Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fran Wilde Author Interview

Photo Credit: Steven Gould

Fran Wilde’s novels and short stories have been nominated for two Nebula awards and a Hugo, and include her Andre Norton- and Compton-Crook-winning debut novel, Updraft (Tor 2015), its sequels, Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017), and the novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” (Tor.com Publishing 2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She writes for publications including The Washington Post, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, iO9.com, and GeekMom.com. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at franwilde.net.


Series: Bone Universe (Book 3)
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (September 26, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076537787X
ISBN-13: 978-0765377876

Praise for THE BONE UNIVERSE Series

"Wilde’s fantastical trilogy (after Cloudbound) takes on violent political divisions, ecological desolation, and the imminent death of the only world the characters have ever known....Fans of the series will be satisfied by its conclusion." ―Publishers Weekly on Horizon

“A fantastic follow-up to Updraft―I liked it better than its predecessor, particularly for what it says about the politics of fear and prejudice, and how giving people what they want isn't always the best thing." ―Aliette de Bodard, award-winning author of House of Shattered Wings, on Cloudbound

"A thrilling and complex tale about the most difficult stage of a revolution: what do you do after you win? Highly recommended both for the story it tells as well as how it tells that story. Wilde takes risks that pay off hugely.” ―Ken Liu, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Grace of Kings, on Cloudbound

"A book that’s impossible to put down. [Wilde has] planted herself firmly in the “authors to watch” category." ―Andrew Liptak on Updraft

"The world of the towers grown from bone, where residents strap on wings and soar the air currents, is captivating...Kirit’s journey to find her place is satisfying, but the real draw is a world that readers will be anxious to revisit in future volumes of this exciting new series." ―Library Journal, starred review, on Updraft

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Ha! There’s a very earnest poem from me about winter in my elementary school’s newspaper. It’s four lines long and absolutely insistent that winter is fun. Even then, I think I knew that words had power. I wasn’t wrong about winter, either.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
I’d spent a lot of time after college working in writing adjacent industries: proofreading, editing, graphic design, teaching, programming, and game design. I wrote a lot during that time, but didn’t finish anything. In part, that was because I didn’t think what I was writing was good enough to finish. In part I – and others -- always had something for me to do that seemed more important.

In 2010, I realized that if I didn’t put my writing first, no one else would either. And I started finishing stories, even if I thought they weren’t good. Turns out, I need to finish a story in order to understand how to revise it. And once I gave myself the time to do that, I started writing better stories. And selling them. And that’s when I knew I was on the right track.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Finish your stories.

In your book; HORIZON, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Horizon is the third book in the Bone Universe series. The first, Updraft, is about voice – who is heard, who gets to speak. The second, Cloudbound, is about leadership – who should lead, how to lead, why to lead. Horizon is, at its heart, about community – the value in it, and the rebuilding of it. And all of them are about flying and falling, monsters and mayhem. And wings and wind and song.

What part of Kirit did you enjoy writing the most?
The flight scenes. The fight scenes. And the part where Kirit kind of took off on her own with the narrative, and blew right past my outline. She’s done that in every book she’s had a role in. Stubborn, headstrong character. I’m going to miss writing her.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’ve just finished a middle grade book and am working on another. As well, I’m working on two fantasy novellas for Tor.com Publishing to follow The Jewel and Her Lapidary. And I have a new short story out at Uncanny Magazine called “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” which is pretty scary.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Probably Kirit and Nat – I’d love to introduce them to Chrisjen Avarsarala and Naomi Nagata from Leviathan Wakes/The Expanse. In part because I think that world would blow their minds and also because I think Kirit and Nat would really like Naomi and Chrisjen.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing the BONE UNIVERSE?
Oh gosh, that’s a “who’s your favorite child” question. Ceil, for certain – she grew from a side character to an intrinsic one. Elna. Kirit for sure. Nat.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Write what interests you most, and what you enjoy. Readers can tell if you’re bored.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My sister or my best friend. But it’s text, not calling. I’m not a big phone person.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
Teaching sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
Learning to sail on the Chesapeake Bay. I wrote about it here

When was the last time you cried?
Two nights ago, watching Wonder Woman run across No-Man’s Land with the Urchin (my own wonderkid).

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I like the 80s and 90s. They were pretty amazing. The music too.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
Tuck Everlasting, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Annotated Alice, The Earthsea Trilogy. Anything that swept me up and took me on a journey          

A City of living Bone towers crumbles to the ground and danger surrounds. Kirit Densira has lost everything she loved the most―her mother, her home, and the skies above. Nat Brokenwings―once Kirit's brother long before the rebellion tore them apart―is still trying to save his family in the face of catastrophe. They will need to band together once more to ensure not just own survival, but that of their entire community.


“Put five more guards in the air,” I ordered. “Tell six to come here.” We had twenty guards, counting myself.

I lifted the net and took Urie’s wings. “Make any disturbance, and you will not be with us long,” I warned.

The fear in his brown eyes gave me pause. He was barely older than some of my flight students. I didn’t like scaring fledges. But these were difficult times. The young man—an infiltrator? a traitor?—nodded his understanding. He curled up in his robe, bound and miserable.

The overnight breeze shifted to a brisk predawn gust. The best traders had always flown around the city’s outer edge in the early morning when the winds were fastest. Today’s wind snapped Mondarath’s makeshift market banners gleefully, and buffeted the few birds we had remaining.

But the wind carried on its back a taint, familiar and dreaded: smoke. I sniffed again and the scent was gone. Had I imagined it? Misjudged a morning cookfire?

I envied those who could still sleep in the tiers above, even restlessly.

There would be no sleep for me now.

The market would go on. We’d stop this attack before it began. With Urie tethered on the balcony, we had an advantage. We knew they were coming. The other towers would know too.

I pulled a bone marker from my pocket and scratched a message. “Take this to Amrath, then Varu,” I told the nearest guard. “Warn them of the danger. Tell them every remaining guard goes up in the air now. Even those still in training.”

We would make our stand. Our market wouldn’t be like the big Allsuns markets of old, but it would be a market nonetheless. Once it succeeded, we could hold more, better markets. Our bellies would fill with different foods, our ears with news from other towers. Our nightmares might ease. We would become a community again.

No longer isolated. No longer hungry.

But if we failed, there wasn’t much farther to fall.

In the air beyond the balcony, a shadow moved, its swift passage catching my eye. Another blackwing?

No. A large gryphon diving through the air, a wild kavik swooping around it, screeching.

Watching the spectacle, I tried not to see the birds as an omen. Singers had catalogued omens once, used them to weigh their actions in order to hold the city together. Though I was Spire-born, I’d left long ago to become a tower Magister, then a councilor. It had been many Allsuns since I’d followed their ways. Now with the Spire ruined and the Singers disgraced, the city had become a barbed collection of doubts and distrust.

The guards I’d summoned joined us on the low tier.

I separated six out, including Lari. “We’ll fly north and east beyond the city’s edge.” The wind was quickest from that direction. While Urie might be lying, we would soon find out. “We will find the attackers before they can surprise us. The rest will guard Mondarath, and our captive blackwing.”

At the balcony’s edge, facing away from the city’s towers, I tightened my wingstraps. Sidra would be furious when she woke. She’d tell me I needed to be a leader now, not a hero.

Leaders did what was needed. I leapt, and my guards followed me, echoing, back into the night sky.

When we were well east of Mondarath and the city’s outer edge, I spotted a tight formation of blackwings below us, flying against the silvered clouds. They’d begun their turn. We would not have the advantage of surprise for much longer.

“Hawk,” I whistled, and my guards shifted into the formation, fast and sure.

As we approached, the blackwings seemed to fold in on themselves. One flier looped around to overtake another. I saw the gleam of a knife in the moonlight. Their formation burst apart as the second flier spun defensively and the other four tried to stay out of the way.

“A weakness,” Lari whistled, using an old sign for wingbreak.

Indeed there was. “Hold formation until we break them up. Lari, with me.” I tucked my wings and dove hard, an old wingfighting trick that sent me tearing between the two fliers just as the attacker turned, preparing to slice his victim’s footsling.

My dive disrupted the gust they rode and sent the attacker into a tumbling spin. His knife flew from his fingers. The other blackwing dodged and then circled back.

The air erupted with cries as Lari engaged the blackwings who’d tried to stay out of the fight. My guards dove quickly to help her. Six pairs of green and blue wings spun and dove among four pairs of black, then three.

With a scream, a defeated blackwing disappeared into the clouds.

The blackwing who’d nearly had their footsling cut rose on a gust. They dove, shouting, right past me. Came close enough that I could hear the black edge of a wing flap on the wind. I saw the fighter’s face: dark skin, darker tattoos around her eyes. She flew straight at her attacker, anger overtaking fear.

Locking my wings, I joined her in pursuit. No matter who lost, it would be one less blackwing to fight later.

I pulled a glass-tooth knife and slashed at the attacker’s black silk wings. While he focused on dodging me, the woman on his tail destroyed his footsling.

The silk parted with a ripping sound. The attacker dropped fast.

Now there were only three blackwings gliding the wind beyond the city. Seven still from Mondarath.

The tattooed blackwing whistled to her remaining companions, and they dove for the clouds. Moments later, we saw them skimming the brightening mist, taking a fast circuit of the city back to the southwest.

“Pursue?” Lari whistled.

“Back to Mondarath,” I signaled. “To guard the tower … and the market.”

Excerpt from HORIZON by Fran Wilde © 2017

You can purchase Horizon at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you FRAN WILDE AND TOR for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Set Copy of Bone Universe Series (3 Books in Total) 
SEPTEMBER 25th MONDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 27th WEDNESDAY Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW 

OCTOBER 4th WEDNESDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW 


  1. "If you knew could you try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt?" I would dance like a dancer in the Ballet Russe.