Thursday, October 27, 2016

Guest Interview: Liana Brooks, author of Decoherence

Welcome, Liana Brooks, author of the science fiction thrillers The Day Before, Convergence Point, (available now) and Decoherence (available in November 2016 from HarperVoyager) to It's All About Story.

You can find Liana at her blog:
And her books on Amazon:

1) Describe Decoherence in one paragraph.

Decoherence is the final chapter in the Time & Shadows trilogy. It's where all the loose threads get tied up, and we finally see what happened to Jane Doe who was found in chapter one of book one (The Day Before.)

2) What inspired Decoherence?

Decoherence was never alone in the universe, I guess. It's the natural conclusion to the rest of the series and so I'm not sure it was inspired by anything outside that universe. It was influenced by things on the outside. I think little pieces of other stories snuck in. There might be a nod to Agent Carter in there.

3) Were The Day Before, Convergence Point, and Decoherence your first works of fiction?

Oh, no. The Day Before was my first published novel, but it was nowhere near the first one I wrote. That one is moldering under my bed somewhere. You do not want to see my first novel. I don't want you to see my first novel. It's embarrassing.

The Time & Shadows trilogy is the first series I've written and published completely. The reading order is: The Day Before, Convergence Point, Decoherence.

4) What song or music piece would you put on a soundtrack for Decoherence?

I put together a 30-song playlist for Decoherence. It is mostly from Two Steps From Hell's Battlecry album. If I had to pick a single song, it would be Canon in D Minor from that album. I love the energy and the mood. It really works with where Sam (the heroine) is at throughout the book. She is fighting so hard to hold on to reality and rescue Mac, she's fighting herself at every turn, but she won't quit fighting.

5) Which character in Decoherence was easy to write? Which was the most difficult?

The easiest scenes are always when Sam and Mac are together. I've been writing them as a pair since 2009, throughout many (far too many) drafts of The Day Before and Convergence Point. They're my sweet spot. They play off each other well and they're just fun to write.

The hardest part to write was anything where I had to juggle multiple Sams. Because there is time travel and the multiverse theory, I wound up with three (four?) Sams in Decoherence. Writing them each as a unique person with her own personality and style was a wonderful challenge.

6) What is your writing space like? Or can you write anywhere?

I can write anywhere (because I have a handy-dandy folding Bluetooth keyboard), but I prefer to write from my office. My family moved to Alaska in the middle of winter and I couldn't fly up to see the house we were renting, we just picked one that had enough bedrooms. And when we got there I found this odd little corner room that's too small for a bedroom, but works perfectly as an office. I have a view of the pine trees out my window (and snow during the winter), and it's a cozy nook for writing.

But, I wrote about half of Decoherence on the folding keyboard while my kids were at sports practice. I'd put in headphones, write a chapter in an email to myself, and edit the next day. You have to be flexible.

7) Any odd writing habits? Rituals?

You know, I think writing habits and rituals are a luxury you earn after you've written a few dozen books and have no small children at home. Maybe someone else has it figured out, but for me all I need is some headspace away from stress and a keyboard. If I waited for the perfect conditions to get a book done, it would never get done.

8) George R.R. Martin describes 2 kinds of outliners, the Gardener (let it grow) or the Architect (plan it.) Which are you?

I'm a Gardener by habit and an Architect because of training. There is no way to finish a series without a little bit of planning. You can write one while being as wild and free as the flowers, but pulling all the plot strings together and wrapping up the story in a satisfying way requires planning. Not a ton, but you do need to think a few steps ahead of where you're writing if you want to get to The End.

9) What are some of your favorite world myths or fairy/folk tales? Why?

Oh, that is a good one. I don't think I actually had a favorite fairy tale. I grew up on Tolkien, not the Brothers Grimm, so I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here. I suppose....1001 Arabian Nights, because a woman was able to save herself through the power of her storytelling. And anything with dragons or mermaids.

10) What is your favorite fictional world, one you'd want to visit?

I'd like to hang out with the crew of the Warhammer from The Price of the Stars/Mageworlds series. It was my favorite series in high school and their good advice got me though some rough days.

11) Who is your favorite fictional character?

Oh, that's a tough one. This is like asking me to pick a favorite child. Let's go with Harry Dresden. I like a person who fights losing battles just to save friends.

12) What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Either quit whining and write, or quit writing.

That was the swift kick in the pants I needed to get The Day Before finished, polished, and published. It's always easier to complain about writing, while not writing. But, if you want to be a published author, eventually you have to shut your mouth and get writing. It's going to be hard, so suck it up and write anyways, or go find something that you love so you don't whine.

13) In Decoherence, are there any hidden acknowledgements to friends, places you've lived, favorite writers, etc;

Here's the short list...

Cannonvale, Australia--because my best friend and spiritual twin, Amy Laurens, lives in Australia.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida--because I lived not far south of there for four years and wanted to introduce the mangal swamps to everyone in Convergence Point.

Alabama--because that's where I lived when I started writing the series.

Donovan (the villain in Convergence Point)--is actually named after one of my beta readers

....and there's one more in the very last chapter that I think you'll be able to figure out all on your own.

14) Can you tell us anything else about your writing experiences?

When I started writing seriously back in 2007 or so, I had no big plans I was going to write my weird, little books and see what happened. By reading widely and writing regularly, I finally reached a point where I could not only tell a good story, but I had an inkling of an idea of what readers wanted. The sweet spot for a published author is where our interests and our fans' interests collide.

15) What do we have to look forward to after Decoherence?

I have five projects on my desk right now waiting for attention, including the long-awaited Even Villains 4. There's another novella series that I've been teasing on Twitter for a few months now, and that kicks off with Bodies in Motion next spring. And then, hopefully, one of these novels I'm pitching will find a home in the next few months and I'll be able to announce that series.

In the meantime, I publish monthly short stories on The Darkness and Good blog ( ) with Thea van Diepen and Amy Laurens, so you can always catch me there or on Twitter at @LianaBrooks.

Thank you, Liana!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

10 Favorite Literary Witches

Okay, so most of them are women, (because I don't believe men can be witches.) Although there is one warlock. And not all of them are wicked. Here are my favorites and the reasons why.

1) ELPHABA Gregory Maguire's Wicked. Green-skinned and rebellious, Elphaba begins fighting for the rights of the sentient animals in her world. She doesn't start out wicked, only idealistic. A fantastic heroine.

2) JADIS The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. A terrifying and seductive snow queen, she's one of the best villains EVER.

3) MAGNUS BANE The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. The High Warlock of Brooklyn is unpredictable, shady, brave, and a trickster.

4) SERAFINA PEKKALA The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. The beautiful and valorous witch who rides a broom and leads an army of witches. Immortal and compelling.

5) HERMIONE GRANGER The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She grows from an annoyingly precocious child into a brainy and courageous young woman with the fiercest wand around.

6) JENNY WAYNEST Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. She's officially a wizard, but the wizards are an eccentric tribe, like scientists and creatives, only maligned. Middle-aged and daring, with a be-spectacled husband who killed a dragon, she's a force to be reckoned with.

7) MELANCTHE The Green Pearl by Jack Vance. Solitary, mysterious, and beautiful, she's a powerful enchantress in a magical world of kings and fairy creatures.

8) THE DUST WITCH Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. She's horrifying and elemental,a  feature of a sinister carnival.

9) LANGWIDERE The Oz books by L. Frank Baum. The princess who collects other girl's heads to wear as her own. Disturbing to say the least.

10) CIRCE The Odyssey by Homer. Another solitary sorceress on an island. She turns men into animals if they anger her and lures a hero into her home.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Halloween Story Contest

So this is how it works. Make up a brief story (between 50-100 words) about the picture below. Make this wholly your own and nothing to do with Thorn Jack. The story must contain these words to be eligible:


There will be one grand prize winner and 3 runners up.

The grand prize is the entire Thorn Jack trilogy in trade paperback, signed, as well as the printed out manuscript of a lost Thorn Jack chapter (short story titled TRIBUTE), a butterfly mask, a Fata flower wreath, a fortunetelling game, an original print of one of my paintings, & some lovely trinkets.

The following prizes will be rewarded to each of the three runners up.

1ST PRIZE: Day of the Dead  art book by Russ Thorne + some beautiful trinkets

2ND PRIZE: The Story of Pandora coloring book + a trinket

3RD PRIZE: Pop Manga Coloring Book by Camilla d'Errico + a trinket



The winner will be announced on this blog and on my Twitter (@katharbour) after Nov. 20, so keep posted!

This contest is available only to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

Happy Halloween!