Sunday, July 15, 2018

Prism Stalker, Vol. 1 Coming In September

Collects issues #1-5

PORTLAND, OR, 07/12/2018 — Sloane Leong (FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS, A Map to the Sun) will release a trade paperback collection of the first five issues of her vivid, psychedelic sci-fi series PRISM STALKER this September.

Far from the border of colonized space, a newly discovered planet teems violently with strange psychic life and puzzling telekinetic ecology. Indentured refugee Vep is taken by a private military firm to assist in settling this new world. What awaits her there will test the limits of her will as she grapples with the strange power the planet exerts over her…

PRISM STALKER, VOL. 1 (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0828-2, Diamond code: JUN180075) hits comics shops on Wednesday, September 5th and bookstores on Tuesday, September 11th. It can be preordered via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, and Indigo

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018

I cannot believe we are halfway through July already. It doesn't seem very long ago that it was January. The weather doesn't feel like January though. This is by far the hottest summer I have ever experienced in England and I have been here for 24 years. Day after day have been scorchio. It's like being back in Canada. The downside (besides the super douper hot tube trains) is that the hot weather impacts how much I read. I like to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine but I can't always see my Kindle in the bright sun. That's why I missed last week but fear not, I am back now to tell you what I did manage to read.

A hundred years after humanity fled its dying planet to look for a new home in the stars they didn't expect to come across all the species from myth and legend. Fairies, elves and even unicorns live deep in space and rather than try to live together the humans declared war and spent the next decades murdering and enslaving the very creatures that saved them from the brink of death. Gary Cobalt, half human and half unicorn has just been released after spending 10 years in prison for murdering a young woman. He's back and he is on a mission. He wants his family's stone ship back. But standing in his way is Captain Jenny Perata, the very human that kept him captive and brutalized him for a decade. Seems pretty simple - get ship and fly away but nothing is ever that straightforward for Gary. Rather than escaping with his ship he ends up helping Jenny with one last delivery and it could very well be the last thing that Gary ever does. Will the magic run out for this story's half unicorn hero? Don't let me stop you finding out.

Space Unicorn Blues by TJ Berry definitely wasn't what I was expecting it to be. I am not sure what I was expecting from a story about a half human half unicorn named Gary that lives in space. I think I was anticipating that it would be funny when in fact, it was anything but. The backdrop to Gary's story was very dark and the circumstances in which he ends up in prison are brutal. Parallels can be drawn between the enslavement and subjugation of the magical and mythical creatures by the humans and real life events. It wasn't completely dark and moody as there were some scenes to lighten the overall mood.

Berry told the story from different perspectives and chapters flowed from one POV to another - mainly Gary's and Jenny's. This worked well to set context and to explain the background of the various characters as well as past events. I wanted to dislike Jenny for how she treated Gary but like Gary I was oddly drawn to her. This demonstrated Berry's ability to create interesting and compelling characters. It was however Gary that stole the show...or in this case the story. I was really rooting for him as he seemed to lurch from one disaster to another. There was a lot of action in this story and it was very tense in certain parts, especially in the final chapters. I wasn't completely sure whether certain characters would survive. The end has a super, shocker big reveal. I was really surprised and I can hardly wait to find out what happens next. This is a great book for both science fiction and fantasy fans. A must read.

I always feel bad when I am lucky enough to be offered a book from the publisher but don't like it enough to finish it. This is the case, unfortunately with Peril in the Old Country by Sam Hooker. I really wanted to enjoy this story as it sounded silly and fun and I usually always enjoy that type of book. I first started reading this book back in April and then realised it wasn't going to be published until June so I stopped and re-started a few weeks ago. I got approximately 40% of the way through and gave up.

My issue with this story was pace. When I started to struggle to keep reading I read a few reviews and other reviewers commented that it was a slow burn and took a while to get into. Hooker drags out setting up the main characters, mainly Sloot Peril. There were some truly funny lines and characters but the events to setup the main plot were just too drawn out. Quite simply, I got bored. I think this could have been a very funny short story or novella but as a full length book it just didn't work for me.

That is it for me this week. I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing that the sun is shining on the pages of a great read. Until next week Happy Reading.

Space Unicorn Blues
The Reason 1
Angery Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut.

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they’ve been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he’s just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny’s co-pilot, Cowboy Jim… When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny’s ship becomes the last hope for magic.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Rocks in Space | Stand Up to Reason | The Human Experiment | Last Unicorn ]

Peril in the Old Country
Terribly Serious Darkness 1
Black Spot Books, June 5, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 302 pages

What terror lurks in the shadows of the Old Country?

Well, there are the goblins, of course. Then there are the bloodthirsty cannibals from nearby Carpathia, secret societies plotting in whispers, and murder victims found drained of their blood, to name a few. That's to say nothing of the multitude of government ministries, any one of which might haul one off for "questioning" in the middle of the night.

The Old Country is saturated with doom, and Sloot is scarcely able to keep from drowning in it. Each passing moment is certain to be his last, though never did fate seem so grim as the day he was asked to correct the worst report ever written.

Will the events put in motion by this ghastly financial statement end in Sloot's grisly death? Almost definitely. Is that the worst thing that could happen? Almost definitely not.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Covers Revealed - Recent and Upcoming Works By DAC Authors

Here are some of the recent and upcoming works by formerly featured DAC Authors. The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.

Gabe Hudson (2017)

Gork, the Teenage Dragon
Vintage, June 26, 2018
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Hardcover and eBook, July 11, 2017

A TODAY Show Summer Pick

“Hilarious. . . . Gork is less Game of Thrones and more The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Rolling Stone

Gork is the nerdiest dragon at WarWings Military Academy. He has a giant heart and tiny horns. His nickname is Weak Sauce. Today before his high school graduation, he must ask a female dragon to be his queen. The result is a rollicking quest for true love on the most madcap day ever known to a high school senior – dragon or otherwise.

Along the way, Gork gets help from his best friend Fribby, a fierce female robot dragon who is brilliant, snarky, and totally obsessed with death; and Athenos II, his sentient spaceship who carries a shocking secret from his childhood. Ultimately, Gork will have to lock horns with his evil grandfather, Dr. Terrible. Can a quest for true love make a hero out of a dragon?

Brian McClellan (2013)

War Cry, August 28, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 96 pages

Brian McClellan, author of the acclaimed Powder Mage series, introduces a new universe, new armies, and new monsters in War Cry

Teado is a Changer, a shape-shifting military asset trained to win wars. His platoon has been stationed in the Bavares high plains for years, stranded. As they ration supplies and scan the airwaves for news, any news, their numbers dwindle. He's not sure how much time they have left.

Desperate and starving, armed with aging, faulting equipment, the team jumps at the chance for a risky resupply mission, even if it means not all of them might come. What they discover could change the course of the war.

Wrath of Empire
Gods of Blood and Powder 2
Orbit, December 4, 2018
Trade Paperback, 656 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 15, 2018

War ignites when magic and gunpowder combine in the second book in acclaimed author Brian McClellan’s epic new fantasy series Gods of Blood and Powder.

The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier, accompanied by Lady Flint’s soldiers. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not.

Back in the capital, Michel Bravis smuggles even more refugees out of the city. But internal forces are working against him. With enemies on all sides, Michel may be forced to find help with the very occupiers he’s trying to undermine.

Meanwhile, Ben Styke is building his own army. He and his mad lancers are gathering every able body they can find and searching for an ancient artifact that may have the power to turn the tides of war in their favor. But what they find may not be what they’re looking for.

Continue the pistol-packing fantasy series by the author whose debut novel Brandon Sanderson called “just plain awesome!”

Gods of Blood and Powder
Sins of Empire
Wrath of Empire

For more from Brian McClellan, check out:

Powder Mage
Promise of Blood
The Crimson Campaign
The Autumn Republic

Julie McElwain (2016)

Caught in Time
Kendra Donovan Mysteries 3
Pegasus Books, July 3, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

Still stranded in 1815, FBI agent Kendra Donovan finds herself on the trail of a vicious murderer with a shocking secret.

October 1815: There is only one place Kendra Donovan wants to travel—back to her own time period in the twenty-first century. But since that’s not happening, she agrees instead to travel with her new guardian, the Duke of Aldridge, to one of his smaller estates in Lancashire. Their journey takes them through Yorkshire, a region whose breathtaking beauty masks a simmering violence brought on by the Industrial Revolution, which pits mill owner against worker.

When Kendra and the Duke encounter a band of Luddites on a lonely, fog-shrouded road, the Duke informs the authorities in the nearby village of East Dingleford that mischief may have been done at the local mill. However, it isn’t just mischief but murder that is discovered, when the body of the mill manager, Mr. Stone, is found brutally bludgeoned to death in his office.

The Constable is certain the radical-minded Luddites committed the murder. One look at the crime scene and Kendra knows they did not, prompting the Duke to shock the locals by volunteering their services to catch the real killer. Joined by lover Alec and Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must sort through the puzzle of Stone’s rather unsavory life, picking apart alibies and dissecting carefully created deceptions from a growing list of suspects.

As a special agent for the FBI, Kendra thought she’d encountered every kind of evil. But when another, even more vicious murder rocks East Dingleford, Kendra realizes that they’re dealing with a stone-cold killer—one who has a shocking secret that he will do anything to protect.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nintendo Download, July 12, 2018: Ready for Adventure!

This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch
    • Octopath Traveler – Eight travelers. Eight adventures. Eight roles to play in a new world brought to life by SQUARE ENIX. Explore each traveler’s story and use her or his abilities in and out of battle. Will you expand your horizons as the Merchant or track down a traitor as the Warrior? Where will you go? Who will join you? You alone can choose your path. The Octopath Traveler game launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch system on July 13. A free demo version is also available for download now.
    • Fortnite (Season 5) – WORLDS COLLIDE! Drop into Season 5 of the Fortnite game on the Nintendo Switch system, where we’re introducing all kinds of changes to the map! A Viking ship, desert outpost, and ancient statues have appeared on the island, changing the world of Fortnite as we know it. The all-new Battle Pass can help you level up faster by completing Weekly Challenges, and unlock additional rewards like progressive outfits, sprays and exclusive cosmetics. Play the new Season of Fortnite from anywhere on Nintendo Switch, and be sure to test out the new motion controls.
  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS
    • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Captain Toad stars in his own puzzling quest on the Nintendo Switch system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Our stubby hero must dodge dangers and track treasures across many trap-filled courses. Survive smoldering volcanoes, hazardous steam engines, haunted houses and even new courses based on the Super Mario Odyssey game. Luckily, in the Nintendo Switch version, a second player can join in to help toss turnips at enemies. The Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker game will be available for both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS on July 13. A free demo version is also available to download.

Riddle of the Loremaster Coming from Outland Entertainment

Outland Entertaiment has announced Riddle of the Loremaster, an all new original comic series written by Melanie R. Meadors, with art by Nicolás Giacondino!

Here is a sneak peek at some of the promo art:

Riddle of the Loremaster is a comic for mature readers set in a fantasy world full of adventure and romance, mystery and laughter. Keep your eyes open, it is set to premiere at the beginning of August!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa

The Garden of Blue Roses
Author:  Michael Barsa
Publisher:  Underland Press, April 17, 2018
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 248 pages
List Price:  US$16.99 (print and eBook)
ISBN:  9781630230616 (print)

A car lies at the bottom of an icy ravine. Slumped over the steering wheel, dead, is the most critically acclaimed horror writer of his time. Was it an accident? His son Milo doesn't care. For the first time in his life, he's free. No more nightmarish readings, spooky animal rites, or moonlit visions of his father in the woods with a notebook and vampire make-up.

Or so he thinks.

Milo settles into a quiet routine―constructing model Greek warships and at last building a relationship with his sister Klara, who's home after a failed marriage and brief career as an English teacher. Then Klara hires a gardener to breathe new life into their overgrown estate. There's something odd about him―something eerily reminiscent of their father's most violent villain. Or is Milo imagining things? He's not sure. That all changes the day the gardener discovers something startling in the woods. Suddenly Milo is fighting for his life, forced to confront the power of fictional identity as he uncovers the shocking truth about his own dysfunctional family―and the supposed accident that claimed his parents' lives.

Deb's Review

The Garden of Blue Roses, a stylish Gothic debut by Michael Barsa, has a pitch-perfect uneasy atmosphere and is peopled with complex characters whose motivations slowly unfold, like grainy time lapse photography. As one character says over the course of events, the secret to creating fear is planting belief. Seeds of belief are sown in The Garden of Blue Roses, but they are scattered amongst plentiful seeds of doubt. The result is an enigmatic tale, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In the Castle, but with its own strong and unique voice.

Klara and Milo Crane, the adult children of celebrated horror author, John Crane, live on an isolated estate in rural Vermont. As the story opens, their father’s car skids off the road in a suspicious, fatal accident that also claims the life of their alcoholic, mostly-absentee mother. Klara, the older sibling, is left as caretaker of hearth and home, under Milo’s attentive gaze.

The tenuous peace in the house begins to unravel when Klara hires landscape artist Henri Blanc to transform the grounds into an elaborate memorial garden in honor of their parents. Milo doesn’t trust Henri and his vague credentials. He finds the gardener to be slick and manipulative, and thinks Klara, who has long-struggled with relationships, may be willfully overlooking signs that Henri is after more than her flowerbeds.

From the beginning, we share headspace with Milo, a classic but still fresh-feeling unreliable narrator. Milo spends his days constructing painstakingly accurate historical models of military vessels. His encyclopedic knowledge of his father’s most popular character, the monstrous serial killer Keith Sentelle, paints Milo with a dark brush. Everything we experience is run through the filter of Milo’s very precise, somewhat paranoid outlook. Is he protecting his sister, his father’s legacy, and the family home, or is he simply imagining a menace that isn’t there?

All the while, John Crane’s presence hangs over the house, his deep-rooted influence over his children slowly revealing its dark nature. As Henri insinuates himself between Klara and Milo, the story becomes a frantic pas de trois between the siblings and the man who may be just a humble gardener or something far more sinister.

This is a strong debut. Barsa’s skill with metaphor makes the story a very visual one. Klara and Milo come across as authentic, though warped by their very non-traditional upbringing. They both present as decisive and vulnerable, bright and naive. There are unexpected sparks of humor, passages of brilliant and curious introspection, all delivered by an author who clearly loves wordplay. The start was a little slow for me, but this was probably because it isn’t easy to cozy up to Milo at first. Once hooked by the narrative, though, I remained hooked.

I’d recommend The Garden of Blue Roses to fans of unreliable narrator stories, intricately plotted Gothics, and quirky character studies. While the story isn’t a splatter-fest, you should expect some well-telegraphed gore. Enjoyed the story, loved the characters, and felt the conclusion was a very satisfying end to a well-told tale. I occasionally re-read books to appreciate how they’re constructed, and this one has been added to my “to be re-read” list. I’ll definitely be watching for Barsa’s next work.

MIDDLEWEST Launching in November 2018


PORTLAND, OR, 07/10/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to announce an all-new fantasy adventure from Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, Deadpool) and Jorge Corona (NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, Feathers, Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack)—titled MIDDLEWEST. It is set to launch this November.

“I’m putting so much of myself and my life into this book that sometimes I have to remind myself there’s not really a raging tornado monster chasing me,” said Young. “It’s like we took a Don Bluth movie, Miyazaki, the dark adventures of old Henson movies, and my childhood, then put them in a blender.”

The lands between the coasts are vast, slow to change, and full of hidden magics. Mistakes have been made, and in MIDDLEWEST, an unwitting adventurer searches for answers to quell a coming storm that knows his name. So begins the epic tale of Abel, a young boy who must navigate an old land in order to reconcile his family's history.

Corona added: "Being part of this amazing team is a dream come true, and having Skottie's trust to help him bring this world to life is really a privilege. I just can't wait for everyone else to join us along with Abel as we travel through Middlewest."

MIDDLEWEST #1 will hit stores on Wednesday, November 21st.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

Jeremy Renner To Play Detective "Twitch" Williams in Film Adaptation of SPAWN


PORTLAND, OR, 07/10/2018 — In an exclusive scoop, Deadline broke the news that Academy Award nominated Jeremy Renner will join Jamie Foxx in the cast lineup for Todd McFarlane’s forthcoming Blumhouse film adaptation of SPAWN.

Renner has now been tapped to play the role of Detective "Twitch" Williams, who will be at the center of the Spawn movie story. Renner is perhaps best known for his phenomenal performances in such films as Hurt Locker, Arrival, The Town, and Wind River.

“With the ensemble of award-winning talent that has signed on to the Spawn Movie—Jason Blum (producer), Blumhouse Productions, Jamie Foxx (Spawn), and NOW Jeremy Renner—it is MORE than I'd EVER hoped for when first visualizing this movie years ago,” said Todd McFarlane, Spawn film director. “As a first-time feature film director, I’m humbled by the level of talented people putting their trust into my film project.”

This newest adaptation—a gritty, R-rated reimagining—marks Image President, co-founder and SPAWN creator, Todd McFarlane’s film directorial debut. McFarlane, an Emmy/Grammy-winning producer/director is also on board as screenwriter and co-producer with Blumhouse Productions.

SPAWN sold an unprecedented 1.7 million copies at the time it was released and is one of the world’s bestselling and longest-running monthly comic books, with hundreds of millions sold worldwide in more than 120 countries and in 15 different languages.

The comic became an Emmy Award-winning animated series on HBO and a New Line Cinema feature film that grossed more than $100 million. McFarlane went on to direct and produce award-winning and critically acclaimed projects for top movie studios and record labels.

For updates #SpawnMovie and follow Todd McFarlane:

Artwork compliments of Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc. 2018.

Artwork compliments of Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc. 2018.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

Murder Falcon Coming October 10th


PORTLAND, OR, 07/09/2018 — This October, Eisner-nominated writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson (EXTREMITY, Space-Mullet) will launch an all-new head-banging, face-melting adventure from Image/Skybound Entertainment: MURDER FALCON.

The world is under attack. Monsters have invaded our streets and our homes, and there’s only one thing that can stop them: METAL.

“Music is something that brings me a lot of joy, and it was my goal to translate that into images, thus bringing MURDER FALCON into the world,” said Johnson. “It's a super combo of all the things I love, and I'm so excited to share it with you all.”

Jake’s life is falling apart: no band, no girl, no future…until he meets Murder Falcon, a legendary monster-killer sent from The Heavy to destroy all evil. But he can’t do it alone—he needs Jake by his side, shredding up a storm. Now, with every chord Jake plays on his guitar, the power of metal fuels Murder Falcon into all-out kung fu fury on those that seek to conquer Earth.

Better watch out, monsters—METAL WILL DESTROY ALL EVIL!

MURDER FALCON #1 will launch from Image/Skybound Entertainment on Wednesday, October 10th.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has six individuals on the Board of Directors: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Eric Stephenson. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
Founded in 2010, Skybound Entertainment is a multiplatform entertainment company specializing in television, comics, film, digital content, interactive, gaming, and merchandise. The company is led by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and his longtime producing and business partner David Alpert.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Interview with Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes

Please welcome Thea Lim to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. An Ocean of Minutes is published on July 10th by Touchstone.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Thea a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Thea:  I once wrote a whole novel on my mother's Word Perfect program about an underground motorcycle club in 1993.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Thea:  A hybrid. I make a very skeletal outline, because I need to have some sense of where I'm going, but the only thing that will really let me know whether or not my plot is going to work is test-driving it -- by writing it. So I don't spend too much time drawing up a plan, because it's never long before I have to make a new one.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Thea:  The writing part. I once heard ZZ Packer say that writing is like being in marriage counselling, except with a total stranger. That sounds about right.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Thea:  Cityscapes, and trying to write about my life, and process the things that have happened -- but without it looking like I'm writing about myself in the slightest.

TQDescribe An Ocean of Minutes using only 5 words.

Thea:  LDR but 1991 to 1998. (I used an acronym and cheated.)

TQTell us something about An Ocean of Minutes that is not found in the book description.

Thea:  The whole thing is an analogy for immigration. It's been described as a dystopic novel -- and I'll take it! -- but I actually think of it as allegorical fiction. I wanted to offer a different view of our own world, rather than a future, more dire world. This world is already dire enough.

TQWhat inspired you to write An Ocean of Minutes? What appeals to you about writing a time-travel novel?

Thea:  If, for example, vampire movies are always about sex, and zombie movies are always about the economy, time travel stories are usually about fate -- trying to undo it, but failing. But my favourite time travel narratives are about time itself -- the human instinct to try to dig in our heels and make it stop, kill change, even though we know it's hopeless. (The 1998 film After Life, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- which is totally a time travel movie if you think about it -- are good examples.) It's hard these days to write something totally new, so my strategy was to try and combine two well-worn genres into something else. I wanted to write a work of migration lit (inspired by writers like Jhumpa Lahiri and Maxine Hong Kingston), combined with time travel. In what way does the past feel like another country? In what way is returning to an old home like travelling through time?

TQWhat sort of research did you do for An Ocean of Minutes?

Thea:  I visited Galveston and Buffalo, two cities I love, that are like spiritual twins, on either ends of the country. Both are cities trying to outrun time (Galveston dealing with natural disaster, and Buffalo dealing with economic disaster), and both have a sense of faded history that echoes through each day. I interviewed an upholsterer (She owns Maple Leaf Furnishings in Toronto if you are looking to get a chair recovered) so that I could properly write about Polly's time working at the Hotel Galvez. And I read many first-person accounts of migrant work, many of them wrenching and sad, like El Contrato, a documentary about tomato farmers in Ontario, or this comic strip about Almaz, a domestic worker from Ethiopia who sought work in Saudi Arabia, or the book Underground America, about migrant workers to the US.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for An Ocean of Minutes.

Thea:  The cover was designed by Scott Richardson, who is a really well-known Canadian designer (who happens to be a novelist himself!), so I was very lucky to have him. I loved how he worked in the Texas horizon, and the subtle touches to indicate that the book tells the story of our world, but a slightly off-kilter variant -- the slant of the skyline, and the two mirrored shores, side by side but forever apart, like parallel timelines.

TQIn An Ocean of Minutes who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Thea:  Norberto was the easiest to write, even though he makes some terrible choices. I knew that I wanted him to offer a kind of inverted version of Polly's suffering, so I had a clear model to follow, and just his overall personality -- so gloomy and vulnerable and hopeful still -- spoke to my heart. Frank was the hardest to write. He was mysterious to the end. It wasn't until I wrote the sections where he retrieves Polly's lost furniture, and where his mother throws an anniversary party -- they were late-stage additions! -- that I really figured out who he was.

TQWhich question about An Ocean of Minutes do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: What's your favourite part of the book?

A: The second last chapter, when (very mild spoiler) Polly sees her childhood home for the first time since 1980.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from An Ocean of Minutes.


"They will have a September wedding, so their anniversary doesn't change. Their guests will blow bubbles instead of throwing rice, rice is bad for birds. They will have something of her mother's there --her bicycle or her rocking chair. In another universe, this timeline becomes actual. In their universe, the vial breaks, the virus spreads, the borders are closed. Frank gets sick."

"But what could she do? She kept laughing in the evening light, which is what people do when monstrous epiphanies surface in their minds. You cannot put life on hold to have a moment of grief, so every second, half the people in the world are split in two. This is what they mean by life goes on, and the worst is that you go along too."

TQWhat's next?

Thea:  I'll be appearing this Friday at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, with the writer Jessica Wilbanks, to celebrate the US launch of An Ocean of Minutes!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

An Ocean of Minutes
Touchstone, July 10, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Station Eleven, a sweeping literary love story about two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about the endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past—and the price of letting it go.

About Thea

Photo by Elisha Lim, © Thea Lim
Thea Lim’s writing has appeared in publications including the Southampton Review, the Guardian, The Millions, Salon, and others. She has an MFA from the University of Houston, and she has received multiple awards and fellowships for her work, including artists’ grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.  She grew up in Singapore and now lives in Toronto with her family.

Website  ~  Twitter @thea_lim