B57 Mini Interviews with Sarah Jean Horwitz, David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, and Dr. Jonathan McDowell

Today we are interviewing Sarah Jean Horwitz, David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, and Dr. Jonathan McDowell!

Sarah Jean Horwitz

Sarah Jean Horwitz is the author of the middle grade steampunk fantasy series CARMER AND GRIT. She loves storytelling in all its forms and holds a B.A. in Visual & Media Arts with a concentration in screenwriting from Emerson College. Sarah’s other interests include circus arts, extensive thematic playlists, improvisational movement, tattoos, curly hair care, and making people eat their vegetables. She currently works as an administrative assistant and lives with her partner near Cambridge, MA. Her next middle grade fantasy novel, THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE, will be published in fall 2019 by Algonquin Young Readers.

Visit Sarah on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I love the opportunity to chat with other SFF children’s book authors, which surprisingly doesn’t happen that often! Boskone hosts such amazing veterans of the industry – Bruce Coville, Jane Yolen, etc – and it’s an honor to be in their company.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

My current favorite supporting character is Darka Wesk-Starzec, a fierce unicorn huntress on a revenge quest in my latest novel, THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

Like many millennials, the Harry Potter series was my introduction to fantasy as a kid. It remains my favorite series to this day.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I’d like to get my hands on the philosopher’s stone from Harry Potter. I could live forever until I didn’t feel like it anymore, stop taking the stone’s elixir, and then kick the bucket whenever I wanted. Plus, the financial security from all that gold wouldn’t hurt, either.

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David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson

David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the author of twenty novels and as many short stories. As D.B. Jackson (http://www.DBJackson-Author.com), he is the author of TIME’S CHILDREN (October 2018), the first book in The Islevale Cycle, a time travel/epic fantasy series from Angry Robot Books. He also writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston that combines elements of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. Under his own name (http://www.DavidBCoe.com) he has written the Crawford Award-winning LonTobyn Chronicle, the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy, the novelization Ridley Scott’s, ROBIN HOOD, and a contemporary urban fantasy series, the Case Files of Justis Fearsson. He is the co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion. He is currently working on several projects, including his next book for Angry Robot, his first editing endeavor, and a tie-in project with the History Channel. David has a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Stanford University. His books have been translated into a dozen languages.

Visit David on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I’m relatively new to Boskone. This will be only my second one. What I found last year that made me want to come back was a gathering of fans and professionals that felt small enough to offer an intimate convention experience, but large enough to offer diversity of attendance and programming. There is so much going on, so many interesting people, and one actually has the opportunity to meet and interact with those people. It’s a friendly con, but it also feels weighty, like there are important conversations taking place, in informal settings as well as in panel rooms. And, I will add on a more personal note, that I have ties to New England and the Northeast, both personal (I grew up and went to school in that part of the country) and professionally: The Thieftaker Chronicles, the work for which I’m probably best known, is set in pre-Revolutionary Boston.

Bonus: Up for a challenge? Give us a haiku or limerick about Boskone!

Chowder and cold beer
Stormtroopers march in snow boots
Welcome to Boskone

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

The first piece that turned me on to SF and Fantasy was a dramatized version of THE HOBBIT that I auditioned for at sleep away camp when I was 11 years old. I didn’t know anything about THE HOBBIT at the time, but this was my first summer away at camp and my parents had told my counselors that they thought I should try doing some drama. Fine, okay. So I try out for the play, which has this really odd script, and I get cast as some guy named Bilbo Baggins. The plays at camp had a really fast turnaround. Auditions Monday, performance Sunday and then on to the next production. So for a week I was totally immersed in Tolkien’s world, and I was literally never the same. After that play, I wanted to read all the fantasy I could find, I was desperate to read the actual novel of THE HOBBIT, and soon after THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Truly, it changed my life. And all because my parents were fully aware that I was a total ham…

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Dr. Jonathan McDowell

Dr. Jonathan McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, part of the Center for Astrophysics (Harvard and Smithsonian) in Cambridge, MA. A staff member of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), he studies black holes, quasars and X-ray sources in galaxies, as well as developing data analysis software for the X-ray astronomy community as part of the Chandra X-ray Observatory team. As well as studying distant quasars, McDowell is known for work on the history of space exploration, and maintains the most comprehensive list of satellite and space launches. McDowell’s online newsletter on space launches, Jonathan’s Space Report (since 1989) gives details of all satellite launches, and the associated web site, https://planet4589.org, contains tables of rocket launches and space activities. In 2018 Dr. McDowell published a paper giving physical arguments that the lower boundary of outer space should be at 80 km above the Earth, and not the currently-popular value of 100 km. Main belt asteroid (4589) McDowell is named after him.

Visit Dr Martin Elvis on their Twitter and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I’m a Boston area resident so there’s that. I’ve been a couple times over the decades but usually I am out of town when it happens so I’m glad the schedule works for me this time.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

While I love many kinds of SF and fantasy my own expertise is in the reality of space exploration by humans and robots in the 20th and 21st centuries, so I look forward
to sharing some thoughts about that.

If you could be a fly on the wall during any scene or event in literature of film, which scene would it be and why? 

Uncovering the monolith in 2001.Because (a) I love the thrill of discovery.(b) it would mean I’d be on the Moon!(c) most of the other dramatic scenes I can think of take place in universes I am rather happy I don’t live in

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

I started watching Dr Who when I was 3 so there’s that. I remember reading the Little Prince as a small kid and that gave me an abiding interest in asteroids. Then at around ten or so I discovered at around the same time Tolkien and Asimov/Clarke/Heinlein.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

A human-mind-uploading-to-computer device, like for example the ones in Fred Pohl’s Gateway saga. Because it’s the least implausible avenue to living for ever.

Register for Boskone 57!
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B57 Mini Interviews with Gerald L. Coleman, Tabitha Lord, and Dr. Martin Elvis

Today we are interviewing Gerald L. Coleman, Tabitha Lord, and Dr. Martin Elvis!

Gerald L. Coleman

Gerald L. Coleman is a Philosopher, Theologian, Poet, and Author residing in Atlanta. Born in Lexington, he did his undergraduate work in Philosophy and English at the University of Kentucky. He followed that by completing a degree in Religious Studies, concluding with a Master’s degree in Theology at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. His most recent poetry appears in, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Drawn To Marvel: Poems From The Comic Books, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel Vol. 18, Black Bone Anthology, the 10th Anniversary Issue of Diode Poetry Journal, and About Place Journal. He is a speculative fiction author with short stories published in these Anthologies: The Science Fiction, Cyberfunk Anthology: The City, the Rococoa Anthology by Roaring Lion, Terminus Urban Fantasy Anthology, and the Dark Universe: Bright Empire. He is the author of the Epic Fantasy novel saga The Three Gifts, which currently includes When Night Falls (Book One) and A Plague of Shadows (Book Two). He has been a Guest Author and Attending Professional at DragonCon, Boskone, Blacktasticon, JordanCon, Atlanta Science Fiction & Fantasy Expo, The Outer Dark Symposium, World Horror Con, and Imaginarium. He has recently joined the staff of WorldCon Dublin as its Programme Content Consultant, and Multiverse Con as a Director in programming. He is a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and has released three collections of poetry entitled the road is long, falling to earth, and microphone check. You can find him at geraldlcoleman.com

Visit Gerald on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

There are a few criteria I look at in determining whether I’ll go to, or return to, a convention. Is the Con Committee committed to inclusion at every level of the convention? What kind of members of fandom show up? Is the Con pushing fandom in a positive and constructive direction or is it comfortable being what it’s been for the past ten or twenty or thirty years? Do I, on a personal level, feel welcome? Boskone meets those expectations and so I’m willing to return to it if invited.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

Ossassande Bantu A’ Omorede, the Commander General of the Peoples Company is the central protagonist of my epic fantasy series, The Three Gifts. A favorite secondary character is difficult to chose because I love all of them for different reasons. Maybe Zezza din’ Nightblinder? She’s a member of the ancient Order of the Ki’gadi. She’s young, powerful, wild, and filled with duty but with a strong sprinkling of independence, which has only been encouraged by her Master and teacher, Mino din’ Darksbane.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

The Rats of NIMH was a book I picked up in elementary school through scholastic. It opened my mind up to wonder, the fantastic, and fantasy. I Loved animated films like The Rescuers, The Secret of NIMH, Watership Down, LOTR, The Hobbit, Robin Hood, and later on Heavy Metal. That coupled with comics gave me a fundamental love and appreciation of the fantastical early on.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

The replicator from Star Trek. It would solve a lot of problems like hunger, greed, inequality, etc. Second would be the Holodeck – go anywhere, be anyone, can you image the D&D games!? Lol. I’d be the Captain of a federation Starship every night of the week.

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Tabitha Lord

Tabitha’s HORIZON series has received seven independent book awards including the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize in 2016. Her short fiction has been featured on podcasts including Star Ship Sofa and Tales to Terrify, and in anthologies published by World Weaver Press, Grimbold Books, and more. In addition to writing novels and short fiction, Tabitha is a partner and senior writer for Book Club Babble and managing editor for the Inkitt Writer’s Blog. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, four kids, and lovable fur babies.

Visit Tabitha on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

This is my first Boskone! I sign and sell my books at many Comic Cons around the country, and as much fun as they are, they are more celebrity centric. I’m thrilled to be at a conference focusing on all things science fiction. I can’t wait to talk to other science fiction writers and meet fellow fans of the genre.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

When crafting side characters, it’s important that they help move the story forward and complement or challenge the main characters without overshadowing them. It’s a tall order, but just like the supporting cast in a movie, these side characters add flavor and complexity to the story.

In my Horizon series, I’m particularly fond of Lieutenant Finn Braden. He’s a member of the Amathi army, sent to destroy the neighboring settlement and home of the main character, Caeli. She survives this raid, is taken captive, and resettled in Alamath, where she’s recruited to a resistance movement by Finn himself.

I love Finn’s arc. He’s a soldier, drawn to serve, but when he’s forced to invade his neighbors’ home and kill innocents, he’s devastated. The resistance movement offers him a way to atone. His friendship with Caeli, and her forgiveness, earns him redemption. What I really love about Finn is that he doesn’t just feel bad about what he’s done, he owns it, and then risks his life over and over again in service of the very people he was originally taught to hate. Finn’s courage, in my opinion, makes him one of the most heroic characters in the story.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

I fell in love with science fiction at seven years old watching Star Wars with my dad. I saw the movie at a time when special effects were, well, special, and a story like this one had never been seen on the big screen. Spaceships, aliens, evil villains, reluctant heroes, and a bad-ass princess – everything a girl could ask for! I was obsessed. Every night I fell asleep to Jon Williams’ music playing on my record player (I still feel warm and fuzzy when I hear the theme). Model x-wing fighters hung from my bedroom ceiling, the Millennium Falcon I built with my dad had a light-up cockpit, my Empire Strikes Back lunchbox still had its thermos, and my Princess Leia action figure was the one with the real buns (you know – fake hair instead of plastic, and you could never fix it after you’d messed with it). When I attended my first Comic Con many years later, I realized I should have saved those toys. My collection would have rivaled any I’ve seen.

As a storyteller myself now, I am in awe of stories that touch the collective consciousness of millions, and this one sure did!

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Dr. Martin Elvis

Dr. Martin Elvis is a highly cited astrophysicist (over 30,000 peer citations) who has published some 400 papers on supermassive black holes, seen as quasars, out to the edge of the universe over the course of many years. Lately, concerned about the growing cost of space telescopes, he has turned to researching the astronomy needed to enable asteroid mining, with a view to cutting those costs in the long run. He has published widely on issues related to asteroid mining and the space economy. He is proud that he is (probably) the first professional astronomer to visit the Harvard Business School on business. He obtained one of the first PhDs in X-ray astronomy, and has worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics ever since on a series of space X-ray telescopes, culminating with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Member of the Aspen Center for Physics, and is past-Chair of the Hubble Space Telescope Users’ Committee and of the High Energy Division of the American Astronomical Society. Asteroid 9283 Martinelvis is named after him. His book on asteroid mining should appear in 2020 from Yale University Press.

Visit Dr Martin Elvis on their Twitter.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I’m 100% new to Boskone. In fact, I hadn’t heard of it until being invited!

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

Whether Sci-Fi is imaginative enough about human expansion across the Solar System.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

A short story “The Wall”, byArthur C. Clarke, because it was mind-bending. And then many, many more.

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

This would be it.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

My popular (I hope) book on Asteroid Mining is almost ready with Yale University Press. It should be out next Fall.

Register for Boskone 57!
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B57 Mini Interviews with Daniel M. Kimmel, Nightwing Whitehead, and R.W.W. Greene

Happy Friday (the 13th!)! Today we are interviewing Daniel M. Kimmel, Nightwing Whitehead, and R.W.W. Greene!

Daniel M. Kimmel

Veteran film critic Daniel M. Kimmel is the author of the Hugo nominated collection of essays “Jar Jar Binks Must Die.” He has branched out into humorous SF/F and has had a number of short stories published as well as three novels, the most recent of which is “Father of the Bride of Frankenstein.

Visit Daniel on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I came to organized fandom late (i.e., in my 30s) although I’d been reading and viewing SF all my life.Boskone welcomed me in as a professional film critic who celebrated SF, and let me indulge myself as both a reader and a movie/TV watcher and, more recently, as an SF writer.Plus, if you haven’t been, the Friday night dessert buffet is to die for.:)

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

I’ve had three novels and two dozen short stories published, and I’m always surprised when characters take on lives of their own. I’ve had this happen many times where the plot goes somewhere I wasn’t expecting. In “Time on My Hands,” my time travel comic novel, I had a scene where the narrator — the inventor of a time travel device — encounters Cort, whose job it is to tell time travellers that they can only travel so far into the future. Cort was just supposed to be in one scene but as I was writing I found that he was a key to solving my plot problems getting to the end of the novel. More recently I had an opportunity to do a short story focused on Cort which I’m hoping will see the light of day in 2020.

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

My first con as a participant was a Boskone where I made the classic newbie mistake of arriving for my first (and only) panel and asking, “Who’s moderating?” since no one was listed.The other panelists, with more experience than I, turned to me and said, “YOU are!”And I’ve not only come back, but have volunteered to moderate many panels since.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

Easy enough: the transporter from “Star Trek.” Instantaneous travel would make life much more efficient than relying on the MBTA.

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Nightwing Whitehead

Nightwing was born in 1958, the Barbie was born in 1959. So for a year Nightwing had nothing to do. She has been trying to make up for lost time ever since. Nightwing has been around theatrical wardrobe departments all her life, her first paying job was at an opera house in Colorado. Her creations have been seen in plays at every level from Community to Equity, as well as several independent films. She is a professional full-time enigma who, in what spare time she has, enjoys reading and howling at the moon.

Visit Nightwig on their Facebook(1), Facebook(2), and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

It seems that all my friends, even some I have not met yet, attend Boscone. It is time I did the same.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

Anything to do with costuming. Or fabric. Or both.:-)

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

Artists: Fans love looking at the portfolio of artwork and asking artists about some of their most well known images. Which of your images, that receives less attention from fans, do you hold dear? What is it about the creation of that piece that makes it so special for you?

Filkers: Listeners often know your most popular music. Which of your other, less well-known songs, affects you deeply? What is it about that song that speaks to your creative spirit?

As a costumer, my favorite person to create is Cinderella. I love the way the audience gasps in unison when she transforms and I know it is because of my work. This is what I strive for with everything I create. Being able to help a new person, be it Bat Girl or a Princess, step forth is a true “Cinderella Moment” for me.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

For Halloween one year, when I was not yet a teenager, I was Ozma from Oz.I created my costume using what fabrics and paper I could find at home. I wish pictures of it still existed, as I looked very like Princess Leia (a full decade and more before she was on the big screen). No one knew whowas, but *I* knew, and was excited by the idea of making a character come to life.

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

My first *book* event was the annual Scholastic Readers Book Fair that visited our grade school. I would save my allowance for months getting ready for it, and would buy as many books as I could, usually reading them all before the month’s end.

My first “media” event was a TrekCon; not a lot of costumes other than Star Trek, but I did meet Leonard Nimoy and have all my poetry books signed. And, I was instantly addicted to the feeling of of coming-home.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

A friend of mine wrote a book in which the people wear clothing made of fabric that can be programmed to shift colors and patterns as it is worn. It is used by his characters to reflect their moods and to affect those the encounter. I want this fabric, and I want it NOW!

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R.W.W. Greene

R.W.W. Greene is a New Hampshire writer who once believed he’d be living in orbit by now. His debut novel, The Light Years, is out from Angry Robot February 11, 2020. His fiction has seen daylight in Metaphorosis, Stupefying Stories, and Daily Science Fiction, among other places. He collects typewriters, keeps bees, and Tweets about it all @rwwgreene.

Visit R.W.W. on their Twitter and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I’m still a Boskone rookie–I’ve only been attending for about a decade–but I come to this con chiefly because of the quality of the program and program participants. It doesn’t hurt that there are usually astrophysicists, biologists, astronauts, linguists, and other smart people in the audience that can round out any discussion. You never know who you’re sitting next to because there is so little ego involved. Everyone is just there to be and learn and chill.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

I tend to geek out at the science panels; it’s great to hear the ideas of people who are in the bleeding edge. I’ve also been delighted to see how much sci-fi from other parts of the world is becoming available to me through translations and NetFlix. It’s really bliss.

Bonus: Up for a challenge? Give us a haiku or limerick about Boskone!

No panel right now
Wandering the dealer room
Please don’t bump my tea

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

My father took me to see “Star Wars” when I was six (1977). I remember doing a lot of duck and cover when Darth Vader came on the screen, and the experience twisted my brain. It has never recovered.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

Hopefully, by the time 2020 rolls around, I’ll have a new novel to pitch and another in the works. Will that in-the-works book be the one about the centaurs, the one about the sci-fi Seventies, or the one about the alien who believes it is a demonic summoning? Tune in and see!

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I don’t need a full starship, but I’d love to have a Federation runabout complete with an emergency-medical hologram. I figure I can get a lot done with a rig like that.

Register for Boskone 57!
Register for Boskone 57 today!

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B57 Mini Interviews with Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Matthew Warner, and Gene Doucette

Good morning! Today we are interviewing Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Matthew Warner, and Gene Doucette!

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of the novels Signal to Noise, Certain Dark Things, The Beautiful Ones; and the science fiction novella Prime Meridian. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). Gods of Jade and Shadow is her latest novel. She is a columnist for the Washington Post and a reviewer for NPR.

Visit Silvia on their Twitter and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I lived for a while in the Boston area but never attended any cons there, so this is a chance to hopefully see some of the old sights around the city and discover what the convention is like. Also, I don’t like very huge events so this seemed more moderately sized, ha.

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

I think it was probably the HP Lovecraft Film Festival, which takes place in Portland every year. It’s a very small event and they screen all sorts of horror short films. I’ve also attended Necronomicon, which takes place every two years in Providence, and that’s a convention focused on the Weird and has an academic panel track, which is what I find the most interesting. There’s also a masked ball. I’ve gone twice to that. I won the World Fantasy Award editing an anthology inspired by the work of Lovecraft called ‘She Walks in Shadows,’ hence the focus on this sort of stuff.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

My first crime novel, Untamed Shore, is out February 2020 and in June Del Rey will be releasing Mexican Gothic, which is exactly what it sounds like: a Gothic novel. A Mexican socialite travels to the countryside to visit her cousin, who has recently married, and discovers nothing as it seems in the strange, old house in the mountains where she lives. Or, like the jacket cover more elegantly puts it: “a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico—and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.”

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Matthew Warner

Matthew Warner is a website designer working with Deena Warner to create websites for authors and publishers. Additionally, he is a SF/F/H author with seven novels and three collections, and he is a martial arts enthusiast.

Visit Matthew on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

Deena Warner and I will be guests concerning website design and online promotion. We learned about Boskone while redesigning the NESFA website (https://www.nesfa.org/), and we were invited to attend the convention. I’m also looking forward to attending as a writer, having had a few science fiction short stories published in the small press.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

The story that really affected me was 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Once I read the Arthur C. Clarke novel, the Stanley Kubrick film finally made sense! Back in 2001, I even corresponded a few times with ACC, via snail mail to Sri Lanka. I sent him a copy of my high school short story about him, in which a Dave Bowman-like space entity plucks ACC’s spirit from his body at the end of his natural life in order to change him into a space baby like itself. ACC kept writing back. so I guess he liked it! He was my first, favorite author, and having the privilege of swapping letters with him reinforced that with some hero-worship.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

My next publication will be a short story in THE BIG BOOK OF BLASPHEMY from Necro Publications, coming in 2019 or 2020. I’m also writing short stories as time allows between designing websites.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I would bring in the time viewer technology from THE LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. The time viewer is a wormhole through which you can observe any event and location from the past. It has profound societal effects as people are forced to confront the actual origins of their religions and mankind’s evolution. I would like to see this tech enhanced to allow for interstellar exploration — a kind of perfect clairvoyance to the entire universe.

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Gene Doucette

Gene Doucette is a hybrid author, albeit in a somewhat roundabout way. From 2010 through 2014, Gene published four full-length novels (Immortal, Hellenic Immortal, Fixer, and Immortal at the Edge of the World) with a small indie publisher. Then, in 2014, Gene started self-publishing novellas that were set in the same universe as the Immortal series, at which point he was a hybrid. When the novellas proved more lucrative than the novels, Gene tried self-publishing a full novel, The Spaceship Next Door, in 2015. This went well. So well, that in 2016, Gene reacquired the rights to the earlier four novels from the publisher, and re-released them, at which point he wasn’t a hybrid any longer. Additional self-published novels followed: Immortal and the Island of Impossible Things (2016); Unfiction (2017); and The Frequency of Aliens (2017). In 2018, John Joseph Adams Books (an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) acquired the rights to The Spaceship Next Door. The reprint was published in September of that year, at which point Gene was once again a hybrid author. Since then, a number of things have happened. Gene published two more novels—Immortal From Hell at the end of 2018, and Fixer Redux in 2019—and wrote a new novel called Apocalypse Seven that he did not self-publish; it was acquired by JJA/HMH in September of 2019. Gene plans to continue writing novels for both markets (traditional and self-published) as long as that continues to make sense. His current work-in-progress is Immortal: Last Call, and a large science fiction world-building project taking place on his Patreon site.

Visit Gene on their Twitter, Facebook, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

Proximity!

Last year was actually only my second visit to Boskone, and my first as a panelist, which is terrible considering I live just down the road. (Hopefully, the fact that I haven’t been going to any other conventions either makes this slightly less terrible.) So: it’s definitely true that I go to Boskone each year—but it’s a short streak—and I don’t go to any other conventions, for some reason.

But what makes it special? Well, I had a fantastic time last year, and I was overjoyed to have been invited back, and that’s all pretty special.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

I’m having a hard time deciding which came first. My father’s influence on my tastes was pretty substantial, because he was a big sci-fi fan. He used to hand me books all the time, with a ‘read this, you’ll like it’ recommendation that was always correct. So, early on, science fiction was just ‘this is the kind of fiction adults read for pleasure’. From that perspective, I’d probably pick something like Foundation, Lucifer’s Hammer or Inherit the Stars. But those probably aren’t the right answers.

I started reading fantasy (which my father didn’t care for) on my own. I don’t remember how or when I started, but every family trip to the bookstore ended up with me in the fantasy section. I read a lot of epic fantasy, but the first thing that springs to mind isn’t in that category: it’s the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. The second thing is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, although possibly because I was in seventh grade and that trilogy scarred me deeply. But those probably aren’t the right answers either.

I think the answer might have to be The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not because I fell in love with science fiction when I read it—I was already in love with science fiction by then. No, I mention it because this was the first book that made me want to write fiction.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

It’s going to be an interesting year because I have no idea what I’m going to be working on, and it’s been a long time since I could say that.
As I write this, I’m finishing up Immortal: Last Call, which is the sixth book in my Immortal series. It may be the last book in that series, but even if it isn’t, I’ll be looking elsewhere for a new project in 2020.

I’d like to return to Sorrow Falls for a third book (following up on The Spaceship Next Door and The Frequency of Aliens) but right now I’m not sure what that new story would look like, so I can’t promise anything.

I’ve also been busy doing some world-building on my Patreon site. The plan there is to create a planet with its own history and what-not, so I can set a series of books on that planet. I already have the beginnings of a plot for between three and seven books, but I’ll have to do a lot more world-building before I’m ready to start writing. That work will continue into 2020, but I don’t know yet if it will produce a book in 2020.

I will be doing a lot of work on what’s coming out in 2021. I wrote a novel called Apocalypse Seven in early 2019. It was part of a plan to develop into more of a hybrid author, which in this case meant I pitched it to John Joseph Adams Books (JJA Books is a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint) rather than publishing it myself. JJA/HMH acquired it, and it’ll be coming out in the Spring of 2021.

That means I’ll be spending at least part of 2020 doing the editing and promotional work that comes with a new release with a traditional publisher. What does that mean? I don’t know yet, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

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B57 Mini Interviews with Victoria Sandbrook, Allen M. Steele, and Auston Habershaw

Hi all! Today we are interviewing Victoria Sandbrook, Allen M. Steele, and Auston Habershaw!

Victoria Sandbrook

Victoria Sandbrook is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, and Viable Paradise graduate. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in SWORD & SONNET, PODCASTLE, SHIMMER, CAST OF WONDERS, and elsewhere. In her editorial life, she recently published STARTING FROM SCRATCH: A Primer on Writing and Editing Cookbooks through the Editorial Freelancers Association. She is an avid hiker, sometimes knitter, long-form talker, and initiate baker. She often loiters around libraries, checking out anything from picture books to monographs. She spends most of her days attempting to wrangle a ferocious, destructive, jubilant tiny human. Victoria, her husband, and their daughter live in Brockton, Massachusetts. Find her on victoriasandbrook.com and on Twitter at @vsandbrook.

Visit Victoria on their Twitter, Facebook, and website.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

I always love talking about what I’m reading (or watching or listening to), because that’s what we all have in common: a love of content that inspires us. I have always left Boskone with an impressive reading list and it’s so fun to contribute my favorites to others’ to-be-read piles. And it’s especially fun to put in good words for the work of talented friends and colleagues.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

In LE JARDIN ANIMÉ (1893), I love Elouan, an automaton adopted by an aging inventor with a flock of her own creations already in her care. He is loyal, thoughtful, inquisitive–and just a touch insubordinate. I’d planned on the other background characters from the start, or at least, I had a vague idea of who I’d need, but Elouan came about organically as I wrote and really surprised me amid an otherwise tight outline.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

Though 2020 will be mostly about my novel-in-progress, I’m very excited that my novella, LE JARDIN ANIMÉ (1893), releases from GigaNotoSaurus on January 1, 2020! Check it out if you’re interested in a mad-scientist Gothic about ballet-dancing automata, an aging thornback inventor, and a female Muslim doctor in 1893 Philadelphia.

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Allen M. Steele

Allen M. Steele has published twenty-one novels and over a hundred short stories. Since 1988, his work has received numerous awards, including three Hugos, the Seiun Award, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, and has been translated worldwide. A lifelong space enthusiast, Allen has testified before Congress in hearings regarding space exploration and participated in recent scientific conferences on interstellar exploration. He is also an amateur SF historian and an avid collector of SF novels and magazines. His most recent novel is AVENGERS OF THE MOON. Allen lives in Massachusetts with his wife Linda and their dogs.

Visit Allen on their Facebook, and website.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

I like discussions about science (space in particular), SF and its history, and the art of fiction writing. But Over the years I’ve found it just as satisfying to attend panels and listen instead of talking. When I see a topic on the schedule that looks interesting, where I could learn something new, I’ll try to make time for it. That’s always been one of Boskone’s strengths, its high level of discourse.

If you could be a fly on the wall during any scene or event in literature of film, which scene would it be and why? 

I would have liked to have been in the room when U.S. Army intelligence officers (not the FBI, as commonly believed) visited the New York offices of “Astounding Science Fiction” in 1944 to ask John W. Campbell how one of his writers, Cleve Cartmill, knew so much about atomic fission to write such an accurate description in his story “Deadline”. It would’ve been fun to see the look on Campbell’s face when it dawned on him that the Army must be making a Top Secret effort to make an atomic weapon; otherwise, why would the feds be coming to him?

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

I’m continuing to work on my literary reboot of Edmond Hamilton’s Captain Future. I’m writing a four-part series of long novellas, THE RETURN OF UL QUORN, that picks up five years after my first Captain Future novel AVENGERS OF THE MOON, where I re-introduced Curt Newton and the Futuremen and updated them. Book One, ‘Captain Future in Love” the series’ first installment, is coming out soon (if it isn’t already) ; Book Two, “The Guns of Pluto” is forthcoming. The series is being published by “Amazing” as both ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks, and it’s an effort to publish a digital “hero pulp” for our time.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

Star Trek teleporters. Because I love to go to distant, interesting places, but have really come to hate air travel.

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Auston Habershaw

On the day Auston Habershaw was born, Skylab fell from the heavens. This foretold two possible fates: supervillain or scifi/fantasy author. Fortunately he chose the latter, and spends his time imagining the could-be and the never-was rather than disintegrating the moon with his volcano laser. He is a winner of the Writers of the Future Contest and has published short stories in F&SF, Analog, and Galaxy’s Edge among other places. His fantasy series, The Saga of the Redeemed, is published through Harper Voyager—the final installment of which, The Far Far Better Thing, will be released in March of 2019. He lives and works in Boston, MA, and you can find him online at aahabershaw.com

Visit Auston on their Twitter, Facebook, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

Boskone is an intimate local convention that regularly attracts a lot of top talent from around the country and the world. A lot of British authors as well as American ones often show up, and it’s a great place to meet people and make connections. It also helps that I live in Boston, so I’m just a short train ride away from home!

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

I think probably it was the Rankin-Bass version of The Return of the King, specifically the Witch King of Angmar on his flying steed at the battle of Minas Tirith. Man that was some amazingly cool, incredibly scary stuff for a six or seven year old to see. I read the Lord of the Rings as a direct result of that movie and, well, here I am!

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

My fantasy series, The Saga of the Redeemed, will be (probably) coming out in audiobook this year and a story of mine (“Three Gowns for Clara”) is coming out in F&SF early in 2020 (may even be out as of the start of Boskone).

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I think we all underestimate just how awesome Inspector Gadget’s hat is. Pretty much any tool you need plus you get a cool hat! I’d be taking my hat-copter to work almost every day, lemme tell you.

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B57 Mini Interviews with Steven Popkes, Clea Simon, and Sarah Morrison

Good morning! Hope everyone is having an amazing day! Today we are interviewing Steven Popkes, Clea Simon, and Sarah Morrison!

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 Steven on their website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

Boskone and Readercon are the conventions that seem to have the most investment in the written word as opposed to media, costume, etc. I have nothing against these other things but my personal investment is in the written word.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

The process of writing. The nature of world building. The experience of character exploration.

Bonus: Up for a challenge? Give us a haiku or limerick about Boskone!

Boston in Winter
Miserable weather here
Boskone is like spring

If you could be a fly on the wall during any scene or event in literature of film, which scene would it be and why? 

If we’re viewing the film as reality, I would have liked to be in the discussion between the elves before they decided they needed a grand council. There must have been some really vitriolic interchanges about what Elrond was going to do.

If we’re looking it as film making, I would like to have watched the Hayden scene on the space station in 2001.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

There’s a side character that keeps showing up in my fiction. He is a man born in ancient Sumer but who is still living. His name is Fred Hibbert. He first showed up as the boss of a character in my story This Old Man. But he’s shown up in different places since.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

Scanners live in Vain, Cordwainer Smith

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

A convention in Chicago in winter of 1978. Both Gene Wolfe and Algys Budrys was there. Gene Wolfe said to cling to that which everyone you knew said should be eliminated: that was yours.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

The print version of my novel Welcome to Witchlandia has now been released. My short story collection, Simple Things, will be out in December. Next year my novel, God’s Country, will be released.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

Anti-gravity belts– they’ve been around since the pulps. With them one could fly under their own power like Heinlein’s The Menace from Earth.

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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 their Twitter or website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

The level of engagement! Seriously, I go to a lot of cons and what struck memost last year (my first year) was not only how much people had read but how engaged they were in the topics. Serious discussionis rare these days. Serious discussion of the ethics of paranormal cats even more so – and at a con? Just love how committed everyone is, and really want to bring it myself.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” I wish I could say something more esoteric, but I lived in Narnia for so many years (I was quite sure the woods between the worlds – from “The Magician’s Nephew” – was the beech forest behind my house). Possibly, Robert Graves'”The Big Green Book” might come close, with those wonderful Sendak illustrations and that big, floppy dog (who never chased rabbits again…)

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

“An Incantation of Cats,” my second Witch Cats of Cambridge, came out in January). Once again, three littermates must help their human, and in this second outing has the magical feline sisters learning to work together. I love my quirky witch cats. I hope readers do too! (I’m going to be setting up events but don’t have anything yet).

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I have often thought the elven rope that Galadriel gives Sam would be useful. Especially as I am crap at knots.

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Sarah Morrison

Sarah Morrison is a fantasy illustrator who costumes in her spare time. You can find her work at http://sarahmorrisonillustration.com

Visit Sarah on their Facebook or website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I enjoy the mix of things and people I can find at Boskone. Personally, I’m mostly here for the art, especially hearing and watching professional artists talk about art and their techniques. The art show is always amazing, and Boskone is a welcoming place for aspiring artists to get to meet and chat with professionals. I also occasionally listen to authors read from their works, and I like to take part in the whimsical magic behind NarniaCon (the coat check).

Artists: Fans love looking at the portfolio of artwork and asking artists about some of their most well known images. Which of your images, that receives less attention from fans, do you hold dear? What is it about the creation of that piece that makes it so special for you?

Maybe not relevant to one specific piece, but I, like many artists, end up painting my friends and family in my artwork. Sometimes another friend will comment “Oh! I really love that painting you did of so-and-so, but I think it would be so weird to have a painting of them hanging on my wall.” It’s a lot of fun painting my friends, though, and often more fun to do a preparatory photoshoot with them than with a hired model who I don’t know. I personally love recognizing some of the people in the paintings of illustrators I admire. I’d hang them on my wall.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

I’ve always loved a variety of things in the science fiction and fantasy realm (growing up on Astroboy, the usual childrens’ fairy tales, and Star Trek TNG of course), but it wasn’t until a friend lent me a bunch of Dragonlance books in High School that I finally really discovered the depths of the genre. Dragons and magic everywhere, that was the best, and I’d never seen art like Larry Elmore’s covers before. The world of fantasy illustration was suddenly open to me and I loved it.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

Hey, can we get Niven’s stepping discs please?Seriously. I’d be making so much use out of them. The internet helps us keep in touch with people far away but it’s just not the same – plus it takes at least an hour to get anywhere local by public transit.

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B57 Mini Interviews with Charlaine Harris, Vincent O’Neil, and Walter Jon Williams

Morning all! We are officially in December, and to kick off our December set of min-interviews, we have Charlaine Harris, Vincent O’Neil, and Walter Jon Williams!

Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris is the best-selling author of mystery and urban fantasy novels and short stories. She lives in the south, on a cliff, with four dogs and her husband.

Visit Charlaine on their FacebookTwitter or website.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

I’m really looking forward to talking about my new series, the Gunnie Rose books, because they’re so different from anything I’ve written before. I have a new publisher, new editor, and new series; all cause for celebration.

If you could be a fly on the wall during any scene or event in literature of film, which scene would it be and why?

It’s so hard to pick just one. When Darcy and Elizabeth come to an understanding in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? When Maxwell sees dinosaurs in JUST ONE DAMNED THING AFTER ANOTHER? When Rae Seddon is kidnapped in SUNSHINE? I believe I’ll choose the scene in THE ROOK when the traitor(s) are revealed. I would love to watch the battle from a safe vantage point.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

I’m the opposite of ruthless, so I’ve always enjoyed writing ruthless characters. Pam and Niall in the Sookie books and Paulina in the Gunnie Rose books are among my favorites.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

Ray Bradbury’s DANDELION WINE, which I read when I was in my early teens. I also remember LET’S KILL UNCLE (Rohan O’Grady) with fondness. I’m about to reread it.

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

I was nominated for an Agatha, so my publisher asked me to attend Malice Domestic. I didn’t know there were conventions for readers and writers of genre books. It was a whole new world for me. Of course I didn’t win, but discovering literary conventions definitely changed my life.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

The Time Machine, from HG Wells’ book of the same name. I am so curious about solving old crimes; I’d love to travel in time to do that.

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Vincent O’Neil

Vincent H. O’Neil is the Malice Award-winning author of the Exile murder mystery series, as well as the theater-themed mystery Death Troupe. He’s also written two horror novels called Interlands and Denizens, featuring the historian Angela “Ree” Morse. Writing as Henry V. O’Neil, he recently published the fifth and final novel in his military science fiction Sim War series with HarperCollins. The books in that series are Glory Main, Orphan Brigade, Dire Steps, CHOP Line, and Live Echoes. A native of Massachusetts, Vincent is a graduate of West Point and holds a master’s degree in international business from The Fletcher School.

Visit Vincent on their Facebook or website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

There’s something for everyone at Boskone. Panels, music, crafts, games, get-togethers, open-mike events, signings, readings, you name it. I’ve been coming to Boskone for years now, and it’s amazing how many people consider this the one convention they will not miss. Everyone’s very friendly, the organizers are on top of everything, and the only real problem is choosing what you’re going to do. There’s so much going on here that the schedule extends late into the night—but if you need a break, some of the best times I’ve had were chats with strangers in the con suite / hospitality area. Boskone’s a winner, so don’t miss it.

Bonus: Up for a challenge? Give us a haiku or limerick about Boskone!

If you really like
Science fiction / fantasy
Boskone is the best

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

In 2017 HarperCollins published the fifth and final novel in my military science fiction Sim War series, which I wrote as Henry V. O’Neil. I had a lot of fun creating what turned out to be dual main characters in that storyline, but the thing I enjoyed most was the way some of the secondary characters grew right alongside them. Without giving too much away, the story focuses on the Mortas family, powerful players in a decades-long war against a humanoid enemy called the Sims. The Mortas family has lots of deadly enemies, and so has serious security in the form of bodyguards who are both tough and smart.

The leader of that security force is a man named Hugh Leeger, who started out as the personal bodyguard to a Mortas child who has grown up and is fighting in the war. Leeger is intensely loyal, directs the family’s extensive spy network, and frequently participates in strategic decisions. Unfortunately, he’s also watched the head of the family make increasingly questionable choices in the name of political expedience, which forces Leeger to question if he’s even on the right side anymore. Although I outlined and wrote every word of the story, Leeger’s inner conflict was something that basically wrote itself—while also making him one of the most interesting characters in the series.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

Frank Herbert’s Dune did it for me. I read it as a young teenager, and was instantly pulled into the universe inhabited by the Atreides and their blood enemies the Harkonnens. The book is so well-written that in no time at all I was completely invested in the characters and really wanted to know how this thing would turn out.

The story exists on the macro level—witha tangle of feuding noble families, a tyrannical emperor, a shadowy sisterhood with awesome powers, a spacing guild, and a lot more—as well as on the micro level, with details like how to walk on the surface of the planet Dune without attracting the attention of the deadly sandworms. Dune’s got action, betrayal, philosophy, folklore, romance, humor, and a cast of unforgettable characters—what’s not to like?

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I liked the Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter books the moment it was introduced, and would love to have something like that in real life. Imagine a guide that showed you every inch of a place—including hidden chambers and passages—as well as the locations of every person (even those shielded by magic) on the grounds. Managing mischief would be a LOT easier with something like that.

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Walter Jon Williams

Walter Jon Williams is an award-winning author who has been listed on the best-seller lists of the New York Times and the Times of London. He is the author of twenty-seven novels and three collections of short fiction. His latest novel is Quillifer, a picaresque fantasy adventure.

Visit Walter on their Facebook or website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

The thing I best like about Boskone is that it’s still about the books.I have no problem with media conventions, but books are my preferred medium for transmitting stories, and Boskone shares my obsession.

What was your first book event or literary convention? Tell us about it! Perhaps you even have a photo to share?

It was my local New Mexico convention, Bubonicon, around 1972.The guest of honor was Ted White, who edited the magazines Amazing and Fantastic.Since then I’ve traveled around the world to attend conventions, but I always try to attend Bubonicon.

What will you be working on in 2020? Any new releases or dates that fans should be looking forward to hearing about?

My fantasy novel QUILLIFER THE KNIGHT, sequel to QUILLIFER, was released late in 2019.

Of QUILLIFER, George RR Martin wrote: “For all of you who need some great fantasy to read while you’re waiting for THE WINDS OF WINTER… try QUILLIFER, by Walter Jon Williams. WJW is always fun, but this may be his best yet, a delight from start to finish, witty, colorful, exciting and amusing by turns, exquisitely written. There’s a dash of Cugel and a dollop of Flashman in Quillifer, son of Quillifer, but this butcher’s boy remains uniquely his own man. I loved meeting him and look forward to seeing him again.”

Don’t take my word it’s good, take his!

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