Interview Time: Nancy Norbeck

Interview

I recently had the amazing oprotunity to interview Nancy Norbeck to talk about her book The Silver Child! Nancy is going to be one of the amazing authors at BookItCon this weekend! You don’t know how badly I wish I could go. If only we had teleporters, right?

Maia Starfield is on the run, having successfully hidden her ability to create silver just by singing—until government thugs arrived to take her away. Her mother sent her out the door just in time, giving her only one piece of advice: Find Dr. Martus.

Albert Martus has no idea why Maia was sent to find him—the doctor who delivered her 17 years ago. But from the moment she turns up, his story becomes intertwined with hers…as it has been since before she was born.

Follow this unlikely team as they discover the truth about the past and their present, the regime known as the Brotherhood, and the magical and ordinary power they each carry deep inside.

“Nancy Norbeck’s THE SILVER CHILD shows us a fantasy world that is all too real, ruled by a modern Inquisition that seeks to control minds and wipe out history.  Maia, the Silver Child of the title, is a natural magician who has only the faintest awareness of her powers.  More important, she is alive, a vividly drawn teenage girl who must discover who she is in a time of terror.  The story is big, the characters both heroic and sweet.”
~Rachel Pollack, World Fantasy Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novelist

Sondra: Can you tell me a little about your book?

Nancy: Sure! THE SILVER CHILD was my MFA thesis, which grew out of an unfinished first line I found maybe a month before I started that program. I was just looking for something to play with, and had no idea that it would turn into an actual novel. The line was “The baby had been born with ______.” Of course, the first thing I thought of was the cliché–“a silver spoon in its mouth.” I tried to say, “Ehh, that’s stupid, that would never happen,” and then thought, “But what if it did?” That opened up a whole world of possibilities, because of course the first questions then are “Why?” and “How?” The next thing I knew, Dr. Martus delivered this child, and the girl herself started running from the government while trying to figure out what her gift means.

Sondra: Are you a Pantser or Plotter?

Nancy: I am a complete, unrepentant Pantser. If I know where the story is going before I start writing it, I have need to write it at all. The fun for me is in solving the mystery, figuring out what happens and why, and then re-solving it when I go back through to revise, adjusting as necessary. The first is like going on a wild adventure, and the second is like putting a puzzle together–making sure everything fits the way it should.

Sondra: What was your favorite scene to write?

Nancy:I always like the scenes that really change things for a character. One of the big mysteries in this book is Dr. Martus’s late wife, Stephanie, who doesn’t seem important at the beginning, because she’s been gone for four years. We never actually see her except in flashbacks. When Martus visits a shop she often frequented, thinking he’s going for a simple translation of an ancient text, he discovers that there’s a lot more to her story than he was aware of, and starts trying to piece together just what she knew about Maia and the Brotherhood.

At the same time, Maia gets a hands-on lesson in just how powerful she is, in ways she also didn’t expect–and didn’t really want. The two scenes together are a major turning point in the novel.

Sondra: What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a Victorian time travel novel. That one’s not YA, and it’s set in London in 1893, so there’s a lot more research involved, but it’s really interesting stuff. (I’ve ended up becoming much more fond of the Victorians than I expected to!) It borders on steampunk without quite crossing that line.
I’ve also started letting some SILVER CHILD sequel/prequel ideas simmer on the back burner. People have asked about a sequel for a while, but I never had the inclination because I’ve felt it was complete on its own. Now I’m not so sure, though I’ve suspected a prequel might be more interesting, since we’d get to know a lot more about Stephanie that way. We’ll see what happens!

Sondra: In Sorcery In The Bookshelves tradition, what Hogwarts houses would you sort your characters into?

Nancy: Oh, that’s a tough question! (I have enough trouble answering it for myself!) If pressed, I’d say that Maia is a Gryffindor, and Martus is a Ravenclaw.

Thank you so much to Nancy for taking the time out of her day to do this interview! If you have any questions about BookItCon keep on reading for all of the answers!

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Interview Time: S. J. Kincaid

Interview

I recently had the amazing oprotunity to interview S.J. Kincaid after blasting through her newest book The Diabolic! Guys I read this book so fast and I was so wonderfully surprised by how much I absolutely ADORED it! I’ll be working on a full review, expect to see that a little bit closer to release day! In case you haven’t heard of The Diabolic here’s what it’s about:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

You have to say that sounds amazing. Trust me it is. Also as someone who normally REALLY doesn’t like Dystopian books? I loved this one. It’s that good. THAT GOOD. Anyway! Moving onto the questions!

Sondra: Where did you get the idea for The Diabolic?

S.J.: During the writing of the INSIGNIA series, I pretty much incorporated every story idea I had into VR simulations. I decimated all my historical and mythological interests. My futuristic, quasi-cyberpunk story thus featured Tudor England, Nordic myths, Tombstone, King Arthur, and so many others.

The only thing I loved that I hadn’t integrated into INSIGNIA was the devious, fiendish antics of the Roman Emperors at their worst, like in the BBC miniseries I, CLAUDIUS. I considered writing an ancient Roman historical YA, but I’m a sci-fi girl, so I set this story in a galactic empire. It took me a long while to figure out what to do with my galactic empire idea. I’d finished a trilogy from a boy’s POV, and I imagined a boy for the YA sci-fi I, CLAUDIUS but I honestly wanted to write a girl’s POV for a change.

I came back to a single page I’d written about a girl named Nemesis meeting a girl named Sidonia again and again. One day, it clicked into place that page could be the starting point for my space opera, and that boy born into a murderous royal family could be a secondary character to Nemesis. Everything came together from there.

Sondra: With such an amazingly in depth world it would almost lend itself to a longer series, why did you decide to just go with a standalone?

S.J.: Thank you so much! I had just come off a trilogy, and really wanted to have a complete story in one book. There is so much pressure involved in signing up a series that I didn’t appreciate until I was in that position. I also had a pretty complete storyline in mind for this story. I’m pleased the world comes across as in depth. I think a lot of the credit goes to I, CLAUDIUS, for I was reinterpreting Ancient Rome as depicted there through a sci-fi lens.

Sondra: Tell me a little bit about your writing style. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

S.J.: Plotter all the way! I have pantsed, and it never ends well. I have to know what I’m writing towards or else I can’t set things up beforehand. Plotting also reflects my preferences as a reader. I love, love reading too much into the worlds of others. I love when there is foreshadowing or forethought that a very discerning person can use to figure out the future in the story. One TV show, BABYLON 5, was wonderful in this respect. So for those readers, I try to have a plot in mind in advance so they can overanalyze and possibly come up with an accurate prediction.

Sondra: The writing at the start of The Diabolic is so stark, did you find writing it to be difficult?

S.J.: Beginnings are always tricky for me, but I really loved writing through the point of view of such a pitiless, cold-hearted character. There is something so refreshing about not having to establish the character’s feeling for other people or empathy for them, because when the story launches, there is truly only one person Nemesis values.

Sondra: In Sorcery In The Bookshelves tradition, what Hogwarts houses would you sort your characters into?

S.J.: Tyrus: Slytherin. (Maybe Ravenclaw)
Sidonia: Ravenclaw. (Maybe Hufflepuff?)
Nemesis: Hufflepuff (really! Not for the kindness thing—for the loyalty thing).
Neveni: Gryffindor

 

Thank you so much to S.J. for taking the time out of her day to do this interview! Be sure you go and preorder this book. You won’t regret it trust me! Also keep an eye on the blog for a full review coming soon!