the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview author Howard Andrew Jones, whose forthcoming fantasy book, For The Killing of Kings, will be available in February from St. Martin’s press.  The first in an epic, adventure-filled trilogy, For The Killing of Kings involves a fragile peace, forgeries, conspiracies, and a near unstoppable invading force.  Brace yourself for a fantastic and action packed February!

Howard Andrew Jones has written a series of Arabian historical fantasies, and a number of Pathfinder novels. He was the managing editor for Black Gate Magazine, has posted a ton of blog posts about the art and struggle of creating fiction and editing, and among other editing projects is currently the Executive Editor of Perilous Worlds. Howard was kind enough to chat with me about the new fantasy series, editing, his family farm, gaming, and more. To learn more about Howard and his work, head over to his website, HowardAndrewJones.com.

 

Little Red Reviewer: Congratulations on your forthcoming novel For the Killing of Kings! What can you tell us about this book’s journey from idea to finished novel?

 

Howard Andrew Jones: Thanks! This one has been with me for a looong time in some form or other. The primary characters starred in an unpublished novel twenty years ago, and while I set that book aside, the characters stayed with me. I’ve been working on the first two books off and on for the last four years, in between other projects. My previous novels have been inter-related, but weren’t as closely connected, and it took me a little time to figure out how to assemble a trilogy. It also required a couple of drafts to get to a longer length a lot of modern readers seem to prefer and keep the swift pacing I like.

 

LRR: Who was your favorite character to write?

 

HAJ: Honestly, I loved writing all of these characters. The swordswoman and enchantress Elenai, the novel’s principal protagonist, is an awful lot of fun because of her drive and curiosity, and I get a particular charge out of the brilliant, precise, and slightly peculiar Varama. She adds more than her body weight to any scene where she appears. Two of my initial inspirations were Corwin and Benedict of Amber because I always wanted to see more of both on the page. After more than two decades in my head, the two characters who started out as homages to them are their own people, but I had a blast writing the charming, deadly warrior and the tactical genius.

LRR: This is the beginning of a trilogy. Do you have the entire thing planned out, or will you just write and see where the story goes?

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Author Danica Davidson and Manga author Rena Saiya have recently released Manga Art for Intermediates.    When Danica told me about this new book, I had a million questions for her – How did she know what text would work best with Rena’s pictures? How did Rena know what artwork would go best with the text? How did the two of them collaborate? How did they find each other? Was it fun?  Instead of trying to answer my million questions over lunch one day, Danica suggested I interview the both of them. Excellent idea!

Danica Davidson is most famous for her series of unofficial Minecrafter adventure novels for middle grade readers.  She’s written articles for MTV, The Onion, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and about fifty other publications.  You can learn more about her work here.

Rena Saiya is a Mangaka (manga author) living in the Tokyo area.  Her flexible artwork style has allowed her to publish manga in a variety of genres, and she has also taught manga-creation in vocational schools in Japan. Click here to visit Rena’s website.

Danica and Rena were kind enough to answer all my questions about their new manga art book,  how they collaborated,  their backgrounds, and more!  If you know someone who is dabbling in drawing manga fan-art, Manga Art for Intermediates is for them!

My Q&A with Danica Davidson:

Little Red Reviewer: This is your second Manga Art step-by-step book. What did you want to accomplish in this book that you hadn’t already accomplished in the first book?

Danica Davidson: The first book was more basic. If you want to draw manga-style characters in your notebook but don’t know how to start, that book has you covered. It starts with how to draw faces, eyes, bodies, really going piece by piece, then gets into how to draw common character types. So we have schoolgirl, schoolboy, chibi, ninja, magical girl, etc. Each character is drawn in maybe 15 or so steps, making it much more detailed than any other how-to-draw manga books I’m aware of on the market.

If you’ve gone through that book or have some background in art, then Manga Art for Intermediates ups the ante. It still shows how to draw common character types in many more steps (this time around we have characters like bride and groom, kendo player, seme and uke, Heian man, nekojin and even some yokai). But we also talk about what sort of papers, pens, inks and software real, professional manga creators in Japan like to use. It goes into screentones and how to use brushes to make black hair look shiny. All of this information comes thanks to Rena, who has a background in manga.

Danica Davidson

LRR: How did you first get involved with manga step-by-step guides?

DD: It happened because of my background in manga. I started reading manga as a teenager, and not long afterward I started writing about it professionally. The first glossy magazine I freelanced for was Anime Insider, and that led me to writing about manga for Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and that led me to writing about manga for MTV, CNN, The Onion and other places. I adapted manga into English for Digital Manga Publishing and have helped in the editing process for Yen Press. I love a good story, and manga is a great medium. Then a publisher reached out to me based on my manga knowledge and experience, saying they wanted to do an art book. That led to Manga Art for Beginners.

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I got chatting with author Chris Voss over twitter (@vossdross), and if you follow the #RRSciFiMonth tag, you’ve probably seen some of his tweets about his science fiction TBR, enjoying Doctor Who, his current  reads, and reminiscing about scifi paperbacks he enjoyed as a kid.

 

Chris’s debut novel, Genesis, came out earlier this year,  and boy did I have a ton of question for him about it!  I wanted to know everything – what was his favorite scene to write? what inspired the book? why go the self publishing route?  you know. . . everything!  Sorry Chris, I didn’t mean to freak you out with so many questions! I’m just curious about everything, and i might be an introvert but that doesn’t stop me from e-mailing someone a million questions.    This is a pretty cool interview, if I do say so myself!

 

About the book:

In a world ravaged by climate change, social inequality and dwindling natural resources there’s only one solution: abandon ship and terraform a new home.

Operation Genesis is beset by problems from the start – sabotage, covert infiltration, planning by committee – but Dylan Lomax, an emotionally disconnected empath, soon discovers there are worse things than organisational incompetence. The mission to bring life to a new planet has a terrible secret, one which threatens to take humanity to the brink of extinction.

About Chris Voss:

C.A. Voss was raised in Walsall, a small industrial town in the UK famous for its close proximity to the M6, Jerome K. Jerome and a concrete hippo (Google it). He moved to Leicester to study at De Montfort University and has been resident there ever since. He writes in his spare time and would love nothing more than to earn a living by telling stories.

He loves the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, Philip K. Dick and Hunter S. Thompson, to name but a few, and believes the greatest novel ever written was the first, Don Quixote by Cervantes. He also draws inspiration from the thousands of movies and TV shows consumed during a misspent youth; and hopes that his work contains a fraction of the wit, intelligence and excitement displayed by creatives like Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin and Steven Spielberg.

 

Let’s get to the interview!

 

Little Red Reviewer: Hi Chris! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Chris Voss: I find writing a little about myself way more difficult than writing a 100,000 word novel!

The initials in my pen name, C.A. Voss, stand for Chris(topher) Adam. I live in Leicester, in the UK, with my girlfriend Jen. A few years ago we both quit our jobs to go travel the world on a shoe-string budget and had the most amazing adventure. We barely scratched the surface of all the sights and experiences the world has to offer and can’t wait to get out and do it again someday.

I’m a master of procrastination; binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reading books off my TBR list and playing Red Dead Redemption II when I should be writing my next novel. I have three great ideas I’m working on at the moment, including a spiritual sequel to my debut novel Genesis.

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Let me set the scene a little for you:   This past January, at ConFusion, Jerry says he has a novel coming out soon. And of course I say “oh?”

 

He tells me what the book is about.   He tells me the significance of the pre-order announcement and the significance of the book being released on April 19th (hey, that’s today!).  After that conversation, I couldn’t get the idea of this book out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about the research that must have gone into this book, what possessed him to write on this particular subject, how he went about writing a cult leader,  the power of faith and religion, and how law enforcement officers attacking civilians is nothing new.

 

I’ve been waiting for the book ever since.

 

Breaking The World is a fast paced alternate history thriller that takes place in Waco, Texas, in the summer of 1993.   Ringing any bells?  Does this photo look familiar?

(I swiped this photo from Jerry’s website)

 

Breaking the World asks the question “What if David Koresh was right, and the world really was ending?”

 

Jerry was kind enough to let me ask him all sorts of questions, most of which are a variation of “wait,  what?  but, how? and dude, why??”.   Because I really did want to know why would someone write a novel about the Branch Davidians.  Is it easier to research something like this now,  because more than 20 years have passed?  Did Jerry’s Google Search history get him on any no-fly lists?   I had a bazillion questions.  Like I said, Jerry is very kind.

 

Just joining us?  Click here to read my review of Breaking the Worldclick here to order the book directly from the publisher.  Click here to visit Jerry’s website.

 

Let’s get to the interview!  I promise, no (ok, only a few teeny) spoilers ahead! Not to mention insider info about the significance of names, social media to the rescue, the process of writing a non-believer who is stuck in a religious cult, how people have been reacting to this book, and that even when history is written by the victors, a darker truth is often hiding right beneath the surface.

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Little Red Reviewer: I was fourteen years old when “Waco” happened. Newsmedia was very different in 1993, and all I remember is seeing Koresh’s photo on TV, and lots of footage of burning buildings in the Texas sun. (CNN existed, we didn’t have cable TV) I may have been too young to understand, but more likely I just wasn’t paying attention and was too busy being a teenager to care. Fast forward 25 years, and we have multiple 24 hour news stations, tons of social media, and the ability to instantly put live videos online. If the Branch Davidian stand off happened in an age of smartphones and social media, would things have gone down differently? How might both sides use social media to their advantage? In any stand-off situation, do you think social media is a help, or a hindrance?


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In Jon McGoran‘s new novel Spliced, the newest bio-hacking trend is a dangerous form of permanent body modification. Who needs piercings or tattoos, when you can get animal genes spliced into your own body? This thrilling novel follows teenagers Jimi and Del as they fall deeper than they ever expected into the world of the spliced. The rich can afford legal and safe splices, other who want the procedure go to illegal back alley clinics.  And just imagine the political backlash!   Are these genetically modified people, known as chimeras, superhuman? or are they no longer human, and no longer deserving of human rights?

Paste Magazine named Spliced one of the ten best YA books in September, and Booklist calls Spliced“suspenseful and scary…timely [and] thought-provoking”.  Spliced hits bookstore shelves on Sept 29th, and the audio book, narrated by Sophie Amoss, comes out the same day.

Jon has been writing about food and sustainability for over twenty years, and when he’s not writing and publishing non-fiction and satire, he writes eco-thrillers to play with ideas about how all easily all our technological advances can go horribly wrong. Because, well, we’re only human after all. Jon was kind enough to let me pick his brain about Spliced, The Philadelphia Liars Club, his work in ecological sustainability, and more. And speaking of Philadelphia, if you live in that city you can attend the Launch Party for Spliced, Oct 6 at Parkway Central Library. Click here for more info.

Let’s get to the interview!


Little Red Reviewer:
Your new novel, Spliced, is a thriller that revolves around the trendiest underground body modification of having animal genes illegally spliced into humans. Why would someone want to have animal genes spliced into their DNA? Do I get a cat’s night vision, a rattlesnake’s venomous bite, the regeneration abilities of a starfish? Sell me on why someone would want to do this to themselves.

Jon McGoran: Even in the book, the science is still pretty new, and for the most part, the people doing the splices, the ‘genies,’ are amateurs, so you don’t always know what you are going to get. The effects are generally superficial, although sometimes profound. Some chimeras do pick up other traits from the animals they are spliced with, but it’s not like a super power.

As to the reason why someone would do it, that was one of the questions that I thought was most interesting when I first came up with the idea for the book. I knew people would do this, and I do believe they probably will if it becomes possible like it is in the book. There are all sorts of body modifications out there, from tattoos and piercings and gauges to some that are much more extreme and elaborate. So part of the reason would parallel why people get those modifications. But with something like this, there would be as many reasons to do it as there are people doing it. For some it is a fashion statement or a symbol of rebellion, for others it is solidarity with the Earth’s rapidly dwindling wildlife, especially the species that are endangered or extinct. And some look at what humans have done to the Earth, and at times to each other, and they want to make it clear, on some level, that they don’t agree with what humanity has become.

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I’m over at Apex Magazine today interviewing Kameron Hurley.   This is Apex Magazine‘s 100th issue!

https://www.apex-magazine.com/interview-with-author-kameron-hurley

 

While you’re over there, make sure you check out Hurley’s short story “Tumbledown”, and all the other wonderful content Apex Magazine has to offer.  Included in that wonderful content is my monthly interviews with featured authors!

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Collaborative, competitive, serialized, and interactive, Archipelago is part choose-your-own adventure, part screw-your-neighbor, and part stay-tuned!   What started out as a joint Patreon complete with enforced writing exercise has turned into what could be the next big thing in serialized fiction.  Created by Charlotte Ashley, Kurt Hunt, and Andrew Leon Hudson, Archipelago is a historical fantasy with Lovecraftian flavors. Members vote on where they want the story to go, and the authors have to go in that direction!

A few teaser intro episodes are  publicly available on their Patreon, check out The Ur-Ring by Charlotte Ashley, In Extremis by Andrew Leon Hudson, and Whatsoever is New by Kurt Hunt.  Here’s the homepage of their Patreon, where you can learn more.

I’ve been intrigued by this project since the moment I heard about it,  so I was super thrilled when the authors agreed to do a panel interview with me.  I set up a shared document on Google Drive, put in some open ended questions, and let them take the wheel!   But before we get to that, let’s learn a little about these amazing and creative writers:

Andrew Leon Hudson is an English writer, editor and designer based in Europe, a ten-year resident of Madrid with the local vocabulary of an introverted three-year-old at best. He is only now coming to terms with the stunning moment of culture shock that came with realising Sir Francis Drake – one of England’s great naval heroes, especially famed for his victory over the Spanish Armada – is viewed in his chosen home as nothing but a despicable pirate. He became involved with the Archipelago project as a way of working through this nautical trauma, and you can track his general therapeutic progress at https://andrewleonhudson.wordpress.com/.

Charlotte Ashley is a writer, editor, bookseller, and reckless thrillseeker whose stories are all mostly true. Since moving to Toronto, Canada, she has dabbled in the arts of fencing, parkour, capoeria, and LARPing, applying the lessons learned to her skill at writing rollicking swashbuckling adventures. Her stories have appeared in F&SF, PodCastle, the Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and numerous anthologies. She has been nominated for both the Sunburst and Aurora Awards, and once wrote and performed a science fiction musical from the equipment of a CrossFit gym. You can learn more about her at http://once-and-future.com/ or on Twitter @CharlotteAshley

Kurt Hunt was formed in the swamps and abandoned gravel pits of post-industrial Michigan. At 17, he fell in love and moved into a shabby Chicago apartment instead of that fancy school he planned to attend, a decision that convinced him that the best things in life cannot be planned but must instead be conjured through a combination of good luck and poor impulse control. His fiction has been published at Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and PodCastle, among others, and he co-edited the 2016 “Up and Coming” anthology of writers eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. You can follow Kurt on twitter at @SonitusSonitus .

and with that, let’s get to the panel!

Andrea Johnson: How did the three of you come up with the concept for Archipelago? What were your brainstorming sessions like?

Charlotte Ashley: It started out as a simple shared Patreon, then spun out of control. Andrew and I decided to do a shared world with a lot of interactivity and we realized pretty quickly that we had a similar vision of how this would work out. We invited Kurt on board and he “got it” instantly as well.

We brainstormed through Google Hangouts – it was a lot of “Oh! Oh! We could do this!” “Yes, omg, and then this!” We wanted a format that allowed as much autonomy as possible, with leeway for adding new things on a continual basis. As our characters discover the world, we’re discovering it as well.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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