Catching up with Daniel Josè Older, author of Half-Resurrection Blues

Daniel José OlderI’m always thrilled to have Daniel Josè Older on the blog, and he’s kindly stopped by today to talk about his new book, Half-Resurrection Blues, and more!

As you know, I loved Half-Resurrection Blues, and to finally get a full length novel about inbetweener Carlos Delacruz and his very unique and magical New York was an absolute treat. Is there a little bit of you in Carlos? What first inspired his character?
Thank you! I first started writing fiction because I had been blogging about the weird, ridiculous, heartbreaking stories we’d deal with on the ambulance. It was easy to just jot down quick scenes about what had happened the night before and I realized I could do the same thing with fiction if I just made things up. The mantra became “Just tell the story,” which cut through the paralyzing overthinking we sometimes fall into as writers. Carlos’s voice came directly from that.

Do you have a set number of stories that you’d like to tell in the Bone Street Rumba series, or will you just see where the narrative takes you?
I’m going to see where it goes, which is how I generally write each book — I’ll have a vague notion but no clear outline. Then I’ll find out where it’s going as I write. I know Carlos has a very particular arc that I’m following with the first three Bone Street Rumba books and Salsa Nocturna, but beyond that…we shall see! Salsa comes in between books 2 and 3, chronologically.

Did you do any particular research for the book?
Not too much, but I love making up stuff for the characters to research. For Midnight Taxi Tango, the sequel to Half-Resurrection Blues, I did research the history of tango, the biology of cockroaches and I did my usual delving into maps of New York and Long Island.

You write of a magic infused New York City that’s still very much grounded in reality. That said, it’s still a distinctive “world” all its own. What are a few of your favorite “literary” worlds?
I love the planet Toussaint in Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber – so complex and beautiful and full of messy truth. I love the classics – Wonderland and Middle Earth. I’ve finally gotten around to the Song of Ice and Fire Books and I’m absolutely loving the complexity of Westeros. Malazan, from Steven Erikson’s Malazan Books of the Fallen, is another one that’s gripped me. Of the more “this” world type worlds – Victor Lavalle’s Devil in Silver does amazing worldbuilding within the confines of a mental hospital in Queens.

What are you currently reading? Are there any upcoming books that you’re looking forward to this year?
Currently kneedeep in A Feast for Crows. Looking forward to The Jumbies by Tracey Baptist.

What’s next for you? Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’m excited beyond words that Anika Noni Rose has optioned the Bone Street Rumba series. I could not imagine a more capable artistic mind to entrust this work with; she is absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to see what develops. For my part, I’ve just turned in the first draft of Midnight Taxi Tango and I’m getting ready to get started on book 3.

In June, my first YA, Shadowshaper, comes out from Arthur A. Levine Books.

Keep up with Daniel: Website | Twitter

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death.…

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