Author Query – Claire McGowan

clairemcgowan-thelostYesterday I reviewed Claire McGowan’s The Lost, the first book in the Paula Maguire series. I have a review slated for the second book The Dead Ground tomorrow, but today I have an interview with the author herself for you. I truly enjoyed both books and I was fascinated with some of the themes and the setting of the books. Claire’s background as director of the CWA and teaching a crime-writing MA also interested me. Claire was gracious enough to answer all my questions and I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.


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Claire McGowan – The Lost

clairemcgowan-thelostNot everyone who’s missing is lost…

When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker.

Not everyone who’s lost wants to be found…

Surrounded by people and places she tried to forget, Paula digs into the cases as the truth twists further away. What’s the link with two other disappearances from 1985? And why does everything lead back to the town’s dark past- including the reasons her own mother went missing years before?

Nothing is what it seems…

As the shocking truth is revealed, Paula learns that sometimes, it’s better not to find what you’ve lost.

The Lost is the first Paula Maguire book and author Claire McGowan’s second published novel after The Fall. Set on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland on the Northern side, the narrative reverberates with the memories of The Troubles and with the lingering, but very real, echoes of the sectarian divide. It’s an honest look at life on a troubled border and doesn’t flinch back at the harsh truth that while there may be peace, things are far from peaceful. And that is just the setting. A good crime novel, I’ve learned, depends far more on the strength of its characters than on the originality of the puzzle to be solved. And while the crime at the heart of this novel was quite original and its unravelling fascinating, what made The Lost an utterly compelling read was its cast of characters.  Continue reading »

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Emma Newman – All is Fair

emmanewman-allisfairSam, a stranger to the world of the Fae, finds an unexpected offer from one of the Elemental Court’s most enigmatic Lords turns out to be far more than he bargained for.

Meanwhile, Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is getting closer to uncovering who is behind the murder of the Bath Chapter.

Can he stay true to his sworn duty without being destroyed by his own master, whose insanity threatens to unravel them all?

All is Fair is the final book in the Split Worlds trilogy. It’s impossible to discuss it without giving spoilers for the previous books. If you haven’t read Between Two Thorns and Any Other Name and do not want to be spoiled best turn away now, because HERE BE SPOILERSContinue reading »

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Sarah Lotz – The Three

sarahlotz-thethreeThey’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to??–

The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning.

Sarah Lotz is one half of the writing duo S.L. Grey, whose short fiction I love, and one half of Lily Herne, whose YA fiction I still need to read. But based on her writing as part of S.L. Grey, when I saw the announcement for The Three, her first solo novel, I knew I had to read it. It sounded deliciously creepy and when the book trailer was launched, I was only more excited for the book, something that doesn’t happen very often, as book trailers usually aren’t my thing. But even with those high expectations Lotz managed to surprise and amaze me, not just with the narrative The Three tells, but also with the form she’s chosen and how well everything fits together.  Continue reading »

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2014 Hugo Awards Nomination Thoughts

hugo_rocketSo the Hugo nominations were announced last night and to say they were surprising is an understatement. While I’m glad that in the fan Hugo’s most of my nominees actually made the voting ballot, I’m really sad that in the fiction and professional Hugo’s almost none of my nominees made it. Reactions so far have been mixed and mostly less-than-enthused. Stefan over at Far Beyond Reality has a great round-up of posts if you want to read more reactions. Below you’ll find the nominations and my reaction to the various categories.

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The Skyscraper Throne Reread Week 11

TomPollock-TheCitysSonThis August Jo Fletcher Books is publishing the final instalment in Tom Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets and to get ready for it, they’ve organised a massive reread for the first two books, The City’s Son and The Glass Republic. It’s no secret I adore these books and I’m eagerly awaiting the concluding volume to find out how Beth and Pen’s story ends. So I’m really pleased to be part of this reread and today I’ll be your host to the recap and discussion for the relatively short chapters 41-44. Remember, this is a reread, so there will be spoilers galore coming up, so as the lady says SPOILERS!   Continue reading »

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Michael J. Sullivan – Hollow World

michaeljsullivan-hollowworldEllis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

When Michael J. Sullivan contacted me about reviewing his new SF novel Hollow World, I did a double-take. As I’d only been aware of him as a fantasy author, I was surprised that his newest publication would be a time-travelling SF novel. Still, the synopsis sounded fun and some of my favourite bloggers adore Sullivan’s writing, so I gladly accepted. And Hollow World wasn’t what I’d expected at all. There was an unexpected mystery at the heart of the narrative and an eloquent exploration of the nature of love, which made the time-travel element feel almost accidental.  Continue reading »

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Coming Attractions: Historical Fiction Month

book-316411_640This coming May will be all about the historical fiction here on A Fantastical Librarian. There were some awesome releases in the past month and I still had some fantastic books in my TBR-pile that had been languishing there in favour of the new and shiny. So when I jokingly told someone that I needed to do an exclusive historical fiction month, I actually decided to do just that. I have a list of titles I want to read and some interviews and guest posts lined up. And it’s not just straight historical fiction; there is some historical crime and some historical supernatural suspense in there as well. So I hope you’ll enjoy the month, even if you’re not a regular historical fiction reader; I know I’m looking forward to getting stuck-in on these titles.  Continue reading »

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Naomi Foyle – Astra

naomifoyle-astraLike every child in Is-Land, Astra Ordott is looking forward to her Security shot so she can one day do her IMBOD Service and help defend her Gaian homeland from Non-Lander infiltrators. The one of Astra’s Shelter mothers, the formidable Dr Hokma Blesser, warns her that the shot will limit her chances of being a famous scientist – or helping raise the mysterious data-messenger Owleons that Hokma breeds – and Astra reluctantly agrees to deceive the Is-land authorities and all her family and friends in Or.

Astra grows up increasingly conscious of the differences between her and the other Or-kids – then Lil, an orphaned wild child of the forest, appears in Or and at last she has someone exciting to play with. But Lil’s father taught her some alarming ideas about the world, and Astra is about to learn some devastating truths about Is-Land, Non-Land, the Owleons, and the complex web of adult relationships that surrounds her.

Last year I reviewed Naomi Foyle’s Seoul Survivors and while the book and I didn’t really get along, I was very impressed with Foyle’s writing. And the premise of Astra sounded quite interesting, so I was really looking forward to seeing whether I’d get along better with Foyle’s sophomore effort. And I’m glad to say I did. Astra is just as thought-provoking as Seoul Survivors was, but without the problematic elements and Foyle’s use of language and imagery is just as good, if not better as it was in her previous novel.  Continue reading »

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Sophia McDougall – Mars Evacuees

sophiamcdougall-marsevacueesThe fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.

And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.

If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.

I love Sophia McDougall’s short fiction; I think she’s one of the most talented short fiction writers out there. I still have to read her Romanitas series; the first book in said series is patiently sitting on my TBR-pile. But when I heard about Mars Evacuees, learnt about McDougall’s inspiration for the book and read the flap text, I was sold and really wanted to read it. So I was gutted to learn that I had missed snagging an ARC of the book at World Fantasy last year, but made up for it by winning a competition McDougall ran for an ARC. There was much rejoicing in Casa Librarian at that news. And Mars Evacuees was everything I expected. It’s funny, smart, well-written and has oodles of character.  Continue reading »

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