Author Interview: Kristi Charish

Kristi Charish’s debut novel, Owl and the Japanese Circus, is a supernatural archaeological thriller, with more than a hint of Indiana Jones. We invited Kristi over for a chat about her work and influcences.

Rachel Cotterill: What was the first book to get you hooked on speculative fiction?

Kristi Charish: Alanna, The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. I think this was one of the first examples outside McCaffrey’s work where a really strong, young female protagonist was showcased. Every teenage girl who read the series didn’t just want to follow the adventures- they wanted to be Alanna, me included!

RC: What are your top three favourite books by female speculative fiction writers?

KC: Only three? Ooo, this is going hurt…

Kelley Armstrong’s Haunted (hard to pick one out of this series but I adore Eve)

Kim Harrison’s the Undead Pool (I love the series but the 12th is a stand out for me)

Cherie Priest’s Hell Bent – her one and only foray into urban fantasy and I loved it.

Other female spec fic authors whose work I devour: Patricia Briggs, Anne McCaffery, Diana Rowland, Richelle Meade (Succubus Blues), Carrie Vaughn.

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Author Interview: Rachel Bach

It was on a scouting trip to a nearby Waterstones, when Joanna and I were first thinking about setting up Strange Charm (before the concept even had a name), that I spotted the brightly-coloured spines of Rachel Bach’s books on the shelves. I picked up Fortune’s Pawn and instantly knew that it would be one of the first books we featured. So it may come as no surprise that Rachel was also one of the first authors I reached out to for an interview. We settled in to chat about early influences, dream castings, and the awesomeness of powered armour.

Rachel Cotterill: What was the first book to get you hooked on speculative fiction?

Rachel Bach: I couldn’t even begin to say. I grew up in a very geeky household. Fantasy and SF were everywhere, so exposure was never a problem. I can’t actually remember a time when I didn’t read SFF. If I had to pick a single book for spec fic, though, I’d have to say Frank Herbert’s Dune. I was primarily a fantasy girl until I stole my Mom’s copy of Dune. I read that thing over and over until the pages fell out, and to this day, the vision of sprawling, aristocratic space worlds is one that dominates my vision of cool scifi.

RC: Heh, I borrowed my mum’s battered copy of Dune (and its many sequels) too. Good times! So what are your top three favourite books by female speculative fiction writers?

RB: Ouch. This is hard. Hmmm. Well, if I was pressed to just pick three, I’d say The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey, and the entire Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre. The first two titles are perennial favorites, but I only discovered Ms. Aguirre’s books in the last few years, and they are amazing. Man, I wish I’d had them as a teen!

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Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder (plus interview)

Shadow Study

I leaned forward in the saddle. We were getting close and my wet cloak no longer pressed so hard on my shoulders. At this pace, we’d reach our cozy cottage within the hour. Valek’s involvement with our friend Opal’s rescue from the Bloodrose Clan and the aftermath had kept him busy for months. Finally we would have a few precious days all to ourselves before he reported back to the Commander. He should already be there waiting for me. Visions of sharing a hot bath, snuggling by a roaring fire and relaxing on the couch once again distracted me.

Kiki snorted in amusement and broke into a gallop. Behind the clouds the sun set, robbing the forest of all colour. I trusted Kiki to find the path in the semidarkness as I kept a light magical connection to the wildlife nearby.

In midstride, Kiki jigged to the right. Movement flashed to the left along with the unmistakable twang of a bow. Kiki twisted under me. I grabbed for her mane, but a force slammed into my chest and knocked me from the saddle.

For those who have read earlier novels in the Chronicles of Ixia (which I would recommend, before picking up this latest instalment), Shadow Study returns to familiar characters: Yelena, the heroine of the three previous Study books, and Valek, her heart mate and chief of security for the Commander of Ixia.

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Author Interview: Ryan Graudin

Ryan Graudin’s novel The Walled City was the subject of our very first review, back in November, so it seems only proper that I invite Ryan back to be our first guest in this occasional series of author interviews.

Rachel Cotterill: Let’s start at the beginning. What was the first book (or series) to get you hooked on speculative fiction?

Ryan Graudin: Probably Brian Jacques’s Redwall series. Reading about anthropomorphic mice in a medieval abbey fighting wars with vermin was my gateway drug into deeper fantasy and science fiction novels.

RC: Mine, too. What’s not to love about mice with swords?! We’d love to get some more book recommendations from you — what are your favourite books by female speculative fiction writers?

RG: I adored Victoria Schwab’s Vicious, which is an adult fantasy novel exploring a supervillain’s origin story. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races is another all time favourite of mine. She writes about man-eating ocean horses in a way that seems plausible and even poetic. And Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is a must-read fantasy series for teens.

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