Interview with JOHN APPEL

AppelJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is John Appel?

I’m an SFF writer from Maryland, recently retired after a career in information security and technology risk. I’m married to a university administrator and have two disabled adult children. I was a US Army paratrooper and cavalry scout back in the 1980s, and a life-long tabletop gamer. These days, aside from writing (and reading), my main hobbies are woodworking and historical fencing.

Your latest novel, Assassin’s Orbit, is due to be published by Solaris in the summer. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Assassin’s Orbit starts with the investigation of an assassination/mass murder, but quickly spirals into a major planetary conflict. The protagonists have to work together to both solve the murder and deal with the events that spill from it, which include discovering that a threat from the past might just still be with them. Continue reading

Interview with SAMMY HK SMITH

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Sammy H.K. Smith?

Well, right now I think I’m a human but the lack of decent sleep or coffee is blurring my reality a bit…

I’m a mother, writer, publisher (owner of Grimbold Books), and police detective specialising in domestic abuse and sexual offences. I dabble with all sorts of genres but SF&F (and speculative dark fiction sub-genres) gather my interest the most.

I live and work in Oxfordshire next to the Cotswolds and Warwickshire border, which is an utterly beautiful part of the country.

Your new novel, Anna, is due out in May via Solaris. How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

ANNA is a story of one woman’s survival in a cruel world where might is right and regardless of gender, if you display any weakness, you’re fair game to those that want to control both the lands and the people.

We follow Anna’s story and emotional fallout of dealing with sexual abuse and PTSD in a dystopic future not far from our own reality and timeline. Her strength comes from within and she shows us that whilst physically she appears weak, she’s so much more inside. Continue reading

Interview with G.R. MATTHEWS

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is G.R. Matthews?

That would be me. Hello!

I am a fantasy and sci-fi author who has written a number of books; some set in Ancient China (to try and express my love of martial arts movies from Gordon Liu to Donnie Yen), some set in the far future where we all struggle to exist under the ocean waves (Jack Reacher with more sarcasm, and water).

I live in Kent, in the United Kingdom where I also work in education – writing is a relief from the noise, stress, and pressure of that.

Your new novel, Seven Deaths of an Empire, is due to be published by Solaris in June. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Seven Deaths of an Empire is at heart a story about loyalty, honour, and duty. How much does it cost to keep true to those ideals, to yourself? How much would you sacrifice?

Oh, and there are great big battles, small skirmishes, magic, and political double-dealing. Continue reading

Interview with GARETH L. POWELL

PowellGL-AuthorPic2021Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Gareth L. Powell?

I’m an author from Bristol, in the South West of the UK. I’m 50 years old and have two teenage kids. I’ve won the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel twice and been shortlisted for the Locus and Seiun Awards.

Your novel The Recollection celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and will be re-issued by Solaris. For those who didn’t catch it the first time, how would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The Recollection was my first full-length novel (a shorter novel, Silversands, appeared the year before). It follows the adventures of Ed Rico, a failed artist and London taxi driver as he travels into the future to find his missing brother, and the struggles of Katherine Abdulov, a starship pilot, as she races to a distant planet in order to regain the trust of her powerful family. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BLACK COAST and THE SPLINTER KING by Mike Brooks (Orbit/Solaris)

BrooksM-1-BlackCoastUKMike Brooks‘s first foray into epic fantasy, the God-King Chronicles series, arrives this year! The first novel, The Black Coast, is already out now in the UK (published by Orbit), and is due out in mid-March in North America. Fans of the first novel won’t have to wait long for the sequel, though, as The Splinter King is due out in July! The series has an intriguing premise, and I’m looking forward to reading the novels. For readers in North America, here’s the synopsis for book one…

WAR DRAGONS.
FEARSOME RAIDERS.
A DAEMONIC WARLORD ON THE RISE.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home…

Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the crossfire – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

BrooksM-2-SplinterKingUKAnd, for those who have already had the chance to read the first novel, here’s the synopsis for The Splinter King

THE WORLD FRACTURES AS A DEAD GOD RISES…

Darel, dragon knight and the new leader of Black Keep, must travel to the palace of the God-King to beg for the lives of his people. But in the capital of Narida, Marin and his warrior husband will be drawn into a palace coup, and Princess Tila will resort to murder to keep her hold on power.

In the far reaches of the kingdom an heir in exile is hunted by assassins, rumours of a rival God-King abound, and daemonic forces from across the seas draw ever nearer…

Mike Brooks’s The Splinter King is due to be published by Orbit in the UK (July 7th) and Solaris Books in North America (September 7th). The two covers above are for the UK editions — I’ll update the post when I find the North American cover. In the meantime, the North American cover for The Black Coast is below. Brooks has also written a number of short stories and novels for Black Library, and is the author of the Keiko sci-fi trilogy (Del Rey in UK; Saga Press in North America).

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Brooks (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter Continue reading

Quick Review: ONE DAY ALL THIS WILL BE YOURS by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris)

Tchaikovsky-OneDayAllThisWillBeYoursA fantastic, amusing and original take on the time travel paradox

Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.

Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.

I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.

Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again.

This is the third of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s novellas that Solaris will publish, and I think it’s easily the best so far. An original and often amusing take on time travel and humanity’s tendency to inevitably ruin everything, I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Interview with ALICE JAMES

JamesA-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Alice James?

Well, it’s not a pseudonym, though I was meant to be called Ruth. Apparently after 52 hours of labour, when I finally deigned to pop out, my mother decided I looked like an Alice. Very kind of her because at that point I would have come up with something less flattering.

But I’m digressing, my all-time favourite hobby after touching my face. I’m a maths graduate who trained as a COBOL programmer who threw it all away to become a writer and editor. I somehow got stuck in finance and worked for Bloomberg, The Sunday Times, the FT, investment magazines, banks, fund managers… you name it. I don’t know quite how that happened, but I met some interesting people on the way. I began writing novels just recently and can’t see me stopping. Continue reading

Upcoming: BEAR HEAD and ONE DAY ALL THIS WILL BE YOURS by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Ad Astra/Solaris)

TchaikovskyA-DoW2-BearHeadUKIt’s always great news when you learn about a new book from Adrian Tchaikovsky. But in 2021, we’re going to get (at least) two new books! Long-time readers of CR will know how much I enjoy Tchaikovsky’s work, so let’s get straight to the details!

First up, there’s Bear Head, which is the second novel in the author’s Dogs of War series. Due to be published by Ad Astra/Head of Zeus on January 7th, 2021, here’s the synopsis:

Mars. The red planet. A new frontier for humanity, a civilization where humans can live in peace, lord and master of all they survey.

But this isn’t Space City from those old science-fiction books. We live in Hell City, built into and from a huge subcontinent-sized crater. There’s a big silk canopy over it, feeding out atmosphere as we generate it, little by little, until we can breathe the air.

It’s a perfect place to live, if you actually want to live on Mars. I guess at some point I had actually wanted to live on Mars, because here I am. The money was supposed to be good, and how else was a working Joe like me supposed to get off-planet exactly? But I remember the videos they showed us – guys, not even in suits, watching robots and bees and Bioforms doing all the work – and they didn’t quite get it right…

Tchaikovsky-OneDayAllThisWillBeYoursThen, in early March, Solaris are due to publish a new novella: One Day All This Will Be Yours. It looks quite different to Bear Head, but that’s something we should expect from Tchaikovsky by this point (he dabbles in seemingly every SFF sub-genre):

A smart, funny tale of time-travel and paradox

Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.

Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.

I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.

Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again.

I’m really looking forward to both of these books. If you can’t wait, and need something else by the author to tide you over for a little while, then be sure to check out The Doors of Eden, which is out now in the UK (Tor) and due to be published in North America next month (Orbit — although, the eBook is available already).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with WAYNE SANTOS

SantosW-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Wayne Santos?

The simplest, one-line answer is “Canadian-Filipino Gen-X Geek.” That sums up everything in a nutshell. I’m a second-generation Filipino that grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, which some refer to as “Texas North.” I’m a child of the 80s, so I was there when Neuromancer made its debut, everyone was flipping out over Blade Runner, and I did watch The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the theatre. I also did time rolling four, six, ten, and 20-sided dice in Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop role-playing games, and, yes, we did it in the basement.

But I also graduated out of university and then spent the next 13 years or so living and working in Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore. That was an eye-opener, since I looked Southeast Asian, but had a North American accent, and sensibility, so it was confusing for everybody. It was a weird feeling to grow up looking like a minority, but not feeling like one, because I shared the same culture as everyone else. Then move to another country and switch to not looking like a minority, but feeling like one, because I culturally did not belong in this world, but no one knew it as long as I kept my mouth shut. Continue reading

Interview with CORRY L. LEE

LeeCL-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Corry L. Lee?

When I find something I love, I throw all-in. All my life, I’ve loved speculative fiction (writing and reading), but I also have a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard (smashing electrons and anti-electrons in a massive particle accelerator!), and I’ve been a data scientist for Amazon (making the customer experience better, through science!). I love physical activity that quiets my mind and challenges my body — rock climbing, yoga, and nordic skiing. And I’m a mom.

Your debut novel, Weave the Lightning, is due to be published by Solaris in April. It looks really cool: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s about learning to control your magic and your choices. Figuring out who to trust and what trust costs. It’s about hope and romance and fighting fascism. And it takes place in a travelling circus. Continue reading