Posts Tagged ‘Ghost in the Machine Podcast’

Ghost in the Machine – James Maxey

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Welcome to a special podcast featuring a reading from The Witchbreaker and a q&a with Guest James Maxey .

Ghost in the Machine–Guest James Maxey

1. What is the title of your newest book or short story? What’s it about? Where can readers find it?

Witchbreaker is my most recent novel. It’s the third book in my Dragon Apocalypse series. The second book introduced a young witch named Sorrow. She’s a materialist, which means she gains her powers by shaping special nails from various substances and driving them into her skull. She gains total mastery over a substance in this way. Since she has a nail of iron, she can shape iron with her hands like it’s nothing more than clay, and she can cause any iron she touches to rust and crumble with but a thought. In the second book, Hush, she expands her powers greatly when she encounters Rott, the primal dragon of decay, and steals a sliver of his tooth she uses to form a nail. Now, she has all of the dragon’s destructive powers. Unfortunately, the power is so great she’s losing control of it, and of her body. At the start of the novel, the lower half of her body is completely covered in thick black scales. Her physical changes only get more drastic the more she uses her powers. The novel follows her quest to learn all the lost secrets of witchcraft to regain control of her magic before she loses the last of her humanity.

2. What inspired your new book or story?

I actually had the plot of this novel in the back of my mind for years, but had very different characters in mind. When I introduced Sorrow in Hush, I kind of fell in love with her and knew she was going to be the hero of the next book, and felt like the plot was a natural outgrowth of her personality. Sorrow’s father was a famous judge—or perhaps I should say infamous, since he’s known far and wide as the man who ordered his own mother hanged for practicing witchcraft. Sorrow rebels against her father by actually becoming a witch, but she sees that her father isn’t the real source of injustice in the world, that he is just a product of the religious and legal institutions that have created him. So, she’s literally on a quest to change the world by destroying the Church of the Book, the dominant religion of the world, and bringing an end to the age of monarchs. I like her because she’s never lost her capacity for outrage. She’s never looked at any problem in the world and thought, “That’s not my problem.” She’s smart, confident, and fearless. Of course, she’s also walking the line between being a savior or a supervillain. I love characters who exist in moral gray areas.

3. What do you read for fun?

For 2013, I’ve made a commitment to read nothing but classics that I somehow have managed not to read up to now. I consider myself fairly well read, but the list of important books I have read is daunting. So far this year, I’ve read The Wizard of Oz, Pride and Prejudice, The Time Machine, and am currently half way through The Island of Dr. Moreau. Frankenstein, Dracula, and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea are in my reading queue. I know all of these stories from movies and other adaptations and derivative works, but have somehow managed to skip reading the actual source material. This is the year I remedy that. So far, I’m having a blast.

4. Was there a book you read in your childhood or teen years that changed your world? Tell us which book and how it made a difference for you.

Lots of them. But, if I had to point to one, I would say Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan. In it, he presents the scientific theories and evidence about the birth of the universe and our world, including the rise of mankind, and uses the Biblical story of creation as a framing device. Since I was raised a fundamentalist Christian, this book had a huge impact on me when I read it as a teenager, completely upending my supernatural world view and replacing it with a rationalistic one.

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Write. It’s really just that simple. Writing is just like any other artistic skill. If you want to play piano, you have to sit in front of a piano pressing keys for years to master it. If you want to be a great artist, you have to fill up a lot of sketchpads. If you want to write, you’ve got to put your butt in the chair and tap out stories. You can gain advice from reading books or going to workshops, but you won’t actually learn to write until you’ve strung together many, many thousands of words into some sort of narrative structure. Quantity is the surest path to quality.

Ghost in the Machine – Jim Stratton

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer series and Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with guest Jim Stratton about how the publishing industry is changing, yet still staying the same.

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Jim Stratton

Ghost in the Machine – Philippa (Pip) Ballantine and Tee Morris

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer series and Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with Philippa (Pip) Ballantine and Tee Morris about the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

Ghost in the Machine–Guests Philippa (Pip) Ballantine and Tee Morris

Ghost in the Machine-Allan Gilbreath

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with Allan Gilbreath of Kerlak Publishing on creatures that go bump in the night.

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Allan Gilbreath

Ghost in the Machine-Casey Daniels

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with paranormal mystery writer Casey Daniels about merging magic with mystery.

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Casey Daniels

Ghost in the Machine-Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro about tips for making a long series work.

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Ghost in the Machine-Alexander Jablokov

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with author Alexander Jablokov (The Day the Wires Came Down) about introducing pros/cons of literary elements in sci-fi/fantasy about new projects including a paranormal investigation series and a new book on wine-based magic.

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Alexander Jablokov

Ghost in the Machine-Brian Kosciencki and Chris Pisano

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with Brian Kosciencki and Chris Pisano of Fortress Publishing. Brian and Chris talk about their experiences running a small press in today’s publishing economy.

Ghost in the Machine–Guests Brian Kosciencki and Chris Pisano

Ghost in the Machine-Jennifer Pelland

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with Jennifer Pelland (acclaimed short stories).

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Jennifer Pelland

Ghost in the Machine-Kelly Armstrong

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Host Gail Z. Martin (Chronicles of the Necromancer, Fallen Kings Cycle) talks with author Kelly Armstrong (The Reckoning.)

Ghost in the Machine–Guest Kelly Armstrong