Category Archives: science fiction

Groot by Jeff Loveness and Brian Kesinger

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Since the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out in 2014, comic fans everywhere fell in love with this previously little-known superhero team. Out of the whole group of loveable misfits, my favourite is probably Groot, the sentient alien tree. I think I’m not alone in this because Marvel Comics decided to give Groot his own solo adventure, written by Jeff Loveness and drawn by Brian Kesinger.

 

Even though he’s been to Earth many, many times, in Groot’s opinion he’s never really experienced Earth. So he talks his friend, Rocket Raccoon, into going on a road trip to Earth. The pair take the slow route, starting their adventure by hitchhiking through space (after their vehicle explodes). Along the way they encounter a bounty hunter named Eris who wants the enormous bounty on Groot. When Eris accidentally captures Rocket instead, she decides to use him as bait. But no one accounted for Groot taking his time. He comes to Ricket’s rescue in his typical slow way, having many adventures and meeting many new people on his journey to save his friend.

 

While Groot is a crazy and fun adventure (as befits a superhero story), it’s also a very touching tale about friendship. Groot always finds the best in everyone, no matter who they are and what they can do. He’s also filled with a rather childlike sense of wonder at seeing the beauty of space and the marvels of our own planet; his outlook will have you looking at the world around you with fresh eyes. Groot made me love this big-hearted tree more than I thought possible, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same if you give this graphic novel a chance

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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Most of us are familiar with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the story of two young people from opposing families who fall in love. But what happens when you make the star-crossed lovers soldiers on opposing sides of a galactic war; soldiers who are determined to survive despite impossible odds? You get Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

 

Saga is about Alana, a soldier from the planet Landfall, and Marko, a soldier from Landfall’s moon Wreath, who have fallen in love and started a family together. Landfall and Wreath have been warring for countless generations; neither side wants to see their soldiers fraternizing with the enemy (never mind starting families together). Alana and Marko are discovered on the planet Cleave right after Alana has given birth to their child. They’re forced to flee into the wilds of the mostly unexplored world, following a map that they hope will lead them to safety.

 

Saga is a science fiction/fantasy blend full of compelling and relatable characters. Alana is a very capable soldier even while recovering from her pregnancy. Her husband, Marko, is determined to be a pacifist after seeing his first battle. Chasing after them, among others, is Prince Robot IV, who suffers from post-traumatic stress; he’s also told that he cannot see his pregnant wife until after he kills Alana and Marko.

 

The series has won multiple awards, including six Harvey awards in 2013 (Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Color, Best New Series, Best Continuing or Limited Series, and Best Single Issue or Story), the 2013 Hugo for Best Graphic Novel, and three Eisner awards annually in 2013, 2014, and 2015. So if you’re looking for an excellent, genre-defying read, Saga is for you.
Shauna Kosoris is a member of the Thunder Bay Public Library staff.

Interview with Andy Weir

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Andy Weir Author Photo CroppedAndy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight.  The Martian is his first novel.

Shauna Kosoris: The Martian is a very science-heavy science fiction book.  How long did it take you to research it?

Andy Weir: That’s hard to quantify, because I did the research while I was writing. It took me three years to write the book, and a large percentage of that was spent doing math and research.

What was the most interesting fact you discovered while researching?

Mars’s moon Phobos orbits the planet faster than the planet rotates. So even though Mars’s two moons go around the planet the same direction, if you’re on the ground they appear to be going opposite directions. Deimos goes East to West and Phobos goes West to East.

Very cool!  Mark Watney, the main character in The Martian, has a rather impressive skill set, being the Ares 3 engineer and botanist.  Did you know early on that he would have these roles?

Yes, I picked those skills early on because I knew they’d be critical to his survival.

They definitely were.  I doubt that most of us would be able to do half of what he does!  In interviews, you’ve said The Martian started out as you planning a manned mission to Mars.  Have you ever made plans for manned missions to other astronomical objects?

Oh sure. I think about how to get to the moon all the time. I did a lot of research on lunar cyclers and they’re pretty interesting.

The Martian was originally a free serial on your website.  How did you end up getting your publishing contract?

Originally the book was just a serial I posted a chapter at a time to my website. Once the book was done, people started requesting that I make an e-book version so they didn’t have to read it in a web browser. So I did and posted it to my site. Then other people emailed saying they want to read the e-book, but they aren’t technically savvy and don’t know how to download a file from the internet and put it on their e-reader. They requested I make a Kindle version they could just get through Amazon. So I did that as well. I set the price at Amazon’s minimum allowable price of $0.99. More people bought the book from Amazon than downloaded it for free from my website. Amazon has a truly amazing reach into the readership market.

The book sold very well and made its way up various top-seller lists on Amazon. That got the attention of Julian Pavia at Crown. He told his colleague David Fugate (a literary agent) about it. David ended up becoming my agent and Julian offered me a book deal. It was a whirlwind of activity because 20th Century Fox optioned the movie rights that same week.

Congratulations on all of that – I can’t wait to see the movie this October.  So what’s next for you?

I’m working on my next book now. It’s a more traditional sci-fi novel with aliens, faster-than-light travel, and telepaths, etc. It’s tentatively titled Zhek and it should be out in mid-2016

Why the switch from hard science fiction?

I had a hard sci-fi story in mind and I pitched it to the publisher, but they didn’t think it was any good. It’s a cool setting, but there’s not enough plot. So I pitched Zhek and they liked it.

Fair enough.  What book or author inspired you to write?

My main inspirations are Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke.

Is there a book or author that you think everyone should read?

I highly recommend Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

I’ve heard great things about Cline’s book; I’ll have to check it out.  Finally, what are you currently reading?

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

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The Martian by Andy Weir

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There are lots of stories about being trapped and isolated on deserted islands or in the wilderness. These stories are often harrowing adventures of survival looking for food and shelter. But what if we took the story even further and added in the needs to find oxygen and heat as well?  That’s exactly what Andy Weir did in The Martian by setting his tale of survival on Mars.

 

Astronaut Mark Watney was part of the third manned mission to Mars (Ares 3). After a deadly storm hits, Watney’s crew believes he is killed; Watney wakes up to find himself alone on the alien world. Watney has to figure out how to survive with gear and supplies meant to last for only thirty days. He also needs to find a way to communicate with Earth and let them know he’s still alive.

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Luckily Watney was the Ares 3’s engineer and biologist, which is how he was able to think through all the immediate problems on his own (like how to grow food on an alien world which does not have viable soil). Of course, all of his solutions involve a lot of hard science, but don’t let that turn you off from the book if science isn’t your thing: The Martian is written in a very accessible way so that everyone can understand Watney’s thought processes. This is helped by Watney himself, who is hilarious; he manages to stay mostly upbeat no matter what Mars throws at him.

 

If you’re looking for a good survival story or a fantastic hard science fiction, Weir’s The Martian is for you.

Interview with Matt Forbeck

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Matt-on-Madeline-IslandMatt Forbeck is an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author and game designer. He has twenty-seven novels and countless games published to date. His latest work includes the novel Halo: New Blood, the Magic: The Gathering comics, the 2014 edition of The Marvel Encyclopedia, the Monster Academy YA fantasy novels, and the upcoming Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game based on his novels.  You can find him online at forbeck.com.

Shauna Kosoris: What came first for you?  Working in game design or working on fiction?

Matt Forbeck: I wanted to be a writer since I was in grade school, but I discovered games in 7th grade, and they hooked me good. I started working on games professionally while I was in college and made a career out of it. It wasn’t until years later that I sold my first novel.

That said, tabletop roleplaying games often contain a lot of fiction. Even while I wrote those games, I was always working at honing my fiction skills, and I think that paid off well in the end.

SK: So how did you get involved with comics?

MF: I started reading comics before I even entered kindergarten, and I’ve kept up with them ever since. When I was with Pinnacle Entertainment, developing the Deadlands RPG, I wrote the first ever Deadlands comic for Image Comics.

Before even that, though, I co-designed the WildStorms collectible card game for Jim Lee’s division of Image. I even sold an inventory issue of WildC.A.T.s to WildStorm way back in 1995 or so, but that was just before Alan Moore took over the title, so it never saw print.

SK: Have you had other projects that haven’t seen print?  Do you have hope that they someday will?

MF: Most of my work has found its way out. At the moment, I have two novels I wrote for the Dust miniatures game that haven’t been released, but I believe that’s still just a matter of time before they come out.

As I said, I also wrote an inventory issue of WildC.A.T.s for WildStorm, Jim Lee’s division of Image Comics, which he then sold to DC. The artist didn’t get very far on it before Alan Moore stepped in to take over the series, way back in the mid-’90s. I don’t think there’s any hope of that ever seeing the light of day, but I had a great time writing it—and I was paid for it too!

SK: That’s the main thing!  You’ve written fiction and comics for some large game companies such as Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, and Games Workshop.  Has your background as a game designer helped with these assignments?

MF: Very much so. It means that I’m comfortable with the source material and the fans who enjoy it. Also, because I understand exactly how the games work, if I need something in one of my books that doesn’t yet exist, I can design it myself and put it into the story with some level of confidence it’ll fit well.

It also didn’t hurt that I knew people in the fiction departments there from having worked on those companies’ games. Knowing that someone will answer your email does wonders for a writer.

SK: Most definitely!  What was it like to work with 343 Industries on the new Halo novel, Halo: New Blood?

MF: Fantastic. Honestly, I’ve written lots of novels for different companies, and 343 was an absolute pleasure to work with. Their love for the Halo universe shone through in every interaction with them, and their feedback was always helpful and constructive.

SK: That’s wonderful to hear.  Are there any particular challenges when writing a novel set in someone else’s fictional universe as opposed to your own?

MF: When you write a novel for an existing universe, much of the work of building the setting out has already been done for you, and if you’re lucky the universe is already popular and has a huge fan base hungry for your story. That’s all a fantastic help. However, it also means that you can’t just make things up as you go along, as that same fan base is sure to know the universe at least as well as you, if not better. Also, you can’t change things in that universe without permission.

When you write your own original books, you have total control over everything, but you also have to do every bit of the work. It’s daunting, but it can be more rewarding in the long run.

SK: In 2012 you ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in which you were going to write 12 novels in 12 months.  Why did you decide to tackle this amount of writing?

MF: I’m a pretty fast writer. When I’m cooking, I can usually crack out 5,000 words a day and maintain that pace. Writing a dozen short novels in a year came up to 600,000 words, which I figured I could hit.

Of course, I also had to run the Kickstarters, produce the books, market the books, design the covers, and handle dozens of other little details. It was an exhausting but rewarding year.

SK: Would you do anything differently if you were to run another Kickstarter campaign?

MF: I’d not tackle a project that size. It devoured my life, and I’m still playing catch-up with it. However, I will get back to Kickstarter again. My next drive will probably be for a short-story collection, which will include lots of my tie-in work, which my publishers graciously gave me permission to reprint. The great benefit of that project is that it’s already 90% done.

SK: You’ve been involved with a couple of Kickstarter campaigns as a game designer recently (specifically The Titan Series and the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG, which were both successfully funded).  I know you’ve designed board games, card games, miniature games, and roleplaying games throughout your career.  Do you have a favourite type of game to work with?

MF: I always seem to come back to roleplaying games, which are fantastic fun. Collectible games are probably my favorites though, mostly because I like to watch them develop over time and design new wrinkles to breathe fresh life into the game with each release.

SK: Was there a game designer who inspired you to make games?

MF: I followed in the footsteps of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson (who co-created Dungeons & Dragons) of course. The guys who showed me I could make a living at it, though, were Troy Denning and Will Niebling, who both worked at TSR (which published D&D back in the day). They just had so much love for the industry and had so much fun working in it that it became contagious.

SK: Finally, I have a few questions about what you read.  What book or author inspired you to write?

MF: My three biggest influences were J. R. R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, and Raymond Chandler. I loved Tolkien for his worldbuilding, Hemingway for his brutal honesty, and Chandler for his incredible style.

SK: And what are you currently reading?

MF: I just finished up Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls, an excellent time-travel serial-killer thriller set in Chicago. Great, twisty fiction. At the moment, I’m starting Ramez Naam’s Crux, the sequel to his incredible Nexus, which was one of my favorite science fiction novels of the past decade. Great, realistic near-future SF that explores some of the hardest questions about how technology affects us all.

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Interview with Elizabeth Bear

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dsc_3421 smaller Elizabeth Bear is the author of many short stories and novels, including the Jenny Casey trilogy (Hammered, Scardown, and Worldwired), the Edda of Burdens (All the Windwracked Stars, By the Mountain Bound, and The Sea Thy Mistress), and the Eternal Sky trilogy (Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, and Steles of the Sky).  She’s won many awards including two Hugos, the John W. Cambell Award for Best New Writer (2005), and a Locus Award for her Jenny Casey trilogy.  You can find her online at www.elizabethbear.com.

Shauna Kosoris: Your newest book, Karen Memory, just came out this month. What can you tell me about it?

Elizabeth Bear: Karen Memory is a steampunk thriller set in the American West, in the fictional Gold Rush town of Rapid City, which is loosely inspired by the cities of that era in the Pacific Northwest, notably Seattle and San Francisco. It involves derring-do, brave lawmen, high adventure, dirty politics, mind control, mecha fights, and a bordello full of women who are nobody’s fool and who aren’t about to take injustice lying down.

SK: That sounds like a lot of fun!  Do the women get to fight using the mechs?

EB: That’d be a spoiler.

SK: Then I guess I have to read it.  The main character, Karen Memery, is a queer woman. This isn’t the first time you’ve written about a queer character. What attracts you to their stories?

EB: I feel like the question itself is its own answer, really. It’s 2015; same-sex marriage is more or less legal in 36 states; and yet queerness is still a marked state. Gay, bisexual, asexual, poly, intersexed, and trans people deserve to be the heroes of stories as much as anybody else does, and it shouldn’t be any barrier to entry for anyone else to read them. People are people. If I can read a book by and about a straight white man and gain something from the experience, then it stands to reason that I can also gain something from the experience of reading a book by and about a black transwoman.

Every human experience is valid. Every human experience has equal value.

SK: That’s very true, and I’m sure many of your readers thank you for feeling that way.  Thinking of one of your poly-sexual characters, I’ve been reading (and loving!) your Edda of Burdens series lately. What inspired you to write it?

EB: I always find myself wanting to talk about the underdog, the outsider, the character whose worldview is erased. And in Norse mythology, that’s Loki’s monstrous children: Hel, Fenrir, Sleipnir, Jormungandr. They’re basically there to be the boogeyman, and kill everybody at the end of the world. And I wanted to tell a story based in the idea that Loki might just arrange for them to survive into the reborn world that appears in prophecies of a new earth arising after Ragnarok.

That’s all backstory, though!

Also, I had the character of Muire in my head, and it seemed fascinating to me to write about the experiences of a non-martial Valkyrie, somebody more interested in culture and science and history, who manages to be the sole survivor of the end of the world.

That, and a childhood addiction to 80s post-apocalyptic fantasy such as Thundarr the Barbarian and Krull. Ahem.

SK: I can see that connection.  Did the idea of the Technomancer come from the 80’s post-apocalyptic fantasy, too?

EB: She was carefully constructed to be a foil for the protagonist. Generally, when producing an antagonist, if they don’t just step out of my subconscious full-formed and rolling a cigarette, I design them to serve a bunch of narrative and structural purposes–driving the plot, reinforcing thematic elements, forcing character development in the protag, and so forth.

SK: I noticed some similarities between the second book of the series, By the Mountain Bound, and A Companion to Wolves, the first book you co-wrote with Sarah Monette. Was this intentional?

EB: Well, in the sense that they’re both based in Norse myth, and Norse myth involves a reasonable but possibly unhealthy obsession with wolves, it might have a lot to do with the source material!

SK: That’s fair.  Except for the series with Sarah Monette, you’ve written most of your books on your own. What’s it like, writing with a co-writer as opposed to writing something by yourself?

EB: In an ideal world, your co-writer writes all the bits you don’t feel like writing yourself!

The best situation is when the story turns into a sort of improv jam session, and everybody is having fabulous ideas and sparking off each other and throwing in cool bits to impress and amuse their friends. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, of course, but at the very least it’s nice to have someone go through and perform the function I refer to as “vacuuming commas,” which is basically fixing all the obnoxious fussy little things that get messed up when you’re writing, especially when you’re writing in a hurry to get stuff done.

SK: I read your Jenny Casey trilogy years ago and have always wondered: why did you center that story around the Canadian army, as opposed to the American army?

EB: The simple answer is because Jenny is Canadian! That was a character who very much was what she was: she came that way, and I didn’t much argue with her. (If you’ve read the books, I’m sure you appreciate that there’s no percentage at all in arguing with Jenny Casey.)

SK: That’s so true!  Do you often have characters show up in your mind like that?

EB: Some, yeah. Some, I have to go out and build from a kit. Or tease out of hiding. I’m very bad at consistency.

SK: You’ve written stories in many different genres (notably steampunk, science fiction, and fantasy). Do you have a favourite genre to write in?

EB: If I could manage it, my favorite genre to write in would be “Bestseller!”

Because of my reading habits growing up, I tend to see the branches of the speculative fiction tree largely as marketing categories, and I’m more or less a fan of them all. The tropes and trappings serve the same purpose as formalisms in poetry: they’re structures that give shape to a narrative. Also, they’re fun to play with. I don’t have a lot of favorite anythings, really—I like a very broad spectrum of literature, of music, and so on.

SK: Now that Karen Memory is out, what’s next?

EB: I am hard at work on two projects simultaneously.

The first is a new trilogy set in the same world as my Eternal Sky books. The first book is titled The Stone in the Skull. The protagonists are a mechanical man created as a servant by a wizard, and a fanatical warrior who was sworn to serve a religious overlord unquestioningly. Unfortunately for these two, their lieges are both long dead. So they team up. It’s one part odd couple road trip, one part epic political fantasy.

The second is called Ancestral Night, and it’s a big-idea space opera about a couple of salvage operators who stumble across an extremely valuable alien tech and have to keep ahead of all the factions who desperately want to get their hands on it.

SK: Those both sound exciting.  Finally, I have a few questions about what you read.  What book or author inspired you to write?

EB: Oh man. The book that makes me go, “I want to write something like that someday” is Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. And by “like that,” I don’t necessarily mean a whimsical fantasy that hits like a truck, emotionally speaking. But something with that balance of light hand, humor, pathos, basic human truth, fun, and brilliant writing.

SK: Is there a book or author that you think everyone should read?

EB: …no, because I feel that “everyone” is a broad map, and people have very different tastes. I mean, this would be a great time for me to plug my boyfriend (Scott Lynch), or my writing partner (Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison), but I’m sure there are people who don’t read English, or who are so misguided they might not like their books.

Among newer and lesser known writers, however, I’ve been very much enjoying the work of Monica Byrne, Max Gladstone, Aliette de Bodard, and John Chu. Off the top of my head!

SK: I’ll have to check them out.  And what are you currently reading?

EB: I’ve spent the last two years doing most of my current genre reading for award juries, and my recreational reading, as a result, is almost all mysteries. However, on my immediate to-read pile is Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, The Just City by Jo Walton, Unbound by Jim C. Hines, The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord, and The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.
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Interview with Chuck Wendig

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wendigphotoChuck Wendig is the author of many books including the Heartland Trilogy, the Mookie Pearl series and the Miriam Black series. He’s also a screenwriter and game designer, as well as the Taco Pastor of the Holy Taco Church.  You can find him online at terribleminds.com, where he writes fantastic advice for authors.

Shauna Kosoris: Your Heartland Trilogy is your first foray into young adult books.  What inspired you to write this series?

Chuck Wendig: A great many things conspired to create this book. When I found out my wife was pregnant, I thought, okay, I’d better write a book that my son can at least read before he’s 37 (my other books put the ‘adult’ in ‘adult fiction’). And I was also driven by all these ideas surrounding corn and GMOs and global warming and suddenly, I had this story bloom in my head — I wrote the first draft of the first book in the month before my son was born. (Though it took me almost a year to get the final draft just right.)

SK: Why mutant corn and hobos?

CW: The book is a far-flung future but takes some of its aesthetic from the dust bowl 1930s, so that’s where the hobo thing comes in. As for corn — well, have you driven across America lately? It’s corn, far as the eye can see. Actually, you don’t need to drive too far — a great many of our processed foods contain corn in a variety of guises.

SK: The second book of the trilogy, Blightborn, just came out in July.  What can you tell me about it?

CW: The second book has our characters heading out across the Heartland in search of a way to get onto one of the flotillas to find Cael’s sister, Merelda, and one of their crew-mates, Gwennie. But then we also get the POV of Gwennie and Merelda, who have gotten into quite a bit of trouble on their own. Blightborn opens up the skies and shows us more of the world — not just of the Heartland, but we also get a glimpse of what lurks beyond.

SK: Will Blightborn be split into multiple narratives (following say Cael, Gwennie, and Pop)?  

CW: Yes! It follows Cael and Gwennie, predominantly, but a lot of the characters get POV chapters (Lane, Rigo, Merelda). I will say that Pop is conspicuously absent from this one, but his actions remain felt just the same.

SK: Under the Empyrean Sky focused on the Heartland.  Will we get to see more of the world (outside of the Heartland) in Blightborn?

CW: We will! In the skies and beyond them. We spend a lot of time with the Empyrean, but we also learn what is outside the Heartland’s borders.

SK: How exciting!  So what was the hardest part of writing Blightborn?

CW: I might be cursing myself here, but this book was very easy to write. It flowed from the first word. That said, the one difficulty was just that it ended up a much bigger book than I thought it was going to be!

SK: Hopefully you’re not!  Especially since you’re such a prolific author.  Speaking of which, I see you’ve got several books coming out in 2015 (notably the second Mookie Pearl book The Hellsblood Bride, and Zeroes).  What are you most excited for?

CW: I think I’m supposed to say that I love all my books equally. But I am very excited that my YA anti-heroine, Atlanta Burns, is getting her first proper release!

SK: Can you tell me a little about her?

CW: Sure! Atlanta Burns is about the titular character — a sort of Nancy Drew on Adderall who investigates a friend’s murder by cutting open her town’s criminal underbelly to see what spills out. She’s a Southern girl transplanted to the middle of meth-addled Pennsyltucky, so she’s always something of a broken thumb. Lots of fun to write. A little bit Veronica Mars.

SK: She sounds like a lot of fun!  Other than novels, you’ve also worked on short fiction, games, comics, and film.  What’s it like working in all of these different media?

CW: Freeing in a lot of ways. Fun to explore different ways to tell stories — and that, ultimately, is the key. Despite different formats, you start to see that there’s a weird Matrix code behind it all: the programming language of story itself.

SK: Do you have a favourite medium to work in?

CW: Novels are my one true love.

SK: What are you working on now?

CW: I just finished up the first draft of the third Heartland book (The Harvest), and am now halfway through Zeroes.

SK: Your blog (terribleminds.com) has some excellent advice for writers.  What made you start blogging all this advice?

CW: Mostly it was me yelling at me about me! Eventually, other writers started to listen in.

SK: I have to ask: how exactly did you become the “Taco Pastor, Priest of Pineapple Parish” of the Holy Taco Church?

CW: I was ordained, of course. I was made delicious in the grill-fires of the taco furnace by Tacopope Picante I, aka, Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid series.

SK: What are the duties of a Taco Pastor?

CW: To make sure the world is delicious. Also, to write drunken, rambling recipes at the Holy Taco Church website.

SK: What’s your favourite taco recipe?

CW: Why, it’s Tacos al Pastor, of course. Get it? Taco Pastor? Pastor Tacos? *elbow elbow*

SK:  To finish up, I’d like to ask you a few questions about reading.  What book or author inspired you to write?

CW: No one book — we are a summation of all the books we’ve loved, as writers. But one book really pushed me over that line, and it was Boys Life, by Robert McCammon.

SK: Is there a book or author that you think everyone should read?

CW: MINE.

*insert sinister laugh*

Umm. I mean, what? I didn’t say anything.

I don’t think there’s any one book essential for everyone to read. The only essential is that we read something.

SK: That’s fair.  So what are you currently reading?

CW: I just finished Cherie Priest’s Lizzie Borden novel, Maplecroft. It is truly the dark fantastic. Sharp as the axe Lizzie Borden wields.

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