSLR not long after that trip.

I currently shoot with a Canon 7D. My usual lens of choice is a 24mm Prime lens, although the "beast" of a 100mm macro lens got to see some good use on my DUFF trip.

Finally, waterfalls. What is it about shooting waterfalls?

Why waterfalls? First and foremost, the sound of rushing water makes them an appealing place to be around. I love visiting waterfalls because of the peace and balm they bring to me.

But why photograph them while I am at it?

Because waterfalls are in that space of being static and dynamic, remaining in place and yet ever changing, moment by moment, season by season. I can visit a waterfall in different seasons, different years, and due to the flow, the foliage, time of day, lighting and more, get an infinite variety of shots from the same cascade.

And if that wasn't enough, the sheer variety of waterfalls, from huge curtain ones to thin ones that plunge into a punchbowl means that a new-to-me waterfall will always have something I've not quite seen before.

Again, I urge you to buy Paul’s report and give it a read. It’s a very cool travelogue, has some great photos, and will make you want to book a trip post-haste. And the money is going to the Down Under Fan Fund to keep fans around the world connected.

Michael J. Martinez Interviews Paul Weimer!
About Paul

Paul Weimer is a SF writer, reviewer, and podcaster and an avid amateur photographer. When he isn’t doing any of that, he’s often found rolling dice and roleplaying. His audio work can be found on the Skiffy and Fanty Show and SFF audio. His reviews and columns can also be found at and the Barnes and Noble SF/F blog, amongst other places. Paul is best seen on Twitter as @princejvstin.

Michael J. Martinez Interviews Paul Weimer!
About Michael

Michael J. Martinez is the author of five novels, including the Daedalus trilogy of Napoleonic era space opera adventures and the MAJESTIC-12 series of spy-fi thrillers. His short fiction has appeared in Cthulhu Fhtagn!, Unidentified Funny Objects 4, Geeky Giving and Endless Ages: Vampire. He's a proud member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. You can find him online at or on Twitter at @mikemartinez72.

Michael's latest novel:

Michael J. Martinez Interviews Paul Weimer!
MJ-12: Shadows
A MAJESTIC-12 Thriller 2
Night Shade Books, September 5, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

It’s 1949, and the Cold War is heating up across the world. For the United States, the key to winning might be Variants—once ordinary US citizens, now imbued with strange paranormal abilities and corralled into covert service by the government’s top secret MAJESTIC-12 program.

Some Variants are testing the murky international waters in Syria, while others are back at home, fighting to stay ahead of a political power struggle in Washington. And back at Area 51, the operation’s headquarters, the next wave of recruits is anxiously awaiting their first mission. All the while, dangerous figures flit among the shadows and it’s unclear whether they are threatening to expose the Variants for what they are . . . or to completely destroy them. Are they working for the Soviet Union, or something far worse?

Interview with Alec Worley, author of Judge Anderson: Year One

Please welcome Alec Worley to The Qwillery. Judge Anderson: Year One was published on June 13th by Abaddon.

Interview with Alec Worley, author of Judge Anderson: Year One

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

Alec:  I starting writing proper stories outside of school when I was around nine/ten maybe. Loads of Fighting Fantasy-type gamebooks with loads of gore. I was pleased to find out later in life that the headmistress put on a watch-list in secondary school for this crazy-sick horror story that I wrote for an English assignment. I also wrote stories to entertain my friends. My best mate would call me up of an evening to ask if I could write him something full of barbarians and swordfights. Good practice for a freelance career. As to why, I’ve always been into genre stories – horror, fantasy, sci-fi – and just wanted to be part of that world.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Alec:  Definitely a plotter. At this stage in my experience, at least, I have to work from tightly planned breakdowns. I have to know what’s driving a scene in terms of stakes, what the characters want, how much they know, what are the limitations of any fantasy mechanics at work in the scene (a big one this). Knowing all this stuff helps minimise mistakes in a first draft or at least help define what doesn’t work. I’ll then break down the breakdown scene by scene into smaller ‘draft zero’ type scene plans. Weirdly, establishing the beats of the scenes like this gives me the freedom to be spontaneous when actually writing, and suddenly the characters are coming alive in your hands and doing things you never expected.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alec:  Ha! All of it. I’ve only just learned how to endure first drafts and to ‘fail early, fail fast’ as Pixar’s Andrew Stanton puts it. But overall, it’s the time it all takes. Unlike comics, which work on a strict page count, prose is much more the wild west. Every time I get a commission, I’m petrified I’ll miss the deadline as my word counts just keep rising and rising and rising. You end up feeling like you’re drowning. It’s horrible. I’m currently teaching myself to just focus on the time I’ve got and fill the hours with solid work.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does writing comics affect your prose writing?

Alec:  I love stories and storytelling, all the twists and turns and catharsis that melodrama can afford. Maybe that’s at odds with the fact that I also love really ornate, poetic prose like Mervyn Peake and Angela Carter. Carter just blew my mind when I was a teenager. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could write like that. It was like this beautiful alien language. Movies and TV were my first love as a kid, and I studied that form under my own steam so I guess I’ve got a decent sense of how to tell a story visually. Whether I’m writing prose or a comic, it always feels like I’m shooting a movie I can see in my head.

TQDescribe Judge Anderson: Year One in 140 characters or less.

Alec:  It’s a collection of three interlinked novellas covering Anderson’s traumatic first year on the street as a Psi-Judge.

TQTell us something about Judge Anderson: Year One that is not found in the book description.

Alec:  It was the toughest thing I’ve ever written, but I’m ridiculously proud of it.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing in the Judge Dredd world?

Alec:  Mega-City One is incredibly versatile. It’s like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld in that you can utilise it to tell pretty much any kind of story or explore any kind of idea. Anderson’s my favourite character in the Dreddverse and I was fascinated about what the world would look like seen through the eyes of a psychic cop, as well as an indomitable optimist and part of this terrible fascistic machine that is the Justice Department

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Judge Anderson: Year One?

Alec:  Tons! I did a lot of research into neuroscience and psychology to begin with, just to get a handle on exactly how Anderson perceives other peoples’ thoughts via telepathy. The first story (or first act), Heartbreaker, is about a killer stalking a futuristic dating site. The whole idea came about from my reading an article about a woman’s hellish experience of online dating. So I did lots of research into dating sites and the psychology behind them all, how they’ve affected our view of romance, sex and relationships, all the cultural politics behind that.

I also did lots of practical research into things like police tactics, guns, etc. I’ve got a friend (the same best mate who used to ask me to write barbarian stories for him) who’s a martial artist. He went through all the fight scenes for me. The second story, The Abyss, is set in a high-security psychiatric facility, which I based on Broadmoor Hospital. I did some writing exercises based my going through a book of homicide photos and used that as a basis for the prisoners’ streams-of-consciousness, which Anderson taps into at one point. That was a fun afternoon! Also, Anderson herself is suffering from depression and PTSD, so I dug into a lot of stuff there.

I do a lot of research into themes as well as nuts-and-bolts practical stuff. The Abyss was about the difference between justice and revenge, while the third story, A Dream of the Nevertime, was about the modern obsession with social justice, how that can be fetishized and become as destructive as the very thing it opposes, but also how to find the right balance, and so on. I think these things become more complex and ambiguous the deeper you dig into them. It’s good to explore other peoples’ ideas on different subjects too, as it broadens your own understanding, and allows you to explore things from every angle. But having done all that work, you then have to bury it all and dramatize it within the action. Preaching your opinions at the reader is polemics not storytelling.

TQIn Judge Anderson: Year One who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alec:  I honestly can’t say anyone was easy to write! I have a tendency to overcomplicate. In this case, I may have over-explored everyone’s pathology in my own mind, and gotten carried away in terms of shading in all the characters, which makes the dramatic actions-reactions between them all the more interesting and unexpected, but also makes them that much harder to write.

Anderson herself, hands-down, is the toughest to write. As a psychic, she’s Kryptonite to drama. So in terms of plotting the story, I had to do a lot of juggling, as well as being very clear in my own mind about what was motivating her in every scene and how much she knew at any given time. It’s hard to keep a character like that conflicted rather than just have her solve her problems straight away. It doesn’t help that her sidearm carries several different types of bullets (explosive, heat-seeking, armour-piercing, etc) and she’s a star-pupil with Mossad-level training. So many times, I’d get to a point in the story and go, ‘Waaaaaaaait a second. What’s stopping her from just busting this guy straight away?’ A nightmare.

TQWhich question about Judge Anderson: Year One do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Alec:  I wish someone would ask, ‘What can I get out of this that I can’t get out of the comics?’ And I’d answer, ‘There’s only so far you can go in a five-page 2000 AD strip in terms of exploring character. Prose allows us to go on a kick-ass action-adventure, but also go deeper into Anderson’s character than we’ve ever been before.’

TQGive us one or two of your favourite non-spoilery quotes from Judge Anderson: Year One.

Alec:  “Anderson let him go.” [Writing that bit just about broke my heart.]

TQWhat's next?

Alec:  I’ve just finished another couple of Anderson comics (based on the 2012 Dredd movie), which are collected up in the graphic novel Dredd / Anderson: The Deep End (out 13 July). I’ve also got a few Dredd stories in the Dredd: The Cape and Cowl Crimes collection (out now). I’m doing another Star Wars project for Panini Germany, as well as more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics for Panini UK and more Warhammer shorts for Black Library. Other than these, everything I’m working on right now is either hush-hush or at the pitch stage.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alec:  And thank you!

Judge Anderson: Year One
Abaddon, June 13, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Alec Worley, author of Judge Anderson: Year One
The untold story behind Mega-City One's most famous telepath and Judge Dredd partner, Judge Anderson, in her first year on the job!

Mega-City One, 2100.  Cassandra Anderson is destined to become Psi-Division’s most famous Judge, foiling supernatural threats and policing Mega-City One’s hearts and souls. For now, she’s fresh out of Academy and Psi-Div themselves are still finding their feet.

Heartbreaker: After a string of apparently random, deadly assaults by customers at a dating agency, Anderson is convinced a telepathic killer is to blame. Putting her career on the line, the newly-trained Psi-Judge goes undercover to bring the romance-hating murderer to justice, with the big Valentine’s Day parade coming up...

The Abyss: Sent to interrogate Moriah Blake, leader of the notorious terror group ‘Bedlam,’ Anderson gets just one snippet of information – Bedlam’s planning on detonating a huge bomb – before Blake’s followers take over the Block. It’s a race against time, and Anderson’s on her own amongst the inmates...

A Dream of the Nevertime: Anderson – a rookie no more, with a year on the streets under her belt – contracts what appears to be a deadly psychic virus, and must explore the weirdest reaches of the Cursed Earth in search of a cure. She must face mutants, mystics and all the strangeness the land can throw at her as she wrestles weird forces...

About Alec

Interview with Alec Worley, author of Judge Anderson: Year One
Alec Worley was a projectionist and a film critic before writing short Future Shock strips for 2000 AD and creating two original series: werewolf apocalypse saga Age of the Wolf (with Jon Davis-Hunt) and ‘spookpunk’ adventure comedy Dandridge (with Warren Pleece). He writes the Teenage Muttant Ninja Turtles comics for Panini in the UK and has also written Judge Dredd, Robo-Hunter, Tharg’s 3rillers and Tales From The Black Museum and Realm of the Damned. This is his debut prose novel.

Website  ~  Twitter @alec_worley

Interview with Steve McHughInterview with Eric BarnesInterview with James MaxwellInterview with Michelle Hauck, Author of the Birth of Saints TrilogyInterview with Ryder Windham, co-author of Star Wars Stormtroopers: Beyond the ArmorInterview with Glynn StewartInterview with Tom Doyle, author of the American Craft TrilogyInterview with Sage WalkerMichael J. Martinez Interviews Paul Weimer!Interview with Alec Worley, author of Judge Anderson: Year One

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