Monday, March 24, 2014

Interview with Devon Monk, Review of Hell Bent and Stone Cold, and Giveaway - March 24, 2014

Please welcome Devon Monk to The Qwillery. Stone Cold, the second novel in the Broken Magic series will be published on April 1, 2014.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. Your series include Allie Beckstrom (UF), Age of Steam (Steampunk), Broken Magic (UF), and the upcoming House Immortal Trilogy (Fantasy) as well as a short story collection. How has your writing process changed (or not) over the years? Are you a plotter, pantser, or hybrid plotser?

Devon:  I'm a plotter. Back when I was mostly writing short stories, I'd dive into an idea without much more than a vision of how it would end, or an emotion I wanted to explore, or a cool idea that was gnawing on my brain. But with novel length fiction I have discovered basic outlines are my friend.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing about writing for you?

Devon:  Right now it comes down to having enough time to get everything done. I'm usually working on several novels at once, and sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day.

TQ:  You've written novels for multiple series. How do you keeps things straight in each series?

Devon:  The worlds and the characters make that easy. I don't currently have extensive world bibles, but I do have extensive notes. Also, it really pays to have good beta readers.

TQ:  Your latest novel is Stone Cold (Broken Magic 2). Please tell us something about the novel that is not in the book description.

Devon:  Shame's a Death magic user, but Death is tearing at his control, and pushing him to his limits. Terric, a Life magic user, is in the same situation with the Life magic that claims him. The simple solution would be for them to use their magic together: life canceling death. But whenever they do, they lose a little more of their individuality, their souls, and their sanity. They must decided if that is too great of a price to pay to save the world. There is sacrifice, and darkness, and grit, and brotherhood, and revenge, and hope, and love, and redemption in this book. Also there are funny bits, some cool magic, and a gargoyle.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for the Broken Magic series? What is one of the oddest things you've found?

Devon:  Let's see...I researched abandoned art galleries, bamboo plants, Paris, some other stuff I can't say because it will give things away, the top-ten weirdest fruits in the world...oh! When I was looking for a secret warehouse to put somewhere out of the way near an airstrip, I decided to use this town I found on Google maps: Ephrata, Washington. It turned out to be the town where the movie ALWAYS was filmed. That was cool.

TQ:  Please tell us a bit about the magic system in the Broken Magic series.

Devon:  Magic has changed due to the events in the Allie Beckstrom series, but the basics are: if you use magic, it uses you back and the price for using it is pain. Shame and Terric however, are walking vessels for Death and Life magic. Death and Life are pretty much trying to use them and cause them pain, 24/7. Since magic flows deep in the earth and can be tapped by anyone, there are a lot of people who have their own idea of what magic should be used for--no matter the cost. And that's where our heroes must step up, or step aside. And since they aren't really step-aside kind of guys, well...things get interesting.

TQ:  In the Broken Magic series so far which character has surprised you the most?

Devon:  Davy Silvers. He's a twenty-something chill guy who also happens to be one of the best Hounds, or tracker of illegal magic, in the city. He was a side character from the Allie Beckstrom books. When he first showed up in those books, I never expected him to play a larger part in the Broken Magic series. Okay, I'll be truthful here: when he first showed up in the Allie Beckstrom books, I killed him off. But in revision I changed one of the core plot lines and needed him in there. So I deleted his death scene and here he is, still fighting the good fight in the spin offs.

TQ:  The Allie Beckstrom series and the Broken Magic series are both Urban Fantasies. What appeals to you about that sub-genre?

Devon:  I love taking our modern world and introducing something magical, mythical, or paranormal into it to find out what that does to the world and to the people who have to deal with it. I've always considered the roots of urban fantasy anchored in hard boiled mystery. For me the pacing, the quips, the world-weary heroes, and strong first-person voice are a delight to write and read. Plus monsters! Magic! Mayhem! What's not to love?

TQ:  What's next?

Devon:  My farm girl-Frankenstein, near future, gently dystopic, steampunk-light save-the-world not-quite-urban-fantasy trilogy. My editor calls them "Allie Beckstrom meets Firefly" and I like to think I've captured the gist of that. Book #1, House Immortal, comes out September 2nd. I've very excited for you all to meet Matilda Case the stitched-together sister of a mad genius, Neds Harris her two-headed farmhand, Abraham Seventh a galvanized over two hundred years old, and their world ruled by Houses who control every resource, except for the one thing they most desire that Matilda might just have the answer to: immortality.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Devon:  Thank you so much for having me!

About Devon

Devon Monk writes the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series and the spinoff Broken Magic series. She also writes the Age of Steam steampunk series, the House Immortal series, and the occasional short story. She has one husband, two sons, and lives in Oregon. When not writing, Devon is either drinking too much coffee or knitting silly things.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @DevonMonk

Hell Bent
Author:  Devon Monk
Series:  Broken Magic 1
Publisher:  Roc, November 5, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook , 368 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:   9780451417923 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Instead of the deadly force it once was, magic is now a useless novelty. But not for Shame Flynn and Terric Conley, “breakers” who have the gift for reverting magic back to its full-throttle power. In the magic-dense city of Portland, Oregon, keeping a low profile means keeping their gifts quiet. After three years of dealing with disgruntled magic users, Shame and Terric have had enough of politics, petty magic, and, frankly, each other. It’s time to call it quits.

When the government discovers the breakers’ secret—and its potential as a weapon—Shame and Terric suddenly become wanted men, the only ones who can stop the deadly gift from landing in the wrong hands. If only a pair of those wrong hands didn’t belong to a drop-dead-gorgeous assassin Shame is falling for as if it were the end of the world. And if he gets too close to her, it very well could be....

Stone Cold
Author:  Devon Monk
Series:  Broken Magic 2
Publisher:  Roc, April 1, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook , 368 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:   9780451417930 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The latest Broken Magic novel from national bestselling author Devon Monk.

Marked by Life and Death magic, Shame Flynn and Terric Conley are “breakers”—those who can use magic to its full extent. Most of the time, they can barely stand each other, but they know they have to work together to defeat a common enemy—rogue magic user Eli Collins.

Backed by the government, Eli is trying to use magic as a weapon by carving spells into the flesh of innocents and turning them into brainless walking bombs. To stop him, Shame and Terric will need to call on their magic, even as it threatens to consume them—because the price they must pay to wield Life and Death could change the very fate of the world...and magic itself.

Doreen's Thoughts

Shame Flynn and Terric Conley are secondary figures in Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom novels. They now have their own series, Broken Magic, which starts with Hell Bent. Monk does a good job of setting the stage from the earlier Allie Beckstrom novels briefly in the two Broken Magic novels and then goes on to further evolve the world that she created and then destroyed in the Allie Beckstrom stories. While the two Broken Magic novels can be read without reading the Allie Beckstrom books, I would recommend reading Stone Cold (Book 2) only after reading Hell Bent (Book 1). 

In Hell Bent, the narrator is Shame, and it is a complete change in tone from Allie Beckstrom. Shame is sarcastic and cynical, and his tone in the novels reflects that. The protagonist from both novels is also pulled from the Beckstrom world - Eli Collins, a former ally/enemy who has been kidnapped by the government in an effort to merge technology and magic together to recreate the magic abilities that were destroyed in the Beckstrom world.

Terric and Shame are light and dark reflections of each other, one able to perform Life Magic and the other performing Death Magic. By casting magic together, they are able to “break” magic – get it to perform the way it did prior to these novels. Only a few magic users are still able to cast magic – those are known as Soul Complements, and usually they also are a romantic couple joined together in life as they are in magic. However, Terric is gay, and Shame is straight – and their relationship is complicated at best. As they have grown up together, they have fought each other and for each other, and each has died for the other one to live.

Shame has always been a solitary soul, but in Hell Bent (Book 1) he meets Dessa, an assassin who is trying to find Eli Collins for her own reasons, since the murder of her brother. For the first time, Shame is drawn to someone else in a romantic way, and it appears that she might also feel the same way towards him – unless she is simply using him for his knowledge.

As Shame and Terric try to track down and hunt Eli, several other characters from Monk’s earlier novels reappear, including Zayvion, Allie herself, Davy, and Sunny. Monk also introduces some new characters in Hell Bent, including Dash who plays an even greater role in Stone Cold. The goal is still to stop Eli from murdering Soul Complements and keep the government from interfering in magical affairs.

Shame loses friends and family in the battle for magic and he loses someone who could have been his soul mate in Hell Bent. In Stone Cold, he ultimately loses control of the Death Magic that fills him, and in fact, kills several innocents. I was somewhat appalled by this at first, but I should have trusted Monk as a storyteller. Shame goes through the worst thing a Soul Complement can endure, the death of the other Soul Complement, and yet he continues to function and fight the good fight.

Stone Cold is a much darker story, focusing on the worst that could possibly happen. While Shame continues to function, he fights both himself and his Death Magic at every turn, trying to ensure that it does not range out of control, and as mentioned above, he fails at several key moments. While his usual sarcasm and cynicism are present, the tasks he faces are exacting and take their toll on him. I was surprised to see him survive, quite frankly.

In Stone Cold, I appreciated Monk alternating narrators for most of the chapters. It was interesting to see Terric’s perspective on the relationship between the two men and what he experienced, which was horrific as well. Again, Monk has taken her world in a much darker place with this novel, but she resolves it in a way that fits with her earlier series.

Shame and Terric are a terrific addition and their story is different enough from the Allie Beckstrom stories that they deserve their own novels.  Hell Bent and Stone Cold do a good job at letting them tell their tales.

The Giveaway

What:  One copy of Stone Cold (Broken Magic 2) by Devon Monk. US/CANADA ONLY

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 US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on April 1, 2014. 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. I looooooooved the Allie Beckstrom series, and Hell Bent totally delivered. Counting the days for Stone Cold! Very excited to hear about this new series in the works!

  2. I really liked the Allie Beckstrom series but I have yet to get into this spinoff. Winning book two would be a great incentive to get book one and get started on it!

  3. I loved Hell Bent and I'm dying to read Stone Cold.
    Great interview and thank you for the giveaway.

  4. congrats to Devon on the new release and thanks so much for sharing such a fun interview!

  5. Looooved Allie Beckstrom series and looooved Hell Bent! Shame's book was freaking awesome and I am so eager to read Stone Cold to see how it all gets wrapped up!

  6. Great interview! I'm looking forward to House Immortal, as well as getting started on the Broken Magic series.

  7. Magic and Law enforcement don't usually go hand and hand but they do make the story interesting.

  8. This does sound like a somewhat darker series than usual but I'm OK with that. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Stone Cold.

  9. I loved the first book in the series and have been eager for the next. Devon is one of my favorite authors. I always look forward to new releases.

  10. I love the Allie series and have always had a soft spot for Shame. Would love to read this book. Thanks

  11. I loved the original series, and was happy to see what happened "after" --but I also love Shame and Terric just for themselves.

  12. I loved the Allie B series, but I have also become a devoted Age of Steam reader. I would love a copy of the latest Shame and Terric book, but I am also looking forward to the new series Devon has written.