The Qwillery | category: Sourcebooks Casablanca


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Maria Vale, author of The Last Wolf

Please welcome Maria Vale to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Wolf was published on February 6th by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Interview with Maria Vale, author of The Last Wolf

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Maria:  First, thank you so much for having me and for everything you do to keep my bookshelves full and my wallet empty.

Unfortunately, I do remember the first piece I ever wrote. I think I was in fifth grade and it was about an archaeologist who falls in love with a mummy. I wanted to be an archaeologist until I realized that was actually afraid of digging into a dead person. Not opening the tomb, but like puncturing the body with a shovel. My pen name, btw, was Nina Van Tijr. Derived from Nineveh and Tyre. To say that I was a pedant doesn’t begin to cover it.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Maria:  Hybrid. I have a general direction and a few scenes worked out. The ending is usually pretty thorough, though, so I know what I’m aiming for. I can’t say that this is the best way. Other ways are no doubt smarter, but whenever I’ve tried to plan something out, it always gets ditched because, in the doing, it doesn’t feel organic. But I do like to know what the bigger questions are before I start. Like now in the third book, the emotional core is about moving forward from regret and loss about the difference between love and responsibility.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Maria:  Witty banter. Both the dialogue and the coming up of characters who one might realistically expect to say such dialogue. Then again, there are so many writers out there (Shelly Laurenston, Jennifer Crusie, Cassandra Clare, Lisa Kleypas, the list goes on) that do it so well.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Maria:  In no particular order: Margaret Atwood, Anne Rice, Maggie Stiefvater, Jeaniene Frost, Glen Duncan, Naomi Novick, N.K. Jemisin, Patrick Rothfuss, Holly Black, Poppy Z. Brite, Jacqueline Carey, Karen Marie Moning. How much room do you have?

TQDescribe The Last Wolf in 140 characters or less.

Maria:  The runt of an embattled pack finds she has to save the wolves she loves from the man she loves. A raw story of devotion and survival.

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

Maria:  Early on pups stay wild, they are never ‘in skin’. It’s only when they become juveniles in the dreaded Year of First Shoes that they learn how to walk on two legs and talk with words and eat with forks. Describing one of their early classes in Introduction to Human Behaviors was a lot of fun.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Last Wolf? What appeals to you about writing Paranormal Fantasy Romance?

Maria:  A bunch of questions gets a bunch of answers: I am deeply committed to conservation. I believe strongly that we evolved with this world and we change it at our peril. Wolves have a place, and I wanted to write something that made that point.

I love writing romance, because I’ve seen enough to believe in the worth of a happy ending. Also because when you write romance, just when an overarching plot might go soggy, you have burgeoning love to keep it strong.

I love paranormal because it gives you freedom. Any speculative fiction does. You can change the world to emphasize what you want. I also like the puzzle of it. If this is true in your world, then what? If wolves have to be wild for three days out of thirty, what does that mean for everything else?

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

Maria:  A half shelf of books about wolves. I already knew a fair amount about Anglo-Saxon mythology and law but I rehashed some of that. Endless grinding over Old English.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Last Wolf.

Maria:  I can’t tell you how much I loved this cover. Dawn Adams’ design was so sensitive, so beautiful. Tiberius has scars at his neck [no spoiler, it’s revealed in 2nd chapter], that I didn’t want to show, so she hid his neck in Silver’s face. But perhaps my favorite part is the subtle curve of Ti’s arms around the land, because while this is love story between two individuals, it is also about the love for the pack and for the land.

TQIn The Last Wolf who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Maria:  Silver was the easiest. She went through a couple of revises, but once I’d gotten her character down, she came easily. The trickiest ones were Evie, the Alpha Mate, and Victor, the Deemer or thinker about Pack law. Both are relatively minor here, but as they become increasingly important to the series, I didn’t want to do anything here that would complicate my life later.

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


(TQ) So you’ve finished the trilogy, but is there any part of the story you wish you could have told?

Funny you should ask. I would have loved to write about the relationship between Ælfrida and Seolfer, the Great North’s first Alpha and her Deemer, the thinker about Pack law. About trying to rebuild in an unfamiliar world, with a hostile Pack. About trying to maintain what they love best, but also to mold it to a different time and place.

(TQ) So? Why not do it?

Sadly, what I do not know about Upstate New York in the 17th century could fill an ocean.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Last Wolf.

Maria:  The Pack regularly checks their borders to make sure that the signs are secure and legible and that trespassers have no excuse. Adult wolves take pups with them so that the next generation can be introduced to the farther reaches of their land.

        Here, Tiberius who refuses to change, is confronted with the wild joy of being a pup by Leelee.
   An ill-advised squirrel runs across the outer rim of the Stones, and Leelee turns quickly to run after it, the wind tickling her fur and the scent in her nose. I know that feeling of taking it all in—moldering pine needles, owl pellets, borer beetle, tree sap, two-year-old porcupine den, sassafras bush—until the scent of prey hits you right in the back of the throat and everything tenses and you chase, even if your tummy’s little and full and all you really want is for the thing, whatever it is, to escape so you don’t have to eat it, but still you can’t help but hunt.
   She peels off after her squirrel, looking behind to make sure we’re watching.
   The squirrel chitters at her from the safety of a maple. Ti stares, his hands fisted by his sides, as Leelee scampers and bounds and falls on her back and twists her little legs in the air, her belly dotted with leaf litter. A tiny furrow cuts through his usually impassive brow, and his mouth, while still tightly closed, turns down a little at the corners. His wild—that seductive scent of crushed bone and evergreen—radiates thicker now, and when I touch his arm, he jolts as if from a waking dream and blinks down at me, looking in this moment like a lost boy.

This is simply a short description of Silver running wild during the Iron Moon.
    Higher up, the snow churns around me and the downed leaves swirl behind me and I run with my whole legs, faster than snow or wind.
    Past the High Pines and the Krummholz, I keep going until I hit the incised rock of the peaks. Up here, the wind cuts through even the thickening undercoat, but the chill feels so good on my skin.
    Exposed and without much prey, the Pack doesn’t bother much with the peaks, but from here, the Homelands spread out soft and muted. Leaves look cottony; needles are frilled. In the overcast night, the dusky clouds of tomorrow’s snow settle in the valleys like gray ribbons.
    I throw back my head and howl.
    “I am.”
    From scattered hills and deep forests, wolves answer.
    “We are.”

TQWhat's next?

I have a couple of things already in the works—one a ya trilogy, one a standalone contemporary romance between a waitress and the Angel of Death.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

And thank you so much for having me, as you might guess, I’m a big fan of speculative fiction in all of its many forms.

The Last Wolf
The Legend of All Wolves 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 6, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Maria Vale, author of The Last Wolf
For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

About Maria

Interview with Maria Vale, author of The Last Wolf
Photo by Eva Qin
Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don't really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at

Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

Twitter @MariaValeAuthor

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

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

Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire
Kingmaker Chronicles 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.


Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner

The winner of the November  2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley from Sourcebooks Casablanca with 48 votes equaling 40% of all votes. The cover was designed by Eileen Carey.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner

The Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner

The November 2015 Debut Covers

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Winner

Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the December Debut covers starting on December 5, 2015 and ending on December 14th.  

Voting for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge COVER OF THE YEAR will start on December 21st and end on December 31st.

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014

Please welcome Bec McMaster to The Qwillery with an excerpt from Forged by Desire, the 4th novel in the London Steampunk series.

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014

It all starts with a dare.

Garrett Reed, Master of the Nighthawks Guild of thief-catchers, has always equated his partner, Perry, with breeches. For a man who knows women through-and-through, he rarely thinks of her as feminine. And when a case requires Perry to go undercover in a gorgeous red dress, Garrett cannot even imagine his friend pulling it off. Perry? In a dress? The idea is utterly ludicrous.

For Perry, who's been half in love with him for years, Garrett's laughter is like a red flag to a bull. She'll show him - and then the joke will be on him. The problem is, she never expected it to change matters between them forever...

Here's a little excerpt from Forged By Desire, following that life-changing mission:

       Garrett closed the black lacquered door to the steam carriage as he stepped down. Perry had swept her driving goggles up on top of her head, the glossy black strands of her hair tumbling in disarray. Cursing under her breath, she pulled the lever that shut off the oxygen valve to the boilers and waited for the steam carriage to hiss itself into a whispered death. Little half-moons of soot stained her cheeks, a sight that almost brought a smile to his face.
       She didn’t look at him. She hadn’t in over a month, not directly. As though looking at him meant she too would have to confront what had happened at the opera. The turning point in both their lives.
       A sudden reckless frustration swept through him. “Here,” he said, stepping forward and offering her his arm to help her down.
       “You’ve never helped me down before,” Perry said with a sudden scowl. “I know you’re struggling to reconcile the fact that I’m actually female, but that doesn’t suddenly make me useless. Just because I wore a dress, it doesn’t change anything.”
       Swinging her legs off the driver’s seat, she slid down into the spare few inches between his body and the carriage. For a moment Garrett was tempted to step back, give her space.
       Instead he stilled.
       Perry realized only too late, freezing in place as she brushed her gloves off against her tight leather breeches. Slowly she lifted her head, gaslight catching the gleaming gray of her eyes. There was an inch between them at most. A single tantalizing inch that he was too aware of.
       “It’s difficult to stop picturing you in that dress,” he replied, forcing his voice to stay soft. He could almost feel the heat of the hunger swimming through his eyes, threatening to drop him over the edge. “Considering how much of you it flaunted.”
       “You can’t help yourself, can you? I never should have worn the dratted thing.”
       Reaching up, his gloved fingers swept at the sooty rings her goggles had left on her cheeks. The motion soothed some part of him. Maybe this was what he needed. Something to ground him. “I said that you could never pass as a female and you wanted to throw my words back in my face. You succeeded. Admirably.”
       Twirling at the bottom of the stairs, the red skirts sweeping around her and the thick, luscious curls of her wig trailing over her shoulder as she shot him such a direct look he could hardly breathe all of a sudden… “Well?” she’d challenged.
       That moment. The moment it all changed. Like some enormous hand reached out and closed its fingers around his heart and lungs, squeezing, forcing the breath out of him.
       Garrett didn’t know how to react now. Perry had recovered flawlessly, resuming her aloof, taciturn persona as though nothing remotely unusual had occurred that night. Gone was the practiced flirtation, the smiles that lit her from within… But he couldn’t forget them. How did you forget something like that? Pretend it had never happened? Pretend that his eye wasn’t drawn to her now, in a way that was distinctly masculine and not at all friend-like?
       The problem was that he now knew a sensual woman existed beneath her logical, focused exterior. If she were any other woman, he would have pursued her relentlessly until he had what he wanted. But this was Perry. Someone he admired, respected, someone he’d give his life for. To cross that line meant their entire friendship - which was evolving, admittedly - would change. And then? He didn’t have a bloody clue what that would mean. But he knew it meant more than sex, more than friendship. Perry deserved nothing less - he just wasn’t certain he could give her what she wanted.
       “You enjoyed making me act like a fool,” Garrett murmured. “Don’t even try to deny it. And now you have to deal with the consequences.”
       Her eyes suddenly gleamed. “You’re right. I did enjoy making a fool of you. The problem is, that I only ever intended for you to act a fool for one night. Not this whole bleeding month.”
       Sliding past him, leaving behind the ghostly fragrance she washed her clothes in, Perry strode toward the factory.

Forged by Desire
London Steampunk 4
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
Ten years ago, Perry fled her thrall contract to find sanctuary among the Nighthawks. In that time, she’s become a respected woman of the Guard, and she’s wanted Garrett Reed for as long as she can remember. But when a new case takes a chillingly familiar turn, Perry finds herself once again in the path of a madman…only this time, there’s nowhere left to run.

Out of their depth and racing against time, Perry and Garrett must learn to trust the desire sparking between them…or risk losing themselves forever to the darkness stalking London’s streets.

And there is a prequel novella to Forged by Desire. It's free until the end of September!

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace
London Steampunk 3.5
Bec McMaster, August 14, 2014

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
Friends, partners, and professionals. So just why is this case coming between them?

In a Victorian London ruled by the blood-drinking elite, Perry Lowell is a logical and accomplished Nighthawk: a rogue blue blood who tracks murderers and thieves for the Guild. So when she and her charming-but-reckless partner, Garrett, are charged with finding a missing theatre starlet, it should be a simple solve.

But with an entire theatre of suspects, including a flirtatious understudy and whispers of a Clockwork Menace haunting the place, tension is brewing between the pair of them. Can they come together to solve the case - or will it be too late, when the murderer turns his gaze on Perry herself?

Warning: This is not a complete HEA. It's a pre-romance novella featuring the couple who will find their HEA in Forged By Desire (available Sept 2014). Heads will butt, tempers will flare - and perhaps one of them might come to realise just what the other truly means to them?

Previously in the Darkest London series

My Lady Quicksilver
London Steampunk 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 1, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
In the mist-shrouded streets of a steam-fueled London, a clockwork army is on the rise, vampire blue bloods rule the streets, and war is brewing...

I Will Come For You...

He will find her no matter what. As a blue-blooded captain of the Nighthawk Guard, his senses are keener than most. Some think he's indestructible. But once he finds the elusive Mercury, what will he do with her?

It's his duty to turn her in—she's a notorious spy and traitor. But after one stolen moment, he can't forget the feel of her in his arms, the taste of her, or the sharp sting of betrayal as she slipped off into the night. Little does Mercury know, no one hunts better than the Nighthawk. And his greatest revenge will be to leave her begging for his touch...

Heart of Iron
London Steampunk 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
In the mist-shrouded streets of London’s dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires and a clockwork army are one step away from battle…

No One to Trust

Dangerous. Unpredictable. That's how people know the hulking Will Carver. And those who don't like pretty words just call him The Beat. No matter how hard Will works to suppress his werewulfen side, certain things drive him beyond all control. And saucy Miss Lena Todd tops the list.

Lena makes the perfect spy against the ruling Echelon blue bloods. No one suspects that under the appearance of flirtatious debutante lies a heart of iron. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't wrap around her finger and the one man whose kiss she can never forget. He's supposed to be protecting her, but he might just be her biggest threat yet...

Tarnished Knight
London Steampunk 1.5
Bec McMasster, April 1, 2013
eNovella, 162 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John ‘Rip’ Doolan, thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realised precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined…

For six months Esme has waited for Rip to recover and take her as his thrall, not daring to hope for more. Too afraid to put her heart on the line, she’s devastated when Rip reveals that he never had any intentions of making her his.

But when a savage gang of Slashers start causing havoc in Whitechapel, Rip and Esme have no choice. They must face up to the depth of the passion that burns between them and forge a new relationship… or risk losing each other forever.

Kiss of Steel
London Steampunk 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
He craves her like no other…

Honoria Todd has no choice. Only in the dreaded Whitechapel district can she escape the long reach of the Duke of Vickers. But seeking refuge there will put her straight into the hands of Blade, legendary master of the rookeries. No one would dare cross him, but what price would he demand to keep her safe?

Ever since Vickers infected him with the craving, Blade has been quicker, stronger, almost immortal—and terrified of losing control of the monster within. Honoria could be his perfect revenge against the duke…or the salvation he never dared to dream of.

About Bec

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. Read more about her at or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.

Interview with Maria Vale, author of The Last WolfThe Last Wolf by Maria Vale - Excerpt and GiveawayGuest Blog by Amanda Bouchet, author of A Promise of FireSpotlight - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet - and Giveaway2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November WinnerExcerpt from Vampires Never Cry Wolf by Sara Humphreys and Giveaway - March 18, 2015Spotlight: Excerpt from Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster and Giveaway! - March 13, 2015Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014Guest Blog by Brooklyn Ann - The intricacies of the Vampire hierarchy - and Giveaway - August 20, 2014

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