Author Query – Nancy K Wallace

nancykwallace-amongwolvesIn a new strategy, HarperVoyager has a number of books, acquired through an open submissions period a while back, that they will be publishing digitally first and in paperback second. Nancy K Wallace’s first novel for adults, Among Wolves, is one of these and was released in digital format HarperVoyager last month with the paperback to be released come November. The blurb for Among Wolves, which features an journeyman archivist, captured my attention and I couldn’t wait to read the book. Upon learning that Nancy K. Wallace is a Youth Services Librarian in her day job, I knew I had to have her over for an Author Query. Nancy graciously agreed and the following is the result. Please check back tomorrow for a review of Among Wolves.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Nancy K. Wallace?

I was blessed with a magical childhood mostly due to my mother’s ingenious and fanciful way of making every day a celebration. My father died when I was eleven and I think that influenced me a great deal.  I don’t think I have ever felt truly safe since then. My parents were both wonderful people, intensely in love with each other and thrilled to have children. I think we were all spoiled but deeply cherished. After I finished college, I taught kindergarten for five years and then returned to work as a children’s librarian after staying home for ten years with our two daughters. My job has grown over the last 26 years. I do over 250 programs a year and moderate 6 Book Discussion groups for 3rd graders up through college age.  I love what I do. It gives me the chance to pass on some of the magic that was so freely given to me as a child.  Read More …

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Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman – Winter Siege

arianafranklin-wintersiegeIt’s 1141 and freezing cold.

Gwil, a battle-hardened mercenary, is horrified to stumble across a little girl close to death. She has been attacked, just one more victim in a winter of atrocities. Clutching a sliver of parchment, she is terrified – but Gwil knows what he must do. He will bring her back to life. He will train her to fight. And together, they will hunt down the man who did this to her.

But danger looms wherever they turn. As castle after castle falls victim to siege, the icy Fens ring with rumours of a madman, of murder – and of a small piece of parchment with a terrible secret to tell, the cost of which none of them could have imagined . . .

Before Winter Siege I’d actually only read one book by Ariana Franklin, to wit Mistress of the Art of Death. I loved that book, its setting and its characters and was sad to learn that had passed away only a few weeks before I read the book. When I later discovered that her daughter, Samantha Norman, had finished her last book and that it would still be published, I really wanted to read it, especially since it is set in a time period that holds a special place in my heart. The Anarchy, as the period is known, is the one that first drew me to reading historical crime fiction through the mysteries of Ellis Peters’ Cadfael books. While set in the same period as Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar books, Winter Siege stands apart from that series and familiarity with her other books isn’t necessary to enjoy this one.  Read More …

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I.W. Gregorio – None of the Above

iwgregorio-noneoftheaboveWhen Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

None of the Above, I.W. Gregorio’s debut novel, first drew my attention when its cover was revealed on the Book Smugglers. I thought the cover was eye-catching in its simplicity, able to convey all of the important information about its contents in one glance. And once I’d read the accompanying flap text and the interviews with the cover designers and the editor, I was completely sold on this story. And Gregorio didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Once I started the book I was completely hooked, both by the writing and Kristin’s voice. None of the Above is a powerful story about discovering who you are and how those who truly matter will look beyond the surface to truly see you.  Read More …

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Author Query – David Hair

davidhair-thepyreLast week Jo Fletcher Books published The Pyre, the first book in David Hair’s new series, The Return of Ravana. But new is a relative concept here, as The Return of Ravana is actually a re-issue, the series having been originally published by Penguin India and Penguin New-Zealand. I’m really excited for this Ramayana-inspired series, so I’m very glad to be able to share this interview with David Hair with you, in which he shares some details about what inspired the series, his love of football (the proper, round ball kind), and whether he revised The Pyre at all from its published version. Check back for a review of The Pyre somewhere in the coming weeks.  Read More …

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Kate Forsyth – The Wild Girl

kateforsyth-thewildgirlOnce upon a time there were six sisters. The pretty one, the musical one, the clever one, the helpful one, the young one . . . And then there was the Wild one.

Dortchen Wild has loved Wilhelm Grimm since she was a young girl. Under the forbidding shadow of her father and the tyranny of Napoléon’s army, the pair meet secretly to piece together a magical fairy tale collection.

The story behind the stories of the Brothers Grimm.

In 2013 I read and reviewed Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, which is a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale retelling interwoven with the historical life of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, one of the first female writers of literary fairy-tales. I absolutely adored the book, even nominating it for a World Fantasy Award that year. So when I learned that Forsyth’s next book was a story about the girl that told Wilhelm Grimm many of the stories he and his brother gathered in their collection of folk tales I was quite excited. I was also lucky enough to get a review copy for it. Unfortunately, The Wild Girl fell prey to the reviewer’s curse of too many books, too little time and languished on my review pile. For this year’s historical fiction month I decided I would make sure to read it. A decision that proved to be a good one as The Wild Girl was every bit as magical and powerful as Bitter Greens was from its arresting opening scene until its final glorious line.  Read More …

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Guest Post: Lyndsay Faye – A Study in Seamstresses

lyndsayfaye-thefatalflameSome of my favourite historical crime novels of the past few years have been Lyndsay Faye’s Timothy Wilde books. Set in in late nineteenth-century New York City and featuring one of the first copper stars, who would later go on to become the NYPD, both Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret blew me away. Their protagonist, Timothy Wilde has captured my heart and I can’t wait to read his next adventure, The Fatal Flame. The book was published last month and I’m really stoked to have Lyndsay Faye visit the blog today and talk about seamstresses and their role in women’s struggle for equality and independence.  Read More …

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Brenda Cooper – Edge of Dark

brendacooper-edgeofdarkWhat if a society banished its worst nightmare beyond the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living? And yet, that life thrived. It grew and learned and became more powerful than humans. What if an entire solar system full of humans vastly underestimated the threat posed by the beings it banished?

Ranger Charlie Windar never wants to leave the restored planet Lym, even though, at night, he looks up at the brilliant lights of space stations. But then he meets a particular tourist, Nona Hall, who has come for a private tour.

When Nona appears, unexpected news comes with her. Outlaws from the Edge are returning to the inner system. Between them, Nona and Charlie might have the resources to get to the Edge and gain information to save their people.

The brilliant intelligences of the Edge have waited in the cold, hard black for a long time. They are ready to reoccupy their birthplace at almost any cost to its human inhabitants.

I first encountered Brenda Cooper’s writing in the Valdemar anthologies, where her stories were some of my favourites. When Pyr announced her Ruby’s Song books in 2011 I was really interested in reading them, but as they were SF a bit intimidated to read them, because I was a fantasy girl, right? Fast forward four years and I’ve established for myself that yes, I actually do enjoy reading science fiction, so when the offer for a review copy of Edge of Dark arrived, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. And I’m glad I did, because Cooper tells an interesting story set in a rich universe.  Read More …

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Delia Sherman – The Freedom Maze

deliasherman-thefreedommazeAMERICA, 1960: thirteen-year old Sophie is frustrated. Her mother has sent her to spend summer with Grandmama on their family’s old estate in sweltering southern Louisiana. Bored, lonely and far too hot, Sophie starts exploring. When she discovers an overgrown maze, she makes her way inside. Lost among its pathways she finds a magical creature who promises her the adventure of a lifetime . . .

AMERICA, 1860: Sophie is transported a hundred years into the past to the Oak River plantation in its heyday. Her own ancestors mistake her for a slave girl and set her to work alongside the hundreds of other slaves who tend to the fields, the house, and the white family’s every whim. As the reality of slave life becomes horribly clear, Sophie starts to wonder how long she’ll survive; and how – or if – she will ever get back home.

The Freedom Maze is a very special novel about slavery, survival and the many paths to freedom.

As I had heard and read a lot of praise for Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, I was excited to receive a review copy for the UK edition. And I was in no way disappointed by the story. The Freedom Maze was every bit as magical as I’d expected. This novel packs a lot in a slim package and I hope I can do it justice.  Read More …

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Meanwhile on… Rocket Talk at Tor.com

RocketTalkSo yesterday saw another first for me: I was a guest on a podcast! And not just any podcast, but Tor.com’s Rocket Talk hosted by Justin Landon. It was a ton of fun, but also a bit nerve-racking. I had to get up super early as we were recording at 5AM my time and I was rather nervous about how I would sound. Also, what if I said something stupid?  Read More …

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Alison McMahan – The Saffron Crocus [Blog Tour]

alisonmcmahan-thesaffroncrocusVenice, 1643. Isabella, fifteen, longs to sing in Monteverdi’s Choir, but only boys (and castrati) can do that. Her singing teacher, Margherita, introduces her to a new wonder: opera! Then Isabella finds Margherita murdered. And now people keep trying to kill Margherita’s handsome rogue of a son, Rafaele.

Was Margherita killed so someone could steal her saffron business?

Or was it a disgruntled lover, as Margherita—unbeknownst to Isabella—was one of Venice’s wealthiest courtesans?

Or will Isabella and Rafaele find the answer deep in Margherita’s past, buried in the Jewish Ghetto?

Isabella has to solve the mystery of the Saffron Crocus fast, before Rafaele hangs for a murder he didn’t commit, though she fears the truth will drive her and the man she loves irrevocably apart.

Alison McMahan’s The Saffron Crocus drew my attention because of the setting in Venice. I love books set in Venice during its heyday and The Saffron Crocus sits squarely in that box. And factoring in that the story isn’t just a historical, but a murder mystery and YA to boot, accepting this review copy was a no-brainer. And while the book was a fun read with some great twists, I did have my issues with it.  Read More …

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