This is the seventh post of a brand new blog series, as I dip my toes into the mysterious waters of author interviews.
Having watched so many fantastic interviewers (Tricia Drammeh and her Authors to Watch, AFE Smith (see below), Katrina Jack and her New Authors section and Susan Finlay’s Meet the Author to name a few of the best – please check out their wonderful blogs), I’ve always been a little reluctant to throw my hat into the ring…but here goes!
One of my all-time favourite worldbuilding PC games, is Sid Meier’s ‘Alpha Centauri’. So, in homage to that (and a shameless rip off of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ and AFE Smith’s brilliant blog series Barren Island Books), here is my own author interview series – Distant Worlds.
To kick off the Distant Worlds strand, over the next few weeks I will be focusing on fellow fantasy and sci-fi authors from ultra-cool UK publishing house, Grimbold Books and their imprints, Kristell Ink and Tenebris Books – a bunch of uber talented and whacky characters who I am also proud to call friends.
Grimbold Books were also doing a fabulous ‘Summer Promotion’ from 31st July – 4th August, where ALL of its wonderful titles were priced at only 99p/99c across Amazon platforms. Now, although the promotion is now over, check out their titles to still grab a great bargain before the prices go back to normal! Awesome fiction at awesome prices!!!!
Right, now to our seventh author interview…the talented galactic priestess of cool…
Gillian, YOU find yourself cast adrift in deep space, your colony pod’s life support is failing, your only chance of survival is a distant habitable world…
What 5 essentials would you choose to help you survive?
I guess the essential number one would be a water bottle, then a first aid kit, a multi-tool (Swiss army knife), rope and some chocolate bars (at least it would keep me happy! 🙂
What 5 personal items would you salvage from your crashed ship before it explodes?
If my husband was with me, I’d have to salvage him first 😉 and then photos of family and friends. Can’t forget photos of our three dogs! My iPod so I can stay motivated with music and my favourite book, Jane Eyre.
Would you seek life-forms for help or go it alone?
I would be the type to cautiously approach life-forms. I might watch them for a while and see if they seem friendly. That said, the chocolate bars might come in handy for bartering for help if need be!
What 5 fantasy/sci-fi books would you have to keep with you and why?
It’s so hard to just pick 5 books, when I’d love to bring whole series with me, but I’ll do my best.
- Obernewtyn or anything, by Isobelle Carmody. I read this fantasy book at school and something in the main character struck a chord with me. Twenty years on, it’s still one of my favourite fantasy books/series.
- Son of the Shadows, by Juliet Marillier. I know it’s the second book in this celtic series, but it’s always been my favourite story.
- Myrren’s Gift, by Fiona McIntosh. It’s such an inventive story, but also very well written.
- The Devil’s Diadem, or anything else by Sara Douglass. She was such a talented writer and I was so sad to hear she passed away a couple of years ago. She put some amazing spins on historical characters.
- Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers. It’s the last book in this series, but I just loved it. It’s a mishmash of history/ fantasy and definitely my cup of tea.
What 5 songs or albums could you not live without?
I’m a bit of a rock chick at heart, so my choices might reflect upon those lines.
- Ten, by Pearl Jam. Twenty years on and it’s still an amazing rock album. (I SO agree with you, I still have my LP and play it often!)
- Little Sparks, by Delorentos. This is an Irish band, and maybe not overly well known elsewhere, but they are so very talented.
- When the Pawn . . . by Fiona Apple.
- Tea and Sympathy, by Bernard Fanning.
- Grace, by Jeff Buckley. What an amazing voice.
You are all alone on a distant world with little chance of being rescued…do you choose water, vodka or coca-cola to drown your sorrows?
Can I swap vodka for bourbon? Otherwise water would be fine! 😀
Random comet question: If you had to live somewhere else, would you chose Westeros or Middle-Earth?
Brilliant and so hard to choose! I think it would be Westeros. I know it’s a harsh, dark place but there are so many interesting characters to meet, and a great mix of strong male and female characters. And three dragons. I think the three dragons make the decision easy for me.
You have 30 seconds (max 100 words) to tell the alien approaching you about your latest book. Remember this is more pressurised than an elevator pitch – screw up and he’ll eat your brains! Go!
The Sinner’s Daughter . . .
Tamryn has a gift. Her ability to read auras is a secret one, and one she must keep when she is abducted on the night of her brother’s crowning. Taken to the land of her enemy, Tamryn dreams of escape, only to discover that the Gods she has been faithful to have other plans for her future. Escape seems futile, until a man with an aura as brilliant as a star intervenes on her behalf…
How would you choose to spend your time on this distant world?
I’d have to take it upon myself to do some exploring and find out a little more about the planet. And try to draw a map of it. Love maps in fantasy books, so the challenge of mapping out a new world would be great. It would be a wasted opportunity not to take in a little adventure too!
What 5 things would you miss most about Earth?
I would miss my family, friends and my dogs. Then probably the food, nothing specific now, I’m not overly fussy, but anything that tastes good (and is sweet!) And I’d definitely miss bookstores and their wonderful array of reading material.
What 5 things would you NOT miss about Earth?
I guess I would have to say that I would not miss all the cruel, terrible things you see on the evening news. But then, I don’t think I would miss TV much, and certainly not the Kardashians . . . Also I wouldn’t miss selfies and everybody airing their minute by minute day on social media either! 😀
Time-traveller questions (for Dr. Who fans): What is the one thing you wish you could turn back time and change?
If you had the chance again to go on this deep space adventure, would you take it?
There’s not anything specific I would go back and change. I think we have to learn from our mistakes and experiences, how else do we develop into the “characters” we become? And think of all that wasted writing material without all those experiences (good and bad?)
However, the idea of reliving deep space adventures sounds like a lot of fun and I think I would take that chance.
What 5 indie authors and books you would recommend to any carbon based lifeform – and why?
- Thorn, by Intisar Khanani. It’s a lovely fairytale type book set in a middle-eastern world. Beautifully written.
- The Emperor’s Edge, by Lindsey Buroker. It’s a steampunkish fantasy/mystery and a very entertaining read.
- The Girl in the Box, by Robert J Crane. Mutants, adventure, fun!
- Entreat Me, by Grace Draven. A brilliant romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast (I’m a sucker for dark fairytales).
- Nefertiti’s Heart, by A.W. Exley. Victorian London, Egyptology and steampunk, with a dash of romance if you’re into that sort of thing!
What advice can you give to fellow space travellers (writers and readers) out there?
Read and write what you enjoy and what makes you happy. Don’t mind what others say (unless it’s good editing advice!). Make up your own mind about what you like to read and write, even if it’s not the popular thing at the moment. It’s important to remember that everybody has their own tastes!
Before we leave you and blast into another parallel universe, please tell us about yourself, your inspirations and your publishers!
Gillian O’Rouke in her own words…
I’m going to cheat and give you my bio. It simplifies things!
‘Before settling down in Ireland with her husband and three dogs, Gillian O’Rourke lived in Melbourne, Australia. She received her first fantasy book from an English teacher at the age of fourteen and has loved the genre ever since. Although she writes fantasy, she occasionally dabbles in the paranormal. Gillian currently works in the healthcare sector, helping adults with disabilities live as independently as possible.’
On a quick note, I’m very lucky to be an author with Kristell Ink, which is a fantasy imprint of Grimbold Books. There are a lot of talented writers on the team, as well as editorial and creative staff. On top of that, there is an amazing choice of sci-fi and fantasy novels to read!
There’s none so blind as she who can see . . . Esther is blessed, and cursed, with a rare gift: the ability to see the fates of those around her. But when she escapes her peasant upbringing to become a priestess of the Order, she begins to realise how valuable her ability is among the power-hungry nobility, and what they are willing to do to possess it. Haunted by the dark man of her father’s warnings, and unable to see her own destiny, Esther is betrayed by those sworn to protect her. With eyes newly open to the harsh realities of her world, she embarks on a path that diverges from the plan the Gods have laid out. Now she must choose between sacrificing her own heart’s blood, and risking a future that will turn the lands against each other in bloody war. The Reluctant Prophet is the story of one woman who holds the fate of the world in her hands, when all she wishes for is a glimpse of her own happiness.
And as a quick note, my second novel, The Sinner’s Daughter, should be out December 2015, just in time for Christmas!
Lol, thank you, Gillian. Yes, congratulations, you are survivor! A passing tourist cruiser has honed in on your distress beacon, you’re going home!!!
Happy Horizons! 😀 xx