Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Interview with Wendy N. Wagner - March 31, 2015


Please welcome Wendy N. Wagner to The Qwillery. “Scab Land” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the seventeenth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!


I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here. GENIUS LOCI has been funded and there is less $2000 to go to the Deluxe format of the printed edition!



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Wendy:  Thanks for having me! I like working in both forms quite a bit. The wonderful thing about writing short fiction is that I can keep the entire story arc in my mind, which makes it easier to see how all the details build up to make a piece work. When I'm writing a novel, I have to keep very careful notes so I don't forget anything.

I guess you could call me a pants-plotter hybrid (is that a “plantser”?). For my two work-for-hire novels, I really had to get good at working to an outline, and I really enjoy having a framework constructed before I start digging into the real writing. But when I write on my own, I enjoy having a lot of flexibility, too. I tend to start with a very loose outline; I'll write a bit, and draw up an outline for the next section, write a bit, and then stop and do a detailed outline of something that's bothering me ... I go back and forth throughout.



TQ:  You are also a poet. How does writing poetry affect (or not) your prose writing?

Wendy:  I find that when I'm working on poetry, I'm much more conscious of the images I'm using and the rhythms that occur in my prose. The rhythms and shapes of words really change the reader's experience, I think.

I've been on a poetry break for the last year, but I'm hoping to get back to it this summer!



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Wendy:  I can't think of any! I'm a pretty boring writer. I just sit down and work!



TQ:  Describe “Scab Land”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Wendy:  It's about the secret stories families and landscapes keep beneath their surfaces.



TQ:  Tell us something about “Scab Land” that will not give away the story.

Wendy:  The title comes from the name of a real geographical feature—the channeled scablands—of Eastern Washington. It's a very gray landscape with a lot of agriculture, and the story is about a farming family.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “Scab Land”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Wendy:   My parents live in Eastern Washington on a property that's been in our family for generations, and my grandmother actually came out to this dry, gray place on the train. She'd never seen the town or the farm, but she had met my grandfather and fallen in love with him, so she left everything to be with him. She was from Maine. She would tell me stories about Maine, and I could tell, even though I was just a very, very little girl, that she missed it desperately. So I always knew there were things that haunted her, and that idea of a haunted grandmother stayed with me.

I think every place has a genius loci. Some places slap you with their ambiance, and some you have to listen a little harder to, but yes, every place is full of stories that are just bleeding out into the air and waiting to inspire us.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Scab Land”.

Wendy:  All my favorite lines don't make any sense if you don't read the story!



TQ:  In which genre or genres does “Scab Land” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Wendy:  “Scab Land” is definitely a fantasy story. It started out as a literary piece, but I wasn't quite happy with it, and when the call for Genius Loci went out, I revised the piece to make it speculative.

Sure, they're useful. They help you find things you enjoy. I go to the library and browse through the mystery shelf because I like who-dunnits. I dig through the gardening section because I want to find books about gardening.

I know I should have a more serious answer than that, and I know there are a lot of discussions about the different ways to define the different genres. What's fantasy? What's science fiction? What do you call a piece with some magic but also space ships? At what point do subgenre classifications become so specific they're no longer of any use?

There are over a million books published every year and we need tools to help us find what we're interested in. Genre may not be the greatest tool, but it is one.



TQ:  What's next?

Wendy:  I have a lot of short stories coming out this year—I have a story in Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places, an anthology about Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger; She Walks in Shadows, an all-women-written anthology about women characters in Lovecraft's stories; and Cthulhu Fhtagn!, a new Lovecraftian anthology from Ross Lockhart.

I'm also serving as the guest editor for Nightmare Magazine's Queers Destroy Horror! special issue (due out in October), which I'm really excited about. And I have a second novel coming out in the Pathfinder Tales line, but I'm not sure when it will be released.

It's a busy year!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Wendy N. Wagner

Wendy N. Wagner grew up in a remote town on the Oregon coast, a place so small it had no grocery store and no television reception. When the bookmobile came every two weeks, the whole town gathered to explore its latest offerings. Books were her lifeline, her window into the outside world, and soon, an obsession.

Her short fiction has appeared in magazines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and The Lovecraft eZine, as well as many anthologies, including Armored, Heiresses of Russ 2013, and The Way of the Wizard. She is the Managing/Associate Editor of Lightspeed and Nightmare magazines, and is the former Assistant Editor of Fantasy Magazine. Skinwalkers is her first novel.

Wendy lives in Portland, Oregon, with her very understanding family. You can keep up her at winniewoohoo.com or find her on Twitter, where she’s @wnwagner.

Interview with Keris McDonald - March 31, 2015


Please welcome Keris McDonald to The Qwillery. “The Sleck” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the sixteenth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!


I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here. GENIUS LOCI has been funded and there is less $2000 to go to the Deluxe format of the printed edition!



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Keris:  I’m a pantser. I start writing, and I research as I write. I like research and I love it when things fall into place and fit exactly where you need them in the story, like you somehow mysteriously knew them all along…

The most challenging thing for me about writing is keeping off the goddamn Internet. Somewhere in my psyche is a deep urge to know ALL THE THINGS, and since I joined Facebook this has forced me into a never-ending loop of procrastination. No longer do I just read the news on teletext several times a day: I have to absorb the entire Interwebs. Maybe I should just shoot myself now…



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Keris:  M.R. James. H.P. Lovecraft. Angela Carter.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask?

Keris:  “Would you like to sign this lucrative contract for the publication of your collected horror stories?”
:-D



TQ:  Describe “The Sleck”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Keris:  A small girl has drowned in a pond in a patch of urban wasteland. Dad gets drunk and goes to investigate.



TQ:  Tell us something about “The Sleck” that will not give away the story.

Keris:  It’s all about the stinky slimy mud. “Sleck” is a dialect world from the north of England, meaning “foul-smelling mud”.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “The Sleck”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Keris:  As a child I was passionately drawn to natural places that seemed otherworldy and eerie to me – little patches in the midst of the mundane world that no one else seemed to notice the wonder of. Now, as an adult, I struggle to recapture that numinous sense of immanence. I wanted to write a story about an adult forced to see the world from that child’s-eye point-of-view.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “The Sleck”.

Keris
“Even in his day, before the invention of Health And Safety or parents giving a shit where the bairns were off to, it had had a dire reputation.”


TQ:  In which genre or genres does “The Sleck” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Keris:  Horror/paranormal. Genre classifications are a necessary evil because most readers want to know what they are getting in advance. Personally, I like writing cross-genre. I like to confound expectations.



TQ:  What's next?

Keris:  I’m writing a trilogy about fallen angels and huge religious conspiracies for Cleis Press, under my other writing name, “Janine Ashbless. The first novel, Cover Him with Darkness, is already out. I recently visited Ethiopia to research the second volume, and now I’m going to write it.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Keris:  Thank you so much for having me!





About Keris

Keris McDonald lives in the not-very-grim north of England and has seen her horror short stories published in All Hallows magazine and anthologies by Ashtree Press and Hic Dragones Books. She spends most of her writing time under the pen name ‘Janine Ashbless’ though, spinning tales of supernatural erotica and passionate romantic adventure for publishers such as HarperCollins and Virgin. Her ninth novel, Cover Him With Darkness, a tale of fallen angels and religious conspiracy, was published in 2014 by Cleis Press. The Sleck was inspired by the post-industrial landscape of County Durham and childhood memories of visiting her aunts and uncles in Newcastle, as well as stories of “sacred” wells and springs. “Sleck,” by the way, is a very old dialect word for “stinking mud”.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu




The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings
The Dandelion Dynasty 1
Saga Press, April 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages

Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.

Cover Reveal: Indelible Ink by Matt Betts - March 31, 2015


The Qwillery is thrilled to present the cover for Indelible Ink by Matt Betts coming in June from Dog Star Books / Raw Dog Screaming Press:






It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Something lurks inside Deena Riordan. She never once questioned her life in the criminal underworld as the star of Mr. Marsh’s illegal empire and his youngest assassin. Her ruthless demeanor and dark magical powers have kept her at the top of the heap for years. But one day she pushes the sorcery too far and something snaps. Only then does Deena realize she’s always been a puppet of that dark power with no true will of her own.

Now, in order to get out of the crime business for good, she needs to save her sister from Marsh’s angry clutches. It won’t be easy. She’ll have to make her way through friends turned foes, dodge determined federal agents, and stay out of a particularly stubborn fellow hitman’s sights. Worst of all, Deena will have to wrestle with the darkness inside to keep it from swallowing her up again.





About Matt

Matt Betts was born in Lima, Ohio some years ago. Lima is just a stone’s throw away from several other towns with excellent throwing stones. During and after college, Matt worked for a number of years in radio as an on-air personality, anchor and reporter. He has written for Blood, Blade and Thruster Magazine and Shock Totem. His fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies.

Matt currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and sons. He is hard at work on the next adventure of the crew of the airship Leonidas Polk. And watching old horror movies. And maybe reading comic books. He can feel you silently judging him and doesn’t like it one bit.

Website   ~  Facebook  ~  Google+  ~  Twitter @Betts_Matt