James Gunn

TRANSFORMATION Official Nerd Blast

A.J. Hartley

FIREBRAND Official Nerd Blast

Michael Johnston

SOLERI

Jenna Black

NIGHT MAGIC

Kathleen Baldwin

REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS

Sierra Cross

IGNITE Official Nerd Blast

Stewart Lewis

STEALING CANDY

Adam Christopher

KILLING IS MY BUSINESS Official Nerd Blast

Cora Carmack

ROAR Official Nerd Blast

Michael Johnston

SOLERI Official Blog Tour

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Spotlight Sunday: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh


Book Nerd Spotlight

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires. 

Praise for FLAME IN THE MIST

“[A]n elaborate fantasy set in feudal Japan . . . Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn) is immensely skilled at crafting vibrant settings inhabited by sympathetic characters with rich pasts . . . readers will enthusiastically anticipate the next installment.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Ahdieh’s first duology (begun with The Wrath and the Dawn, 2015) propelled her to the top of the charts, and this new series starter brings that same blend of history, magic, and sensuality that drew readers in the first place.”—Booklist

“This story . . . will undoubtedly enthrall readers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Rich in magical realism and cultural nuance of feudal Japan, Ahdieh’s series starter begins with a girl-power bang. . . . A wonderful choice for YA shelves, especially where lush fantasy is popular.”—School Library Journal

“[A] fun feudal samurai drama. . . . an action-packed and well-paced young adult novel.”—The Washington Post

You can purchase Flame in the Mist at the following Retailers:
    


Author Spotlight
Photo Credit: Crystal Stokes

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. In my spare time, I like to cook, mess with makeup, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop


Book Nerd 
Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop
Hosted by Book Hounds

Praise for A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

"Some alliances are still dangerous--recruiting monsters to fight the monstrous is always a dicey proposition--and double agents abound. Side characters' romantic storylines are interwoven with the strategizing and even the war, pairing the expanded world with extended action sequences and character revelations, and the conclusion's ramifications will be felt in the next installments." ―Kirkus Reviews

"Passionate, violent, sexy and daring. . . . A true page-turner, A Court of Thorns and Roses will envelop you in its telling, intriguing and delighting you in turn. . . . Not to be missed!" USA Today 

"Suspense, romance, intrigue and action. This is not a book to be missed!" Huffington Post 

"Author Sarah J. Maas delivers what may be her best work to date in the fairy tale-inspired A Court of Thorns and Roses. Enchanting, spellbinding and imaginative." USA Today 

"Simply dazzles. . . . the clamor for a sequel will be deafening." Booklist 

Praise for A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

"A thrilling game changer that's fiercely romantic, irresistibly sexy and hypnotically magical. . . . A flawless sequel that will once again leave us desperately clamoring for more, more, more." USA Today 

"[T]he world is exquisitely crafted, the large cast of secondary characters fleshed out, the action intense, and the twist ending surprising, heartrending, and, as always, sure to guarantee readers' return. . . . When has Maas not churned out a best-seller? Her ongoing Throne of Glass series is enormously popular, and this sequel in an equally devoured new series is primed for similar success." Booklist 

"An immersive, satisfying read." Publishers Weekly 

"Hits the spot for fans of dark, lush, sexy fantasy."Kirkus Reviews 



A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

You can purchase A Court of Wings and Ruin at the following Retailers:
    

And now, The Giveaways.
1 Winner will receive a copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.
A Court of Wings and Ruin will be purchased through Book Depository.

Click the Banner below for my Giveaways:

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Anne Corlett Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview
Photo Content from Penguin Random House

Anne is originally from the north-east, but somehow slid down the map and finished up in the south-west. She now lives near Bath with her partner and three young sons.

Anne returned to writing in 2011 after many years working as a criminal lawyer in London. This was slightly unfortunate timing, given that she was right in the middle of relocating to Somerset with her family who seemed to feel that a little less novel-writing and a little more packing might be warranted. They probably had a point.

Over the next couple of years Anne began to build a career as a freelance writer, fitting this work in around her day job as a solicitor. In 2012 she met her agent, Lisa Eveleigh, at the York Festival of Writing. Since then her work has been published in various magazines and anthologies and her short fiction has won, placed or been shortlisted in various national and international awards.

In 2014 Anne began an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her initial MA novel was put on hold after a trip back up to the Northumberland coast triggered the idea for The Space Between the Stars which was acquired by Pan Macmillan in January 2016. It is currently available as an e-book on all platforms, and will be released in hardback on 1 June in the UK and 13 June in the US.


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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I think there was a moment when I realised that I could be. I was in primary school and I wrote a story that the teachers all raved about, and it was read out in the senior school assembly. I still have it somewhere!

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

I think it helps us make sense of our own lives and the things that happen to us. The books I love the most are the ones that constantly make you think ‘Yes! That’s just what it’s like.’ When it comes down to it, every book, every story is about what it means to be human. Even if the main characters are aliens or animals or animate toasters, we can only imagine them through the framework of human senses and emotions.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

My MA tutor, Maggie Gee, spent a lot of time trying to get me to pare back my writing. At the time I found it counter-intuitive, but I can now see how much better it is to say something in 10 words rather than 50!

In new your book; THE SPACE BETWEEN THE STARS, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

The Space Between the Stars is the story of a woman who has always craved space – both physical and emotional. At the start of the book she finds herself entirely alone and starts to question where the line falls between having space and having nothing. She does find other survivors of the virus that has decimated humanity, and she begins a long journey back to her old home on the Northumberland coast. Over the course of the journey she comes to terms with some of the events of her past, and begins to understand how those events have shaped her.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?


I’m currently working on a novel set in an alternative version of London, and centered around the world of immersive theatre.

What part of Jamie did you enjoy writing the most?

Probably the short memory passages. There were originally several more incidents from Jamie’s past, but not all of them made it into the final draft. I know a lot more about Jamie’s life story than I could fit into the book, so picking out the most important moments was a useful exercise in cutting and pruning – Maggie Gee would approve!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I think I’d like Daniel to meet Offred from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Daniel is part of an attempt to rebuild society by restricting personal freedom in favour of the survival of the human race. Issues of fertility and reproduction are at the heart of the decisions made by the new regime, and Daniel clearly believes that he is doing the right thing. If he could sit down and talk to Offred, the victim of a society that has taken the restriction of reproductive freedom to a terrifying extreme, he might come to understand the dangerous path along which they are heading.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

The more you write, the more you learn about yourself as a writer. I find myself coming back to the same themes and ideas over and over, but I didn’t start to recognize these patterns until I had a fair body of completed work.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

I tend to want to hibernate when I’m having a bad day! But if I do feel like talking and it’s a writing-related bad day, I have a couple of writer friends who will always offer a sympathetic ear.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

My first ever job was on a stall in a large shopping centre. It was outside the Disney Store, and by the end of the summer I was pretty much word perfect in every single Disney song. Even the obscure ones. I could probably still recite the lyrics of the entire Pocahuntas soundtrack.

What is your greatest adventure?

Probably the road to publication.

When was the last time you cried?

I’m not a big crier, but I did have a fit of wailing not long ago when I suddenly realised that launch day was less than a week away and people were actually going to read the book, with everything that goes with that. Irrational, I know!

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I’m not sure. In some ways it would be interesting to be a teenager in the hi-tech twenty-first century, but I suspect that the rise of the internet and social media has made all those difficult teenage issues even more fraught and all-encompassing.

Where can readers find you?

Online or in real life? My website is at www.annecorlett.co.uk. In real life, I spend a lot of time writing in the café in one of the local bookshops. Usually at the table in the corner near the window.



In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be...

Praise for THE SPACE BETWEEN THE STARS

“With its unique plot and luminous prose, it’s hard to believe that The Space Between the Stars is a debut novel. Anne Corlett understands the complexities and frailties of the human heart and captures it brilliantly on the page. Don’t let the setting fool you—this is a story for any age, combining love, loss, grief, hope, and possibilities all in one delicious book. Definitely one for my keeper shelf.”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Night the Lights Went Out

“Anne Corlett is a writer with huge potential, and I’m looking forward to her future works.”—Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

“[A] fast-moving and gripping ‘end of the worlds’ tale focused on the efforts of flawed survivors to ensure the end is not the end of humanity.”—Jack Campbell, New York Times bestselling author of Vanguard

“An original thinker and a very, very effective writer.”—Fay Weldon, author of Before the War

You can purchase The Space Between the Stars at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Anne and Penguin Random House for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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{Nerd Blast} Killing is My Business by Adam Christopher



Series: Ray Electromatic Mysteries (Book 4)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (July 25, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765379201
ISBN-13: 978-0765379207


Praise for KILLING IS MY BUSINESS

"Hits hard, spins your head around, and leaves you stunned. The Ray Electromatic mysteries are so freakin’ perfect you’d think robot hitmen and retro supercomputers had always been part of noir fiction.”—Peter Clines, author of Paradox Bound and The Fold

"Humor, action, and heart: everything I've come to expect from an Adam Christopher book, and then some. A marvelous read!"—New York Times bestseller Jason M. Hough, author of Zero World

“Delivers like a punch from a two-ton robot in a zoot suit.”—Delilah Dawson 

"Atmospheric and charming as hell. Adam Christopher has an extraordinary talent for scooping you up and dropping you into an alternative LA that feels just as real as thestreet outside your house."—Emma Newman

Praise for the RAY ELECTROMATIC MYSTERIES

"Robot noir in 60s Los Angeles? You had me at 'Hello.'"—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling novelist

"Gripping, funny, deadly and suspenseful."—Boing Boing

“Delivers like a punch from a two-ton robot in a zoot suit.”—Lila Bowen (aka Delilah Dawson)

"The dialogue is effortlessly swift and clever, and even the B-movie climax is a spectacle to behold. Above that, though, Ray sparks to live, and his antiheroic slant only makes him that much more compelling and and sympathetic. Knowing that there are only two more Raymond Electromatic mysteries to come is the book's only disappointment."—NPR

"Genre mash-ups don't always succeed, but this one will please fans of both gumshoes and laser beams."—Publishers Weekly

"A fun, fast read for anyone willing to take the speculative leap--a must-add for most fiction collections."—Booklist (starred review)

"Made to Kill is yet more proof that we should all be thankful for Adam Christopher and his imagination. This tale of robot noir is unlike anything I’ve ever read—Adam’s is a weird and wonderful voice and we are lucky to have it."—Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Aftermath

"Adam Christopher has brilliantly deduced what should have been obvious all along: Classic noir and robots are a perfect match. Part Chandler, part Asimov, and part Philip K. Dick, Made to Kill is a rip-roaring cocktail of smart, sharp, twisty, cyber-pulp awesomeness."—Adam Sternbaugh, author of Shovel Ready

"Made to Kill is just the sort of exciting genre collision that marks out Adam Christopher as one of the hottest new young SF writers."—Paul Cornell, author of The Severed Streets

"A smart, rollicking noir/SF mashup. One of the best books I've read all year."—Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself


Official Nerd Blast for Killing is My Business by Adam Christopher

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A blend of science fiction and stylish mystery noir featuring a robot detective: the stand alone sequel to Made to Kill

Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape for intrepid PI-turned-hitman--and last robot left in working order-- Raymond Electromatic. When his comrade-in-electronic-arms, Ada, assigns a new morning roster of clientele, Ray heads out into the LA sun, only to find that his skills might be a bit rustier than he expected....

Killing is My Business is the latest in Christopher's noir oeuvre, hot on the heels of the acclaimed Made to Kill.


Killing is My Business
Chapter 1
Listen to this:

Vaughan Delaney was a planner for the city of Los Angeles. He occupied a position high enough up the ladder that it entitled him to an office at an equally high altitude in a tall building downtown that was home to a number of other local government desks. The office came with a salary that was high for a city employee but nothing to write a favorite uncle about, and a view that was simply to die for.

Vaughan Delaney was forty-two years old and he liked suits that were a light blue-gray in color. He carried a buckskin briefcase that wasn’t so much battered as nicely worn in. On his head he liked to position a fedora that was several shades darker than his suit. The hat had a brim that looked at first glance to be a little wide for the kind of hat that a city planner would wear, but Vaughan Delaney did not break the rules, neither in his job nor in his private life. He had a position a lot of people envied, along with the life that went along with it, and he stuck rigidly within the boundaries of both.

Actually, that wasn’t quite true. Because the one thing that didn’t fit Vaughan Delaney was his car.

His car was 1957 Plymouth Fury, a mobile work of art in red and white with enough chrome to blind oncoming traffic on the bright and sunny mornings that were not uncommon in this part of California. The machine had fins like you wouldn’t believe and when the brake lights lit you’d think they were rocket motors. It was the kind of car you could fly to the moon in, only when you got to the moon you’d cast one eye on the fuel gauge and you’d pat the wheel with your kidskin-gloved hand, admiring the fuel economy as you pointed the scarlet hood off somewhere toward Jupiter and pressed the loud pedal.

It was a great car and it was in perfect shape. Factory fresh. It was getting on for ten years old but Vaughan Delaney had looked after it well.

And, I had to admit, that car caught my optics. It wasn’t jealousy—I liked my own car well enough, a Buick that was a satisfying ride, functional and elegant and with a few optional extras you wouldn’t find outside a science laboratory.

No, what I had for the red Plymouth Fury was something else. Admiration, and admiration for Vaughan Delaney too. He was every element the city man but that car was a jack-rabbit. Perhaps it was his mid-life crisis. Perhaps he was telling the city to go take a jump while he sat shuffling papers in his nice office with his sensible suit and practical hat. Look what I get to drive to the office in the morning, he said. Look at what I get to drive out to lunch every Wednesday. Look what I get to drive home in the evening. It was the kind of car that people would lean out of the office windows to take a look at, and Vaughan Delaney did every bit to help, the way he parked the red-and-white lightning bolt right outside the office door.

Because Vaughan Delaney had reached a certain level within the city hierarchy that allowed him to pick his own secretary based on the color of her hair and the length of her skirt and he was not a man who had to walk very far from his car to his desk.

He was also a family man. When the Plymouth Fury wasn’t outside the office or being driven to lunch on Wednesdays it lived in a two-car garage that sat next to a modest but modern bungalow in Gray Lake. Next to the Fury was commonly parked a yellow vehicle that General Motors had shooed out the door without much of a fuss, a rectangular lozenge on wheels with whitewall tires shining and seat belt tight and the sense of humor removed for safety reasons.

This was not a car to take much of an interest in. It belonged to Vaughan Delaney’s wife. Her name was Cindy Delaney.

Cindy Delaney loved her husband and let him know by kissing him on the cheek each and every morning before her husband went to work. The children loved him too. There were two of those, a boy and a girl, and both of them had blond hair like their mother and they were both a decade shy of joining the army and both of them kissed their father on the cheek each and every morning like their mother did, the only difference being that Vaughan Delaney had to go down on one knee so they could smell his aftershave. Then he blasted off in the Plymouth Fury and the quiet street in Gray Lake was quiet once more until Cindy Delaney took the children to school in the yellow boat and then came back again twenty minutes later. Then she put on a housecoat to keep her dress clean and she drove a vacuum over the bungalow while her husband drove a desk down in the city.

They were a nice family. Middle class, middle income, middle ambition. The children would grow up and the boy would play football at high school with his parents watching and the girl would play flute in the school orchestra with her parents watching and all was right with the world.

I knew all of this because I’d been watching Vaughan Delaney for three weeks. I’d been to the street in Gray Lake and had sat in my car and I’d watched life in and around the bungalow. I’d been to the office building downtown and had sat in my car and watched the Plymouth Fury come in for landing and Vaughan Delaney hop, skip, and jump up the stairs into the building and then waltz down the same steps some eight hours later.

Vaughan Delaney looked like a swell guy with a good job and a nice car and a happy family.

It was just a shame that he had to die.

Excerpted from Killing is My Business © Adam Christopher, 2017

You can purchase Killing is My Business at the following Retailers:
 


Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Credit: Lou Abercrombie

Adam Christopher’s debut novel EMPIRE STATE was SciFiNow’s Book of the Year and a Financial Times Book of the Year. The author of MADE TO KILL, STANDARD HOLLYWOOD DEPRAVITY, and KILLING IS MY BUSINESS, Adam’s other novels include SEVEN WONDERS, THE AGE ATOMIC, and THE BURNING DARK.

Adam has also written the official tie-in novels for the hit CBS television show ELEMENTARY, and the award-winning DISHONORED video game franchise, and with Chuck Wendig, wrote THE SHIELD for Dark Circle/Archie Comics. Adam is also a contributor to the STAR WARS: FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW 40th anniversary anthology.

Born in New Zealand, Adam has lived in Great Britain since 2006.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Michael Johnston Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview
Photo Credit: Cathryn Farnsworth

Michael Johnston was born in 1973 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child and a teen he was an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy. He studied architecture and ancient history at Lehigh University and during a lecture on the history of ancient Egypt, the seed of an idea was born. He earned a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University, graduating at the top of his class. Michael worked as an architect in New York City before moving to Los Angeles. Sparked by the change of locale, a visit to the desert, and his growing dissatisfaction with the architectural industry, he sought a way to merge his interests in architecture and history with his love of fantasy. By day he worked as an architect, but by night he wrote and researched an epic fantasy novel inspired by the history of ancient Egypt and the tragic story of King Lear. After working this way for several years, he shut down his successful architecture practice and resolved to write full time. He now lives and writes in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

You can find Michael on twitter @mjohnstonauthor

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Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (June 13, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765386488
ISBN-13: 978-0765386489


Praise for SOLERI

"Soleri is bloody and utterly epic. A huge saga in a rich and deeply original world.” ―Lev GrossmanNew York Times bestselling author

“Prepare to be ensnared in a web of ruthless politics and unbridled ambition, where even the authority of the emperor may be based on an ancient deception. Johnston builds an immersive world with elements of Egyptian and Roman history, myth, and religion. This story seethes with twists and turns, betrayals and secrets, and will keep you guessing until the very last page.” ―Cinda Williams ChimaNew York Times bestselling author




Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

My background as an architect drives a lot of my writing. I am fascinated by new worlds and new places. As architects, we imagine environments. We conceive and build places where people live and work. But the narrative is fixed in architecture. We already know the story. The building will be a museum. People will go there and see modern art or ancient relics. We know the script and we build the world to suit it.

I found this a bit frustrating. I wanted to be an architect without a client, a designer whose buildings didn’t know their stories, not yet at least. I wanted a bit a freedom. In Soleri, our characters navigate a lot exotic environments. Some of them are built and others are natural. But in each I had the complete freedom to invent the history of that location, to design the exotic rituals that occur in these places, and to build ancient and complex structures with elegant pasts, places my characters explore and discover, just as the reader will hopefully do the same.

Tell us your latest news.

Soleri is my debut Epic Fantasy novel. It’s my first book for adults and it hits the shelves on June 13th. I’ve worked on Soleri for seven years. So I hope people enjoy it and appreciate the time and research that was put into the work.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?

I’ll answer both with one book, Dune. Dune was the first novel that wound its way deep into my thoughts, lodging itself there and sticking. It’s a book that stayed with me. And I’ll provide some examples. There were the mantras, the Bene Gesserit litany against fear (I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer….). That one never left me. The book also had a strong environment message. After I read Dune, I never looked at water in the same way. It was as if those words had placed a lens in front of my world; it changed the way I saw my environment. It’s the book that made me turn off the faucet when it wasn’t needed. And Dune is also a great epic. In a way, it’s an epic fantasy told on a grand, galactic scale. It’s science and fantasy. It’s bold and complex and political.

Did you learn anything from writing SOLERI and what was it?

I can’t list everything I learned. And anyone who says they didn’t learn a countless number of things from each novel they write just isn’t trying hard enough. I learn something new each time I write. Some of these things come from research, some from the practice of writing itself. I read a lot of history. I read about architecture, sociology, anthropology. I try to learn something new each day and put it into the work.

For those who are unfamiliar with Ren, how would you introduce him?

Ren is one of the five point of view characters in Soleri. He is the son of a powerful king and heir to that man’s kingdom. But there is a twist. The boy has never met his family. He grew up a slave and a servant of the empire, an imperial tribute. But, when he is at last given his freedom and the chance to claim the kingdom that rightfully belongs to him, Ren discovers that the path to his throne might not be as straight forward or as easy to achieve as he had hoped. He has a strong will, but also a melancholy heart. The boy has suffered much. We experience the joy he finds when he at last achieves his freedom, and we feel his heartbreak as well when he discovers the challenges that lay before him.

What part of Merit did you enjoy writing the most?


Merit is another of the five point of view characters in Soleri. She is the sister of Ren, but she has led a very different life and so she’s a very different person. As a character, Merit was a challenge to write. She has a personality that is very different from mine, but I based her off of someone I know quite well. I often like to relate each of my characters to someone I know in real life, it helps me keep each character consistent and it gives them a certain depth.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing SOLERI?

I think I’ll go with Arko, the king and patriarch of the Hark-Wadi family. His personality is actually the closest to my own. Given the character’s temperament and fate, some who have read the book may find this a bit surprising. He is a grim fellow and he suffers from more than one fault. But he is also the most realistic character in the book and the most flawed. He makes mistakes and he doesn’t always recover from errors. He is a character who is sometimes frustrating to read and to write as well. We feel for Arko. We want him to overcome each of his flaws, but he doesn’t always have the will to do it. Arko is the sort of character most authors avoid. He fumbles, makes errors, behaves poorly and seldom redeems himself. Soleri is a book about collapse. It’s about the end of an empire and the end of a family. The two are tied. And neither have a happy ending.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?


Read the book from start to finish. This isn’t a novel the reader can sample or skim. There are deep secrets, huge earth-shattering reversals, and they will only resonate if the reader takes the time to carefully read the entire novel. I’ve read dozens of reviews that are based simply on the synopsis and a quick skim of the first one hundred pages. Readers and reviewers need to take the time to read the whole novel to truly understand all the twists, so I hope they will stick with me.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

I wish I could remember.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?

To Italy, Venice to be exact!

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I’m okay with the 80’s (when I was a teenager). It was a weird and interesting time. We had video games and the threat of total nuclear annihilation. If I had to choose another decade I suppose it might be the 1940s. The world was on fire and that must have been something to witness.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

I want to go back to bed.

Where can readers find you?

At twitter: @mjohnstonauthor
On the web: http://michaeljohnstonauthor.com

TEN FACTS ABOUT SOLERI 

1. It is inspired by both King Lear and ancient Egyptian history.

2. I spent seven years writing the novel. I know, it’s a long time, a really long time and I did work on a few other projects during that period. Soleri was on the backburner at times, but the plot and the characters never left my head. It all started in 2010 and it’s a big relief to finally see the book hit the shelves in 2017!

3. The whole history of visionary architecture from Piranesi to Étienne-Louis Boullée is hidden in the background of Soleri, but you won’t recognize these great structures unless you research the work. Call them Easter eggs. The book is full of them.

4. Soleri is a completely fictional world, but much of it is based on ancient Egypt.

5. The ancient Egyptians were the first to invent the yearly calendar. Before then people based their calendars on lunar cycle, which didn’t work that well. The Egyptians created a calendar with three hundred and sixty-five days. They didn’t have a leap year, but they were otherwise pretty close to finding the true length of the year. They also knew that their calendar was slightly off so over the centuries they shifted the length of the year to account for what we now call a leap year. They also had twelve months in their calendar, but they only had three weeks and each week had ten days. Anyone who is good at math will realize that this system leaves five days unaccounted for. Those five missing days are very important to the plot of Soleri. Just imagine it, five days that exist outside of time!

6. I made the map that is featured in the front of the novel and I spent years working and revising it, sometimes letting it inform the plot and at other times tweaking it to fit the story. But for the most part the geography remained almost unchanged throughout the process. I often felt as if the world was already built and our characters were simply inhabiting it. Check out the e-book. It has a color version of the map!

7. There were originally six rather than five point of view characters in the book. One character was taken out completely. I think his story would make a perfect novella. His plot line is just over a hundred pages and I’d love to publish it.

8. Soleri is the first book in a duology. It’s a rare form, but it has been done in the past. Hyperion by Dan Simmons is the most notable example. I think it’s a great format. Our readers don’t have to wade through ten novels to reach the final conflict. The story mostly wraps up in two novels, but there is one thread I left hanging for a second duology.

9. The phrase “May you share the sun’s fate” is used throughout the book and has several meanings in the series. It’s a key phrase and it’s actually from ancient Egypt. Those words were inscribed on the top of an actual pyramid.

10. Soleri is my passion project, the one I kept working on until I thought it was perfect. It’s difficult to release that sort of thing into the world. Every criticism hurts, every remark is taken as a slight, but I put a lot into the novel and I truly hope that people love it!



Michael Johnston brings you the first in a new epic fantasy series inspired by ancient Egyptian history and King Lear.

The ruling family of the Soleri Empire has been in power longer than even the calendars that stretch back 2,826 years. Those records tell a history of conquest and domination by a people descended from gods, older than anything in the known world. No living person has seen them for centuries, yet their grip on their four subjugate kingdoms remains tighter than ever.

On the day of the annual eclipse, the Harkan king, Arko-Hark Wadi, sets off on a hunt and shirks his duty rather than bow to the emperor. Ren, his son and heir, is a prisoner in the capital, while his daughters struggle against their own chains. Merit, the eldest, has found a way to stand against imperial law and marry the man she desires, but needs her sister’s help, and Kepi has her own ideas.

Meanwhile, Sarra Amunet, Mother Priestess of the sun god’s cult, holds the keys to the end of an empire and a past betrayal that could shatter her family.

Detailed and historical, vast in scope and intricate in conception, Soleri bristles with primal magic and unexpected violence. It is a world of ancient and elaborate rites, of unseen power and kingdoms ravaged by war, where victory comes with a price, and every truth conceals a deeper secret.


You can purchase Soleri at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Michael and TOR Books for making this giveaway possible.
10 Winners will receive a Signed Signed ARC Copy of Soleri by Michael Johnston.



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