Interview with K.M. McKINLEY

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is K.M. McKinley?

You can call me Kay. I’m a writer. There, I said it. I have been for several years now. Before that I worked as a journalist and editor for fourteen years or so. I live in Yorkshire, in the UK. The Iron Ship book bio is out of date, as I wrote it before moving back to where I grew up.

Your new novel, The City of Ice, will be published by Solaris this month. It looks rather good: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s an epic, multiple point of view fantasy set in a world undergoing an industrial revolution fuelled by the science of magic. Six siblings make their way through a society undergoing massive upheaval, while a terrible threat from ancient days makes itself known. The world is lovingly crafted, and hides deep mysteries. I’d recommend it. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Whole Cloth Worlds, A Cheeky Cost-Benefit” by K.M. McKinley

McKinleyKM-GoW1-IronShipWorld-building is a cool part of fantasy, but one of the hardest things to get right.

I like realistic worlds in my fiction. By its very nature, a goodly part of fantasy eschews them. A big chunk of the genre tends to fairly simple settings the better to tell its stories. There’s a real art to writing books like that, and as a narrative style it has its advantages, but it sacrifices verisimilitude. Fair enough, not everyone wants reality in their fantasy. The clue, you may say, is in the name. Who wants realistic fantasy?

Well, I do. I do want reality in my fantasy, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. I’m firmly of the school that the stranger the world is, the more real it has to feel. Construct a real enough imaginary environment and anything seems possible. I love Sword and Sorcery, with its vertiginous sense of deep time and holy-cow weirdness. I like the less grand guignol end of grimdark, as it suggests grubby existences of high infant mortality rates and oppressive lives lived in suffocating cultures. I love worlds with real ecologies, societies, economies and geographies. All of the “ies” Bring me more, so that I might feast upon them! Michael Swanwick, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, Ursula Le Guin, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Richard Morgan, George R.R. Martin, Robert Silverberg and of course JRR Tolkien – these are writers whose works I love. Continue reading

New Books (May)


Featuring: Michael Arnold, Rob Boffard, Mike Brooks, James L. Cambias, Wesley Chu, John Henry Clay, James S.A. Corey, Cindy Dees, Bill Flippin, David Hair, Laurell K. Hamilton, Nalo Hopkinson, Andrew Michael Hurley, N.K. Jemisin, Chuck Klosterman, Gayle Lynds, K.M. McKinley, David Mitchell, Keith Richards, Slash, Bradley Somer, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Mick Wall, Django Wexler, Bill Willingham Continue reading