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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Author Interview with Chuck Wendig (Includes Contest)


One of my favourite reads this year was a book that not only had the coolest cover but it had an amazingly surprising unique concept. Blackbirds took my breath away and I am extremely excited about the sequel Mockingbird which releases later this month. I wonder if both books will make it into my top ten of 2012. I know Blackbirds will!

I contacted the author, Chuck Wendig, and he was nice enough to answer some of my questions. I hope you enjoy reading about the books and maybe you will even pick up a copy. I can only highly recommend Blackbirds and keep raving about it whenever possible.

Maybe you want to win a copy of Blackbirds? Make sure you enter the contest when you are done with the interview!

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Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your book, Blackbirds?

Chuck - Miriam Black can see how you’re going to die, just by touching you. For a long time she believes she can’t change fate, can’t sway the Reaper’s scythe, but she meets a man, a good man, and discovers that somehow she’ll be complicit in his demise. And so begins her last ditch effort to see if she can avert the waters of fate or whether she’ll drown in them like everyone else.

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for Blackbirds? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?

Chuck – Blackbirds comes out of the helplessness we have in the face of death. Not just ours, but the deaths of those we like and love. The premise was not a long process; the writing of the novel most certainly was.

Amber - Miriam is an amazing character! How did you manage to write such a fascinating female character? Is she based on someone you know?

Chuck – Not any one person, no. She’s a profane pastiche of people I’ve met (and a little bit of me) slopped together with a glue made of whiskey and nicotine.

Amber - Miriam is quite a 'potty mouth'. Was it a problem with the publishers to have so much bad language inside the book? Are you a 'potty mouth' too?

Chuck – I am not a potty mouth. I am chaste as the untouched snow, pure as a mountain brook, I am –

Okay, you can stop laughing. My mouth is so foul it could gag a buzzard.

The book was a problem for some publishers. I received way too many “Editor loves this book, loves loves loves it, but we think it’s too dark, too foul, we can’t sell it, etc.” letters.

Thankfully, Angry Robot was comfortable with the book’s, erm, tone.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Chuck – The names just often come to me. The names in Blackbirds are somewhat inadvertently appropriate (though obvious to me now). Mostly in the last names. Black. Darling. Gaynes (“gains”).

Amber - If the book was going to be made into a TV series or Film, who could you imagine playing Miriam?

Chuck – I’ve had a great many actresses in mind – the cover version of her has a little Anne Hathaway in there. I also like Lizzy Caplan, Mila Kunis. You need someone young but old at the same time.

Amber - Mockingbird, the sequel to Blackbirds, is due out in August. What can we expect from the next part?

Chuck – Miriam finds herself at a girl’s school in Pennsylvania, there initially to help a teacher confirm or deny her hypochondria, but then poor Miriam gets dragged into a serial killer murder mystery that’s been going on for years – and, given Miriam’s power, she sees it will go on for years, too. So, she’s set to try to once again solve murders before they happen, this time armed with the knowledge of how to stay Fate’s bloody hand from killing these poor girls.

Amber - How come we are being made to wait a year for the second part? (Thank you!) Will there be more books about Miriam? Will we have a longer wait for them?

Chuck – You have been lied to! Blackbirds released in the end of April, and Mockingbird releases at the end of August! So, only four months. It will be a year until the third part (The Cormorant) releases – but I don’t control the release dates, I’m afraid.

Amber - You have written quite a few other books. What can you tell us about your other work?

Chuck – Dinocalypse Now features 1930s pulp heroes (including a kilted professorial gorilla) fighting a plague of psychic dinosaurs; Bait Dog features a teenage detective-slash-vigilante going up against bullies and corruption in a small town; Double Dead features an irascible vampire who wakes up during the zombie apocalypse.

Amber - The cover for Blackbirds and the upcoming sequel, Mockingbird, really make an impact and look extremely cool. Did you get to pick the covers? or have any say in the look?

Chuck – I did not get to pick them and it’s a good thing I didn’t – Joey Hi-Fi did work well beyond my wildest dreams. I did have some say in what went on those covers in terms of the little images embedded in Miriam’s crazy head and hair.

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?

Chuck – It’s been pretty much all awesome. All up’s for me. The downs that have happened have been ironed out and lost in the haze of pure unbridled joy that I get to do this for my living.

Amber - Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music that influenced your books?

Chuck – Blackbirds was strongly influenced by music. Particularly Butterfly Boucher’s first album and the music of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s.

Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?

Chuck – I’ll read anything by Joe Lansdale. He could write a Denny’s menu and I’d read it three times.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Chuck – Unicorn. Because unicorns get all the ladies. I know, you’re thinking, “It’s the horn.” But really, it’s their gentlemanly demeanor.

Amber - Thanks for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog!


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Contest Time!



I am giving away a copy of Blackbirds to one lucky winner!



How To Enter



Blackbirds & Mockingbird. You see the pattern evolving? What birds do you like? or/and don't like?



No Answer = No Entry



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The contest will stay open until 4pm on Sunday 26th of August (Central European Time) and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.

19 comments:

Barbara E. said...

I love the covers, especially Blackbirds, and the images are so complex that you could look at them for hours and not see everything. I don't particularly like blackbirds or mockingbirds, especially since they're more linked to doom and gloom. I like hawks and eagles better, as well as pretty birds like cardinals and blue birds.

SandyG265 said...

I don't like Grackles because they take over my birdfeeder

Bethany C. said...

I used to like blue jays...until I moved to an area with plenty. Those things are aggressive and loud.

books first love said...

Wow the covers are badass. I did not heard about the books till today.
I don't really like birds, like day birds :)) I DO heart owls...very very much.

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/missandramary/status/237468595175694337

just.andreeam@yahoo.com

marybelle said...

The birds around here drive me crazy. They eat my fruit & hold dance parties on the roof.

I do like owls though. They know how to behave.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Sharon Stogner said...

oh, I have been wanting to read this one! I like them dark :) I don't think about birds very often...I think I prefer the raptors like hawks and eagles they are powerful and graceful at the same time. sstogner1 at gmail dot come

Liv said...

I've already got a copy of Blackbirds, which is overall an awesome use of language. Just wanted to say 'hi' and then head off to find a unicorn.

Monk said...

I like Ravens (more commonly called Crows). Especially since a group of them is called a "murder".

The premise behind Blackbirds is just great.

Twisty J said...

The covers are amazing! I am a fan of the darker birds, like ravens and crows. However, hummingbirds amaze the crap out me. There almost constant need for food and to keep moving. Crazy!

Thanks for the chance!
twistingthelens@gmail.com

Stephanie said...

I like Ravens because I think they're beautiful.

molly.frenzel said...

I actually think ravens are kinda creepy and I can't stand sea gulls.
molly(dot)frenzel(at)gmail(dot)com

Birgit said...

I like parrots (especially those I came face to beak on a trip through Australia many years ago)!

Shared: http://www.facebook.com/birgit.horvath.muck/posts/218767874918134

Advertised you on my own blog too!

Victoria said...

I love Humming birds and Blue birds. I can't stand crows and grackles.
vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Karen Wapinski said...

I love the covers and I like birds of all kinds. I especially love crows, sparrows, and pigeons just because no one else likes them.

Lisa B. said...

Great interview! I'm sold. I must read this series.

I grew up around almost a hundred birds. Seriously, my dad used to breed them. My favorites are parrots, parakeets, and cockateils. But I've also been fascinated with hawks and falcons.

Thanks for the giveaway :)

angel28140 (at) yahoo (dot) com

mariska said...

i love Owl and eagle :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

Hummingbirds are my favorite!!


I'd love to be entered to win, both look fabulous.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Mardel said...

I like Magpie - not sure why, maybe it's the name. Magpie.

I loved reading Blackbirds, even though I was vaguely disgusted with Miriam's behaviour, I could totally relate to wanting to just let it out sometimes, be just as rude and foulmouthed...(well, I might have the foul mouth down. lol)

Carol said...

I like most of the colorful birds, but I think my favorite is the northern meadowlark. I miss the song so much--said something once about them not being in this area, and was roundly taken to task by an elderly gentleman, who said they certainly were here. I guess there must be a couple of varieties at least, since the ones I remember from my childhood are definitely NOT in this area--or they have all been struck mute!


cgclynsg0 @ gmail dot com