Coming to Town: Deborah Harkness for The Book of Life, interviewed by Sharon Stogner

Deborah Harkness was at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books on Saturday as part of her ongoing tour for The Book of Life, the highly-anticipated final installment of the bestselling All Souls Trilogy which began with A Discovery of Witches.  The sequel Shadow of Night debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and in total, over one million copies have been sold in the States with publications following in 38 countries. While we couldn’t have this interview for you prior to her reading and signing, Quail Ridge Books still has signed copies in stock, and for those elsewhere in the country, she still has tour stops in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Houston, Austin, Denver, and Scottsdale, before heading to Canada, Amsterdam, and the United Kingdom.

 

The Book of Life picks up right where Shadow of Night left off. After traveling through time, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to continue their hunt for the magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, otherwise known as the Book of Life. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they re­unite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception—ready to face old enemies. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the Book of Life and its miss­ing pages takes on even more urgency. In the tril­ogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and forbidden passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.”

Interview by Sharon Stogner

SS: The last book in your All Souls Trilogy, The Book of Life, released July 15. This trilogy had to be an epic undertaking. Are you going to sit back and enjoy some time off or jump right back into another series?

DH: As a matter of fact I’m going to finish up with the book tour and go straight into the classroom for spring semester! I do need a bit of a rest, too, before I commit to another project. All I can say is I have many more stories to tell and look forward to telling them.

SS: What made you want to include a romance in the All Souls Trilogy? Was that aspect harder to write than the other elements of the story? Read the rest of this entry »


Coming to Town: D.B. Jackson (David B. Coe) at Quail Ridge Books for A Plunder of Souls, interviewed by Margaret S. McGraw

D.B. Jackson (also known to fantasy readers as David B. Coe) is an Award-winning author of fifteen published novels. He’s currently on a book signing tour to promote the newly released A Plunder of Souls, third in the Thieftaker Chronicles, and will be at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books and Music on Monday, July 21st, at 7:30pm. Jackson is a frequent visitor in the Carolinas, including the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, ConCarolinas in Charlotte, and most recently, ConGregate in Winston-Salem. Here, Jackson is interviewed by Durham writer Margaret McGraw about the Thieftaker Chronicles with Tor Books, and his next big project, the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, a contemporary urban fantasy series with Baen Books.

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[Interview by Margaret S. McGraw]

MM: Let’s talk about the Thieftaker Chronicles, beginning with Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry. The third book, A Plunder of Souls, was just released this month. You’ve blazed a trail in the subgenre of historical urban fantasy. How did that come about?

DJ: I call the Thieftaker Chronicles historical urban fantasy because the novels combine elements of historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. The books are set in pre-Revolutionary Boston, and each plot line coincides with some significant historical event leading toward the American Revolution. My lead character is a conjurer who can cast a wide array of spells. And he is also a thieftaker, the eighteenth century equivalent of a private detective, so each novel also revolves around the investigation of a murder or other grisly crime. So there is a historical element, a magical element, and a mystery element: historical urban fantasy.

MM: And how about the buzzphrase “Tricorn Punk”? Read the rest of this entry »


The Exploding Spaceship Release Day Edition: Review of A Plunder of Souls by D.B. Jackson

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Review of A Plunder of Souls by D.B. Jackson (Tor hardcover, July 8, 2014)

This is the third novel in the Thieftaker Chronicles. We are back in Boston of 1769 where a minor smallpox epidemic has hit; enough people are sick that there are houses in every neighborhood with illness, but not so many as to overflow the hospital.

Ethan is called upon by the local minister to investigate a case of grave desecration, but it soon becomes clear that more is going on because shades of the dead are hanging around their last places of residence and not passing on. In most cases the shades have the same type of damage as their desecrated bodies.

a plunder of souls cover

Ethan’s relationships with Kannice, Janna and Sephira continue to change and mature. Janna meets both the other women in Ethan’s life in this book and those encounters are both very enlightening. As Ethan ages and continues to get beaten up for doing his job, getting another type of employment looks better and better. Read the rest of this entry »


Coming to Town: Jeff VanderMeer at Quail Ridge Books for Authority, interviewed by Mur Lafferty

Tallahassee author Jeff VanderMeer has been no stranger to the Carolinas, both through his work teaching at the SharedWorlds teen writing summer camp at Wofford College and quite a few events over the years. We’re thrilled to be welcoming him back again this year as part of his Southern Reach Summer Tour which includes 4 stops in the Carolinas in just over a week, starting and ending with Wednesday events (July 9th and 16th) at Hub City in Spartanburg, SC around readings on Thursday (July 10th) at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books at 7:30 pm and Saturday (July 12th) at Asheville’s Malaprop’s Bookstore at 7 pm. Here, VanderMeer is interviewed by Durham author Mur Lafferty about The Southern Reach series and Shared Worlds; we find out about some giveaways as well as get his thoughts about possible expansions to the trilogy, which will be completed with Acceptance in September.

Annihilation Authority

Interview by Mur Lafferty:

ML: The Southern Reach trilogy is unlike other books in so many ways, one of the more mundane yet rare things about it is its release schedule. We’re used to publishing’s glacial pace- why three books within a year?

JV: The publisher, FSG, suggested this schedule—they’re very proactive and inventive in how they think about marketing books. Their thought was that three books in one year, in inexpensive trade paperback editions, could create a lot of interest for this kind of series. And then the fact it was FSG meant I felt free to do what I usually like to do with a series: write three very different novels that fit together but don’t follow the usual “rules” for trilogies or for connected books. From my point of view, it was the perfect situation: a perfect plan for the commercial side of things and complete freedom to explore what I wanted to explore, hopefully in a way entertaining for readers.

ML: … And how have you handled the pressure of that speed of production? Read the rest of this entry »


July Newsletter: Wilton Barnhardt, Jay Posey, Jeff VanderMeer, ConGregate, David B. Coe, Serenity, and more

Vol 4. No 7. July 7, 2014: We are in for an absolutely fantastic July, with readings from Wilton Barnhardt, Jay Posey, Jeff VanderMeer, Lydia Netzer, Deborah Harkness, David B. Coe, and Mur Lafferty, new convention ConGregate in Winston-Salem with guests of honor Larry Correia and Toni Weisskopf and the presentation of the Manly Wade Wellman Award, and! even more, including comics events and the annual charity screening of Serenity at the Raleighwood Cinema Grill.

Let’s start with NC State professor Wilton Barnhardt, who has two readings early this week in support of the new paperback release of his NY Times bestselling Southern novel Lookaway, Lookaway, optioned earlier this year by HBO for a comedy series. He’s my guest on Carolina Book Beat this morning (Monday) at 10 on WCOM-FM, then reads at Flyleaf Books at 7 pm on Monday night, and at McIntyre’s Books on Tuesday at 6:30 pm.

  Authority

Speaking of Tuesday, Durham author and game writer Jay Posey will be at the Cary B&N at 7 pm for a reading of Morningside Fall, book two after his debut novel Three in his “The Legends of the Duskwalker” post-apocalyptic series.

Then starting mid-week it’s the Jeff VanderMeer show, with 4 readings in the Carolinas in just over a week, starting and ending with Wednesday events (9th and 16th) at Hub City in Spartanburg, SC around readings on Thursday (July 10th) at Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books at 7:30 pm and Saturday (July 12th) at Asheville’s Malaprop’s. And! He will be my guest via phone this week on Carolina Book Beat at 11 AM. (Do check out his conversation with Frank Stasio on WUNC’s The State of Things which aired last week.)

New convention ConGregate will be held July 11-13 in downtown Winston-Salem, with guests of honor Larry Correia, Mark Poole, and Toni Weisskopf, and the presentation of the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy to one of the six excellent nominees:

Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Kincaid’s From the Other Side, June 2014: One Three One, Barricade, the Gemmell Awards, and more

From the Other Side, June 2014

By Paul Kincaid

Okay, we have to accept that, however much we might value its qualities, science fiction can sometimes serve as a repository for the mad, the bizarre, the plain bonkers. Which may be why we get One Three One: A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel by Julian Cope (Faber). Cope is, of course, the former lead singer of The Teardrop Explodes who has also written  couple of well-received books on ancient megaliths, and some eclectic works on obscure rock music, so for his first attempt at fiction we could expect pretty much anything; and that’s pretty much what we get. It features a Cope-like rock star travelling around Highway 131 in Sardinia, but along the way we get fascist kidnappers, football fans gearing up for Italia 90, counter-arguments to C.S. Lewis, praise for D.H. Lawrence, and a cast of comic eccentrics with the sorts of names that scream ‘comic eccentric’. It is, in short, a sort of catch-all mess with bits of thriller and sf and football novel and the whole bizarre list of Julian Cope’s obsessions all thrown into the mix, and yet it seems to work. Well, it does if you like time-shifting gnostic hooligan road novels.

One Three One: A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel Barricade

One Three One is clearly the oddball novel of the month. Controversy of the month brings us to a debut novel by Jon Wallace, Barricade (Gollancz). I’d been thinking of mentioning the book in this column, since initial reviews suggested it was a moderately-interesting page-turner, but then came Christopher Priest’s damning review at Arc, and suddenly the internet was alight. Wallace didn’t help his cause with a couple of ill-judged if defensive posts, but the controversy did drive a lot of people to read the book who might not have done otherwise, though I noticed that the general reaction afterwards was that Priest had been too generous. But the best thing to emerge from this mess, and the thing I really wanted to draw your attention to, was this superb post by Tricia Sullivan, which amounts to a heartfelt manifesto for those who want to revisit some of the most well-worn of contemporary sf tropes. Read the rest of this entry »


The Exploding Spaceship New Release Edition: Reviews of Deadly Curiosities and The Blasted Lands

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Review of Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z Martin (Solaris Books, June 24, 2014, mass market)

This is a new urban fantasy series set in Charleston, South Carolina. The center of the adventures is an antique shop called Trifles and Folly, which is currently owned by Cassidy Kincaide and her vampire silent partner Sorren. She has a former history graduate student/martial artist named Teag Logan who helps run the place. His boyfriend Anthony is a lawyer from an old Charleston family, who is occasionally enlisted to help find information. Read the rest of this entry »


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