Coming to Town: Garth Stein for A Sudden Light at Quail Ridge Books

Bestselling and award-winning author Garth Stein is on tour for his latest novel, A Sudden Light, and that tour brings him to Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books tomorrow, Thursday, November 20th at 7:30 pm. A household name for his best-selling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, Stein returns with his first adult novel in six years, a true Pacific Northwest ghost story, turning the haunted manor of a timber magnate into a multi-generational playground and storyboard. Told alternately as a coming-of-age ghost story from the point of view of fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell and through journal excerpts and fragments, it’s a story of familial connection, of debts to the land and to the past. There’s a fantastic website with an interactive map of the grounds, which also links off to a video of Stein describing the book for you, so you don’t have to read it here, though some choice bits include the books’ origins as a play with a house as a character, and the “domino effect” of father-son relationships that we’re dealing with as the book opens. And, in addition to being available in print and ebook formats, the fantastically talented young actor Seth Numrich narrates the audiobook for A Sudden Light.

Here, I talk with Stein about being labeled a magical realist, about developing the multi-generational history of the novel, and a few other things including the absolutely best answer ever given for a question about the Quail Ridge Books bathroom. Stay for the end, it’s worth it.

Q: With A Sudden Light you return both to the Pacific Northwest and the motifs of magical or mystical realism and supernatural fantasy of Raven Stole the Moon. What is it about the timber country that draws out the ghosts?

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so it makes sense that my books are set there.  And it is a place rich with history, and rich with folklore of the Northwest coast natives.  I must be especially attuned to the spiritual nature of the forests due to my Tlingit heritage—my mother is from a small fishing village in Southeast Alaska, and we are a family of Tlingit Indian descent.  I have always been attracted to stories that look beyond the veil of reality for connections that are not obvious, stories in which we try to see the unseen.  So I am proud to call myself a Magical Realist.

Q: This novel is larger in scope than both Raven Stole the Moon – which while it also involved Jenna grappling with her ancestry, it’s primarily her feelings for her son which drive the story — and The Art of Racing in the Rain – which feels like a more personal novel of self-discovery and intimate relationships. A Sudden Light deals with multi-generational issues, with all of these obsessions and concerns of both the young and the old and the middle-aged all interlocking. Did you do a lot of detailed planning for this novel, or did these family histories grow out of the characters or story as you were developing them? Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to Town: Lady Soliloque for NC Speculative Fiction Night at Quail Ridge Books

This Saturday evening (November 22, 7 pm) Quail Ridge Books hosts the next reading event in the NC Speculative Fiction Night series, “From the Trenches to the Stars”, which is bringing together a fantastic panel of six authors for an evening of military science fiction and interstellar fantasy. It’s for the latter where my interviewee today comes in. Charlotte author Lady Soliloque is the author of Immortalis Venatio: The Immortal Game and Enoch the Traveler: Tempestas Viator among other books and stories, in addition to being an artist and filmmaker. It was at ConCarolinas this year and for Enoch the Traveler that I personally first started hearing about her work, and I enjoyed the audiobook edition — narrated by Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd (“Ianto”) and a full cast — quite a lot. I hope this interview helps you get to know this multi-talented author a bit better, and hope as many of you as can fit into the bookstore come out to meet her on Saturday. Enjoy!

Quail Ridge Flyer lady-soliloque-new

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background in writing and your other creative pursuits, prior to working on Enoch the Traveler?

I began with writing dark fiction and was published early on. I had several short stories in anthologies back in the 80’s and my first published novel came around 1990, The Oubliette. The Immortal Game, also a dark fiction novel, came soon after that and has had a few updated editions released over the years, with the last revision published in 2013 as a prelude to my Enoch series.

Q: Where does the name “Lady Soliloque” come from? Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to Town: John and Carole Barrowman for NC Comicon


Article and Interview by Angela and Gerald Blackwell (The Exploding Spaceship)

This weekend, Nov 15th and 16th, NC Comicon is being held at the Durham Convention Center. Featured guests include John and Carole Barrowman, Tommy Lee Edwards, Neal Adams, and Sean Murphy. See the entire guest list and download a schedule at Some highlights of the schedule include a panel with John and Carole, the US premiere of a new Kung Fu Panda short, a Lego panel with the editor of BrickJournal magazine, artist portfolio reviews and a writing workshop with Carole.

Interview with John and Carole Barrowman

Both you and John have fans in North Carolina and we have wanted for years for you to attend an event here, so we are very happy that you are visiting NC Comicon. Is this your first trip to North Carolina for an author event or convention?

CB: We’re both looking forward to this con! When my children were small, my husband and I did a road trip through the Carolinas and up to Washington DC. It’s beautiful country.

JB: I’ve never been to the Raleigh/Durham area, but I’m looking forward to it, even if only for a quick in and out visit.

Book of Beasts UK cover 21570450

What is the US release date for Book of Beasts?

JB: Simon and Schuster will release the third book in our trilogy next year some time. Perhaps later in the summer. We don’t have an official date yet. The cover is amazing, though. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hardest Part: Teresa Frohock on The Broken Road

North Carolina author Teresa Frohock’s debut fantasy novel Miserere was published by Night Shade Books back in 2011, and since she has been seen in a couple of anthologies: Manifesto: UF and Neverland’s Library Fantasy Anthology. Now she’s back with a more lengthy tale, this time a novella, The Broken Road, where “The world of Lehbet is under siege. The threads that divide Lehbet from the mirror world of Heled are fraying, opening the way for an invasion by an alien enemy that feeds on human flesh.” Here, Frohock writes about the difficulties in writing a mute protagonist.

By T. Frohock:

The hardest part of writing The Broken Road had to do with my protagonist, Travys, who is mute. In a film, Travys’ condition would be easily rectified, if not eloquently portrayed, through sign language and subtitles. Within a manuscript, Travys’ inability to communicate through dialogue presented several challenges for me. How would he “speak,” and more importantly, how would people unfamiliar with him be able to understand him?

While working on The Broken Road, I had the opportunity to read Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel The Troupe, which I highly recommend by the way. In The Troupe, Bennett portrays a character named Stanley, who does not speak. Bennett’s novel is set in the twenties, so Stanley carries a pad and pen in order to jot down short notes. These brief notes were always written in all caps to indicate Stanley’s words. The notes were succinct, yet Bennett managed to make the best use of a few words. Additionally, Stanley’s written notes were used sparingly. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hardest Part: Stacey Cochran on Eddie and Sunny

Raleigh author Stacey Cochran has written in several genres, from mystery to horror, science fiction to poetry. His latest project, Eddie & Sunny, is a crime novel / love story he’s elected to submit to the newly launched Kindle Scout program, a “crowdsourced slush reading” publishing project from Amazon which puts the choice of submitted books to reader votes; the winners receive a $1,500 advance and editing, design, and marketing support. This would be a big deal for Cochran’s writing career, so if what you read here sounds interesting, visit the Kindle Scout page for his book and click ‘recommend’. You can also read an excerpt from the book, ahd read about Cochran’s inspiration for writing it. Here’s the pitch: “Eddie and Sunny have never had much in life, save for each other’s love. For months they’ve lived out of a car with their young son. A tragedy on the road one night turns the couple into fugitives of the law, separates them, and eventually leads each to believe that the other has died and all hope is lost. A passionate, triumphant conclusion follows as the very essence of love, hope, and the American Dream unite in a novel of beautiful simplicity.”

By Stacey Cochran:

The hardest part of writing Eddie & Sunny was the ending. As the novel started to wind down I could see two logical outcomes for the story, but they were completely different. So I ended up writing both endings and talking a lot about them with my wife and my agent. Aside from that, the book was pretty easy to write. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to Town: Jason Strutz for NC Comicon

As I wrote when introdudcing his collaborator’s Hardest Part essay: “I’m a big fan of both Lex Wilson and Jason Strutz, so I was quite excited to see their new 7-day-only “Quickstarter” Kickstarter campaign for their new one-shot comic, KLAY. Strutz was (along with Jeremy Whitley) one of my first Bull Spec interviews, for their Order of Dagonet comics, and he went on to do two print issue covers and other interior illustration for me, and I’ve also enjoyed his fantastic work on David Foland’s Pizzula, before, and this is completely unfair, he moved several states away. Still, he’s been no stranger, and he’ll be back in a couple of weeks for NC Comicon. Here, they’ve put together a multi-style story of “A superhero sidekick with elastic/morphing powers crosses multiple realities to solve his own murder” where Strutz has had to display both a typical 4-color “superhero” style as well as a darker-toned “noir” as well as peeks into other realities.”

Strutz is part of an absolutely fantastic lineup for this year’s NC Comicon this weekend (November 15-16) at the Durham Convention Center  – which includes John and Carole Barrowman, Fiona Staples, Tommy Lee Edwards, Bernard Chang, and many more — and here we talked about being so far from “home”, what he’s looking forward to this year, and of course his work on KLAY.

KLAY: A super hero "Quickstarter" (7 days only!) comic book's video poster

Q: Jason! Mon frère. You had built up not just friendships but close working relationships as well here in the Triangle before you exiled yourself to the frozen north. Have you felt like you were living in two creative worlds for the past couple of years?

Nah, It’s all one creative world, mine! The only effect it has is most of  the people I’m working with are in the Triangle, so it would be nice to talk in person more.

Q: You’ve were back for NC Comicon last year as well. What makes this such a special convention for you? Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Quick Updates: William Gibson tonight, NC Comicon next weekend, James Maxey’s Bad Wizard countdown sale, and more

Friday, November 7, 2014: Ever since seeing Zack Smith report about it for Indy Week’s fall arts preview, I’ve been looking forward to tonight: William Gibson will be at Motorco in Durham! Presented by The Regulator Bookshop, less than 40 tickets remain for this 7:30 reading, talk, and signing so: get your tickets, invite your friends (each ticket is good for two people, after all), and see you there! To whet your appetites, a pair of local interviews are available including Richard Butner’s for Bull Spec (“I get it by osmosis. It’s kind of impossible not to get it by osmosis, although that’s probably just a function of my particular Twitter feed.”) and Brian Howe for Indy Week (“I was given a demo by someone from Oculus Rift a couple of months ago, and I said, ‘Why couldn’t they do this before?’”).


There are also a pair of a pair of YA sf readings this weekend, with Lauren Kate and Robin LaFevers holding two readings each in the Triangle. Meanwhile, on Saturday and Sunday The Raleigh Review’s Southern Recitations reading and workshop series presents Mining the Mirror: Turning Emotional Landmines into Good Literature with Zelda Lockhart and Angela Belcher Epps. Among the “new-new” events since the October newsletter include:  Read the rest of this entry »


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