Gail Carriger interviews Rhys Ford about Black Dog Blues

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.}


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?


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!
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Posted by Gail Carriger

2 Responses

  1. Tracey Hopkinson said:

    “…will eventually get himself killed”…. please say you don’t mean this literally!

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