Author Query – Andy Livingstone

andylivingstone-herobornThese past few months I’ve been reading a lot of the new releases in the HarperVoyager UK’s digital first imprint, that launched in June. And so far, they’ve all been lovely books. I’ve also had the chance to interview several of the authors and host a guest post too. Today I’m adding another to the list. Andy Livingstone is the author of Hero Born, a fantasy novel which seemingly looks at that most fantasy-of-fantasy tropes: the hero with a destiny. I decided to ask Andy how and why he came to write about this trope. You can find his answers to that an more below.

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Josh Vogt – Enter the Janitor

joshvogt-enterthejanitorClean-freak college student Dani Hashelheim never imagined she’d discover her latent magical ability in, of all places, a bathroom. But when she ducks into the ladies’ room at the library, she’s put in the crossfire between an elderly janitor and a ravenous muck-monster that emerges from the sink. Dani’s previously unknown power manifests in self-defense, and she floods and burns down the library—at the same time.

Enter Ben, the janitor, who works for the Cleaners, a supernatural sanitation company that keeps reality tidy and safe…and a company Dani now works for as well, whether she wants to or not. This puts a significant crimp in her dream to attend med school and become a doctor. Nor is Ben happy, since it’s his duty to help Dani adapt to the job and learn to control her chaotic talent before it kills them both.

Dani barely has time to try on her new company uniform before she and Ben are hunted down by a cult that wants to cleanse all life from the planet, and believes her power provides the means to do so. While fighting to survive the cult’s increasingly violent recruitment attempts, the pair must battle dust devils, navigate a maze of mystical sewers, face down trash golems—and scrub the occasional toilet.

When I read the synopsis for JR Vogt’s Enter the Janitor I was immediately intrigued, because who could resist the phrase “supernatural sanitation company”? Furthermore, the grumpy. old mentor figure paired with a newbie overcoming all odds, is one of my favourite tropes, in whatever media form you can imagine. Vogt’s interpretation of the eternal battle between order and chaos also seemed as if it would be really funny, though I did wonder whether its premise of magical cleaners wouldn’t become shticky or repetitive. So I went into the reading hopeful, but wary. Yet Vogt completely sold me on the story, because it was entertaining, charming, and had far more emotional resonance than I’d expected.  Read More …

Author Query – Craig Cormick

craigcormick-thefloatingcitiesLast year I very much enjoyed Craig Cormick’s The Shadow Master and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Floating City. The book was released last month and has received some lovely reviews. Craig was kind enough to agree to an interview to celebrate the release of his latest novel. Enjoy this Author Query and be sure to check out The Floating City.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Craig Cormick? 

My website www.craigcormick.com says that I have been writing since I could make up stories and have worked in journalism, communications, teaching and science communication. Also that I like to write across many different genres and styles, from fiction to non-fiction and literary fiction to speculative fiction. – So if I read it online then it must be the truth, right?

I could also tell you that I’m a twin, I have travelled to all seven continents for work – including to Antarctica, but the thing I most love doing in the world is reading books to my six-year-old son and remembering how more real than real stories were when we were young.  Read More …

Guest Post: Gerrard Cowan on Worldbuilding and maps

gerrardcowan-themachineryThis week HarperVoyager UK is celebrating the launch of their digital-first line by organising a #VirtualVoyager blog tour. I’ve already read two of the books in this line, Darkhaven and Among Wolves, and enjoyed both of them tremendously and I’m currently reading Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf, which is quite funny. So when I was approached about being part of the tour I gladly said yes and was very pleased to host Gerrard Cowan with a post about maps, because who doesn’t love a good map?  Read More …

Guest Post: Susan Murray on Historic Influences

susanmurray-waterborneexileSusan Murray’s Waterborne Exile, the second in her Waterborne series was published earlier this week and to celebrate she’s returning to A Fantastical Librarian with another guest post. I asked Susan about the historical influences on her world and she revealed her roots in historical re-enactment and describes how she imbibed history through osmosis.

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My first thought on seeing this topic was there aren’t any specific influences as such: I haven’t studied a a single historic era and plundered it for plot developments. The Peninsular Kingdoms are not based on anywhere in particular and events aren’t drawn from the Wars of the Roses, or the Hundred Years War or the Civil War. But I realise I’m overlooking a lifetime’s interest in history simply because I’ve been surrounded by it all along. The historical influences are in reality too many to count.  Read More …

Kate Elliott – Court of Fives

kateelliott-courtoffivesJessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best athletes. Adversaries are masked, so Jes can compete in secret, but victors must reveal their identities. If she wins, she could destroy her family’s precarious social standing.

Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy turns heads. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

It is no secret that I love Kate Elliott’s writing. I think her Crown of Stars series is criminally underrated and more people should be reading Kate Elliott, period. 2015 is a busy book year for Elliott, as her collection The Very Best of Kate Elliott was released in February and in November her newest adult fantasy book, Black Wolves will be published by Orbit as well. But August sees Elliott stepping out into a new arena, the wonderful world of YA, as she’s publishing her first YA novel, Court of Fives in a fortnight. That makes this fangirl very happy obviously, because I get to read three new Elliott stories this year. Court of Fives is my second Elliott read this year, and it was even more fantastic than I expected, which is a pretty high bar to jump.  Read More …

Anticipated Reads (Summer-Autumn) 2015

2015In the past week and a half I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Summer/Autumn 2015 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Claire McGowan’s The Silent Dead, Edward Cox’s second book The Cathedral of Known Things, Stephanie Saulter’s Regeneration, Rebecca Levene’s The Hunter’s Kind, and the final book in Snorri Kristjansson’s Valhalla series Path of Gods.

So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: YA October-December

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the last one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

David Hair – The Pyre

davidhair-thepyreMandore, Rajasthan, 769 AD: Ravindra-Raj, the evil sorcerer-king, devises a deadly secret ritual, where he and his seven queens will burn on his pyre, and he will rise again with the powers of Ravana, demon-king of the epic Ramayana. But things go wrong when one queen, the beautiful, spirited Darya, escapes with the help of Aram Dhoop, the court poet.

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, 2010: At the site of ancient Mandore, teenagers Vikram, Amanjit, Deepika and Rasita meet and realize that the deathless king and his ghostly brides are hunting them down. As vicious forces from the past come alive, they need to unlock truths that have been hidden for centuries, and fight an ancient battle . . . one more time.

I missed out on reading David Hair’s previous series The Moontide Quartet and I was determined to get in on his next series. The Return of Ravana sounded amazing; the mix of mythical retelling and modern-day setting really appealed to me. The Return of Ravana isn’t actually a new series, the series was previously published by Penguin India. Jo Fletcher Books is rereleasing it with new covers, new titles and in the case of The Pyre a slightly tweaked text. The Pyre is the first book in the quartet and I was stoked to get the chance to read it. And after all the good things I’d heart about Hair’s writing, The Pyre definitely didn’t disappoint.  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: YA September

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. September is such a huge month, it got an entire post to itself! For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …