Monday, April 12, 2021

Marina Lostetter Interview - The Helm of Midnight

Photo Credit: Jeff Nelson

The open skies and dense forests of the Pacific Northwest are ideal for growing speculative fiction authors–or, at least, Marina Lostetter would like to think so. Originally from Oregon, she now resides in Arkansas with her spouse, Alex. In her spare time she enjoys globetrotting, board games, and all things art-related. Her original short fiction has appeared in venues such as Lightspeed, Uncanny, and Shimmer Magazine. Her debut novel, NOUMENON, and its sequels, NOUMENON INFINITY and NOUMENON ULTRA, are available from Harper Voyager. Her first fantasy novel, THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, is forthcoming from Tor. In addition, she has written tie-in materials for Star Citizen and the Aliens franchise. She is represented by DongWon Song of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, and she tweets as @MarinaLostetter.

ASIN : B0879J44XZ
Publisher : Tor Books; 1st edition (April 13, 2021)
Publication date : April 13, 2021
Language : English


"The Helm of Midnight transports readers to an intensely unique and creative world, with interwoven secrets and heart-pounding action. Bloody, ambitious, and absolutely riveting." ―Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

"A mysterious and mind-ripping journey through the mystic depths of time and the darkness of the human psyche." ―Matt Wallace, author of the Sin du Jour and Savage Rebellion series

"Beautiful and vicious, The Helm of Midnight will snare you with its intriguing mystery and then enthrall you with its rich characters and inventive world." ―Megan E. O'Keefe, author of Velocity Weapon

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Having readers tell me how much my work has affected them. Especially when it's helped them through some tough times.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I've wanted to be a novelist since the fourth grade. It's my dream job!

Tell us your latest news.
I have another book coming out this year! ACTIVATION DEGRADATION is releasing on September 28, 2021. It's a thriller-esque sci fi novel set in Jovian space, featuring soft robots, queer space pirates, action-adventure, and unreliable narration.

Can you tell us when you started THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, how that came about?
The Helm of Midnight is an expansion of my short story Master Belladino's Mask, which was one of the first short stories I ever sold. I was trying to win a writing contest for new writers and wanted to write something with a similar feel to Maddy Dune's First and Only Spelling Bee, a short story that had recently won.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Nothing is as it seems!

What part of your Krona did you enjoy writing the most?
Her soft, playful moments. She's a very stern, strong, determined person when we see her most of the time--in her role as a Regulator--so it was nice when I had the opportunity to fully flesh out her character with her love of music and her banter with her pickpocket friend, Thibaut.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
For some reason I feel like Melanie would really get along with Alice from Alice in Wonderland. They both go through some pretty fantastical things that upend the way they look at the world.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Oh goodness, I'm easily distractable. Let's say Twitter. Sorry Twitter.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
I'm really bad at being spontaneous--I'm an introvert who likes to have my life compartmentalized and planned. That being said, I think everyone--even people like me--should do something big and spontaneous at least once in their life. Anything from a cross country road trip on the fly, to running naked through the woods, to auditioning for a play--something new and fun that feels outrageous and out of character for each individual.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I think there are a few international trips I'd be happy to do all over again. The trip to Japan where my husband proposed, or when I visited Peru on a mother-daughter trip.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Best is difficult to decide! The world is beautiful and vast and it feels like comparing apples to oranges to say one place is "best." That said, there is one little bend on a river in Oregon, just off a camp ground, that has always felt like the nexus of calmness and creativity to me. I read many a book by that bend growing up.

Charbon, from The Helm of Midnight. He is both tragic and terrible. He's serial killer, someone who has committed unforgivable acts, but at times his motives are uncomfortably relatable. Writing him was a disquieting departure from the types of characters I usually write, and thus a unique experience for me.

I.C.C, from the Noumenon trilogy. I love sentient computers and other non-human characters. I.C.C. was the first one I really got to spend a lot of time with in my own work, and it will always have a special place in my heart. It is extremely empathetic. I often call it the anti-HAL 9000.

De-Krona, from The Helm of Midnight. She is an expert death-mask wielder and all around badass. She loves her family, she's committed to her job, and is fighting a phobia that stems from a childhood trauma. Sometimes I just want to wrap her in a blanket and tell her to take a day off.

Progentor Jamal, from Noumenon Ultra. In the Noumenon trilogy, we get to see different clones of the same people face different situations over many thousands of years. Progentor Jamal (in a way, the last clone in the Jamal Kaden clone line) is someone who was imbued with a lot of power, but also had a lot of his personal choices taken away. When he abdicates that power, he frees both himself and his followers.

Thibaut from The Helm of Midnight. He's a scoundrel and a cad, which is tremendous fun to write. He's a really great foil for Krona, both as a friend and love interest, because she takes life a little too seriously and he rarely takes life seriously enough.

Fiona, from The Helm of Midnight. Fiona hasn't been getting a lot of press as a character, and I don't want to give away too much about her, but she's the type of person who's been boxed in by society and went full-tilt in one direction, morally speaking, when I think under different circumstances she could have done a 180 and led a completely different kind of life. She was chilling to write, especially since we really only get to see her through the lens of Charbon's perspective.

C, from the Noumenon trilogy. C is an Intelligent Personal Assistant operating system, and the base personality on which I.C.C. is formed. C is a little innocent, a little chaotic, and full of heart.

Is it cheating to put characters on the list from books that haven't come out yet? Oh well.

Juliet from the second book in the Five Penalties Series (title to be announced). Juliet is the only character I've ever based on a real person. She's a tribute to Julie d'Aubigny, and has some of the same adventures the real woman. But my Juliet also has a secret past. Though it seems like she's completely unrelated to the events and characters of the first book, it's slowly revealed that her connection to Charbon's killings runs deep.

Unit Four from Activation Degradation. Unit Four is a biological soft robot built and stored high above the Jovian atmosphere on a mining platform. We meet it the moment it's activated, at the moment of its birth. A friend called this character a 'murder baby,' and that is the most concise description I can think of. Unit Four is trying to figure out how the world works--trying to get its legs under it both literally and figuratively--while simultaneously being asked to seek and destroy invading forces.

Jonas from Activation Degradation. Jonas is part of a space-pirate crew, and he and Unit Four find themselves constantly at odds. At times he looks like the story's villain, at times he looks like the only reasonable person on the page. He's gruff and hot-headed and was exhilarating to write.

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

You can purchase The Helm of Midnight at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARINA LOSTETTER for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT by Marina Lostetter
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