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Guest Blog by E.L. Tettensor: The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues - February 6, 2015


Please welcome E.L. Tettensor to The Qwillery. Master of Plagues, the 2nd Nicholas Lenoir novel, was published on February 3rd by Roc.



Guest Blog by E.L. Tettensor: The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues - February 6, 2015





The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues

So let’s clear up the obvious question straightaway: Yes, the plague in Master of Plagues is based on the Ebola virus. And no, the timing wasn’t intentional, because the book came first.

It’s one of the eeriest coincidences I’ve ever come across. As fantasy authors go, I tend to stick pretty close to home in my writing; my books are relatively low on magic and high on realism, especially the Lenoir mysteries. So I’m used to having art imitate life, and even life imitate art, when it comes to my work. But this was a whole new level of parallelism, and the timing was nothing short of spooky. As in, the outbreak was confirmed in the same month as the manuscript was turned in.

Not only was the plague based on Ebola (which I’ve been familiar with for years thanks to my day job), a couple of key events in the book ended up being mirrored in Liberia. This was a grim validation of my thought process, the logical exercise I went through in working out what the consequences of such an outbreak would be if it struck in a place wracked by poverty, where the response capacity was virtually nil. A place where frightened people would turn to traditional medicine, and rumours would poison the air, leading to dangerous behaviour.

In the real world, West Africa was able to call on outside help (though many would argue it was too little, too late). In Master of Plagues, there’s no one to call upon but the College of Physicians, a small group of doctors working with technology like leeches and bone saws, who have little understanding of contagion. They’re ill-equipped to tackle the disease, just as the city’s law enforcement is ill-equipped to handle its consequences – the panic, spiking crime, and most of all, the seething resentment of a population that feels abandoned by those sworn to protect them.

Into this dark fray wades Inspector Nicolas Lenoir. He’s supposed to be tracking down whoever is responsible for unleashing the plague, but he soon finds himself torn between catching a killer and finding a cure. He’s in way over his head on both fronts. In that sense, Master of Plagues is a story about the lengths desperate people will go to survive and save lives. Each of the characters has to make his or her own leap of faith, and not all of them clear the jump.

It’s a dark mystery, to be sure. But there’s light in there too, triumphs and hope and even humour, in spite of everything.

Come to think of it, that may be the most realistic part of all.





Master of Plagues
Nicolas Lenoir 2
Roc, February 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Guest Blog by E.L. Tettensor: The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues - February 6, 2015
“A dark fantasy detective story that takes readers on a dark, sometimes disturbing journey. E.L. Tettensor crafts a tale that makes you think even while you shudder—a delightful combination.”—Fresh Fiction on Darkwalker

Unraveling a deadly mystery takes time—and his is running out…

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Darkwalker, Inspector Nicolas Lenoir throws himself into his work with a determination he hasn’t known in years. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the test. A horrific disease is ravaging the city—and all signs point to it having been deliberately unleashed.

With a mass murderer on the loose, a rising body count, and every hound in the city on quarantine duty, the streets of Kennian are descending into mayhem, while Lenoir and his partner, Sergeant Bran Kody, are running out of time to catch a killer and find a cure.

Only one ray of hope exists: the nomadic Adali, famed for their arcane healing skills, claim to have a cure. But dark magic comes at a price, one even the dying may be unwilling to pay. All that’s left to Lenoir is a desperate gamble. And when the ashes settle, the city of Kennian will be changed forever…





Previously

Darkwalker
Nicolas Lenoir 1
Roc, December 3, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 360 pages

Guest Blog by E.L. Tettensor: The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues - February 6, 2015
He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…







About E.L. Tettensor

Guest Blog by E.L. Tettensor: The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues - February 6, 2015
E.L. Tettensor likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness. She has visited more than fifty countries on five continents, and brought a little something back from each to press inside the pages of her books. She is also the author of the Bloodbound series, writing as Erin Lindsey. She lives with her husband in Bujumbura, Burundi.








Website  ~  Twitter @ETettensor  ~  Facebook


Interview with E.L. Tettensor, author of Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir 1) - December 9, 2013


Please welcome E.L. Tettensor to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir 1) was published on December 3, 2013 by Roc.


Interview with E.L. Tettensor, author of Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir 1) - December 9, 2013



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

E.L.:  Thanks! It’s nice to be here.



TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

E.L.:  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, on and off. I think I got serious about it in the third grade, following my triumph in a poetry contest dedicated to the wonders of mud. I won this amazing dragon kite. It was a kaleidoscope of colours and had a thirty-foot tail, and it was by far the coolest kite in the neighbourhood. That really opened my eyes to the glory and riches that come with writing.

True story.

Anyway, my first memory of consciously trying to write a novel was around the age of thirteen. I was going through this Star Trek phase, and I decided to write a Star Trek book. I sat down with my mom’s old Smith-Corona typewriter and pecked out a few chapters. I never finished it, but that was the beginning of a long-standing pattern – starting, and eventually abandoning, various sorts of spec fic novels. I guess the whole writing thing was sort of pre-programmed.



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

E.L.:  I’m not sure if it’s interesting, but I use a lot of semi-colons. I try to keep it in check, but it’s hard; they’re just such so much more organic than full stops.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

E.L.:  Plot, followed by pants, followed by plot. I get a nice, detailed outline going, and for a while, I follow it pretty closely. Usually, though, when the momentum really starts to pick up, I veer off track – sometimes way off track – and when the train starts to slow down, I have this moment of panic that I’m way off course. That’s when the outline saves the day. It’s not a map, but it is a compass: it shows you where you want to go, if not how to get there. Then it’s just a question of finding that switch – that plot point, that bit of dialogue – that puts you back on course.



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

E.L.:  Titles. Oh, how I loathe them! I got lucky with DARKWALKER, and I can only hope it’s the start of a new trend. But up until now, titles have been the bane of my writing existence.



TQ:  Describe Darkwalker in 140 characters or less.

E.L.:  Sherlock Holmes meets X-Files, with a distinctively African flavour.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Darkwalker?

E.L.:  I tend to be a very visual writer. Long before an actual idea takes shape, my head gets cluttered with images – characters, landscapes, colours – that don’t necessarily fit together right away. For DARKWALKER, I think I was originally inspired by the visuals in films like Underworld and Van Helsing. There was something about those bleak, cinder-and-ash palettes that really appealed to me. And once you start playing with that imagery, you can’t help being drawn to a lot of the tropes of gothic literature – the corruption, the ‘outsider’ protagonist, the fixation with the occult. And of course, the monster.



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

E.L.:  I think the biggest source of research for DARKWALKER was my own travels. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taxed the patience of family and friends by lingering a little too long at a castle, running my hands along the stone, or wandering around the dark nooks of a cathedral, smelling the damp air. There’s a scene in DARKWALKER that’s straight out of my own experience of walking into a magic shop in Johannesburg, South Africa. Traditional research is important, but when it comes to describing the taste of absinthe or the sound of a flintlock rifle firing, you just can’t beat first-hand experience.



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

E.L.:  Lenoir is the easiest to inhabit for me. He’s actually a lot of fun to write, because he gets to say the kinds of things I’ve often been tempted to say, but thought better of. We all have our inner snark, and if you want to know what mine sounds like, spend a little time with Lenoir. He’s the grumpy, pre-coffee E.L. Tettensor.

The hardest to write was Zach. One of my pet peeves in literature is badly written children, and I really didn’t want to fall into that trap. I wanted Zach to be remarkable for his age – clever, resourceful, street savvy – but he’s still a nine year-old, and making that authentic was a real preoccupation for me.



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

E.L.:  There’s a scene where Zach takes Lenoir to a rough part of town to try to recruit some muscle, and something happens that really rattles Zach. The essence of that scene was actually suggested to me by a friend, and I love it because it shows us so much about Lenoir, about his relationship with Zach. It’s the first time Lenoir really pauses to think about why the boy matters to him, and it’s crucial to understanding what drives him later on. It also shows us a softer side to Lenoir, and lets us glimpse how much is going on beneath that stoic surface.



TQ:  What's next?

E.L.:  The sequel to DARKWALKER is almost done, and I’m really excited about it. The characters are starting to fit like well-used baseball gloves, and that means I can focus on taking them to new places, literally and figuratively. There are some new faces, too, characters who appeared in DARKWALKER but play a much more pivotal role in the sequel. I can’t wait to introduce them to the world!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

E.L.:  Thanks for having me!






Darkwalker

Darkwalker
Nicolas Lenoir 1
Roc, December 3, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with E.L. Tettensor, author of Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir 1) - December 9, 2013
He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…





About E.L. Tettensor

Interview with E.L. Tettensor, author of Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir 1) - December 9, 2013
E.L. Tettensor likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness. She has visited fifty countries on five continents, and brought a little something back from each of them to press inside the pages of her books. She lives with her husband in Bujumbura, Burundi.







Website  ~  Twitter @ETettensor  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads







2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor


2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.




E. L. Tettensor

Darkwalker
Nicolas Lenoir 1
Roc, December 3, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor
He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…


Guest Blog by E.L. Tettensor: The Real-World Origins of Master of Plagues - February 6, 2015Review and Giveaway: Darkwalker by E.L. TettensorInterview with E.L. Tettensor, author of Darkwalker (Nicolas Lenoir 1) - December 9, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor

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