Monday, October 5, 2020

A.J. Hackwith Interview - The Archive of the Forgotten


Photo Credit: Amanda Hackwith

A. J. Hackwith is (almost) certainly not an ink witch in a hoodie. She’s a queer writer of fantasy and science fiction living in Seattle, and writes sci-fi romance as Ada Harper. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise writer’s workshop and her work appears in Uncanny Magazine and assorted anthologies. Summon A.J. at your own peril with an arcane circle of fountain pens and classic RPGs, or you can find her on Twitter and other dark corners of the Internet.

        
  


In your newest book, THE ARCHIVE OF THE FORGOTTEN; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
The ARCHIVE OF THE FORGOTTEN is the sequel to the first book in the Hell’s Library series, THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN. In the first book, the library gang narrowly averted disaster, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell–and from its own librarians.

Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
The entire library crew has come so far! It’s a weird statement, but I’m so proud of all the ways the characters have grown from how we first meet them in THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN. I think Hero, the character without a story, grew the most in my eyes. He went from an antagonist with a secret to an unwilling ally and, ultimately, the Library’s greatest champion. But it’s even more important to me how his relationships with the other Library inhabitants transforms his empathy for others and, eventually, himself.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

I think the personal responses from readers will always be the biggest reward for me. The first time I saw a reader draw fan art of the characters of THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN, it was a dream coming true. I was that kid that drew art and made up new stories including my favorite characters, so seeing the things I create inspire that in others is a wild feeling. The best compliment of any piece of creative work is that it inspires something else new.

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

I’m currently in the revisions and edit process for the final book of the Hell’s Library series. After that’s wrapped up, I’ll be working on pitching the next project to my publisher. I don’t want to say too much lest it change, but it is a patchwork world based on the magic of small, domestic gods and an aesthetic amalgam of cable cars, art deco, tattoo magic, women in suits, and speak-easies.


Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE ARCHIVE OF THE FORGOTTEN
There’s a passage in the middle of the book where Claire examines a mysterious ink and tries to understand its nature:

“To a modern eye, ink looked like water. Colored water perhaps, like poorly brewed tea or the garishly colored sugar drinks of her youth. Claire knew better. She had been alive at the turn of that era, when the incendiary grit and gristle of war had led to a boom of new technologies, new ways of doing things. She’d started school learning her letters with fountain pens, but by the time she’d matriculated into the workforce, all the modern workplaces were driven by the plastic milled barrels of ballpoint. When it dried up, a pen was tossed, not refilled. What a wasteful idea that was. Ink became something that was a minor component of the pen, not the fuel for it.

There wasn’t a lot left that Claire could remember of her life on Earth, but she remembered the language of inks. The viscosity and flow, the way some inks dried on cheap paper, feathered and bone bleak, while others went onto fine vellum paper like a sigh, changing from dark to light in a single stroke. Inks had temperaments, personalities. And inks left marks, smudged fingers, smeared words, lost meanings.”

In case it wasn’t obvious from this passage: I’m a pen nerd, I love talking fountain pens and custom inks with people. I bewail an ink’s sheen or feathering on the regular. With the appearance of a mysterious ink substance in book two, it allows me to geek out in delightful ways through Claire, who has even more judgmental and regimented opinions about writing instruments than I do.

What is the first job you have had?
My first job, believe it or not, was as an unlicensed, off the books dog groomer for the local vet of the tiny farm town I grew up in. I was sixteen, and familiar with a pair of clippers since my family participated in dog shows, but I still can’t believe strangers trusted me with their poodles.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
“Today calls for rainbows.”

I mean, what days don’t call for rainbows right now?

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Honestly, falling asleep is my best plot brainstorming time. I think it’s because I always got a story before bedtime as a kid—now I just tell one to myself. Unfortunately, the kind of stories I tell aren’t usually conducive to easily falling asleep!

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I would definitely tell pre-pandemic A.J. to have that big New Year’s dinner party with friends that seemed too much work at the time.

And also maybe not spend all that money for 2020 travel plans.


In the second installment of this richly imagined fantasy adventure series, a new threat from within the Library could destroy those who depend upon it the most.

The Library of the Unwritten in Hell was saved from total devastation, but hundreds of potential books were destroyed. Former librarian Claire and Brevity the muse feel the loss of those stories, and are trying to adjust to their new roles within the Arcane Wing and Library, respectively. But when the remains of those books begin to leak a strange ink, Claire realizes that the Library has kept secrets from Hell--and from its own librarians.

Claire and Brevity are immediately at odds in their approach to the ink, and the potential power that it represents has not gone unnoticed. When a representative from the Muses Corps arrives at the Library to advise Brevity, the angel Rami and the erstwhile Hero hunt for answers in other realms. The true nature of the ink could fundamentally alter the afterlife for good or ill, but it entirely depends on who is left to hold the pen.

You can purchase The Archive of the Forgotten at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you A.J. HACKWITH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Archive of the Forgotten (Hell's Library #2) by A.J. Hackwith.
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10 comments:

  1. A clown probably 60 years ago.

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  2. "Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?" Follower of Andy Warhol, decades ago.

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  3. Football player when i was 10

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  4. a unicorn when i went trunk or treating with my little cousin last year

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  5. Last year I was an Angel and gave out candy to the kids.

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  6. I am so excited about this book! As for my last Halloween costume...I think it was a couple years ago. I was a witch with a group of bridesmaids for the couple's Halloween themed shower. It was great.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  7. Ancient Greek in toga when I was 17.

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  8. The last costume that I wore was probably in high school. I may have dressed up as Madonna.

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