Interview with VIVIAN SHAW

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Vivian Shaw?

At the moment, an expat Brit living in Baltimore with her wife, the author Arkady Martine. I was born in Kenya to a couple of scientists, and my family moved a bunch of times when I was very young, following the trail of postdoc positions, but I’ve been in Maryland most of my life.

Your debut novel, Strange Practice, will be published by Orbit in July. It looks pretty interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The easiest way to explain it is probably, “Dr. Greta Helsing sees dead people, every day from ten to four and by appointment, at her Harley Street clinic.” Strange Practice is set in a world quite like our own, but with one crucial difference: monsters exist, and magic is real. Greta has inherited her father’s extremely specialized medical practice, catering solely to the supernatural, and gets a lot of satisfaction out of the job – she enjoys performing reconstructive surgery on mummies in particular. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE TWO OF SWORDS, Vols.1-3 by K.J. Parker (Orbit)

ParkerKJ-TwoOfSwords-Vols.1to3

The Two of Swords has already been serialized over the past couple of years (not sure if it’s finished?). I’ve tried the first part, but I decided I wanted to wait for more of it to be available before diving in properly. I’ve often had mixed feelings about Parker’s work, but after reading the superb The Devil You Know and also The Last Witness, I want to read more of his stuff. Anyway, here’s the synopsis for Volume 1:

“Why are we fighting this war? Because evil must be resisted, and sooner or later there comes a time when men of principle have to make a stand. Because war is good for business and it’s better to die on our feet than live on our knees. Because they started it. But at this stage in the proceedings,” he added, with a slightly lop-sided grin, “mostly from force of habit.”

A soldier with a gift for archery. A woman who kills without care. Two brothers, both unbeatable generals, now fighting for opposing armies. No-one in the vast and once glorious United Empire remains untouched by the rift between East and West, and the war has been fought for as long as anyone can remember. Some still survive who know how it was started, but no-one knows how it will end.

The Two of Swords is the story of a war on a grand scale, told through the eyes of its soldiers, politicians, victims and heroes.

The series is published by Orbit Books in the US and UK, in October, November and December.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Devil You Know and The Last Witness

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Interview with DALE LUCAS

LucasD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Dale Lucas?

Since ‘International Man of Mystery’ is taken, I guess I’ll settle for Connoisseur of All Things Geek and globe-trotting bon vivant. I’m a pretty typical nerd who grew up skinny and pale, subsisting on a steady diet of genre films, Ace paperbacks, comic books and brain-rotting cartoons. These days, I write stories between 9 to 5 shifts at a day job, gobble books, enable my foodie impulses and, when able, travel. I can also mix a pretty mean Old Fashioned.

Your new novel, The Fifth Ward: First Watch, will be published by Orbit in July. It looks rather fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s most definitely the starting point for a series! My standard pitch is: it’s Lord of the Rings meets Lethal Weapon. Or, if you prefer, The Wire in Middle Earth. Basically, I just took all of the buddy cop movies I grew up watching — Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, Running Scared — and even hard-edged police procedurals like NYPD Blue, and set one of those stories about combative partners out for justice in a teeming urban jungle in a classic, pre-industrial fantasy city full of humans, dwarves, elves and orcs. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Inspiration for Fantasy Authors” by Anthony Ryan

RyanA-AuthorPicWhilst I don’t like to stereotype, I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this then there’s a fair chance you’re familiar with the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. In one of the earlier episodes Penny asks Leonard “What did you do today?”, to which he responds, “Well, I’m a physicist, so I, y’know… thought about stuff.” Although I wouldn’t want to imply that the complexities of writing fiction are of a similar order to particle physics, writers, like physicists, do spend a considerable amount time thinking about stuff. When it comes to inspiration thinking time is crucial. When I count all the stories I actually wrote, compared to those I thought about writing, I come up with a ratio of approximately one in ten, i.e. only about 10% of my ideas actually turn into stories and then only after a lengthy period percolating in the confused teapot of my imagination. Continue reading

Interview with DAVID MEALING

MealingD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is David Mealing?

Husband, father, fantasy author, role-player, board gaming geek, avid esports enthusiast.

Your debut novel, Soul of the World, will be published in June by Orbit. It looks pretty epic: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

My usual pitch is ‘French Revolution with magic,’ but it gets much bigger as the story gets going. Soul is the first of a trilogy, and I’ve tried to set up deeper layers with each book. So by the end of book one, you’ll have the main plot wrapped up, with a deeper, ‘plot behind the plot’ just starting to reveal itself. I do the same thing in book two, wrapping up the plot behind the plot from book one and introducing a new layer of unknowns by the end. Then (if everything goes to plan!) book three should wrap everything in a nice neat package. Continue reading

Interview with RJ BARKER

BarkerRJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is RJ Barker?

Oh gosh, that’s a big question isn’t it? Who am I? People have written whole books on that, well, not on me personally, on that question in general, but I suppose if I did write a book about it that might be a little bit of overkill. I’ll stick with the general perception of people who know me and say RJ (no dots, for dots are the enemy of mankind[1]) is friendly and a bit eccentric. And has big hair.

Your debut novel, Age of Assassins, will be published by Orbit in August. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It is part of a series but it’s written so each book stands alone. You’ll get more out of it if you read all three (Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins and King of Assassins) but you don’t need to do that to get a complete story. The tagline of book one probably says it best: “To catch an assassin, use an assassin.” Our hero, Girton Club-Foot, is an assassin put into a position where he has to become a detective and stop a killer to save his, and his master’s, skin. It’s exciting and full of action but at heart it’s a murder mystery. It also revolves around the central relationship between Girton and his master who are very much characters (I hope) you will really like. Girton especially is someone driven to do the right thing. And there’s magic, and they ride around on beasts with massive antlers which, to be honest, I would read a book for that alone. I do like antlers. Continue reading

Interview with NICHOLAS EAMES

eamesn-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Nicholas Eames?

That’s a question I’ve wrestled with for many years, actually. “The Luckiest Man in the World”… let’s go with that.

Your debut novel, Kings of the Wyld, will be published by Orbit next month. It looks great, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Kings of the Wyld is a fun, fast-paced fantasy novel that takes place in a setting where mercenary bands have gained the notoriety of rock stars. Between ‘gigs’ that include hunting monsters in the vast forest known as The Heartwyld or fighting them in crowded arenas, they drink to excess, party like madmen (or madwomen), and generally act like hooligans. The story follows a band called Saga, once the most celebrated mercenaries in all the world, who must reunite after decades apart to rescue the daughter of their leader, Gabriel. It’s the first in a series called The Band, but this and each of the following books will essentially stand-alone, since each will feature a different band altogether.

Also, as someone who treasures fantasy novels that appeal to those skeptical of the genre, I’d like to think this one, despite the myriad tropes within, may just be capable of that. Even the music references are subtle enough to be missed altogether. Continue reading