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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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 …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: Science Fiction & Horror

2015Welcome to the third post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. Today I bring you both my science fiction and my horror picks. 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 …

A.F.E. Smith – Darkhaven

Cover_image_DARKHAVEN_AFE_SmithAyla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.

Sometimes I’m just drawn to a book by the cover. My inner fourteen-year old saw the cover for A.F.E. Smith’s Darkhaven and squeed. When the blurb for the book sounded great as well, it wasn’t difficult to choose to review this book. Secondary-world fantasy with a murder mystery? Sign me up. Happily, Darkhaven delivered on its promise in full. Smith’s debut novel reveals a great mystery set in a fabulous world.  Read More …

Author Query – A.F.E. Smith

Cover_image_DARKHAVEN_AFE_SmithNext week sees the publication of A.F.E. Smith’s Darkhaven, her debut fantasy novel out in digital format first  from HarperVoyager. I really enjoyed Myrren and Ayla’s story and the world A.F.E. Smith created. Today I get to share an interview with the author of Darkhaven in which she shares some details about her road to publication, about Mirrorvale, and proves my long-held suspicion that all authors can be bribed with chocolate! Check back tomorrow for a review of the book.


Let’s start with the basics. Who is A.F.E. Smith?

Basics? That seems like a pretty profound question to me! :-)

A.F.E. Smith lives and breathes fantasy fiction. She spends more time in imaginary worlds than in the real one. Sometimes she has interesting chats with her characters.  Read More …

Sabaa Tahir – An Ember in the Ashes

sabaatahir-anemberintheashesWhat if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.

Sabaa Tahir’s debut An Ember in the Ashes was one of the books that really caught my eye when I first saw it announced last year. Its Imperial Rome-inspired, militaristic secondary world setting sounded intriguing and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a nice ‘revolution against the despots’-narrative? So I was really stoked to receive an ARC for the book, especially as it was also a very pretty book as well. And yes, that is exactly as shallow as it sounds. And while I truly enjoyed An Ember in the Ashes and I definitely want to know what happens in the next book, I also had some big problems with the narrative.  Read More …

Nancy K. Wallace – Among Wolves

nancykwallace-amongwolvesYoung Devin Roché is about to graduate as an Archivist from the prestigious Llisé’s University, and there is just one more task he wants to complete – to preserve a complete history of Llisé.

The history of Llisé and its fifteen provinces are a peaceful affair, filled with harmony, resolution and a rich oral tradition of storytelling. Nothing untoward ever happens in this peaceful land. Or does it?

Trainee archivist Devin Roché has just taken his finals at the prestigious Académie. As the sixth son of the ruler of Llisé, his future is his own, and so he embarks on an adventure to memorise stories chronicling the history of each province.

As Devin begins his journey with only his best friend Gaspard and their guardian Marcus, he hears rumors of entire communities suddenly disappearing without a trace and of Master Bards being assassinated in the night.

As the three companions get closer to unearthing the truth behind these mysteries, they can’t help but wonder whether it is their pursuit that has led to them.

But if that is the case, what do Llisé and Devin’s father have to hide?

Among Wolves is Nancy K. Wallace’s first book written for adults and it is part of HarperVoyager’s new digital-first line of books. When offered the book for review, what intrigued me most and what captured my attention first, was the description of the protagonist’s profession as an archivist. I have a soft spot for books featuring librarians, booksellers, and archivists, so Devin immediately found himself on my good side. That was what initially drew me to the book, but what really made me love the book – setting the political intrigue and the characters aside for a moment – was the belief in the power of knowledge, history and stories that formed the core of the narrative.  Read More …

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.


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 …

Peter Newman – The Vagrant

peternewman-thevagrantThe Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

Peter Newman’s debut novel The Vagrant was one of my most anticipated books for the first half of the year. Already familiar with his work on the Tea and Jeopardy podcast, I was looking forward to seeing what he would do with a longer fictional work. When the cover was released and I spotted that baby on it, along with the blurb, I was hooked, I had to read this book. After a bit of a cold start The Vagrant made for very compelling reading.  Read More …

Author Query – Peter Newman

peternewman-thevagrantPeter Newman is a new author about to be published by Harper Voyager, but you might already be more familiar with Peter than you think. You might know him in the guise of Latimer, Emma Newman’s slightly dangerous, well-mannered butler on Tea and Jeopardy. This Thursday, however, sees the publication of Peter’s debut novel The Vagrant, a novel which I think will make him a well-known name around the SFF scene as a writer of fine fiction. At the time of writing this I’m hip deep in the book and I’m enjoying it tremendously. Look for my more expansive thoughts tomorrow when I’ll post my review of the book. For now though, please enjoy this marvellous interview with Peter, which might possibly include some cake and mild peril.  Read More …