Posts Tagged ‘Interview’
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a fairy godmother, and a geek. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, and ranting about fairy tales on YouTube. Her YA novels have won two Gelett Burgess Awards, and she’s twice been nominated for the Andre Norton award. She’s the author of Wild and Wishful, Dark and Dreaming, the AlphaOops series, the ongoing Arilland Fairy Tale series, and her short fiction has appeared in Apex Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Shimmer Magazine, Shroud Magazine, and various anthologies.
Alethea’s newest novel is Haven, Kansas. She was kind enough to let me in on all the behind the scenes secrets of how this accidentally humorous and on-purpose scary horror novel came about, her Traveling Sideshow, how she scored such beautiful cover art for this newest novel, and more. Learn more about Alethea at her website AletheaKontis.com, her Patreon site, or follow her on twitter @AletheaKontis.
And Alethea? If you’d like to place your next novel in Hell, here you go. While she’s brainstorming on that plot, let’s the rest of us enjoy this fantastic interview!
Little Red Reviewer: Haven, Kansas is first and foremost a horror story, but it’s also very humorous! Did you set out from the start to include funny lines, or did they just grow with the story as you were writing? What’s the trick to successfully mixing humor and horror?
Alethea Kontis: I’ve been writing regularly—and submitting for publication—since I was eight years old. Due to a genius-level aptitude for math and science (because: irony), I did not take a formal class on fiction writing until I was 27 (Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp). One of the things I learned in that class was, “Humor sells. But it is almost impossible to write, and write well, so just don’t do it.” So I didn’t do it. I didn’t even try. I wrote dialogue I felt was real, and true to my characters, and I moved on.
And then I started hearing back from readers. I mean, beyond the AlphaOops books, because they were supposed to be funny….but like, I remember one of the first reviewers for Dearest said how it was the most romantic and funniest novel I had ever written, and I was shocked. Really? Romantic, yes, but I didn’t write it to be funny! I just created a world that included seven brothers who talked smack to each other, like every bunch of guys I’ve ever hung out with. I felt much the same way when I started getting feedback about the humor in Haven, Kansas. Humor and horror? Who does that? But I’m one of those crazy people who will cry all the way up to a funeral and then almost burst out laughing in the middle of the ceremony. Humor and hurt and fear and love…they’re all feelings—true feelings—that we all feel, whether we have control over them or not.
As many of you know, I’m a non-fiction contributor at Apex Magazine. I interview authors, and occasionally do some other fun stuff. If you’re a spec fic reader who is always looking for something a little weird, a little different, something unexpected, Apex Magazine is for you! Jason and Lesley get this incredible magazine out the (digital) door every month, jam packed with surreal and atmospheric fiction, speculative poetry, author and artist interviews, and essays. But that’s not enough for Jason and Lesley. No, they want to bring you more fiction! more poetry! more non-fiction! For the next 2 weeks, the Apex Subscription drive aims to do just that: gaining more subscribers means more people will enjoy this magazine every month, which means funding for more Apex awesomeness. But why don’t I let Jason and Lesley tell you more? And why don’t we do that while surrounded by gorgeous Apex cover art?
oh, and by the way, there is something really awesome (and a little crazy) coming later this week. It involves you putting your thinking caps on, and me giving away a subscription to Apex.
Andrea: First things first. How did you each get involved with Apex Magazine? What are your responsibilities at the magazine?
Jason Sizemore: I’m the creator, owner, editor-in-chief, and He Who Writes the Checks. I started Apex in response to an early midlife crisis. Here I am, truly in midlife, and I’m still doing it.
Lesley Conner: I’d been working on the book side of Apex Publications for a few years when Cameron Salisbury decided to step down as the managing editor of Apex Magazine. Jason had recently stepped back into the editor-in-chief role and we already knew that we work really well together. He asked me if I’d be interested in filling the vacancy, and I immediately said yes.
As for what I do … a little of everything. Except write checks! That is all Jason!
Andrea: What goals are you hoping to reach with this subscription drive?
Posted October 12, 2016on:
Tade Thompson’s work has appeared in Apex Magazine, Interzone, Escape Pod, African Monsters, and in numerous anthologies. Most recently, his horror novella “The Murders of Molly Southbourne” was acquired by Tor.com. His work combines thrillers with horror, first contact with mythology, and a voice that is purely Tade. His newest novel, Rosewater, out of Apex Publications, will be available in November. Part alien invasion story, part psychological thriller, and all intelligence, this novel is sure to make an impression.
Tade’s debut novel, Making Wolf, won the Golden Tentacle Award at the Kitchies. He’s taught science fiction writing classes, loves the Netflix show Stranger Things, and suffuses his longhand manuscripts with arrows, flowcharts and doodles. All this is to say he’s an author you need to keep your eye on. Be sure to check out Tade’s website and his twitter feed @tadethompson.
Tade was kind enough to let me pick is brain about Rosewater, the joys of writing and brainstorming longhand, and his favorite writers.
Tade Thompson: Thank you! The ideas came first. I spent ages ruminating on a particular theme, almost as an exercise. Why would aliens come to Earth? I wrote a short story in the universe many years ago, and kept extrapolating. Then my main character, Kaaro, presented himself, and I started on the first draft. The plot grew around him and it changed quite a bit over subsequent drafts. At one point, for example, it was going to be a dark love story. Let’s just be grateful that didn’t happen. The most important aspect of Kaaro was his flawed character. His personality has been scored and mutilated by life. I fractured the story because that’s what I enjoy. Alejandro Inarritu, when talking about the film “21 Grams”, said that stories are rarely told in a linear fashion in real life. There are always digressions and culs-de-sac. I subscribe to that idea.
LRR: Aliens are so much fun to write, that authors have been writing alien invasion and first contact stories since the beginning of literature. I know there is something that makes Rosewater different, but my blog readers may not. So, what makes Rosewater different from other alien invasion and first contact novels?
Erica L. Satifka has been steadily writing short fiction for over ten years, with stories appearing in Clarkesworld, Fireside, Lightspeed, Ember Journal, Daily Science Fiction, Shimmer, Nature, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, Stay Crazy, comes out this week from Apex Publications. You can learn more about Erica at her website ericasatikfa.com, and be sure to say hi over on twitter, where she is @ericasatifka. If you find yourself in Portland Oregon, you can sign up for her SciFi/Fantasy writing classes!
Working in a big box store, and just home from an institution, is Emmeline just going crazy all over again when the frozen food starts talking to her? Are her friends dying from natural causes, or is something darker happening? How can Em save her friends and family, and save her sanity at the same time?
“Had Philip K. Dick lived through riot grrrl and the collapse of the America’s industrial economy, STAY CRAZY would be his memoir. Erica Satifka is a prophet.”
—Nick Mamatas, author of SENSATION and I AM PROVIDENCE.
“Stay Crazy is dark and intense sci-fi with a twist, in turns disturbing, amusing, and enlightening. It’s not a book that fits into tidy genre boxes, so kudos to Apex for publishing a book that is that complicated—and good.”
—Beth Cato, Nebula Award-nominated author of DEEP ROOTS
(and can I just say how much I dig this cover art? it’s got a neat graphic novel feel, and Emmeline looks like a normal human woman!)
Erica was kind enough to let me pick her brain on this novel’s creation, binge reading Philip K. Dick, writing neuro-atypical characters, fiction that defies categorization, teaching speculative fiction writing, and more.
Little Red Reviewer: Em is a unique heroine. Just out of an institution, she’s got her own mental health issues to deal with, but she’s also got to save her friends and co-workers from an evil entity. What can you tell us about how you developed Emmeline’s character?
Erika Satifka: Em didn’t have schizophrenia in the first imagining of the book, I don’t think. Her base personality is loosely based on me: angry, bitter, sarcastic as hell. The idea to give her schizophrenia came when I realized that it would add another layer of unreality to the story, which was already dealing with multiple layers of reality. After that, the story clicked in a way it didn’t before, and I started reading a lot of memoirs written by people with schizophrenia to get into the character’s voice (I had still not written a word of the novel at this point).
One thing I noticed when I wrote the first version of the book is that there really aren’t very many positive portrayals in the media of people with schizophrenia. In 2016, there still aren’t that many. So while I hate calling my own writing unique because I’m not a special snowflake, at least when it comes to this one thing, it kind of is. If Stay Crazy can fight against stigma in some small way, then it will have been worth writing.
LRR: Where did your ideas for Stay Crazy stem from?
ES: After college graduation, I was working in a well-known big-box store that shall not be named, bored out of my mind. And when my mind wanders (which it does on a more or less constant basis) I make up stories. I’d also discovered the writing of Philip K. Dick a few months before that and was tearing through at least two of his books per week, because rationing is for chumps. All of this combined into one giant mega-story that I worked on in my mind over the few months I worked there and for quite a while after.
Danica Davidson wrote her first novel at age seven, and hasn’t stopped. With a writing career that spans media, mid-grade fiction, non-fiction, book and tv reviews, and even how-to books, if there is a story out there to be told Danica knows how to tell it and how to talk about it. She’s published reviews and articles at Booklist, Anime Insider, iF magazine, Otaku USA, and Graphic Novel Reporter; talked about pop culture at CNN and MTV; and worked on the English adaptations of manga series such as Millennium Prime Minister and Bride’s Story. Her newest projects include a series of Minecrafter adventure novels for young readers, and a Barbie graphic novel.
There’s saying you’re going to do it all, and then actually going out and doing it all. Danica does it all, and she let me pick her brain on how in the world she got involved with so many amazing projects and how she puts all of her geeky loves together to one incredible career that includes novel writing, pop culture, and graphic novels. She’s a writer, not an artist, and if that’s confusing, head over to Smack Dab in the Middle for a great article on how a storyteller who isn’t an artist creates graphic novels. The more I learn about Danica, the more impressed I am, and I think you will be too. Learn more about her work at her website or her Amazon page, and feel free to say hi to her on twitter, @DanicaDavidson.
Little Red Reviewer: Some of your most recent Minecrafter books for mid-grade readers include Down Into the Nether, The Rise of Herobrine, and Attack on the Overworld. How did you get started with writing stories that take place in the Minecrafter world? How is writing stories for younger readers different than writing for an adult audience?
Danica Davidson: It was all a very fun and surprising turn of events. After I’d sold my first book, Manga Art for Beginners, an editor at the same publisher asked if I had any book ideas involving Minecraft. There was some talk of doing a nonfiction book, but I ended up pitching a children’s book. It started as a single book, and now it is a series in this order: Escape from the Overworld, Attack on the Overworld, The Rise of Herobrine, Down into the Nether, The Armies of Herobrine and Battle with the Wither.
I use a different “voice” in my writing depending on the audience. For kids’ writing, it’s a different vocabulary and style. It’s much more “pure” and unfiltered than adult writing. Kids tell it like it is. I’ve been writing ever since I was little, so I go back and read stuff I wrote when I was eleven to tap back into that exact voice.
A few years ago at ConFusion, I met author Alex Kourvo. We were on a Book Reviewing panel together, and while the other panelists were fiction reviewers, Alex runs a book review site called Writing Slices, where she reviews “the books that teach you to write”. She’s reviewed books that focus on writing dialog, books that focus on writing exercises, books for young writers, books that focus on characterization, you name it. If you’re a new writer, a writer who wants to up their game, or just someone interested in craft of writing, Writing Slices can point you in helpful directions.
An author and editor, her short fiction has appeared in Fantastical Visions IV and Reflection’s Edge. Along with her writing partner Harry R. Campion, she is the co-writer of the Detroit Next series of novels and novellas. The newest book in the Detroit Next series is Living All Day, and if “series” make you nervous, the novels and novellas in this series can be read in any order. I recent read the first book in the Detroit Next series, The Caline Conspiracy, and it was fantastic. Fast paced, great characters, and a thrilling story that pulled me right in. Review coming soon!
Alex was kind enough to let me pick her brain about just about everything – writing with a partner, the Detroit Next series, the Writing Slices blog, teaching writing workshops, and a lot more.
LRR: I recently finished the first book in your Detroit Next series, The Caline Conspiracy (it was awesome by the way!), a near future thriller. You co-write this series with author Harry R. Campion. How is writing novels with a partner different than writing on your own? What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing as a team?
AK: Harry and I write short stories separately and I’m working on a solo novel, but our favorite thing is writing together. I couldn’t do this with everyone, but Harry and I share a brain. Often, after the book is published, we can’t remember who wrote which part! When you’re writing with a partner, the first draft goes more quickly, but the editing takes longer. You have to edit for consistency of voice as well as consistency of story. I think we do a good job of blending our voices. That’s why we chose to share the single pen name, “M.H. Mead.”
Kristin Centorcelli, famously of My Bookish Ways and SFSignal, recently had the chance to talk with author Martin Seay about his debut novel, The Mirror Thief. The novel weaves a tale of three Venices, following Venetian glass makers in Italy and those who would control their inventions, and newer secrets and schemes in Venice Beach CA and a casino in Las Vegas. Publisher’s Weekly called The Mirror Thief “A true delight, a big, beautiful cabinet of wonders that is by turns an ominous modern thriller, a supernatural mystery, and an enchanting historical adventure story…A splendid masterpiece”. Wow! Please join me in giving Martin and Kristin a warm welcome. Let’s see what they got to chatting about.
Kristin Centorcelli: Will you tell us a bit about The Mirror Thief and what inspired you to write it?
Martin Seay: Sure! The Mirror Thief is a novel about Venice, although it doesn’t all happen in Venice. A third of it happens in Las Vegas in 2003, where a recently-retired U.S. Marine is searching for a famous gambler who’s gone missing; a third of it happens in Southern California in 1958, where a Brooklyn-born juvenile delinquent has come to seek out an obscure poet with whom he’s become obsessed; a third of it happens in the city-state of Venice in 1592, where a physician and alchemist is secretly trying to steal the technology for making flat glass mirrors on behalf of a certain foreign power. These three stories echo and intersect one another in a bunch of ways, some of which are clear, some of which are subtle.
When I started working on The Mirror Thief, I had aspired for a while to write something about Venice, but that impulse was too broad to act on: I needed something to give me focus, and I found it when I learned that Venice maintained a monopoly on the manufacture of flat glass mirrors for about 200 years. That gave me the industrial-espionage plot for the 1592 sections, and the idea of the mirror led me (naturally) to motifs of doubling and iteration . . . which in turn led me to play with the odd fact that people keep trying to recreate Venice elsewhere. That was pretty much all I needed to get me going. Read the rest of this entry »