close

The Qwillery | category: Tor Books

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

Interview with J. S. Dewes, author of The Last Watch

Please welcome J. S. Dewes to The Qwillery as part of the 2021 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Watch was published on April 20, 2021 by Tor Books.






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

J. S.:  Thank you so much for having me!

I have a problematically terrible memory, and can’t even begin to recall what my first piece of fiction might have been! My first vague memory of writing fiction was probably from third grade or so, when my teacher told us to forget about spelling and grammar and just get our ideas on the page. I think that comment somewhat horrified my mother, haha, but in retrospect it was actually great advice! You can’t revise a blank page, after all. :)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

J. S.:  I definitely started out a full-on pantser, and I discovery wrote all of The Last Watch. However, since then I’ve written two more books and learned a lot more about myself as a writer in the process. Though I wouldn’t say I’ve settled fully, I’m currently pretty much a hybrid. I’ve frankensteined a flexible plot structure from a few different sources that works well for the kind of stories I like to tell, and I’ve used it to help my panster brain craft those pesky outlines editors and agents sometimes want to see.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

J. S.:  Though every phase has its different challenges, I find organizing revisions probably the most difficult. Though I’ve devised a system that works pretty well for me, setting up a revision plan within that system is hugely time consuming, and I definitely wish my brain was able to just contain and process it all at once, and I wouldn’t have to structure it all within a ridiculously detailed organization scheme. Alas.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does script writing affect (or not) your novel writing?

J. S.:  I draw from a wide variety of influences—video games, films and television, concept art (Pinterest & Art Station), and more. Music is a big one—all my story ideas thus far have come from song lyrics, and music is a part of my process during every phase of writing. I love creating playlists for different books, scenes, moods, and characters, and it’s a big part of my creative immersion process. (Which is greatly helpful when you can only squeeze in an hour or two of writing a day!)

And yes, I definitely think script writing had an impact on my novel writing. Though I didn’t fully realize it at the time, looking back I think that experience informed my instincts while pantsing my first couple novels; I didn’t have to undertake any structural edits at any point for The Last Watch, and I think that was in large part due to my understanding of plot and pacing from having written screenplays. There are definitely other relevant skills that transfer, especially things like showing versus telling, characterization, and dialogue.



TQDescribe The Last Watch using only 5 words.

J. S.:  Criminal soldiers fight danger physics!



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

J. S.:  Despite the high concept conveyed in the blurb, the story is actually very tightly focused on the characters and their relationships. Also, there are 144 instances of the F word.



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

J. S.:  The original concept for The Last Watch was inspired by a song lyric! There’s a song I’ve loved for years called “Highwayman” (written by Jimmy Webb, performed by The Highwaymen), with a line: “I’ll fly a starship across the universe divide.” That got me thinking about what might lie outside the confines of the universe, or what might happen if the universe stopped expanding and you tried to find the edge.

Science fiction is great for so many reasons—outer space, aliens, and fun technology not least among them. But when it gets down to it, I love science fiction because it gives you a really unique way to reframe modern issues, allowing you to explore and attack those questions through a different but familiar lens. There’s also just a very specific mix of wonder and fear only science fiction can evoke, and that’s always intrigued me.



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

J. S.:  Quite a lot of research went into The Last Watch! Some of the minor categories were things like military protocol, ordnance, political science, computer & electronic engineering, and I did a fair amount of digging into fusion reactors (specifically ITER.)
      The biggest research category by far was physics, in pretty much every flavor. Physical cosmology was a big one (shape of the universe, components, structure, etc.), as well as gravitational physics, relativity, quantum mechanics, and some specifics regarding zero-g and weightlessness. And math, so much math. I truly dread math, but it’s a necessary evil in the world of physic
     I definitely *over* researched, considering what made it into the actual text. I tried to make my science as “believable” and realistic as possible, while allowing for variation when it best served the story to expand outside of those margins. I didn’t want to alienate readers by going on long technical rants, and wanted the experience to stay focused on the characters and plot, with science and technology as a background. As a result, I think this falls somewhat firmly in the center of hard and soft sci-fi, but we’ll see what the readers think about that. :)



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Last Watch.

J. S.:  I absolutely love how the cover turned out! As soon as my editor suggested the concept, I readily agreed, and couldn’t wait to see it come to fruition. Asking for a depiction of utter annihilation from space and time at the edge of the universe is a pretty big ask, but designer Peter Lutjen...well...annihilated it. Between the contrasting colors, gradient of stars, and surreal depiction of unraveling matter, it perfectly evokes the scope and existential chaos of the setting.



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

J. S.:  I’m lucky in that pretty much all my characters went very easy on me, and I love writing all of them! But if I had to pick one as the easiest, I’d go with Cavalon Mercer, the sarcastic disowned prince who’s one of the two point of view characters. It’s like there’s a switch in my brain I can just flip at will to turn on his voice, and he just flows right out of me and onto the page. Writing from his perspective is so easy, and a total blast!
      The most difficult was probably Griffith Bach. Though he’s not a POV character, he’s definitely in the category of “primary” and I’d (accidentally) wildly underdeveloped him in the early drafts. During revisions my editor encouraged me to flesh him out, and I quickly realized I’d created kind of a cardboard cut-out of a person.
      Most of the time when I’m writing characters, their histories and personalities and secrets come through to me pretty naturally, but that wasn’t so much the case with Griffith. I really had to dig into his backstory and mindset and come up with a lot of “off screen” content in order flesh him out for the final draft. The result was absolutely incredible however, and the way he ties into the plot and other characters now is light-years better than before, so I’m super glad I went to the effort!



TQDoes The Last Watch touch on any social issues?

J. S.:  Yes, definitely! Though the setting of The Last Watch is fairly contained, there are a lot of subplots and hints in the worldbuilding surrounding the social issues prevalent in their society—topics like segregation, discrimination, human rights, as well as moral questions in regards to things like cloning and eugenics. Without getting into spoilers, I can say that the second book in the series delves more deeply into some broader social and political issues, some of which, coincidentally, more directly reflect our own society than I would like. :)



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

J. S.: “Do you want fan art for The Last Watch?”
         Why yes, yes I do!



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

J. S.:  “You do not seem appropriately shocked.”

          “Physics doesn’t really give a shit about your existential disposition, Rake!”



TQWhat's next?

J. S.:  Next up for me is the release of The Exiled Fleet on August 17—the second book in The Divide series and sequel The Last Watch! I’ll also be continuing my “virtual tour” for The Last Watch with some panels and chats with other authors, all of which I’m very much looking forward to!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

J. S.:  Thank you so much for having me!





The Last Watch
The Divide 1
Tor Books, April 20, 2021
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
The Expanse meets Game of Thrones in J. S. Dewes's fast-paced, sci-fi adventure The Last Watch, where a handful of soldiers stand between humanity and annihilation.

Most Anticipated Book for April 2021:
Bookish
Nerd Daily
Geek Tyrant
SFF 180

Amazon Best of the Month April 2021

The Divide.

It’s the edge of the universe.

Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.

The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.

At the Divide, Adequin Rake commands the Argus. She has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted. Her ace in the hole could be Cavalon Mercer--genius, asshole, and exiled prince who nuked his grandfather's genetic facility for “reasons.”

She knows they’re humanity's last chance.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Upcoming

The Exiled Fleet
The Divide 2
Tor Books, August 17, 2021
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
J. S. Dewes continues her fast paced, science fiction action adventure with The Exiled Fleet, where The Expanse meets The Black Company—the survivors of The Last Watch refuse to die.

The Sentinels narrowly escaped the collapsing edge of the Divide.

They have mustered a few other surviving Sentinels, but with no engines they have no way to leave the edge of the universe before they starve.

Adequin Rake has gathered a team to find the materials they'll need to get everyone out.

To do that they're going to need new allies and evade a ruthless enemy. Some of them will not survive.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





About J. S. Dewes
Photo by Dave Dewes

After graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in film production, J. S. Dewes went on to serve as cinematographer for independent films, write, produce, and shoot a zombie musical, slay internet dragons, and act as lighting designer for presidents and presidential-hopefuls so many times it became mundane. Having grown weary of such pedestrian exploits, she decided to begin forging worlds in the form of novels, returning to her roots in science fiction and the written word.

She currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, who’s proven to be a mixed blessing, but he makes her laugh, so she’s decided to stick it out. They have two dogs (full blessings) and a cat of unpredictable demeanor. The Last Watch is her debut novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @jsdewes


Interview with Marina Lostetter

Please welcome Marina Lostetter back to The Qwillery. The Helm of Mindnight, the first novel in the The Five Penalties series, was published on April 13, 2021 by Tor Books.







TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery! When we first chatted in 2017 you answered the questions regarding the most challenging thing for you about writing as follows:

"The upside to plotting for me is the focus it brings to drafting a story--the words flow well once I know where I'm going and what I'm trying to say. The downside is my tendency to try to bend the characters to fit the plot. I often write myself into corners because I want events to happen a certain way, but it doesn’t make sense for the characters to make the choices I want them to. " [Interview here.]

What has changed as far as writing challenges for you?

Marina:  Everything above still holds true. There is one new challenge I've encountered now that I'm five novels into my career, and that's coming to terms with the fact that each novel writing experience is completely different. I'll start out thinking, I can write this really quickly--draft it efficiently--because I've written a novel before, I know exactly how this will go, but then, inevitably, each book has its own nuances that make drafting completely different process than before. Either I'm trying to tackle a structure that's different, or I'm writing a character that just won't "behave," or thematically things just won't fit together easily. Each creative project is unique unto itself.



TQ:  What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when your first novel was published that you know now?

Marina:  Book releases are exhausting! There's a lot involved in a writing career besides butt-in-chair writing time. The more writing you do, the more "authoring" you do as well.



TQ:  Your prior novels have been Science Fiction. The Helm of Midnight is your first fantasy novel. What appeals to you about writing fantasy?

Marina:  I love the freedom of magic. The ability to create in-depth histories and versions of "physics" that have very little to do with reality. I can make monsters, I can make gods, I can built impossible cities.



TQ:  Describe The Helm of Midnight using only 5 words.

Marina:  I'm going to steal five words from some of the wonderful authors who blurbed the book: Bloody, ambitious, mind-ripping, beautiful, and vicious.



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

Marina:  The valley of Arkensyre, in which the story takes place, is sealed off from the outside world. It's protected by the gods from the wastelands, where all manner of monsters roam. Only one kind of monster can make it past the god-barrier, and that's varger--hulking creatures that look half-bear, half-dog, which are covered in boils and only have a taste for human flesh. They can't be killed, just reduced to a fog and bottled away in enchanted glass.

But they might not all be as monstrous as they seem.



TQ:  Does The Helm of Midnight, the first novel in The Five Penalties series, share anything thematically with your Noumenon SF series?

Marina:  I tend to write about characters trying to do their best and be better people, even when their "best" is sincerely awful. Also, in the Noumenon series, the characters start out thinking physics is behaving one way, when really it's behaving very differently. Similarly, the magic system in The Helm of Midnight appears to function a certain way, but there are layers to its functionality that have yet to be discovered.



TQ:  Please tell us about the cover for The Helm of Midnight.

Marina:  Sam Weber is the cover artists. On the front we see a Regulator (essentially a lawperson in charge of overseeing enchantments) in a very specific version of their uniform. White is reserved for a special occasion. I play a lot with color meaning in The Helm of Midnight.



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

Marina:  Melanie came the most naturally to me, but that might be because I've "known" her the longest. She featured in the original short story The Helm of Midnight is based on, which I wrote a decade ago now. Individually, Krona and her sister, De-Lia, weren't that difficult to write, but I'd say their relationship was one of the toughest to get right. They have a very push-and-pull kind of sisterhood. Sometimes they're rivals, sometimes they're codependent, but there's a lot of love and respect between them, even when their relationship is rocky.



TQ:  Does The Helm of Midnight touch on any social issues?

Marina:  Part of The Helm of Midnight deals with being a cog in a bad system, and how society can push us to do things we might not otherwise do. Thematically it asks things like, what are our individual roles in upholding broken systems? In what ways can we use bad systems to try to do good things regardless? At what point are we truly bad people, and the system doesn't matter? Does intent matter? Do the ends ever justify truly terrible means?

There's also a lot of focus on bodily autonomy.



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

Marina:  I wish more people would ask about the deities, because the Valley's creation myth and the gods' roles aren't just set dressing or back story. They're extremely integral to the plot of the first novel, as well as the over-arching plot of the trilogy. Essentially, the Valley has five gods, which correspond to the five kinds of magic: Time, Nature, Knowledge, Emotion, and the Unknown. But there's also a sixth deity, the Thalo. The Thalo created the world and the monsters, but not the humans. It sees humans as unfit, poorly formed abominations. Its sinister influence is a constant drive in The Five Penalties series.



TQ:  What's next?

Marina:  I have another book coming out this year! ACTIVATION DEGRADATION is releasing on September 28, 2021. It's a thriller-esque sci fi novel set in Jovian space, featuring soft robots, queer space pirates, action-adventure, and unreliable narration.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Marina:  Thank you so much for having me!





The Helm of Midnight
The Five Penalties 1
Tor Books, April 13, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages
Hannibal meets Mistborn in Marina Lostetter’s THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, the dark and stunning first novel in a new trilogy that combines the intricate worldbuilding and rigorous magic system of the best of epic fantasy with a dark and chilling thriller.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power—the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





About Marina

Marina J. Lostetter (she/her) is the author of Noumenon and Noumenon: Infinity. This is her first foray into fantasy. Originally from Oregon, she now resides in Arkansas with her husband, Alex. When not writing or drawing she can often be found reading spec-fic, or playing it (she enjoys a good zombie-themed board game now and again). And she does it all while globetrotting. Visit her online at https://lostetter.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @MarinaLostetter.









Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars


We hope you have been visiting the websites/blogs hosting Parts 1, 2 or 3 of the excerpt over the past three days, but in case you've missed it here is the entire excerpt from To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. The novel will be published in September by Tor Books.



Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars




         Cold fear shot through Kira’s gut.
         Together, she and Alan scrambled into their clothes. Kira spared a second of thought for her strange dream—everything felt strange at the moment—and then they hurried out of the cabin and rushed over toward Neghar’s quarters.
         As they approached, Kira heard hacking: a deep, wet, ripping sound that made her imagine raw flesh going through a shredder. She shuddered.
         Neghar was standing in the middle of the hallway with the others gathered around her, doubled over, hands on her knees, coughing so hard Kira could hear her vocal cords fraying. Fizel was next to her, hand on her back. “Keep breathing,” he said. “We’ll get you to sickbay. Jenan! Alan! Grab her arms, help carry her. Quickly now, qu—”
         Neghar heaved, and Kira heard a loud, distinct snap from inside the woman’s narrow chest.
         Black blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, painting the deck in a wide fan.
         Marie-Élise shrieked, and several people retched. The fear from Kira’s dream returned, intensified. This was bad. This was dangerous. “We have to go,” she said, and tugged on Alan’s sleeve. But he wasn’t listening.
         “Back!” Fizel shouted. “Everyone back! Someone get the Extenuating Circumstances on the horn. Now!”
         “Clear the way!” Mendoza bellowed.
         More blood sprayed from Neghar’s mouth, and she dropped to one knee. The whites of her eyes were freakishly wide. Her face was crimson, and her throat worked as if she were choking.
         “Alan,” said Kira. Too late; he was moving to help Fizel.
         She took a step back. Then another. No one noticed; they were all looking at Neghar, trying to figure out what to do while staying out of the way of the blood flying from her mouth.
         Kira felt like screaming at them to leave, to run, to escape.
         She shook her head and pressed her fists against her mouth, scared blood was going to erupt out of her as well. Her head felt as if it were about to burst, and her skin was crawling with horror: a thousand ants skittering over every centimeter. Her whole body itched with revulsion.
         Jenan and Alan tried to lift Neghar back to her feet. She shook her head and gagged. Once. Twice. And then she spat a clot of something onto the deck. It was too dark to be blood. Too liquid to be metal.
         Kira dug her fingers into her arm, scrubbing at it as a scream of revulsion threatened to erupt out of her.
        Neghar collapsed backwards. Then the clot moved. It twitched like a clump of muscle hit with an electrical current.
        People shouted and jumped away. Alan retreated toward Kira, never taking his eyes off the unformed lump.
        Kira dry-heaved. She took another step back. Her arm was burning: thin lines of fire squirming across her skin.
        She looked down.
        Her nails had carved furrows in her flesh, crimson gashes that ended with crumpled strips of skin. And within the furrows, she saw another something twitch.
  
         Kira fell to the floor, screaming. The pain was all-consuming. That much she was aware of. It was the only thing she was aware of.
        She arched her back and thrashed, clawing at the floor, desperate to escape the onslaught of agony. She screamed again; she screamed so hard her voice broke and a slick of hot blood coated her throat.
        She couldn’t breathe. The pain was too intense. Her skin was burning, and it felt as if her veins were filled with acid and her flesh was tearing itself from her limbs.
        Dark shapes blocked the light overhead as people moved around her. Alan’s face appeared next to her. She thrashed again, and she was on her stomach, her cheek pressed flat against the hard surface.
        Her body relaxed for a second, and she took a single, gasping breath before going rigid and loosing a silent howl. The muscles of her face cramped with the force of her rictus, and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.
        Hands turned her over. They gripped her arms and legs, holding them in place. It did nothing to stop the pain.
        “Kira!”
        She forced her eyes open and, with blurry vision, saw Alan and, behind him, Fizel leaning toward her with a hypo. Farther back, Jenan, Yugo, and Seppo were pinning her legs to the floor, while Ivanova and Marie-Élise helped Neghar away from the clot on the deck.
        “Kira! Look at me! Look at me!”
        She tried to reply, but all she succeeded in doing was uttering a strangled whimper.
        Then Fizel pressed the hypo against her shoulder. Whatever he injected didn’t seem to have any effect. Her heels drummed against the floor, and she felt her head slam against the deck, again and again.
         “Jesus, someone help her,” Alan cried.
         “Watch out!” shouted Seppo. “That thing on the floor is moving! Shi—”
         “Sickbay,” said Fizel. “Get her to sickbay. Now! Pick her up. Pick—”
         The walls swam around her as they lifted her. Kira felt like she was being strangled. She tried to inhale, but her muscles were too cramped. Red sparks gathered around the edges of her vision as Alan and the others carried her down the hallway. She felt as if she were floating; everything seemed insubstantial except the pain and her fear.
         A jolt as they dropped her onto Fizel’s exam table. Her abdomen relaxed for a second, just long enough for Kira to steal a breath before her muscles locked back up.
         “Close the door! Keep that thing out!” A thunk as the sickbay pressure lock engaged.
         “What’s happening?” said Alan. “Is—”
         “Move!” shouted Fizel. Another hypo pressed against Kira’s neck.
         As if in response, the pain tripled, something she wouldn’t have believed possible. A low groan escaped her, and she jerked, unable to control the motion. She could feel foam gathering in her mouth, clogging her throat. She gagged and convulsed.
         “Shit. Get me an injector. Other drawer. No, other drawer!”
         “Doc—”
         “Not now!”
         “Doc, she isn’t breathing!”
         Equipment clattered, and then fingers forced Kira’s jaw apart, and someone jammed a tube into her mouth, down her throat. She gagged again. A moment later, sweet, precious air poured into her lungs, sweeping aside the curtain darkening her vision.
         Alan was hovering over her, his face contorted with worry.
         Kira tried to talk. But the only sound she could make was an inarticulate groan.
         “You’re going to be okay,” said Alan. “Just hold on. Fizel’s going to help you.” He looked as if he were about to cry.
         Kira had never been so afraid. Something was wrong inside her, and it was getting worse.
         Run, she thought. Run! Get away from here before—
         Dark lines shot across her skin: black lightning bolts that twisted and squirmed as if alive. Then they froze in place, and where each one lay, her skin split and tore, like the carapace of a molting insect.
         Kira’s fear overflowed, filling her with a feeling of utter and inescapable doom. If she could have screamed, her cry would have reached the stars.





To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Tor Books, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 880 pages

Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of finding life on new worlds.

Now she has awakened a nightmare.

While exploring a distant planet, she discovers an alien relic that thrusts her into an epic journey of transformation and discovery.

Her odyssey will carry her to the far reaches of the galaxy.


Earth and her colonies are on the brink of annihilation.

One woman.

        The will to survive.

               The hope of humanity.


This epic novel follows Kira Navárez, who, during a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and the nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity take her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her ? but the entire course of history.





About the Author

Full Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of 19, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt


The Qwillery is thrilled to share with you the second excerpt from the adult debut of Christopher PaoliniTo Sleep in the Sea of Stars.

The first excerpt was posted yesterday with the third being posted tomorrow. All of the participating websites and blogs will post the entire excerpt on Friday, May 29, 2020!



To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt




        Kira dug her fingers into her arm, scrubbing at it as a scream of revulsion threatened to erupt out of her.
        Neghar collapsed backwards. Then the clot moved. It twitched like a clump of muscle hit with an electrical current.
        People shouted and jumped away. Alan retreated toward Kira, never taking his eyes off the unformed lump.
        Kira dry-heaved. She took another step back. Her arm was burning: thin lines of fire squirming across her skin.
        She looked down.
        Her nails had carved furrows in her flesh, crimson gashes that ended with crumpled strips of skin. And within the furrows, she saw another something twitch.


        Kira fell to the floor, screaming. The pain was all-consuming. That much she was aware of. It was the only thing she was aware of.
        She arched her back and thrashed, clawing at the floor, desperate to escape the onslaught of agony. She screamed again; she screamed so hard her voice broke and a slick of hot blood coated her throat.
        She couldn’t breathe. The pain was too intense. Her skin was burning, and it felt as if her veins were filled with acid and her flesh was tearing itself from her limbs.
        Dark shapes blocked the light overhead as people moved around her. Alan’s face appeared next to her. She thrashed again, and she was on her stomach, her cheek pressed flat against the hard surface.
        Her body relaxed for a second, and she took a single, gasping breath before going rigid and loosing a silent howl. The muscles of her face cramped with the force of her rictus, and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.
        Hands turned her over. They gripped her arms and legs, holding them in place. It did nothing to stop the pain.
        “Kira!”
        She forced her eyes open and, with blurry vision, saw Alan and, behind him, Fizel leaning toward her with a hypo. Farther back, Jenan, Yugo, and Seppo were pinning her legs to the floor, while Ivanova and Marie-Élise helped Neghar away from the clot on the deck.
        “Kira! Look at me! Look at me!”
        She tried to reply, but all she succeeded in doing was uttering a strangled whimper.
        Then Fizel pressed the hypo against her shoulder. Whatever he injected didn’t seem to have any effect. Her heels drummed against the floor, and she felt her head slam against the deck, again and again.





To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Tor Books, September 15, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 880 pages

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of finding life on new worlds.

Now she has awakened a nightmare.

While exploring a distant planet, she discovers an alien relic that thrusts her into an epic journey of transformation and discovery.

Her odyssey will carry her to the far reaches of the galaxy.


Earth and her colonies are on the brink of annihilation.

One woman.

        The will to survive.

               The hope of humanity.


This epic novel follows Kira Navárez, who, during a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and the nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity take her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her ? but the entire course of history.





About the Author

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An Excerpt
Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of 19, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.





Chaos and Cosmos Campaign Launched by Tom Doherty Associates


THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT
TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES LAUNCHES CHAOS AND COSMOS SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY CAMPAIGN FEATURING AWARD-WINNING & DEBUT AUTHORS

New York, NY [March 24, 2020] – Tom Doherty Associates is proudly launching the Chaos and Cosmos campaign, featuring a twelve speculative fiction books by fan favorite authors and new voices from the Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing imprints.

2019 saw the release of multiple media properties that defied convention and made a name for themselves amongst the stars, from Parasite’s legendary Oscar sweep to Billie Eilish’ age-defying wins at the Grammys, and the record breaking close of the new Star Wars trilogy. In keeping with the fan demand for complex, nuanced content, Tom Doherty Associates is launching their Chaos and Cosmos campaign to run through the remainder of 2020.

Featured authors include Kit Rocha (Deal with the Devil), S.A. Hunt (I Come With Knives), Alaya Dawn Johnson (Trouble the Saints), Kate Elliott (Unconquerable Sun), Mary Robinette Kowal (The Relentless Moon), Ryan Van Loan (The Sin in the Steel), Jenn Lyons (The Memory of Souls), Andrea Hairston (Master of Poisons), Christopher Paolini (To Sleep in a Sea of Stars), S.L. Huang (Burning Roses), Cory Doctorow (Attack Surface), and V.E. Schwab (The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue). This illustrious group of writers includes bestsellers, award-winners, scholars, and influencers. Through this campaign, the authors will have a combined organic reach of nearly a million.

The Chaos and Cosmos campaign will include extensive outreach to social media influencers, a robust marketing and advertising campaign with outlets like Den of Geek, The Mary Sue, and Tor.com, exclusive content from select participating authors, and Chaos and Cosmos branded panels at conventions and events throughout the year. Fans can follow along with #ChaosAndCosmos.

Chaos and Cosmos Campaign Launched by Tom Doherty Associates

GET TO KNOW THE AUTHORS OF CHAOS AND COSMOS

Kit Rocha, author of Deal with the Devil
Kit Rocha is the pseudonym for the author duo Donna Herren (@totallydonna) and Bree Bridges (@mostlybree). They are best known for their gritty and sexy dystopian BEYOND series, and were the first indie authors to receive a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. They currently live three miles apart in Alabama and spend their non-writing time caring for a menagerie of animals and crafting handmade jewelry, all of which is chronicled on their various social media accounts

S.A. Hunt, author of I Come With Knives
S. A. HUNT is a U.S. veteran, speculative fiction author, and Winner of Reddit.com/r/Fantasy's "Independent Novel of the Year" Award. They live in Petoskey, Michigan. Burn the Dark is the first volume in their Malus Domestica series, followed by the sequel I Come with Knives.

Alaya Dawn Johnson, author of Trouble the Saints
ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON has been recognized for her short fiction and YA novels, winning the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” which also appears in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (2015), guest edited by Joe Hill. Her debut YA novel, The Summer Prince, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Her follow up YA novel, Love is the Drug, won the Andre Norton Award in 2015. A native of Washington, D.C., Johnson is currently based in Mexico City, where she received a masters degree in Mesoamerican studies and now plays in a bossa nova band.

Kate Elliott, author of Unconquerable Sun
Kate Elliott is the author of twenty-five fantasy and science fiction novels, including a YA fantasy trilogy (begun with Court of Fives), the acclaimed science fiction novel Jaran, and a short fiction collection, The Very Best of Kate Elliott. Born in Oregon, she now lives in Hawaii. You can find her online at kateelliott.com, imakeupworlds.com, Facebook, and @KateElliottSFF on Twitter.

Mary Robinette Kowal, author of The Relentless Moon
Mary Robinette Kowal, author of The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, is a professional puppeteer and voice actor who has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, and Jim Henson Pictures. Her design work has garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve, and was the previous vice-president and secretary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Mary is an accomplished storyreader and has recorded the audiobooks for most of her novels.

Ryan Van Loan, author of The Sin in the Steel
RYAN VAN LOAN served six years in the US Army Infantry, on the front lines of Afghanistan. He now works in healthcare innovation. The Sin in the Steel is his debut novel. Van Loan and his wife live in Pennsylvania.

Jenn Lyons, author of The Memory of Souls
Jenn Lyons lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, three cats, and a nearly infinite number of opinions on anything from Sumerian mythology to the correct way to make a martini. Formerly a video game producer, she now spends her days writing fantasy. A long-time devotee of storytelling, she traces her geek roots back to playing first edition Dungeons & Dragons in grade school and reading her way from A to Z in the school's library.

Andrea Hairston, author of Master of Poisons
Andrea Hairston is a novelist, essayist, playwright, and the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre. She is the author of Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the 2011 Tiptree Award and the Carl Brandon Kindred Award, and Mindscape, shortlisted for the Phillip K Dick and Tiptree Awards, and winner of the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. In her spare time, she is the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Afro-American Studies at Smith College. She has received the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award for outstanding contributions to the criticism of the fantastic. She bikes at night year-round, meeting bears, multi-legged creatures of light and breath, and the occasional shooting star.

Christopher Paolini, author of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of nineteen, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritence Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is his first adult novel.

S.L. Huang, author of Burning Roses
S.L. Huang has a math degree from MIT and is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman who has worked in Hollywood on Battlestar Galactica and a number of other productions. Huang's short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Nature, Daily Science Fiction, and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016. She is the author of Zero Sum Game, Null Set, and Critical Point.

Cory Doctorow, author of Attack Surface
CORY DOCTOROW is a regular contributor to The Guardian, Locus, and many other publications. His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller, as is its sequel, Homeland. His novella collection Radicalized was a CBC Best Fiction of 2019 selection. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.

V.E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue
VICTORIA “V.E.” SCHWAB is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, Villains series, This Savage Song, and Our Dark Duet. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post and more, translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she’s not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

###

About Tom Doherty Associates

Tom Doherty Associates (TDA)—better known by its imprint of Tor Books, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover, trade softcover and mass market books founded in 1980. Imprints include Tor Books; one of the leading publishers in science fiction, fantasy, and horror since 1980, Forge Books; committed to publishing quality thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction and general fiction, Tor Teen and Starscape; dedicated to publishing quality science fiction, fantasy and contemporary fiction for young readers, Tor.com Publishing; publishes original fiction, art, and commentary on fantasy, science fiction, and related subjects across all media by a wide range of writers from all corners of the field

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, was founded in 1980 and committed to quality speculative literature. Between an extensive hardcover, trade softcover and mass market paperback line, a growing middle grade and YA list, and robust backlist program, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy produced by a single English-language publisher. Books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, including Best Publisher in the Locus Poll for 31 years in a row.

About Tor.com Publishing
Tor.com publishes original fiction, art, and commentary on fantasy, science fiction, and related subjects across all media by a wide range of writers from all corners of the field—including professionals working in the genres as well as fans. In addition to the short fiction published free online, Tor.com also publishes novellas & the occasional novel. The aim of the site is to provoke, encourage, and enable interesting and rewarding conversations with and among our readers. Tor.com debuted online July 20, 2008 and currently reaches 3 million readers a month.

Interview with Brian D. Anderson, author of The Bard's Blade


Please welcome Brian D. Anderson to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Bard's Blade is published on January 28, 2020 by Tor Books.



Interview with Brian D. Anderson, author of The Bard's Blade




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

Brian:  Oh lord! It was a humiliating experience. I was roughly eleven or twelve and had just finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time. It was an old copy my uncle kept in his childhood bedroom at my grandparent’s house. He was a huge science fiction and fantasy fan back in the 60’s and was more than happy to let me have it.

The very day I read the final page, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was convinced I could do what Tolkien had done. I felt it in my heart. Sadly, that’s all I had: heart. No skill whatsoever. I’m not sure if a pre-teen boy can suffer the Dunning/Kruger effect. But I banged out about five pages of what I thought to be a work of unadulterated brilliance.

This opinion of myself was shattered when I showed my uncle and watched him read it. A grin became a smile, that became a chuckle, that became full blown laughter. He wasn’t trying to be mean. He’s a sweet man. But I was going on and on how I was going to be the next Tolkien, and the proof was in my hands. He simply couldn’t stop himself. I told him I’d keep trying. But my feelings were hurt more than I let on, and I didn’t write again for many years.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Brian:  I started as a pantser, and was for a long time. These days, I find plotting makes life so much easier. That’s not to say an outline is a suicide pact. It’s not chiseled in stone. If I think of a better idea, I’ll go with it, which makes me a bit of a hybrid, I suppose.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Brian:  There’s nothing really all that challenging anymore, at least as it pertains to the work itself. Not in the way it was as a novice. After nearly twenty books I have established my own style, voice, and methods. And I spend plenty of time reading so I can pick up a few new tricks. And I think I am flexible enough to change when the situation calls for it.

The real challenge is not taking on too much as once – balancing writing with my personal life. I have a tendency to overload myself with projects. When I do, my health (both physical and mental) suffers. It’s not conducive to a happy family situation.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Brian:  Hard to say. I’m definitely inspired by other writers. And while I’m sure they influence me, I don’t think I know when it’s happening. It’s too much in the realm of the subliminal for me to be aware of it. In fact, I’m frequently surprised by the comparisons to other authors I get from readers. It’s rarely who I think it will be.



TQDescribe The Bard's Blade using only 5 words.

Brian:  Fantasy adventure everyone should read 😊



TQTell us something about The Bard's Blade that is not found in the book description.

Brian:  Though it’s written as an adult fantasy, I wanted it to be accessible to everyone. It’s not YA, but readers of all ages can enjoy it.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Bard's Blade? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Brian:  It actually came as a result of a failed attempt at writing flash fiction. I needed a distraction, so I entered a contest. The piece was based on fan art, and was supposed to be no more than three-hundred words. While I could not keep it that short and was therefore disqualified, by the end I’d come up with the basic plot and characters for The Bard’s Blade.

What appeals to me most about writing fantasy is the freedom. I can create any type of world I want. I get to touch on social issues in a way that is relevant without being preachy or ham fisted. Things that are often difficult or awkward to talk about can be reframed in a fantasy setting so to allow for nuance and depth. The writer can take the challenges of the modern world and insert them into their narrative without the appearance of bias or malice.

Just look at the way fantasy has grown. You have Asian, African, LGBTQ, South American, Native American, among other types of fantasy that have joined in with European based fantasy as a welcome addition, rather than a contentious rival. The new and the traditional walk hand in hand. I can’t name another genre that can boast this level of enthusiastic acceptance by both creators and readers alike.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Bard's Blade?

Brian:  None. It didn’t require any. I understood the technology I intended to use. And the rest was a complete invention. Well…I did look up the organizational structure of the Roman Catholic Church. But that was more to confirm what I already knew.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Bard's Blade.

Brian:  Felix Ortiz brought his spectacular talent to bear on this. It doesn’t depict a scene. But it absolutely captures the mood and tone.



TQIn The Bard's Blade who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Brian:  Remarkably, it was Mariyah. I know it should have been Lem. We have a lot in common. But I connected more with Mariyah. I knew what she would feel and do in any given situation. I couldn’t tell you why. I just did.

The hardest was Loria Camdon. Her personality and life experience are highly complex. I didn’t want to write a stereotypical hard ass female – humorless, pragmatic, tough as nails, fearless, and sometimes mean as hell. She needed balance. Only then would she be like a real person to whom the reader could relate. It wasn’t easy. But in the end I think I accomplished my goal.



TQWhich question about The Bard's Blade do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Brian:  How many people should I tell to buy and read The Bard’s Blade?

All the people! That’s how many.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Bard's Blade.

Brian:

Knowledge is like the first step down a long road. All you can see is the ground at your feet. What lies ahead is shrouded in darkness until you find the courage to walk on.

Book of Kylor, Chapter One, Verse Fifty-Three


Injustice is the garden in which the seed of misery is sown.

Book of Kylor, Chapter Three, Verse Twenty-Eight



TQWhat's next?

Brian:  A Chorus of Fire is written and out of copy editing. So mainly, I’m finishing up with my indie works, along with A Sword’s Elegy, final book of The Sorcerer’s Song. After that I have a new series in mind, of which I have 80k words written. The world is vast and extremely complex on a scale I’ve never attempted. So I’m excited to dive in deep.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Bard's Blade
The Sorcerer's Song 1
Tor Books, January 28, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Brian D. Anderson, author of The Bard's Blade
The Bard's Blade is the start of the new Sorcerer's Song fantasy adventure series from Brian D. Anderson, bestselling author of The Godling Chronicles and Dragonvein.

Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she's a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together.

Then a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, bringing a dark prophecy that forces Lem and Mariyah down separate paths. How far will they have to go to stop a rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?





About Brian

Interview with Brian D. Anderson, author of The Bard's Blade
BRIAN D. ANDERSON is the indie-bestselling fantasy author of The Godling Chronicles, Dragonvein, and Akiri (with co-author Steven Savile) series. His books have sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide and his audiobooks are perennially popular. After a fifteen year long career in music, he rediscovered his boyhood love of writing. It was soon apparent that this was what he should have been pursuing all along. Currently, he lives in the sleepy southern town of Fairhope, Alabama with his wife and son, who inspire him daily.





Website  ~  Twitter @BrianDAnderson7

The Stormlight Archive 4 Coming in November 2020



TOR BOOKS ANNOUNCES THE ON-SALE DATE FOR BESTSELLING AUTHOR BRANDON SANDERSON’S NEW BOOK IN 
THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE

Tor Books is thrilled to announce the on-sale date for #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson’s long-awaited new book in The Stormlight Archive. This exciting all-new novel in the beloved epic fantasy series will go on sale November 17, 2020, and is now available for pre-order.

Fans across the world have been eagerly awaiting the release of this next thrilling chapter in Sanderson’s saga that began with the bestselling The Way of Kings (recently named one of the Best Fantasy Novels of the 2010s by Paste), and continued with the #1 New York Times bestsellers Words of Radiance and Oathbringer.

Together, The Stormlight Archive books have sold 4 million copies in all formats, speaking to their wide-reaching appeal and Sanderson’s devoted legions of readers.

Sanderson has been widely praised for the world-building and magic system he has created in this epic fantasy series: welcome to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

Of this new entry in the saga, Sanderson says, “It has been almost twenty years since I first outlined The Stormlight Archive.  Back then, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in this crazy epic I’d devised--and it’s been so thrilling to see enthusiasm for it grow to such heights over the years.  Book four finally gets to one of the foundational scenes I conceived from the beginning. In fact, it might be the very first big scene I imagined, and my favorite in the entire series.  A part of me can’t believe people are finally going to be able to read it. Less than one year now! Life before death, Radiants.”

Visit https://read.macmillan.com/torforge/stormlight-archive-4-by-brandon-sanderson/ for exciting updates and news about The Stormlight Archive and Brandon Sanderson.

About Brandon Sanderson
BRANDON SANDERSON grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. He is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn trilogy and its sequels,The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and The Bands of Mourning; The Stormlight Archive novels The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and Oathbringer; and other novels, including The Rithmatist, and Steelheart. In 2013 he won the Hugo Award for The Emperor’s Soul, a novella set in the world of his acclaimed first novel, Elantris. Additionally, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time® sequence. For behind-the-scenes information on all his books, visit brandonsanderson.com.

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, is a New York-based publisher of bestselling and critically acclaimed fiction in all formats. Founded in 1980, Tor publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of award-winning science fiction and fantasy, with its books receiving every major award in the SF and Fantasy field. Tor has been named Best Publisher 30 years in a row in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC Authors


Here are some of the upcoming novels by formerly featured Debut Author Challenge (DAC) Authors. The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.


K. A. Doore (2019)

The Impossible Contract
Chronicles of Ghadid 2
Tor Books, November 12, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

The Impossible Contract is the second book in K. A. Doore's high fantasy adventure series the Chronicles of Ghadid, where a determined assassin travels to the heart of the Empire in pursuit of a powerful mark, for fans of Robin Hobb, Sarah J. Maas, and S. A. Chakraborty

An assassin’s reputation can mean life or death.

This holds especially true for Thana Basbowen, daughter of the legendary Serpent, who rules over Ghadid’s secret clan of assassins. When a top-tier contract drops in her lap — death orders against foreign ambassador Heru Sametket — Thana seizes the opportunity.

Yet she may be in over her head. Heru wields blasphemous powers against his enemies, and Thana isn’t the only person after his life: even the undead pursue him, leaving behind a trail of horror. Her mission leads her on a journey to the heart of a power-hungry empire, where dangers lurk around every corner. Her only ally is Mo, a determined healer set to protect Ghadid any way she can.

As further occult secrets are unleashed, however, the aftermath of this impossible contract may be more than anyone can handle.

The Chronicles of Ghadid
#1: The Perfect Assassin
#2: The Impossible Contract
#3: The Unconquered City


Book 1





Mark Lawrence (2011)

Dispel Illusion
Impossible Times 3
47North, December 31, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 238 pages

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.
Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.


Book 1
Book 2





Kristyn Merbeth (2016)

Fortuna
The Nova Vita Protocol 1
Orbit, November 5th 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook 560 pages

Fortuna launches a new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.

Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.

Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente, Fortuna introduces a dazzling new voice in science fiction.

Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars


Please welcome Sarah Gailey to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Magic for Liars is published on June 4, 2019 by Tor Books.



Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars




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

Sarah:  The very first piece of fiction I ever wrote was a short story for a Young Authors contest at my elementary school. I was in first grade, and I wrote a story about a guy named Bob who saved the Queen of England from being killed by a wave of acid. I was really into the idea of being the queen of something at the time, because I figured being a queen was a lot like being the president, but with more gold and access to cool frogs.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sarah:  For long fiction, I’m a hardcore plotter. I have lengthy spreadsheets that help me keep track of story beats. For short fiction, I’m a little more of a pantser — I have an idea of where I want the story to go, and I let it happen however it wants to happen.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sarah:  I struggle a lot with remembering to describe what people look like. I think part of that is because I have such a hard time remembering faces — I generally remember a person by their mannerisms, or their sense of humor. So when I’m trying to tell a reader what a character looks like, I tend to talk about things like their walk and their neck and their perfume, and then my poor editor has to remind me that people also have faces.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sarah:  This might sound silly, but my writing is heavily influenced by television. I pay close attention to the way TV writers structure narrative beats, plot development, and character arcs. Bringing those elements into my writing helps me craft stories that readers can stay invested in. I also pull a lot from contemporary horror, a genre that I think is exquisite at establishing stakes and then raising them higher and higher. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention some of my biggest narrative influences: Mario Puzo, Erin Morgenstern, and of course, Clive Barker.



TQDescribe Magic for Liars using only 5 words.

Sarah:  Angst-Ridden Magical School Noir.



TQTell us something about Magic for Liars that is not found in the book description.

Sarah:  There’s a significant focus in the book on consent and bodily autonomy. A lot of magical narratives ignore a person’s right to decide what happens to their body, and I think that’s worth exploring. For instance, the leg-locker spell in HARRY POTTER — a spell that locks the victim’s legs straight and together, so they can’t walk. This spell is treated as mild, nonthreatening, and relatively harmless (if inconvenient). In practice, though, a spell like this would be viscerally harmful. It’s a spell that immobilizes and pronates a person without their consent. In much of MAGIC FOR LIARS, I explore the consequences of such casual disregard for bodily autonomy.



TQWhat inspired you to write Magic for Liars?

Sarah:  A challenge: my agent, DongWon Song, said ‘I bet you can’t do it.’ (He is very artful, and often tricks me into doing hard things using this method.)



TQWhat appealed to you about combining Contemporary Fantasy with Noir?

Sarah:  I think there’s an angle on the magical school narrative that can be very bright and optimistic. This is understandable — adding magic to a standard school narrative is, in many ways, an attempt to make the idea of adolescence more bearable. That said, there is a dark underbelly to every story, Noir tends to be very interested in exploring the different ways people can hurt each other, and I was captured by the idea of exploring the way magic might change the harm we inflict upon each other.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Magic for Liars?

Sarah:  I spent a lot of time talking to a doctor who performs abortions. I could not have written this book without the information she gave me about different types of abortions and abortion ethics. Her insights were absolutely crucial. I also did a lot of reading about the practice of private investigation, and the ethics of investigating crimes committed by minors.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Magic for Liars.

Sarah:  The cover art for this book is by Will Staehl, who is absolutely brilliant. The central graphic references the disorienting perspective of the book, and the unreliability of the narrative. Nothing in this book is what it first appears to be, and the truth is never simple. Between the optical-illusion-style graphic and the vibrating colors that outline it, Staehl managed to capture that feeling beautifully.



TQIn Magic for Liars who was the easiest character to write and why?

Sarah:  I had a great time writing Rahul Chaudhary, the Physical Magic teacher at Osthorne Academy for Young Mages. He is Ivy Gamble’s window into the world of the faculty at the school, and also becomes a romantic interest. Writing him was easy, because his character is fundamentally good-hearted (unlike most of the characters in the book). Being able to write someone who is doing his best to do good in the world was incredibly refreshing.



TQDoes Magic for Liars touch on any social issues?

Sarah:  Absolutely. MAGIC FOR LIARS touches on classism, especially in academia; it also looks at consent and reproductive rights. Teens in this book deal with healthy and unhealthy perspectives on sex and sexuality. The protagonist struggles with alcoholism and isolation, both of which point toward her struggles with mental health. There are several queer characters in the book as well.



TQWhich question about Magic for Liars do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sarah:  I wish someone would ask me about the differences between the first draft and the final draft, because answering that question gives me the chance to gas up my brilliant editor, Miriam Weinberg. She took this book further than I ever thought it would be able to go. In the first draft of MAGIC FOR LIARS, I held back, fearful of what would happen if I made any character suffer too much. Miriam stripped away the safety nets I’d set up for the reader, and the result is a book that feels infinitely less tentative.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Magic for Liars.

Sarah:

“I couldn’t tell if I’d been there for happy hour before, or if I’d just been to a thousand places exactly like it. Places like that were springing up around Oakland by the score back then, every one a marker of the way the city was changing. It felt all-at-once, even though it had been brewing for years. Decades. Across the bay, San Francisco bled money like an unzipped artery. Those who had been privileged enough to have their buckets out to catch the spray drove back over the water to Oakland — from The City to the Town. The bumped aside people who had been living in these neighborhoods for generations, and they tore down storefronts, and they built brunch pubs with wood reclaimed from the houses they were remodeling.”



TQWhat's next?

Sarah:  I have a book-heavy 2020, with my first YA book, a new novella, and a second as-yet-unannounced-novel, which I can't wait to tell people more about.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sarah:  Thank you so much for having me!





Magic for Liars
Tor Books, June 4, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in Magic for Liars, a fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey.

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.

Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn't in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

“An unmissable debut.”—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire





About Sarah

Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
©Allan Amato 2019.
Hugo award winner Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe, and they are a regular contributor for Tor.com and Barnes & Noble. Their most recent fiction credits include Fireside Fiction, Tor.com, and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was published in 2017 via Tor.com and was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, will be published by Tor Books in June 2019. Their Young Adult novel debut, When We Were Magic, will be published by Simon Pulse in Spring 2020. You can find links to their work at www.sarahgailey.com; find them on social media @gaileyfrey.

Interview with Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves


Please welcome Cate Glass to The Qwillery. An Illusion of Thieves (Chimera 1) is published today by Tor Books.



Interview with Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves




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

Cate:  A short story for my tenth grade English teacher. It was the first time an assigned story could be about anything we wanted. I wrote about a brother and sister growing up on an isolated hardscrabble farm in some version of the Midwest. Their very strict but loving father had taught them that the only way to survive was to focus on the here and now, on what was real, forbidding them to make up stories or otherwise use their imaginations. Then Something Happened in the woods one day to upend their beliefs—and explain why their father was the way he was. The teacher asked to keep the story, and, foolishly, I let her. That was it for fiction writing for many, many years. When a friend persuaded me to take up writing as a hobby, I expanded that story into a novel, which still sits in my trunk, yelling at me for attention.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Cate:  Definitely not an outliner/pre-plotter. But I do know where I am going when I sit down to write. I call myself an Organic Story Developer. I develop enough of characters, world, and situation to write an opening scene and get a general idea of the shape of the story. I just don’t know the details of how I am going to get there. As I move forward, I learn more and more about the characters and the world, which feeds the plot, clarifying events that need to happen to develop the characters and to deepen the world. Rinse. Repeat. To me it keeps the story new every day.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Cate:  Verbiage. I love words, and I obsess over getting just the right feel, sound, and rhythm on the page. It makes me a slow writer.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Cate:  Everything. Nature, music, art, museums, travel, politics, history. Tidbits I hear on National Public Radio. Archeology news. Science. Living. Stories I love. I do believe that a writer brings every experience to the page in some fashion.



TQDescribe An Illusion of Thieves using only 5 words.

Cate:  Forbidden magic. Four sorcerers. Intrigue.



TQTell us something about An Illusion of Thieves that is not found in the book description.

Cate:  The reason magic is forbidden: Sorcerers are believed to be the descendants of a beast the gods imprisoned under the earth after the Wars of Creation. This same beast causes volcanoes and earthquakes. Those who carry the taint of sorcery are condemned to die, lest they use their talents to set the beast free to wreak the world’s end.



TQWhat inspired you to write An Illusion of Thieves? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Cate:  I watched a recent Mission Impossible film and my exceptional spouse and I started comparing it to the original TV series about an ensemble of people with specific talents who accomplished off-the-books missions that legit spies couldn't do. That got me asking "what if...?" What if the very specific talents were magical—maybe in a world where magic is forbidden, and sorcerers are very rare? What if there were really impossible missions that they believed needed doing? Once I started thinking about possible talents that would make up such a group, Romy, Placidio, Neri, and Dumond came alive, insisting that their stories be written!

I enjoy writing fantasy because there are no rules. I grew up reading just about every genre of fiction. I loved mysteries, double agent and other kinds of spy novels, adventure stories, historical novels, romantic suspense, political thrillers, mythology, fairy tales, and fantastical adventures like Alice in Wonderland. As a fantasy writer, I can tell any of those stories in a world of my own making! What could be more fun than that?



TQWhat sort of research did you do for An Illusion of Thieves?

Cate:  I wanted to set the Chimera stories in the kind of world where intrigue and skullduggery abounded. Rather than empire-building battles, I wanted to focus on more localized struggles, where the important conflicts take place in salons or dining rooms, artisan workshops, public buildings, and the like, and involved matters like hostage-taking, poisonings, assassinations – and, yes, thieving. When I settled on a locale much like that of Renaissance Italy, I was led into research about every thing from the materials available in an age of burgeoning exploration and trade to Mediterranean vegetation, poisons, wine production, barge traffic on rivers. As the Chimera's first mission has to do with art forgery and a statue of great antiquity, I read up on bronze casting. And as one of my four is a professional duelist, I read up on dueling regulations, weapons, and protocols. As the series goes on, I've gotten into researching the cloth trade and divination schemes, the history of geology, and numerous other topics.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for An Illusion of Thieves.

Cate:  The artist is Alyssa Winans. Rather than reflecting a specific incident, her gorgeous cover art reflects the hidden energies in a world where magic has a meant a death sentence for thousands of years. Sorcerers spend their lives suppressing their gifts. The person on the cover is Romy of Lizard's Alley, a law scribe who for nine years was a courtesan bound to the most powerful man in her city. She tells the story of An Illusion of Thieves...how magic caused her to forfeit one life and find another.



TQIn An Illusion of Thieves who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Cate:  The easiest was Neri, Romy's almost-sixteen-year-old brother. Maybe because I have three sons of my own. Maybe just because his emotional drivers were so clear. He has grown up in grinding poverty with a family who is terrified of him. He is illiterate and ignorant about the wider world, possessing one incredible gift that he dares not use. His eldest sister, whose name no one speaks, is the only other person he knows who has magic, but she lives in luxury with the richest and most dangerous man in the city. This is one angry, resentful kid, and yet that elder sister is the only person in the world who was never scared of him.

The hardest was Romy herself. We are in her head, so I had to learn everything about her. This is not a romance, so what was it that defined her relationship with the Shadow Lord both before and after the split that changed the course of her life? It would have been very easy to fall into the "lost love" cliche or the "woman scorned" cliche. I wanted her strong, but flawed. Intelligent, but her knowledge of the world is through the very specific lens of her past. Conflicted, but not wallowing in the past. And always interesting and unexpected.



TQDoes An Illusion of Thieves touch on any social issues?

Cate:  I never set out to address social issues. But I do try to make my worlds feel real, which means issues of morality, justice, bias, fanaticism…you name it…will eventually come into play.



TQWhich question about An Illusion of Thieves do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Cate:  Does Romy believe there is really a monster imprisoned under the earth? No. But events tell her that magic is only one hint of the extraordinary in the world. The mythos will creep quietly into the Chimera stories as they go on.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from An Illusion of Thieves.

Cate:  When Romy the courtesan is dismissed, she’s thrown back into poverty and saddled with an angry teenaged brother to feed:

“I sat in the dark fretting over what kind of work I might do that did not involve lustful men, libidinous women, haggling at the market, or incessant stares from strangers. After four-and-twenty years of haphazard education, I ought to have a few useful skills besides the obvious.”

And Placidio di Vasil always has a pithy comment:

Placidio examined the dagger’s grip, quillions, edge, and point as a physician explores skulls, tongues, and urine. “Well chosen,” he conceded. “A good length. But what need has a Beggars Ring boy for a new blade and finer skills? Have you acquired a new enemy? ’Twould likely be cheaper to hire me to fight, than to teach a hothead to skewer a dunderwit.”



TQWhat's next?

Cate:  Next up is the second Chimera adventure: A Conjuring of Assassins, coming in February 2020. Romy, Placidio, Neri, and Dumond think their new mission is a simple one—break into a prison cell, find out where the prisoner has hidden a very dangerous document, and be off to destroy it. But things get complicated very quickly when the prisoner isn’t at all what they expected, and Romy rescues a half-drowned stranger who has some most unusual talents.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Cate:  Thank you for having me!





An Illusion of Thieves
Chimera 1
Tor Books, May 21, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves
A ragtag crew with forbidden magic must pull off an elaborate heist and stop a civil war in An Illusion of Thieves, a fantasy adventure from Cate Glass.

In Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence.

Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy's aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life—and the price is her banishment.

Now back in Beggar’s Ring, she has just her wits and her own long-hidden sorcery to help her and Neri survive. But when a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies—a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother. And they'll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.





About Cate

Interview with Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves
Cate Glass is a writer of the fantasy adventure series Chimera. Cate Glass is also a pen name of Carol Berg, award-winning and bestselling author of fifteen epic fantasy novels and half a dozen novellas and short stories.

Though Cate's home has a great view of the Colorado Rockies, she has lived a large portion of her life in realms of mystery and adventure - Middle Earth, Camelot, Amber, Wonderland, Harry Dresden's Chicago, Jim Chee's New Mexico, Cheltenham race track or the colleges of Oxford, Victorian London, Cold War Berlin, the Welsh borderlands, River Heights, Marvel's version of Hell's Kitchen...you get the drift.

While studying mathematics and software engineering at Rice University and the University of Colorado respectively, Cate carved out a special place for studies in English and History of Art and reading, reading, reading.

A few years into a career as a software development engineer, Cate took up a hobby of writing her own fiction. Many manuscripts later (see Carol Berg's bibliography) Cate is deep into the stories of the Chimera.

Cate enjoys binging on movies and (well-written!) TV, as well as camping, hiking, and biking with her mechanical engineer spouse, and three sons who juggle music and teaching, software and carpentry, rocket science and ice hockey.

Website  ~  Twitter @CateGlassWriter  ~  Facebook
Interview with J. S. Dewes, author of The Last WatchInterview with Marina LostetterFull Excerpt from Christopher Paolini's To Sleep in a Sea of StarsTo Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - An ExcerptChaos and Cosmos Campaign Launched by Tom Doherty AssociatesInterview with Brian D. Anderson, author of The Bard's BladeCovers Revealed - Upcoming Novels by DAC AuthorsInterview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for LiarsInterview with Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×