Friday, July 21, 2017

Guest Blog by Linnea Hartsuyker - Some of my favorite Genre-Bending Historical Fantasy Novels


Please welcome Linnea Hartsuyker to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Half-Drowned King will be published on August 1st by Harper.







Some of my favorite Genre-Bending Historical Fantasy Novels

I’ve always loved historical fiction and fantasy, and some of my favorite books mix the two genres. The first book that made me want to be an author was The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which retells the Arthurian Legends from the points of view of Morgan le Fay and Guinevere. Here are some stand-outs from the last thirty years from a genre that inspired me when writing The Half-Drowned King.


The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Mists of Avalon is better known, but The Firebrand, Bradley’s retelling of The Illiad, from the point of view the prophet Kassandra, condemned by Apollo to be disbelieved as she predicts Troy’s doom, is my favorite of her novels. Bradley frames the Trojan War as both a political conflict between Troy and the Greeks, as well as a conflict between the Greek gods with which we are familiar, and the older goddess-centric worship of the Anatolian peninsula. The gods intervene literally, as they do in Homer’s version, but the story is also grounded in the archeology of the time, painting a vivid picture of Ancient Troy and the surrounding kingdoms, replete with details of sandals and chariots, rituals and feasts.


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Just as in Men in Black, aliens hide among the strangeness and vast numbers of people and cultures in New York City, so does the melting pot of nineteenth century New York hide magical creatures in The Golem and the Jinni. It is a slow moving and engrossing tale of these two creatures, a female golem freed from her masters who finds the world’s infinite choices, and her attunement to human’s desires, daunting, and a Jinni who chafes at any strictures. This book does a beautiful job evoking nineteenth century New York and the Jewish and Syrian communities that formed their own little worlds within the huge city.


Finn MacCool by Morgan Llywelyn

Finn MacCool was a legendary Irish warrior, or perhaps giant. I grew up with a picture book about Finn’s trickster wife running off a much bigger giant who wanted to do Finn harm. When I read Llywelyn’s Finn MacCool as a teenager, I discovered a much different version, a Bronze-Age Irish warrior trying to rise above his uncertain birth, falling in love with a fairy woman, and in his middle age, weathering the loss of a young wife and his pride. This book evokes the strange customs of Bronze-Age Ireland, and gives Finn a wonderful supporting cast of brother warriors whose stories are as compelling as his.


Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Fantasy and horror have always been kissing cousins, and in Lovecraft Country Matt Ruff explores the more fantastical side of Lovecraft, while also delving into the precarious, dangerous position occupied by a black family in Jim Crow era US. Ruff uses the more fantastical elements of the Lovecraft mythos to tell this story, and in his hands, Lovecraft’s obsessions with blood and contagions are used to illuminate the horrors of racism. Still, this book is not relentlessly bleak. The characters approach the weird situations they encounter with a gallows humor, and cleverly outwit their antagonists, making it an enjoyable and thoughtful read.


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Another take on The Illiad, this time focusing on a romance between Achilles and Patroclus, strained when Achilles is overcome with the madness of battle, moving further and further from the gentle Patroclus. This novel invents Patroclus’s upbringing in the court of his father and later with the centaur Chiron. A more intimate novel than The Firebrand, The Song of Achilles deals with the Trojan War’s impact on one couple, and shows how harmful violence is even to its perpetrators.


The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas

On the surface, the plot of The Flower Reader seems as though it would be at home in a Phillippa Gregory book, but it approaches the story differently because the heroine, Rinette, can tell the future from flowers. It is a charming device that provides some of the most compelling scenes in the novel and makes it easy to believe in its reality in this novel’s world. When Rinette’s husband is murdered she comes into possession of a casket that contains documents her enemies will kill for. She uses her talent and her cleverness to outwit her more obvious enemies and those who would use her affections against her.


The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton

Predating The Mists of Avalon by almost 50 years, The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton is a set of four books that re-tell the Mabinogion, the Welsh creation legends, and mythological underpinnings of the Arthurian legend. Fans of Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain will recognize re-workings of his source material in these books, with Prince Arawn of Annwyn, who is no villain here, and the hero Gwydion and his brothers, who are not nearly as noble in the original mythology or Walton’s retelling of it. Walton’s sparse prose suits the legends, and paints vivid characters, like Prince Pwyll, a haughty young man who loves hunting above all, and because of his single minded pursuit of his prey has to spend a year in the land of the dead. These books are as fresh and strange today as when they were first written in the 1930s and 40s.





The Half-Drowned King
Harper, August 1, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

"Lovers of epic rejoice! Hartsuyker illuminates these old stories with authority and visceral detail, bringing to life the adventure, bleak beauty, and human struggle that lie at their heart. A vivid and gripping read." —Madeline Miller, bestselling author of The Song of Achilles

"Linnea Hartsuyker brings myth and legend roaring to life in this superbly good page-turning saga of Viking-era Norway. Hartsuyker is fearless as she navigates a harsh, exacting, and hair-raising world, with icy fjords and raiding seasons and ancient blood feuds. But the book’s fiercest magic shines in the characters of Ragnvald and Svanhild, as unforgettable a brother and sister duo as I can remember in recent literature. Linnea Hartsuyker is an exciting, original voice in historical fiction, and The Half-Drowned King is nothing short of mesmerizing."—Paula McLain, bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

An exhilarating saga of the Vikings that conjures a brutal, superstitious, and thrilling ninth-century world and the birth of a kingdom—the debut installment in a historical literary trilogy that combines the bold imagination and sweeping narrative power of Game of Thrones, Vikings, and Outlander.
Centuries ago, in a blood-soaked land ruled by legendary gods and warring men, a prophecy foretold of a high king who would come to reign over all of the north. . . .

Ragnvald Eysteinsson, the son and grandson of kings, grew up believing that he would one day take his dead father’s place as chief of his family’s lands. But, sailing home from a raiding trip to Ireland, the young warrior is betrayed and left for dead by men in the pay of his greedy stepfather, Olaf. Rescued by a fisherman, Ragnvald is determined to have revenge for his stepfather’s betrayal, claim his birthright and the woman he loves, and rescue his beloved sister Svanhild. Opportunity may lie with Harald of Vestfold, the strong young Norse warrior rumored to be the prophesied king. Ragnvald pledges his sword to King Harald, a choice that will hold enormous consequence in the years to come.

While Ragnvald’s duty is to fight—and even die—for his honor, Svanhild must make an advantageous marriage, though her adventurous spirit yearns to see the world. Her stepfather, Olaf, has arranged a husband for her—a hard old man she neither loves nor desires. When the chance to escape Olaf’s cruelty comes at the hands of her brother’s arch rival, the shrewd young woman is forced to make a heartbreaking choice: family or freedom.

Set in a mystical and violent world defined by honor, loyalty, deceit, passion, and courage, The Half-Drowned King is an electrifying adventure that breathtakingly illuminates the Viking world and the birth of Scandinavia.





About Linnea

Linnea Hartsuyker grew up in the middle of the woods outside Ithaca, New York, and studied Engineering at Cornell University. After a decade of working at internet startups, and writing in her spare time, she attended NYU and received an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in New York City with her husband.








Website  ~  Twitter @linneaharts

Facebook  ~  Instagram  ~  Tumblr


Comet Crash 2: The Kronkoid Wars Coming August 8th to PS4




Comet Crash 2: The Kronkoid Wars, the second entry in the Comet Crash series by developer Pelfast, will be released exclusively for PlayStation®4 on August 8, 2017, as a digital download for $14.99. In this real-time strategy title, players must defend civilization by collecting resource rocks that fund the expansion of maze-like tower systems, weapon upgrades and massive armies to protect their worlds and defeat the Kronkoids. Comet Crash 2 retains what players loved about the award-winning original game, an offensive RTS with tower defense elements, updated with a new storyline, new enemies, big bosses, and an all-new online multiplayer mode.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Legendary Pokémon Coming to Pokémon Go



From Myth To Augmented Reality, Legendary Pokémon Soon Descend Into Pokémon GO

New Pokémon GO Trailer Teases Epic Cooperative Battles with Legendary Pokémon

SAN FRANCISCO—JULY 20, 2017— In celebration of Pokémon GO’s one-year anniversary, Niantic, Inc. and The Pokémon Company International have revealed that Legendary Pokémon will begin to soar into the real world soon. A new Pokémon GO trailer offers a glimpse at the way Trainers will cooperate with one another to discover, battle, and catch elusive and extremely powerful Legendary Pokémon. Once in the wild, Trainers can search for unique Legendary Eggs at Gym locations around the world. Players can team up with friends and other Trainers to join a Legendary Raid Battle to defeat the Legendary Pokémon and earn a chance to catch it.

Interview with Michael F. Haspil, author of Graveyard Shift


Please welcome Michael F. Haspil to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Graveyard Shift was published on July 18th by Tor Books.







The QwilleryWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Michael F. Haspil:  Thank you for your welcome. I enter of my own free will. I started writing in earnest probably in the 5th or 6th grade when I was at New York Military Academy. I may have written stories before but my English teacher there at NYMA, Mrs. Marion Thomas, ran a small literary magazine students would publish stories in. She ran it off on a ditto machine, so it wasn’t the most sophisticated of affairs. But I remember a story I wrote which she published (which happened to be about werewolves) was the first one I received any acclaim for. My classmates loved it and we even made a quick one-shot role-playing campaign out of it.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

MH:  I’m a hybrid, though lately I’m more of a plotter than a pantser. Before I even start a story, I tend to have a scene, usually the climax or the ending, firmly in my mind. Then I break out a plotting grid and start working out the story from there. But the plotting grid is a guide, not fixed in stone. So, as I write, if something better comes up or a plot point becomes too problematic, I jettison the plot grid and revise it.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

MH:  The most challenging thing for me, and I suspect for others, is simply finding the time to write. I’ve gotten rid of my television and cut incredibly back on computer games, but it still seems that I can’t find the time. One thing that has helped me recently is to come to terms that I will never find the ideal block of free time to let me summon the muse. So, I just have to make do without her and write despite having no time to do it. I find that usually if I get going without her, she gets annoyed and shows up anyway.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

MH:  I would like to say all kinds of lofty references to literary great works, but that wouldn’t be true. The truth would be a lot of genre fiction in film, in books, and comics; a lot of which are considered schlocky by today’s standards.



TQDescribe Graveyard Shift in 140 characters or less.

MH:  An immortal pharaoh battles an ancient vampire conspiracy, using drastic measures and questionable allies, to prevent something much worse.



TQTell us something about Graveyard Shift that is not found in the book description.

MH:  One of the vampires is a Catholic priest who used to be a Spanish conquistador.



TQWhat inspired you to write Graveyard Shift? What appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

MH:  I had a dream about the world where it takes place. When I woke, all I could remember was the sentence, “I used to kill vampires for the NSA, now I work vice.”

What I like about writing Urban Fantasy is that it isn’t that far removed from our own world. It’s that thing you catch a glimpse of out of the corner of your eye. It’s the rumpled jacket on the chair in the dim light that might just be some demonic imp crouching and observing you through the darkness, waiting for you to look away so it can pounce. I love the idea that we think we know what is real, but we’re most probably wrong.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Graveyard Shift?

MH:  I did a lot of research on the Miami-Dade police department and on urban police operations in general. I really wanted to try and get that as right as I could so the story would be grounded. At the same time, I had to loosen up and acknowledge that strictly realistic police work might not be possible in a Miami populated by all manner of preternatural beings.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Graveyard Shift.

MH:  Stephen Youll is the cover artist behind the magnificent cover for Graveyard Shift. It doesn’t portray any single moment from the novel and yet he managed to capture the spirit of the novel perfectly. When I saw the cover, I thought, “Wow. That’s is exactly what the book is about.” And yet it is silhouettes, splashes of color, and ghostly figures from out of time. I love it.



TQIn Graveyard Shift who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

MH:  Marcus was the easiest character to right because his motivations are very straightforward. In many ways, he’s the “Boy Scout” of the characters. He’s a former Roman who was beholden to some serious secret societies (and he might still be loyal to them) but he knows what he should do and is generally focused on exactly how to do it.

The hardest character to write was Rhuna, who is a shapeshifter. She is vicious and deadly and takes pleasure in being so. But she’s not a bad person. She’s not entirely human and so her emotions and motivations are also not entirely human. She can be laughing one instant and at another’s throat in the next. But she’s very loyal in her own way. The surrounding characters very much need to walk on eggshells when around her.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Graveyard Shift?

MH:  There are some social issues present throughout Graveyard Shift, though I don’t present solutions to any of them. The book certainly touches on issues of drug abuse and human trafficking very prominently. But our heroes often deal with issues where situational ethics come into play and they are forced to make awful decisions to avoid something worse in the future.



TQWhich question about Graveyard Shift do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

MH:  How did the Pharaoh Menkaure become an immortal mummy? Well, I won’t answer much of that but it had something to do with him sacrificing his immortal soul to protect humanity from an unspeakable evil. That’s much of the plot of an upcoming novel and if I answered the entire question truthfully, then it would be rife with spoilers.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Graveyard Shift.

MH

Quote 1: “I rewarded them with the finest of Hathor’s yrp wine and from that day forth, they called themselves Menkaure’s Drunkards.”

Quote 2: “I remember the story that Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf…but that’s just a myth, right?”



TQWhat's next?

MH:  Right now, I’m working on a fun pop-culture geek novel in the tradition of Geekomancy and Scott Pilgrim. Sort of Ready Player-One meets Through the Looking Glass (complete with a live Jabberwock and a vorpal blade!) It’s not connected to the world of Graveyard Shift in any way.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

MH:  Thank you for hosting me! I really hope people will enjoy the book.





Graveyard Shift
Tor Books, July 18, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Police procedurals go supernatural in this gritty urban fantasy debut by Michael F. Haspil in Graveyard Shift

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, born in ancient Rome, are vice cops in a special Miami police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, bootleg blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When poisoned artificial blood drives vampires to murder, the city threatens to tear itself apart. Only an unlikely alliance with former opponents can give Alex and Marcus a fighting chance against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they'll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.

“Gritty urban fantasy and hard-boiled noir packed into a hand grenade of awesome!” —Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown





About Michael

MICHAEL F. HASPIL is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he distinguished himself as an ICBM crew commander. After retiring from the military, he served as a launch director at Cape Canaveral. He has been writing original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. Graveyard Shift is his first novel.








Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @MichaelHaspil


Hello Kitty ♥ PAC-MAN Mobile Game and Merchandise


Sanrio and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Join Forces with New Hello Kitty ♥ PAC-MAN Mobile Game and Merchandise

Pop Icon Hello Kitty and the First Video Game Hero to Chomp Tasty Dots and Pesky Ghosts, Debuting Collaboration at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2017


SANTA CLARA, Calif., (July 19, 2017) – Sanrio, Inc. and leading anime video game developer and publisher BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment today announce Hello Kitty ♥ PAC-MAN, a new collaboration featuring PAC-MAN, the world’s first video game hero, joining forces with supercute global pop icon, Hello Kitty. Developed by Sanrio, Inc. and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment as a license program, the collaboration kicks-off on July 19th at Comic-Con International: San Diego with a Hello Kitty themed update to the PAC-MAN app available now as a free download on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Dark and Light from Snail Games Launches July 20th on Steam Early Access



Snail Games, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment, has announced that Dark and Light, the dark fantasy multiplayer survival game, will launch on Steam in Early Access on July 20th for $29.99.

Dark and Light puts players in an immersive fantasy world that is filled with magic, monsters, and mystery. In this world, they will be challenged to survive and thrive through a combination of crafting, exploration, and powerful magic.

Dark and Light’s features include:
  • Master the Elements: Discover, craft, and cast dozens of powerful magical spells to take on the threats looming on Archos.
  • Explore a Massive, Living World: Travel from frigid mountain peaks, to dense forests, floating islands, hidden caverns, volcanic regions, and more.
  • Build a House and Support Your Faction: Join one of three factions, build your own noble house, and take on other players to dominate Archos.
  • Choose a Side: Support the Light or the Darkness, fill the world with powerful Dark creatures, or purify the world with Light.
  • Take Command of Powerful Creatures: Tame virtually any creature you encounter in the world - giant treants, mystical elementals, and legendary dragons can be at your command.
  • Protect Your Home: Build anything from a straw shack to an enormous fortress to defend against hostile forces.

Crystal Dynamics Celebrates 25 Years


This July marks the 25th anniversary for Crystal Dynamics®, the studio behind the critically acclaimed and world-famous TOMB RAIDER® franchise which has sold over 58 million copies globally.  In celebration, the studio has organized a series of charitable events and activities that takes us on a trip down memory lane, commemorating Crystal’s 25 years of producing unforgettable experiences.

“The collaboration of our top industry talent all focused on creating ground-breaking, unprecedented gaming experiences is the engine that drives Crystal,” said Ron Rosenberg, Co-Head of Studio at Crystal Dynamics. “We’re extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished over the last twenty-five years, and, as we look to the future, we are excited to bring our passion and craftsmanship to even more games including the 'Avengers' project.”

Starting July 18th, Square Enix® and Crystal Dynamics are offering an exclusive Crystal Dynamics 25th Anniversary game bundle through GameChanger. Patrons who donate $25 or more will receive this exclusive bundle of 12 new and classic Crystal Dynamics games, including Tomb Raider, Lara Croft® and the Temple of Osiris™, Legacy of Kain™: Defiance, Project Snowblind™, and more. Funds raised will be given to GameChanger Charity and support their mission of bringing happiness and gaming to children facing life-threatening illnesses in hospitals around the world.

Square Enix at SDCC

SQUARE ENIX WELCOMES FANS TO SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2017 WITH PLAYABLE DEMOS AND SPECIAL EVENTS

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT Tournament, Panel for LIFE IS STRANGE: BEFORE THE STORM, and Giveaways Kick Off SDCC

LOS ANGELES (July 18, 2017) – SQUARE ENIX® will host a wide variety of gaming experiences for San Diego Comic-Con attendees this year from July 19-23. Fans who visit the SQUARE ENIX booth will be able to get the first-ever hands-on with Tokyo RPG Factory™’s sophomore title LOST SPHEARand preview FINAL FANTASY® XII THE ZODIAC AGE and DISSIDIA® FINAL FANTASY NT. Winners of each free play round of DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT will also receive an exclusive Warrior of Light Gil Coin while supplies last.

The SQUARE ENIX team will also be hosting two DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT tournaments at the booth throughout the weekend, where attendees can win exclusive prizes. Find out more details at: http://challonge.com/dissidiantsdcc2017.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Interview with David Demchuk, author of The Bone Mother


Please welcome David Demchuk to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Bone Mother was published on July 18th by ChiZine Publications.







The QwilleryWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

David Demchuk:  I always had a vivid imagination and loved words and storytelling from when I could first speak (I was an exhausting child), so you could say I was a writer well before I could actually write.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

DD:  While I often have a loose structure in mind (and quite often have something of an ending to aim for), I tend to be a pantser for the first third of any given project, and then more of a hybrid after that.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

DD:  Overcoming crippling self-doubt and maintaining discipline and momentum. There's really no other way to say it. As I reach various milestones in a project (fairly predictable milestones at that), my confidence begins to waver and various insecurities creep in and then the second-guessing begins. By then I'm in the thick of it with no clear path through and I find myself wondering if I should go back keep going or tear back or give up entirely. It's at times like that that you have to turn a cold clear eye on the work and then, more often than not, just push through till you can get a better perspective. But it's tough. Every story I start, I feel like I've completely forgotten how to write and have to learn all over again. But after many years I've come to recognize it for what it is, and remember that there is no formula or recipe, there are no rules, you just have to write.



TQYou have been writing for theater, film, television, radio and other media for over 3 decades. How does this affect your novel writing?

DD:  Well, I have the benefit of years of experience--which hopefully translates into a certain level of craft, an understanding of structure and conflict, a respect for the values and characteristics of each medium I've written for, an awareness of the needs of the audience whether it's one person or one thousand. I have a certain level of discipline and tenacity, or flat-out stubbornness. And I'm old now, so publishers and producers and directors and editors are more inclined to trust me and let me have my way. Conversely, I'm more inclined to trust them and to let them into my process so we can support each other with our strengths.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

DD:  In general, I'm still heavily influenced by books I read as a child and stories that were read to me, as well as the movies and television and music that I grew up on. My mother read to my brother and me from very early on, and I was a precocious and voracious reader throughout my childhood and teenage years. For specific projects, I am usually inspired by something I read in the news or overhear in conversation or a question or issue that comes up in my life that I can only work through by writing about it, creating a mental and emotional process where I can look at the question from different perspectives and the conflicts created between them.

The Bone Mother is a bit of an exception in that I started it almost arbitrarily. I decided I would start the year (in this case 2015) with a new project and that I would find some photographs in the public domain to use as prompts--each one would be a different character, and in adding them all together I would tell a larger story and create a larger world for them. I was very lucky to find the archive of Romanian wartime photographer Costica Acsinte. His work was very much the impetus for the stories that make up the novel.



TQDescribe The Bone Mother in 140 characters or less.

DD:  The last mythical creatures of Eastern Europe tell their stories and face their destines as they await a war that may eradicate them forever



TQTell us something about The Bone Mother that is not found in the book description.

DD: Interspersed through the book are four longer contemporary pieces, set in North America, told by the children and grandchildren of those few creatures who survived. Some of them know their heritage, some do not. They are, in a way, part of a supernatural diaspora.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Bone Mother? What appeals to you about writing horror and why did you focus on Eastern European mythical creatures?

DD:  As I mentioned earlier, the Acsinte photographs were the spark for the book. What they did, I think, was unlock a long-forgotten knowledge of and interest in the stories I heard and read about when I was a child, about the enigmatic forest witch Baba Yaga (who of course is The Bone Mother of the title) and creatures like the strigoi and the rusalka. Some of the classic monsters of horror--the vampire and the werewolf in particular--have their roots in these legends.

I've long been a huge horror fan (in short fiction and novels, in film, television and video games), but had not had many opportunities to actually write in the genre. As I started the book, I realized that I was writing a series of love letters to the stories and characters that scared and delighted me as a young reader.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Bone Mother?

DD:  I drew a lot from my own knowledge of Ukrainian culture and from life in small towns and on farms--I'm a prairie boy after all--but I did need to research some of the more obscure Eastern European legends, as well as what happened in Ukraine and Romania before and during the war. Many of the true stories are more frightening than anything that I could make up.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Bone Mother.

DD:  The cover artist is the award-winning Erik Mohr, who is responsible for almost all of the covers for ChiZine Publications. His amazing covers are one of the reasons why I first approached ChiZine. They're just such beautiful books. And while it's not an image specific to any one story, I would say that his illustration is a superb evocation of The Bone Mother herself.



TQIn The Bone Mother who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

DD:  One section is about a young boy, Andreas, who visits a haunted house on a dare and finds a reflection of himself. This piece tumbled out in one evening of writing, it was like transcribing a horrible dream. His voice came out perfectly. I think it was one of two pieces that never changed from the very first draft.

The hardest was a character named Gregor, the narrator of one of the contemporary pieces. As I reached his section, I had a crisis of faith around the intensity of the horror in the book. (In the end I needn't have worried.) As a result, I decided to write a character who would frighten me personally. Unfortunately I succeeded, and I ended up gritting my teeth, having violent nightmares, and just generally dreading every moment I sat at the keyboard. He left a nasty mark on me that took a while to get over. I promptly wrote a love story as a kind of antidote, and that piece can be found near the end of the book.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Bone Mother?

DD:  In dark times, people turn to dark stories for affirmation, for catharsis and for illumination. I think the best works of horror are those that speak both to the cultural anxieties of their time and to the ageless fears that we all carry. Much of The Bone Mother is centred on the effects of war on those who have the least power to fight, particularly on women and children. The fairytales and folklore that are the basis of The Bone Mother often focus on mothers and children--mothers who reject their children or who try to destroy them, mothers who try to save their children or who sacrifice themselves so their children may live, surrogate mothers who take in children that others have cast out or left behind. The book looks at that within the context of war in order to grapple with the choices that desperate people make in desperate situations. I also gave special attention to gay and lesbian characters and to characters who we would now consider to be transgender, as these voices and stories, particularly in historical settings, continue to be underheard and underappreciated.



TQWhich question about The Bone Mother do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

DD:  "What scares you personally?" Everything scares me, actually--I'm a catalogue of phobias: heights, water, enclosed spaces, crowds, spiders, interviews ;) The one thing that doesn't scare me is snakes--I have always loved them (but I could never have one as a pet because I can't handle their eating habits).



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Bone Mother.

DD:  "Knitting is a good way to pass the time when you're waiting for something to die."

"But the Bone Mother is a wicked witch who eats naughty children!" I cried.
"Good children do taste better," she said wistfully, "but there are so few of them. If you can be satisfied with naughty children, you will always have food on the table. They are never in short supply"



TQWhat's next?

DD:  I will be at Readercon and Necon in the month of July, and I have some other readings and book launches scheduled between now and November. I'm expecting to start a new book in the fall--but that's as much as I'll say for now.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

DD:  Thank you very much for inviting me!





The Bone Mother
ChiZine Publications, July 18, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 300 pages

Three neighboring villages on the Ukrainian/Romanian border are the final refuge for the last of the mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Now, on the eve of the war that may eradicate their kind—and with the ruthless Night Police descending upon their sanctuary—they tell their stories and confront their destinies.

Eerie and unsettling like the best fairy tales, these incisor-sharp portraits of ghosts, witches, sirens, and seers—and the mortals who live at their side and in their thrall—will chill your marrow and tear at your heart.





About David

David Demchuk was born and raised in Winnipeg and now lives in Toronto. He has been writing for theatre, film, television, radio, and other media for more than thirty years. His publications include the short-fiction cycle Seven Dreams, and the Lewis Carroll adaptation Alice in Cyberspace, and appearances in the anthologies Making, Out!, Outspoken, and Canadian Brash. His reviews, essays, interviews, and columns have appeared in such magazines as Toronto Life, Xtra, What! Magazine, and Prairie Fire, as well as the Toronto Star. Most recently, he has been a contributing writer for the digital magazine Torontoist. The Bone Mother is his first novel.

Website  ~  Twitter @david_demchuk  ~  Facebook

Image Comics' 25th Anniversary Blind Box Available Today


IMAGE COMICS’ 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLIND BOX VARIANTS’ RARITY REVEALED


PORTLAND, OR, 07/18/2017 — Image Comics is pleased to reveal the ratio of rarity (are you feelin' lucky?) of the variants that fans have a chance of receiving enclosed in their IMAGE COMICS 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLIND BOX.

Each IMAGE COMICS 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLIND BOX will contain an assortment of 25 polybagged comics drawing from a selection of six different limited edition variants of the 17 all-new 2017 series that are only available within this box. Each comic will be bagged in opaque black poly to keep every comic a surprise.