Topics discussed in this session include the killing of characters, happy endings, Walking on Glass, the existence (or otherwise) of godlike beings, the potential (or otherwise) for the development of a technological singularity, The Wasp Factory and living in the UK (rather than The Culture…)
This is book eight in my Otherworld series and, with it, I decided to shake things up. So far, the series has been moving along nicely as I explore different corners of it. Now it’s time for action. Time for changes. Time to jumpstart the Cortez Cabal plot thread I’ve been playing with since book three, Dime Store Magic.
Lucas Cortez is one of the narrators of Personal Demon, and the Cabal story is his. But the star of the book is half-demon Hope Adams, a character I created for a novella (Chaotic in Dates from Hell) Hope is my most ‘human’ supernatural protagonist, and my most conflicted. She’s joined here by Karl Marsten – the ‘bad guy I couldn’t kill’ from Bitten. I won’t say I’ve redeemed Karl, but here he gets a chance to tell his side of the story.
The paperback edition of Kelley Armstrong‘s Personal Demon is published by Orbit in the UK and is available now from all good bookstores and online retailers. Kelley’s brand new Otherworld novel, Living With the Dead will be published by Orbit in hardback early next month, so keep an eye out for another ITOW piece from Kelley in a few weeks’ time.
In the meantime, be sure to check out Kelley’s official website at www.kelleyarmstrong.com for tonnes of background information on her Otherworld series, including a number of serialised novellas and short stories set in the same world that haven’t been published elsewhere… just yet.
On the subject of Unmarked Graves, Shaun says:
The only reason to write a book is to entertain. I’ve believed that for twenty five years and I still do. However, if you can frighten the hell out of readers while you’re entertaining them then that’s even better. Unmarked Graves is designed to do both. I also wanted to do a book that, in these days of political correctness gone mad, challenged people’s views of something as contentious as race relations and racism. I wanted to mix this up with what looks like a traditional horror and crime story and then, as I always do, give it a twist. All of it done at the usual breakneck pace that’s become something of a trade mark for me. I loved the old Hammer films of the 60′s so this is a kind of homage to them but with a modern day angle.
Anyone who’s read my other books will know what to expect. Anyone who’s never read one will be faced with the kind of book they’ve never encountered before. It isn’t cosy. It isn’t predictable. It may offend you. It might even disgust you. It will frighten you. But the only guarantee I make is that it will entertain you.
And about Body Count, Shaun says:
I get sick of the kind of clichéd characters who populate horror and fantasy novels so I always try to write about real people with real problems. Something that’ll be identifiable to the readers. Body Count contains people like this. All coping with their own trials and tribulations but caught up in something beyond their control. The violence was also included so graphically because I find violence repulsive and the only way to illustrate this is to show it in detail. If anyone finds the violence or sex offensive then that’s unfortunate but ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away. This is a novel about hate and fury and it’s also, quite possibly, the most violent thing I’ve written for ten years.
It’s fast paced, disturbing and it covers issues that are very close to my heart. That’s one of the reasons I wrote it. I always think that something close to the writer make for a better book. It gives you the chance to play out your own worst fears and nightmares from the safety of your armchair. It’s just that, with my books, the nightmares tend to start after you’ve finished reading them…
Shaun Hutson’s brand new novel of terror and suspense, Body Count, is out now from Orbit in the UK. The Orbit paperback edition of his previous novel, Unmarked Graves is likewise available in the UK from all good bookstores and online retailers.
Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Shaun Hutson at his official website, www.shaunhutson.com.
Welcome once again to our weekly Orbit Author links round-up.
As always, if you see any online articles, reviews or interviews that feature an Orbit author, please feel free to drop us a line and let us know! We’ll happily name-check your website or blog with a heads-up credit in return (please remember to provide us with a link…)
The story of street urchin Azoth’s apprenticeship to Durzo Blint, the most highly-skilled and widely-feared contract killer of the age, has already been generating some significant online buzz. Here are a few examples of the coverage we’ve seen so far:
From Grasping For The Wind:
“What Brent Weeks has done is fill his story with very human, very flawed characters. Each and every one has motivations that stem from their own involvement in law-breaking dealings. Even the most righteous of characters turns out to have made mistakes. That type of characterization makes this story very unlike traditional epic fantasies, adding a depth of character those stories often lack.”
From Civilian Reader:
“Weeks has created a vivid new world full of political intrigue, individual struggle, a dark and gritty complexity, and superb characters … Solid, extremely well written, and deftly plotted, The Way Of Shadows is a promising debut from a talented new voice in urban fantasy fiction.”
“Overall, I was more than pleasantly surprised by this book. I actually loved it. The characters, the plot, and the quick pacing really worked for me. About halfway through the book I thought I would name it my debut novel of the year, but after finishing the book, I’m not sure if that claim is enough. The Way of Shadows is definitely in my top 5 novels of the year, and might even hold the top spot.”
“What you get … is a suspenseful, quick-reading action adventure. You have assassins, mad kings, crime lords, prostitutes and nobles all taking on major roles. You see Azoth’s development from a desperate child on the street to an accomplished killer. You see Durzo fight his need to connect to other human beings while being convinced that he’s better off alone. And even after almost 700 pages, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.”
If you’d like to check out the very start of the series for yourself, you can read the first chapter of The Way of Shadows here on the Orbit website.
And don’t forget that once you’ve discovered The Way of Shadows and found yourself eager for more, you won’t have too long to wait for the next instalment: we’re publishing part two, Shadow’s Edge, in November and the conclusion of the series, Beyond the Shadows, in December. All three volumes will be available in the US, the UK and Australia.
Plus, visit Brent Weeks’ homepage at www.brentweeks.com to find out more about the author.
Orbit UK is delighted to announce the following acquisitions from urban fantasy writer Patricia Briggs:
3x NEW MERCY THOMPSON BOOKS
We have acquired a further three fabulously sharp urban fantasy books for the UK featuring the ingenious Mercy Thompson: mechanic by trade, coyote shapeshifter by nature. We plan to publish yearly from February 2010, but don’t forget that we’ve recently published the first three compulsive adventures – Moon Called, Blood Bound and Iron Kissed – with the next book in the series, Bone Crossed due for publication in February 2009.
3x ALPHA AND OMEGA BOOKS
We’ve also acquired the first three books in a great new Briggs spin-off series, set in the same world as the above but featuring independent alpha werewolf Charles and unusually gifted omega werewolf Anna. Cry Wolf is the first book in the seres and will be published in August 2009, with book two planned for November 2009 and book three due in August 2010.
Firstly – as detailed in full in a press release posted over at PublishersWeekly.com – Patricia Briggs’ agent has sold option rights for the Mercy Thompson series (Moon Called, Blood Bound and Iron Kissed) to Mike Newell’s production company 50 Cannon Entertainment [IMDB] who are also behind a forthcoming adaptation of Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara [IMDB].
Patricia is understandably delighted by the news, saying on her website: “Now, Hollywood options far more works than they ever make into movies, so there’s no guarantee that an actual movie will ever be made, but it’s still pretty exciting news. If we ever do hear that they’re going ahead with production we promise to pass the news on (just as soon as we quit squeeing and dancing around like crazy people!).”
Our second item of news is that Marianne de Pierres (author of the Parrish Plessis and Sentients of Orion series) and Lynne Jamneck’s SF movie script Stalking Daylight has been optioned by production company Enchanter, as per this press release on Marianne’s site.
Here’s what the release has to say about the concept: “Stalking Daylight tells the story of Dresher, a bright young gaming talent who is faced with some tough choices when her father contracts neuro-transmitter disease. The Earth has changed, and those inhabitants who worship technology are at odds with those who choose to live without it. Dresher must venture into Luddite territory to find the medication that her father needs to survive. But the cure comes at a terrible price.”
We’ll bring you more information on these two projects as we get to hear of it.
Shaun was kind enough to answer some questions for us in anticipation of the books’ release:
Did the idea for Unmarked Graves come to you fully realised or did you have one particular starting point from which it grew?
It came from one idea and I expanded it. Every book I’ve ever written has come about like that. I think Unmarked Graves went through more changes than any novel I’ve ever written. The ideas I originally wanted to explore ended up disappearing in successive re-writes but the racism thing was there from the beginning.
How does it compare to your other novels?
For what it’s worth, I like to try and do something different in each novel and it contained an idea and themes I hadn’t tackled before. I’d never done voodoo before so it was something new for me. I don’t like to keep recycling the same idea over and over again in a different guise. That’s cheating your readers and I’d never do that.
You can read the rest of the interview in the back of Unmarked Graves, out this month!
Deep Water was intriguing to write because I got to play around with time and with people’s expectations. Many of the aspects of the past presented as ‘true’ in Deep Water were different in reality; playing with that, and developing minor characters, such as Leof, was very satisfying.
I hope Deep Water is a better book than Blood Ties: faster paced, more complex, even more emotionally engaging. But I was careful not to let the plot overwhelm everything – I am bored by fantasy novels where you don’t learn any more about the world or the enchantments of that world once the set up is completed in the first book.
So there are surprises and revelations about the world of the Domains and the powers which inhabit it. And of course the story introduces a major new character: Acton.
Deep Water – out now from Orbit in the UK and will be published in mid-November by Orbit in the US – is part two of the Castings trilogy and the sequel to Pamela Freeman‘s first novel for Orbit, Blood Ties [UK | US]
Sometimes as an author, you feel impressed to write something in response to what others are doing. As I was brainstorming one day, I looked at some fantasy novels on the shelves and I felt rather despairing: most of them had nothing wondrous or wonderful in them. All that they offered seemed to be wars in a medieval setting.
So I decided to write a book where something major happened: two completely different fantasy worlds get slammed together. People die. Continents sink, and a frightening new world order grows out of the mix.
To tell the truth, I was afraid to do it. I wasn’t sure what my editors or my audience would think. But the review from both the critics and my fans have been fantastic! In fact, once email I received today was from a fan in England who said, “I loved every page of it. I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out what happened next, and by the time that I did, I had to find out what happened next again!”
You can find out more about David Farland and the world of the Runelords at www.runelords.com.