close

The Qwillery | category: Harper Voyager | (page 3 of 7)

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

Interview with Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned King


Please welcome Linnea Hartsuyker to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Half-Drowned King is published on August 1st by Harper. Read Linnea's Guest Blog - Some of my favorite Genre-Bending Historical Fantasy Novels - here.

Happy Publication Day to Linnea!



Interview with Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned King




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

Linnea:  I’ve always written, off and on. When I was 9, I wrote and bound a little book called “Eleanor and the Great Nail polish Disaster”. In middle school I tried to write a gothic romance novel, having never read one. I believe the heroine’s name was Laetitia. But as I got into high school I thought I should concentrate on skills that were likely to get me a good job. I studied engineering in college, while taking creative writing and literature classes for fun. A few years after graduating, I wasn’t finding creative fulfillment from the opportunities that my engineering degree gave me, and I starting writing again in my spare time. I began writing more and more seriously and eventually took up the project what would become The Half-Drowned King.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Linnea:  I’m more of a plotter, but definitely a hybrid—plans can and do change, and often I outline as much to figure out where I am as where I’m going. The Half-Drowned King and its sequels are based in history and myth, so there are certain events I know need to be part of the plot. I start by making a very rough, high level outline that includes those events, and how I think I’m going to get the characters there. I write until I get stuck, and then go back to the outline, or re-outline from scratch to figure out new and dramatic ways to get the characters where they need to be. With all three books, I’ve found that after writing about 70% of the rough draft, I need to do a full re-outline to make sure all the plot threads connect. By that time point there is so much I want to change that I usually go back to the beginning and start rewriting, and writing new material until I get to the end.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Linnea:  I think it is being patient with myself, and being comfortable with uncertainty. Writing requires dedication, but also inspiration and serendipity. Sheer perseverance, the kind that works in other areas of life, does not always work for me when I’m writing. If I get stuck, or if a scene isn’t working, I need to step back and find a new way in. I’ve also had to learn that even if I’m capable of writing 10,000 words in a day, I probably shouldn’t, because I’ll feel burned out for a while. I have to stop while I still have lots of ideas for what to write the next day.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Linnea:  I grew up in the middle of the woods in upstate New York, and my family that is very into doing things by hand. We baked our own bread, and did fiber arts like weaving, sewing, and knitting. We heated the house with wood and coal fires, and had to split and chop wood all summer. I think that is why I’ve always been drawn to history, eras which required more physical labor than our own, and making things from scratch. My father also read to us, frequently myths and legends from various cultures, including Norse. When I was 12 or so, I discovered The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton, which retold Arthurian and Welsh legends in novel form—and that has been my favorite genre ever since. I’ve always read widely, in many genres, literary, speculative, popular, and everything in between; some of my favorite writers are Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Emma Donoghue, C. S. Friedman, Janet Fitch, and Sharon Kay Penman, but I think The Half-Drowned King owes the most to those very early influences.



TQDescribe The Half-Drowned King in 140 characters or less.

Linnea:  A saga about a brother and sister’s struggle to fulfill their ambitions in Viking-Age Norway, balancing revenge, love, freedom and safety.



TQTell us something about The Half-Drowned King that is not found in the book description.

Linnea:  I’m very interested in the ways that women could navigate the challenges of a pre-modern society. I wanted my women characters to be plausible for the time-period, while reflecting the fact that women are people, every bit as much as men, and would rebel, have ambitions, and struggle against their limitations. I’ve tried to represent different ways that women would deal with a violent society in which they had fewer rights than today: Hilda goes along to get along, Ascrida is nearly broken by what she’s endured but still tries to make choices to keep her family safe, Vigdis uses her sexuality to further her ambitions, and Svanhild, the heroine, makes rash and idealistic choices, and then has to face the consequences.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Half-Drowned King? What appealed to you about writing a saga about the Vikings?

Linnea:  When I was in my early teens, my family began tracing our ancestry. Because the Scandinavian countries have church records going back to the coming of Christianity (around 1000 CE) we could track at least some lines of descent to then, and before that, we followed the genealogies in the sagas, all the way to Harald Harfagr (Fairhair), the first king of Norway in the 9th century CE.

As I attempted to write various novels in my 20s, I had in the back of my mind that one day, when I was a good enough writer, I would tackle Harald’s story. I was never able to finish any of those other novels because, I think, I didn’t care enough about the stories I was trying to tell. Eventually, I decided that even if I wasn’t a good enough writer, I still needed to attempt this story. Later, a writing teacher gave me a piece of advice I’d been in the process of discovering for myself: if you’re going to write a novel about something, you should be obsessed with it, because you’re going to be spending so long with it—especially in the case of writing a trilogy! The Half-Drowned King and its sequels combine many of my passions: sea battles, retold myths, pagan legends, sword fights, and women’s stories, so I never tire of this world and characters.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Half-Drowned King?

Linnea:  I did a great deal of reading: sagas, histories, and archeology, but I also visited Norway a few times, including kayaking the fjord in the opening chapters. At the Viking Ship museum at Roskilde, I got to help crew a small viking boat. I also learned how to spin yarn from fleece using a drop spindle—which is something that Viking women would have spent an enormous amount of time doing.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Half-Drowned King.

Linnea:  It’s been so fun to work with the editors at my publishers in the US and Europe to come up with different cover ideas. All of them have wanted to show a balance of masculine and feminine imagery, since the book follows both Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild. The US cover, with the crown sinking under the waves was actually the very first idea that HarperCollins’s in-house designer Milan Bozic came up with. We talked over some other ideas, but settled on this one, and it was fully illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. There is little evidence that Viking kings wore crowns, but I love how this cover it illustrates the title and evokes the mood of the novel, with the crown sinking into the waves and the ship in the background.



TQIn The Half-Drowned King who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Linnea:  It really varied depending on my mood! I would go weeks only writing Ragnvald sections, then want to switch to Svanhild for a while. Svanhild is really fun because she does whatever she wants—she tends to be people’s favorite character. Ragnvald can be a bit more trouble—he’s more careful, less friendly and winning, and because he’s an ambitious Viking warrior, he commits acts of violence that can be troubling for modern readers. Solvi, who is identified with the trickster god Loki, was also one of my favorite characters to write, though he had his challenges as well.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Half-Drowned King?

Linnea:  I don’t think it’s possible to write a book that doesn’t comment on social issues. Novels express the values of the writer whether we want them to or not. The characters in The Half-Drowned King deal with issues of their time, but even these are expressions of timeless questions: how do we balance freedom and security, what do we look for in our leaders, how far will we go for justice or vengeance? I’ve tried to show both the rewards and costs of different ways of answering those questions.



TQWhich question about The Half-Drowned King do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Linnea:  You originally wanted to write about Harald Harfagr, your ancestor. Why did you choose to make Ragnvald and Svanhild your main characters?

As I was doing my early research about Harald Harfagr, I started to find him a little dull. He has one interesting episode with Princess Gyda but other than that, he doesn’t face enough serious challenges. In many retellings of the Arthurian legends, Arthur is the least interesting character—he’s the fixed point around whom others orbit. So as I read the sagas, I grew more interested Ragnvald, who becomes Harald’s closest adviser, and suffers for that closeness. Ragnvald’s decisions and eventual fate in the sagas made me wonder about what kind of man he was, and how he would grow and change over his lifetime.

The dawn of the Scandinavian kingdoms was a time when some local kings and chieftains were giving away some of their power to a high king of a much larger area, while others fled to Iceland to retain their freedom. The question of freedom versus security became a guiding theme, and I decided to make Ragnvald’s sister Svanhild the other main character—a woman’s choices about freedom and security would be even more difficult and circumscribed than a man’s. And then, because Ragnvald often makes more cautious choices, and follows a king, I was able to give some of the bolder, more rebellious choices to Svanhild.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Half-Drowned King.

Linnea:
“Above the plain stretched an ice field whose meltwater fed all the river systems of the Sogn district. Ragnvald and Oddi walked up to it, over a steep slope. A great mouth of ice, dark and blue in its recesses, opened where the ice field began. It looked as though a frost giant had been frozen there, about to take a bite big enough to consume a herd of cattle. Cold air issued from it, the giant’s breath. Ragnvald walked along the opening behind Oddi. He did not want to turn his back on the great maw, so he tossed a pebble into its depths. It skittered for a moment, then fell into a pool of water far below.

Inhuman spirits lived in places like this. It might be the mouth of not a giant but Niflheim, one of the lands of the dead. Oddi peered in and would have climbed in, but Ragnvald held him back.”



TQWhat's next?

Linnea:  I just turned in the final draft of The Sea Queen, which is the sequel to The Half-Drowned King, and am currently working on the first draft of The Golden Wolf, the final book in the trilogy. After that, I have a long list of interesting periods of history I’d like to tackle. During my MFA program, I wrote the rough draft of a novel I wrote about a priest dealing with church politics during the early 12th century when there were two popes and clerical celibacy was just starting to be enforced—I’d like to dust that off. And I have a huge and sprawling fantasy world in my head that I would someday like to put down on the page.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Linnea:  My pleasure! Thank you for these interesting questions.





The Half-Drowned King
Harper, August 1, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned King
"Lovers of epic rejoice! Hartsuyker illuminates these old stories with authority and visceral detail, bringing to life the adventure, bleak beauty, and human struggle that lie at their heart. A vivid and gripping read." —Madeline Miller, bestselling author of The Song of Achilles

"Linnea Hartsuyker brings myth and legend roaring to life in this superbly good page-turning saga of Viking-era Norway. Hartsuyker is fearless as she navigates a harsh, exacting, and hair-raising world, with icy fjords and raiding seasons and ancient blood feuds. But the book’s fiercest magic shines in the characters of Ragnvald and Svanhild, as unforgettable a brother and sister duo as I can remember in recent literature. Linnea Hartsuyker is an exciting, original voice in historical fiction, and The Half-Drowned King is nothing short of mesmerizing."—Paula McLain, bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

An exhilarating saga of the Vikings that conjures a brutal, superstitious, and thrilling ninth-century world and the birth of a kingdom—the debut installment in a historical literary trilogy that combines the bold imagination and sweeping narrative power of Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Outlander.
Centuries ago, in a blood-soaked land ruled by legendary gods and warring men, a prophecy foretold of a high king who would come to reign over all of the north. . . .

Ragnvald Eysteinsson, the son and grandson of kings, grew up believing that he would one day take his dead father’s place as chief of his family’s lands. But, sailing home from a raiding trip to Ireland, the young warrior is betrayed and left for dead by men in the pay of his greedy stepfather, Olaf. Rescued by a fisherman, Ragnvald is determined to have revenge for his stepfather’s betrayal, claim his birthright and the woman he loves, and rescue his beloved sister Svanhild. Opportunity may lie with Harald of Vestfold, the strong young Norse warrior rumored to be the prophesied king. Ragnvald pledges his sword to King Harald, a choice that will hold enormous consequence in the years to come.

While Ragnvald’s duty is to fight—and even die—for his honor, Svanhild must make an advantageous marriage, though her adventurous spirit yearns to see the world. Her stepfather, Olaf, has arranged a husband for her—a hard old man she neither loves nor desires. When the chance to escape Olaf’s cruelty comes at the hands of her brother’s arch rival, the shrewd young woman is forced to make a heartbreaking choice: family or freedom.

Set in a mystical and violent world defined by honor, loyalty, deceit, passion, and courage, The Half-Drowned King is an electrifying adventure that breathtakingly illuminates the Viking world and the birth of Scandinavia.





About Linnea

Interview with Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned King
Linnea Hartsuyker grew up in the middle of the woods outside Ithaca, New York, and studied Engineering at Cornell University. After a decade of working at internet startups, and writing in her spare time, she attended NYU and received an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in New York City with her husband.








Website  ~  Twitter @linneaharts

Facebook  ~  Instagram  ~  Tumblr



Interview with Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas


Please welcome Christopher Brown to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Tropic of Kansas was published on July 11th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas




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


Christopher Brown:  Thank you for having me! I’ve been writing professionally since I was in college, but my early work was mostly journalism. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin and got involved in the Turkey City Writers Workshop run by Bruce Sterling that I started to seriously write sf. I write because I love language. And I love speculative fiction as a laboratory for exploring the world we have and the worlds we could make—a lab where none of the subjects get hurt because they are all imaginary.



TQ:  Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

CB:  I write the same way I explore—go way off the trail, see what discoveries you can make, and then find your way back. I usually have an ending in mind when I start—it was the first thing I wrote for Tropic of Kansas, and about the only thing that survived serial revision. But I get the best results when I send the characters out with that destination in mind but no maps for how to get there. The surprises that occur when you take that approach are the real engine of a character-driven novel, for me. I have friends that map out elaborate narratives in volumes of notebooks, but that doesn’t work for me. Too bad, since my approach takes a lot longer!



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

CB:  Language comes easily to me, but story is harder. I’m interested in writing a realist science fiction, one grounded in description of the observed world, and propelled by character more than plot, which tends to produce episodic, picaresque narratives more like real life. But I also love the satisfaction of building a compelling page-turner. So those things are at odds, and the process of letting character-driven lyricism find its way into plot takes a lot of time—two or three deep rewrites of the whole thing before what I want really emerges.



TQ:  What has influenced / influences your writing?

CB:  The work I dig all starts with a love of language, writing that paints with words. I like fiction that uses the power of brevity, economy as a design principle, versus the self-indulgent meanders of much contemporary literary fiction—with exceptions, of course. The writers I have learned the most from are probably Joan Didion, J.G. Ballard, William Gibson, Doris Lessing, Walker Percy, Renata Adler and Hunter S. Thompson. That’s an eclectic set, one that includes some writers better known for their journalism, which probably reveals much about how my science fiction wants to engage with the problems of the “allegedly real world.” I also have a background in law and politics, and I imagine the influences of those experiences shows. I’ve learned to be deeply suspicious of power—having worked as both its butler and adversary—and deeply sympathetic with people who have none.



TQ:  Describe Tropic of Kansas in 140 characters or less.

CB:  A dark road trip through an Americana-infused dystopia, as brother and sister seek sanctuary and redemption in a nation torn apart by revolutionary unrest.



TQ:  Tell us something about Tropic of Kansas that is not found in the book description.

CB:  It’s not really meant as a vision of the future, even though that’s how many people read it. While the book has no timestamp, I imagined it as a dark mirror of the present. It’s an effort at a realist dystopia, taking things I have witnessed in the real world and bringing out the emphasis, remixing the proportions. Turning the world upside down in fiction is not only a fun way to tell an engaging story—it’s also a great way to see real-world problems with fresh eyes.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Tropic of Kansas? What appealed to you about writing a post-apocalyptic novel?


CB:  I never really thought that was what I was doing—Tropic of Kansas just tries to report on the world I see around me, through the speculative prism of a repurposed adventure novel. If there’s an apocalypse in Tropic of Kansas, it’s the combined ecological, economic and social failures happening around us that we tend not to notice—maybe because we aren’t the ones most affected.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Tropic of Kansas?


CB:  I did a lot of travel on the back roads of middle America, from the Southwest borderzone to the upper Midwest. I explored a lot of edgelands on foot, including the place where I live in Austin, on a former brownfield lot between a row of factories and the urban woods they hide. I met people living in those woods, and learned about their lives. I saw how wild nature exists in the “empty lots” of the city, and how quickly it reasserts itself if we let it. I worked as a volunteer in my community, lawyering for people who often do not have access to legal services, serving on a grand jury, and learning how unevenly distributed justice often is. I read a ton of source material—American folklore, obscure cartographies of pioneer trails, scholarly studies of bandits and revolutions, and the invisible literature of the war on terror. I tried to pull together all this material from the fabric of the world we live in and remix it to show the worlds it could be—both the worse one, and the better one lurking on the horizon.



TQ:  In Tropic of Kansas who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

CB:  The character of Sig, whose journey really defines the book, was both the easiest and the hardest. He was easy in that he draws on a deeply familiar archetype—the backwoodsman who can be found at the edge of the American woods from Cooper’s Hawkeye to Conan, Rambo and even Katniss Everdeen. But an archetype is not a real character, and writing the true personality and point of view of someone who has spent their adolescence surviving off the land, who doesn’t even have the preoccupation with self that is the basic characteristic of almost all characters in the modern novel, was much harder than I anticipated. You have to learn to show feeling without interiority, vulnerability through toughness—a hard undertaking with a great payoff, I think.



TQ:  Why have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Tropic of Kansas?

CB:  I can’t seem to get on the subway without grabbing the third rail. When I set out to write Tropic of Kansas I really just wanted to write an entertaining adventure story with a contemporary setting—and ended up starting a revolution in dystopia. Oops! I think writing is inherently political, and you can’t report on the world without showing it as it is. I also think you can deal with tough issues and still tell an entertaining, fun and big-hearted story—and sf is a great way to achieve that.



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

CB:     Q—Where is the Tropic of Kansas?

            A—It’s not a real place, but you can see it from here.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Tropic of Kansas.


CB:  The emerging consensus is that the best line in the book is the last one, and it’s not really a spoiler, but worth waiting for.

This passage is a pretty good encapsulation of the world of the book, from Tania’s pov:
“Back east they called it the ‘Tropic of Kansas.’ It wasn’t a specific place you could draw on a map, and Kansas wasn’t really even a part of it, but you knew when you were in it and you knew just what they meant. Which wasn’t a compliment. The parts of the Midwest that had somehow turned third world. They tried to return the Louisiana Purchase to the French, the joke went, but it was too damaged.”


TQ:  What's next?

CB:  I have three longer works in progress: a book of speculative nature writing, a story about a criminal defense lawyer in a dystopian society—think Better Call Saul meets 1984—and a novel about capitalists in space. As divergent as they sound, they are all concerned with similar issues—and both easier and harder to write than Tropic of Kansas (but just as fun). Thanks for asking!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Tropic of Kansas
Harper Voyager, July 11, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

Interview with Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
“Futurist as provocateur! The world is sheer batshit genius . . . a truly hallucinatorily envisioned environment.”—William Gibson, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author

“Timely, dark, and ultimately hopeful: it might not ‘make America great again,’ but then again, it just might.”—Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling and award winning author of Homeland

Acclaimed short story writer and editor of the World Fantasy Award-nominee Three Messages and a Warning eerily envisions an American society unraveling and our borders closed off—from the other side—in this haunting and provocative novel that combines Max Barry’s Jennifer Government, Philip K. Dick’s classic Man in the High Castle, and China Mieville’s The City & the City

The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as “the Tropic of Kansas.” Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it's out there—that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past—and towards an unexpected future.

Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture . . . or death. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change—if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect.

As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.





About Christopher

Interview with Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of Kansas
Christopher was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for the anthology Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including MIT Technology Review’s “Twelve Tomorrows,” The Baffler, and Stories for Chip. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Aside from his writing, though, Brown has lived a varied life in which he has, among many other things, taken two companies public, restored a small prairie, worked on two Supreme Court confirmations, rehabilitated a brownfield, reported from Central American war zones, washed airplanes, co-hosted a punk rock radio show, built an eco-bunker, worked day labor, negotiated hundreds of technology deals, protected government whistleblowers, investigated fraud, raised venture capital, explored a lot of secret woodlands, raised an amazing kid, and trained a few dogs.

Website  ~  Twitter @NB_Chris  ~  Instagram  ~  Facebook

Interview with Nicky Drayden, Author of The Prey of Gods


Please welcome Nicky Draydon to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Prey of Gods was published on June 13th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Nicky Drayden, Author of The Prey of Gods




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

Nicky:  I started writing in 2005. In November of the previous year, the local news did a segment on National Novel Writing Month, and it sounded fun. The event was nearly over by the time I heard about it though, so I just planned on doing it the next November. Turns out I couldn’t wait that long, and ended up doing my own novel writing month in April. I completed my first book in 25 days. It’s buried deep in a trunk somewhere, but I’m still proud of it. I’ve been writing ever since.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Nicky:  I started off as a total pantser, but I’ve become more of a hybrid these days. My outlines are short maybe a page long, and I like to keep the ending vague. If I know how the story ends, I have no motivation to find out what happens.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Nicky:  The Middles. Beginnings of stories flow out of me, and I love the challenge of weaving together the plot strings at the end, but the middles are murky, deep, and tough to navigate without a map.



TQThe Prey of Gods is your first novel. What are, for you, the major differences in writing short stories versus a novel?

Nicky:  I’m great with flash fiction, since the plotting is so tight and targeted, though I probably rely too much on puns and twists. I love working with novels, since they’re so forgiving. You can meander until you strike the plot or the plot strikes you. But man, those stories between flash and novel length are rough. There’s no room to wander, and you can’t prop them up solely with humor and expect them to stand.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Nicky:  I have a lot of weird dreams that become story ideas. If I’m not actively working on a project, my dreams tend to get REALLY weird. I’ve also been able to lucid dream and have plotted an entire short story while asleep. Then all I did was wake up and type it out in the morning.



TQDescribe The Prey of Gods in 140 characters or less.

Nicky:  The Prey of Gods takes you on a raucous romp through a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks.



TQTell us something about The Prey of Gods that is not found in the book description.

Nicky:  It also has walking, talking trees. No one ever mentions the trees.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Prey of Gods? What appeals to you about writing a novel that your publisher states "... braids elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor"?

Nicky:  The initial concept came to me after reading Ian McDonald’s River of Gods, which is set in a futuristic India. I’d been to Port Elizabeth, South Africa back when I was in college, and I thought it’d be interesting to imagine how the experiences I had there could translate into a work of speculative fiction. One of my recurring themes is God vs. Science and Technology, and how they can coexist (or sometimes not) and having a darkly humorous outlook on tough content sometimes makes it easier for readers to digest.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Prey of Gods? Why did you pick South Africa as the setting for the novel?

Nicky:  For research, I read articles and novels by South African authors, and – this one’s a bit odd – I dug into the comment sections of a few South African online magazines. People tend not to filter themselves in the comments section, so you can get an interesting glimpse of the issues people are dealing with. I also enlisted a few South African beta readers, and they helped to hone the story, filling in the gaps in my experience with rich texture and delectable details for readers to savor.

Many of the highlights from my visit there are featured in the book, for example, we toured some of the rural townships where people live in tin shanties, met teenagers who had recently gone through the circumcision rite, and visited a couple wildlife preserves. And it seemed like everywhere we went, there were these little cute antelopes called dik-diks rummaging around the city, kind of in a similar way some places have deer overpopulation problems, so those things all got worked into the book.



TQPlease tell us about the cover of The Prey of Gods.

NickyBrenoch Adams is the artist, and he does some amazing work. The little girl on the cover is Nomvula, and her name means “Mother of Rain” in Zulu. I first came upon the original image while putting together a Pinterest page of cover ideas for my editor. Brenoch was open to making some modifications so the image better fit the book. (If you’re interested, the original is #28 in this slide show.) I probably gave Brenoch way too many source materials and character sketches (I have some obsessive tendencies when it comes to these things), but he hit every detail, and surpassed my expectations.



TQIn The Prey of Gods who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Nicky:  Muzi was the easiest, because even though we have very little in common, I think we share a heart. I poured a lot of me into him. His mind is all over the place, like mine, and sometimes he doesn't make the best decisions, but he'll be there when you need him.

Stoker was the hardest. I’ve had a soft spot for their story from the beginning, but the way I told it left the arc feeling truncated and underdeveloped. I knew something was wrong, so I hired a sensitivity reader (who has also written an awesome humorous dark fantasy about fallen gods, if that’s your thing.) She worked her phenomenal plot magic, pointing out weak and problematic points, and posed questions that required me to do a lot of soul searching.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Prey of Gods?

Nicky:  I use social issues to examine my own biases. When staring at them on the page for months at a time, they’re impossible to ignore. I start questioning my assumptions, and then dig deeper to why I hold them in the first place.



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

Nicky:  There are song lyrics in the novel. Did you write them?

Yes! Writing lyrics opened up a new kind of creativity for me. I love music, but really, I have no ear for composition. Basically, all notes sound the same to me.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Prey of Gods.

Nicky
Sydney closes her eyes and sighs to herself. She’ll have to be more careful. If Zinhle thinks she’s a witch, it’s only a matter of time before the other ladies find out. Even if they don’t believe it, rumors are enough to cast suspicious looks in Sydney’s direction, making it harder to do those things she does.

A witch.

She laughs at the idea, wishing it were that simple.


TQWhat's next?

Nicky:  My next book is sort of an African-inspired humorous dark fantasy with a heavy helping of steampunk. More gods and robots to look forward to!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Nicky:  Thanks for having me! This was so much fun.





The Prey of Gods
Harper Voyager, June 13, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Nicky Drayden, Author of The Prey of Gods
From a new voice in the tradition of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor comes The Prey of Gods, a fantastic, boundary-challenging tale, set in a South African locale both familiar and yet utterly new, which braids elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor.

In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .

An emerging AI uprising . . .

And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

Fun and fantastic, Nicky Drayden takes her brilliance as a short story writer and weaves together an elaborate tale that will capture your heart . . . even as one particular demigoddess threatens to rip it out.





About Nicky

Interview with Nicky Drayden, Author of The Prey of Gods
Nicky Drayden’s short fiction has appeared in publications such as Shimmer and Space and Time Magazine. She is a Systems Analyst and resides in Austin, Texas, where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required.









Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @nickydrayden


Are You a Harper Voyager?


A great opportunity for U.S. fans of SF, UF and Horror!


Are You a Harper Voyager?

ARE YOU A HARPER VOYAGER?

Are you a fan of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy or Horror? Would you like special access to e-galleys, author interactions, and swag? If so, the Harper Voyager US team invites you to apply to become a "Harper Voyager" super reader!

As a Harper Voyager super reader, you'll get special access to early review copies, special entry to an exclusive online forum where they can post reviews and thoughts about the exclusive book previews, engage in private author chats, and special interactions with Harper Voyager authors at regional events. Most of all, we hope our super readers will help generate excitement for our stellar authors!

Please Note: This program is asking super readers to post honest reviews on Goodreads and consumer sites, participation in online Voyager events; virtual support of Voyager authors across social media. If you chose to post these reviews online at consumer websites, you must disclose in the review that you received your copy for free and send us a link to the review.

Apply here: http://bit.ly/2mkGk99

Entry period: March 14, 2017 - May 4, 2017

Twenty Harper Voyager US super readers will be selected by May 19, 2017.

Terms and Conditions:

• You must be 18 or older to apply.

• Open to U.S. residents only.

• We expect to select 20 to 30 new Harper Voyagers this entry period.

*Harper Voyager will send each individual applicant one book in appreciation of their time and effort. One book per consumer. U.S. only.*

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White


Heartstone
Author:  Elle Katharine White
Publisher:  Harper Voyager, January 17, 2017
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  US$15.99  (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN: 9780062451941 (print); 9780062451958 (eBook)

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine White
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.



Melanie's Thoughts

Elle Katharine White's debut novel, Heartstone, can only be described as an homage to Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. In place of Elizabeth Bennett Aliza Bentaine fulfills the role of the forthright and adventurous heroine. Initially excited about the dragon Riders arriving in Merybourne to slay a horde of gryphons that murdered her young sister Aliza isn't best pleased to spend time in the company of the haughty dragonrider Alastair Daired. In true Pride and Prejudice fashion Alastair sticks his upper crust nose up at the much lower class Aliza. His obvious disdain for her lack of 'connections' is short lived however, when a evil force threatens not just Aliza but the kingdom as well. Will true love prevail?

I am a huge fan of Jane Austin and have read all of her books. I especially love the BBC's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with the well cast Colin Firth in the role of Mr. Darcy. I have to admit I am always a bit dubious about novels that try to re-tell this classic. I liked but did not love White's version in the form of Heartstone. Rather than adapting Austin's original in a fantasy setting complete with dragons and hobgoblins White rather slavishly followed the plot and merely modified the names (i.e. Aliza instead of Lizzie). This shouldn't be considered criticism but rather 'critique'. I thought that Heartstone was a welcome relief from the news and some of the other options on my TBR. I will be interested to see whether White can follow this debut with a truly original tale. For fans of Austin and dragons then please give this a read.

Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone


Please welcome Elle Katharine White to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Heartstone is published on January 17th by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Elle a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone




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

EKW:  Glad to be here! When I was in middle and high school I had terrible insomnia. Since staring at a dark ceiling gets old after the first hour, I began to make up stories to keep myself occupied. Pretty soon my stories got so big and complicated I couldn’t keep them in my head anymore, so I started to write them down. Bedtime stories turned to short stories, short stories into novels. I haven’t struggled with insomnia since.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

EKW:  Hybrid. I write like Dug in the movie Up; I’ll start as a plotter with a scene-by-scene outline, but as I get into it I’ll—SQUIRREL!—find new story threads within the larger plot that insist on pulling me through to the end. Sometimes those adventures make it to the finished work, sometimes not.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

EKW:  Finding time to write while working a full time job. It kind of makes me miss the insomnia. If I could have any one superpower, it would be the ability to function on one hour of sleep a night. I’d get so much done!



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

EKW:  My mom read to my brother and me every night when we were growing up—everything from the Hardy Boys to The Chronicles of Narnia. That was my first introduction to fantasy literature and I found I couldn’t get enough of it. My favorite books were anthologies of myths and legends from around the world. Reading those made me want to enter those beautiful, dangerous, magical worlds, first just as a reader, but eventually as a storyteller myself, making myths of my own.



TQDescribe Heartstone in 140 characters or less.

EKW:  Epic fantasy reimagining of Pride & Prejudice with a dragon-riding, monster-hunting Mr. Darcy and an Elizabeth too nosy for her own good.



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

EKW:  A bit of book mythology: A heartstone is the last drop of blood drawn from the heart of a living creature. It takes the form of a gem, usually about the size of a cherry or peach pit, and varies in color depending on the creature.



TQWhat inspired you to write Heartstone? What appealed to you about using Pride and Prejudice as the foundation for Heartstone?

EKWPride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I’ve loved fantasy since I was a kid, so somewhere in the back of my mind there’s always been the seed of the idea to combine the two, but it only sprouted after my housemate put on the movie How to Train Your Dragon while I was rereading P&P. I remember the exact scene when inspiration struck: as Hiccup is making his equipment, I had the sudden image of Mr. Darcy riding a dragon and my inner fangirl just about died of happiness. I couldn’t sleep until I’d outlined a world where that could happen.



TQIn your opinion, why do Austen's works lend themselves so well to retellings?

EKW:  Austen understood people. Regency England might’ve been her stage, but her characters transcend time. The young woman struggling to survive and stay true to herself in a society that does not default in her favor—the privileged man learning what it means to engage humbly with people outside his social sphere—the mother fighting for the wellbeing of her family regardless of what it costs her reputation . . . we’ve all met Lizzies and Darcys and Mrs. Bennets. And because we recognize them, because they are anchors to the world we understand, we love meeting these characters in new settings, whether it’s in an English parlor or New York City boardroom or a zombie-infested Hertfordshire or a fantasy kingdom inhabited by dragons and monsters.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Heartstone?

EKW:  I had to look up a fair bit about medieval armor and weaponry, which began with binge-watching YouTube videos on the correct way to hold a dagger, and ended in borrowing a friend’s longsword for a few months. The latter may or may not have resulted in some irresponsible wielding in close quarters and the disemboweling of a couch cushion. Maybe.



TQPlease tell us about Heartstone's cover.

EKW:  Larry Rostant and Lex Maudlin did a fantastic job on the cover. They captured the colors, the ferocity, the scenery, everything. While it’s not a direct scene from the book, it’s almost exactly how I pictured Akarra and Aliza.



TQIn Heartstone, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

EKW:  Tobble the lovable, mischievous hobgoblin is one of my favorite characters, probably because he was so easy to write. He’s a combination of every small child I’ve ever babysat plus all the getting-out-of-trouble skills I learned as the youngest sibling. Charis Brysney, my reimagined Caroline Bingley, was the hardest. I never liked Caroline in P&P, and that made translating the spirit of her character a challenge. Finding a balance for Charis between harsh, haughty, and endearing was the most difficult part.



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

EKW

      Q:  Did you come up with the name Burrumburrem by imagining the sound a snoring cat would make if it took a nap on a kettle drum?

      A:  Yes. Yes I did.



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

EKW:

      Aliza: “Give me earth and growing things; you can keep the wind.”

      Aliza, as she wonders why Daired keeps staring at her: “You have a dragon, and she’s dancing. Get your priorities sorted.”



TQWhat's next?

EKW:  What I’m working on right now: a cyberpunk heist novel full of scary new technology, sibling rivalries, and GIRL POWER.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

EKW:  Thanks for having me!





Heartstone
Harper Voyager, January 17, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.





About the Author

Interview with Elle Katharine White, author of Heartstone
Light in the Dark Photography by Kira Spencer
Elle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, where she learned valuable life skills like how to clear a snowy driveway in under twenty minutes (a lot easier than you think) and how to cheer for the perennial underdog (a lot harder than you think).

When she's not writing she spends her time reading, drinking absurd amounts of tea, having strong feelings about fictional characters, and doing her best to live with no regrets.

Connect with her on Facebook at @ellewhite.author, or witness the hilarious spectacle that is a writer contending with the 140-character limit on Twitter at @elle_k_writes.

Website


Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series


Please welcome Elizabeth Bonesteel to The Qwillery. Remnants of Trust (A Central Corps Novel 2)
was published on November 8th by Harper Voyager.



Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series




          Star Trek premiered in 1966 when I was two, less than three years after John Kennedy was assassinated, less than four years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a short 21 years after the end of World War II. Right in the thick of the Vietnam War. The space race was a big deal, and was largely motivated by the Cold War; but Star Trek suggested that it might not be war that we got out of it. That maybe, just maybe, instead of war and threats, we could have a positive future.
          For me, largely oblivious to world politics, Star Trek was space stories. It shared our television with Mercury news and Apollo launches, fiction and reality taking turns. I grew up with the assumption that the Apollo program would someday give us warp drive and the starship Enterprise. All of the civil unrest would give us women and men working together, nationality and skin color dividing no one. Star Trek was fiction, but to Small Liz, it showed a universe that seemed perfectly attainable.
          It’s much easier to be optimistic when you’re a kid, and you blithely believe your parents will fix any wrong that enters your life. Of course we will have a Star Trek future, because we will do the Right Things.
          Not that the show was an egalitarian utopia. Science fiction and its predictions of the future were largely the purview of 1960s men, and they could only get so far on that point. But the existence of someone like Uhura—not just a bridge officer, but a kickass bridge officer who actually once got to slug Sulu (although be fair it was Mirror Universe Sulu and so not quite the same thing, but damn, this is not a woman you want to cross)—was massive, mostly because she wasn’t treated, on the show, as anything unusual. Of course women would be officers. Of course we’d carry weapons and know how to fight and defend ourselves. Logic. For a show that frequently extolled the virtues of human sentiment, it was often logical in exactly the right ways.
          Some of my favorite episodes as a kid were the ones that don’t hold up so well when viewed through an adult lens. “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” is about the most unsubtle diatribe against racism you could possibly compose, but as a child I found its anger and sense of futility genuinely affecting. It’s a frequent trick of the show that has continued through all of its iterations: use an alien species to represent present-day Us in order to both make the point and suggest that Future Us will have been able to fix our mistakes. Hopelessness for today, but maybe some hope for tomorrow.
          “The Alternative Factor” doesn’t make a lick of sense if you think about it, but that was another I loved as a kid. The existential horror of being trapped with an insane version of yourself for eternity—wow. Fear of death? Feh. Everlasting life with yourself? Nightmares. It’s an oddly-paced, substantially less horrific version of “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream.” It evokes C.S. Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the island where dreams come true. It’s the original Grimm Fairy Tale, where the wicked stepmother dances in red-hot shoes until she drops dead.
          Okay, I was a weird kid.
          “The Galileo Seven” always scared me at the end, even when I knew they would be beamed out in time. (And wasn’t Spock’s characterization odd in that one? It always seemed like if they wanted to inject random conflict in an episode, they’d have Spock go extra-Vulcan and piss everybody off.) And to this day I leave the room when Decker dies in “The Doomsday Machine,” which is still, even by modern standards, one of the loveliest hours of television ever produced (and violates one of the show’s usual rules of making the threatening aliens at least partially sympathetic).
          And of course there were the humorous episodes, intentional and unintentional. “Spock’s Brain” is a brilliant piece of sexist camp, complete with what’s actually quite a nice performance from Marj Dusay (later an accomplished soap opera actress). And there were tribbles and hordes of beautiful twin androids, and oh, the cringing when I watch “I, Mudd” today, but it still makes me laugh.
          Even the grimmest of Star Trek episodes had shades of optimism. This is still true (although lately they’ve been pushing it, and seriously, people, stop blowing up my Enterprise), and it is, in some ways, cheating. It shows us the great distance we have yet to travel without giving us any clues about how we’re supposed to get there. But sometimes, when the world is unsettled, when you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow…sometimes, a little blind optimism is exactly what you need.





Remnants of Trust
A Central Corps Novel 2
Harper Voyager, November 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series
In this follow-up to the acclaimed military science fiction thriller The Cold Between, a young soldier finds herself caught in the crosshairs of a deadly conspiracy in deep space.

Six weeks ago, Commander Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster were court-martialed for their role in an event Central Gov denies ever happened. Yet instead of a dishonorable discharge or time in a military prison, Shaw and Foster and are now back together on Galileo. As punishment, they’ve been assigned to patrol the nearly empty space of the Third Sector.

But their mundane mission quickly turns treacherous when the Galileo picks up a distress call: Exeter, a sister ship, is under attack from raiders. A PSI generation ship—the same one that recently broke off negotiations with Foster—is also in the sector and joins in the desperate battle that leaves ninety-seven of Exeter’s crew dead.

An investigation of the disaster points to sabotage. And Exeter is only the beginning. When the PSI ship and Galileo suffer their own "accidents," it becomes clear that someone is willing to set off a war in the Third Sector to keep their secrets, and the clues point to the highest echelons of power . . . and deep into Shaw’s past.





Previously

The Cold Between
A Central Corps Novel 1
Harper Voyager, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series
Deep in the stars, a young officer and her lover are plunged into a murder mystery and a deadly conspiracy in this first entry in a stellar military science-fiction series in the tradition of Lois McMaster Bujold.

When her crewmate, Danny, is murdered on the colony of Volhynia, Central Corps chief engineer, Commander Elena Shaw, is shocked to learn the main suspect is her lover, Treiko Zajec. She knows Trey is innocent—he was with her when Danny was killed. So who is the real killer and why are the cops framing an innocent man?

Retracing Danny’s last hours, they discover that his death may be tied to a mystery from the past: the explosion of a Central Corps starship at a wormhole near Volhynia. For twenty-five years, the Central Gov has been lying about the tragedy, even willing to go to war with the outlaw PSI to protect their secrets.

With the authorities closing in, Elena and Trey head to the wormhole, certain they’ll find answers on the other side. But the truth that awaits them is far more terrifying than they ever imagined . . . a conspiracy deep within Central Gov that threatens all of human civilization throughout the inhabited reaches of the galaxy—and beyond.





About Elizabeth

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps series
Elizabeth Bonesteel began making up stories at the age of five, in an attempt to battle insomnia. Thanks to a family connection to the space program, she has been reading science fiction since she was a child. She currently works as a software engineer and lives in central Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and various cats.





Website  ~  Twitter @liz_monster  ~  Facebook

Interview with Amy S. Foster


Please welcome Amy S. Foster to The Qwillery. The Rift Uprising, the first novel in the The Rift Uprising Trilogy, was published on October 4th by Harper Voyager.



Interview with Amy S. Foster




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


Amy:  I’ve always been a writer, even before I could actually write or read, I was telling myself bedtime stories.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?


Amy:  A plotter for sure. Sometimes a character will surprise me on the page and it makes sense in the plot for them to do something I hadn’t thought about. Generally, though each scene and chapter is outlined pretty thoroughly.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Amy:  Time. Time is my greatest enemy! I have three kids. Although, now that I’ve started treating my writing like an actual 9-5 job where I leave the house and go to my office, it has gotten better. When I worked from home, it was just so difficult to get the kids to understand that I wasn’t just on the computer but that I was actually working.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does being a songwriter influence (or not) your novel writing? And do you have a play list for The Rift Uprising?

Amy:  My teenagers are a particular influence for this novel because I wanted the characters, despite their extraordinary circumstances to sound like actual teens. Songwriting has been a huge influence. Its helped teach me brevity and how to be concise. You don’t get any time really in a song for exposition. I have a playlist, it’s on my website. I also wrote and performed 3 songs for this book with my songwriting partner Micah Wilshire. Our band is called QOINS. You should check it out! 




TQDescribe The Rift Uprising in 140 characters or less.

Amy:  Cybernetically altered teenage super soldiers guard a doorway to the Multiverse. Hijinx ensue.



TQTell us something about The Rift Uprising that is not found in the book description.

Amy:  Well, there are some pretty heavy themes in the book. Everyone who ends up on our Earth is called an Immigrant. They are processed by The Allied Rift Coalition and sent to a place called The Village where they are forced to ‘humanize’ regardless of species. There are no aliens in my novel but evolutionary biology dictates that given infinite Earths, there would be infinite variations of a dominate species. When Ryn sees this place for the first time it jolts her. She knows it’s wrong. She finally starts asking questions.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Rift Uprising? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Amy:  I was really inspired like I said, by my teenage daughter. I wanted a book where she could recognize herself in the characters. I imagined if she and her friends were Citadels, how would they sound? How would they act or react? I love SciFi. Star Trek is and always has been one of my favorite shows. There is something so appealing about the idea of anything being possible. 




TQYour first novel, When Autumn Leaves, was set in the magical town of Avening. Do When Autumn Leaves and The Rift Uprising share anything thematically?


Amy:  Well again, I’m drawn to the notion of anything being possible. There’s a reason that SciFi and Fantasy are often lumped together. Thematically, I suppose I am kind of obsessed with the idea of powerful women, not just metaphorically, but well and truly powerful. Women who can handle pretty much any situation either with magic or a chip implanted in their heads that gives them super powers.



TQIn The Rift Uprising who was the easiest character to write and why?

Amy:  Boone. He’s a smartass. He’s the Deadpool of the group. I love being quippy.




TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Rift Uprising?

Amy:  As I mentioned before, there is a clear link to Immigration, racism, xenophobia and there’s also a section where a girl is very close to being sexually violated. Ryn steps in and shuts it down pretty violently. I would never shy away from the tough issues in a YA book. From my view, that’s the BEST place to tackle social issues, before kids have had years and years to form a concrete opinion that can’t be changed. I’m not looking for anyone to take my ideology on board, I’d be happy if they just sort of think about things from another perspective.



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


Amy:  I wish more people would ask about Battle Ground, Washington and Camp Bonneville. They are real places! If you’re a fan of the book you can go and visit a lot of the locations I write about.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Rift Uprising.

Amy:  ”Guilt is what you feel when you’ve done something bad. Shame is what you feel when you know that you are bad.” 




TQWhat's next?

Amy:  The hustle. All I can think about is selling this book and getting it into as many people’s hands as I can. That being said, I have to edit book two and finish book 3 in the Trilogy.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Rift Uprising
The Rift Uprising Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, October 4, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Amy S. Foster
An alternate reality that feels all-too-real, The Rift Uprising is the explosive start to a new trilogy that combines the fast paced action of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, the lyrical tone of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the emotional stakes of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising from acclaimed lyricist and storyteller Amy S. Foster.

Normal seventeen-year-old girls go to high school, binge watch TV shows all weekend, and flirt with everyone on the face of the Earth. But Ryn Whitaker is trying to save it.

Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift—one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other scared and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel.

But that’s all about to change.

When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more.





About Amy

Interview with Amy S. Foster
Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael Bublé’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including "Home" and "Haven't Met You Yet.” She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. When she's not in a studio in Nashville, Amy lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, will be released on October 4, 2016.


Website  ~  Twitter @AmyFosterHere  ~  Facebook

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Rachel Dunne

In the Shadow of the Gods
A Bound Gods Novel 1
Harper Voyager, June 21, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne
A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals led by a violent, secretive man must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world.

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the Twins grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—to set off a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave


Please welcome Patrick Hemstreet to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The God Wave is published on May 17th by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Patrick a Happy Publication Day! Look for Qwill's review later this week.



Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave




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

Patrick:  Thank you, the pleasure is all mine.

I started writing as a young adult. I have a very (overly) active imagination, and at times, I am bombarded by ideas. If I don’t write them down and give them an outlet, they linger; constantly reminding me of their presence in the back seat. It’s not quite like Lisa and Bart repeating “are we there yet?” but it’s close.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Patrick:  Definitely a hybrid; I find both approaches have their merits and should be applied as needed. I would say the initial creation of the story is more suited to pantsing, and implementing that story into written word is definitely more suited to plotting.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Patrick:  Editing. Re-reading a first draft can be very…um…enlightening. Particularly when you hear yourself say aloud, “I wrote that sentence?!”



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Patrick:  With regard to The God Wave, it was mountains of neurodiagnostic texts and articles, tons of material from my own collection of comparative religion/occult tomes, and an enthusiast’s level of knowledge of quantum physics. There are also the books (which cannot be named) contained in my special library, accessible only via secret passage.



TQDescribe The God Wave in 140 characters or less.

Patrick:  Humanity will cross a threshold with a mighty leap.



TQTell us something about The God Wave that is not found in the book description.

Patrick:  Like Chuck and Matt, my first experience as a neurology convention guest exhibitor was at the San Antonio River Walk. And, like the characters, I did not have time to see the Alamo.



TQWhat inspired you to write The God Wave? How much of The God Wave is grounded in hard science? Is it really true that we only use 10% of our brains?

Patrick:  No, we use 11.345678% of our brains—kidding!

A good deal of it is grounded in science. There is research being conducted world-wide on EEG-driven apparati. The EEG rhythms in the book are all recognizable in neurodiagnostic circles (with the exception of the zeta wave of course). I dressed up some of the tech to make it more colorful, but the essence of the material is grounded in real neurodiagnostic technique.

As far as the percentage of brain use, I’m not certain it’s a hard number. I do think there are latent abilities we have yet to tap into.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The God Wave?

Patrick:  Well, I would say The God Wave was a product of my professional research and hobbies. During my career as a neuro-diagnostician, I spent hours poring over professional articles and studies on PubMed. In my own time, I devour metaphysical, occult, and comparative religion materials. These two themes came together in my mind and The God Wave was born. I wanted to approach what could be construed as a metaphysical or mystical story device through science.



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

Patrick:  The easiest was Chuck, the hardest was Matt. These two characters are essentially me, sliced down the middle. Chuck is me staring into a mirror brightly; he is my “feel-good” character. Matt is me staring into a mirror darkly and the inverse is true. This is not to say that Matt is a villain, I think the traits both Matt and Chuck embody are needed in good leadership and entrepreneurial endeavors.



TQ:  Which question about The God Wave do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Patrick:

Big time Hollywood mogul: “Patrick how soon can we make a movie based on The God Wave?”

Me: “You got a pen?”



TQ Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The God Wave.

Patrick:  Non-spoilery?! Ah, come on!

“What if the brain waves a person generates to screw in a lightbulb could actually screw in the lightbulb?”

Eugene, sitting at his chaotic desk, looked up and gawped at Chuck. “Is this a lightbulb joke?”


TQWhat's next?

PatrickThe God Wave is a trilogy, so the sequel is coming next spring. I am hard at work on books two and three.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Patrick:  Right back at ya!

Well, that is to say thank you for allowing me to join you. You are Qwillery after all; you really wouldn’t be joining yourself. Unless of course, you had some kind of super-power.

TQWe have no comment... .





The God Wave
The God Wave Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, May 17, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave
A team of neuroscientists uncover amazing new capabilities in the brain that may steer human evolution toward miraculous and deadly frontiers in this spectacular debut work of speculative science fiction—Limitless meets James Rollins—that combines spirituality and science in an inventive, mind-blowing fashion.

For decades, scientists have speculated about the untapped potential of the human brain. Now, neuroscientist Chuck Brenton has made an astonishing breakthrough. He has discovered the key—the crucial combination of practice and conditioning—to access the incredible power dormant in ninety percent of our brains. Applying his methods to test subjects, he has stimulated abilities that elevate brain function to seemingly “godlike” levels.

These extraordinary abilities can transform the world, replacing fear and suffering with tranquility and stability. But in an age of increasing militarization, corporate exploitation, and explosive technological discovery, a group of influential power brokers are determined to control Brenton’s new superbeings for their own manipulative ends—and their motives may be far from peaceful.





About Patrick

Interview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave
© Tanya Radoff Photography
Patrick Hemstreet is a novelist, neuroengineer, entrepreneur, patent-pending inventor, special-warfare-trained Navy medic, stand-up comic, and actor. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and sons. The God Wave is his first novel.










Website  ~  Twitter @Hemstreetauthor

Facebook



Interview with Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned KingInterview with Christopher Brown, author of Tropic of KansasInterview with Nicky Drayden, Author of The Prey of GodsAre You a Harper Voyager?Review: Heartstone by Elle Katharine WhiteInterview with Elle Katharine White, author of HeartstoneGuest Blog by Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the Central Corps seriesInterview with Amy S. Foster2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel DunneInterview with Patrick Hemstreet, author of The God Wave

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×