Author Interview: Kat Kruger [blog tour]

Please welcome Kat Kruger to Escape Through the Pages!

from Fierce Ink Press

Books
The Night Has Teeth (2012)

Find Kat
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

My review of The Night Has Teeth.

Hi Kat! Welcome to Escape Through the Pages.

First off, I love the setting for the novel and I have to ask: why France?

Well, I love that you love the setting! As for why I chose it, I wouldn’t say I’m amazingly world travelled or anything but France is probably my fave place on earth. I know, I know: hyperbole much? But I love the food, the culture, the people, the history. Did you know that there’s a Colisseum in the south of France that’s better preserved than the one in Rome? And it’s still in use? Like Civil War reenactments in the States they do Roman Games reeanactments. It’s stuff like that that inspires me to write.

I really enjoyed the idea of born vs. bitten werewolves and the differences because of it. What werewolf books and/or movies have inspired you, if any?

I’m kind of on a werewolf genre vacation right now because I don’t want to be influenced in writing the rest of the trilogy but I made an exception for Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series pretty early on. Actually I almost died reading it because she has a bit of science fiction weaved into those books. I’m also a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s werewolves. They’re pretty sexy. As for movies, American Werewolf in London and Dog Soldiers were both great flicks for their dark humor. In some of the earlier drafts of The Night Has Teeth, Connor uses more humor to diffuse some of the situations he finds himself in.

The Night has Teeth (and you!) won the Atlantic Writing Competition. What has winning and the publication process been like?

Winning was just amazing. It gave me the validation that I think every writer wants. The support that I got from the writing community was thrilling, particularly after the ceremony last year. You feel like a rock star when strangers stop you and say they not only recognize you but enjoyed your reading and are looking forward to the book coming out. It was a tough sell though to agents and publishers. The rejection letters I got were all lovely oddly enough. They consistently told me I had a strong commercial voice but that the market was over saturated. That was disheartening. I had invested all my writing into this book so I didn’t want to give up on it. Instead I decided to self-publish. I hired an editor, a cover designer, even got a production company to produce a book trailer. That’s when Colleen [Fierce Ink Press], who was one of my beta readers, talked to me and the rest is history.

If you had to hop on a plane to France right this minute, what book would you want with you for the journey?

Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. I think that book is the reason why I fell in love with the south of France so hard in particular. One day I’d love to set a novel there. One day…

Thank you so much Kat!

Author Interview: Scot Gardner [blog tour]

Please welcome Scot Gardner to Escape Through the Pages!

from Goodreads

Books
The Dead I Know (2011)
Happy As Larry (2010)
Gravity (2006)
Burning Eddy (2003)
+ more

Find Scot
Website | Goodreads

My review of The Dead I Know

Hi Scot, welcome to Escape Through the Pages!

In The Dead I Know, Aaron works at a funeral home. What kind of research did you do in order to present so many details of the ins and outs of a funeral home?

My godparents, Kevin and Annette, run a funeral home in Portland (Victoria, Australia) and have done for many years. If we annoyed the godparents they’d threaten to lock us in the cool room with the bodies awaiting ceremony. It was a frightening (but tongue-in-cheek) prospect and it played on my imagination. As an adult, I spent time working in the family business and helped care for other people’s dead. It was a rich experience for me and I hope the details have filtered through into the book.

Aaron has a pretty bad case of sleepwalking. Why did you think of sleepwalking as a way to explore the memories hidden in Aaron’s head?

To me, sleepwalking seems like an outward expression of inner turmoil. Our youngest daughter suffered from nightmares and somnambulism until she hit her teens and they disturbed my wife and I more than they disturbed her. She managed to sneak out the door and into the night on a couple of occasions. Sleepwalking was the perfect expression of someone who was running from the unknown and losing control of his life.

If you were offered the chance to job shadow/explore any job for a week, what would you want it to be?

That’s a no-brainer. I’d travel with bird photographer Art Morris for a week. The guy gets to hang out in spectacular country and bring home great swags of gold in the form of images that nobody (except he and his shadow guy – me) has had to suffer for. I think it’s the delicate interchange between bird watching and photography that attracts me. I’m smitten by the idea of long walks where the ultimate goal is to find a place to be still in nature. And getting paid for it. What a life!

If, rather than sleepwalking, you had insomnia and had only one book on hand to help pass the time, what book would you want it to be?

I think I’d choose a book to illuminate my waking hours, not something sedative. It would have to be fat. It would have to be funny or experimental or both. It would have to be richly layered. I think I’m talking about James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Thanks Scot!

Author Interview: Pamela Sargent

Please welcome Pamela Sargent to Escape Through the Pages!

by Jerry Bauer; from Pamela’s website


Books
Cloned Lives (1976)
Earthseed (1983)
Venus of Dreams (1986)
Ruler of the Sky (1993)
Farseen (2007)
Seed Seeker (2010)
+ many others

Find Pamela
Website | Goodreads

My review of Earthseed

Hi Pamela, and welcome to Escape Through the Pages. The ship in Earthseed that houses Zoheret and her friends is a character in its own right, really. What inspired or prompted you to write the AI that is Ship?

The idea of a spaceship that’s the only world the people inside it have ever known is an old one in science fiction, as is the idea of a generations-long voyage to another planet. I wanted to write a story like that in which all of the central characters were teenagers, on their own, which meant having a plausible way in which they could be born and reared without human parents. The story demanded some sort of very sophisticated artificial intelligence, although the character of Ship changed and developed as I wrote and became the sympathetic yet flawed AI in Earthseed.

Another inspiration for Ship was the central character in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, believe it or not. There’s something of that manipulative and unconventional girls’ school teacher in Ship. One thing I didn’t want to do was have a villainous AI or write something that pitted the young characters against technology. Technology is a tool, not something to be rejected. Young people seem a lot more at home with it than older folks.

There is a 24 year difference between Earthseed and its first sequel, Farseed. Had you always planned on writing companion books?

I hadn’t planned on companion books but more books are always at least theoretically possible with any novel. There’s always what came before the events in any book, meaning the potential for a prequel is there, and what comes after, and what happens to minor characters who could always be central characters in stories of their own. So even though sequels weren’t explicitly planned, I’d always had some ideas about what might happen after the events in Earthseed, and did propose the idea of sequels to a couple of publishers, but nothing came of that, so I set any thought of sequels aside until an editor at Tor, Susan Chang, contacted me. She had enjoyed Earthseed and asked if I’d thought of writing more books, and that’s why Farseed was published so much later than Earthseed.

I always enjoy hearing stories about an author’s path to publication and their journey in publishing. What has it been like to experience having your continue to be reprinted?

Having a book stay in print is the best thing that can happen to any writer, so it’s been gratifying to see Earthseed back in print after so long. There are a lot of problems with publishing now, but one good thing, in my opinion at least, is the growing market for e-books, because that means more books can remain in print – electronically anyway. Even better would be some kind of print-on-demand system that could produce paper copies much more quickly and cheaply. Too many books disappear before the readers who would love them can find them or even know about them.

My own path to publication began when I was in college and actually managed to sell two stories, one to a magazine and the other to an anthology. Sounds like really good luck, which it was, publishing right away at a relatively early age, but then it took a couple of years before an editor bought another story from me, years when I had to wonder if the first two sales were only a fluke. This was good luck, too, because it taught me to persevere.

If you were starting over on a new planet, what is one book you would make
sure you had with you?

Probably How Things Work in one of its recent editions. Much as I’d like to bring a favorite work of fiction, How Things Work is what I’d need.

Thanks Pamela!

Author Interview: Kathleen Peacock [blog tour]

Please welcome debut author, and fellow Maritimer, Kathleen Peacock to Escape Through the Pages!


Books
Hemlock (2012)

Find Kathleen:
Twitter | Goodreads | Website

My review of Hemlock

Hi Kathleen, welcome to Escape Through the Pages!

Thanks so much for having me!

Let’s start by talking about the book. Hemlock is the first in a planned trilogy – did you always see yourself writing a series, or did the world and story evolve as you wrote Hemlock?

I’ve always loved trilogies. Each entry has a beginning and an end but also serves as part of an overall arc for the story and for the characters. I find that fascinating. Also, a lot of the movies and books I obsessed over as a teen tended to either be part of trilogies or series.

I definitely thought Hemlock had the potential to be a trilogy, but I originally wrote it as a standalone in case I couldn’t interest agents (or publishers) in multiple books. After the book sold (as part of a trilogy), I was able to go back and revise it. A few plot threads were unknotted and a few characters were moved to other books.

My first memorable werewolf is Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Are there any werewolves in pop culture that influenced the history and depiction of your werewolves in Hemlock?

I love Oz. The “Wild at Heart” episode from season four makes me cry like a baby. Every. Single. Time.

Though I didn’t consciously think about it when writing, I believe An American Werewolf in London probably influenced the transformation scenes. In An American Werewolf, you can actually hear the bones in David’s body popping and cracking the first time he shifts. It’s intense. I also think the dream sequences in Hemlock owe a slight nod to the Ginger Snaps films.

If Mac could walk into a room with her own personal theme song playing, which song would you imagine it to be?

It’s not a happy song, but “Born Losers” by Matthew Good always makes me think of Mac. Especially the following lines:

Well there ain’t nothin’ to this but your daughter/And the life you would not give her
She could never say that flat out she don’t want me/’Cause I could never say that halfway ain’t enough

 

If Mac was to pick her own song, I think she’d pick something from the Tegan and Sara album The Con. Maybe “Nineteen.”

 

If you were stranded in the middle of a snowstorm and had only one book with you, which book would you want it to be?

I’m pretty sure I spent most of my childhood stranded in snow storms.

If I had to pick just one book, it would be Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. It just never fails to make me ridiculously happy. Also, I am in love with Mark Darcy. Forever and always.

And, since like you I would most likely be fodder in the zombie apocalypse…werewolves vs. zombies – who would win?

That depends…Are we talking original Night of the Living Dead zombies (which shuffle) or are we talking crazy fast zombies like in I Am Legend or 28 Days Later? Are all dead bodies reanimated or just people who have been bitten? Are there zombie cats like in Misfits? Have the werewolves had breakfast?

There are just too many variables… The only thing I do know is that I’d be toast.

Haha, as would I. Thanks Kathleen!


About Kathleen

Kathleen spent most of her teen years writing short stories. She put her writing dreams on hold while attending college but rediscovered them when office life started leaving her with an allergy to cubicles.

Hemlock, her first novel, will be released on May 8th by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins

Author Interview: Deborah Coates [blog tour]

On Sunday last I posted my review of Wide Open by Deborah Coates, an amazing debut novel with a great mix of fantasy and contemporary elements. Today, I am very pleased to have an interview with Deborah to share with you!

Deborah Coates

Books
Wide Open (2012)
+ short stories

Welcome to Escape Through the Pages!

Thanks so much for inviting me!

On your site you talk about where Wide Open comes from, and you say you “care about the vast wonderful what-if possibilities of fantasy” (and I agree!). Are there specific aspects of fantasy lit that speak to you more than others?

What a wonderful wide-open question! I think I’ve always read fantasy and science fiction, pretty much since I could read. You may have guessed from what I choose to write, but one of the things I particularly like are fantasies that are solidly grounded in a particular time and place. That can mean contemporary fantasy but it can also mean really well-done epic fantasy as well.

I really like stories where ordinary people have to step up, where they must reach beyond what they thought their abilities were and find new strength and abilities. I recently listened to the first two books in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Five God’s series: The Curse of Chalion and The Paladin of Souls. Both novels, for me, start very slowly and, in fact, I gave up on The Curse of Chalion the first time I tried it, but persistence paid off for me. Both of them have complex characters who have to change their world views, their ideas about who they are, and step into something they don’t want and would walk away from if they were different people with different principles. It’s not that realistic novels can’t highlight people in the same ways, but the challenges, the world-changing potential, and the roles that people can play have greater stretch in fantasy even when the people are the same. And that’s something I really like.

The process of writing and publishing a book can be incredibly daunting. Have you always wanted to write and become published?

I didn’t start writing seriously with an eye toward publishing until quite late. This sounds silly to say, but I don’t think I really understood the process of revision until I worked on my master’s thesis. Before that, I thought that you had to get it right the first time, that you corrected your spelling and grammar, but moving whole sections or tearing something apart and putting it back together completely escaped me. Revision was a revelation to me. I mean, seriously, you could just fix things!

For a long time I wrote short stories, which I love. I love the process, though it takes me a long time to write one. Writing short stories taught me tons about voice and character and setting. Mostly importantly, writing short stories taught me endings. Articles of a Personal Nature, which is up on my website, is the first story where I felt I really nailed the ending.

By the time I started writing Wide Open, I had several friends who were going through or had already gone through the process of getting an agent and getting published. I had their example and their advice and it helped me tremendously.

What has been your favourite part of the publishing experience so far?

I liked the part where I got an agent and I liked the part where my agent sold my book.

More seriously, I’ve also liked, better than I thought I would, the process of working with someone else to edit the novel. When I’ve gotten feedback from my agent or my editor, there’s always been a moment of panic–I don’t know how to do this! But given time to think about what they’re saying and about the story I want to write, I start to figure out the way to fix things and the story really does get better.

If you were stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the Wide Open – what one book would you want to have with you to help pass the time?

I’m going to go off on a brief tangent and then circle back to the question. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I listen when I walk my dogs, so a little over an hour every single day. On average I listen to about 4 audiobooks a month. One of my obsessions is making sure I have a next book and a next one because I really really don’t want to run out of books. For a while, I was most interested in any audiobook that was long. It turns out, though that a really long book that isn’t particularly appealing is either a tedious exercise in listening that I don’t look forward to or something I abandon (and I don’t like to abandon audiobooks because–what if I end up with nothing to listen to!). A book that I can listen to more than once is a better investment for me than something that takes a long time.

So, if I were stranded in the middle of nowhere, I would want a book that would hold up to repeated re-reading. Pride and Prejudice, maybe, which I like for both the writing and the story or The Lord of the Rings, which manages to combine interesting and long.

If you could be visited by any ghost, who would you be most interested in meeting?

Oh, that’s a tough question! I would like to hang out with Eleanor Roosevelt. She was such an interesting person and led a particularly interesting life. I think she’d be a particularly busy ghost, though because I’m not entirely sure she ever actually stopped doing things in life. If she were a talking ghost, unlike the ghosts in Wide Open, she’d be so much fun to talk to. And I bet she’d somehow manage to make me a better person in spite of myself!

Thank you very much!

Thank you! Your questions were fun and I had a good time answering them.

Find Deborah:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter

My review of Wide Open.

Author Interview + Giveaway: Kersten Hamilton

Please welcome author Kersten Hamilton to Escape Through the Pages!

 

Kersten Hamilton

YA Books
In the Forests of the Night (2011)
Tyger, Tyger (2010)
+ many picture books and MG books

Hi Kersten, welcome to Escape Through the Pages! In the Forests of the Night, the sequel to last year’s Tyger, Tyger is hitting stores soon, and continues Teagan’s, Finn’s and Aiden’s story full of goblins and sidhe. What I love about this series is the rich mythology – what drew you to celtic myth?

I have Celtic roots myself, but was more than that. I am very drawn to the Celtic worldview. The ancient Celts built no walls between the natural world and the supernatural, the secular and the sacred. The Green Man peeks out of carvings in Celtic churches right alongside the Saints and Apostles. Their concept of family, clan and even heroism was very different from that presented in most Western stories—whether they be movies or books—today. The ancient Celts believed that we are meant to journey in companionship and in community. Everyone needs at least one ‘anam cara’—soul friend—to stand beside them. Your anam cara can be family, or not family, and more than one is better. All of these things resonate deeply with me, and are reflected in my books.

How does writing a sequel compare to writing the first book in a series? (in relation to characters, continuation, etc.)

Second books in trilogies are always harder. They are essentially the middle of a story arc—and no one reads a story to get to the middle. So, I had to make In the Forests of the Night bigger. Wilder. More fun. I needed to be faithful to the characters people loved so much in Tyger Tyger. I had to make the stakes for Teagan and Finn much, much higher. And I had a tight deadline.

I’m always in awe of the worlds and myths created or expanded upon in fantasy/mythology based books. In your opinion, what’s the most difficult part of writing a series based around mythology and/or fantasy?

Pulling myself out of research mode and shifting into writing. I love research—and researching this series was especially fun. I read Celtic myth for characters with enough power to reach through time, then worked my way forward through legend, then history, and finally into our present day where science and technology come into play, each time seeking out the most logical story path, the clearest connections. I found so many stories that I want to tell in the future…but I could only focus on those that fit the Goblin Wars.

Mash-ups of songs are pretty popular right now (taking two songs and re-working them to fit together but stay unique). If you could mash-up another mythology with the celtic myth used in Tyger, Tyger and In the Forests of the Night, which would you choose?

Norse mythology! In fact, I do mash it up just a little bit in The Goblin Wars series.

If you were stuck in Mag Mell and realized you had only one book in your bag, which book would you hope to see?

The Complete Works of George MacDonald—because his philosophy of life would be the best possible guide to making it through the ever twisting, changing world of Mag Mell!

Thank you very much Kersten!

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Cait!

Find Kersten:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

My review of Tyger, Tyger
My review of In the Forests of the Night

GIVEAWAY

Kersten has been gracious enough to provide a pre-order copy of In the Forests of the Night to one lucky winner! Contest is international and all you need to do is fill out the form.

– Entrants must be 13 years of age or older
– Duplicate entries will be disqualified
– Ends 11:59pm EST November 10, 2011

Interview with Rachna Gilmore

Today I am quite pleased to have an interview with author Rachna Gilmore. Welcome to Escape Through the Pages!

Rachna Gilmore

MG/YA Books
That Boy Red (2011)
The Trouble with Dilly (2009)
The Sower of Tales (2005)
A Group of One (2001)
Mina’s Spring of Colors (2000)
A Friend like Zilla (1995)
+ many more picture books, adult books and non-fiction books

That Boy Red has an episodic feel to it, and I would love to read more about Red’s adventures. Do you see yourself ever writing more in his world?

Well, thank you, Cait; I’m delighted that you’d love to read more about Red. Yes, I can see myself writing more Red stories. He’s just the kind of character who keeps coming up with all kinds of strange and bizarre ideas that will inevitably land him in trouble. And I love his world; I’m curious about some of the peripheral characters who appeared in the first book – it would be fun to develop some of their stories through Red’s adventures. I have a few brewing!

What drew you to that time period, and to Prince Edward Island specifically?

I was inspired to write this book after hearing my father-in-law’s anecdotes about growing up in P.E.I. during the Depression. But I also wanted to explore this world because I’ve always loved P.E.I. even as child when I lived in India and England, because my favourite books were the ANNE books. In part it was the ANNE books that drew me to the Island, where I met and married my husband, and where I lived for fourteen years. Although we’re in Ottawa now, we still visit every year. I think I also wanted to write about this time period because in a way it was an extraordinary era, with strong community spirit, ingenuity, and a steady acceptance of hard work as a way of life.

What kinds of research did you need to do in order to effectively portray not only PEI, but The Depression?

The research was quite all-encompassing and diverse. I interviewed my father-in-law as well as other family members to get a sense of everyday life in the 1930s. I also read books about that era in PEI, and dug around the internet for information and for pictures of old farm equipment, cars and all manner of other things. As well, I had to research farming, particularly the daily rhythms and challenges of working a family farm. The Depression didn’t hit PEI as hard as many other places as it was largely a barter society and hence less vulnerable to the market crash. Even so, I had to dig through books and the internet, as well as interview people to understand how the Depression impacted on the Island, so I could weave in authentic and pertinent details such as Islanders providing a haven for their destitute relatives from what they called the “Boston States.”

On the back of the book, it says “First came Anne Shirley – now meet Red MacRae.” If you could write a book with Anne and Red as the main characters, how much mischief do you see in their lives?

Oh, that would be a fascinating task. I think there’d be a lot of friction, both being so headstrong. One reviewer said that THAT BOY RED is ANNE OF GREEN GABLES from Gilbert’s point of view. I hadn’t thought of it that way when I wrote this book, but it makes a certain kind of sense, although Red is his own particular character and not really that much like Gilbert. For instance, I can’t see Red being quite as devoted to Anne as Gilbert is, after she scorns him. Red would be more likely to double scorn her back and genuinely so! Yes, there’d be sparks. I think, though, that Red and Anne might become friends and get into many scrapes together, each egging the other one on. Mmm. I wonder if Red could be the brother Anne never had?

If you were sent back in time to PEI during The Depression and had only one modern day book with you, which one would you want it to be?

What a wonderful question. It’s only when I got thinking about this that I realized how much my favourite books are set in the past — from Montgomery to Austen. I think I’d take Isaac Asimov’s FOUNDATION series in one volume (if I could find them all together – it would be a big book) so I’d have a glimpse of an imagined future in a way that would transcend even the present time. Or I’d take the most up-to-date Atlas of the world. Wouldn’t it be something, pouring over that in the 1930s and speculating how and why the world changed?

Thank you, Rachna!

Find Rachna:
Website | Facebook

My review of That Boy Red
Browse inside at HarperCollinsCanada