Interviews Archives

James Luceno on The Functional Nerds Podcast

James Luceno, author of Tarkin, 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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Nick Sharps had the opportunity to chat with Ubisoft Scriptwriter Oliver Sudden about the new living-world game Far Cry 4.

Join them, won’t you?

Nick Sharps: Hello Oliver, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your position at Ubisoft Montreal.

Oliver Sudden: Well, I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and I first came to Montreal to do a degree in Filmmaking at Concordia University.

I moved away and then moved back and after applying two or three times to Ubisoft Montreal, I was hired on as a scriptwriting intern and hope to become a full-time scriptwriter soon.

NS: It is my understanding that you worked on the action-adventure first-person shooter video game Far Cry 4. As a long time fan of the Far Cry franchise I have to say, this must have been an exciting opportunity. Can you tell us a little about your contribution to the game and what it’s like to work with a team of writers?
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MIND MELD: The Evolution of the Author/Fan Relationship

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Twitter, facebook and blogging are more popular than ever, and every year the attendance at speculative fiction-focused conventions seems to increase. With that in mind, I asked our panelists the following question:

Q: With the growing popularity of social media and face to face events, how has the relationship between writing professions (writers, editors, artists, etc.) and fans changed over the years?

Here’s what they said…!

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Stolen, the newest installment (after Frozen) of the Heart of Dread series by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston just came out, and the married couple stopped by to chat about the new book, and much more! You can find out more about Melissa and the series at her website.

Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the new book in the Heart of Dread series, Stolen! Will you give us the scoop on what we can expect from Nat and Wes in this installment?

Melissa and Mike: Stolen picks up a few months where Frozen left off, Nat is learning to use her power and Wes is reduced to driving in the death races in Vegas. Wes gets a tip about his missing sister and races to her, only to find himself in the same place as Nat. They uncover more terrible secrets of in both the fantastic world of Vallonis and the gritty world of the RSA.
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Henry V. O’Neil is the name under which award-winning mystery novelist Vincent H. O’Neil publishes his science fiction work. A graduate of West Point, he served in the US Army Infantry with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, and in the 1st Battalion (Airborne) of the 508th Infantry in Panama. He has worked as a risk manager, a marketing copywriter, and an apprentice librarian.

In 2012 he published his first military science fiction novel Glory Main (written under the name Henry V. O’Neil) which was picked up by HarperCollins in 2014 as a three-book series. The sequel Orphan Briagade is due in January.

Nick Sharps had the chance to chant with “Henry” about his highly-enjoyable series…

Nick Sharps: How did you come to be published by Harper Voyager Impulse?

Henry V. O’Neil: That’s a fantastic story. I’ve been writing for a long time, and was first published in the mystery genre by St. Martin’s Press in 2005. I branched out into horror and military science fiction, and just after I completed Glory Main HarperVoyager announced they were opening a submissions window to help launch the Impulse imprint. I submitted Glory Main, and was thrilled to learn that it had been selected as one of Impulse’s first releases and would be followed by two more books in the series.

NS: Were you able to draw from your own military service in the writing of Glory Main?
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MIND MELD: Literary Gems from Outside the Genre

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Going outside one’s comfort zone can be a benefit to both readers and writers, so I asked this week’s panelists this question (huge thanks to Jason M Hough for the Mind Meld topic!!):

Q: What are a few of your favorites books beyond the realm of speculative fiction? What drew you to them, and what have you learned from them? What do you think SFF authors can learn by venturing outside their comfort zones in their reading?

Here’s what they had to say…

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6’7” tall Jay Kristoff grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and is a tragic nerd. The first installment of his Lotus War trilogy, STORMDANCER, was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for several SF/F awards, and the Lotus War novella THE LAST STORMDANCER won the 2014 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Fiction. The third book, ENDSINGER, is out in November 2014.

Jay kindly answered some questions about the Lotus War trilogy.

Paul Weimer: Congratulations on finishing the third volume of the Lotus War! How does the end of the novel and series differ from your original conceptions, when you started writing Stormdancer?

Jay Kristoff: Thanks so much!

Well, I originally wrote Stormdancer as a one-shot novel—I didn’t have an agent or book deal at the time, and I figured planning a trilogy would be a little presumptuous of me. Yukiko actually died in the end of the original Stormdancer, but then I landed an agent and he was like “This whole brutally murdering your protagonist thing…how wedded to that idea are you?”

I tend to be something of a pantser when it comes to writing. I don’t plan too far in advance, and prefer to let the story find me. So I really had noooo idea where the series would go or how it would end, especially back in 2012. But I did go into writing the third book knowing the body count would be high. Last book in the series. All bets are off. No one = safe. And that conception turns out to be pretty spot-on.

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One of the UK’s most acclaimed sci-fi artists, Jim Burns is the winner of the prestigious Hugo award for art and has more British Science Fiction Awards than any other writer or artist. His erotically charged work is lauded across the universe.

Jim was very gracious in answering a few of my questions about his new collection, Hyperluminal (Titan), his influences, and much more!

Kristin Centorcelli: Will you tell us a bit about your new collection, Hyperluminal?

Jim Burns: I seem to produce a collection of one sort or another about once a decade…so the time was ripe! My agent, Alison Eldred felt one was overdue also – and proposed the book – along with ‘companion volumes’ by Ian Miller, John Harris and Fred Gambino to Titan – who eventually decided to go with the idea. Thank you Titan!

The book is essentially an overview of my 42 years in the business of producing science fiction and fantasy art, mostly for the book jacket market – but also some small ventures into the movies – which I touch on briefly – and also the world of private commissions – something that has become much more important to me in the last few years and is slowly replacing my commercial work. There are a number of personal pieces represented also…again something I’m finding more time for these days.

I also wrote all the text for the book (apart from the foreword graciously contributed by Joe Haldeman) – aiming at a sort of anecdotal style which I hope shines a light on the kind of life a science fiction artist lives!
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, we thought it was the perfect time to ask our esteemed panel the following question…

Q: What are you thankful for in the speculative genres this year?

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Author Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her Parasol Protectorate books, their manga adaptations, and the first two books in her YA Finishing School seriesabout Victorian girl spies were all New York Times bestsellers. Her newest book, Waistcoats & Weaponry, is out November 4th. She was once a professional archaeologist and is overly fond of tea.

Gail was kind enough to answer some questions about her latest novel and writing in general. So pour yourself some tea, button that waistcoat, and let’s get started!

Rachel Cordasco: Waistcoats & Weaponry is the third book in your young adult steampunk Finishing School series: can you give us an overview of this latest installment and explain how it fits into the series as a whole?

Gail Carriger: In this book Sophronia and her friends finally get to spend time away from their school, putting all their newly leaned spy skills to good use. There is a train heist, an accidental kidnapping, a renewal of old acquaintances ­(not all of them welcome) and, finally, some serious flirting. Also, I suspect someone throws food at someone else ­– in my books, they usually do.
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Karina Sumner-Smith is a fantasy author and freelance writer. Her debut novel, Radiant, was published by Talos/Skyhorse in September 2014, with the second and third books in the trilogy following in 2015.

Prior to focusing on novel-length work, Karina published a range of fantasy, science fiction and horror short stories, including Nebula Award nominated story “An End to All Things,” and ultra short story “When the Zombies Win,” which appeared in two Best of the Year anthologies.

Though she still thinks of Toronto as her home, Karina now lives in a small, lakefront community in rural Ontario, Canada, where she may be found lost in a book, dancing in the kitchen, or planning her next great adventure.

Karina was kind enough to answer a few questions about her brand new book, Radiant, and much more!
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INTERVIEW: Chase Novak, Author of BROOD

CHASE NOVAK is the pseudonym for Scott Spencer, the author of ten novels, including Endless Love, which has wold more than two million copies, and the National Book Award finalist A Ship Made of Paper.

Brood, the sequel to his horror gem Breed, just came out and Scott, er, Chase, kindly answered a few of my questions!
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Project Hieroglyph contributors Cory Doctorow and Neal Stephenson and CSI director Ed Finn appeared at Town Hall Seattle on October 26, in an event titled “Reigniting Society’s Ambition with Science Fiction.”

Here’s the video from that event.

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John Klima, editor of Glitter & Mayhem and many other Science Fiction anthologies, 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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Jody Wallace grew up in the present day United States in a very rural area. Okay, not present day, but, you know, in the past couple of decades. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and loafing. Her meatloafs, in particular, are stellar. Her resume includes English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, and general, all around pain in the butt. Ms. Wallace’s approach to writing is to tell as many outlandish lies as she can get her readers to swallow. That trait is really on display in her SFR (Science Fiction Romance) spoof, The Adventures of Mari Shu.

About the series:

Mari Shu, a factory drudge in the year 4000-something, must choose how to protect her sisters, her purity, and her own conscience in a bleak futuristic society that’s been polluted by smog, rampant commercialism, tacky jumpsuits, sexual perversions, unjust socioeconomics, interstellar travel, and inconsistent use of the Oxford comma.

Parodies peel back the layers of a genre in interesting, and often hilarious ways. In the case of Jody Wallace’s The Adventures of Mari Shu, the laser-sharp focus is science fiction and sci-fi romance. This new series is an epic parody in the vein of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Only with more sexxoring and goo. The first two volumes, Earthbound Passion and Martian Conquest, have been unleashed throughout the galaxy.

So we could learn more about Jody Wallace’s new series, I met with her at the Olde Earth Parks and Rec Commission. While standing in a mile-long line to look at some grass, we chatted about widgets, *** seals, and criminal hovercycle gangs.
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This is a double-edged question about a writer/book who/that evoked that emotion of fear in you. Not a horror writer/novel (for example not Stephen King), but perhaps an Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Urban Fantasy novel where you found parts of it scary/creepy. To the point you might think to yourself, “I’d love to see a straight-out horror novel from this writer!” (Which some participants answered)

Q: Which novel/writer/movie, that wasn’t specifically a horror novel/writer/movie, spooked you the most?

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Author Rajan Khanna joined Fran Wilde on Cooking the Books podcast to celebrate his debut from Pyr, Falling Sky.

You can read the first chapter of Falling Sky at Rajan will be reading at the World Fantasy Convention on Thursday, November 6 from 2:30-3pm, and at the December KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading in Manhattan, with Author Steven Gould.

The ingredients for Cooking the Books podcast #005 – “It’s Hard to Fish from an Airship: Cooking the Books with Rajan Khanna” include:
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Texas born and raised, Martha Wells is the author of over a dozen science fiction and fantasy novels, including the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer, as well as a number of short stories and nonfiction articles. Her books have been published in seven languages. Her most recent work has been in the Three Worlds universe, stories of an extended family of a shapeshifting race called the Raksura. The story of Moon, orphaned and found by members of his race starts in The Cloud Roads, continues through its sequels The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths.

Her latest book, Stories of the Raksura Volume I: The Falling World and the Tale of Indigo and Cloud, presents us with several new stories set in the universe.

Martha was kind enough to answer some questions about the Raksura and her work.

PAUL: The Three Worlds universe is strikingly different than the fantastical European settings of the Ile-Rien novels. What were your inspirations in creating it?

MARTHA WELLS: I wanted to do something that was very different from my other books. I wanted a world where, as the characters traveled through it, the reader would have no idea what was over the next hill. I wanted scope to do things I hadn’t ever done before with magical cities, characters, and environments.
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If you are of a certain age and inclination, you have fond memories of Gerry Anderson’s numerous Supermarionation shows like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Stingray, Fireball XL5, and Terrahawks.

His son Jaime Anderson is the Director of Anderson Entertainment, the film production company set up by Gerry Anderson MBE and his wife Mary. Today the company continues to develop projects from Gerry Anderson’s personal archive as well as managing his estate and existing work.

The Kickstarter for Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm recently met its funding goals in four days, and a pilot for the show is heading into production.

We got to talk with Jamie about the project…

JEFF PATTERSON: Firestorm looks like an ambitious project. Can you give us a little history behind it?
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Forty years ago this month a promising horror writer checked into Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. The place crept him out so much it inspired his third published novel. You might have heard of it. It’s called The Shining. Story goes that Stephen King picked the hotel after opening a U.S. atlas and randomly pointing at a location, which turned out to be Boulder, Colorado. He wanted to get away from Maine so his next novel would have a “different sort of background.” It certainly worked.

Now on the anniversary of that trip, editor R.J. Cavender has organized a writers retreat at the haunted hotel in the Rockies for a group of authors looking for similar inspiration. It may be a brilliant idea or — if things turn out as well as they did for Jack Torrance — the worst idea of all time.

Before leaving on his trip this week, the intrepid Cavender answered a few questions for SF Signal. So, without further ado, heeeeeere’s R.J.!

JAMES AQUILONE: Why have a writers retreat at the Stanley Hotel? After all, Jack Torrance didn’t get much writing done during his stay in the Rockies.

R.J. CAVENDER: On the contrary! Jack was prolific, just very repetitive. To answer the question, though…why not? I’ve always dreamed of staying in the hotel from The Shining, so why not stay at the version that actually inspired the book? And with 40 of my author friends! It’s such a gorgeous, stately old place. Almost time to find out if Room 217 is haunted or not…
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