The Qwillery | category: 2015 Debut Author Challenge | (page 5 of 18)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters

Please welcome Ellen Herrick to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Sparrow Sisters was published by William Morrow on September 1, 2015.

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters

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

Ellen:  Now, this might make you go “Whaaaaaat.” I used to work for a big publisher in New York. I read all the time, I read great stuff and not so great stuff and I did publicity for all the books. When you read and write for a living it is hard to think about telling a story. So, when I moved to London with my family I…OK, truth: I did dookey until the year before we came back to the States. My youngest basically dared me to write a novel. I had NEVER considered such a thing but as soon as my daughter set off on a ten day holiday with her brothers and my husband (leaving me alone to eat ice cream out of the carton, sing into my hairbrush and read), I sat at my kitchen counter and began The Sparrow Sisters, or something very like it. As President of the REALLY Late Bloomers’ Club let me say, Shwew, I did it.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ellen:  Total pantser! I literally start every new writing day with “Once upon a time…” and hope for the best. I do lie around at night or while I driving start to play out where the story might go but my teeth start to itch if I try to outline.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ellen:  Finding a clean, well-lighted place, as Virginia Woolf said. And, acknowledging that what I do has value so I deserve the time and space to do it. I know, it’s a lot about confidence, I’m working on it.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Ellen:  In no particular order, and all influences: Laurie Colwin, John Irving, Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, Marisa de los Santos, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, Stephen King….wait, wait I’m not done!

TQDescribe The Sparrow Sisters in 140 characters or less. 

Ellen:  Three beloved sisters in a seaside village find themselves at the center of a modern-day witch-hunt. Please don’t make me count that…and can I include ‘oh, crap’?

TQTell us something about The Sparrow Sisters that is not found in the book description.

Ellen:  Sorrel has wanderlust and is the only one of the three who would really like to leave, at least for a time.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Sparrow Sisters

Ellen:  First, I was living in London (I lived there for nearly twenty years) and, frankly, was homesick for New England vs Olde England! Next, I am lucky enough to have a house on Cape Cod so all around me are plants and flowers, and salt and sea and those elements are a major part of The Sparrow Sisters. Then, there really are some Sparrow Sisters living in my town (they are VERY different from my girls)! Finally, I wanted to read a book about some mysterious sisters in a slightly magical town by the ocean and since Alice Hoffman was busy, I wrote it!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sparrow Sisters?

Ellen:  I am a keen gardener myself but in terms of all the knowledge Patience Sparrow has about herbs and flowers, I spent many (usually rainy) afternoons in the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. It was founded in the mid-17th century and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in Europe. Walled and quiet, secreted away only a few streets away from my house, I did a lot of damp note-taking there!

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

Ellen:  Perhaps Matty’s father was the hardest. Rob Short is already so fragile and then events simply tip him into a million, angry pieces. Making him still worth knowing and saving was hard.

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

Ellen:  Probably the hardest is “do you think herbs and plants are magical?” And yes, I do. Perhaps not quite as magical as Patience can make them but I know that when I am in my garden or when I eat the herbs and veggies I gown I am absolutely transported. I also count on some herbal remedies including Stinging Nettle, Mint and Kelp!

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


“They were both so frightened of losing the other that, through silence, they did.”

“Her eyes were glazed, and as Henry brushed her hair away from her face, she leaned into his hand like a cat.”

“Be quiet, you over-emotional oaf!”

TQWhat's next?

Ellen:  You know, readers have asked my about Sorrel, will her story be told? I know that I want to tell more tales about the town of Granite Point and I know there are lots of other characters that have stories to tell. So, I have been thinking about Sorrel, but I have also been thinking about some villagers we haven’t met yet. And, I have been noodling about the connection between New and Old England. Sorrel certainly deserves her own adventure!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ellen:  Thank you so much. Can I say Qwillery a lot?

(TQ:  Yes, please do!)

Ellen Herrick

The Sparrow Sisters
William Morrow Paperbacks, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters
With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of Eastwick, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

About Ellen

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow Sisters
Ellen Herrick was a publishing professional in New York City until she and her husband moved to London for a brief stint; they returned nearly twenty years later with three children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a small town on Cape Cod very much like Granite Point.



Twitter @ellygg

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!


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

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus

Please welcome Paul Tassi to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Exodus is published on September 11th by Talos Press. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Paul a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus

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

Paul:  Thanks for having me! I wrote my first story in probably fifth grade. It was about a magic pencil where its drawings came to life, and sadly, it did not secure me a publishing deal. I ended up seriously considering writing as a career in college when I wrote for my student paper. I graduated with an economics degree, but I went straight into writing about pop culture full time. I'm still a journalist to this day, but I also love writing novels. I always had a million ideas bouncing around in my head, but it was only after my cousin finished his first novel and self-published it on Amazon that I set a similar goal for myself. I swore that within the year, I'd finish my first book, and that ended up being The Last Exodus. Once I was done, I fell in love with the process and the world I created, so it evolved into a trilogy. Now, I write because I almost have to. There's simply always a book in my head I have to get down on paper.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Paul:  Probably a hybrid. I don't freestyle entire books, but I don't sit down and write pages and pages of outlines either. I have a clear idea of the end I'm going for, and certain major plot points along the way. But how I get from point to point is variable, so sometimes I will end up writing scenes spontaneously within the larger framework I have in my head. I believe in having a clear end goal, but how I get there can be a bit up in the air.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Paul:  Sometimes it's hard to stay motivated to continue writing a book after writing all day for my regular job. If I've already put in 10,000 words for work, it's a bit challenging to put in a few thousand more. Lately, I've also had a tough time picking a specific project and sticking to it. I have so many ideas I want to get down, and I can find myself jumping between two or three different books which makes it difficult to commit to one and see it through until the end.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Paul:  For The Last Exodus specifically, I was influenced by many different books (along with a few movies, TV shows and video games for good measure). Cormac McCarthy's The Road was a heavy influence during the initial earth sections. I still have never read another dystopian book like it. Joe Haldeman's Forever War influenced some of the space aspects. As the series evolves in books two and three, it's probably influenced by Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon, John Scalzi's Old Man's War and a whole bunch more. Other favorite authors include Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, William Gibson, Max Brooks, Margaret Atwood, George RR Martin, HP Lovecraft, James SA Corey, Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Orson Scott Card and others.

TQDescribe The Last Exodus in 140 characters or less.

Paul:  Traveler, bandit, alien. All want to kill each other, but none of them wants to die. They must leave a ruined Earth together, or not at all.

TQTell us something about The Last Exodus that is not found in the book description.

Paul:  The description implies that The Last Exodus mostly takes place on Earth in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, but a fairly big chunk of it actually takes place in space itself. For a while, it becomes a bit of a "bottle" where three characters are stuck on a rather small ship, and conflict comes from that. And once they're in space, that's when they start to be pursued by the book's ultimate antagonist, who is absent for quite a while in the beginning. I wanted to make sure the entire first book didn't have the characters trapped on earth for the entire duration, so in essence, it kind of switches sub-genres midway through.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Last Exodus? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Paul:  I had the initial scene where Lucas finds the wrecked ship in the crater wall written for years before I finally picked it up again and turned it into a book. I've always liked dystopian sci-fi and alien invasion stories, but I just had the idea for a simple premise of "what if the world was destroyed, but one man had the chance to leave it all behind and go somewhere unknown?" Not some mass exodus into survival ships. Not some plan to rebuild society and fix the world. But just a handful of (very) different people trying to survive. I like science fiction specifically because it gives you the freedom to develop your universe however you want. Working in the "real" world comes with many more limitations, but with sci-fi? You can be as creative as you want. The same is true for fantasy in many ways, but even that has its limits. I think sci-fi is one of the only truly limitless forms of fiction.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Last Exodus?

Paul:  This is not "hard sci-fi," so I do not spend loads of time describing the minutiae of the tech. I'm okay with saying "this ship generates its own gravity" without going into exact detail as to how that could be physically possible. I recently heard someone describe James SA Corey's The Expanse as a series that doesn't spend a ton of time describing how a transmission works in a car. They just step on the gas, and go. I did do research into the locations I talk about in the book, Portland, Norway, etc, and a bit about the solar system.

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

Paul:  Lucas was probably the easiest because the voice just came naturally to me. I also really liked writing for Alpha. Originally, he wasn't going to speak at all, and Asha didn't even exist, which would have made for a pretty boring book, I imagine. Asha ended up being my favorite character by the end of the series, though I always question if I'm writing a woman well or not as a male author. I really wanted her to be a complete and utter badass, but I realize there are also certain tropes that come with that too, so it's a tough balancing act. While she was probably the hardest to write, I liked her the best out of anyone by the end.

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

Paul:  I'm surprised no one asks me what Alpha's voice actually sounds like when run through a translator, because I don't want people thinking it's just flat and monotone and robotic. There's actually supposed to be a lot of emotion that translates through the tech. I've always though of it like if Kiefer Sutherland's voice was run through a bit of electronic filtering.

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


"Why did you come here?"
The alien looked out the black viewscreen.
"Why we always come. To conquer. To pillage. To strip your planet bare to fuel our war."
"Your war? The war against Earth?"
The alien paused.
"I did not say our war was with you."

The last voice was not any of their own, and sounded as if it had been spoken right beside his ear. His eyes darted around as the voice continued.
"It appears I have misjudged your taste in allies, traitor."
The voice was deep and dark, speaking in perfect English. It was coming from inside Lucas's own head.
"They will have to be studied and dissected instead of destroyed. This species subset is the most violent we have encountered to date. And these two, to fight on your behalf with such devotion and ferocity? Fascinating."

TQWhat's next?

Paul:  There are two more books in the Earthborn trilogy, The Exiled Earthborn (#2) and The Sons of Sora (#3), which will also be released in a few months, as I've had the whole trilogy written for a little while now. I'm also deep into my fourth book, a new story that has traces of dystopia, but is only set 20 or so years in the future. After that, I have one high fantasy book and another full sci-fi book planned out, though I'm not sure which of my new projects will spawn sequels, if any.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Paul:  Thanks for having me!

The Last Exodus
The Earthborn Trilogy 1
Talos Press, September 8, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 348 pages

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus
The Earth lies in ruins in the aftermath of an extraterrestrial invasion, the land devastated by a desperate war with no winners between mankind and a race of vicious, intelligent creatures. The seas are drying up while the atmosphere corrodes and slowly cooks any life remaining on the now desolate rock. Food is scarce, trust even more so, and the only people left alive all have done horrific things to stay that way.

Among the few survivors is Lucas, an ordinary man hardened by the last few years after the world’s end. He’s fought off bandits, murderers, and stranded creatures on his long trek across the country in search of his family, the one thing that drives him to outlive his dying planet. What he finds instead is hope, something thought to be lost in the world. There’s a ship buried in a crater wall. One of theirs. One that works. To fly it, Lucas must join forces with a traitorous alien scientist and a captured, merciless raider named Asha. But unless they find common ground, all will die, stranded on a ruined Earth.

Combining gritty post-apocalyptic survival and epic space opera, The Last Exodus is the beginning of a new action-packed science fiction adventure where the future of the human race depends on its survivors leaving the past behind.

About Paul

Interview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last Exodus
Paul Tassi decided after years of consuming science fiction through a steady diet of books, movies, TV shows, and video games to try writing his own stories in the genre. He didn't imagine he’d ever actually finish a single book, but now that he’s started writing, he doesn't want to stop. Paul writes for Forbes, and his work has also appeared on IGN, the Daily Dot, Unreality, TVOvermind, and more. He lives with his beautiful and supportive wife in Chicago.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @PaulTassi  ~  Google+

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept

Please welcome Adam Rakunas to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Windswept was published on September 1st by Angry Robot Books.

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept

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

Adam:  First grade.

No, really! The first story I ever wrote was after my dad took me to my first baseball game, the California Angels versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The Angels were my home team, and they got stomped. The next day, we had a class assignment to write a story, so I wrote one about I had gone to a baseball game and heard the Blue Jays’ manager say they were going to cheat. I told the umpire, the Angels won, and I saved the day. Clearly, I was meant to be a fantasist.

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

Adam:  I’m a Reformed Pantser. I need structure to keep a story moving, so I spend all my agonizing time working on outlines. Windswept took two years for a first draft; its sequel took six months, all thanks to Mark Teppo’s Twenty-Five Chapter Structure (ALL PRAISE TEPPO). By having a framework, I can focus on having Padma talking.

TQYour bio states that you've been a "virtual world developer" among other things. How has this experience affected or not your novel writing?

Adam:  That was the weirdest desk job I ever had. I still can’t believe I was paid to do that or that people made large amounts of money during that Second Life land rush. I suppose that experience reminded me that business is weird, and that it’s a miracle the whole economy doesn’t implode on a more regular basis.

I supposed its greatest effect was that it reminded me that I am terrible at working with clients.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Adam:  Douglas Adams for the absurdity. Kurt Vonnegut for the humanity. Beverley Cleary for the character focus.

TQDescribe Windswept in 140 characters or less.

Adam:  Padma Mehta is in a race against time to save her city, her world, and Occupied Space...all before Happy Hour.

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

Adam:  It’s the science fiction screwball noir you never thought you needed until now.

I love screwball comedies. I love the way the dialogue crackles. I love how smart the characters are. I could see Padma mixing it up with Cary Grant and besting him.

TQWhat inspired you to write Windswept?

Adam:  I was in Honolulu to officiate a wedding (I’m a non-denominational minister, and I work for beer and tacos), and I was sitting at the hotel bar before the rehearsal dinner. All the people working there had name tags with their home towns, and no one was from Hawaii. Everyone had come here to one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and they were pouring drinks or bussing tables. All over the island, people were doing the jobs that kept the place running. If I were in their place, would I be able to focus on work, or would I be thinking about running around Diamondhead or surfing on the North Shore or doing anything other than wanting to work?

I started pecking away on my phone and wrote out the first scene: Padma sitting at her local bar, thinking about work. She wanted to quit to enjoy the beautiful place she lived in, but she couldn’t yet. Why?

And then we were off to the races.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing Science Fiction? In your opinion, should SF tackle big issues, just be entertaining, or do both?

Adam:  I grew up reading science fiction, starting with Douglas Adams and Star Trek before a college friend loaned me his copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Three Californias. It hadn’t occurred to me that you could write stories about futures like that. You can make a blueprint for the future you want (like Pacific Edge) or the ones to avoid (like The Wild Shore or The Gold Coast).

But you also have to tell a good story, and those books did that in spades. Tackling issues is important, but I like a story that sneaks in the editorials.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Windswept?

Adam:  I bookmarked a lot of pages on Wikipedia about sugarcane, rum, and horrible plant diseases. I winged it for the rest.

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

Adam:  Padma was both. It was a lot of fun to write her snappy rejoinders, but I had a hell of a time making her be little more than a quip machine. I hope I pulled it off.

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

Adam:  Why a crane chase? Because I thought it would be funny.

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

Adam:  “Your level isn’t on the level. You’re so crooked it defies physics.”

TQWhat's next?

Adam:  I’m revising the sequel to Windswept right now. As soon as I turn that in to my cybernetic overlords at Angry Robot Books, I want to get started on a story about family stories and talking guns.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Adam:  Thanks for having me!

Windswept 1
Angry Robot Books, September 1, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept
Padma Mehta has to save her city, her planet, and Occupied Space from a devastating crop-killing plague — all before Happy Hour.

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies.

As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. And suddenly retirement seems farther away than ever: she’s just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she’s going to have to fight her way through the city’s warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Plagues, Plots & Planets • One-Eyed Wonder • Bad Tips, Good Tipples • This Little Bar I Know ]

About Adam

Interview with Adam Rakunas, author of Windswept
Adam Rakunas has worked a variety of weird jobs. He’s been a virtual world developer, a parking lot attendant, a triathlon race director, a fast food cashier, and an online marketing consultant.

Now a stay-at-home dad, Adam splits his non-parenting time between writing, playing the cello, and political rabble-rousing. His stories have appeared in Futurismic and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Windswept is his first novel.

You can find Adam online at his website:, on Twitter @rakdaddy and on Facebook and Tumblr.

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson

Please welcome Kai Ashante Wilson to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps was published on September 1st by

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson

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

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I think like most writers I began as a tiny child, and started because writing seemed a natural extension of reading, my first and truest love. It wasn’t until 2010, though, after the six-week course at Clarion San Diego, that I began to write with the goal of publication.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I make it up as I go along, though I hold off beginning a story until I have a sure idea of the ending.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  Being patient with my crazy process is a challenge for sure. Beginning a ten chapter book, for example, I’ll usually write a random selection of five chapters quickly. But those five missing chapters will each take me as long to write singly as the first five chapters collectively, costing all the blood, sweat and tears in the world.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I love Kenneth Rexroth’s translations from the Japanese and Chinese. I love Christopher Logue’s adaptations of the Iliad. I’m always excited about the next Tananarive Due novel. Paladin of Souls and Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold are both on my private list of “ten best epic fantasies ever.” And though this might not make sense to anyone else, Carmen McRae’s singing—where and just how she puts the emphasis in a song—has shaped my own sense of narrative rhythm, emotional beats, and how to inflect a sentence. (Pop over to YouTube and check out her versions of “Midnight Sun” and “As Time Goes By”.)

TQDescribe The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps in 140 characters or less.

Kai Ashante Wilson:  A nice country boy joins a wild fraternity while dating his dorm RA on the sly. But the boy’s a demigod; the frat, caravan guardsmen; the RA, last of the old world knights.

TQTell us something about The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps that is not found in the book description.

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I wrote this book before everything else I’ve ever published. I’m incredibly excited to see it finally in print!

TQWhat inspired you to write The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  I’ll answer the second question first: I enjoy a broad array of genres as a reader, but I only ever write fantasy. That’s where my inspiration arises.

I was sick enough to believe I was living in my last year when I began writing The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. (A six year old MRSA infection, failing antibiotics, long story). Some people would have gone on a long road trip, but I wanted to finish at least one piece of writing longer than a short story… yet not so long that I might not manage to write finis. With that impetus—under that shadow—I threw all my ideas into one pot, pulled out all the stops authors put into place under normal circumstance, and wrote the novella’s first draft. I could never write a story quite like this now; the specter of mortality charges the mind irreproducibly. Any reader, then, looking for a sedate and measured read: beware!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  When I began the novella, I knew next to nothing about big-cat predation, sub-desert topography, or the practical mechanics of apotheosis. The Brooklyn main library at Grand Army Plaza was wonderfully helpful on these and other topics.

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

Kai Ashante Wilson:  Demane was the easiest to write. By nature, he has all the compassion I try to cultivate in myself. Writing him was encouragement for my own best impulses. Captain was the hardest to write. He’s socially maladept in exactly the manner I am, and has all my self-destructive tendencies unsuppressed, given full rein. It was hard going there.

TQWhich question about The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Kai Ashante Wilson:

“Is this novella part of a greater continuity with your stories ‘Super Bass’ and ‘Légendaire’? And are you writing or have you written other works in the same continuity?”

What lovely, perceptive questions! And the answer to both is yes. I hope that my related, second novella, A Taste of Honey, will appear some time in 2016.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

Kai Ashante Wilson:  Here are a couple lines concerning the captain that I couldn’t find space for, though I tried and tried: “A dog that cowers and whines any fool can see has been kicked around. But what of the one that lunges, savage and snarling, at every hand no matter whose or how kindly, even the one that feeds? Damn, that’s mean dog! Is that what you say?”

TQ:  What's next?

Kai Ashante Wilson:  In the short term, I have short story, “Kaiju maximus®,” forthcoming in the December issue of Lightspeed. In the long term, I dearly hope to finally figure out the missing chapters of my first full novel: In the Country of Superwomen.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Note: You may read "Super Bass" here at

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson
Critically acclaimed author Kai Ashante Wilson makes his commercial debut with this striking, wondrous tale of gods and mortals, magic and steel, and life and death that will reshape how you look at sword and sorcery.

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors' artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.
The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.
The one safe road between the northern oasis and southern kingdom is stalked by a necromantic terror. Demane may have to master his wild powers and trade humanity for godhood if he is to keep his brothers and his beloved captain alive.

About Kai Ashante Wilson

Interview with Kai Ashante Wilson
Kai Ashante Wilson's stories "Super Bass" and the Nebula-nominated "The Devil in America" can be read online gratis at His story "Légendaire" can be read in the anthology Stories for Chip, which celebrates the legacy of science fiction grandmaster Samuel Delany. Kai Ashante Wilson lives in New York City.

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown

Please welcome Zen Cho to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Sorcerer to the Crown was published on September 1st by Ace.

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown

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

Zen Cho (ZC):  Thanks! I started when I was six, but I didn't figure out how to finish stories till I was 16. I started writing for publication when I was 24, so it's taken a while.

I started writing because books made me. So I wanted to make books of my own.

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

ZC:  Plotter. Especially for longer works, I outline in detail: it means that when I get home from my day job in the evening, I don't have to think about what happens next. I can just look at my outline and bash it out.

The two most challenging things are time – there never seems to be enough, and because writing is the hardest thing I have to do on a regular basis (though it's also the most rewarding), it can end up going to the bottom of the to-do list if I don't force myself to move it up. And I also have a lot of self-doubt, which I'm sure all writers have. A small amount is healthy but too much can stop you from doing the work.

TQYou edited Cyberpunk: Malaysia, which was published in 2015. How has your editing experience affected or not your own writing?

ZC:  It was a very interesting experience! I'd known in theory that (good) editors only want to help you improve your work, and they don't critique to hurt your feelings or because they think you're an idiot. But doing editorial work myself made me really get that. I hope it'll make me better at dealing with the editorial process as a writer.

I'm more sensitive about the stories I've edited than my own work, even. I can't read negative reviews of Cyberpunk: Malaysia because I get so defensive on behalf of the writers.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

ZC:  I'm very much influenced by the authors I read as a child and teenager, so Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Georgette Heyer, Patrick O'Brian and Jane Austen. When it comes to more recent authors, I love the work of Susanna Clarke, Naomi Novik, Geoff Ryman and Karen Lord. I've jokingly said that as a writer I'd like to be a combination of Pankaj Mishra and Edith Nesbit.

TQDescribe Sorcerer to the Crown in 140 characters or less.

ZC:  In Regency London, England's first black Sorcerer Royal doesn't need any more problems, but female magician Prunella Gentleman disagrees ...

TQTell us something about Sorcerer to the Crown that is not found in the book description.

ZC:  The blurb has a lot about English magic, but the book's really interested not in England, but Britain – the United Kingdom – and its connections with the wider world. There are a couple of appearances of magicians from the sorts of countries that don't usually appear in Regency novels!

TQWhat inspired you to write Sorcerer to the Crown? What appealed to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

ZC:  I really love Regency romances and like genre crossovers, so a Regency fantasy is my idea of a good time. I'd written two novels before Sorcerer to the Crown and had to chuck them and I was ready for a good time!

My interest in historical fantasy specifically comes from all the period fiction I read as a kid, by 19th century British writers. To a child in 20th century Malaysia Jane Austen's world might as well have been a fantasy world. I really enjoy playing with the different social norms in historical settings, and the language is such a delight. The fantasy element is because I just really like dragons. I go to fiction for things that couldn't happen in real life.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Sorcerer to the Crown?

ZC:  I read a lot of nonfiction about Georgian Britain, including the history of black people in Britain. I also read about India, China and Southeast Asia in that period. With fiction I was reading a lot of Georgette Heyer novels and the more obscure books written during the period – Maria Edgeworth, Mrs Inchbald, Pierce Egan's Real Life in London.

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

ZC:  Prunella Gentleman was both the easiest and the hardest! She's the ambitious runaway orphan and female magical prodigy who vexes the protagonist, Zacharias Wythe. She writes herself because, to me, she has such a strong voice – I know exactly who she is. But in the course of revisions with my agent and editor it became evident that she wasn't really coming across to others as I'd imagined her, so I had to do a lot of work to get my understanding of her down onto the page.

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


     Q: What does the name of Malayan witch Mak Genggang mean?

     A: It means "Mother Gingham" and I stole it from Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals, a historical/legendary work about the Melaka Sultanate).

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Sorcerer to the Crown.

ZC:  "The women of Janda Baik are not mild. Blood, and not milk, flows in our veins."

TQWhat's next?

ZC:  I'm working on Book 2 of the Sorcerer Royal trilogy. I've never worked on a second book before and it's both nervewracking and exciting.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

ZC:  Thank you for having me!

Sorcerer to the Crown
Sorcerer Royal 1
Ace, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown
In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite…

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

About Zen Cho

Interview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown
Darren Johnson / IDJ Photography
Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia. She has lived in three different countries and speaks around two and a half languages. She began publishing short stories in 2010 and has since been nominated for the Selangor Young Talent Awards, the Pushcart Prize and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and honour-listed for the Carl Brandon Society Awards. Her short story collection Spirits Abroad, published by Malaysian indie press Buku Fixi in 2014, was a joint winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, along with Stephanie Feldman’s novel The Angel of Losses. She occasionally writes romance as well as speculative fiction, and has self-published a historical romance novella set in the 1920s, The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo.

Cho is the editor of anthology Cyberpunk: Malaysia, also published by Buku Fixi. She was a juror for the Speculative Literature Foundation 2014 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds grants. She also co-organised Nine Worlds Geekfest’s first Race & Culture track.

Her debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, is a historical fantasy set in Regency London, published in September 2015. It follows the adventures of Britain’s first African Sorcerer Royal, Zacharias Wythe, whose many problems are compounded when he meets runaway orphan Prunella Gentleman — a female magical prodigy, of all things. Sorcerer to the Crown is the first in a trilogy published by Ace/Roc Books (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK and Commonwealth).

Cho has a BA from Cambridge University. She lives in London with her partner and practises law in her copious free time. The two things she loves most in the world are books and food, but she also enjoys travel, shoes and lively conversations.

Website  ~   Twitter @zenaldehyde  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Take On Me by Minerva Zimmerman

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Take On Me by Minerva Zimmerman

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

Minerva Zimmerman

Take On Me
The Shattered Ones 1
Fireside Fiction Company, October 6, 2015
eBook, 238 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Take On Me by Minerva Zimmerman
Turning someone you don’t know into a vampire probably violates the Hippocratic oath. But Alex wasn’t really thinking about that when he found a girl bleeding out in his shower.

Being turned into a vampire isn’t as cool as it sounds. Especially when all Hannah wanted to be was dead. She thought she had finally escaped her brother. Until she woke up. Alive? Undead? Whatever. And now Hannah is stuck with the uncoolest vampire in existence.

As Alex and Hannah feel each other out — breaking some bones along the way — Alex’s oldest friend comes looking for help, and Hannah’s brother comes looking for her. What none of them see are the forces pushing them all on a collision course.

Interview with Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline

Please welcome Hester Young to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Gates of Evangeline is published on September 1st by G.P. Putnam's Sons. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Hester a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline

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

Hester:  Thanks for so much for inviting me. Amazingly enough, I have been writing since the first grade. I remember a lot of our class time that year was spent learning to read, which I had already taught myself to do. My boredom started to manifest as stomachaches, anything to get out of school. Fortunately, I had a wonderful teacher who saw my interest in writing and used it to transform my school experience. Every day I would blaze through our assignments and then, upon completion, I’d receive writing time as my reward. My mother still has lots of “books”—little yellow stapled pages with blobby drawings and poor spelling—that I wrote back then. I’ve been jotting down bits and pieces of stories ever since.

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

Hester:  I tried to pants it when I first started The Gates of Evangeline, but with mysteries, the things that happen at the end of the book directly affect the way you have to plot the beginning. I eventually broke down and made an outline. Of course, there were still several surprises along the way, characters who evolved in unexpected ways or scenes unfolding in a manner I didn’t anticipate.

The hardest thing for me about writing a novel is keeping the story to myself. I don’t tell anyone what I have planned. I need to feel the ending of my novel burning inside me like a secret or I will lack the motivation to finish.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Hester:  It’s hard to pinpoint my influences because so much of that is subconscious. But I was a huge Agatha Christie and Lois Duncan fan starting around the age of ten. In college, I was blown away by The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter’s collection of feminist Gothic fairytales. I love classics in true crime, like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and In Cold Blood. And in terms of contemporary lit, I really enjoy the complex psychological territory that Tana French covers in her Dublin Murder Squad series. Her book Broken Harbour has perhaps the most terrifying—and totally original—setting I’ve ever encountered.

TQDescribe The Gates of Evangeline in 140 characters or less.

Hester:  “After her son’s death, the dreams began. Now Charlie’s dark premonitions are leading her South, to a wealthy family with twisted secrets…”

TQTell us something about The Gates of Evangeline that is not found in the book description.

Hester:  The book is dedicated to my grandmother, who passed away in 2009, and to her son, Bobby. Like my protagonist’s son, Bobby was just four years old when he died. Before his death, my grandmother had a recurring nightmare about him falling from a window and one day, while in someone else’s care, he did. In the course of writing the novel, I thought a lot about my grandmother and the son she lost. I’m glad to have created some small thing in their memory.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Gates of Evangeline? What appealed to you about writing in a suspense novel, particularly a Southern Gothic mystery? What is Southern Gothic?

Hester:  The inspiration for the novel—and its Southern setting—actually came to me in a dream. I dreamt that I was in a boat drifting through a Louisiana swamp with a little boy. He began to tell me about himself and then said, “Let me tell you how I died.” My novel now opens in a similar fashion.

I certainly didn’t set out to write a Southern Gothic mystery. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever really heard the term “Southern Gothic” until my agent used it to describe my work. In retrospect, I can see how elements of my novel play into the genre: an old plantation home inhabited by a dying matriarch, complex characters with violent secrets, the whisper of the supernatural. I am hardly a Southern writer, however. I chose to explore this world through the lens of a Northern narrator because that is what I can mostly fairly represent.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Gates of Evangeline?

Hester:  Three of my husband’s immediate family members were living in Louisiana as I wrote this novel, so it was relatively easy to visit. We made a total of three research trips, each about a week long, during which I’d gather experiences I could use for the book: plantation home and swamp tours, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and just hanging around one particular town that I loosely based the fictional Chicory on. I was amazed by the variety of accents I heard—Louisiana is very linguistically diverse.

Back at home, I spent a lot of time reading about Louisiana accents, listening to recordings and watching videos of different regions, and learning about the phonological features of certain dialects. (Yes, I am a huge nerd.) Southern voices in all their many shades are warm and musical to me in a way that northeastern accents are decidedly not. Though I’m from Boston and currently live in New Jersey, I’ll take a Cajun accent any day!

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? Did any of your characters surprise you?

Hester:  I don’t think I could write a novel if my characters didn’t surprise me. I initially had a different villain and a different love interest in my head. In the end, some characters were worse and some far better people than I’d pegged them for. And my narrator definitely had her own ideas about who she was attracted to. That took the book in an altogether new direction.

The easiest character to write was Charlie, my protagonist. Her voice has always been very clear in my head—a good thing, when I have two more books with her! The hardest was probably Hettie Deveau, the dying mother of the long-missing child. Hettie isn’t especially self-aware, and her addled brain and failing health sort of scramble the woman I know she once was.

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

Hester:  Readers often ask me, “How is it writing about a child’s death when you have two children of your own?” Quite simply: it is dark. You have to go to an ugly place. But I think most mothers go there at some time or other. Your baby sleeps too late one morning, and suddenly your heart is pounding, wondering. Your child falls from a structure at the playground and hits his head, and for a brief second, the possibility flashes before you. The scariest part of motherhood, I think, is living with that potential for loss, however unlikely it may be.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite (non-spoilery) lines from The Gates of Evangeline.

Hester:  There’s one line of dialogue at the climax of the book that many people seem to like, but I’ll let readers find that little nugget for themselves because it’s definitely a spoiler.

TQWhat's next?

HesterThe Gates of Evangeline is actually the first book in a trilogy. Right now I’m wrapping up the first draft to the sequel, and by spring, I should be wading into the third book. I love the chance to follow my protagonist through different environments and phases of life.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Hester:  I appreciate you having me!

The Gates of Evangeline
Charlie Cates 1
G.P. Putnam's Sons, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline
From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won’t be able to put down.

About Hester

Interview with Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline
Photo © Francine Daveta Photography
Hester Young holds a Master’s degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and her work has been published in literary magazines such as The Hawai’i Review. Before turning to writing full time, she worked as a teacher in Arizona and New Hampshire. She lives with her husband and two children in New Jersey.

Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @HesterAuthor

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Battlemage by Stephen Aryan

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

Stephen Aryan

Age of Darkness 1
Orbit, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Battlemage by Stephen Aryan
When you fight magic with magic, nothing is certain...

Balfruss is a battlemage, one of the last of a vanishing breed, sworn to fight and die for a country that fears and despises his kind.

Vargus is a soldier, and while mages shoot lightning from the walls of the city, he's down in the front lines getting blood on his blade.

Talandra is a princess and her father's spymaster, but the war may force her to take up a greater responsibility, and make the greatest sacrifice of all.

Known for their unpredictable, dangerous power, society has left battlemages untrained and shunned. But when a force unlike anything ever imagined attacks them, the few remaining are called upon to go to war -- to save those who fear them most, and herald in a new age of peace, built on the corpses of their enemies.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

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

Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night
Tor Books, September 29, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer
A high fantasy following a young woman's defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world's lost magic in Ilana C. Myer's Last Song Before Night.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar's connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death's return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

Interview with Ellen Herrick, author of The Sparrow SistersInterview with Gerrard Cowan, author of The MachineryInterview with Paul Tassi, author of The Last ExodusInterview with Adam Rakunas, author of WindsweptInterview with Kai Ashante WilsonInterview with Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Take On Me by Minerva ZimmermanInterview with Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Battlemage by Stephen Aryan2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

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