Agent -Sully- Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: -It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.-
Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.
~ Xpresso BT
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
If I could tell you the story of The Year of the Knife in one word, I wouldn’t have used 80,000 of them.
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
I love Urban Fantasy, but it ruins my immersion when the existence of magic and monsters has had no impact on history or society. Magic would change everything. So in The Year of the Knife, it has.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist? ?
In its heart of hearts, The Year of the Knife is a hardboiled detective novel, and there are certain stereotypes that hardboiled protagonists fall into that I wanted to deconstruct. Many of them are very clever, but they lack emotional maturity, so it was interesting to grant one of those characters enough maturity to understand that womanizing, drinking, smoking and throwing themselves in harm’s way at the slightest provocation might not be healthy behavior.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?
I do this fulltime, so if I get writer’s block, my family doesn’t eat. Remembering that is usually enough to light a fire under my backside.
5. Your all time favorite book? ?
Shh they can hear you. Don’t make me choose between my babies. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay still stands out.
6. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
It was the first book that made me realize how much more fantasy can do to explore the human condition than literary fiction. For someone trained to read things through a modernist lens, it was fascinating.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project? ?
By the time I actually sit down to write a book the contents have already been bubbling away in my head for a long time. Parts of The Year of the Knife have been decades in the making. If we are talking about just typing the story out, the longest was about 3 months, with a gap in the middle for me to have my customary “this isn’t perfect” freak-out.
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way? ?
It has justified the years that I sunk into studying books? The problem with goals is that they keep on shifting, to begin with you just want something published, then you want it published somewhere “professional,” then you want to be able to write full-time, then you want to write whatever story pops into your head at any given moment. Ambition is a bitch.
9. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? ?
I always have a freak out at the midpoint of every book when imposter syndrome starts screaming that I don’t know what I am doing. That is usually when I take a week off writing and let my brain calm the hell down.
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing? ?
I wake up, answer emails, walk the dog, catapult the kids in the direction of the school and then sit down to write. Eventually I cook dinner. Then settle down and read, watch tv or very occasionally, play a game with friends.
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ?
It depends entirely on where the criticism is coming from. If someone’s critique is based on their prejudices then it can be safely ignored. If the bad review reveals some fault that you were blind to, then the critic has done you a valuable service. Either way, the author wins.
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series? ?
If The Year of the Knife does well enough then you can most definitely expect sequels. The next one is already outlined, and it drags Sully into the middle of a war that the British Empire are waging.
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
I am working on some more romantic novels at the moment, the latest involves high fashion and goblins.
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ?
These questions got profound really fast. I know I am meant to say world peace, or a cure for cancer but I have read enough monkey paw stories to know that ain’t going to end well. I wish for a sandwich. Let’s see you make that turn out evil.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? ?
How to build a boat for dummies.
3. Name your favorite fruit. ?
4. Coffee or tea? ?
I used to drink espresso like water, now I have to say tea as it is less likely to give me palpitations.
5. Favorite season? ?
Autumn, or “Fall” as you colonial geniuses have rebranded it. And honestly, that is just because it contains Halloween. The 100% best holiday of the year.
6. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
My favorite 24 hours were probably the first day that I spent living with my partner.
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ?
I was, and I hated every moment of it. I still refuse to go camping.
8. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
I know it is a cliché, but bacon. Drown me in bacon.
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read? ?
Latest book that I have bought was Wailing Ghosts, from the Penguin Black Classics collection. The latest book that I have read was “Into the Mystic” from Ninestar Press.
10. Do you collect things like stamps, or key chains, or shoes? ?
I have one pair of shoes that I have to replace every other month after I have worn through the soles.
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
As a child, they really train us to think that our favorite color is going to be somehow significant in later life, don’t they?
12. Drama or comedy? ?
13. Cats or dogs? ?
I have both sitting on me as I answer this question. I suspect they are reading my replies. I cannot risk antagonizing either side of this détente.
14. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
Dinner by candlelight, I am too old for clubbing, and I suspect I have been too old for clubbing since I was legally old enough to go clubbing.
15. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
The last song that I have listened to according to YouTube is… “Chief Don’t Run” by Jidenna, but prior to that was Ednaswap’s version of “Torn,” which I have to say I prefer to the Australian cover.
16. What first came to mind after reading question no. 1 of the Fun Facts section? I mean that thing that you reconsidered after giving it more thought 😛 ?
You are not going to trick me. Give me my sandwich.
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ?
Ironically it would probably be re-reading “Guilty Pleasures” by Laurell K Hamilton.
2. Your oldest memory is… ?
Of my father walking into a lamppost after picking me up from nursery school.
3. If everyone would receive a prize for being best at something, you’d be no. 1 at… ?
Cat chin skritches
4. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is… ?
Changing the goddamned cat litter
5. Your favorite part of a date is… ?
Are you trying to get me to say sex here? Because I will say it.
6. If a character from any book could become real and you could spend a day with them, it would be… from the book… ?
I haven’t got the energy to deal with all of the real people in my life without fabricating more, thank you very much.
7. You were/are a hardcore fan of… ?
Poppy Z Brite. I still dearly hope that someday he writes again.
8. If you could have any one superpower, it would be… ?
Once again, I am sure there is some profound answer here but ultimately I just really want to shoot lightning at people.
9. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ?
My darling partner’s beautiful smile. My answers are being monitored. Please send help.
10. The most awkward moment in your life happened when… ?
I have about thirty of these a day that I then remember for ten years. The worst was when I completely annihilated a waitress by accident.
Something went wrong in the kitchens so she had to replace some of our dishes. Afterwards she apologized and said “Sorry that I messed you around.”
Trying to be polite I said, “So are we.”
I have never seen someone instantly burst into tears before. This was about 20 years back and I still feel guilty about it. If you are reading this, I am sorry waitress. I am sorry.
11. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?
Well, I don’t know if you realize this, but I have got a book coming out.
About the Author & Links:
G D Penman writes Speculative Fiction. He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human. He is a firm believer in the axiom that any story is made better by dragons. His beard has won an award. If you have ever read a story with Kaiju and queer people, it was probably one of his. In those few precious moments that he isn’t parenting or writing he likes to watch cartoons, play video and tabletop games, read more books than are entirely feasible and continue his quest to eat the flesh of every living species.