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Interview with Sam Munson - June 26, 2015


Please welcome Sam Munson to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The War Against the Assholes was published on June 16th by Saga Press.



Interview with Sam Munson - June 26, 2015




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

Sam:  Thanks for having me. I started – I think – in first grade, when I was assigned to write a holiday poem of some kind. Under the compulsion of state and society, in other words.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Sam:  I have never heard those terms before. If they mean what I think they mean, I’d in all honesty have to describe myself as a sleepwalker or stumbler. I think at least some readers will know what I mean, here.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sam:  Talking about it. Whenever I open my mouth, I get nervous. It seems to verge on violating a taboo.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Sam:  I don’t want to say that I am influenced by this or that writer, because I think that’s arrogant – claiming to be influenced by Tolstoy, for example, is effectively claiming that your work resembles his – but there are many writers I love. Most of them are Russian or Central European. In immediate private impact, The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil ranks first for me.



TQDescribe The War Against the Assholes in 140 characters or less.

Sam:  The book for everyone who ever wanted to punch Harry Potter in the face.



TQTell us something about The War Against the Assholes that is not found in the book description.

Sam:  At least four of the characters would be diagnosed as sociopaths if they ever found themselves in the hands of our psychoanalytical establishment. Which four? That’s the trouble with sociopathy: its adeptness at camouflage.



TQWhat inspired you to write The War Against the Assholes? What appealed to you about writing a contemporary fantasy?

Sam:  I discovered, via a coworker, the existence of a book called THE EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE, which is a manual -- the manual, really -- of legerdemain. And I had always wanted to write a fantasy novel. Though I object to the distinction as a little specious: novels are fantastic by definition, and verisimilar ones the most fantastic of all.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The War Against the Assholes?

Sam:  Ashamed as I am to say it, I did very little – I read THE EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE. Beyond that, nothing really.



TQWhich question about your The War Against the Assholes do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sam:  Will it stop a bullet? Possibly, but don’t hold me to that.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The War Against the Assholes.

Sam:  Endurance equals greatness.



TQWhat's next?

Sam:  I wish I knew. Then again, maybe I’m fortunate not to – it might be massive and humiliating failure. But my first novel, THE NOVEMBER CRIMINALS, is (I am happy to say) being re-issued this fall. I don’t know if that counts as “next” or as eternal recurrence, but . . .



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The War Against the Assholes
Saga Press, June 16, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
(Debut Fantasy)

Interview with Sam Munson - June 26, 2015
Contemporary fantasy meets true crime when schools of ancient sorcery go up against the art of the long con in this stunningly entertaining debut fantasy novel.

Mike Wood is satisfied just being a guy with broad shoulders at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan. But on the dirty streets of New York City he’s an everyman with a moral code who is unafraid of violence. And when Mike is unwittingly recruited into a secret cell of magicians by a fellow student, Mike’s role as a steadfast soldier begins. These magicians don’t use ritualized rote to work their magic, they use willpower in their clandestine war with the establishment: The Assholes.





About Sam

Interview with Sam Munson - June 26, 2015
Sam Munson’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The National, The Daily Beast, Commentary, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Observer, The Utopian, n+1, Tablet, and numerous other publications. He is also the author of The November Criminals, soon to be a motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Ansel Elgort.



Website


Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu


The Grace of Kings
AuthorKen Liu
Series:  The Dandelion Dynasty 1
Publisher:  Saga Press, April 7, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages
List Price:  $27.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781481424271 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.



Brannigan's Review

The Grace of Kings, like the dandelion, isn't all it appears to be at first, and you'll be rewarded if you take the time to invest in the story. I have never read nor have I heard of Ken Liu, but I must say I was intrigued after I saw that he has won so many awards.

The story is set in a realistic fantasy world. There are a few elements of the story that have the feel of magic but nothing that is so far fetched I would have to believe a magical spell would be the cause. The gods of this world play a part in the story and use their godly powers from time to time, but I don't consider that the same as magic in the sense of spells and enchantments. There are several islands with Asian nation states that have just recently been conquered by the first emperor.

The story quickly shows the evil acts of a megalomaniac ruler who subjugates the people to build the world as he wishes. The common people of the islands suffer the most under the hand of the emperor and several different rebel groups spring up to fight against the new empire. Kuni Garu and Mata Zyndu start off in two separate paths of rebellion but soon find each other and work together to defeat the Emperor. They become as close as brothers in their fight to end the empire.

This is where Ken Liu showed me what an award-winning writer can do. From this point on, there are no longer true heroes or villains. Liu shows how power corrupts some and how others have the strength to resist power. He shows several times how far a good person must bend their moral beliefs to win if it means saving the world. These are things we've all learned before, but Liu does it so smoothly, without immediately drawing attention to the lesson, that it feels more natural. There are countless sacrifices by almost every character in the story. Liu explores honor with its many different rules and etiquette and how each character interprets it differently to serve his or her own purpose. Liu is a master of political intrigue, there are so many plots, deals, betrayals and rescues that kept me engaged.

This is an epic in every sense of the word. Liu's characters and the world they live in captivated me. I learned so much about each of them that it doesn't matter if I labeled them a hero or villain, I related to each. The world they struggle to free or control is fully realized. Liu spends time on every island and gives the history of so many characters both important and not. This can be good or bad, depending on the likes of a reader. I haven't had the chance to read a true epic in awhile so I feasted on each page and was satisfied by the end of the story. Most of the battles are only briefly described or summarized with most of the action taking place in the political arena.

The Grace of Kings is a brilliant start to what will be, without a doubt, an impressive series. It forced me to reexamine how I look at historical figures and the men and women leading the world today. There is no true good or evil in the world. We flow back and forth between the spectrum. There are acts of violence, mild language some adult situations. I would recommend it to older teens and adults. This is the dream of any fan of epic fantasy. It's also a great book for people who love strong male and female characters, politics and fully realized world.

Interview with Joanne M. Harris and Review of The Gospel of Loki - May 4, 2015


Please welcome Joanne M. Harris to The Qwillery. The Gospel of Loki will be published on May 5th in the US by Saga Press.



Interview with Joanne M. Harris and Review of The Gospel of Loki - May 4, 2015




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. You've written more than a dozen published novels. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Joanne:  The challenge for me has always been to find something that I haven’t already done, or to find a new entry into a subject that has been covered many times before. I like to surprise the reader; and to do that, I’m aware that I have to surprise myself. Sometimes that means taking risks, or playing with narrative, voice and form. Sometimes it’s experimental, but I think taking risks is part of the fun...



TQ:  Your website bio lists as a hobby, among other things, "quiet subversion of the system..." How does this hobby influence (or not) your writing?

Joanne:  I’ve always thought literature should be subversive; asking more questions than it answers and continuously challenging the preconceptions of the reader. It’s not always a comfortable way to approach writing (or reading), but I find it keeps me alert, and stops me falling into the kind of routine that would lead to me writing the same books again and again.



TQ:  Describe The Gospel of Loki in 140 characters or less.

Joanne:  The unofficial chronicle of the rise and fall of Asgard, with all the fun stuff put back in.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Gospel of Loki that is not in the book description.

Joanne:  It features a giant cow; an eight-legged horse; a talking head; an enormous snake; some teenage werewolves; several factions of warring gods and a pair of magical crows who like cake.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Gospel of Loki? What appealed to you about writing in about Norse mythology? And why tell the story from Loki's point of view?

Joanne:  I’ve been writing stories based on Norse mythology for a long time. I loved the myths as a child, and I’ve been researching them ever since. There are so many really strong characters there; so much humour, drama and conflict; such a powerful portrayal of a community; and yet the myths are fragmentary - so much has been lost and omitted. I think this, in some way, is why writers and artists have come to them again and again; we are drawn to complete the stories in our own way, to re-imagine the characters in ways that fit our changing times. Loki is very much an anti-hero for our times. He’s defiant of authority; a rebel; a misfit, both racially (he’s not one of the gods, but a kind of fire-demon) and in terms of his gender (he’s bisexual, gender-fluid, and even gives birth, which doesn’t sit well with the gods at all). He’s also clever, getting the gods both in and out of trouble in classic Trickster fashion. But although he’s probably the most active character in the myths, there’s very little about Loki himself – his past, thoughts, his motivation in acting as he does. I wanted to explore that, and to give a little insight into how the mischievous trickster becomes a character so dark and troubled that he finally brings about his own destruction, as well as that of the world itself...



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

Joanne:  I guess I’ve been researching these myths all my life. At the moment I’m learning Old Icelandic, so that I can read Snorri in the original...



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

Joanne:  Loki himself is both the easiest and the hardest to write. The easiest, because he sounds a lot like a version of me; the hardest, because all the other characters are seen through Loki’s eyes, which makes for some very skewed perceptions...



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

Joanne:  A lot of readers have commented on Loki’s use of modern slang, and have asked themselves (though not me) why I chose to write in such a contemporary voice. Here’s why:

All myths, when they were first told or written down, were told in contemporary voices. This is no exception. In the original myths, Loki speaks in a very informal voice, often insults the other gods, often speaks with defiance. Rather than write his dialogue in the mock-heroic language used by Snorri (which even then was dated and inappropriate), I’ve used modern slang – besides which, there’s a strong hint in the narrative that Loki has somehow survived the end of the world and even his own death, and is therefore addressing us as the recipient of his tale, right here, right now, in the 21st century.



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

Joanne:  I’d rather you chose your own. Or let the readers do it for you...



TQ:  What's next?

Joanne:  I’m working on several things; a psychological thriller called DIFFERENT CLASS; plus an illustrated project called HONEYCOMB and a series of musical story projects to accompany it...



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Gospel of Loki
Publisher:  Saga Press, May 5, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
List Price:  $25.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781481449465 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Interview with Joanne M. Harris and Review of The Gospel of Loki - May 4, 2015
“A surprise from the author of Chocolat,” New York Times bestselling author Joanne M. Harris, “this pacy adult fantasy is narrated by Loki, the Norse god of fire and mischief” (Vogue).

This novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods—retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. A #1 bestseller in the UK, The Gospel of Loki tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself.

Using her lifelong passion for the Norse myths, New York Times bestseller Joanne M. Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel that the Sunday Sun recommends “to her long-standing audience with wit, style and obvious enjoyment;” The Sunday Times claims it “lively and fun;” and The Metro adds that “Harris has enormous fun with her antihero...this mythical bad boy should beguile fans of Neil Gaiman.”


Qwills Thoughts

The Gospel of Loki tells Loki's story from his first interaction with Odin to Ragnarok. It is told from Loki's point of view. Loki is a classic unreliable narrator or so it seems. Loki is the Trickster god so in many ways I was predisposed not to believe him. And if you've seen the Marvel films it's hard to keep that portrayal out of your head while reading, though the films don't really contradict anything about his character as portrayed in the novel. Loki certainly does little to hide what others would consider faults. Just the opposite - he revels them. He accepts who he is. He is sometimes not as clever as he thinks he is, but more often than not manages to pull off his tricks. He's cunning, calculating, and sometime careless.

Through Loki, Harris gives the background of the Norse myths including the creation of the worlds, the joining of the Aesir and the Vanir after a long war, and more. Things get really interesting for Loki when Odin brings him to Asgard. Despite Odin's promises, Loki is not welcome. He is an outsider; someone who is easy to blame when things go wrong. While he does cause a lot of trouble he's not at fault all of the time. He does exploit the weaknesses of the others in Asgard but also helps them. Loki is a contradiction born of Chaos. While Odin has what he believes to be very good reasons for bringing Loki to Asgard it was really not a great move on his part.

Loki lets us know why he does what he does throughout the novel. You might not agree with him but you understand his motivation. I could not help thinking that if the others were nicer to him, more accepting, that things might have been different. However, these are Loki's perceptions of the others and how he is being treated and probably are extremely twisted. Odin and many of the other gods are so tied up in destiny and Loki is so stubborn and hurt perhaps nothing could be done to change what happens. Things play out as they apparently must.

Harris has written a thoroughly enjoyable novel with straightforward prose and excellent pacing. It doesn't matter if Loki is unreliable. The Gospel of Loki is his take on what happened. It's fascinating and entertaining. Loki is the bad boy of the story, and you may very well end up caring about him.





About Joanne

Interview with Joanne M. Harris and Review of The Gospel of Loki - May 4, 2015
Joanne Harris (MBE) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.

Since then, she has written fourteen more novels, two collections of short stories, and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in more than fifty countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science. She works from a shed in her garden, and lives with her husband and daughter in a little wood in Yorkshire.


Stay up to date with Joanne:

Interview with Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings - April 6, 2015


Please welcome Ken Liu to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Grace of Kings will be published on April 7th by Saga Press.



Interview with Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings - April 6, 2015




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

Ken:  I’ve been writing fiction in some capacity or another as long as I can remember. I suppose I finally became “serious” about writing when I was in college, and it was largely because I wanted to tell stories that I wasn’t seeing being published. I wanted to write stories about pieces of history that weren’t being covered in high school textbooks, to give voice to perspectives that weren’t represented, to present worlds that weren’t shown.



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

Ken:  I think all writers are influenced to some degree of another by everything they’ve ever read, and I have too many favorite authors to list all of them. So I would answer this one by listing some choices that might not be often invoked: I really enjoy the craft with which Supreme Court Justices like Blackmun and Frankfurter crafted the narrative portions of their opinions to lay out the “facts” of the cases in their decisions. It is not often that we pay attention to the rhetoric used in these “stories” though they’re critical to the reasoning that follows. An awareness of the importance of storytelling to the law is critical for a lawyer, and quite useful to a writer.



TQ: You've written many short stories/novellas and you've won the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards. What was the most challenging thing about writing a novel vis-à-vis short fiction? Did your writing process change?

Ken:  The biggest challenge is keeping track of all the choice that I made in the writing process. For a novel, there are many, many more worldbuilding decisions that must be made, and details of character, plot, setting, etc. that must be recorded and tracked and looked up later. I ended up having to learn how to use a wiki to track these things to keep basic continuity straight. For a pantser by nature, this was a tough transition.



TQ: Describe The Grace of Kings in 140 characters or less.

Ken:  A silkpunk epic fantasy in which two unlikely friends rebel together against tyranny only to find themselves deadly rivals near victory.



TQ: Tell us something about The Grace of Kings that is not in the book description.

Ken:  It is, without a doubt, an epic fantasy that pays more attention to the details of taxation than any other I know of.

I think the tax sections are pretty awesome and fun. And if I can make taxes fun for the reader, imagine what I can do for everything else …



TQ: The Grace of Kings is epic fantasy with "...magic, the gods, and silkpunk technology..."1 What is silkpunk? What is your inspiration for The Grace of Kings?

Ken:  By analogy with steampunk, silkpunk is an aesthetic that straddles the boundary between science fiction and fantasy. It features a technology vocabulary derived from East Asian antiquity which relies on organic materials and biomechanics, and includes things like silk-draped airships with women warriors, soaring battle kites for honorable duels, underwater boats powered by steam engines, and lodestone-based metal detectors. It it also contains magical elements like tomes that describe our desires better than we know them ourselves, gods who regret the deeds done in their names, and giant sea beasts that bring about tsunamis and storms but also guide soldiers safely to shores.

The Grace of Kings is a re-imagining of the rise of the Han Dynasty in a new, secondary fantasy archipelago setting. This is a foundational narrative for Chinese literature much as the Iliad and the Odyssey are foundational narratives for the West. By re-imagining this story as an epic fantasy using tropes and narrative techniques drawn from Chinese and Western epic traditions, I’m trying to create a new, blended aesthetic that transcends the Orientalism and colonial gaze that tends to hobble many “magical China” narratives.



TQ: How does being a poet affect (or not) the narrative structure of The Grace of Kings?

Ken:  The overall structure of the novel draws from the oral traditions of Western epic poetry and Chinese pingshu storytelling. As such, I deliberately do many things against the conventions of contemporary epic fantasy: the main narrative will sometime be “paused” as we shift into a character backstory, and the POV shifts at multiple scales in a way that is reminiscent of pre-novel literary forms. The goal to make the story feel “new” by harking to the old.



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

Ken:  I read the Sima Qian historical biographies of the early Han era, and consulted various secondary history sources as well as books about the evolution of technology. I also studied theories of technology and the history of epics (and re-read them!).



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

Ken:  The easiest character was probably Kindo Marana, the tax-collector-turned-general. A lot of his musings on the nature of the tax system and how it applies to the rest of life are drawn from my own experience as a tax lawyer. The hardest character was Mata Zyndu, the honorable, martial hero whose view of justice seems out of step with the times. He’s a complicated character because his values and motivations feel alien to modern sensibilities. Trying to re-imagine him in a way that allows a contemporary readership to see why he was appealing and beloved in a different value system was challenging.



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

Ken:

You talk a lot about “fundamental narratives” and “epic traditions,” but I don’t know anything about Chinese history or epic literature. Is the book fun?

Yes, oh yes. The whole point of a novel like this is to entertain. If you don’t know anything about Chinese history and the source material I’m working with, and you find that you don’t enjoy this book, then I will have failed utterly. It is meant to be fun and cool for all readers.



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

Ken:

“Sometimes we live up to the stories other tell about us.”

“I think I wield power, but perhaps it is Power that wields me.”



TQ: What's next?

Ken:  Working steadily on the sequel, which is going to be bigger, cooler, and feature lots more exciting silkpunk technology. I don’t want to give it all away, but the daughters and sons of Dara do some amazing deeds that make me laugh with glee.



TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ken:  Thank you for having me!





The Grace of Kings
The Dandelion Dynasty 1
Saga Press, April 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages

Interview with Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings - April 6, 2015
Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.





About Ken

Interview with Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings - April 6, 2015
Photo by Lisa Tang Liu
Ken’s fiction has appeared in F&SF, Asimov’s, Analog, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld, among other places.

Ken is the only author in the last forty years to be the recipient of the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and The World Fantasy Award for one story. That story is "The Paper Menagerie". He has also been awarded another Hugo for his story "Mono No Aware", and was just nominated for yet another Nebula Award this year for his novella "The Regular", alongside the Nebula nomination for his translation of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem, which is up for Best Novel of the year.

Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a fantasy series, will be published by Saga Press, Simon & Schuster’s new genre fiction imprint, this April 2015. Saga will also publish a collection of his short stories in Fall 2015.

Ken is busily working on the sequel to The Grace of Kings and expects it to be out in 2016. He is also busy working on short fiction and translation projects.

He lives near Boston. Besides writing and spending time with his family, Ken loves to repair vintage typewriters, patiently taking them part to learn how they work.

Website  ~  Twitter @kyliu99

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu


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


Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings
The Dandelion Dynasty 1
Saga Press, April 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.

Excerpt: Persona by Genevieve Valentine


An excerpt from Persona by Genevieve Valentine, which will be published on March 10th by Saga Press.



Excerpt: Persona by Genevieve Valentine




1

The International Assembly audience hall was half-empty—too empty, Suyana might have said, in her first year there, when she was still surprised by the distance between good public relations and good politics. Now, looking across so many empty seats just made her heavy to the bones.

“Georgia,” the proctor called. “Germany. Ghana. Gibraltar.”

Missed opportunity, Suyana thought, every time the proctor’s eyes fell on an empty chair. An open vote was one of the rare times Faces pretended at politics. You were voting the way you were told, but even pretending was something, and she couldn’t imagine giving it up.

The rest of your life was photo shoots and PSAs and school visits, and saying what your handler told you to say, and going to parties where you tried desperately to look like you belonged amid a sea of other Faces who were higher on the guest list than you were.

Suyana put up with the rest of it because three or four times a year, she got to raise her hand and be counted. And today was a vote, and only half were here.

Some—the ones who ranked above her on guest lists— didn’t bother. Some feared what would happen if they did the wrong thing in front of the Big Nine, and their handlers had advised them to steer clear.

Her stomach twisted.

“They might as well just decide without us and inform us how we voted by mail,” she muttered.

Magnus said without looking over, “Try to sound professional, please, on the incredibly slim chance a reporter has a camera on you.”

No chance. The United Amazonian Rainforest Confederation had only been interesting three years ago, when the outpost got blown to pieces. Cameras had watched her for six weeks, until some other story broke.

That was before Magnus had been installed; she suspected he’d have worked harder to keep her in the public eye.

She pulled the day’s agenda into her lap, and picked the corners of the page off one at a time, where no one could see.

Magnus glanced over, said nothing.

In the sea of middle-aged handlers always conferring just out of camera range, Magnus looked more like a Face— tall, slender, fair, with a sharp expression—and she suspected he’d washed out from IA training, once upon a time.Just as well—he cast glances at the Big Nine as if he couldn’t wait to cut himself free of her. Diplomats couldn’t be so nakedly ambitious.

Little pieces of paper came off in her hands.

She couldn’t blame him; sometimes people had different loyalties than they were supposed to.

Smooth it over, she reminded herself. Keep an even keel. Don’t let anyone catch you out. Some things you can’t afford.

“I’m just nervous,” she said, softly.

It was true, but it was also what Magnus wanted to hear from her. Sure enough, he looked over.

“Understandable,” he said, high praise from him. “I have the rental.”

The rental was a necklace that was supposed to make her look fashionable, prosperous, alluring. Suyana thought it was useless, since her owning a bib of semiprecious stones would seem either openly false or a monstrous luxury depending on how much you knew about UARC economics, but Magnus had set his mind on it, and she wasn’t going to let it matter.

“Not sure it will do much. In Closer last year, he said he liked natural beauties.”

Magnus raised an eyebrow. “How cosmopolitan.”

“Iceland,” the proctor called. “India.”

“I don’t like the non-compete clause,” Magnus said. “Six months is restrictive. They’re hoping to leverage the re-up option in case the public likes you.” From his tone of voice, that wasn’t likely.

“Exclusivity ends the day the contract ends. They have the physical clause; you can’t enforce a non-compete on that. If he doesn’t want me to go elsewhere, he can make his offer alongside everyone else.”

He frowned. Three years on, he still got surprised whenever she slipped and got honest. (Most of the time Suyana wanted to strangle him. She measured her success as a diplomat by how little he caught on.)

“Japan,” the proctor called, and at the Big Nine table, far down the chamber ahead of her, the Face from Japan raised his hand.

“Suyana,” Magnus said, as careful as with any stranger he was trying to persuade. “We’re not in a place to dictate changes. We’re lucky they’re interested. After what happened—”

“I remember what happened.”

There was a little silence.

She missed Hakan, a knife of grief sliding between her ribs. She held her breath, like it could bring him back from the dead. Smooth expression, she thought. Show nothing. Be nothing.

“Norway,” the proctor called, with no answer.

Only six of the Big Nine had deigned to appear. Grace, the best of the lot, was without her handler—she always looked more eligible sitting alone. Grace was number two on Intrigue magazine’s Most Eligible Faces list for the fourth year in a row.

Suyana had already planned an attack of nerves so she’d miss Grace’s party. She was wary of open invitations; felt too much like charity sometimes.

Norway’s seats were empty. They were voting on some potential additions to the IA’s Human Rights Declaration, but apparently Martine didn’t think that was something that needed her attention.

(“You should go talk to her,” Magnus said once at an afternoon reception, and Suyana said, “Yes, nothing raises your social stock like being ignored by your betters.”)

Ethan Chambers, the American Face, had sent one of his assistants as a proxy; the Big Nine had enough staff to have them in two places at once.
At least there she knew the reason why.

Ethan Chambers was sitting in a boutique hotel a few miles away, waiting to meet her and sign the contract for a six-month public relationship. There would also be discussion of the terms of the physical clause; they were rare enough that they required careful debate, which meant everyone was preparing for several awkward hours. Still, you did what you had to, to get someone’s attention—the physical clause was the reason the United States had taken her offer seriously.

uyana suspected the American team thought that if Ethan got her in bed, she’d get emotionally involved, and be easier to pressure with PR fallout whenever they wanted the UARC to fall in line.

Everyone could dream, she supposed.

“New Zealand,” the proctor called, and a few rows in front of her, Kipa raised her hand for each count of the amendments. Each time, it was steady and sure, and Kipa locked her elbow as if to make sure her vote was counted. Suyana tried not to smile. Her turn was coming soon enough, and she didn’t want to know what she looked like when she was pretending she made a difference.

After she’d exercised her duties, there would be lunch with Ethan. After lunch, they’d start mapping out the first place they’d be caught together “accidentally.”

After that—

“United Amazonian Rainforest Confederation,” the proctor called.

Suyana smiled for the cameras, raised her hand to be counted.



2

Daniel wished he’d stolen a camera he actually knew how to use.

He huddled deeper into the restaurant alley and pried the long end of a paper clip into the lens assembly, trying to loosen whatever had jammed the thing in the first place before the sedan showed up and he missed his chance to shoot Suyana. His hands were shaking a little.

Suyana Sapaki was a risk for a shoot on spec. She’d barely escaped being burned out three years ago; she was on the verge of a comeback, but a verge is a tricky thing to measure. Too late and you’re drowned in the tide, too early and the pictures go for nothing and get used as archive footage without royalties whenever they finally do something interesting.

But the alley was perfectly positioned across the street from the swank hotel where Ethan Chambers, Face of the United States, was waiting to meet Suyana Sapaki on business unknown. The bellboy Daniel bribed said Ethan had been there since yesterday while his empty car drove all over town.

The lens assembly slid back into place, and Daniel settled behind a garbage can—the poor man’s tripod—to focus before Suyana’s car showed up.

He hoped it was worth what he’d spent on intel to catch negotiations between the US Face and what Daniel suspected was his girlfriend-to-be. He couldn’t afford to go home.

The sedan turned the corner—a cab, not one from the IA fleet. Daniel braced his hands. They still shook a little before a great shot. (It was embarrassing—he was twenty-two, not twelve, he knew how to take pictures—but sometimes the thrill got the better of him.)

Magnus got out first. He was the UARC’s new handler, a pro from some Scandinavian country they’d brought in to help spin the disaster, and he looked like a man who was used to getting out of messes clean.

Magnus scanned the square for a moment before he reached back into the car, to call Suyana out.
       [Submission 35178, Frame 7: Magnus Samuelsson standing beside a black sedan sitting around the corner from the front entrance to the Chanson Hotel. Subject in profile and three-quarters length, hand extended into the backseat of the car, looking at something out of frame.]
Weird, Daniel thought, risking a glance up from the viewfinder. Magnus didn’t seem the type to get swept up in scenery, and it wasn’t as though Ethan Chambers would be standing with flowers at the balcony to greet the girl he might be about to contract to date.

He didn’t know much about most of the IA handlers— you weren’t supposed to, that’s why countries had Faces, to give you something to look at—but something seemed off. Had they fought in the car? Was Magnus just cautious? Had he arranged for official nation-affiliated photographers to catch the first moments of budding romance, and Daniel was going to be without an exclusive after all this?

But then Suyana stepped out of the car, and Daniel forgot everything in the queasy thrill of a scoop.
[Submission 35178, Frame 18: Suyana Sapaki (Face UARC), sliding out of the backseat of a sedan. Large necklace—appears genuine (ID and trail of ownership TK). Face three-quarters, turned to the hotel. Has not taken Samuelsson’s hand.]
Daniel had, once or twice in his research for this, questioned why Suyana had been considered the best option for the Face of the UARC. She was Peruvian, and the Brazilian contingent had given her flak for it—they were a much bigger slice of that pie, and a Quechua was playing even harder against the numbers, unless you were going after diversity points. She was a little stocky in a world that liked its Faces tall and thin, a little hard around the eyes in an organization that prized girls who could fawn when the cameras were going. Even from here it looked like she was suffering a punishment. No way that was true—if she could get Ethan to sign on the dotted line, it was a PR coup the UARC could only dream of.

But her brown skin and knotted black hair and sharp eyes made a decent picture when the light hit her, and she moved with more purpose than Daniel saw from a lot of IA girls. (Wasn’t much purpose for her to have, except look good and do as she was told. Handlers did the real work. Faces just made it look sharp to the masses. Though nobody wanted a Face getting ideas, as they’d reminded him plenty back home.)

Once the car pulled away, Magnus looked Suyana over with the focus of an auctioneer. He lifted his chin as if inviting her to do the same; Suyana stared through him and didn’t move. Magnus straightened the collar of her shirt, tweaked one of the careless gems on her necklace so that it lay right side up against her collarbone.

Daniel raised his eyebrow into the viewfinder, took a few shots as fast as he could.

He’d seen backstage prep on the Korean Face, Hae Soo-jin, when he was still apprenticing as a licensed photographer. Most of it looked like grooming animals for auction, if you were being honest. This was something different; some message passing back and forth through a necklace that was laughably out of place on her.

Suyana glanced at Magnus for a moment with a frown that was gone before Daniel could catch it. Then she turned her head, as if she was used to being altered by people she didn’t look at.

That was about right. The ideal combination of hanbok and national designers a Face should wear to present the correct ratio of tradition and modernism had been a hot topic at home when he left. The news had a segment on it at least once a week. Historians were weighing in; fashion-industry insiders staged demonstrations. Hae Soo-jin hadn’t been called on for an opinion. Decision making happened before anything ever reached them. You could measure the length of a Face’s career by seeing how good they were at agreeing with other people’s outcomes.

But Suyana had looked at Magnus so strangely. Maybe it bothered her to know how far on the sidelines she stood.
[Submission 35178, Frame 39: Magnus Samuelsson, back to the camera (identified in Frames 1–13). Facing the camera, Suyana Sapaki. Samuelsson has his hand extended toward Sapaki’s elbow. Sapaki looking off-frame (object of gaze unknown), hands in pockets. No acknowledgment.]
“It doesn’t matter,” Suyana said. “He’ll know it’s not mine.” Her voice floated a little around the square before it settled on Daniel.

“We’re impressing an ally, not a jeweler,” said Magnus. “You need all the help you can get. No use looking shabby first thing. Are you ready to be charming?”

She looked right at Magnus, and Daniel flinched at her expression (murderer, he thought wildly, like he was watching a movie) and wished for a concurrent video function so he could try to capture what the hell was even going on.

Then she blinked, and her eyes softened, and her smile broke wide and white across her face. “Of course,” she said, in a voice that sounded barely hers. “Are you ready to chaperone?”

Magnus’s jaw twitched—surprised, maybe, or put out— and he looked back toward the street like he was thinking of making a run for it. “Let’s go.”

Suyana pushed her shoulders back, licked her lips, and headed for the front door of the hotel like she was on her way to a prison sentence. Magnus followed a little behind; most handlers did when their Faces were onstage. There was no good in the policymakers hogging the spotlight.

Daniel should have kept better track of how the light was moving; shadows giving way to the flood of sunlight across the white hotel made him blink into the viewfinder, and he took pictures by reflex as he waited for his eyes to adjust.

He was still waiting when the gunshot rang out.

All the sound was sucked out of the square for a second in the wake of the shot. His finger never stopped moving. He hoped against all luck that he’d managed to catch the moment the bullet hit. If there was a bullet.

There were publicity stunts like this, sometimes, when someone needed the sympathy. They made front pages, no matter how horrible and obvious a ploy it was.

As the shutter clicked, the sound washed back—people shouting behind the closed door of the restaurant, Magnus staggering back with one arm out toward Suyana, casting an eye around the rooftops (why wasn’t he in front of her? Why wasn’t he protecting his charge?).

And Suyana was scrambling up from the ground, favoring one leg but already trying to bolt for the nearest cover. She looked young, in her terror, but her jaw was set—she would live, if she could.

Too bad he’d missed that shot, Daniel thought as he pocketed his memory card and shoved the camera into the trash. He wasn’t going to get arrested for unauthorized photography, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to get shot in some publicity stunt. She was coming his way, and he knew when to exit the scene.

But as Suyana dove toward the alley, there was another shot. She staggered and cried out—once, sharp—and he saw she had a bloody hand pressed to her left arm, that now the right leg of her jeans was blooming dark with blood.

He had to get out of there.

But she was running for the alley—lurching, really. She wasn’t going to make it in time to avoid a kill shot if it came, if this wasn’t a stunt. It might be a stunt. Either way, snaps didn’t get involved. The hair on his arms was standing up.

Magnus was shouting, somewhere out of sight (the hotel?). A car engine flared to life (the cab?).

Suyana was gasping for breath.

You’re a sucker, Daniel thought, you’re a sucker, don’t you dare, but by then he was already out in the square, scooping her under her good shoulder.

There was a bottle-cap pop from somewhere far away that he knew must be a bullet. Then they were running a three-legged race into the safety of the alley.

He let go as soon as she was in the shadows, but she caught hold of his elbow with more force than he’d have guessed she could manage. The tips of her fingers were rough; they caught on his sleeve.

“Save it,” he said, eyeing the street on the far side of the alley, to make sure it was clear when he ran for it, but then he made a mistake and looked back at her.

Either she was a damn good actress or she was tougher than he’d thought. Her mouth was pulled tight with panic, but she looked at him like she was sizing him up.

“Thanks,” she said, and somehow it was a demand for information, which was funny coming from someone who was bleeding in two places.

He couldn’t believe he’d gone out there. This was a handler’s job, if the shooting was even real—where the hell was Magnus?—and not one damn second of this was his business except behind a lens. This story had played out, and he was in enough trouble. He’d come back for the camera later. Maybe.

He said, “I have to go.”

Tires screeched around the corner, and from somewhere came the echo of footsteps, and the hair on Daniel’s neck stood up—his heart was in his throat, this was amateur hour, this was chaos.

Who knew this was happening today besides me? he wondered, from some suspicion he didn’t want to examine.

Suyana swayed, braced herself on her good arm against the wall like a sprinter on the starting line, her eyes fixed on the far end of the alley. There were footsteps, voices shouting. They’re looking for us, Daniel realized, and his blood went cold.

Suyana looked up at him, and for a moment he remembered the footage from a few years back, right after terrorists hit the UARC, and she’d bored holes at any camera that crossed her like she was daring them to ask.

She said, “Run.”


Excerpted with permission from Persona, a novel by Genevieve Valentine. Copyright © 2015 by Genevieve Valentine. Published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.





Persona
Saga Press, March 10, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Excerpt: Persona by Genevieve Valentine
In a world where diplomacy has become celebrity, a young ambassador survives an assassination attempt and must join with an undercover paparazzo in a race to save her life, spin the story, and secure the future of her young country in this near-future political thriller from the acclaimed author of Mechanique and The Girls at Kingfisher Club.

When Suyana, Face of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation, is secretly meeting Ethan of the United States for a date that can solidify a relationship for the struggling UARC, the last thing she expected was an assassination attempt. Daniel, a teen runaway turned paparazzi out for his big break, witnesses the first shot hit Suyana, and before he can think about it, he jumps into the fray, telling himself it’s not altruism, it’s the scoop. Now Suyana and Daniel are on the run—and if they don’t keep one step ahead, they’ll lose it all.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 20


This is the twentieth in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their upcoming 2015 books. This update covers two of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge authors.

These two covers are absolutely gorgeous!


See Part 1 hereSee Part 10 here
See Part 1.5 hereSee Part 11 here
See Part 2 hereSee Part 12 here
See Part 3 hereSee Part 13 here
See Part 4 hereSee Part 14 here
See Part 5 hereSee Part 15 here
See Part 6 hereSee Part 16 here
See Part 7 hereSee Part 17 here
See Part 8 hereSee Part 18 here
See Part 9 hereSee Part 19 here


What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 20


Cassandra Rose Clarke

Our Lady of the Ice
Saga Press, October 27, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 20
Hope City, Antarctica. The southernmost city in the world, with only a glass dome and a faltering infrastructure to protect its citizens from the freezing, ceaseless winds of the Antarctic wilderness. Within this bell jar four people–some human, some not–will shape the future of the city forever:

Eliana Gomez, a female PI looking for a way to the mainland.

Diego Amitrano, the right-hand man to the gangster who controls the city’s food come winter.

Marianella Luna, an aristocrat with a dangerous secret.

Sofia, an android who has begun to evolve.

But the city is evolving too, and in the heart of the perilous Antarctic winter, faction will clash, dreams will shatter, and that frozen metropolis just might boil over…

[description from the Author's website]




Emma Newman

Planetfall
Roc, November 3, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 20
From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thornscomes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…

Interview with Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages - February 4, 2014


Please welcome Lee Kelly to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. City of Savages was published on February 3rd by Saga Press.



Interview with Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages - February 4, 2014




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

Lee:  Thanks for having me, I’m so happy to be here! And I think I’ve been writing since I’ve been old enough to read honestly. It’s always been something I’ve felt compelled to do, but for a long time it was put on the backburner while I pursued a career that I felt was a little more secure. So I studied Government in college and went to law school… but all the while, the writing bug bit at me incessantly. I remember outlining story ideas during my law school seminars, and I was actually tinkering with my first attempt at a novel as I was studying for the California Bar Exam. When I had a true break between the bar and my first job, I decided I needed to just go for it. I started writing every day, for one hour in the mornings. About four years later, I signed with my agent for CITY OF SAVAGES.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lee:  I’m definitely a plotter! I write like I drive: even if I’m 99% sure where I’m going, I feel better having a map – it just makes me feel more confident about the twists and turns I’m taking. That said, I usually end up abandoning my outline around the 25%-50% mark for most projects, as the story begins to breathe on its own and become something I couldn’t have imagined without actually having written through it.



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

Lee:  I love the brainstorming and idea-generation part of writing (at the beginning), don’t mind the mad-dash first-draft phase, and absolutely adore that part at the end where you get to embellish and polish and really make the story shine. But that part between the first draft and the polish? Where you’re revising and restructuring and rethinking? That’s incredibly challenging for me. I think that’s the part of the process where you take “potential” and try to match it to your ideal vision of the story in your head, which is a very scary endeavor (and often a tall order).



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

Lee:  I would say Suzanne Collins, for her strong characters and the tension she creates in her stories; Cormac McCarthy, for his enviable balance of the beautiful and the bleak (especially in his THE ROAD); Gillian Flynn, of course for her suspenseful thrills and twisty plots, but moreover for creating such multifaceted, dangerous, different female characters; and Karen Russell, for her ability to blend the real with the strange and the surreal with the very, very human.


TQ:  Describe City of Savages in 140 characters or less.

Lee:  Two sisters and their mother attempt to escape a war-torn Manhattan, after the discovery of certain secrets throws their whole world into question.


TQ:  Tell us something about City of Savages that is not in the book description.

Lee:  I believe the description mentions the mother’s journal, but doesn’t elaborate too much on what it contains . . . and the journal is actually the story of the previous generation, the story of how Manhattan fell during the Third World War. As a reader, I always love getting a glimpse of “how the world came to be”, so I really set out to provide that history in my own novel.


TQ:  What inspired you to write City of Savages? What appealed to you about writing a post-apocalyptic novel? Why did you set the novel in New York City?

Lee:  I always say that the setting of CITY OF SAVAGES came first, and everything else came after. I started writing the novel during a particularly stressful time in my life: I had just moved back to New York from LA, and I was working at a large law firm, with tight deadlines, demanding bosses, and long hours. I think I needed a way to channel all of my frustration, and I found myself daydreaming about a very different version of New York: a Central Park that actually was a prison, life-or-death subway rides, city rituals that were very cutthroat and savage… one thing led to another, and I had the beginnings of the CITY OF SAVAGES world.

And I loved writing a family saga/thriller against this backdrop. It felt like such a rich setting to explore themes of loyalty, love and second chances, with characters seeking their own personal redemption in a fallen city sort of thing. The post-apocalyptic setting also allowed me to flesh out the “story behind the story,” the story of how Manhattan fell (and how everything fell apart for this family).


TQ:  What sort of research did you do for City of Savages?

Lee:  Though I was writing about a fictional future where Manhattan falls under siege, I felt like the “feel” of such a catastrophe could mirror conditions in the city during Hurricane Sandy, or the New York City blackout of 2003, when there was no power, no communication, and essentially total chaos. I poured over articles of what happened to people who were trapped underground, particularly during the blackout, and how people found each other: and a lot of this research informed my writing of the mother’s journal. I also needed to research all sorts of little fun facts, like the parameters of street fighting, how long a battery will last, and how many times you can recycle pellets from a BB gun.



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

Lee:  I think the easiest character to write was Phee, one of the two sisters: she and I are nothing alike, but her motivations and her style of speaking and her inner turmoil just came so naturally for me. She really arrived fully formed in my head as a character.

I think the toughest was Trevor, one of the younger secondary characters who in one sense grew up alongside Sky and Phee in the Central Park internment camp. For some reason, I was just having a hard time getting a read on him: why he made the decisions he did at the end, what his dreams and fears were, what he wanted to take for himself in this city. It took a lot of deep character analysis during the novel’s revisions to really uncover him as a character and breathe life into him.



TQ:  Which question about City of Savages do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Lee:  Oh, nice – maybe it’s, Who’s your favorite secondary character and why? I talk a lot about the sisters, but haven’t gotten to address the other characters in the novel as much.

And I think my favorite secondary character has to be the warden of the Central Park POW camp, Warden Rolladin. She’s a tough, fierce, absolutely ruthless leader, and yet she’s also incredibly vulnerable, a bit insecure, and wants what all of us want: to be loved and accepted for who she is (and despite what she’s done). I had a ton of fun writing her, and she stayed with me long after I finished the novel.



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

Lee:  Fun, I’ve never been asked this! Here are two:

         “When the sheen of immediacy dulls, when I think about Tom, about what I’m doing, the guilt drives me to madness. But a small, self-preserving voice inside me keeps whispering that I need this: Save yourself. Whatever it takes. Save yourself.”


         “I can tell her how much I hate the Park, and this city, and her and all of the sorry excuses for human beings that do her bidding.
         Or I can tell her the bigger truth. The one that, regardless of how jealous I am, how insignificant I feel, is more a part of me than any limb or organ, whether I like it or not. It rumbles inside of me and bursts through my lips, armed with new ammunition from the whiskey.
         ‘I would never leave Phee,’ I say, but don’t look at my sister, as my answer is so fundamental I’m scared by it. ‘What she wants, I’ll live with.’”



TQ:  What's next?

Lee:  I’m currently revising my next book with Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press: it’s a magical realism crossover novel entitled CRIMINAL MAGIC. The story follows two bootlegging sorcerers through an alternative Prohibition-era America, where magic has been prohibited.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lee:  Thank you so much for having me!





City of Savages
Saga Press, February 3, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages - February 4, 2014
After the Red Allies turn New York City into a POW camp, two sisters must decipher the past in order to protect the future in this action-packed thriller with a dual narrative.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the POW camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the war’s outbreak, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual POW census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that end in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past.





About Lee

Interview with Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages - February 4, 2014
Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and son in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. City of Savages is her first novel. Visit her at NewWriteCity.com.






Website  ~  Twitter @leeykelly  ~  Facebook  ~  Tumblr

Interview with Sam Munson - June 26, 2015Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken LiuInterview with Joanne M. Harris and Review of The Gospel of Loki - May 4, 2015Interview with Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings - April 6, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Grace of Kings by Ken LiuInterview with Genevieve Valentine - March 12, 2015Review: Persona by Genevieve Valentine and GiveawayExcerpt: Persona by Genevieve ValentineWhat's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 20Interview with Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages - February 4, 2014

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