It’s always a pleasure to have Cassandra Rose Clarke on the blog, and I’m thrilled that she’s here to talk about her upcoming novel, THE WIZARD’S PROMISE, which will be out on May 6th from Strange Chemistry!
Congrats on the new book! Merboys and lady pirates? I’m there. Will you tell us a little about THE WIZARD’S PROMISE and what inspired you to write it?
The Wizard’s Promise is a YA adventure fantasy that follows the adventures of Hanna, a girl who wants to be a witch but is currently apprenticed to a fisherman. When her boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when the merboy—who’s not exactly a merboy, but definitely something un-human—starts following them. If you want to find out his whole deal, though, you’ll need to read the book!
The Wizard’s Promise is actually a semi-sequel to my other YA duology. Although I finished that story with The Pirate’s Wish, I didn’t want to just abandon the world—or the characters—I had created for it. So I decided to look at a new set of characters in a new part of the world, where I could develop new facets of the world’s culture and look more closely at places that had only been mentioned in the first two books.
The newest Apex Magazine digital subscription drive has been dubbed Operation Fourth Story, and in honor of that, a few of us are hosting editors, authors and artist that have all contributed to Apex Magazine! Today, please welcome Cameron Salisbury, Managing Editor of Apex!
Will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to work in editing?
I’m a giant dilettante. My father is a scientist and my mother is an artist, so, growing up, the whole family would be out fossil hunting one weekend and poking around a gallery the next. It took me a long time even to decide whether I wanted to focus on science or humanities in school. I wound up studying languages and education, though I still keep up my Scientific American subscription. I finished grad school just in time for the recession, moved to Boston to be close to my best friends, and landed a nice, steady job that pays the bills and leaves plenty of time in the evenings for writing and editing. My editing career has kind of snuck up on me over the past few years, but these days I love it best, and I love my niche and the range of genre fiction and nonfiction, fan, pro, and academic work that crosses my desk. I’d love to transition into editing full time.
You’re the managing editor of Apex Magazine (and Symposium Editor for Transformative Works and Cultures), and you also juggle a day job! Will you give us a day-in-the-life for you?
Lots of snack breaks. I get up early, check my feeds, and hop on the train, where I usually ride with my head buried in an old sci-fi mag or anthology, trawling for reprints. Then it’s nine hours of day job before I zip home again and curl up with my laptop and my Apex and TWC inboxes. A big part of my job for Apex is distributing the slush pile among our thirteen magnificent submissions editors. We get hundreds of submissions per week, and we’re about to announce an exciting chance to our guidelines that will likely increase that number. I also field queries, solicit art, essays and reprints, copy edit, keep an eye on our social media, and act as an extra set of hands for solving all the random, minor puzzles that pop up as issues come together. My favorite task is helping Sigrid, Apex’s editor in chief, sort all the content we purchase into coherent issues — groups of stories that complement and talk to each other in interesting ways.
Michael J Sullivan’s new book, HOLLOW WORLD, just came out in March and he stopped by to chat about it, and more!
Congrats on the new book! Will you tell us a little about HOLLOW WORLD and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you very much, and I’d love to tell you more about Hollow World. It’s the story of Ellis Rogers who is pretty much an “ordinary Joe.” He is rather intelligent (he builds his own time machine after all), but he also has everyday problems such as a failing marriage and personal regrets he carries around. When diagnosed with a terminal disease, he has nothing to lose, so he goes into the future hoping to find a cure. What he discovers I’ll not go into, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but suffice to say it’s a future he didn’t expect. Ellis is caught up in a murder mystery and through the course of the novel I explore themes about individuality, what it means to love, and the price of paradise.
As for the inspiration behind Hollow World, it started because of an anthology I was asked to contribute to. I wrote a short story with a kind of “Twilight Zone” vibe, where someone from our time goes into the future resembling John Lennon’s song Imagine…a world with no religion, countries, greed or hunger…and although it would seem utopic, he sees it as hell on earth since much of what he values has disappeared over the years. In that short story he is “locked away” as his outdated thinking may infect and spoil the world he arrives in. I showed the short to my wife and a few writer friends and they all came back with the same response, which basically boiled down to there was a lot of potential in the ideas presented, and it should be expanded into a novel. I ended up writing a different short story for the anthology so I could make use of some of the elements of the short for Hollow World.
Daniel Levine’s debut novel, HYDE, just came out in March, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new book, and more!
Congratulations on your new book, HYDE! Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
In fifth grade I wrote an essay envisioning my life in twenty-five years. I imagined myself as a horror writer, divorced from my wife who wanted me to be a lawyer instead. I was fortunate to grow up in a house filled with books. My parents are voracious readers and academics—my mother a professor of Spanish Literature and my father a physicist. They read to me (and my brother) over the years. I loved storytelling, the genuine suspense of not knowing what would happen next, the sleights of hand. I loved too the special voice a storyteller takes on. The storyteller must be a kind of outsider, looking in on the drama, observing with sharpened senses, distinct from the rest of humanity by virtue of his/her narrative power. I think I’ve always felt like an outsider in this sense: that I was observing with keen interest the action around me, and responding to it with colorful emotional analysis. The events of my life, compared with others, haven’t been especially dramatic or difficult: a happy childhood in the New Jersey suburbs, good schooling, violin lessons, athletics, a fine college education, graduate school. No abuse or trauma or strife, not like my Henry Jekyll, certainly. But I lead a rich inner life, romantic, brooding, and grand. It’s the urge to birth this inner life that drives writers to write, I imagine. It was my natural impulse. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.
Courtesy of the wonderful folks at Solaris, I’ve got 4 copies of The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume 8, edited by Jonathan Strahan, and including stories by Neil Gaiman, Madeline Ashby, Greg Egan, and more! Also, it’s INTERNATIONAL! Check out the details, and good luck!
About THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY OF THE YEAR: VOLUME 8:
The best of the year’s Science Fiction and Fantasy stories as selected by the multiple award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan. The series moves to its new publishing home, Solaris, with this eighth annual volume of the celebrated and popular series.
DISTANT WORLDS, TIME TRAVEL, EPIC ADVENTURE, UNSEEN WONDERS AND MUCH MORE!
The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection by multiple award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. This highly popular series now reaches volume eight and will include stories from both the biggest names in the field and the most exciting new talents.
Previous volumes have included stories from Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Abercrombie, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jeffrey Ford, Margo Lanagan, Bruce Sterling, Adam Robets, Ellen Klages, and many many more.
With this volume the series comes to a new home at Solaris, publishers of Jonathan Strahan’s award-winning original Infinities SF anthologies and the and Fearsome fantasy anthologies.
It’s Award season, and since I did a post on quite a few of the Edgar Award winners and noms that were on sale (ebook), the other day, and being Friday, I thought it would be fun to do a post of Bram Stoker Award winners and nominees, so you’ll have plenty of reads to choose from over the weekend, if the scaries are your thing. This post covers titles from the past 4 years, and I’ll try to do another couple of posts before the awards are announced in May. So, all you horror fans, get ready to blow up your TBR, and as usual, make sure to doublecheck the price before you click BUY! Enjoy!
Also, be sure to check out the current Bram Stoker nominees, and see a list of all past winners and nominees HERE.
Current Nominees (Please note: A few titles are priced right at $5):
Afterparty by Daryl Gregory (Tor, April 22nd, 2014)-Lyda Rose has just gotten out of the detention facility where, recently, a 17 year old committed suicide. Turns out the girl had taken a drug called Numinous, which helps its victims find God, but when she came down from the mind altering substance, joy turned to despair, and death is the only way out. However, Lyda is a little bit different from the typical addict. Numinous sounds suspiciously like a drug she herself helped develop, and she’s determined to find the source. The drug that Lyda developed, like Numinous, helped the user find a higher power, but if you OD’d the hallucinations stayed with you. That’s where Dr. Gloria comes in. Dr. Gloria is an angel, and she is Lyda’s permanent hallucination. Lyda’s goal is to find out where and how the Numinous is being made, and eliminate the threat. The use of this drug must NOT spread, and Lyda will do anything to make sure that it doesn’t. But there’s much, much more at work here then just one bad guy (or girl) heading up the manufacturing. Luckily, Lyda has a few friends (plus an angel) to help her out.
Afterparty is one of those books that’s very hard to write about. The reason for this is that it refuses to be pigeonholed, which is a good thing, but sometimes hell on the reviewing process. But, I’ll try. Afterparty is told mostly in Lyda’s voice, with interludes into the doings of other characters, and Lyda makes for a fascinating narrator. She’s a rather brilliant neuroscientist with an addict’s sensibility.
Micheal R. Underwood’s brand new novella, ATTACK THE GEEK (A Ree Reyes Side Quest), just came out, and he stopped by to chat about it,and much more! Please welcome Michael back to the blog!
So, ATTACK THE GEEK just came out! Care to dish?
This one was a lot of fun to write – I’ve gotten to know the characters, and I took the chance on a limited setting story, where I could focus on action and character (including a big cast). Ree’s working the Saturday night shift at Grognard’s, and the place is hopping, filled with Geekomancers and associates competing in a Vampire: the Eternal Struggle CCG tournament. The power goes out, and the patrons get ambused when the leave. Ree, Drake, Eastwood, Grognard, and the rest have to hold the fort against all comers (gnomes, minotaurs, animate clouds of weapons) while dealing with their internal squabbles. And a few more surprises along the way.
Attack the Geek was meant to be a stand-alone story for existing readers, but some folks are saying they’d take it as an entry point to the series, which is great. It’s going to have even more meaning for existing fans of the series who can see how Ree’s relationships with the members of the Pearson Underground evolve in this story. And if you like the trademark injokes and magic geekdom from Geekomancy and Celebromancy, Attack the Geek will be wall-to-wall fun.
The new suspense collection,ICE COLD: Tales of Intrigue From the Cold War, just came out, and I managed to wrangle its editors, Jeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson, into answering a few of my questions! Please welcome them to the blog!
Congratulations on the release of ICE COLD! I think the Cold War collection has a fascinating theme! Why is this a time period that interests you?
Jeffery Deaver: The fast answer would be because it seems to be happening all over again . . . . In reality, I was drawn to the era because I came of age during that time. I well remember being worried about Russian nuclear attacks. I also was very intrigued with the idea of espionage, and was a huge fan of the books of Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, Frederick Forsyth, John le Carre and other spy writers. As you know, Raymond and I are the only Americans tapped by the Ian Fleming estate to write James Bond novels.
Raymond Benson: I grew up during much of the time period. Born in the 50s, grew up in the 60s—and those two decades are the ones we generally equate with the Cold War years, even though it began at the end of World War II and continued until 1989. I remember the “Duck and Cover” drills in elementary school and some folks building bomb shelters in their back yards. Discovering James Bond in the 60s was a big part of my development as well, and that character went hand-in-hand with the times. The protagonist of my most recent series, the Black Stiletto, also lives during the Cold War years. She gets involved in tackling “Commie spies” and such. To tell the truth, now it’s all great fun! Back then, though, things were pretty tense.
Every one of these books are Edgar Award winners, and all are $1.99 on Kindle, courtesy of Open Road Media/Mysterious Press. Also included are some nominees that you can score for $1.99 each also! Note that FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg was the inspiration for the film Angel Heart. Just sayin’. Snap these up quick, because who knows how long these will last!