Interviews Archives

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Why do we check under the bed for monsters or dread swimming in the ocean or sleep with the lights on? Most likely it’s because of a horror movie or novel. Maybe you watched or read it as a kid or even as an adult; maybe it was temporary or continues to this day. Nonetheless, the horror genre is responsible for many of our fears. And with that in mind we asked our esteemed panel the following question…

Q: What horror tale or tales (novel, short story, movie, TV show, comic book) have messed you up?

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Joshua Palmatier is a fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics. He currently works at SUNY Oneonta, while working on novels, short stories, and editing anthologies with Patricia Bray in his spare time. He has six novels on the shelf at the moment- – the Throne of Amenkor series (The Skewed Throne, The Cracked Throne, and The Vacant Throne), two novels written under the pseudonym Benjamin Tate (Well Of Sorrows and Leaves Of Flame), and the first book in a new series, Shattering The Ley. He is hard at work on the sequel. With co-editor and co-conspirator Patricia Bray, he also delved into the world of anthologies, editing two for DAW Books, and recently founded the small press Zombies Need Brains LLC so that he could continue editing anthology projects. He currently lives in upstate New York.

Joshua was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his newest kickstarer project, Temporally Out of Order, and his new small press, Zombies Need Brains LLC. To visit the kickstarter page for Temporally Out of Order, click here. In the meantime, let’s get to the interview!


Andrea Johnson: Your new anthology is called Temporally Out of Order. What inspired this title, and what themes can readers expect out of the anthology?

Joshua Palmatier: Ah, Temporally Out of Order. Actually, the genesis of the theme for this anthology is kind of interesting… Read the rest of this entry

Steven Gould, author of Jumper, 7th Sigma and EXO, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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Roberta Trahan is the bestselling author of THE DREAM STEWARDS epic fantasy series and the SciFi novella AFTERSHOCK. Her lifelong love of speculative fiction began at an early age, when a certain star-trekking television series inspired an alien-encounter essay that both shocked and horrified her third-grade teacher.

First published nationally as a teenager, Roberta went on to earn a degree in journalism and advertising at the University of Oregon and then worked in various sales, publicity, and marketing positions before eventually turning to creative writing as a career.

Roberta credits the work of classical masters like J.R.R. Tolkein, Marion Zimmer-Bradley and Mary Stewart with igniting her love of fantasy, folklore and history. But it is her own Celtic heritage that she claims as her muse. She blames a rogue alien genetic marker for her chronic addiction to caffeinated substances and her compulsion to invent imaginary worlds. She is also enamored with hummingbirds, and easily distracted by small, shiny objects.

A Pacific Northwest native, Roberta currently resides with her family in the Seattle area and is actively involved with her local writing community as an instructor and speaker.

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An inevitability of reading many books (and subsequently reviewing books) is feeling disconnected when reading a book which has been well-received by a great number of people. In other words, you begin to wonder who is missing something: you as the reader for not “getting” what is so great about the book, or the other readers for helping to raise the book to its hallowed status. This idea was inspired, in large part, by the blog post The Reviewer’s Dilemma: Did I Miss Something? by Ria Bridges. That’s the long way of asking this week’s panelists the following question:

Q: Which Books Made You Shake Your Head at Other Readers?

Here’s what they said…

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Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation’. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called The Wild Girl, which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, The Wild Girl is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.

Kate is probably most famous for Bitter Greens, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. Bitter Greens has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’, and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award. Having already sold more than a quarter of a million copies world-wide, it is being released in the US in September 2014.


Kristin Centorcelli: Congratulations on the new book, BITTER GREENS! Why did you decide to tackle the origin story, I suppose you could say, of Rapunzel?
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Author Beth Cato joined Fran Wilde on Cooking the Books podcast to celebrate her debut from Harper Voyager, The Clockwork Dagger.

You can read the first chapter of The Clockwork Dagger at Tor.com.

The ingredients for Cooking the Books podcast #004 – “The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato” include:
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James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)

In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.

I was lucky enough to interview James about the Maze Runner book series, the (huge!!) new movie based on it, and much more!


Kristin Centorcelli: I’m very, very excited for The Maze Runner movie, and really enjoy the books as well! What inspired you to write the series?

James Dashner: Lots of different things, accumulated over the years. I think the first spark came when I watched The Shining as a kid. I was scarred for life by the scene at the end where Jack chases his kid through the garden maze with an axe. Books like Lord of the Flies and Ender’s Game. The TV show Lost. I think you can see all those influences.
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MIND MELD: Books That Carried Us Outside Our Comfort Zone

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This week we asked our participants to talk about reading out of their comfort zone…

The right kind of author, and the right kind of book, can lure readers to try subgenres of fiction and genre fiction that they wouldn’t normally think to try. These authors and books lure unwitting readers into trying and embracing a new subgenre by virtue of being well-written, subverting genre expectations, and sometimes being a case of a favored author trying a new subgenre and following her into it.

Q: What authors and books have gotten you to try new subgenres of fiction and genre fiction?

Here’s what they said…

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Chuck Wendig, author of Blightborn, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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We have an additional entry on our Mind Meld on Disabilities in Speculative Fiction, from Nebula Award winning author Vylar Kaftan!

Q: What are some examples of speculative fiction titles where disabilities and disabled characters have been handled the right way? Are there specific disabilities that you’ve yet to see written into a speculative fiction story in a positive way?

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Christa Faust is a successful horror and crime writer. Her novel Money Shot for Hard Case Crime won the Crimespree Award and was nominated for several others. She has written tie-ins to Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Twilight Zone amongst others. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and loves vintage shoes and noir cinema. Christa is the author of three Fringe tie-in novels for Titan Books: The Zodiac Paradox, The Burning Man and the newly released Sins of the Father.


Alvaro Zinos-Amaro: The Zodiac Paradox, the first of your three Fringe novels, is an exciting, suspenseful thriller that does a great job of establishing the early relationships between Walter Bishop, William Bell, and Nina Sharp. How much of a Fringe fan were you before WB and Titan books approached you to write these tie-ins?

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Rob Bedford on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Rob Bedford, blogger and book reviewer for Tor.com, SFF World and SF Signal, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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Benjanun Sriduangkaew writes fantasy, science fiction, and has a strong appreciation for beautiful bugs. Her short fiction can be found in Tor.com, Clarkesworld,various Mammoth Books and best of the year collections. She is a 2014 finalist for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her debut novella Scale-Bright is out now from Immersion Press.

[Note: I loved Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s Scale-Bright, and talked to her about the myths and legends that inspired it. Indeed, in contrast to references to King Arthur, Roland, Robin Hood or William Tell, Scale-Bright’s mythological matter comes from a completely different tradition. Here, she reveals the secret references and allusions in the novella. You may want to read Scale-Bright before reading this. You should read Scale-Bright in any event. - Paul Weimer]

Beyond The Great Wall Of Europe: The Myths And Legends of SCALE-BRIGHT

by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

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MIND MELD: Disabilities in Speculative Fiction

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Sarah Chorn’s highly successful Special Needs in Strange Worlds column…the recent Kaleidoscope anthology…the upcoming Accessing The Future anthology… Fiction focusing on discussions of disabilities, different abilities, special needs and different needs are increasingly important in the speculative fiction community.

With that in mind, here’s what I asked our panelists:

Q: What are some examples of speculative fiction titles where disabilities and disabled characters have been handled the right way? Are there specific disabilities that you’ve yet to see written into a speculative fiction story in a positive way?

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Here’s a 1984 video interview with Harlan Ellison in which he talks about George Orwell’s 1984, among other things….

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Jonathan Wood is an Englishman in New York. There’s a story in there involving falling in love and flunking out of med school, but in the end it all worked out all right, and, quite frankly, the medical community is far better off without him, so we won’t go into it here. His debut novel, No Hero was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a funny, dark, rip-roaring adventure with a lot of heart, highly recommended for urban fantasy and light science fiction readers alike.” Barnesandnoble.com listed it has one of the 20 best paranormal fantasies of the past decade, and Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels described it as, “so funny I laughed out loud.” His short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales, Chizine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, as well as anthologies such as The Book of Cthulhu 2 and The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year One.


Haralambi Markov: Hello, Jonathan. Welcome! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s get right to it. Your sophomore novel – Yesterday’s Hero – is hitting the shelves soon. I’ll pretend I’ve no clue what it’s about. How would you sell it to me in as few words as possible?

Jonathan Wood: A team of misfit secret agents from England attempt to thwart the diabolical plans of a team of time-travelling Russian wizards. Hijinks and a zombie T-Rex ensue. How’s that?

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The recent graphic interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book afforded me the chance to interview the legendary artist P. Craig Russell. I lept at the opportunity which lead to a discussion that touched on a variety of topics including Neil Gaiman, art, young adult fiction, Busby Berkley, and why Russell had no social life for three months.


RICK KLAW: Unlike your previous adaptations, you worked with a variety of artists. How does your approach differ when you aren’t doing the art?

P. CRAIG RUSSELL: The only difference in my approach to the art when working with other artists is that I put a little more effort into designing the picture within individual panels. If I’m doing it for myself I only need a few squiggles to remind myself weeks or months later what needs to be drawn in that panel. For other artists I spend more time on a recognizable composition, sometimes adding/suggesting background details.
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

There were so many wonderful debut authors in 2013, and the last post was so much fun, I thought it might be high time we give 2014 debut authors their turn:

Q: What are the most fun/unusual/interesting/etc. things you’ve learned since becoming a published author?

Here’s what they had to say…

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Jack Heckel is the writing team of John Peck, an IP attorney living in Long Beach, CA who is looking forward to the upcoming release of Once Upon A Rhyme, and Harry Heckel, a roleplaying game designer and fantasy author, who is looking forward to the publication of Happily Never After.

“Jack” — er…”Jack” and Prince Charming, that is — kindly answered a few of my questions about ONCE UPON A RHYME!
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