My Bookish Ways

Interview: Kat Ross, author of Some Fine Day

Kat Ross’s brand new book, SOME FINE DAY, will be out on July 1st, but in the meantime, I sent a few questions her way about it and more, and she kindly answered. Please give her a warm welcome!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo…hypercanes and ferocious amphibian/primate hybrids…will you tell us more about your new book, SOME FINE DAY?
I’d love to! Timewise, it’s set about seventy years from now, when all the worst-case climate change scenarios have come to pass. In fact, it’s gotten so unliveable that the rich and powerful have moved to fully self-contained underground cities. My main character was born into that life; the fake weather and rigid hierarchy of their society are normal to her. It’s not until she gets a chance to go to the surface that she realizes what she’s been missing—and that things topside are a lot more complicated than she’s always believed. There’s a ton of action in the story, but it’s also about that awkward process of figuring out who you are and your place in the world.

You have a background in journalism and from your bio, I get the sense that you’ve always enjoyed creative writing. What’s one of the first things you can remember writing? What inspired you to begin writing SOME FINE DAY?
I have to thank my mom for reading the entire LoTR trilogy to me when I was young. It took a couple of years, but (as they did for so many people) those books opened a big, shiny door to a whole other realm of possibility. One of my first stories was a blatant Narnia knockoff called “The Tiger, The Queen and the Rain,” about a “majic witch” who was “a pale old thing, and was not VERY NICE.” I still love writing characters who are not very nice. They’re the most fun. I ended up putting my fiction writing aside for many years, but I never stopped reading. And I always knew I’d come back to it eventually.

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The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

thefarmThe Farm by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central, June 3rd, 2014-When Daniel’s parents, Tilde and Chris, moved from London to Sweden, Daniel believed that they were ending a long period of hard work, but work that was lucrative enough to afford them a comfortable semi retirement in a sprawling old farmhouse. It’s been three years since his parents left for Sweden and Daniel has been putting off a visit, but it’s not because he doesn’t want to see his parents. In fact, he loves his parents dearly, and only remembers a childhood filled with light and laughter. If his parents fought, he never saw it. So, in a shocking turn of events, he gets a call from his father, claiming his mother has been committed to a mental hospital. Shortly after that, his mother calls, informing him that she’s on a flight to England, having convinced the doctors at the hospital that she was of sound mind. She’s also sure that Daniel’s father is a part of a terrible conspiracy against her. What follows is a laying bare of secrets so shocking that Daniel is forced to rethink everything he ever thought he knew of his parents.

The Farm is Tom Rob Smith’s fourth novel and his first standalone after his Child 44 trilogy, and it’s a keeper. Tilde tells her story to Daniel using a series of items she’s collected as evidence and is determined to tell it in a logical, orderly way, even as Daniel struggles not to jump to conclusions and also to listen with an open mind. The story Tilde weaves, of a rural Swedish community harboring terrible secrets, is quietly horrifying, and there’s always a sense of urgency, as she’s terrified that Daniel’s father will find her and try to take her back to the hospital. What’s so fascinating about Daniel is that he’s been keeping a secret too. It’s nothing near as explosive as Tilde’s, but it does have some bearing on his acceptance of Tilde’s disturbing tale, as does his love for her and of course a will to see justice done. Tilde’s narrative is orderly, concise, and certainly not the expected chaotic ramblings of a disordered mind. Her suspicion’s point to a shocking crime, however, and the sense of dread that is woven throughout, along with Tilde’s very real feelings of isolation and persecution, make for a claustrophobic, tense read. Are these the intricate fantasies of an insane woman, or something much more sinister? Don’t worry, you’ll get answers, and you may even be surprised. The Farm is a clever, meticulously structured psychological thriller, and I marveled at Smith’s skill in painting such an effective portrait of  isolation and mischief of the most devious sort, hiding behind a facade of “community”. Don’t miss this one, thriller fans.

Interview: Lisa Ann O’Kane, author of Essence

Please welcome Lisa Ann O’Kane to the blog as part of her blog tour for her debut novel, ESSENCE (out June 3rd)! Lisa Ann was kind enough to answer a few of my question about the book, and more!

Katie Beyer Photography

Katie Beyer Photography

You mention on your website that a summer-long campout at Yosemite National Park inspired you to write your new book, ESSENCE. Will you tell us a little more about that?
My pleasure! I accepted a sight-unseen job at the park’s concessionaire, Delaware North Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, and I showed up in April 2004 with a cowboy hat, a backpack, and no idea what I would actually be doing that summer. Human Resources assigned me a front desk job at one of the park’s hotels, and they told me I would be sharing a 10’x10’ tent cabin with a roommate for the next four and a half months.

Lucky for me, that roommate ended up becoming one of my very best friends (and the real-life inspiration for my Essence character Kadence). We also had such an amazing time that summer that it was easy for us to forget how few possessions we actually owned.

You have a background zookeeping and environmental education, but have you always wanted to write a book?
Absolutely. My mother would tell you I have been ‘writing’ since before I could write: scrawling complicated picture books and reciting them verbatim to anyone and everyone who would listen. I wrote recreationally through elementary and middle school, but I put writing on the back burner until I completed college.

In the meantime, I pursued a many of other interests, including zookeeping and environmental education. When I finally came up with the concept for my first (shelved) novel in 2009—a YA paranormal mystery filled with beluga whale research, poachers and a serious nature bent—I realized I had figured out a way to combine everything I love into one passion.
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I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

iampilgrimI Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Emily Bestler Books, May 27th, 2014)-Scott Murdoch (Pilgrim) was once part of the clandestine intelligence organization known only as The Division. A man without a past, or a name, he constantly remade himself for the sake of his job. Eventually he leaves The Division, but his cover is blown by a a particularly tenacious New York cop, Ben Bradley, that managed to track him down after reading his obscure book on criminal investigation, a book that managed to bring him out of one of the most painful and difficult time of his life. Scott is shocked that Ben managed to find him, but can’t help growing fond of Ben and his loving wife, Marcie. It’s from this that a friendship is born, and it’s something that, before now, he’s never really known. Now Ben has called him out to a seedy hotel room where a young woman is found dead in a tub full of industrial antiseptic, all evidence of her identity taken from her. Moreover, the killer’s methods seem to come directly from Scott’s book. This is just the beginning though. There’s a diabolical terrorist on the loose, known only as the Saracen. Born of tragedy, the Saracen is a man on a deadly mission to turn the U.S. into hell, and he’s got the tools, the training, and the brains to do it, but Scott Murdoch is just as talented, and he’s been brought back into the fold to find the Saracen and, ultimately, stop him.

The Saracen’s terrible plot takes Pilgrim into a picturesque, sleepy town in  Turkey and beyond, his cover made possible by the murder of a prominent billionaire, and it’s there that he finds out that so many more things were in play than he first thought and he’ll have to be at the top of his game to find a man unlike any he’s ever hunted. I Am Pilgrim is narrated by Pilgrim himself and in addition to his  quest, we’re given quite a bit of insight into what drives the Saracen in his own dark mission. It’s an odd feeling to want the Saracen to be caught, and even punished, but also to feel compassion at the events that brought him to this point, yet I did. Hayes gives us a peek of the (very human) man behind the monster, when so many thrillers just give us monsters.

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Interview: Sarah Lotz, author of The Three

THE THREE by Sarah Lotz just came out this week, and I can already tell you it will be on my Best of 2014 list! Sarah kindly answered a few of my questions about it, and more-please give her a warm welcome!

sarahlotzSarah, will you tell us a little about your new book, THE THREE, and what inspired you to write it?
I tend to write about what scares me, and as I’m flight phobic, I’ve always wanted to write a novel about air disasters. This irrational fear was the seed of the novel, and the idea grew quite quickly from there. It’s about how the media and the world responds to a devastating event – in this case, four air disasters on the same day – and looks at the conspiracy theories, media hysteria and fear that balloons around the tragedies and the three child survivors.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
Yes – always! I love making stuff up and I’m a bit socially awkward so I’m comfortable spending hours alone with nothing but a cat and a computer for company. I was born in the UK, lived for a while on the streets of Paris when I was a teenager, then moved to Israel where I met my first husband, who was from South Africa. I moved to Cape Town, and have been living here ever since. Over the years, I’ve done loads of crappy minimum-wage jobs, and also spent years working as a staggeringly inept mural painter. My all-time favourite job was working as a screenwriter on South Africa’s first spec fiction animation series, alongside Lauren Beukes and Sam Wilson. I now write fulltime, and love collaborating: I write horror novels with Louis Greenberg under the name S.L Grey; a ‘choose-your-own’ erotica series with authors Helen Moffett and Paige Nick, and a YA series co-written with my daughter under the name Lily Herne.

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This week’s SF, Fantasy, and Horror Kindle deals-all under $5!

Here are some great SFF Kindle deals to get you through the long weekend-all under $5! Of course, be sure to double check the price before you buy:)

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This week’s mystery and suspense Kindle deals under $5!

Looking for a few great mysteries to get you through the long weekend? I’ve got you covered! I’ve curated hard boiled, procedurals, thrillers, and more-over 80 titles, and they’re all under $5 on Kindle. As always, double check the price before you click the Buy button, and enjoy!

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Interview: Scott Kenemore, author of Zombie, Indiana

Please welcome Scott Kenemore to the blog! Scott dropped by to talk about his new book, ZOMBIE, INDIANA, and more!

scottkenemoreThe 3rd book in your Zombie series, ZOMBIE, INDIANA, just came out! Will you tell us a little about it?
Absolutely. This book is the tale of a zombie attack on the state of Indiana, where I grew up. One of the three main protagonists is the governor of the state, and much of the story is told from his perspective. I feel like a lot of zombie novels and movies dance with the idea of what “headquarters” might be doing during a zombie outbreak—how are the government and armed forces faring?—but it’s usually a very small part of the tale. I wanted to write something I had never seen represented—a zombie tale where fully one third of the story takes place at the highest echelons of state government, and where the reader sees exactly what is going on at the governmental level as well as on the ground and out in the communities.

Will you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I was born in New York, and grew up in the American Midwest. I studied creative writing at Kenyon College and Columbia University. I’ve always liked writing, and horror writing especially. I think the formative creative moment for me was bicycling to my local library at age 10 and checking out my first book by H.P. Lovecraft, whom I’d heard referenced by other writers I liked, and mentioned in role-playing games. I remember reading two stories—“In the Vaults” and “Pickman’s Model”—setting down the book, and thinking to myself: “This might be the best thing anyone has ever done, ever.” As an adult, I have continued to feel largely the same way.

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Giveaway: The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker

Love suspense? I’ve got a copy of THE WAYS OF THE DEAD by Neely Tucker up for grabs courtesy of the lovely folks at Viking, so check out the book and the giveaway details, and good luck!

thewaysofthedeadAbout THE WAYS OF THE DEAD:
Sarah Reese, the teenage daughter of a powerful Washington, D.C. judge, is dead, her body discovered in a slum in the shadow of the Capitol. Though the police promptly arrest three local black kids, newspaper reporter Sully Carter suspects there’s more to the case. Reese’s slaying might be related to a string of cold cases the police barely investigated, among them the recent disappearance of a gorgeous university student.

A journalist brought home from war-torn Bosnia and hobbled by loss, rage, and alcohol, Sully encounters a city rife with its own brand of treachery and intrigue. Weaving through D.C.’s broad avenues and shady backstreets on his Ducati 916 motorcycle, Sully comes to know not just the city’s pristine monuments of power but the blighted neighborhoods beyond the reach of the Metro. With the city clamoring for a conviction, Sully pursues the truth about the murders—all against pressure from government officials, police brass, suspicious locals, and even his own bosses at the paper.

A wry, street-smart hero with a serious authority problem, Sully delves into a deeply layered mystery, revealing vivid portraits of the nation’s capital from the highest corridors of power to D.C.’s seedy underbelly, where violence and corruption reign supreme—and where Sully must confront the back-breaking line between what you think and what you know, and what you know and what you can print. Inspired by the real-life 1990s Princeton Place murders and set in the last glory days of the American newspaper, The Ways of the Dead is a wickedly entertaining story of race, crime, the law, and the power of the media. Neely Tucker delivers a flawless rendering of a fast-paced, scoop-driven newsroom—investigative journalism at its grittiest.

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Interview: Monica Byrne, author of The Girl in the Road

Monica Byrne’s new book, THE GIRL IN THE ROAD, just came out yesterday and she kindly answered a few of my questions about it, and more!

monica byrneCongratulations on your new book, THE GIRL IN THE ROAD! You’re a playwright and have degrees in Geochemistry and Biochemistry, but have you always wanted to write a novel? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background, and that progression?
I have always wanted to write a novel, in fact. I used to joke that I’d write my first novel after I got back from Mars.

I wanted to be an astronaut till I was twenty-four. I had a change of heart while in graduate school at MIT that can be summarized as, “Can I actually just do something that gives me pleasure, instead of makes me miserable?” Answering “yes” was one of the great liberating moments of my life. After I finished a thesis, I moved down to Durham and started writing and performing.

Will you tell us more about the book, and about Meena and Mariama?
My agent pointed out to me that the three major characters of the book are named Meena, Mariama, and Yemaya—in other words, goddess figures in the Hindu, Judeo-Christian-Islamic, and Yorùbá religions. I hadn’t planned that at all. I love how mythic archetypes bubble up unconsciously.

What inspired you to write it?
A poem in a Buddhist magazine, Tricycle. I saw the words “bridge” and “ocean” appear on top of each other and suddenly had an idea about a floating pontoon bridge that spans the entire sea, and a lone traveler, walking across it. I couldn’t get it out of my head.

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