B56 Mini Interview with E. C. Ambrose, Clea Simon, Steven Popkes & Alan F. Beck

Welcome back to the Boskone 56 Mini Interviews! Today you are in for a special treat, because we talking with four authors! E. C. Ambrose, Clea Simon, Steven Popkes, and Alan F. Beck, are all here to talk more about themselves, books, and Boskone!

E. C. Ambrose

E. C. Ambrose wrote “The Dark Apostle” series of dark historical fantasy novels about medieval surgery. The Dark Apostle started with Elisha Barber (DAW, 2013), described in a starred Library Journal review as, “beautifully told, painfully elegant”, and continues with Elisha Magus, Elisha Rex, and Elisha Mancer, concluding with Elisha Daemon, in 2018. As Elaine Isaak, she is the author of The Singer’s Crown (Eos, 2005), and its sequels, as well as the “Tales of Bladesend” epic novella series. Her short fiction has won the Tenebris Press Flash Fiction contest and appeared in Fireside magazine and Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. Editorial credits include Love Free or Die, and two additional volumes of the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction series.In the process of researching her books, Elaine learned how to hunt with a falcon, clear a building of possible assailants, and pull traction on a broken limb. The author is a graduate of and an instructor for the Odyssey Writing workshop. In addition to writing, Elaine works as a guide, teaching rock climbing and leading outdoor adventure camps.

Visit E.C. on her Facebook, Twitter, and Website!

In 10 words or less, how would you recommend Boskone to a friend or fan?

Greatest concentration of avid readers in New England

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

When I attended the Science Fiction Hall of Fame Induction in Seattle several years ago, I got the chance to introduce myself to Anne McCaffrey, and tell her that one of my first ever short stories was Dragonriders of Pern fanfic. She took in my name tag, turned to her assistant and said, “I believe I have Elaine’s book on the shelf to read, don’t I?”

Do you have a favorite photo from a book event or literary convention? If so, when and where was it taken? What do you enjoy most about this photo?

For my first published novel, I had the chance to do a signing in the town where I grew up. One of the people named in the acknowledgements of the book was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, because she let me stay inside to read during recess. I had mistakenly thought she was dead–but she attended my reading, and I got to thank her personally and have a photo taken with her.

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

Schmendrick, the Magician, from Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. Schmendrick struggles to produce any magic at all. He struggles with just about everything, really. He is awkward and incompetent–and trying very, very hard to do the right thing and live by his ideals, no matter what.

Clea Simon

The author of more than two dozen mysteries featuring cats, three nonfiction books, and one punk rock urban noir, World Enough (Severn House), Clea Simon likes to keep busy. The Boston Globe best-selling author’s most recent mysteries range from the dystopian black-cat narrated Cross My Path (Severn House) (the third Blackie & Care mystery) and the snarky pet noir Fear on Four Paws (Poisoned Pen) (Pru Marlowe #7) to the cozy A Spell of Murder, the first Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, which Polis Books will publish in December. Clea lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband and one (1) cat. She can be reached at http://www.cleasimon.com

Visit Clea on her Facebook, Twitter, and Website!

With many conventions to choose from and limited time in your schedule, what attracts you to Boskone?

I want to further expand my universe! I’ve long been involved in the crime fiction/mystery community, but increasingly my books have involved (or evolved to include) paranormal and dystopian elements. As my world(s) expand, I’m looking for others who see the paranormal as perfectly, well, normal as well.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

I wish I could pass through the wardrobe to the lamp post and meet Mr. Tumnus the faun for the first time. I’ve gone on to love other books besides “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” ? in fact, “The Magician’s Nephew”* remains my favorite of the The Chronicles of Narnia. But that first magical journey so perfectly captures what books can do. They are these hidden portals to new worlds. Always have been.
*This may explain why, as a child, I invented an elaborate religion around the worship of trees. I guess C.S. Lewis would think my little pagan heart had missed the point.

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

I got to meet the late great Sue Grafton at a crime fiction convention about eight years ago. I’m such a fan, I was stammering as I approached her, but she was so unfailingly gracious, even asking me if I was a writer. When I told her that, yes, I was, and that in fact I was working on a book then, she leaned forward and said, softly, in my ear, “It’s hard. Isn’t it?”

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now? Do you have releases in 2019 that readers should look for?

Having just celebrated the release of my first “witch cats of Cambridge” book, A Spell of Murder, I am deep in the writing of the second book. So far, we have two suspects accusing each other, one murder, and ? again ? three magical cats trying to keep their person out of trouble. It may be called “An Incantation of Cats,” and if all goes well, it will come out in December 2019.

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

Frodo, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” because he is so tragic and true. Or possibly Edward Gorey’s “The Wuggly Ump” (from the book of the same name), because he is so single-minded (and reminds me of my cat, as well).

Steven Popkes

Steven Popkes is mainly known for his short fiction and novellas. That said, there are three novels out there for people to read: Caliban Landing, Slow Lightning and Welcome to Witchlandia. He has been collected several times in various “Best of…” anthologies. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife. Together they have a dog, a cat, forty turtles and twenty three chickens. The turkeys just visit. His son just visits.

Visit Steve on his Website!

With many conventions to choose from and limited time in your schedule, what attracts you to Boskone?

Boskone is a convention that investigates the science fiction of the written word. Other media are also looked at but it’s primarily the written narrative.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

Book: Norstrilia. Film: 2001.

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

I once overheard a fan talking about my work to another fan. He said I had to be gay because I treated gays so well in my work. I liked that.

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now? Do you have releases in 2019 that readers should look for?

I have just finished a novel involving the long term effects of child abuse and the terraforming of Venus.

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

Huckleberry Finn. Because at all times he tries to do things his own way and stumbles onto the right thing to do from his own point of view, in spite of those around him. (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain)

Alan F. Beck

Alan F. Beck has been an artist, designer and illustrator for over 30 years doing work for many major corporations including book covers and magazine illustrations. His work has been exhibited in art shows and Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions all across the country. He has won numerous awards and honors including two Chesley award nominations, a HUGO finalist award nomination, and received a “Body of Work” Award at LA Con IV WorldCon Art Show, Anaheim, CA. Alan’s work tends to be realistic and surrealistic in nature, often whimsical and humorous. His paintings and prints can be found in collections in the US, Canada and Europe. He has recently published a children’s book “The Adventures of Nogard and Jackpot” and is creator of the “Mouseopolitan Museum of Art”. His artwork and concepts are produced using acrylics, watercolor, pastels, 3-D modeling and image manipulation programs. His art can be found in Space and Time magazine, The Fantasy Art Bible, assorted e-zines and various book covers. visit http://www.alanfbeck.com

Visit Alan on his Facebook and Website!

With many conventions to choose from and limited time in your schedule, what attracts you to Boskone?

I?m based out of Brooklyn, NY so Boskone is easily accessible for me. Boskone is a well run convention by great people. In my opinion, it has one of the greatest art shows on the east coast and the panels are filled with knowledgeable experts and the subjects are not only interesting but entertaining as well.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

One of my favorite films is Walt Disney?s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I know it?s an old one and I saw it when it first came out. The scene in the beginning where the partially submerged sub was zooming across the sea toward the ship just blew my teenage mind away. I loved the under water scenes and the design of the nautilus that fit the time of the story. I could have done without Kirt Douglas singing to the seal but the anti war message resonated with me as well.

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

One of my fondest memories that happened was when I was standing my my panel in the art show when a woman approached with her little girl hiding behind her leg. She told her daughter that I was the man the made her favorite Nogard & Jackpot picture. I stooped down and the shy girl came out told me what her favorite picture was. Then she went on to tell me all the other ones she had and said the Adventures of Nogard and Jackpot was her best book ever. This conversation went on for another 5 minutes. Meetings like this and talking to fans is one of the best joys of life.


Register for Boskone 56 today!

About DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

DJ is a year 2 medical student, who in his spare time, loves to interview authors about all the books that he has no time to read :)
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