Thursday, September 19, 2019

Guest Post with Edward Willett - Master of the World

Photo Content from Edward Willett

Edward Willett is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults.

Born in Silver City, New Mexico, Willett lived in Bayard, New Mexico and Lubbock and Tulia, Texas, before moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan with his family when he was eight years old.

He studied journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, then returned to Weyburn as a reporter/photographer for the weekly Weyburn Review, eventually becoming news editor. In 1988 he moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, as communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and in 1993 he became a fulltime freelance writer. He still resides in Regina.

Willett is now the author or co-author of more than 40 books, ranging from computer books and children's non-fiction books to science fiction and fantasy for both adults and young adults.

His science fiction novel Marseguro (DAW Books) won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author. He has also won a Saskatchewan Book Award for his YA fantasy Spirit Singer. He has been nominated for the Aurora Award and Saskatchewan Book Awards multiple times.

His most recent novels include the Masks of Aygrima trilogy, YA/adult crossover novels published by DAW books and written as E.C. Blake, and the five-book YA fantasy series The Shards of Excalibur, published by Coteau Books. He's also the author of the Peregrine Rising duology for Bundoran Press (Right to Know and Falcon's Egg).

Other novels include SF novel Lost in Translation (DAW Books), Terra Insegura (sequel to Marseguro, DAW Books), Magebane (DAW Books, written as Lee Arthur Chane), YA SF novels Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Andy Nebula: Double Trouble, and The Chosen; and YA ghost story The Haunted Horn. 2016 will see a new YA fantasy, Flames of Nevyana, from Rebelight Books.

His non-fiction titles run the gamut from science books for children on topics as diverse as Ebola Virus and the Milky Way to local history books like Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw for Red Deer Press, awarded a Municipal Heritage Award by the City of Regina in the education category and A Safe and Prosperous Future: 100 years of engineering and geoscience achievements in Saskatchewan, published by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS). He's also written biographies for children of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Andy Warhol, Orson Scott Card, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Ayatollah Khomeini.



I don’t remember the first time I tried to write a story—it was probably in elementary school, as an assignment. I have no idea whether it was good or not, although I can be pretty confident, since I got the only “D” of my school career in handwriting, that it was hard to read.

I certainly wasn’t thinking about being a writer in elementary school, of that I’m sure. I wanted to be a chemist, because they got to play with cool glassware filled with bubbling multi-colored liquids. My impression from TV was that the job of a chemist was mixing these different liquids together in the hope of creating either a) flubber or b) a superexplosive or c) a potion that would turn them into a superhero (instead, it usually turned them into a monster, but even that seemed cool to me).

But then came a day when I was eleven years old, it was raining outside, the Internet hadn’t been invented yet, and we only got two channels on our TV, one of which was fuzzy and neither of which was showing anything interesting. I and a friend decided on the spur of the moment to fill the time by writing stories. I have no idea what he wrote, or if he finished it, but I ended up writing my first complete short story, entitled “Kastra Glazz: Hypership Test Pilot”, from which title you can see in what genre my mind already lived. (One thing I had deduced from reading the science fiction and fantasy books my older brothers had around the house was that science-fiction characters needed weird names.)

My mother, a secretary, had an IBM Selectric typewriter at home, and typed up my story in proper manuscript format. I then took it to my Grade 7 teacher at the Weyburn Junior High School in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada, Tony Tunbridge. He didn’t just pat me on the head and congratulate me on stringing a bunch of words together—he took the time to critique the story properly and thoughtfully, even though it wasn’t a school assignment. He wondered why both my main character and my aliens acted the way they did, and asked other questions that made me realize I could make that story better.

As it happens, I didn’t make that story better—I never revised it—but Mr. Tunbridge’s interest and support made me want to write more and better stories, and I’ve been trying to do so ever since.

It took me a while, but I finally thanked him for it: my science fiction novel The Cityborn, published in 2017 by DAW Books, is dedicated to Tony Tunbridge. I was even able to track him down via Facebook and send him a copy.

Maybe I would have decided to be a writer anyway, but who knows? In some way, he lit a spark, and that spark became the flame that keeps me writing today.

  • 1. The main character’s name, Shawna Keys, comes from the Scottish Gaelic word for storyteller, shanachie.
  • 2. Shawna Keys’s sense of humor is, basically, mine. So sorry.
  • 3. The cover artist for Worldshaper and, now, Master of the World, is Juliana Kolesova (, a Toronto-based artist and illustrator. Worldshaper was her first book cover for DAW Books.
  • 4. The description of the Albatross in Master of the World was modified slightly to better match the drawing of it on the cover, and I specifically made reference to Shawna wearing a leather jacket and helmet and goggles to match the cover art, as well.
  • 5. Master of the World is my tenth novel for DAW Books, but only my sixth as Edward Willett. (I also wrote one, Magebane, as Lee Arthur Chane, and the Masks of Aygrima fantasy trilogy as E.C. Blake.)
  • 6. At a fundraising event for my daughter’s high school, Luther College High School in Regina, Saskatchewan, I provided, as a silent-auction item, the opportunity to “have a character in Master of the World named after you.” Daniel Sullivan, captain of the Terror, is named after the winner.
  • 7. Almost all other characters draw their names from characters in Jules Verne’s books, although almost none of them are in the roles they played in his novels.
  • 8. As you could see in the quotes, I had lots of fun with twisting the names of existing stories and books. Also making an appearance are various works by Ellen Elgar Poe, “The Rise of the House of Asher,” “The White Dog,” “The Overdue Burial,” “The Musk of the Black Death,” and “The Husk of an Armadillo.” Mark Tierce, author of Gooseberry Flynn and The Reprobates Abroad, shows up, as well...
  • 9. The word I use for the secret understanding of the making of each Shaped world, hokhmah, is Hebrew for “wisdom.”
  • 10. Master of the World is dedicated to my daughter, Alice, “who is launching into university at the same time this book launches into the world.” She’s just begun her studies at the University of Toronto.
Buffeted by swirling winds, I clung to the rope ladder lifting me from the mysterious—and rapidly disintegrating—island in the ocean below toward the giant flying ship in the sky above and reflected on what a lousy week I was having.

I went to the shelves and ran my fingers along the spines of the nearest books. They were familiar...but not quite right. Evenhoe, by Sir Wallace Scott. Moby-Buck by Hermione Melville, which, a quick perusal showed, was about an obsessed huntsman trekking the wilderness in pursuit of a great white stag. Dr. Acula, by Bram Striker, a horror story about a physician whose experiments with blood transfusions produced shambling, undead monsters with a thirst for even more blood...actually, that one sounded pretty good.

Although, to be fair, I suppose I couldn’t really say I knew everything about the First World, because it could have changed drastically since I left it ten years ago. It could now be very different from my version of it. Did it have HiPhones and StreamPix? In it, had the long-delayed Star Trek musical finally made it to Broadway? (In my world, it was still in development hell, although one song from it, Scotty’s big second-act number, ‘The Laws of Physics Break Dance,’ had made it to number sixty-seven on the Hot 100 chart.) Who was the president? Did she still live in the Emerald Palace?

I sighed. The worst thing about talking to people from different worlds was that no one got my Star Trek jokes.

I spent most of my first few hours aboard the Terror in the tiny wardroom by the galley, chatting with Athelia, who, since her cover had been managing a traveling theatrical troupe, was fascinated by what I could tell her of theater in my own world. She was familiar with opera, but musical theater was new to her (even operetta had never developed in this Shaped world). She flatly refused to believe that anything such as Cats could possibly exist, never mind the more recent (in my world, at least; perhaps in the First World they’d never attempted to make a musical starring a giant puppet-monster) Godzilla.

That’s probably enough to give a flavor of my sense of humor in this series... :)

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes the second book in a gripping portal fantasy series in which one woman's powers open the way to a labyrinth of new dimensions.

Shawna Keys has fled the world she only recently discovered she Shaped, narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Adversary who seized control of it...and losing her only guide, Karl Yatsar, in the process.

Now she finds herself alone in some other Shaper's world, where, in her first two hours, she's rescued from a disintegrating island by an improbable flying machine she recognizes from Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror, then seized from it by raiders flying tiny personal helicopters, and finally taken to a submarine that bears a strong resemblance to Captain Nemo's Nautilus. Oh, and accused of being both a spy and a witch.

Shawna expects--hopes!--Karl Yatsar will eventually follow her into this new steampunky realm, but exactly where and when he'll show up, she hasn't a clue.

In the meantime, she has to navigate a world where two factions fanatically devoted to their respective leaders are locked in perpetual combat, figure out who the Shaper of the world is, find him or her, and obtain the secret knowledge of this world's Shaping. Then she has to somehow reconnect with Karl Yatsar, and escape to the next Shaped world in the Labyrinth...through a Portal she has no idea how to open.

You can purchase Master of the World (Worldshapers #2) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you EDWARD WILLETT for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Master of the World (Worldshapers #2) by Edward Willett.


  1. "Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?" Pretending years ago that my street clothes were actually a costume and resembled the clothing of one of Edie Sedgwick's crew.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I've never dressed up for this holiday.

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  5. I was a baby girl a few years ago.

  6. Well, many years ago, the last costume I wore was my "birthday suit" which was a box that was wrapped like a ladies suit with a gift bow around it. It was a hit because the box was cute, but I couldn't really sit down.

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