Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cherie Priest Author Interview

Photo Credit: Libby Bulloff

Cherie Priest is the author of 20 books and novellas, most recently the haunted house thriller The Family Plot, the acclaimed gothic horror stories Chapelwood and Maplecroft, and the hit young adult project I Am Princess X. But she is perhaps best known for the steampunk pulp adventures of the Clockwork Century, beginning with Boneshaker.Boneshaker was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award; it was a PNBA Award winner, and winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Cherie also wrote Bloodshot and Hellbent from Bantam Spectra; Fathom and the Eden Moore series from Tor; and three novellas for Subterranean Press. In addition to all of the above, her first foray into George R. R. Martin’s superhero universe, Fort Freak (for which she wrote the interstitial mystery), debuted in the summer of 2011. Her short stories and nonfiction articles have appeared in such fine publications as Weird Tales, Publishers Weekly, and numerous anthologies – and her books have been translated into nine languages in eleven countries. These days, she lives in a nifty old house in Chattanooga, TN, with her husband and a menagerie of exceedingly photogenic pets.


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Stories give us tools to navigate the real world; they teach us how to become better at being ourselves.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m scared to death of sloths. Adult ones. Baby ones are okay. Don’t ask me why; there isn’t a logical reason. Something about their freaky little hook-hands, and spooky ghost faces. ::shudders::

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 can’t possibly pick just one. No, seriously. It’s like asking me to name a famous blonde. I am paralyzed by the sheer scope of all the possibilities.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The 5-paragraph essay. Quick and dirty, but gets the job done every time, in a pinch.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Save your receipts.

Can you tell us when you started BRIMSTONE, how that came about?
I used to live near Cassadaga, and always thought it sounded like a fascinating place; but my ultra-religious family never let me visit. (I was a kid at the time.) One day, I realized I was an adult with a credit card and a drivers license and I could go check it out for myself. It’s a lovely little town, and I left feeling very protective of it.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I spent one summer pounding the pavement, petitioning to legalize gambling in the state of Florida. (Or to get it onto the ballot, anyway.) My cousin and I got paid (and paid very well, actually) out of this sketchy office in Tampa, run by some Italian dudes from New York. When we went to pick up our last paycheck, the FBI had closed down the office—and there were officers everywhere. My cousin and I just drove off.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heartbreak, or having never loved at all?
I honestly don’t know. It would depend on the context, I guess.

When was the last time you cried?
I don’t know, but it probably had something to do with a shelter animal finally getting its forever home.

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

The 19-teens. Because then I would’ve been young and crazy for the 1920s J

Tell me about your first kiss.
His name was Matt. We both lived at the same apartment complex; we met down at the pool one night. I don’t think I ever saw him again. No big loss, tbh.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
I wrote a little letter to a school librarian a week or two ago. A student had asked me via email if I had any copies of I Am Princess X (a young adult title of mine), because her school only had one and she was a slow reader. I had some extras, so I passed them along with the note.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I don’t remember. I’ve flown a great deal; my dad was in the army, and my parents divorced when I was five years old. I flew back and forth between them a lot, to and from many different places.

A new dark historical fantasy from the supremely gifted * Cherie Priest, author of Maplecroft and Boneshaker.

In the trenches of Europe during the Great War, Tomas Cordero operated a weapon more devastating than any gun: a flame projector that doused the enemy in liquid fire. Having left the battlefield a shattered man, he comes home to find yet more tragedy for in his absence, his wife has died of the flu. Haunted by memories of the woman he loved and the atrocities he perpetrated, Tomas dreams of fire and finds himself setting match to flame when awake....

Alice Dartle is a talented clairvoyant living among others who share her gifts in the community of Cassadaga, Florida. She too dreams of fire, knowing her nightmares are connected to the shell-shocked war veteran and widower. And she believes she can bring peace to him and his wife s spirit.

But the inferno that threatens to consume Tomas and Alice was set ablaze centuries ago by someone whose hatred transcended death itself.... *Christopher Golden, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author"

Praise for BRIMSTONE

[Starred Review] In this pitch-perfect penny dreadful, Priest (The Family Plot) evokes the strangeness and charm of early-19th-century Florida and the fortitude of two spectacular protagonists. Alice Dartle, making a daring bid for freedom from her family home in Norfolk, Va., dreams of a man surrounded by fire. She journeys to join a community of Spiritualists in Cassadaga, Fla. where she hopes to learn how to control her natural psychic abilities. Tomás Cordero is a war veteran who’s just returned home to Ybor City, Fla., where he’s plagued by uncanny fires that seem determined to destroy all he loves. The two are brought together by powers beyond their understanding, which they must face armed only with universal love and compassion. Priest wields a brilliant command of the delightful and the frightening in this enchanting tale. Though spooky and dangerous events abound, each less logical than the last, she holds tightly to the theme that these events are rooted in human will. The detailed extrapolation of Spiritualist beliefs into reality makes the story even more terrifying than if it had a supernatural villain driving the chaos. The conclusion is both uplifting and satisfying, a fitting reward for the protagonists, who have each sought only to give help and love to those in need. (Apr.) Publishers Weekly

Brimstone is a spellbinding historical fantasy that ignites empathy…Cherie Priest is a deft storyteller in any genre, and history really does come alive when she puts pen to paper. Brimstone, in particular, will appeal to those who enjoy a bit of strange history to go along with their magic. Barnes and Noble’s sci-fi and fantasy blog.

[4 Stars] Priest has a knack for writing likable, well-rounded characters and putting them through some unpleasant, creepy events. The bourbon-loving, easily flustered psychic Alice might be the author’s most purely endearing protagonist yet, and Tomas, the stricken but resolute tailor, is tremendously easy to root for as well. The depictions of the various fires and some other events are vivid and at times wince-inducing. While the immediate narrative here is wrapped up nicely, readers may wish for some return trips to this version of Cassadaga, FL. Romantic Times

Priest (Boneshaker, 2009) offers a textured period piece set in the spiritualist camp of Cassadaga, Florida, in 1920. Alice Dartle is a powerful but untrained medium who has left Virginia in hopes of education in Cassadaga. She dreams of a man who turns out to be Tomás Cordero, a Cuban-American veteran in a distant town, who has been experiencing unexplained fires—both in dreams and in real life—which he fervently hopes are messages from his dead wife. Unfortunately, more sinister forces are at work. An ancient and malevolent spirit may be using Tomás for its own ends, putting all Cassadaga at risk. Alice and Tomás must work with a strong supporting cast of characters to address the threat. Priest weaves intriguing historical detail throughout this slowly intensifying tale of darkness, fire, and the power of human connection. Recommended for fans of Joe Hill, otherworldly suspense, and stories with a strong sense of place and history. Booklist

Cherie Priest is perhaps best known for her Hugo- and Nebula-nominated Clockwork Century series—a bombastic steampunk explosion of alternate history America, air pirates, and zombie epidemics. It’s fun with a capital F. It’s also a far cry from her latest novel, Brimstone, which trades airships for clairvoyants and chihuahuas, and the threat of toxic gas for more personal demons. It’s not a departure for Priest, as it piggybacks off of Priest’s unrelated 2016 novel, The Family Plot—a similarly haunting portrait of Americana—but it is another feather in her cap, as she continues to prove herself one of the most versatile writers of American speculative fiction. … With its unique mix of Americana, post-war themes, likeable characters, and swift plot, Brimstone is easy to recommend.

Full of charm and care, with light-hearted fun woven gently into compassionate renderings of sorrow and loss, Brimstone is equal parts affectionate romp and affecting story — not least because, given the state of the world, it’s good to read books in which hate is scarier than ghosts, love is stronger than hate, and witches simply refuse to burn. NPR Book Reviews

You can purchase Brimstone at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHERIE PRIEST for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Brimstone by Cherie Priest.


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