Tagged book reading

Gail Interviews Emma Newman (Brother’s Ruin)

Today, Gentle Reader please give a hearty welcome to the fantastic Emma Newman!

Emma is many things: a delightful author, a fantastic narrator (I should know, she narrates my book Romancing the Inventor), a stylish dresser, a killer podcast hostess, and a fellow tea lover. I have been interviewed on her fantastic podcast, Tea & Jeopardy (which is how I learned of her gorgeous voice and fell in love with singing chickens).

So please join me in welcoming her to tea with me, on this rainy day. We’ll be talking about her and her new gaslight fantasy novella, Brother’s Ruin (which I have chosen for next month’s book group read along.)

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

First thing in the morning, in order to be able to form a coherent sentence, I require coffee with milk and two sugars (or sweeteners are fine). Once I have become functional (I am not a morning person) it’s tea (my first love) for the rest of the day, and I take that with milk.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I design and make the clothes I wear to conventions and signings, purely because it helps me to manage massive anxiety in the lead up to the event (i.e. I can channel the terror of being in public into “ack, will I finish sewing this outfit in time, oh heavens, it’s midnight the day before!” instead). My style leans towards formal, highly structured tailoring at the top with long flowing lower halves, often drawing heavily upon a variety of historical periods ranging from early Georgian to late Victorian. The only period I can wear from the 20th century with any confidence (and comfort!) is the 1950s as I have a hourglass figure. I once joked to my husband that if one is supposed to dress for the job one wants, I seem to be aiming for low-key historical fantasy queen. The only thing I don’t have is a crown. Which is probably just as well, otherwise it would be a bit silly.

[Gail could not approve of this more if she tried. SO rare to find a fellow author who also loves to dress. I should say, I don’t have the anxiety thing. But I do stress out packing before a trip and my stress dreams are always travel related.]

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

Oh, it is a terrible mess. I try to keep my desk tidy but it ends up looking like Indiana Jones’s desk in The Last Crusade. Whenever I finish a big project I like to have a huge clear out, and just before I start a huge project I clean everything again. Over the course of writing a novel the mess slowly accumulates, as all of my brain is going into the book. So I suppose you could deduce exactly where I am in the first draft by the state of my desk. I suppose the knitted chicken tea cosy that sits on my desk sometimes (when he is not needed for his primary job) may raise an eyebrow (gift from a wonderful Tea and Jeopardy fan). The knitted alien facehugger may also cause a squeak of surprise, knitted by the same wonderful lady and given to me as a birthday present.

If you drive, what do you drive?

I drive a horribly practical and boring black Ford Focus. This is because I had to grow up and sell my extraordinarily fast and fun Fiat Coupe when I became pregnant. When I no longer need a sensible family car, I am going to get something sporty again. I love driving and fast acceleration. I’ve always wanted to try rally driving or track racing.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

I fear I am at a disadvantage, being British, as I am not entirely sure what a sugar cone is. Here in the UK, we tend to get one sort of plain cone (but we get a bajillion types of tea readily available everywhere, so I guess that is compensation). I like very fancy vanilla ice cream, the top of the range stuff where you can actually taste the vanilla. I would probably go for the sugar cone if I had the opportunity, because I love sweet things.

[Gail’s judgement: vanilla in a sugar cone means quirky, but probably not actually dangerous.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

I laugh often and heartily. Something absurdist usually does the trick for a hearty laugh, like Monty Python, or a particularly well placed film quote. I am allergic to any but the most subtle puns, sadly.

[Gail highly recommends the Tea & Jeopardy blooper reel. If you want to hear Emma’s gorgeous laugh.]

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

I am far from a connoisseur of alcoholic beverages, but I do love a good cocktail, one that is creamy and dangerous and contains Kahlua or Baileys, something like that. If there are no cocktails available, a sweet white wine will do.

Emma’s Bio

Emma Newman writes novels in multiple speculative fiction genres. She won the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story Award 2015 and Between Two Thorns, the first book in Emma’s Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer 2014 awards. Her science-fiction novels, Planetfall and After Atlas, are published by Roc. Emma is an audiobook narrator and also co-writes and hosts the Hugo-nominated, Alfie Award winning podcast Tea and Jeopardy which involves tea, cake, mild peril, and singing chickens. Her hobbies include dressmaking and playing RPGs. She blogs at www.enewman.co.uk and can be found as @emapocalyptic on Twitter.

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

For Brother’s Ruin, I would recommend a cream tea. The scones should be fresh, with a spreading of jam (preferably strawberry) and then a generous dollop of clotted cream. Being Cornish, I would recommend Rodda’s clotted cream. If anyone tells you that the cream should go on before the jam, I can assure you that they are wrong (there are very few subjects that I will declare such a forceful opinion on publicly, but this is one of them). The correct ordering of jam and cream on a scone is very serious business, especially for someone who is Cornish.

[Gail entirely agrees, although her training comes from Devon, so: salted butter, then jam, then clotted cream. Because, you only live once…so far as we know.]

What form does evil take within its pages?

The same form that it takes in the present day; men filled with greed who are willing to put their own profits above the health and wellbeing of anyone else, especially the poor.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Magus Hopkins, without a shadow of a doubt. Why? Well, he is very handsome but he has hidden depths that only I know about. I confess, I developed a little bit of a crush on him whilst writing Brother’s Ruin, and its sequel. I have given myself a stern talking to about it.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your worldbuilding?

That is such a tricky question! I find so many periods fascinating and draw from them in all of my work. I do think the 1850s (Brother’s Ruin is set in an alternative 1850s London in which magic, instead of science, has driven the industrial revolution) were utterly fascinating. There had already been so much social upheaval due to the industrial revolution, which in turn had an impact on the law and social attitudes and the effective invention of our modern cities. There were massive forward strides in engineering and science alongside the brutality and horrors perpetrated by the British Empire. So many contradictions and interesting juxtapositions across all levels of society!

I am also fascinated by the tensions between the industrialists and the nobility in that period too, and that is definitely something that has directly influenced my worldbuilding for the Industrial Magic series. At that time in the real world, many of the most successful industrialists were far wealthier than the landed gentry and the political, social and legal jostling that took place at the time reflected so many aspirations and frustrations on the parts of the industrialists and the fears of the nobility.

In the Industrial Magic series, no one from the nobility has manifested magical ability, so the industrialists are the ones who hold magical power, and it is that which has driven their industrial success. I established this so that I could explore the tensions between the two groups of people writ large, so to speak. I plan to explore that more later in the series, should more novellas be commissioned. (I really hope so, as I have so many more stories to tell!)

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Hrmmm, that’s tricky, as I would dearly love to give Magus Ledbetter a solid punch to the jaw, rather than a slap. But if I was only allowed to slap him, I’d make sure it was a really good one.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

I think the part when the magi arrive to interview the heroine’s family and they all snip at each other is fun. I really enjoyed writing that part, especially the way that Magus Ainsworth refers to the others and warns the heroine about Magus Hopkins. She is a character I would like to write more about in the future too.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

I would like to say a musky, warm, vanilla laced scent, but I would be lying. It would smell of city dirt and coal dust, perhaps with a hint of freshly baked bread on the breeze; gritty, yet with an element of something homely and comforting too.

 Brother’s Ruin

The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice.

Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben’s life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city. Brother’s Ruin is the first in a new gaslamp fantasy series by Emma Newman.

Gail’s Thoughts

As I said, I also chose this book for next month’s book group read along. I was lucky enough to get an early review copy and I really enjoyed it. I love Emma’s worldbuilding and the way the Magus system is used to explore class disparity in Victorian London, but without being in-your-face about it. A quick and enjoyable read and well worth the $3.99 price point.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Beta read (fifth draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

VictorianTrends.com @FreeVintagePics Two young #Victorian women in #summer dresses from July 23, 1886

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

1895 map of South Africa

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Interview with Rhys Ford, Author of this Month’s Book Pick

Posted by Gail Carriger

This months book pick is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford. This is a great urban fantasy with some fast paced action, stellar world building, and lovable (if snarky) characters.

I invited Rhys round for a visit, so we could get to know her, and her book, a little better.

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Oh God, coffee. So much coffee. For brewed, I like a medium roast from Pumehana, a coffee plantation in the Ka’u District of the Big Island or Major Dickason’s blend from Peet’s. At Starbucks, a Trenta iced coffee with cream, vanilla and an add shot or two. When possible, a double Vietnamese hot or cold, I’m not picky.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I tend to be very laid back. Teeth and hair brushed, Chucks, jeans and a comfortable t-shirt or blouse I was feeling when I got dressed that morning. Some makeup but not too crazy. Usually appearances go hand in hand with cons and a long day in comfortable clothing goes a long way in retaining sanity.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

I actually write in the living room with headphones on. The house is fairly quiet and I’ve got a bit of everything in the room. Lots of geek stuff, art ranges from a Flaming June litho to Azeazelbunny by Ursula Vernon. There’s swords that I’ve somehow ended up and a Pludwhump, also from Ursula. A couple of dog beds mostly used by the cats and a red-blond cairn terrorist at my feet.

(Gail would like to note in one of those odd twists of small world-doom Ursula is a friend of hers, and a very particular friend of her very particular friend, Mur Lafferty.  Because fandom is tiny, and the more you pro, the tinier is gets.)

If you drive, what do you drive?

I drive a black on black 1979 Pontiac Firebird with a stock 301 engine and a lovely high powered stereo to keep me company on the California freeways.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

Are you kidding me? Jesus. Hell. Um. Chocolate on a plain cone. No wait….hell. This is too hard.

(Pronouncement. Author, but entirely sane. Very good.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Something absurd. The oddest thing makes me laugh. Like Hyacinth Hippo and Ben Ali Gator dancing in Fantasia cracks me up. They’re so much in love. She is his whole life. My sense of humour tends to skew a bit dark but I love a good laugh.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

Oh that’s much easier than the ice cream. Whisky. Or Whiskey. I’m not picky.

About Rhys Ford, All Official-like

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications. She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people

About your book: Black Dog Blues!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Beef Chow Fun dry style, char siu bao or miso ramen with fish cake and tons of shoyu egg. And perhaps a Tsing Tao beer to wash it all down. Or a Spam musubi.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Oh that’s a question. I tried to make sure no species was branded as evil or good. The world’s a grey kind of place where that’s concerned and evil is a choice. It’s not like the old school D&D where a certain species of dragons was a set alignment. If you’ve got a soul and can rub two brain cells together, you’ve got to be the one driving your own destiny. That being said, the cat’s full on wicked. Can’t be trusted. Very sketchy. I would say the evil manifesting in Black Dog Blues and really, throughout the series, are the sins Greed and Envy. There’s a lot of power mad, dark-soulled people who really view the people around them as meat.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Did I mention the cat? Newt. He needs love. Poor thing’s a scrapper. He could use a kiss on the forehead. Preferably applied while he’s firmly wrapped in a towel and from behind so he can’t latch onto a lip or nose.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

Dude, this is WORSE than the ice cream. I’d say it’s a toss up between the Edo Period in Japan and the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. I would say because both periods saw massive growth in the arts and technology but the political intrigue and machinations of clan / family heads were intriguing. A brutal, beautiful period full of pretty things and sharp teeth.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Probably Ryder. In the first book he pushes a lot because well, it’s his nature. He’s used to being in control and command but comes up against an immovable object in Kai. There’s a cultural learning curve Ryder has to go through and there’s no skipping any steps. For someone with a long life, he’s very impatient when he first meets Kai so he has to adjust his approach. Also, he carries a lot of sidhe cultural baggage that will eventually get himself killed because he won’t do X, Y or Z to defend himself.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

Oh, I have two. Pancaking the dragon or sucking egg yolk. I can say that without spoilers.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

It would probably smell of old pages, gunpowder, sulfur, cinnamon, gasoline, forests and Chinese Five Spice.

Black Dog Blues Official Blurb

Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in.

Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears. It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past.

And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

And if you like Black Dog Blues, the second one Mad Lizard Mambo is also available.

Thank you Rhys, for stopping by. And I hope you, Gentle Reader, love Kai as much as I do.

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1883 Pierre Auguste Renoir (Fench artist, 1841-1919). Girl with a Parasol (Aline Nunes)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Emma Jane Austen (Food Reference List)

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Bra Size is a Myth

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Publishing Predictions for 2017 by agent Laurie McLean

Book News:

Alexia Polyvore Fan Art By Theamaia

Quote of the Day:

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


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