Guest Post & Excerpt: “Making of the Prologue” by David Hair, author of HEARTS OF ICE (Jo Fletcher Books)

HairD-SQ3-HeartsOfIceUKFirst up, I’m a planner: The Sunsurge Quartet is mapped out from start to finish, before I start writing Book One. That includes the Prologues, which I’m using (along with mid-book ‘Interludes’) to introduce the backstory and current status of the villain who’s going to feature most in the next part of the story. They give the reader a chance to see inside the enemy’s heads, and set the agenda for the coming chapters.

In this series, the main villains are part of a cabal trying to tear down human society, and they use theatre masks to disguise their true selves. I was inspired in this by Venetian carnival masques, of which I have a bit of a collection after going mad in a Venice mask shop. I invented my own mask designs and a backstory for them, using the concept of a tradition of morality tales that theatre troupes adlib on stage, every show unique. These can be high art or low farce, always with the same eight characters and central theme – a romance between Ironhelm (the sturdy knight) and Heartface (the innocent maid). Their love is aided or thwarted by the other six characters: the meddling Beak, the prankster Jest, the duplicitous Twoface, the lucky Felix, the nemesis-like Angelstar and the sorrowful Tear. The tale is narrated by a narrator known as the Puppeteer. Continue reading

Books on Film: THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by

It’s been quite some time since the excellent The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. This November, the long-awaited next instalment in the movie series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web will arrive in theatres. This time, though, there’s a new cast (perhaps Craig and Mara were too expensive by this point, or at least maybe their schedules just couldn’t work). This time, Claire Foy (The Crown) picks up the leathers and knives of Lisbeth Salander, and Sverrir Gudnason plays Mikael Blomkvist. The movie also stars Stephen Merchant, Sylvia Hoeks, and Lakeith Stanfield.

LarssonLagercrantz-M4-GirlInTheSpidersWebUKBased on the fourth novel in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, written by David Lagercrantz, here’s the synopsis:

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have not been in touch for some time.

Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son’s well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story — and it is a terrifying one.

More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder’s world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker.

It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters – and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is published in the UK by Quercus, and in North America by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard.

Upcoming: LEAVE NO TRACE by Mindy Mejia (Atria/Quercus)

MejiaM-LeaveNoTrace

Mindy Mejia‘s debut novel, Everything You Want Me to Be (or, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman in the UK) was critically acclaimed. There is, therefore, a lot of interest in the author’s next book, Leave No Trace. Due to be published by Atria in September 2018, it also looks really interesting. (I think I’ve mentioned it before on CR, but I have an unusual fondness for fiction/thrillers set in Minnesota. I ‘blame’ John Sandford…) Here’s the synopsis:

There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later… the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

Leave No Trace will be published in September by Atria in North America, and in September by Quercus in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with DARYL GREGORY

Vt7GelpOLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Daryl Gregory?

What an impossible question! From the books I’ve read on neuroscience and consciousness, it’s clear that the contiguous self, this “I” who is typing this, is an illusion generated by the brain. Let’s not even mention the illusion of free will. So how about this? “You” and “I” will agree, for convenience, that there’s a person called Daryl who has somehow chosen to write a book. Ready? Here goes:

I’m a writer who lives in Oakland, California, and exists primarily on a diet of beer and coffee. I’ve written six novels, the novella We Are All Completely Fine, which won the World Fantasy Award and the Shirley Jackson Award, as well as short stories, comics, and video games.

And now you may be regretting this interview. Continue reading

Interview with SEBASTIEN DE CASTELL

deCastell-AuthorPicSo, we’ve had you on CR before, but for new readers let’s start with an introduction: Who is Sebastien de Castell?

I’m the guy who wrote that thing about the dudes with the really cool coats, and the one guy is like, “I’m the greatest swordsman who ever lived, but I don’t like to talk about it,” but the other one is like, “arrows are just as good as swords, and anyway, I’m better looking” and then there’s the narrator, who’s like, “Justice! Why can’t we have more justice!”

I think it’s called the “Great Cloaks” or “Grey Coats” or something.

Maybe it’s better to look up the bio I gave in our previous interview. Continue reading

New Books (May 2017)

Featuring: Jeff Abbott, Curtis Armstrong, R.J. Barker, J. Patrick Black, Eric Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Anne Corlett, Greg Cox, Nate Crowley, Joel Dicker, Chris Dows, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Franze, Garbage & Jason Cohen, Max Gladstone, Daniel Godfrey, Dave Hutchinson, Eddie Izzard, Benedict Jacka, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Lange, Yoon Ha Lee, Graham McNeill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Malka Older, Benjamin Percy, Josh Reynolds, Salman Rushdie, John Sandford, Tade Thompson, Wendy N. Wagner

Continue reading

Interview with JAMES HENEAGE

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is James Heneage?

I am a fifty-nine year-old writer who’s spent his life involved in the worlds of books and history. In 1987, I set up Ottakar’s, which I built into a 150-bookshop chain before selling it to Waterstones in 2006. I’ve been a Booker Prize judge and Chaired the Costa Book Awards. I was Chair of the Cheltenham Literature Festival before founding my own festival devoted entirely to history: ‘The Chalke Valley History Festival’, which now attracts some 40,000 visitors a year. I’ve been a writer since 2010 and have written four works of fiction, all set in the 15th Century at the end of the Byzantine Empire, much of which are set in the Peloponnese. So I’ve built a house there where I now live for half of the year. Continue reading