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Ecko Burning – Release Day: An Interview with Danie Ware

Hey everyone! Hope you’ve all been epic or good at it! 😉 I’m back today with an interview for you – the first I’ve done in a very long time, and with a writer and storyteller that has been at the forefront of the UK’s SFF industry for many years – Danie Ware. 🙂

Danie

Danie day-jobs at Forbidden Planet and is in charge of the awesome retailer’s social media presence, organizing events such as book launches and author signings, and is also in charge of FP’s marketing strategy. But this might be news to you, because Danie is also the author of Ecko Rising and Ecko Burning, the first two novels in a trilogy that has been gaining rave reviews and generating controversy, too. I read and loved Ecko Rising (you can read my review here), and I’m most certainly looking forward to Ecko Burning. 🙂 As I’m sure many of you are, too!

And if you have no idea who Danie is, and haven’t heard of Ecko, where the hell have you been?! 😉 Seriously, though, here’s some info on the first two books of her trilogy. 🙂

Ecko Rising

In a futuristic London where technological body modification is the norm, Ecko stands alone as a testament to the extreme capabilities of his society. Driven half mad by the systems running his body, Ecko is a criminal for hire. No job is too dangerous or insane.

When a mission goes wrong and Ecko finds himself catapulted across dimensions into a peaceful and unadvanced society living in fear of ‘magic’, he must confront his own percepions of reality and his place within it.

A thrilling debut, Ecko Rising explores the massive range of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and the possible implications of pitting them against one another. Author Danie Ware creates an immersive and richly imagined world that readers will be eager to explore in the first book in this exciting new trilogy.

Order your copies here from Amazon US, here from Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa.

Ecko Burning

 

***BEWARE OF SPOILERS WHEN READING THIS BLURB***

Ruthless and ambitious, Lord Phylos has control of Fhaveon city, and is using her forces to bring the grasslands under his command. His last opponent is an elderly scribe who’s lost his best friend and wants only to do the right thing. Seeking weapons, Ecko and his companions follow a trail of myth and rumour to a ruined city where both nightmare and shocking truth lie in wait.

The book is available right now, so order your copies from Amazon UK here; it will be released in the US on June 3rd 2014 (pre-order here), and if you’re in SA, you could order your copies from Exclusive Books and start reading in a week or three. 🙂

Right, let’s get to that interview, shall we?

***

1) Would you please tell us a bit about yourself? Everyone in the UK SFF industry (and probably a good number in the US industry, too), know you through your day-job at Forbidden Planet – tell us a bit about the Danie Ware that most people don’t know. 🙂 )

I’m a forty-something single Mum, with a nine-year-old son of whom I’m very proud – and he’s been very patient with my writing, bless him! Other points of note: at thirteen, I went to an all-boys’ boarding school, then went on to read old school English Lit at Uni – lots of Milton and Chaucer. After that, I ran around on battlefields and hit people with swords for a decade or so. I moved to London in 2000 and I don’t really swear that much!

2) Were you always a storyteller at heart, or was it a need that gradually grew? Can you remember the first story you wrote? Tell us about it. 🙂

I’d’ve been about ten or eleven, I guess. It was a horse story (was learning to ride at the time, and ‘going through the phase’). I called it The Fire Saddle, wrote it all out by hand, PAGES of it, with maps and illustrations and cover art and you-name-it. It was absolutely honking terrible.

But, I’ve always been a storyteller, I think it’s a cathartic necessity. In the running-round-with-swords days, we all told our stories together, shared our worlds and realities and creativity – and a lot of Ecko is owed to those times.

3) In your opinion, do good writers make good storytellers? Or vice versa?

There are many different breeds of writer. A good copywriter is a different beast to a good novelist or a good journalist – though there’s no rule to say that a writer can’t be good at more than one discipline.

Good storytelling is about passion – about having an emotional involvement. The writer in you brings structure and narrative arc and all of that sensible stuff – but to be a storyteller, it has to come from your heart as well as your head.

4) Ecko is your unique creation – why him? What is it about him that made you want to write his story?

Though he originally had a different name, Ecko sprang into being, fully formed, one night when I was watching ‘Repossessed’. There’s a sequence where Linda Blair comes up off the bed, her face contorting, and snarls, ‘What crawled up your ass and died?’ and the entire concept, character and attitude, came from that moment.

He’s compelling because he’s not a character that reacts in half-measures. I never know what he’s going to be do next, and that makes him interesting. In times of frustration and anger, he’s been a deeply satisfying character to write. At other times, mustering his attitude has been quite hard.

Either way, his sarcastic sense of humour gave me slightly sardonic tone of voice that I needed to write about the fantasy world.

5) Ecko’s world and the world that he later finds himself in both have, for want of a better word, echoes of our own, yet are different and memorable – can you tell us a bit about how these worlds came to be? Did you create them and then fit the characters to them, or did the characters necessitate the creation of these worlds?

In our storytelling youth, our worlds and characters were created by osmosis – by a gang of us, sharing our visions and insights and foolishness. Pushing boundaries was what we did – we took the basics and played with them, we trashed and re-invented them. They grew organically and over time.

When I started writing again, I had to apply the editorial red pen – to make them work with the story. The addition of Pilgrim and Doctor Grey to the future London, for example, or the choice to base the fantasy culture on the cycling trade of a specific material – these things were new, and necessary.

The main characters, including Ecko himself, underwent the same editing process. Though there’s one, completely new, major character in Ecko Burning!

6) Many writers / storytellers are asked about the themes present in their novels – did you focus on themes in Ecko Rising? Did they grow organically or consciously?

The film ‘Run, Lola, Run’ shows how a tiny decision can change a whole pattern of unfolding events – a good visualisation for the ‘fractal reality’ theme. On one level, everything Ecko does is reflected throughout the pattern, and hence clearly visible – he can’t get away with anything. On another level, it brings with it the question of his freedom – is everything he does a part of the pattern and pre-ordained? Or is he free to move as he chooses and therefore change the pattern around him?

In its simplest form, this concept was built-in, right from the very beginning.

As the story unfolded, though, it came to encompass the pattern of the fantasy world itself – its Elemental and seasonal development, how the grass lives and dies, and the cycling patterns of the terhnwood trade.

I wish I was a mathematician, because I love fractals and I’d like to be able to draw it!

7) What can we look forward to in Ecko Burning? Have you upped the odds or gone for a ‘breath before the storm’?

Now that would be telling! I’ll say that you’ll find out more about the world and it’s culture and politics, how it works and how it can be taken apart. You’ll find out more about where centaurs other mythical beasties and come from – and what their agenda might be. You’ll see more of Ecko’s London. And you’ll hopefully meet a few surprises!

8) What is it about genre fiction that you hate, and what do you love?

I love how much freedom genre fiction has to express and explore – I love its scope and escapism, and the worlds to which it came take us. I get quite grumpy when those worlds all look the same, and all adhere to certain core concepts.

This is a bit of a hot potato at the moment – but I’m kind of pleased that Ecko’s been as controversial at it has. If it pleased everybody, I wouldn’t have written it right!

9) If a movie-trilogy was made of your trilogy, which director do you think would have the best chance of ‘getting’ Ecko?

Oooo that’s a hard one. I see Ecko as manga/animation – London done like Akira and the Varchinde like Ghibli’s Earthsea. I wouldn’t like to peg a Director to it, but I love the idea of the colours and the brightness and the contrast of one world to the other – or the filming sequences seen through Ecko’s oculars, complete with UV, IR targeting, or watching it move differently if his adrenal boosting kicked.

It would really underline the differences between the character and the world – and would look awesome!

10) If you had to pick one thing that you like most about your job at Forbidden Planet, what would it be, and why?

That’s an easy one – it’s being able to be a part of the SF/F community and to bring something to it that’s both meaningful and useful. It’s being able to host and attend events and to be involved in everything to such an intense degree. The presence of my son means that I don’t get to as many events as I’d like – so I’m waiting for him to be old enough to take with me!

***

Danie2 2 (1)

Remember, Ecko Burning was released today and should be hitting UK-bookshelves even as you read this, so get out there and get your copies! 🙂

I’d like to thank Danie for taking the time to answer these questions, and I’d also like to thank Sophie Calder at Titan Books who arranged this interview for me. 🙂 You both rock, thank you! 🙂 For more info on Danie and her fiction, check out her official website.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

P.S. I’ll be getting stuck into Ecko Burning as soon as I receive my copy, so expect a review soon. 🙂

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Interviews

 

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China Mieville, Mark Newton and Adam Neville at Forbidden Planet London!

Hey everyone, I thought I’d post this for everyone who’s missed the news and who are lucky enough to live in London – Three huge authors will be at Forbidden Planet’s London Megastore tonight!

Here’s the detail you need from the page on Forbidden Planet’s website:

Thursday 20 May 18:00 – 19:00
London Megastore

179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

Three huge talents; one signing event – FORBIDDEN PLANET are delighted to be hosting a triple signing with China Miéville, Adam Nevill and Mark Charan Newton on Thursday 20th May at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JR.

In China Miéville’s KRAKEN, a prize specimen has come to the Natural History Museum – a giant squid, whole and perfectly preserved. When it disappears, curator Billy Harrow finds himself in a city of warring cults and surreal magic – and the forthcoming end of the world.

APARTMENT 16 by Adam Nevill is wonderfully written, deftly plotted tale of utter horror which will have you turning the lights on in the middle of the night. Follow and unravel the tale of Barringon House – and discover that the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something terrifying.

Two weeks in advance of publication date, CITY OF RUIN by Mark Charan Newton is the follow-on to the massively successful Nights of Villjamur, taking us back to the lands of the Red Sun. This time, we go to to Villiren, where Brynd and investigator Jeryd must fight to save a city that’s already in ruins.

FP will have plenty of stock available of the respective novels, including Mark Newton’s City of Ruin (which is only being officially released on the 4th of June 2010!). 🙂 If you can’t make it to the event, FP is also allowing you to order the books on their site – they’ll get the ordered copies signed by the authors. Awesome, right?

So if you’ve made plans, cancel them and be sure to get there early! You may even bump into some of the awesome bloggers who make the blogosphere such a cool ‘place’ to be a part of. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Peter V Brett at Forbidden Planet’s London Megastore Tonight!

That’s right, Peat‘s probably getting ready or even signing right now, so get your butt over to the store to get your copy of The Desert Spear and have it signed, too!

Here are the details on the Forbidden Planet site. 🙂

The Desert Spear

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Review: The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

It’s been a couple of months since I read this book, but it’s still a book that I’m very excited about, and I’ve been telling everyone about this book!

Here’s the blurb for the book from Penguin UK:

“Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie for there is no redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary.”

The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is a vast and desolate place – a place without joy or hope. Most of its occupants were taken there as boys and for years have endured the brutal regime of the Lord Redeemers whose cruelty and violence have one singular purpose – to serve in the name of the One True Faith.

In one of the Sanctuary’s vast and twisting maze of corridors stands a boy. He is perhaps fourteen or fifteen years old – he is not sure and neither is anyone else. He has long-forgotten his real name, but now they call him Thomas Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming, violent and profoundly bloody-minded. He is so used to the cruelty that he seems immune, but soon he will open the wrong door at the wrong time and witness an act so terrible that he will have to leave this place, or die.

His only hope of survival is to escape across the arid Scablands to Memphis, a city the opposite of the Sanctuary in every way: breathtakingly beautiful, infinitely Godless, and deeply corrupt.

But the Redeemers want Cale back at any price… not because of the secret he now knows but because of a much more terrifying secret he does not.”

Now, I stick by what I said in my mini-review: The Left Hand of God will be, without a doubt, one of 2010’s biggest novels. Why? Here are my reasons:

The Worldbuilding: Paul has created a world that is at once weird and stranger than any place you know, but also exhilarating in the way that it echoes the world we inhabit. Places that we know are slightly different, cultures have formed around different concepts, and religion has taken a twisted, convoluted path towards something strangely funny but shocking.

The Characters: Thomas himself is, well, in a word, scary, the kind of guy you only have to look at to get the sense that you don’t want to do anything he might consider untoward; but at the same time, once he reaches the wide, outside world, he’s incredibly naive, reduced to stumbling along while trying to stay ahead of his enemies. But Paul doesn’t stop with Thomas Cale – the cast of characters range from very creepy gang leaders to hilarious, sometimes bastardly nobles, to mysterious yet comic ex-military types, to friends who know as little about Cale as he himself does. Paul handles everyone with an expert touch, allowing us to travel through the storyscape while seeing Paul’s world from many different points of view.

The Action: Paul manages to at once take you deep into the blood and violence and fear of battle while also placing you in the minds of those fighting and dying. And as you would expect from a created world with strange cultures and people, Paul also weaves in new tactics and kinds of warfare; there is one major battle in the book that’ll take your breath away and make you wince, and I’m really excited to see what Paul’s got up his sleeve in books 2 and 3.

Everything Else: Paul’s writing is really easy on the mind, poetic and beautiful in places, charging along with incredible pace and tension in others. His writing seems entirely suited to Fantasy, and I’m very glad that I got the opportunity to read such a strong debut!

2010 looks set to be an absolutely huge year for SFF, and I’m sure that The Left Hand of God will be a strong contender for Debut of the Year on many lists. 🙂 Highly recommended!

9 / 10

The Left Hand of God will be available in South Africa from next month (from Penguin Books SA) (even though it’s already available in the UK), so pre-order your copies here and here. For those of you in the UK, click here to order your copies.

Also, here’s the novel’s page on Penguin’s UK website (where you can read an excerpt of the novel, too), and good news for those in the UK – Paul will be at Forbidden Planet this month for a book signing! Click here for details. 🙂

Coming up tomorrow on the blog, an awesome competition that’ll give you a chance to have your work seen in the paperback edition of The Left hand of God! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2010 in Reviews

 

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Angry Robot and Robert VS Redick at Forbidden Planet!

Hey guys and girls of the UK, some great news for you that you’ve no-doubt already heard. 🙂 But you know me, spread the news far and wide I say!

The official UK launch of Angry Robot, the awesome new SF, F and WTF? imprint that’s been steadily building a robot army and bringing us some wonderful new fiction to get lost in, will be on my birthday – the 10th of October! 🙂 So, while I’m here in South Africa wishing I was at the launch to meet the authors and the people behind Angry Robot, many of you will be enjoying great company and even better books at Forbidden Planet! 🙂 I would say I’m jealous, but hey, you wouldn’t really care, right? 😉

And just because I’m not going to be there doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spread the word – after all, the more people read the awesome books that Angry Robot is bringing us, the faster they’ll take over the world!! Mwahahahahaha -ha -huhg -urgh! *clears his throat*

Check out the info below!

ARFlyer

Invite everyone you think will enjoy the company of great authors (Dan Abnett, Andy Remic and Colin Harvey) to celebrate the UK launch of Angry Robot! The more the merrier! 🙂

aec7_ARlogosm_1

And there’s more!

Redick_R

The excellent Robert VS Redick, author of The Red Wolf Conspiracy and The Rats and the Ruling Sea, as well as friend of the ward-master, Peter V Brett, will be at Forbidden Planet too – and here’s the cherry on the icing for sure: Want to get your hands on The Rats and the Ruling Sea before the official publishing date? Well then you better be at Forbidden Planet on the 16th of October!

The event will begin at 6 and go on through to 7 (that’s the evening, yes folks, not even I would wake up that early in the freezing UK!), but you better get there early to avoid having to fight your way through other rabid fans. 🙂 Don’t want to wait until the 29th of October to get your copy of the second book in The Chathrand Voyage (that is the new official publishing date)? Then make a point of getting to Forbidden Planet on the 16th of October! 🙂

Also, if you just can’t make it to the signing (I’ve got an excuse, I’m on a different continent), you can still order your copies of The Rats and the Ruling Sea and should get them well before the 29th. 🙂

And finally, here’s a little something that I saw that’s truly wrong – if you’re on Facebook, a fan of Robert and his work, then join the fan-page! 🙂

Rats and the Ruling Sea TPBR PFP CS3.indd

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2009 in Angry Robot, Announcements

 

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Mark Charan Newton Rocks!

All I can say is, thank you Mark! 🙂 You’ve made a blogger thousands of kilometers away feel as if he was there at the Forbidden Planet signing, and I can’t thank you enough! 🙂

Mark Loves my Blog

And thanks to Liz de Jager from My Favourite Books, for being such an awesome blogger and friend! 🙂 Don’t have a clue how you arranged this, Liz, but you, too, rock! 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2009 in Announcements

 

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M.D. Thalmann, a novelist and freelance journalist specializing in satire and science fiction, lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife, children, and ornery cats, reads too much and sleeps too little.

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