close

The Qwillery | category: The Machinery

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner


The winner of the September 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan from Harper Voyager UK with 76 votes equaling 39% of all votes. The cover artist is Ben Gardiner.  You may read a guest post by Gerrard about The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy here and an interview here.




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner





The Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner






The September 2015 Debut Covers

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Winner




Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the October Debut covers starting on October 15, 2015.

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery


Please welcome Gerrard Cowan to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Machinery will be published by Harper Voyager UK on September 10, 2015. You may read a guest post by Gerrard - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy
- here.



Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery




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


Gerrard:  The ‘why’ is easy! I loved fantasy novels as a child, and spent much of my time dreaming up my own worlds and stories. I always knew it was something I wanted to have a crack at.

The ‘when’ is a bit harder. I made dozens of attempts at starting to write over the years, but I could never really get into a routine. I had the idea for The Machinery in 2008, but I would say it took me another two years to get into a proper rhythm. That was the real breakthrough for me.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Gerrard:  Both. I plot a novel out in broad brushstrokes, and by the time it’s done it bears a vague resemblance to what I had originally planned. I find that as I write, things tend to go off in unexpected directions. For example, a character you had originally intended to serve in a minor role may actually become more interesting, so you give them more time and space to develop. I need to have an idea of where I’m going, but I also need the plan to have flexibility.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Gerrard:  Pushing on even when you don’t feel like it. A writer friend told me years ago that you should look on writing as an athlete looks upon training: there is a certain period of time every day that you need to set aside for it, no matter how you feel. It took me a long time to get into that routine. These days, I will sit down and write, even for a short while, and even if it’s total drivel.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Gerrard:  I didn’t have anyone at the front of my mind when I wrote The Machinery. In fact, I think I was mainly reading non-fiction at the time. That being said, my favourite fantasy author is Mervyn Peake: I love the sense of weirdness in his novels, and I really hope The Machinery has a similarly surreal, gloomy feel.



TQDescribe The Machinery in 140 characters or less.

Gerrard:  The Machinery has Selected the leaders of the Overland for ten millennia, bringing glory. But the Machinery is breaking, and Ruin is coming.



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

Gerrard:  It has (I hope) a creepy, surreal aesthetic. This is a world where immortal beings interfere in human affairs and shadowy, masked figures called Watchers haul Doubters off to a mysterious Prison, from which no one has ever returned.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Machinery? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Gerrard:  I actually started with just the central idea: what if a machine existed that could choose the best leaders of society? I developed the background over time, but it was always clear to me that it would be a fantasy, even though the central concept gives it a kind of sci-fi flavor. I loved the scope that fantasy could give me for the sense of weirdness I wanted to convey.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Machinery?

Gerrard:  The book is not intended to be a kind of alternate vision of a historical period, so I didn’t want to get too bogged down in technical details. That being said, I gave it a Renaissance-type setting, in which society is grappling with various technological advances like gunpowder and the printing press. I read a good deal about early-modern Italian city-states, as well as Ancient Rome, as I wanted the setting to convey a mixture of the two.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Gerrard:  The easiest was Annara Rangle, an old woman who has been chosen by the Machinery to serve as Tactician of the West. She has a sardonic outlook on the world that I enjoyed writing.

The hardest was Charls Brandione, who is General of the Overland’s armies. I think I found him difficult as he was one of the earliest I created, and I was still trying to find my way into the book.



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

Gerrard:

Question: Is there magic in the book?

Answer: It isn’t called magic as such, but all sorts of strange powers can be found within!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Machinery.

Gerrard:  More a paragraph than a line, just to set it in context. It’s the last line I like the most.

‘In return for this gift, the Operator asked only one thing; that the people must never question the Selections of the Machinery.’
‘And long may it continue,’ said Amile. ‘The Machinery knows.’
‘The Machinery knows,’ said Alexander. And I know the Machinery.



TQWhat's next?

Gerrard:  I am currently deep into Book 2, The Strategist, which is tentatively planned for release next May. Once that’s done I’ll dive straight into Book 3, and after that, who knows? Hopefully I will be able to convince someone to publish more books, either in the world of The Machinery or another.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Machinery
The Machinery Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager UK, September 10, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery
For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…





About Gerrard

Interview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The Machinery
Gerrard Cowan is a writer and editor from Derry, in the North West of Ireland. His debut fantasy novel, The Machinery, will be published by HarperVoyager UK in September 2015. It is the first in a trilogy.

His first known work was a collection of poems on monsters, written for Halloween when he was eight; it is sadly lost to civilisation.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @gerrardcowan

Guest Blog by Gerrard Cowan - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy


Please welcome Gerrard Cowan to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Machinery will be published by Harper Voyager UK on September 10, 2015.



Guest Blog by Gerrard Cowan - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy




The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy

I always knew I wanted my fantasy novel, The Machinery, to be the first in a trilogy. I liked the clarity of it: the sense of a beginning, a middle and an end.

The scale of the story provides a breadth of opportunities, but there have also been challenges I’m only just starting to comprehend.

After seven years of thumping away on a keyboard, killing off characters major and minor, inventing and destroying subplots, I am done with Book One. I sent in the final copy edits of The Machinery a few weeks ago, though I probably could have kept tweaking it for the rest of my natural existence. It’s out of my hands, and from September 10th it will have to make its own way in the world.

I’m now deep into the writing of Book Two, The Strategist, which should be ready to send to HarperVoyager in a couple of months time. I suppose that puts me about halfway through the entire project; once The Strategist is done, I’ll move straight on to the as-yet-untitled Book Three.

In a way, writing the first book is fairly easy. In my case, The Machinery was also my first novel, so at the beginning I was really writing it for myself. I was the only person who ever saw it, apart from a few friends and family members who cast their eyes over the early drafts. I had the benefit of time, as no one was expecting the novel by a certain deadline. However, I was also only beginning to develop my own writing routine, so there was a lot of trial and error before I really got into the rhythm of it.

I found that there are certain challenges unique to writing a book that is intended to be one of a series. If you’re writing a standalone novel, everything is contained within its pages. You don’t have to worry about the effect a certain tweak might have on the narrative of later books. This is true even if you think there might be a sequel on the cards later.

To an extent, the same rules apply when you’re writing the first novel of a planned trilogy, especially when that novel is your first crack at publishing in general. If HV hadn’t picked up The Machinery, I’m not sure I would be writing the second book right now. Maybe I would have gone down the self-publishing route – I really don’t know. The point is that I wrote the first book with the second book in the back of my mind, not at the front of my thoughts.

Of course, that all changed when I signed a deal for three books. As I reworked and edited the Machinery, I had to consider the impact every decision might have on the next two novels. This added a whole new layer of complexity.

Writing the second book is trickier still. Not only do you have to keep in mind the coming events of Book Three; just as importantly, you are required to remember the events of Book One. Now, obviously you remember the major twists and turns. However, you also need to think about the details: the colour of someone’s eyes, any injuries they may have sustained in the previous book, the type of food they hate, etc.

The second book also poses more serious challenges. The first book in a trilogy should suck the reader in, and the third book should be the culmination of everything you’ve been building towards. But the second book is a bridge, across which the narrative flows from Book One to Book Three. It’s essential to maintain a balance between building the foundations of Book Three and ensuring that the second book is exciting and interesting as a standalone novel.

I haven’t come to Book Three yet, but I can already see the pitfalls that lie ahead. It’s like reaching the end of an expedition, when you can see the destination; you’d better hope you brought the right equipment to take you the last few steps up the mountain. If you laid things out wrong in books one and two, there’s not much you can do about it now. Those books are not only written – they’re out there for all to see.

All that being said, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. As I said at the beginning, the real pleasure is in the sheer range of possibilities that writing a trilogy provides. In the end, it’s been best for me to see it as one novel, broken into three books; if you look at the narrative as a single entity – which is what it is – then it somehow becomes less daunting.

I’m not going to take much of a break between finishing The Strategist and moving on to Book Three. Why would I? I would only be two-thirds of the way through my novel.





The Machinery
The Machinery Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager UK, September 10, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

Guest Blog by Gerrard Cowan - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy
For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…





About Gerrard

Guest Blog by Gerrard Cowan - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy
Gerrard Cowan is a writer and editor from Derry, in the North West of Ireland. His debut fantasy novel, The Machinery, will be published by HarperVoyager UK in September 2015. It is the first in a trilogy.

His first known work was a collection of poems on monsters, written for Halloween when he was eight; it is sadly lost to civilisation.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @gerrardcowan

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan


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



Gerrard Cowan

The Machinery
Harper Voyager UK, September 10, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan
For ten millennia, the leaders of the Overland have been Selected by the Machinery, an omnipotent machine gifted to their world in darker days.

The city has thrived in arts, science and war, crushing all enemies and expanding to encompass the entire Plateau.

But the Overland is not at ease, for the Machinery came with the Prophecy: it will break in the 10,000th year, Selecting just one leader who will bring Ruin to the world. And with the death of Strategist Kane, a Selection is set to occur…

For Apprentice Watcher Katrina Paprissi, the date has special significance. Life hasn’t been the same since she witnessed the kidnapping of her brother Alexander, the only person on the Plateau who knew the meaning of the Prophecy.

When the opportunity arises to find her brother, Katrina must travel into the depths of the Underland, the home of the Machinery, to confront the Operator himself and discover just what makes the world work…

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September WinnerInterview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The MachineryGuest Blog by Gerrard Cowan - The beginning, middle and end of planning a trilogy2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×