Interview with Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara & Ginn Hale

Today I am interviewing authors Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon and Astrid Amara for the launch of Irregulars, the much anticipated fantasy anthology that will be released by Blind Eye Books on March 14 although the book can be pre-ordered now.

Hi Guys!

Ginn Hale: Hey Wave! (Flailing my arms about excitedly with way too much coffee in my system!)

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for the release of Irregulars. I hope you did agree or I’m in big trouble. 😀

Fantasy readers can’t wait to get their hands on this book which will be released March 14 (that’s tomorrow!), and for their benefit I’m including a synopsis:

NATO’s Irregular Affairs Division is a secret international organization operating in cities on every continent. Its agents police relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, enforcing immigration laws, overseeing the transfer of magical artifacts, and protecting us from crimes against humanity. They can’t tell anyone what they do or reveal the strange sights they’ve seen.

These agents—Irregulars, as they’re known to the few who know them at all—are drawn to the work for their own reasons and solve cases in their own unique ways. They are a colorful collection of men:

Agent Henry Falk, an undead tramp brought back for a final mission.

Agent Keith Curry, a former carnivore chef turned vegetarian, currently dealing with a goblin problem.

Agent Rake, Babylonian demon with a penchant for easy living and dangerous games.

Agent Silas August, an uncompromising jerk with a dead partner and an assignment babysitting an assassin.

Four cities, four mysteries, four times the action and romance. Is your security clearance high enough to read on?

The individual stories are:

Cherries Worth Getting by Nicole Kimberling set in Portland, Oregon, USA

Green Glass Beads by Josh Lanyon set in Vancouver, B.C. Canada

No Life But This by Astrid Amara set in Mexico City

Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale

According to the anthology the Irregulars police NATO territories, providing justice for the wronged and infrastructure support for the hundreds of thousands of unearthly refugees who live hidden within their borders. The agents include magicians, witches, faerie lawyers as well as extra-human consultants – vampires, pixies, goblins etc., but the people who do most of the investigative work are the humans.

I don’t want to give away too much since I’ll be reviewing the anthology and this interview is intended only to give fantasy fans just a small taste of what they can expect in the stories…

I’ll start with Nicole Kimberling.

Hi Nicole. Nice to talk to you again. Can you tell us who came up with the concept for this anthology? Was it a collective effort when you guys were out drinking one evening? Or maybe the idea arose from something much more sophisticated such as a strategic session when you were at a conference somewhere? 🙂

Ha! Strategic sessions only happen at Yaoi-Con and mainly have to do with the Hell Cop books. But for Irregulars… I don’t remember exactly how it happened. I know Ginn came up with the idea for the agency and then I thought of throwing Josh into the mix. And then, of course, Josh agreed, which was right hospitable of him.

But virtually everything about the project changed once the authors started writing and trading ideas. Synergy—especially creative synergy–is an amazing thing.

What can you reveal about your characters Keith and Gunther in Cherries Worth Getting ? They seem like an ill-matched pair. Keith is straight up while Gunther is a different species. I love the way Gunther smokes – how cool! 🙂

Or doesn’t smoke, per se, merely consumes cigarettes in a rather unique fashion? My protagonist is an ex-chef turned NIAD agent who has gotten burned (no pun intended) by extra-human dealings in his former career and so is a tiny bit prejudiced against fellow NIAD agent, Gunther Heartman’s kind.

So because of Keith’s hostility, Gunther is naturally wary of him, but can’t help but be attracted to the guy as well. After all, Guther’s always hungry and Keith sure can whip up a fine breakfast spread.

Keith’s assignment was rather chilling and ghoulish. Do you want to say anything about it now or would you prefer to take the fifth? (I always wanted to say that). : ) Personally I would like to hear more about the deal between NIAD and the goblins involving death row inmates but I don’t suppose that’s appropriate for those with tender tummies. 😆

He investigates incidences of human meat consumption, both by humans and also by extra-humans. He’s the only agent in NIAD who specializes in crimes of this nature. If he’s cooking for himself, he only eats grilled cheese sandwiches. I think that says a lot about what he might encounter on an average day.

Next I’ll move on to Josh Lanyon whose story is called Green Glass Beads.

Hi Josh. It’s great to talk to you. All of your fans miss you. I know it’s only been a couple of months but aren’t you tired of lazing around in your hammock next to the pool?

Hiya, Wave! Enjoying a quiet, peaceful life without me? 🙂

You have many interesting characters in the book but I’m really liking Commander Rake who is very powerful and always a step ahead of half faerie Archer Green who had been living the high life while at the same time pulling the wool over Rake’s predecessor’s eyes. What, if anything, can you talk about with regard to Rake’s history?

Well, Rake is very old. He’s literally seen it all, including the birth of Christ, so he takes what you’d call the long view when it comes to humans and humanity. He believes in the Irregulars and their cause, but with him it’s pragmatic rather than philosophical. He’s someone who could, depending on circumstances, switch alliances to deadly effect.

Can you tell us something that’s out of the ordinary (well the entire story is out of the ordinary) 🙂 about Green Glass Beads that is not a spoiler, but would whet the appetites of fantasy fans so that they will run, not walk, to get a copy of this anthology?

Hmmm. You probably don’t mean the cardamom candy and liqueur Rake is so fond of. Cardamom is one of the oldest spices in the world and it used to be added to incense to ward off demons, so I thought it was fun that Rake liked to snack on it.

I know, I know. You were hoping I’d mention the demon sex scene. 🙂

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Demon. Sex. Scene.

No, seriously, I’ve read and love all the other stories in this anthology, and I’m really proud to be part of it.

Astrid Amara’s tale – No life But This is next:

Hi Astrid and thank you for agreeing to this short interview.

Hello! Always a pleasure to be here!

Your book No Life But This features two unusual characters, Deven and Silas.

With both characters not being exactly likeable – one is an assassin and the other is pretty strange – what one personal quality does each of the MCs possess that might make the readers appreciate them from the outset?

I think the character of Deven appeals to me because he is damaged, innocent, and strong at the same time, my favorite combo. 🙂 He is an assassin because he knows no other life, and the only being who ever helped him is the one who slit his throat, so he is a lonely man who needs to discover something, or someone, to live for.

Agent Silas August is also lonely, but expresses it in a different way – he shuts everyone out of his life. He’s spent so much time alone after the death of his lover that he doesn’t relate well with others – which somehow makes Deven the perfect partner for him.

I liked writing these two characters because they are flawed, and yearning to be different than who they are.

If I can ask one more question – what can you tell us about Aztaw, the world that Deven left behind and his Lord Jaguar?

The Aztaw world is hot, dry, and dark. The Aztaw people are a warrior race forced to serve magical lords who fuel their spells with human blood. As a result, most of the warrior class spend their lives hunting human beings and supporting the construction of lavish sacrificial temples to keep the lords in power.

However there is a rebellion prior to the novel’s start, and the warriors rise up against the lords, breaking the “house powers” with which they have ruled over the people for millennia. In the midst of this civil war, Deven’s own Lord Jaguar is killed, and Deven himself is forced to flee to the natural world to preserve Lord Jaguar’s magic.

Probably sounds confusing. 🙂 In simple terms, its an inhospitable world where the only human to venture there went insane and abandoned his ten year old son in his madness, so there is little information about it, which is why the Irregular Division hires Deven to consult for them.

Most of my imagery and inspiration comes from Aztec artwork and beliefs, and since my theme for this novel is “sacrifice,” it seemed appropriate. 🙂

Things Unseen and Deadly by Ginn Hale is the last story in the anthology

Hi Ginn.

Hey Wave!

I just left you a few weeks ago in the Rifter and you turn up here with another extraordinary character, undead Henry Falk.

Yeah, it’s been kind of non-stop for me, between the Rifter books and Irregulars. Crazy, but great fun at the same time. I can’t say how excited and inspired I was to be working with Nicole, Josh and Astrid. Their stories brought the whole world of Irregulars to life for me and made me want to do my very best.

I’m happy to hear that Henry Falk stood out for you as a character. He’s close to my heart. I modeled him pretty strongly after my father and grandfather: both were big, harsh men who’d seen—and at times, been—the worst of humanity, but in their own ways they each harbored an immense capacity for kindness.

Henry’s the type of man who’d warn you that it isn’t any of your concern if a neighbor wants to drown some stray kittens in the river—nobody cares about strays and you’ll just end up drowning yourself diving after them. Then he shows up, soaked to the bone, with a sack of the little furballs and stays up all night nursing them back to life.

Is there anything you can talk about his backstory that wouldn’t be a spoiler but would explain just a little how he became who he is, not exactly alive? 🙂

Henry’s from the early days of the Irregulars, though not nearly as early as Rake!

He was recruited from the regular army during WW1—when Irregular agents were desperately searching for a tool that would let them win what seemed like an endless war. As Henry himself notes, he’s ‘a shabby relic from an age when Irregulars’ operations had been run on half-assed witchcraft, peyote spit, and blood sacrifices’.

It was a time when the Irregulars were still experimenting with spells they didn’t understand and things often went wrong. A great deal went wrong for Henry and as a result he doesn’t necessarily stay dead when he really ought to… not even when he wants to.

And last, who or what is Jason Tramir if that wouldn’t be too much of a reveal? For someone who looks so innocent he sure seems to have a lot of power.

Well, there’s a clue to his nature hidden in his last name—Shamir—I couldn’t resist when I came across it in the Talmud—sort of a wink to those readers familiar with Jewish and Irish lore.

Jason’s a young musician who’s grown up thinking that he’s mentally unwell because of all the strange things that he sees all around him—little girls with shimmering wings, monsters made of bloody bones. He’s spent most of his life trying to ignore his visions, or medicate them away. He aspires to a normal existence… and maybe to even get a date.

Then one day he stumbles into an Irregulars operation and suddenly discovers that the beautiful, terrible world he’s been trying to deny is not only real but it’s coming after him.

Thanks guys.

Ginn: Thank you, Wave!

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

84 comments

  • As I just began this book, I cannot speak intelligently about it but here is some gibberish! SO damned excited to see 4 such amazing authors in one place and in one book–I have been grinning since the book arrived two days ago and have begun my fantasy read—ah…such bliss!! Thanks everyone for this happy little excursion into the fantasy world!

    Reply
    • Hey Sammy,

      I know just how you feel. Some days I just check my mail over and over hoping that I’ll get a story from Nicole, Josh or Astrid and when I do, it feels like Christmas!

      Reply
  • You would not believe the joy I felt getting the book in the mail. Pre-orders are awesome. ^_^

    Nicole, I’ve never had such cravings for grilled cheese sandwiches, and the exploration of this new world through the eyes of a former cook was delicious. And it was the only time I’ve wondered what tobacco tastes like.

    Josh, when Archer’s spoke of immortal and mortal worlds existing together only at the price of one’s culture and traditions being destroyed, it made me wonder if he’s talking about the neutralized items in the museum, or of all the refugees from other realms stripped down to existing. Deep stuff, and a side of the Irregulars I didn’t expect to see.

    Astrid, “I just got fisted in all the wrong ways,” is going to keep me laughing for a good long time. And now I’m craving tacos. ^_^

    Ginn, Agent Fulk, a guy at home in the shade, he is such a vivid character, his description was as solid as brick, from the smell of the grave to the tightness of rubber bands on his fingers.

    You guys rock, this world rocks, and I hope you have another go at the Irregulars because it showcases all the good things about Blind Eye Books.

    Reply
    • Hello Kim! Thank you so much! I got hungry for grilled cheese sandwiches myself writing that. I think I must have gained at least 5 pounds in cheese alone. 🙂

      Reply
    • Hello Kim!

      I have to say that one of my favorite things about this anthology is the fact that I get to read the awesome stories my favorite authors created and then go play in them.

      I delighted to see that the excitement and fun we all had writing the Irregulars carried through to readers as well!

      Reply
  • Hi Ona,

    Thank you for picking the book up and taking the chance on it. I think it’s wonderful that Irregulars– and the characters– seem to have found just the right readers.

    Reply
  • Okay, the bodies have been taken care of so now I can rejoin… wait, where did everyone go? And what do you mean, Josh, it’s always about the blood? WHAT ELSE IS THERE? 😀

    Thanks for the kind words, Ona, DammitJanet, Sylvia, Eva and Calathea! You’d see me blush if I wasn’t completely covered in dirt from all the digging. And by the way Nicole, your cat is trying to seduce me at the moment in all the wrong ways. Laying like a beached whale on the carpet, wailing for cat nip and giving me weird “I think I want to molest you” looks is creeping me out.

    Reply
  • Hi Nicole, Josh, Astrid, and Ginn,

    I just completed my second read of the anthology, and it was even better the second time around. However, I am a little upset that I will be foregoing any servings of pozole for a while. I’m sure I will get over it meanwhile I’ll stick with grilled cheese.
    Anyway, I loved how each story was complimentary to each other, but had strong characters and plots, which work as standalones as well. I didn’t know whether I would read Nicole’s story a second time, but I’m so glad I did because it made me appreciate how this story could have gone wrong. Instead, there is a strong narrative and subtle humor.
    Then we have Josh’s story where his magical turn of a phrase renders characters that you easily fall in love with and root for (lust after too). I had not read anything by Astrid before The Irregulars, but the world of the Aztaw captured my attention and imagination. The imagery was both enchanting and horrific — I kept picturing those fantastic decorated skulls from Mexico’s Day of the Dead festivities.
    Last we have Ginn’s story, which lulled you into Henry’s dark world and his loneliness as well as compassion. I loved the contrast between Henry, who seemed so weary and Jason, who was anxious to begin his life outside hospital confinement.

    I applaud all of you on a fantastic book. I think there’s so much packed into each of these stories that readers would be remiss if they didn’t treat themselves and read each one – a few times as I intend to. Great job!

    Reply
    • DammitJanet! (That’s a great name by the way.)

      Thanks so much for all the kind words! :blush:

      I think you’re really right about giving the book more than one read. There are several details and nuances that gain more meaning if you’re familiar with the characters and world.

      Josh and Nicole in particular built a lot of small nuances into the their characters. And Astrid’s world as well as the characters really deserve more than one read.
      (I know I was still discovering new insights from all the other stories my third time through.)

      Reply
    • DammitJanet–I just might love you! 🙂

      I’m so pleased that you’re taking the time to reread our anthology a second time. We really tried to build the stories in layers so that there would be details to catch the second time around that weren’t obvious on the first read.

      And I’m so pleased you found Astrid. She truly is a vivid and evocative writer, whether she’s doing fantasy or contemporary.

      Reply
      • Aw, shucks. Now I’m blushing. Thank you, Nicole. I think I love you too or at least my PETA friends do now that I’ve given up meat. I think that these are stories that I will read many times over and pick up on some subtlety I missed each time. I love how each story is layered or richly textured like a Native American rug – the design is deceptively simple and yet crafted with artistry.

        Reply
    • Were you guys drinking before you showed up here? :beer: This is a professional review site and no liquored up authors are allowed on the premises – it’s bad for our image. :drunk:

      Reply
  • Thank you all for a great interview. I loved every individual story and together it was the best anthology I’ve ever read :bravo: I hope you will work together again soon :yes:

    Reply
    • Thank you for your support Sylvia!

      You see, Josh, Nicole and Astrid, people want us team up again! Just think of how exciting it will be when we take on the Globe Trotters!
      :basketball:

      (How does ” West Coast Dribblers” sound for a rockin team name?!)

      Reply
  • Hi Nicole, Josh, Ginn and Astrid 😀
    I just want to say I really enjoyed reading Irregulars. I loved all the stories and found the world you created an interesting and vivid place. I do hope there might be more stories in the future. Meanwhile I’ll be happily rereading this anthology.

    Thank you for the great interview Wave 🙂

    Reply

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