Interview with ANGUS MACALLAN / ANGUS DONALD

MacallanA-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Angus Macallan?

The truthful answer is – nobody. Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for me, Angus Donald, and I’m an English novelist, 54, living in rural Kent, UK, who mainly writes historical fiction. I’m best known for creating a successful series about a gangster-ish Robin Hood called The Outlaw Chronicles. I always wanted to write a fantasy novel but I was advised that it was better to use a different name for a different genre of fiction. So my US publisher (Ace) and I came up with Angus Macallan as an alter ego, and that way I wouldn’t annoy the UK publishers (Bonnier Zaffre) of my historical fiction novels by luring away too many potential readers.

Your latest novel, Gates of Stone, was recently published by Ace Books. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Gates of Stone is an epic fantasy set in a sort-of 18th century Indonesia – magical swords, pirates, head-hunters, spies, sorcerers, and a kick-ass ruthless-bitch princess, as well as some really cool beasts called Ghost Tigers. It has three main characters, each on their own journey, and their paths cross at various times. I have only written volume one so far but I would like it to be a series, maybe three, six or even nine books. I have invented a world in which my characters could have multiple adventures. We will see, though. It depends on whether the first book takes off or not. Continue reading

Interview with PETER McLEAN

McLeanP-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s begin with a quick introduction: Who is Peter McLean?

Hi, thanks for having me back! I’m a British fantasy author based in Norwich, England, which is a small city a couple of hours from London on the east coast of the UK. I wrote the Burned Man urban fantasy series a few years ago, but am now mostly known for last year’s Priest of Bones which came out October 2018 from Ace in the US and Jo Fletcher Books in the UK. I’m married to Diane and, like most authors, am owned by a cat.

Since we last spoke, you’ve started a new fantasy series that is generating a lot of great interest and reviews. How would you introduce the series to a new reader?

When my agent and I were first shopping Priest of Bones to editors we pitched it as “The Godfather with swords”, and I still think that’s a pretty accurate representation. It’s a gangster story set in a quasi-Tudor world, told in the first person narration of crime lord turned soldier turned priest Tomas Piety. In the tradition of mafia family epics, it’s a story of power and corruption, intrigue and revenge. Continue reading

Interview with W.L. GOODWATER

GoodwaterWL-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is W.L. Goodwater?

I’m a writer, software engineer, fencing coach, husband, and dad. I live near the ocean in California and love watching the fog roll in through our eucalyptus trees. We share our lives with a crazy cute toddler, two cats, and piles of books that have long overgrown our bookshelves.

Your debut novel, Breach, will be published by Ace Books in November. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Breach is half Cold War spy thriller, half fantasy novel, set in divided Germany where the Berlin Wall is made out of magic. The story picks up as the CIA discovers a growing breach in the wall and sends for a magical researcher to help them stop WWIII. It is the first book in the Cold War Magic series and introduces our hero: Karen O’Neil, a young and talented magician working at the Office of Magical Research and Deployment, who has to navigate existential magical threats and the prejudice of her male coworkers. Continue reading

Upcoming: BREACH by W.L. Goodwater (Ace)

GoodwaterGL-1-BreachUSNot sure how I managed to miss Breach until now. I’ve enjoyed most of the alternative history novels that I’ve read, but I don’t seem to pick up that many. Ian Tregillis’s Milkweed Triptych is one of my favourite series, for example. Due to be published by Ace Books on November 6th, W. L. Goodwater‘s alternative history fantasy novel sounds really interesting:

The Berlin Wall is made entirely of magic. When a breach unexpectedly appears in the wall, spies from both sides swarm to the city as World War III threatens to spark.

AFTER THE WAR, THE WALL BROUGHT AN UNEASY PEACE.

When Soviet magicians conjured an arcane wall to blockade occupied Berlin, the world was outraged but let it stand for the sake of peace. Now, after ten years of fighting with spies instead of spells, the CIA has discovered the unthinkable…

THE WALL IS FAILING.

While refugees and soldiers mass along the border, operatives from East and West converge on the most dangerous city in the world to either stop the crisis, or take advantage of it.

Karen, a young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and determine if it can be fixed. Instead, she discovers that the truth is elusive in this divided city–and that even magic itself has its own agenda.

THE TRUTH OF THE WALL IS ABOUT TO BE REVEALED.

Breach is due to be published on November 6th, and will be available in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Guest Post: “Grimdark or Grimheart?” by Peter McLean

McLeanP-AuthorPicHi Stefan, thanks for having me back on Civilian Reader!

Last time I was here I was talking with you about my Urban Fantasy books and you asked what might be next, and I said,

“The majority of what I actually read for pleasure is secondary world fantasy, and I’ve always wanted to write a brutal Conan-esque Grimdark swords-and-swearing adventure story so that may see the light of day eventually.”

Well, it sort of did see the light of day.

And yet, at the same time, it sort of didn’t. I did write a brutal secondary world fantasy novel, and that’s Priest of Bones which is out on October 2nd from Ace. But it’s not quite what I had in mind when I originally answered that question three years ago. Continue reading

Guest Post: An Annotated Chapter of RAVENCRY by Ed McDonald (Gollancz/Ace)

McDonaldE-AuthorPicWhen I was asked to provide a first chapter critique of my own book, I thought that this was an excellent way to explain the way that my own writing craft works, and to point out the level of complexity that comes into play through many rounds of editing.

I think that I have to stress that the first chapter did not look like this at the end of the first draft. So many of the details, the events, even the character of Levan Ost, all changed multiple times during the editing process. These were the details and events that remained when the dust settled.

Throughout this text I’ve interrupted the narrative to point out why I made particular decisions. Everything in this chapter is a conscious choice, and hopefully I’ve been able to explain why I made some of them. Writing is a deeply personal and individual craft and no two people’s are the same. These were the right choices for me.

It should be noted that although there are no direct spoilers in my commentary, if you’ve not read RAVENCRY yet, then I will be pointing out particular details that are specifically of interest later in the book.

Continue reading

Interview with SIMON R. GREEN

GreenSR-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Simon R. Green?

Simon R. Green is the New York Times best-selling author of over sixty novels, two collections of short stories, and wrote the screenplay for the film Judas Ghost. He rides motorcycles, acts in open air Shakespeare productions, and has worked as a Chippendale. (Not all of those may be entirely true.)

Your latest novel, Night Fall, will be published by Ace in June. It’s the final novel in your Secret Histories series. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? What can fans of the series expect from the finale?

Night Fall ties together my two main series. The Nightside books, which feature a private eye operating in the Twilight Zone solving cases of the weird and uncanny; and the Secret Histories books, featuring the very secret agent, Shaman Bond. The Nightside is a film noir world, full of shadey characters. The Secret Histories was all about punishing the bad guys. So when these two worlds go to war… The body count is going to be amazing. But this book also features characters from my other series, like the Ghost Finders, Hawk & Fisher, Drinking Midnight Wine, and Shadows Fall. So essentially, this books stars everybody, and guest stars everybody else. Continue reading