A blurring of fact and fiction

By David Larsen the New Zealand Herald
Having received his professional education from Tolkien, Kay decided to make his first work of fiction – his graduate project, so to speak – a tribute to the master: a heroic fantasy trilogy very much in the vein of The Lord of the Rings.

Likewise, when Christopher Tolkien, JRR Tolkien’s son, came looking for an assistant to help him edit his father’s posthumous manuscripts into book form, Kay was pleased to take the job – “Who in their right mind would not have been interested?” – but he didn’t take it as a stepping stone towards anything in particular. Kay’s parents were friends of Baillie Tolkien, Christopher’s wife; Kay was studying philosophy at the University of Manitoba, in his native Canada, and was thrilled to be asked to move to Oxford for a year. “I learned a great deal in that year, but one of the things I learned was not to rely on writing as a career.”

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Feed Your Reader, revisited

Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor
Twelve of the first thirteen original stories published on will be available on a bunch of e-book platforms, including the Kindle store, Apple’s iBooks store, Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore, the Kobo store, and the Sony Reader store, for 99 cents each. These are in effect little e-chapbooks, complete with the original art on their “covers,” designed to work properly with the current generation of e-book devices and reading programs.

A thirteenth story, Cory Doctorow’s “The Things That Make Me Weak And Strange Get Engineered Away,” will join these soon on several of these platforms. As these stories become available for sale, they’ll remain freely available on

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In Praise of ‘Chaos’: A Profile of Patrick Ness

By Sue Corbett at Publisher’s Weekly
Many people who now consider themselves evangelists for Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking” trilogy initially resisted the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is narrated by the illiterate but lovable Todd Hewitt, the last boy in a frontier town on a colonized planet, and features a talking dog. Grammar is incorrect, spellings are phonetic, and there are intermittent passages of scrawled gibberish in various typefaces meant to convey the town’s “Noise.” A virus on Todd’s planet has made everyone’s thoughts (including the animals’) audible to everyone else—except the women. They are all dead.

“The idea was that the world is already a pretty noisy place,” Ness says via telephone from his home in Bromley, on the outskirts of London, “with cellphones, texts, the Internet, but I didn’t start writing until I had an idea for Todd’s voice, and it emerged slowly.” Todd has been called science fiction’s Huck Finn, with his endearing naïveté and creative vernacular, a sort of pidgin English that Ness says he struggled with initially.

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A Peek at Creative Space of Maggie Stiefvater

by Jennifer Bertman
This week we’re stepping into the creative space of author Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced Steve Otter). Maggie is the NYT bestselling author of Shiver, the wildly popular first novel of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Linger, the sequel, was published this month from Scholastic. (Officially this week, although it was spotted in many stores earlier in the month.) The final installment in the trilogy, Forever, will be published in July 2011.

Describe a typical workday.

I don’t think I have a typical workday. Is that bad? It really depends on the project and that’s one of the things that I love about this job. I guess the only usual thing is that I will start the day by answering emails for about an hour, maybe poking my head into some writing forums I belong to, generally being sluggish. Then I get down to work, which might be actual writing, or may be answering interviews, working on book trailers, blogging, etc.

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Shana Abé – interview

Elena Nola at BSC Review
Shana Abé is a bestselling author normally found in the Romance section, but whose latest books are fantasy (or at least fairy tale) crossovers.  She’s also a personal favorite of mine–verify on our favorites page, if you doubt–and has just finished up her fabulous historical-fiction shapeshifter series that started with 2006’s The Smoke Thief and continued through five books to last month’s The Time Weaver.  I was beyond pleased when she agreed to an interview and completed my trifecta of conversations with my favorite writers.

Elena Nola: I want to talk mostly about your current series, but before we jump into that I wanted to start with its genesis, which means going back to your last book before the series, The Last Mermaid.  It seemed to me that you were playing with the fairy tale motif somewhat in those three novellas…did that have an influence on the creation of the drákon, or the way you chose to tell their story?

Shana Abé:  The truth is, I had a wonderful time creating a world where mermaids could exist, and I wanted to explore that creative freedom even more deeply. As a child I was entranced with fairy tales—the consequences of both light and dark magics, the notion of destiny and all manner of mystical possibilities—so I suppose it’s become a natural part of my voice as an author.

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I started reading The Knife of Never Letting Go and was loving it…but I quit because the lead character (Todd) did something that mad me SO mad I refused to read anymore. But I still like the style of it, and would recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian books.

Do you like reading historical fantasy? What did you think of the author interviews?