Saturday, November 05, 2016

Interview with Anton Strout

Please welcome Anton Strout to The Qwillery. Anton has a new Simon Canderous story out in the anthology Shadowed Souls, which was published on November 1st by Roc. I adore Simon Canderous so I'm always very happy to see a new story featuring him!

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your most recent Simon Canderous story, "Solus" is found in Shadowed Souls, an anthology that was published on November 1st. What is it like for you to write Simon again?

Anton:  I miss Simon. It's why he keeps coming up in my short stories. Frankly, its one of the few ways I can visit with him. Once Ace pulled the plug after book four, it's hard to find time to write the fifth book, even though I'd like to. Ace immediately took my next series The Spellmason Chronicles, so all my novel length focus and attention had to go into that. Simon may ride again in novel form, but right now too many other ideas are taking up my brainmeat.

TQWhere does "Solus" fit in the Simon Canderous series? Are there additional Simon short stories?

Anton:  Solus is a prequel to the first Canderous book Dead To Me. You're seeing Simon at a very uncertain time in his life... ex-thief, trying to impress his mentor in his new job at the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, and desperately trying to control his powers of psychometry.

There are several other Simon-verse shorts out there in a variety of anthologies, some out of print. I think there are a handful of them. I'm hoping to either Kickstart or find a smaller press to put them all together. The last came out in Blackguards by Ragnarok Publications last year and features the incident that got Simon out of his life of crime and how he came by his now famous retractable bat.

TQWere you nervous, elated, worried (all/none of the above) writing for an anthology being edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes?

Anton:  I've know Kerrie for years, thanks to Gen Con and some of my earliest short story sales were to her. I know what she likes and doesn't like at this point, so while I have a healthy fear of her editorial self, she knows I can deliver what she's looking for.

When I found out Jim was going to be my editor... well, is fearpooping a word? I knew him from his appearances on my Once & Future Podcast, and I had moderated panels with him on them, but to be under his editorial knife... I mean, the guy is the KING of my genre. I knew I had to really push the envelope on this story. And Jim's a great editor. His feedback really helped pull together what the story was missing, and it thrilled me when he told me how much he ended up enjoying the story and the fact that it's not resolved simply by hitting things.

TQYou've written 2 series - Simon Canderous and the Spellmason Chronicles. How has your writing process changed from when Dead to Me (Simon Canderous 1) was published in 2008?

Anton:  When I sold Dead to Me, book one of Simon and his friends, I knew nothing about writing a series. And no one really teaches you that. It was very trial by fine and seat of my pants at times. Going into the Spellmason Chronicles I knew the things I wanted to happen over the long arc of a series and also how I wanted to avoid writing things that hamstrung me in the first series. I'm a better planner now, both in the within each book phase, and the larger picture of where I want a series to grow to. I could teach a class!

TQIn addition to writing, you are the Curator of Content (host) of your Once & Future Podcast. Please tell us about the Podcast and what is upcoming.

Anton:  I started the show in 2011 because I loved the bar conversations and panels I did with my fellow authors at cons, and I was/am sick of the grousing grumpiness I kept seeing in genre consumption. I wanted a show that celebrated all the cool things that are being created by today's writers while also delving into the craft of writing. We continue to strive to celebrate all things geek. We're ad supported right now with sponsors I think work well with our listenership, but I'd love us to become more and more listener supported. We're working on that over at Patreon under Anton Strout. I'd also like to work on more holiday generated content of authors reading their work.

TQAre you working on any writing projects that you can tell us about?

Anton:   I am in final beta on a YA project that doesn't have a home yet. I'm terribly excited by it. It's got science, battle suits, Dickensian urchins, aeroships... my take on a steampunk world. One final pass, then it's off to my agent to find it a home!

I'm also working on something that's part coloring/activity book that's the sort of hasty training manual a Department of Extraordinary Affairs operative might be forced to learn from.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery! Also please write another Simon novel.

Anton:  To paraphrase (read: mangle) Field of Dreams: If you fund it, I will write. (Kickstarter to come)

Shadowed Souls
Roc, November 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

In this dark and gritty collection—featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman—nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil..

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Molly Carpenter—Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady—must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad…

New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything “weird.” They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

In New York Times bestselling Kevin J. Anderson’s Eye of Newt, Zombie P.I. Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner…

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals wih some overdue—and nightmarish—vengeance involving some quite nasty Impossible Monsters.

Tanya Huff * Kat Richardson * Jim C. Hines * Anton Strout * Lucy A. Snyder * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Erik Scott de Bie *

About Anton

Fantasy and science fiction author Anton Strout has given readers equal shares of chills and laughter since the first book of his Simon Canderous paranormal detective series, Dead To Me, came out from Penguin/Ace Books in 2008. He continues his tales of mayhem in Manhattan with his second series, the Spellmason Chronicles, as he treats readers to the story of a girl and her gargoyle, and explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and love with his trademark snarky twist.

The Once & Future Podcast ( is his latest project, where he endeavors as Curator of Content to bring authors to listener's ear holes one damned episode at a time..

You can find him at his website or at his Patreon,

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @antonstrout  ~ The Once & Future Podcast

The Simon Canderous Novels

Dead to Me
Simon Canderous 1
Ace, February, 26, 2008
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

A new urban fantasy featuring a man working on the right side of law-with talents that come from left field.

Psychometry-the power to touch an object and divine information about its history-has meant a life of petty crime for Simon Canderous, but now he’s gone over to the good side. At New York’s underfunded and (mostly) secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs, he’s learning about red tape, office politics, and the basics of paranormal investigation. But it’s not the paperwork that has him breathless.

After Simon spills his coffee on (okay, through) the ghost of a beautiful woman- who doesn’t know she’s dead-he and his mentor plan to find her killers. But Simon’s not prepared for the nefarious plot that unfolds before him, involving politically correct cultists, a large wooden fish, a homicidal bookcase, and the forces of Darkness, which kind of have a crush on him.

Deader Still
Simon Canderous 2
Ace, February 24, 2009
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

It’s hard to defeat evil on a budget. Just ask Simon Canderous.


It’s been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs’ last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry—the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it—agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end—until his life does.

Dead Matter
Simon Canderous 3
Ace, February 23, 2010
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Shaking up the spirits of Manhattan

The spirit populace of Manhattan doesn't appreciate its well-deserved RIP being disturbed, and Department of Extraordinary Affairs Agent Simon Canderous is sent in to do damage control. Meanwhile, his vacationing partner, Connor Christos, is in a sorry state, and he tells Simon that each night he's being haunted by visions of his long-lost brother at his window. Simon is worried that his partner may be going crazy-or worse, maybe he's not...

Dead Waters
Simon Canderous 4
Ace, February 22, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Simon Canderous, of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, is used to fighting vampires and zombies. But the strange murder of a professor has everyone stumped. And it’s making some people crazy. Literally.


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