Friday, November 22, 2013

Interview with Gillian Philip, author of the Rebel Angels series - Giveaway - November 22, 2013

Please welcome Gillian Philip back to The Qwillery. Gillian is the author of the Rebel Angels series. Bloodstone (Rebel Angels 2) was published in the US on November 19, 2013.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery!

Gillian:  Thank you, Sally! I’m thrilled to be here again!

TQ:  Your second Rebel Angels novel, Bloodstone, is being published in the US on November 19th, with Wolfsbane (Rebel Angels 3) coming out in the US in Spring 2014. These two novels have already been published in the UK. Has the reaction to the series been different in the US than in the UK?

Gillian:  I don’t think it’s been much different. It’s probably about the same proportion of people who love the series passionately to people who loathe it (the balance tipping towards the former, luckily!). Some of Seth’s funny little turns of phrase seem to tickle US readers, where UK readers might be more familiar with them (I remember one reviewer particularly liking “piece of piss”, which is one of my favourite sayings too).

TQ:  Tell us something about Bloodstone that is not in the (US) book description.

Gillian:  Okay, let’s see... We’re going to see quite a bit more of the Lammyr, and what they get up to on our side of the Veil if they can get away with it. I love the Lammyr. I know how very wrong that is. We’re also going to meet some full-mortals who, like Catriona in Firebrand, are going to have a huge impact on Seth’s attitudes and his whole life. And Seth is going to be faced with a crucial choice between two evils... and he ain’t necessarily going to choose right.

TQ:  In the Rebel Angels series, who is the character that surprised you the most? Who was most difficult to write? And do you have a favorite good guy, bad guy or morally ambiguous character?

Gillian:  The character who surprised me the most was undoubtedly Seth. That’s because he started out, in my mind, as a fairly minor villain, playing a distant second fiddle to Conal and his niece Finn. Seth just wasn’t having that. He completely took over my head and the story, and became the main character in all four books, turning from villain to antihero and eventually, I hope, to hero (though he loses his monopoly on the narrative voice from Book 2 onwards, so that the others can get a word in edgeways).

None of the characters in the books were too hard to write. I like them all in different ways and I felt I knew them all well enough to get inside their heads. But I found Catriona in Firebrand quite difficult after she lost her turn at narration. She and Seth were originally going to share the narrative voice, but I decided that wasn’t going to work. So she had to be seen exclusively through Seth’s eyes, and Seth is not always the best or most sensitive judge of character.

As for my favourite good guy – I have a very soft spot for Sionnach, Seth’s best friend. He’s so taciturn, and comes across as a wee hard man, but deep inside he has this incredible kindness, and he loves very fiercely. My favourite bad guy is Alasdair Kilrevin. We only meet him briefly in Firebrand, and then he doesn’t reappear till Wolfsbane, but I think he makes up for lost time. He’s vicious, he’s vain and he’s occasionally charming.

Favourite morally ambiguous character? Apart from Seth himself, that would have to be Finn. Honestly, if you don’t give a telepathic teenager some firm limits, there’s no telling what they’ll get up to.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for Rebel Angels series and what is the oddest thing you've found?

Gillian:  I’ve had the best fun doing research for this series. I went back to the old Scottish myths and legends I knew as a child, and read up on some more obscure superstitions. I looked up original historical accounts of the Scottish witch hunts, and guidebooks to torturing witches, like King James’s Daemonologie. (Okay, that part wasn’t so much fun as disturbing.) I went location scouting in some beautiful places, especially the island of Colonsay – where I found the ruins of Seth’s father’s dun. I read Malleus Maleficarum and Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Kirk’s The Secret Commonwealth... I talked to friends who are soldiers and journalists and election observers, so that I could send Seth convincingly off to foreign wars. I read science journals to find theories about genes and ageing, and how the human race might eventually beat mortality. So I discovered a lot of weird and head-boggling stuff.

But the oddest thing, probably, was when I came across one of the origins of the kelpie myths (kelpies are the horse-demons that my characters use as warhorses). It turns out that there’s a kind of water weed that swells up when it’s wet, and floats ashore looking just like a human liver. So people thought there was a monster in the water that ate people, but left the liver behind.

Or possibly there was just a horse monster in the water that ate people and left their livers.

TQ:  Will you be visiting the Rebel Angels world again?

Gillian:  Oh yes! The fourth and final book, ICEFALL, has just gone off to the printers! It’s going to see Seth and his clann forced to face Kate in battle, in a last desperate attempt to save their lives and their world. It takes place half in our own world, half in the Sithe world, and we find out much more about queen Kate’s motives for destroying the Veil between them.

It was a bittersweet experience, finishing the last book and sending it off. I’m going to miss them all, even the bad guys. *snif*

TQ:  You've written many novels in several different series (e.g., Rebel Angels, Survivors, Shades 2.0). What is the most challenging thing about writing novels for a series?

Gillian:  The retrospective tweaking! Sometimes you just can’t help making gaffes and clunkers, and there’s nothing you can do to fix them if the earlier books are already out there, so you just have to finesse things. I was lucky with the Rebel Angels series, in that I had rough drafts of all four written before Firebrand was published – but I still had some belated, stomach-jolting realisations. I remember waking up one night at 3am, leaping out of bed and thinking: I have to put an extra chapter in Firebrand or something crucial in Wolfsbane won’t make sense! I very nearly phoned the editor right there and then... but luckily, the next morning was soon enough to catch it before it went to print.

TQ:  What's next?

Gillian:  I’m currently writing a contemporary crime novel, which is fun, but once that’s finished in first draft I really, really want to write another Scottish-based urban fantasy. I have some ideas, and it’ll be very different to Rebel Angels, but the rewriting I did in the last few months on Icefall made me realise how much I’d missed writing fantasy. So that’s definitely my next project.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Gillian:  Thank you for having me, Sally! I’ve enjoyed it!

Rebel Angels

Rebel Angels 2
Tor Books, November 19, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Bloodstone is the second novel in Gillian Philip’s critically acclaimed Rebel Angels series, debuting in the United States for the first time.

For centuries, Sithe warriors Seth and Conal MacGregor have hunted for the Bloodstone demanded by their Queen. Homesick, and determined to protect their clan, they have also made secret forays across the Veil. One of these illicit crossings has violent consequences that will devastate both their close family, and their entire clan.

In the Otherworld, Jed Cameron, a feral, full-mortal young thief, becomes entangled with the strange and dangerous Finn MacAngus and her shadowy uncles. When he is dragged into the world of the Sithe, it’s nothing he can’t handle until time warps around him, and menacing forces reach out to threaten his infant brother. In the collision of two worlds, war and tragedy are inevitable, especially when treachery comes from the most shocking of quarters….

Rebel Angels 1
Tor Books, February 19, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
Tor Books, October 1, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages

At the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired.

Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father’s fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.

But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt—in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen’s machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters’ fires…

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith.

About Gillian

Gillian Philip is a full time author and ghostwriter for young adults and children. She writes in whatever genre grabs her, including contemporary crime, historical and urban fantasy, horror, and dystopian science fiction. Her books include Crossing the Line, Bad Faith, The Opposite of Amber and the Rebel Angels series - Firebrand, Bloodstone, Wolfsbane and (published next year) Icefall. She has written Darke Academy as Gabriella Poole, the Survivors series as Erin Hunter, and two Beast Quest instalments as Adam Blade.

Gillian was born in Glasgow, lived in Barbados for twelve years and now lives in the north-east Highlands of Scotland with her husband, twins Jamie and Lucy, three dogs, two cats, a fluctuating population of chickens and many nervous fish.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @Gillian_Philip

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Firebrand (Rebel Angels 1) from The Qwillery.

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on December 1, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This book (Firebrand) has been on my to-read list for some time now and now that I see book #2 with a wolf on it, I'm even more interested! Count me in please!

  2. I just found out about this series recently and it is exactly the kind of thing I love to read. Going on my wishlist immediately!

  3. sounds fantastic! Congrats to Gillian on the new release and thanks for the fun interview!

  4. congrat for the newa release..
    thx u for hosting ;)

  5. Loved Firebrand, and currently loving Bloodstone, and I can't wait for the North American releases of the other books, because this series is just so much fun to read! And Seth's viewpoint never ceases to amuse me; I love the way he thinks.

  6. New author for me so I would love to read this book.

  7. WOW!! This series looks & sounds amazing.

  8. Haven't heard of this before