Q&A with Peter Newman, author of The Malice

  • Posted by Nova on Mar 07 2017

The MaliceThe Malice by Peter Newman is available today! The author answered a few burning questions about the second installment in the Vagrant trilogy

Q. The Malice follows the story of Vesper, now a young woman. What was it like transitioning to such a different voice and character from The Vagrant? Did it affect your overall writing process?

A. Well, first off, it was an incredible relief having a main character that spoke! Life is so much easier that way, let me tell you. Otherwise, it didn’t change the way I wrote the book very much. The world and the writing style are the same.

However, the themes of the book are quite different. In The Vagrant, most of the characters are bruised by life and focused purely on survival, whereas in The Malice we have a new generation of characters who are looking at the world around them with fresh eyes, and are less willing to accept what they see as okay.

Q. What were your favorite parts about writing from The Vagrant’s perspective versus Vesper’s? What was the most challenging?

A. I love them both for different reasons. The challenge with writing the Vagrant is giving the reader enough clues to follow what he might be thinking or feeling, and to tell the story clearly. But he’s fun too, I enjoy the way he reacts to the world, and the fact that whatever happens, he just keeps going.

With Vesper, there are a different set of issues. Unlike the Vagrant, she’s not worldly, nor is she trained to battle infernals, which can be tricky in a world and story like this one. But she can talk (thank goodness!), and unlike most people, her ability to hope and dream has not yet been ground into the dust, which gives this book a different kind of energy. Vesper is an idealist which as we all know, makes for a tough life.

Q. You’ve built such a complex, masterpiece of a world…and we’re eager to gobble up any piece of it. What was the inspiration behind writing your novella The Hammer and The Goat? Are there any other one-off stories or characters in this world you’d like to explore?

A. Thank you! The Hammer and The Goat is set parallel to the events in The Vagrant. I’d suggest it’s best enjoyed after you’ve read that. I know a lot of people liked those two characters in particular and the way they played off each other in book one, and I wanted to tell the story of what they got up to while the main book was following the Vagrant. I also wanted to give the reader more of a sense of who the Hammer that Walks is, and her life before we meet her in book one.

Funnily enough, I’ve just had a second short come out! It’s called The Vagrant and The City, and it’s set about five years after The Malice (read The Malice first if you don’t like spoilers!). It follows the Vagrant and what he does in response to the events in book two. It also teases some of the tensions that will feature in The Seven (the third and final part of the trilogy).

Q. The goat has become quite a fan favorite! Is there a story behind creating this unique side-kick & avenue for comic relief?

A. Yes. When I was first writing The Vagrant, I needed to have a source of milk for the baby. I couldn’t imagine him taking a cow across the Blasted Lands, so I had to come up with an alternative. Animal companions often appear in fantasy, but noble horses, proud dragons, or loyal dogs didn’t fit the grim setting. Also, in my books many animals have been mutated into weird hybrids by the taint, so I tried to think about what creatures might be tough enough to survive unchanged in this world. The only things I could that came to mind were cockroaches and goats. I didn’t think I had it in me to write a cockroach as a main character (I’m not sure roach milk would fly either), and so the goat was born.

Q. The epic conclusion to your Vagrant trilogy releases this fall. In 4 words (no spoilers!), what can your anxiously awaiting fans expect?

A. Only 4? That’s really hard. How about this:

More Vagrant, Vesper, goats.

Q. Who are your favorite SFF authors? What are you reading now?

 

A. Now there’s a question that’s hard to answer quickly! My love for Robin Hobb’s work is eternal.  Neil Gaiman’s books are fabulous (but you knew that already), and Roger Zelazny’s Amber books will always have a special place in my heart. But there are really cool new books coming out too: I enjoyed Ren Warom’s cyberweird debut, Escapology, last year, and Jay Kristoff’s ‘Harry Potter goes to killer’s school’ aka Nevernight. Oh, and After Atlas by *cough* Emma Newman is an astonishingly good Sci-fi crime. Right now I’m reading A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall, which is a subversive, character driven epic fantasy.

Peter Newman lives in Somerset with his wife and son. Growing up in and around London, Peter studied Drama and Education at the Central School of Speech and Drama, going on to work as a secondary school drama teacher. He now works as a trainer and Firewalking Instructor. He sometimes pretends to be a butler for the Tea and Jeopardy podcast, which he co-writes, and which has been shortlisted for a Hugo Award. Twitter: @RunPeteWrite

Also available now from Peter Newman:
The Vagrant and the City
The Hammer and the Goat

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This Week in Geek

  • Posted by CPerny on Mar 03 2017

ThisWeekInGeek2

 

I’m going to be real with you. A few things have happened This Week in Geek (some more casting announcements for the various comic book TV adaptations, Space X announcing they’re sending people to the moon in 2018)…but none of that really matters, because it’s finally here, folks. THE NINTENDO SWITCH HAS ARRIVED! And, subsequently, TODAY IS ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD DAY! So, if you’re curious about the other things that happened this week, check out these links. If you, like me, are just super stoked and ready to go save Hyrule, may I humbly suggest we take a page out of Spongebob’s notebook?

Credit: IMDAVE

Credit: IMDAVE

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This Week in Geek

  • Posted by CPerny on Feb 24 2017

ThisWeekInGeek2

Hello. Lots of geek things happened! Are you ready? I’m excited. Let’s do this thing.

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

SPACE GEEKING

Listen, the discovery of seven (SEVEN!!!) earth-like planets is likely the coolest thing that will happen in any of our lifetimes, barring the robot apocalypse (which is also scary, but whatever). These planets, now known as the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, could *potentially* support life, and despite the fact that they are about 40 light-years away, I am ready to take an interplanetary field trip. Get all of the amazing space-deets here.

Me, going to space, RN Source: Giphy

Me, going to space
Source: Giphy

MORE COMIC BOOK TV GEEKING

  • Marvel’s Inhumans TV show just announced that Iwan Rheon, aka Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones, will be playing Maximus. I have precisely zero idea what Inhumans is, or who Maximus is, but heck, I’m about this comic-books-on-TV lifestyle, and Rheon is a solid actor, so I am here for this! Get the low-down here.
    • Also, for anyone curious, according to Wikipedia, “The Inhumans are a fictional race of superhumans appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.” High fives for googling to increase nerd-knowledge!
  • In more comic-books-on-TV news, it has been announced that Jamie Chung will play Blink on Matt Nix’s as yet untitled X-Men show. I abso-damn-loutely love the X-Men, so I am mad stoked for this, as the kids say. More info here.
Me, rejoicing over the amount of comic book adaptations coming out. Source: Giphy

Me, rejoicing over the amount of comic book adaptations coming out.
Source: Giphy

STAR WARS GEEKING

The first cast photo of the new Star Wars Han Solo film was released this week, and I am PUMPED UP. The cast includes my queen Emilia Clarke, aka Daenerys Targaryen, my king, Donald Glover (as friggin’ young Lando, it’s PERFECT!), and  young actor Alden Ehrenreich, who I’ve never heard of, but makes an excellent young Han Solo nonetheless. GAZE UPON IT’S MAGNIFICENCE (and if you want, slightly more details here).

LUCASFILM

Source: LUCASFILM

Alright gang, that’s it for now. Keep geeking!

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

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This Week in Geek

  • Posted by CPerny on Feb 17 2017

ThisWeekInGeek2

Oh hai there! This week in geek: pocket monsters, taco weddings, cannibals, and Asgardian roommate woes. Intrigued? Let’s get to it.

Be the sloth princess you always knew you could be. Source: Giphy

Be the sloth princess you always knew you could be.
Source: Giphy

POKÉMON GO GEEKING:

I’m going to lead in a bit strongly here, but just go with it. If you do not like Pokémon, I’m cordially inviting you to go eat a whole big bowl of butts. I love Pokémon. It is a major pass time of mine, and also my unofficial form of therapy (as I once wrote about here on The Mary Sue). Anyhow, my point here is that I have been playing Pokémon Go with a fiery fervor since it came out the day before my birthday, and unlike some of you quitters out there, I have not stopped. AND NOW, GEN 2 HAS BEEN RELEASED, SO PLEASE GET OUT OF MY WAY, I HAVE A CHIKORITA TO CATCH! There were also a lot of other changes made my favorite pocket monster app, including more candy bonuses, gendered Pokémon (which means breeding is gonna happen soon, guys!), and more berry types. See all the details over here on this fabulous article from Forbes.

Me RN, tbh Source: Giphy

Me RN, tbh
Source: Giphy

JASON MOMOA GEEKING:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love Jason Momoa. Therefore, I was very excited to see that he an Keanu will be starring in a Mad Max type movie about cannibals and feminism and dystopia. I am not so big on cannibals, but everything else about this, I love. Check the trailer out here, and make up your own mind. The movie will be called The Bad Batch, which I think is a fantastic title, and I’m cautiously optimistic. Also, that was pretty much all the excuse I needed to share some of my excessive amounts of Momoa-GIFS.

Wrong movie, but whatever, it's still a great GIF Source: Giphy

Wrong movie, but whatever, it’s still a great GIF
Source: Giphy

So dreamy wow I am slain Source: Giphy

So dreamy wow I am slain
Source: Giphy

ASGARDIAN ROOMMATE GEEKING:

Like the rest of the MCU-loving world, I am extremely stoked for the next Thor movie. So stoked, in fact, that I joyously spent my Valentine’s Day gorging on sushi and watch Thor 2: The Dark World, but that’s really just some bragging on my part, and mostly unrelated to this. What is related, though, is that a new short video of Thor and his human roommate, Darryl, was released, and it’s comedic gold. Watch it here, and be prepared to suffer from a case of the LOLs.

I like this video. Another! Source: Giphy

I like this video. Another!
Source: Giphy

TACO GEEKING, I GUESS?

I admit to being somewhat flabbergasted by this, but I guess you can get married in a Taco Bell now? I’m sharing this, because like many good geeks, I enjoy stuffing myself full of super-cheap Taco Bell fare, and then wallowing in shame as I absorb the calories into my sedentary, video-game playing body. Anyhow, should this be of interest to you, it looks like the true fans of Fourthmeal can now tie the knot in the Vegas location of Taco Bell, and even get a hot sauce packet bouquet (that part sounds pretty neat, if I’m honest). Get all the deets here.

 

 

That’s it for now. Later, skaters–keep it geeky!

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

 

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Love & Fantasy: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

  • Posted by Nova on Feb 15 2017
by Pam J.
Source: amandabouchet.com

Source: amandabouchet.com

Every now and then, we get to take a mini-vacay from Nova’s incessant fiction addiction, and read outside the Voyager pantheon. (gasp!)  So this starts one of a few new readings series on the blog, with bookish musings, pulled from our own personal bookshelves. Because reading = escapism = important!

Long before binge watching was a thing (thanks, Netflix), I’ve been a serial binge-reader.  Series at a time, over and over.  More often than not, I’ll return to fantasy with romantic elements (the “Kate Daniels” and “Mercy Thompson” series are chronic re-reads; Sarah J. Maas’ novels are newer, but no less tattered for multiple re-readings at this point); strong female protagonists are a must.

My latest indulgence is Amanda Bouchet’s “The Kingmaker Chronicles” (a Rothfussian reference?).  I loved the first book, A Promise of Fire, so much, that I ran into an editor’s office and basically forced her to buy a copy, just so I’d have someone to gush with.  Then came the second book, Breath of Fire, and I had…issues…so I immediately re-read the first, and maybe we’ll just start there.

What’s not to love about A Promise of Fire? It incorporates (albeit loosely) elements of Greek mythology.  There’s a fantastic cirque.  Our heroine has a dark, tortured past.  And a wicked sense of humor.  (Which comes out more frequently when she’s not jammed into a pair of ill-fitting leather pants. C’mon. Haven’t we all been there?)  Hero is a warlord, with, er, barbarian tendencies.  Yassssssss.  Big, burly, gruff.  Oddly into personal hygiene and has a thing for the heroine’s citrus soap, which is decidedly un-barbaric.  But…he can be a bit of a Neanderthal.  Like abduct woman first, ask questions later, Neanderthal.  I definitely have some issues with consent, and the extent of his alpha male-ness; he’s intent upon binding Cat to him, in varied fashions, but Cat seems to have him well in-hand.

Heh.

Now, we spoke about Cat’s dark and mysterious past, briefly. She is actually Catalia Fisa, second in line for the Fisan throne.  Her mother, a.k.a. Alpha Fisa, is “mommy dearest” in the scariest sense of the reference.  This queen is bloodhungry as hell, and so determined to keep her throne that she continually throws her eight children at each other in battles-to-the-death.  (About half of them remain, at least midway through A Promise of Fire.)  Cat got the heck out of Fisa, travelled across the kingdom of Tarva, to finally find sanctuary and anonymity in a circus in Sinta, the southernmost country on this continent plagued by power-hungry magical despots.  Sinta is the only one of the three countries ruled by Hoi Polloi. (Look it up; it means just what you always thought it might.)

The definition. In case you were curious... (Thank you, Google.)

They won the throne by might, not magic.  So, the new ruling family are basically….Muggles in a land filled with Slytherins.  (Sorry for the cross-series lexicon pollination.  It just worked.) Presents problems….especially since Cat is a magical vacuum, who can absorb power from any “Magoi” she comes in contact with.  Our Hulky hero is her opposite: his secret is that magic bounces right off of him.

(Unofficial) Footage of the new ruling family:

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

So, the warlord.  He is, of course, Beta Sinta.  I love that she calls him that, instead of by his first name, Griffin (mythological beast, half lion, half eagle, totally top of the food chain), just to piss him off.  Griffin conquered the heck out of Sinta, sent the magic-users packing, and popped his lovely older sister on the throne.  He is thus free to go about his business, which one might think is plundering and pillaging, given his propensity towards kidnapping innocent circus folk.  But he’s a noble sort, and immediately bonds with Cat, who is certainly NOT going to tell him she’s just as Beta as he is.  In a totally Alpha way.  (These two are the original power couple.)

So, they adventure. There are dragons and drownings and fireworks (metaphorical) and, for the most part, it’s just amazingly romantic and wonderful and epic.  The gods make appearances.  Cerberus shows up, and is a pretty cool guard dog.

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

The book is definitely filled with difficult consent issues, and it’s something that numerous GoodReads users have groped with in their reviews.  He’s a soap-stealing barbarian, all tough on the outside with a melting softspot in his heart for Cat (which doesn’t excuse the “magic rope” incident).  She’s intent on saving/redeeming him, a validation of her Alpha nature.

By the final turn of the page, we are well aware that Cat is the original empowered heroine…but one who is riddled with angsty self-esteem issues.  Those issues of worth come into play in the opening salvo of Breath of Fire, but that is a story for another day…

Reading these books like Source: Giphy

Reading these books like ^^^
Source: Giphy

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