Archive for the ‘Press release’ Category

Author of the exceptional debut Blackwing and the soon to be available Ravencry, Ed McDonald has been kind enough to write a guest blog. It’s an interesting insight into his creative process and well worth a read.

So where do you get your ideas?

If you want to raise a wry smile among a group of writers, this is the question that will do it. It’s a highly complicated question, and the truth is that often, we have no idea ourselves. For some novelists there may be a single theme or idea that inspired the writing of a book, such as an experience in childhood, but for me that’s not the case. In this wonderfully hosted guest blog, I thought that I’d showcase how certain elements of Blackwing and Ravencry came about, and the kind of insight they might give into my own rather chaotic, haphazard writing ‘process.’ Although I’ve said before that there’s as much conscious ‘process’ in what I do as there is to throwing a bunch of alphabetti spaghetti on a plate and expecting words.

There are a number of places that ideas come from. Some emerge at random, some are long held passions, and some are engineered for plot reasons. For those that consider themselves writing ‘Gardeners’ then some of these things may seem familiar.

I don’t really know where Galharrow came from.

Galharrow was never an idea. He never existed in the sense that I sat down and tried to choose character traits for him. Everything that he is, from the narrative voice he tells the story in to the actions he takes, to his appearance, was either pre-formed in my mind, or developed subconsciously without any active thought. I wanted him to be 6’6 and weigh 300lbs because I knew he’d have a lot of action to get into, and physical prowess was going to help him out. His size also allows him to carry other people around, which is really handy. But the alcoholism, his lack of sympathy, and his ultimate nobility and heart were just kind of. . . there. His backstory emerged mid-page as I was writing.

Nenn was an accident

Nenn was never a conscious decision. In Draft 1, there was a character called Shent, who was supposed to be Galharrow’s right hand man, but he split into Tnota and Nenn. Nenn was a throwaway, one-line character, whose missing nose was mentioned purely as a fun detail to show that Galharrow’s company were scarred and war-weary, but as soon as I’d written her first expletive filled line, I immediately knew who she was and how she acted. I didn’t expect Nenn to become a fan favourite, or one of my own, and at times she ends up stealing the show. She became the counterpoint to Galharrow’s regretful, grumpy, calculating, brooding exterior; Nenn is reckless, savage, always wearing a grin and is defined by how little she cares about other people’s opinions – or at least that’s what she wants to present. In Ravencry we see beneath that surface. I really love how she evolved through the pages.

But you did worldbuilding for the Misery, right?

Alas, no. In fact, I don’t do any worldbuilding in the sense that people would normally mean – there is no heaving file of notes. I prefer to create details as I go along. For the Misery, I needed there to be a wasteland that divided two kingdoms at war. I also needed a reason that the larger, more powerful kingdom wasn’t simply marching over to claim victory, and the Engine (early names for Nall’s Engine were The Lightning Web and The Storm Wall) was created to provide the stalemate. Once I knew what Nall’s Engine was, it made sense that it would leave some bad magic in its wake. As it happens, that bit of story crafting then became the key plot element in both RAVENCRY and the book that will follow it.

So nothing is inspired or deliberately plotted?

No, not so. Sometimes I need something for a plot reason, or sometimes I just want to write it. My grandmother told me her stories of life during The Blitz in the second world war. She lived in Coventry, a major manufacturing centre in the UK, and as a young woman she had to endure the nightly bombing raids. Some of her stories were too inspiring not to write them into RAVENCRY. I don’t think that you can really capture the terror of such a time, but I hope that I’ve done some justice to expressing the helplessness felt by the innocent during periods of industrialised war.

The trick of writing a book is to get all this randomness to work as a cohesive whole – thank goodness for editors. I’ll finish by leaving a piece of advice for any budding writers who might be reading:

If you are like me – and you probably aren’t – and if you find that you’re not sure where to start, then just start writing. Trust that your subconscious, silent mind: it probably has much better ideas than anything that your vocal inner monologue is going to push out. Let those ideas flow, and if they aren’t flowing, go and look at the world, go sit somewhere else, take a walk, and then just start writing. I’m seldom aware of my own ideas until after I’ve written them.

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The follow up to Ed McDonald’s Blackwing is set for release and I have the review copy next up on my reading list. In the meantime, the wonderful people at Gollancz have included me in a blog tour for Ravencry.

So, if you’re as excited about the second book as I am, please check out all the great content getting posted using the handy guide above.

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The wonderful people at Titan Books have kindly including the BookBeard in a blog tour from the authors of Netherspace. So, expect a review (I’ve just finished the book today) shortly and an awesome guest blog post from authors Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster.

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Penguin Random House imprint Century are publishing Star Wars: Catalyst by James Luceno. Having finally watched the latest in the series, I’m really excited about this book release. Check out the blurb below…

War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.

Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Story by James Luceno will be released on 17th November.

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Malcolm Cross wrote a brilliant and unique take on the post-apocalypse with his story Orbital Decay. He has now published a novel that has been released today on Amazon Kindle. Check out the blurb below..

A crowdfunded civil war is Azerbaijan’s only hope against its murderous dictatorship. The war is Edane Estian’s only chance to find out if he’s more than what he was designed to be.

He’s a clone soldier, gengineered from a dog’s DNA and hardened by a brutal training regime. He’d be perfect for the job if an outraged society hadn’t intervened, freed him at age seven, and placed him in an adopted family.

Is he Edane? Cathy and Beth’s son, Janine’s boyfriend, valued member of his MilSim sports team? Or is he still White-Six, serial number CNR5-4853-W6, the untroubled killing machine?

By joining a war to protect the powerless, he hopes to become more than the sum of his parts.

Without White-Six, he’ll never survive this war. If that’s all he can be, he’ll never leave it.

The premise has me intrigued and I’ve already got Dog Country lined up in the teetering to-be-read pile.

Great press release to share regarding the brilliant sci-fi author Iain M Banks:

Gollancz will be publishing an SF Masterworks edition of Iain M. Banks’ BSFA Award-winning Feersum Endjinn.

The SF Masterworks list is over 100 books strong and contains many of the finest voices in British and world science fiction. The list was founded by the Chairman of Gollancz, Malcolm Edwards, with the help of leading SF writers and editors and the goal of bringing important books back into print. The list was described by Iain M. Banks himself as ‘amazing’ and ‘genuinely the best novels from sixty years of SF’.

The Masterworks edition of Feersum Endjinn will be published in hardback on April 14 2016, and will include a new introduction by Ken MacLeod. The hardback licence was agreed with Gollancz’s sister imprint, Orbit, the SF imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group, who will continue to publish Feersum Endjinn in paperback.

Malcolm Edwards said, ‘Iain was immensely supportive when we launched the SF Masterworks, giving us an enthusiastic endorsement which appeared prominently on all the books, so it’s a particular pleasure to see him join the list.’

Due to recent life getting in the way of hobby type stuff, I’ve not been keeping up to date with all my emails and news (though I am reading a bonkers book; more on that in another post). However, this weekend has brought about some exciting revelations.

Joe Abercrombie has a collection of short stories featuring characters from his fantasy series, The First Law, due to be published soon. From the press release: “The short stories will be a mix of original and reissued short stories collected together for the first time, eight of which are award-winning and previously published, and six brand new. The brand-new shorts will feature some of the most popular characters from the First Law world, including Glokta, Jezal, Logen Ninefingers, Bethod and Monza Murcatto.

If that isn’t awesome enough, then his announced tour in April should be. Check the banner below for more info..

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Gollancz have announced that they will be publishing Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching in July 2016. The book has already had it’s film rights snapped up by before it’s even out in hardback. Now, that is hype.

However, there’s a lot to like about the press release and blurb. Check it out below:

Best compared to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Max Brooks’s World War Z, Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching is a brilliantly addictive novel following a cast of diverse characters from around the globe who are pulled together into a desperate fight against an ancient species.

A local guide is leading wealthy tourists through a forest in Peru when a strange, black, skittering mass engulfs him and most of the party. FBI Agent Mike Rich is on a routine stake-out in Minneapolis when he’s suddenly called by the Director himself to investigate a mysterious plane crash. A scientist studying earthquakes in India registers an unprecedented pattern in local seismic readings. The Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. And all of these events are connected.

As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer’s Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack…An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end…

Sounds awesome? Yes, it does.

Gollancz have announced they will be publishing a sequel to The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells, first published in 1897. Massacre of Mankind will be written by the multi-award-winning co-author of The Long Earth novels with Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter and released in 2017.

Steve Baxter said: “HG Wells is the daddy of modern SF. He drew on deep traditions, for instance of scientific horror dating back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and fantastic voyages such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). And he had important near-contemporaries such as Jules Verne. But Wells did more than any other writer to shape the form and themes of modern science fiction, and indeed through his wider work exerted a profound influence on the history of the twentieth century. Now it’s an honour for me to celebrate his enduring imaginative legacy, more than a hundred and fifty years after his birth.”

The blurb from the press release sounds pretty interesting…

In Stephen Baxter’s terrifying sequel, set in late 1920s London, the Martians return, and the war begins again. But the aliens do not repeat the mistakes of their last invasion. They know how they lost last time. They target Britain first, since we resisted them last time. The massacre of mankind has begun.

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I grew up with the good trilogy of Star Wars films. Then, a few decades later, came the bad set of Star Wars films. Now, a new Star Wars movie will soon be released (though I doubt I’ll see it anytime soon).

Just one day after that (the 18th December), the novelisation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens authored by Alan Dean Foster and published by Century will come out in ebook. The hardback will drop on the 1st January. It’s pretty exciting and if you’re as keen as me to read it, I’d recommend checking here http://amzn.to/1jfENzt