Please welcome Matthew Guinn to the blog as a part of my series on the 2014 Edgar Award nominees! His novel, THE RESURRECTIONIST, was nominated for Best First Novel by an American Author, and he was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions about it!
It’s only a couple of weeks until the awards are announced, so be sure to check out all of my Edgar nominee interviews.
Congrats on the Edgar Award nomination for The Resurrectionist! Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
I was always a reader, but wasn’t absolutely certain that I wanted to be a novelist until I met Andrew Lytle in Monteagle, Tennessee, in the early 1990s. I’d read his novel The Velvet Horn and was amazed to meet a person capable of such an achievement. His example of vision and craft continues to inspire me.
I grew up in Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and religion in 1992. I planned to go to graduate school and hopefully teach college English during the years that I knew it would take for me to learn how to write a novel. My goal was to study with writers who were excelling at the kind of fiction I hoped to write. I’d read Larry Brown and knew that he was in Oxford, MS; I’d also read Deliverance and knew that James Dickey was at the University of South Carolina. I ended up at Ole Miss first, which was great because I met my wife Kristen in school there. We went to USC next and I was lucky enough to be Mr. Dickey’s personal assistant. He was larger than life; a real inspiration.
I love the premise of the book, but will you tell us a little more about it and what inspired you to write it?
The premise of The Resurrectionist derives from an actual 1989 discovery of bones buried beneath the Medical College of Georgia. The bones were the remains of bodies disinterred from Augusta’s African American cemetery by MCG’s slave resurrectionist, a man named Grandison Harris. The scholarly book Bones in the Basement details the “salvage archaeology” that took place there. MCG handled the event as decently as they could; for the purposes of fiction, I changed the locale and had my fictional school attempt a cover-up.
Authority (FSG Originals, May 6th, 2013)-(No spoilers for Authority, but if you haven’t yet read Annihilation, read at your own risk)I’m betting, if you’re like me, you had a ton of questions at the end of the wonderful ANNIHILATION. If so, you’ll be glad to know that Authority answers quite a few of them. Not all, but a few, and it’s a perfect filling in the sandwich of awesome that is the Southern Reach trilogy. Authority picks up a few months after the disastrous events of Annihilation and the biologist is in the custody of Southern Reach after being found standing in an empty parking lot after returning from Area X’s twelfth expedition. John Rodriguez, aka “Control” has been brought in to replace the missing Director and question the survivors. As soon as he arrives at Southern Reach he encounters pushback from the Assistant Director, who fervently believes the Director is still alive, a scientist named Whitby that may or may not be hiding something, and of course, the biologist, who gives cryptic answers to his questions and seems intent on stonewalling him. He has access to the former Director’s files and her office certainly yields more than a few oddities. He must report to an entity that he only knows as The Voice, but as he digs into the mysteries of Area X, he seems to only have more questions, and not many answers. Soon, things begin to fall apart around him, and he starts to suspect that the forces that are guiding him are much closer to him, and his past, then he could ever have imagined.
The 2014 Hugo Award announcements were made at Loncon3 on Saturday, and here they are! Note that SF Signal is on there for Fancast, so that’s especially notable for me. Congrats to all of the nominees!
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)
Note: The Wheel of Time series was nominated as and ruled to be a multi-part serialized single work, as defined in Section 3.2.4 of the WSFS constitution.
The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
“The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
“Equoid”, Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
“Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013)
There’s about 7 days to go in the Kickstarter for Aghast, and thought a few of you might want to get in on this before it wraps up! They’re fully funded, but there are some awesome stretch goals ahead…
About the magazine (from press release):
Aghast – Α Journal of the Darkly Fantastic is an illustrated, bi-annual journal of horror and dark fantasy short fiction. It will be available online, as well as in print and digital formats. Aghast will feature original short fiction and each short story will be accompanied by an illustration by artist George Cotronis.
The first issue will feature stories by Jonathan Maberry, Gemma Files, Jeff Strand, Tim Waggoner and Megan Arkenberg. AGHAST is still accepting stories for issue #1.
It’s always a pleasure to host Marcella Burnard, and today she’s here to talk about her brand new urban fantasy, NIGHTMARE INK!
Welcome back, Marcella! Will you tell us a little about your new book, NIGHTMARE INK?
It’s an Urban Fantasy set in Ballard, a neighborhood in north Seattle. Isa Romanchzyk runs a tattoo shop called NIGHTMARE INK. It would all be very normal, except that in Isa’s Seattle, magic appeared in the world and now, what she and other Live Ink artists draw can come to life. The short answer to ‘what’s the story about’ is: “If you’re going to sew a second soul to your hide, don’t you think the two of you ought to get along?”
What did you enjoy most about writing Isa, and why do you think readers will root for her?
There’s an easy way to answer this, but it’s 100% spoiler. So let me see if I can talk around it. Isa has some issues with low self-worth, which is easy to say, because I think most of us do. She has this belief that, at her core, she’s not loveable. She believes that anyone who knows all of her secrets will reject her out of hand. All of this is the long way of saying the gal’s got secrets and she’s a little messed up over it. But she’s also really clear that she can help people. It’s a big part of what drives my slightly socially awkward heroine.
The 2014 winner of the Philip K. Dick Award was announced Friday, and to my delight, it goes to COUNTDOWN CITY by Ben H. Winters!!! Take to twitter to congratulate Ben if you can and if you haven’t discovered this wonderful series, now is the perfect time (the first book, THE LAST POLICEMAN, snagged an Edgar, so he’s on quite a roll here…)!
I’ve got arcs (advanced reader copies) of The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep by Brenda Cooper that need a good home (I have quite a few that do, so keep your eye out!), so check out the details and the books, and good luck!
About THE CREATIVE FIRE:
Nothing can match the power of a single voice…
Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots while avoiding the dangerous peacekeeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship The Creative Fire. The social structure of the ship is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom. Then a ship-wide accident gives Ruby a chance to fight for the freedom she craves. Her enemies are numerous, well armed, and knowledgeable. Her weapons are a fabulous voice, a quick mind, and a deep stubbornness. Complicating it all-an unreliable A.I. and an enigmatic man she met – and kissed – exactly once-who may hold the key to her success. If Ruby can’t transform from a rebellious teen to the leader of a revolution, she and all her friends will lose all say in their future.
Like the historical Evita Perón, Ruby rises from the dregs of society to hold incredible popularity and power. Her story is about love and lust and need and a thirst for knowledge and influence so deep that it burns.
About THE DIAMOND DEEP:
What if a woman as strong and as complex as Eva Perón began her life as a robot repair assistant threatened by a powerful peacekeeping force that wants to take all she has from her?
The discovery ship, Creative Fire, is on its way home from a multi-generational journey. But home is nothing like the crew expected. They have been gone for generations, and the system they return to is home to technologies and riches beyond their wildest dreams. But they are immediately oppressed and relegated to the lowest status imaginable, barely able to interact with the technologies and people of the star station where they dock, the Diamond Deep.
Ruby Martin and her partner, Joel North, must find a way to learn what they need to know and to become more than they have ever been if they are to find a way to save their people.
Here are the books that I’m especially looking forward to in SFF for May (click on the covers to pre-order)! Note I took out the Top 10, because I never (ever) can keep it to just 10. These are in no particular order.
Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter (Jo Fletcher Books-May 6th)
Synopsis-Starburst magazine raved that Gemsigns, the first novel in a series, is “a fascinating and compelling read, exploring the boundaries of human behavior, religious influences, and the morality of the everyday person. It comes highly recommended.”
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems—the line between survival and ethics was radically altered. Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.
Feather Bound by Sarah Raughley (Strange Chemistry-May 6th)
Synopsis-When Deanna’s missing friend Hyde turns up at his father’s funeral to claim his corporate empire and inheritance, she is swept into his glittering world of paparazzi and wealth.
But re-kindling her friendship and the dizzying new emotions along for the ride are the least of her concerns. Because Deanna has a secret – and somebody knows. Someone who is out to get Hyde. And if she doesn’t play along, and help the enemy destroy him…she will be sold to the highest bidder in the black market for human swans.
Now Deanna is struggling to break free from the gilded cage that would trap her forever…
Feather Bound is a dark debut reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez’s A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and the twisted truth behind the fairy tale of Cinderella.
Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot, April 29th)-Virgin “Ginny” Jackson loves working at Birrimun Park, a protected piece of land set against the city sprawl of the Western Quarter. She particularly enjoys watching the sunset in the park, and one night, she discovers that she’s not alone. In fact, there’s one dead body where moments before she had heard two distinct voices. She can’t linger at the scene, however, because she’s been tasked with picking up US Marshall Nate Sixkiller from the airport. He’s arrived to help her with the increasing problem of drug runners at the park, but Virgin doesn’t really want his help. Sixkiller is brooding and enigmatic, and Virgin isn’t quite sure she can trust him, but when she’s threatened in her own home, he’s got her back, and when she starts seeing an eagle she’s named Aquila that hasn’t shown itself since she was a teen, Nate seems to know more than he’s letting on. It doesn’t help that the detective in charge of the investigation of the death in the park seems to be gunning for her, and Virgin is the prime suspect. She’ll have to go to some pretty dangerous places to find out what is really going on, and as she follows the evidence, some of it seems to lead back to her father’s death, which she’s never thought was an accident. Luckily, she’s got Sixkiller, her off and on lover, Heart, and her best friend Caro, an investigative journalist, on her side, but will it be enough to keep her out of increasingly hot water?
Please welcome Donna Glee Williams to the blog! She was kind enough to stop by and talk about her book, THE BRAIDED PATH, so give her a warm welcome!
Donna, will you tell us a little about The Braided Path and the story “Limits”’ from which it originated?
Sure, Kristin. I was staying down at The Hambidge Center in the hills of north Georgia. Your readers who write should know about this place—one of the best creative retreats in the world. Not free, but affordable. At Hambidge, each writer, artist, or musician has their own “studio”—a little cabin off in the woods where you live in total solitude except for coming down to the main lodge for stellar vegetarian meals in the evenings. (And, lemme tell you, people start to look really good to you after the isolation of the long work days. I mean, people turn beautiful on you. Witty. Charming. No kidding.) Everyone at Hambidge sets their own work schedule: For the night-owls, our shared meal is breakfast; for the larks, it’s dinner. The place may be a little rugged for serious city-sophisticates—there are stories, possibly apocryphal, about people leaving after seeing one little mouse or hearing they need to be careful of the bears, but truly, if you want to be productive, there’s no better place I know. I understand that a lot of Wicked was drafted there. A lot of The Braided Path, too.
So back about 7 years ago, I’d been at Hambidge for about a week. I’d finished a story on a Thursday night and took a break to work on learning to tie a new knot, a 14-bight Turk’s head. It was the most complicated damn knot I’d ever tried to tie. I meant it to be just a little brain-cleanser between stories, but I couldn’t get it right and I couldn’t put it down. I mean literally: I got up in the morning, worked on the knot until lunch, then worked on until dinner, then worked on it some more until bedtime. All Friday. All Saturday. All Sunday, too, with this voice in my head yacking on and on with all kinds of variations on “You’re supposed to be writing, not playing with string.” I tried to stop, I really did, but I couldn’t. This went on for three days until I’d finally accomplished that knot late Sunday afternoon. Then I went for a walk, a long, uphill slog and a “what-if” started nibbling at my brain: What if this slope went on forever?