A Conversation With Hannah De Giorgis – Author of Threads in Time

In your story Threads in Time, your lead character is named Lyndall Huxley. How did you go about creating her? Is she pulled from life or entirely from your imagination?

Lyndall materialized in my mind as quite a distinctly formed character from the beginning. For me, it was important to create a strong female protagonist (in quite a male-dominated time-travel genre) whose tale is, to a certain extent, a coming-of-age one. And then, as the story developed, her character grew and evolved with it. I would say she’s a hybrid – an amalgamation of imagination and real-life inspiration. After all, we write from what we know. She is named after a wonderful feminist character from a little-known nineteenth-century novel, The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner, and her family name is a thinly-veiled(!) salute to Brave New World. Lyndall finds herself in an alien world, which leads her on a life-changing journey of many twists and turns.


Book Synopsis

Twenty-two-year-old Lyndall Huxley wakes to find herself thousands of years into the future. Something went wrong with the programme for which she volunteered – a programme that employs Einstein’s laws of relativity to send travellers forward in time. The ruins overrun by green woodland in which she wakes are a far cry from the urbanised world she left behind in the 2200’s. Lyndall embarks upon a journey that will leave her questioning her very identity. She must choose between the new life that beckons and the old life from which, even thousands of years later, she cannot escape. She will discover that the mission was never about sending people into the future. Much more is at stake.


What inspired you to write Threads in Time?

I was preoccupied with Einstein’s theories of relativity for a while. I wrote my master’s dissertation on how T.S. Eliot’s portrayal of time was influenced by the scientific movements of the period. As such, time – or its enigmatic nature – was on my mind. I found myself wondering: if it’s theoretically possible to shoot off into space at such a speed that time slows down relative to the time on earth, what if a program were developed based on that premise? What if something went wrong for one of the volunteers and thousands of years passed rather than a few hundred? How would that feel? What would this new future world look like? I found it intriguing to sketch out two future worlds: the nearer future where Lyndall is from – twenty-third century London, which is over-urbanized and overpopulated – and then the far off future into which she’s precipitated, thousands of years down the line, where any urban civilization seems to have completely regressed and the natural world has taken over again. It offered so much room to speculate, and such an unlimited scope for the imagination. The arc of the story came naturally from there.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was very young. I loved escaping into stories when reading, but then I discovered that writing them offered a much richer sort of escapism – one that was cathartic too. I knew early on that I would always love creating these worlds to get lost in; and that I could perhaps even one day provide a similar sort of escape for others. As it turns out, my teenage self was right! That profound love for writing only grew.

What was the process for getting Threads in Time published?

A challenging one! The writing of it was only the beginning and that came more naturally. The re-drafting and preparing for publication was probably the most challenging. It doesn’t help that I’m a compulsive editor so recognising the point at which you can tip the balance and overedit was difficult.

What was the first book that made you cry?

The first book that I can remember making me cry was The Peppermint Pig. It’s a children’s book but ends (*spoiler alert!*) with the little-girl protagonist’s best friend – the pig – being sent to the butcher. I was inconsolable! I think I might’ve even rewritten a separate ending for myself…

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

For this trilogy, I think I’d like it to be a combination of the two. The first one, especially, could be a standalone but, simultaneously, narrative strands are spun that are calling to be drawn out and tied up. The second and third instalments will better fit a trilogy arc, but I hope will be compelling enough, and structured well enough, to also stand alone should someone read just one. Obviously, readers will get much more out of the story if they read the whole trilogy (and hopefully will be hooked enough that they’ll be compelled to in any case!). After the trilogy is behind me, I have ideas for so many more novels that will be entirely separate.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I think it started with observing the power of delivering language in drama – whether that was a poignant line in a movie or reading poetry in class. I would get so frustrated in school when the most beautiful, emotive poems were read in such monotonous, bored tones. But, even then, I could recognize the power of the words. As I grew up, there were moments when, reading, I would stumble across a thought or an experience that I had imagined was particular to me, captured in the words of someone else but far more eloquently described than anything my teenage self could’ve expressed. It made me realize just how powerful language can be. It captures the human condition: it can be unifying and consoling on the one hand but, equally, on the other, it can also be devastating. Yet language comes in so many different forms and, when it comes to novels, there’s nothing more potent than the magic of being consumed by an enthralling story!

Visit Threads in Time on Goodreads

Hannah’s Website

Facebook

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Where to Purchase her Book

About the Author – Hannah Di Girogis

Hannah was born and raised in the Cotswolds, England. After teaching English in Florence, Italy, for a time she moved to London, where she recently completed a Master’s in Modernist Literature at University College London. Prior to that, she studied English Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, where she graduated with first-class honours and won the John Hay Loban prize for student who shows the most promise in literature. Threads in Time is her debut novel. She now lives in London with her husband. To sample more of her writing – her blog, poetry, and short stories – visit her website.

Joan Jett and Fast Food: Who are You Writing For? – Guest Post Written by Author Adam S. Barnett

Remember Ernie, the piano player from The Catcher in the Rye? Holden was disappointed that Ernie had grown more proficient since the last time Holden had heard him play. Although Ernie’s playing was technically “better,” Holden noted that by mastering the established rules of how to properly play piano, Ernie’s performance had lost a lot of its passion. This was one of many things Holden found to be not as good as he had remembered, and his disappointment struck a chord in countless readers.

We are driven to writing by masochism. For the vast majority of us, there are many more fruitful ways to make money or derive personal satisfaction from life. We pound away at our projects for hours on end, fueled by the hope that this one is the career-maker. This is the one that will enable us to quit our jobs and make our living tucked away at a cabin in the mountains or house on the beach for months on end, leisurely producing more bestsellers for a vast, insatiable audience.

That’s nice work if you can get it. But for most of us, our love of books does not translate into a love of the business of books. And that’s okay. The business of books, as frustrating and demoralizing as it is, can be handled if you know what you want (assuming, of course, you don’t get offered the cabin or beach-house with your first submission).

There is a world of difference between commercial writing and literary writing. These are like McDonald’s and Burger King… they have their similarities, but they’re completely different arenas.

Commercial writing is, as it implies, all about getting readers and making that sweet, sweet paper. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unless you’re going to live like those folks on Life Below Zero, we’ve all got to support ourselves. (Note: I saw a guy on Life Below Zero talk about how great his life was because he was able to dig a glob of fat from behind the eyes of moose so I can tell you I’m not aspiring to be one of those folks). Commercial writing keeps the industry running, so it is inherently awesome.

But if success in commercial writing is your goal, you will most likely have to tailor your writing accordingly, at least in the early stages of your writing career. Publishers understandably want books they can sell. That’s what they do. And they want to sell a book using the least amount of resources possible. That’s just good business. So, if you have a decent manuscript that can easily be assigned to a popular genre, your odds of reaching your goals have gone up considerably.

Your job in commercial writing is to provide a manuscript that will appeal to as many people as possible. This is derisively coined as “the lowest common denominator,” but not even the loftiest of authors would shy away from having throngs of admiring readers. Secretly, we all want to succeed commercially. But, at least before the world recognizes our genius, we need to be mindful that this will involve giving folks what they want. If you aren’t interested in researching what is popular, what will scream “EASY SALE” to an agent, and will be a slam-dunk for a skeptical publisher, you are not interested in writing commercial fiction. But if that’s okay with you, then you can measure your success easily.

Does the sound of all that suck the joy of writing right out of you? Then commercial fiction is most likely not your thing. The good news is that you can pursue your vision unfettered by concerns of commercial success. The bad news is that achieving commercial success will be that much more difficult. Fortunately, success in literary fiction means you find your success in putting out the work the way that warms the cockles of your tortured artistic heart. The work itself is the triumph.

But be forewarned, if you are a literary fiction author, your rejection-proof skin must be even mightier than others. Herman Melville died broke without ever knowing the classic status of Moby Dick. Van Gogh sold one painting his entire life. You may very well depart this world before seeing your project truly bear fruit. Make your peace with that. If you can’t, consider at least doing some commercial fiction so you can measure more immediate success.

Fast food exists because it’s a way to appeal to a lot of people and sell a lot of product. There will be no intrinsic satisfaction from a chef by working fast food. But for people who want to have a successful restaurant, that’s not a concern.

Countless record companies rejected Joan Jett before putting out her breakthrough hit, “I Love Rock and Roll,” independently. Her experience with record labels after that brought about a lot of unhappiness and frustration, but it also brought in the revenue so she could bankroll her passion projects.

Know yourself. Know what will make you happy. Find the balance that keeps you scribbling on that legal pad or tapping away on that laptop. Success is more than dollars. Success is more than fame. Success is your joy.


About the Author – Adam S. Barnett

When I was in kindergarten, my report card said I “had a tendency to be sarcastic.”  I write fiction novels that are unique without just being odd for the sake of being odd.  I wish ketchup-flavored potato chips were available in the USA.  I’m a raging introvert, but a friendly one.  I’m the guy you see pulled over on the side of the highway trying to rescue a stray dog. Or a turtle. I’ve  moved more than one turtle in my day.

Where to find him

Adam S. Barnett author, “The Judas Goat

You can find Adam on twitter @adam_s_barnett

or on his website

#MusicMonday – Diva Dance from the Fifth Element

This is an iconic song. As much as “Anyone else want to negotiate?” Or, “Multi-pass.” Which I still say in exactly Leelu’s tone of voice when it comes up. It is sad because only people about my age or older get the joke, which is hilarious because I am damn funny even if it is the 200th time I have said it during my mawage (oops switching movies), and people under my age don’t seem to be watching this iconic movie. Which is a shame, because it is space opera at it’s finest.

The original singer
The woman singing it in the movie.

The Diva Dance in Italian

  • Il dolce suono mi colpì di sua voce!
  • Ah, quella voce
  • M’è qui nel cor discesa!
  • Edgardo! Io ti son resa.
  • Edgardo!Ah! Edgardo, mio!
  • Si, ti son resa fuggita io son da’ tuoi nemici.
  • Ah nemici!
  • Un gelo mi serpeggia nel sen!
  • Trema ogni fibra!
  • Vacilla il piè!
  • Presso la fonte meco t’assidi alquanto.
  • Si, presso la fonte meco t’assidi.

The Diva Dance in English

  • The sweet sound of his voice has caught me!
  • Oh that voice
  • is down here in my heart!
  • Edgardo! I am yours.
  • Edgardo!Oh my Edgardo!
  • Yes, I am yours, I ran away from your enemies.
  • Oh enemies!
  • A froze is whirling in my breast!
  • Every fibre is trembling!
  • my feet are shaking!
  • I will stick to the source a while
  • Yes, close to the source I’ll be for a while.

As always, a nod to Drew at Sarcastic Book Geek for the #MusicMonday idea.

#BookCook Sweeney Todd – “More hot pies! More hot pies! – Part 1”

Is that a pie fit for a king? Such wondrous Sweet and most particular thing?

Sweeney Todd – God that’s Good

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A few years ago I set a goal for myself that I was going to learn to cook pies.. ahem bake pies. You see my problem here. I set a goal of 50 pie recipes for myself to bake that year and set to work. I was a frigging fool.

“Making pie is hard ,” she whines.

Seriously, I am physically incapable of doing anything small, makes me ill. Must go big or GTFO. So fifty. le sigh. I made 25 that year. I learned a lot, and can make killer apple/almond pie and a coconut pie that would make you want to “slap yo mama.” All courtesy of this fabulous cookbook Sweetie-licious Pies: Eat Pie, Love Life

However, there is something I have always been a little fascinated with. The weird pie. Well the weird food anything… Taking something that one would not associate with yummy pie deliciousness, and turning it into something delectable. So in my quest for the weird pie, I have made a pie out of vinegar, one out of avocados, and one out of buttermilk. Now it is time to experiment with meat. I am going to make a classic mincemeat pie. As in a dessert pie with meat and I am going to force-feed it to my family and friends. I am feeling so medieval at the moment.

“[Toby]
Well, ladies and gentlemen
that aroma enriching the breeze,
is like something compared to its succulent source
as the gourmets among you will tell you, of course.
Ladies and gentlemen you can’t imagine the rapture in store,
just inside of this door!
There, you’ll sample Mrs.Lovett’s meat pies.savory and sweet pies,as you’ll see.
You who eat pies Mrs. Lovetts meat pies conjure up the treat pies used to be!
[Customers]”

Sweeney Todd – God that’s Good

The recipe I found (after much digging) is one from the 1861 volume Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and was a feature in Saveur magazine. The article can be found Here.

sweeney-todd-the-demon-barber-of-fleet-street
Gratuitous picture of Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. He was frigging brilliant.

MAKES ONE PIE

For the Filling

2 cups finely chopped beef suet
34 cup currants
34 cup finely chopped rump steak (about 3 oz.)
12 cup raisins
12 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. brandy
1 12 tsp. chopped candied citron peel
1 12 tsp. chopped candied lemon peel
1 12 tsp. chopped candied orange peel
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
14 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 12 granny smith apples, cored and finely chopped
Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon

For the Crust

Instructions

In a bowl, combine beef suet, currants, rump steak, raisins, brown sugar, brandy, citron peel, lemon peel, orange peel, lemon juice, nutmeg, apples, and lemon zest. Mix well.
Transfer mixture to a 1-qt. jar. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days to 2 weeks.
Make dough, prepare pie crust, and add filling. Heat oven to 350º. Bake until golden, about 1 hour.
I am of the impatient disposition, so the (incubation? infiltration? saturation?) period on this pie’s filling will probably be 3 days instead of the 2 weeks. yeesh. I will post lovely, artsy, and  beautifully photographed pictures of my pie-wreck when finished. I feel there will be much schadenfreude from my friends and family after this little experiment.

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, Jose Villarrubia and Jeff Powell

Paul always finds the most interesting graphic novels. Check out his blog and this article.

Paul's Picks

A 21st century haunted house in the heart of NYC. I don’t want to get into too many specifics, so I’m going to make this review a bullet-pointed one.

  • After a terrorist bombing, a building is possessed by evil spirits who haunt the residents… They stayed on in their apartments for many reasons, to show strength in the face of evil or quite simply because of a cheaper rent. 
  • A diverse cast of characters. A mixed family, by race and religion. A Muslin-American woman who finds herself haunted by the xenophobic poltergeist.
  • Key Quote: ‘Racism’s a cancer that never gets cured. The best you can get is remission.’
  • A plot focusing on the themes of loss, racism, and Islamophobia.
  • Two questions drive the tension: Where did this spirit come from and how are they going to get rid of it?

Wow! This graphic novel blew me away. From the vivid…

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Chaos Theory Run Wild in Oracle Year by Charles Soule

“a cup of room coffee,” Will said. “It’s terrible, tastes like chemicals and poison.” 
― Charles Soule, The Oracle Year

About

From bestselling comic-book franchise writer Charles Soule comes a clever and witty first novel of a twentysomething New Yorker who wakes up one morning with the power to predict the future—perfect for fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer, or books like This Book Is Full of Spiders and Welcome to Night Vale.

Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.

He’s also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it’s come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust—including a beautiful journalist—it’s all Will can do to simply survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.

Delivering fast-paced adventure on a global scale as well as sharp-witted satire on our concepts of power and faith, Marvel writer Charles Soule’s audacious debut novel takes readers on a rollicking ride where it’s impossible to predict what will happen next.


Stats

“if she let you live, she would use her apparently endless levels of influence to ruin your life”

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Edition
  • 416 pages
  • Published April 3rd 2018 by Harper Perennial
  • Original Title The Oracle Year
  • ASIN B072HLSHDY
  • Edition Language English

My Thoughts

“It was like trying to play chess in a pitch-dark room, where you had to determine your opponent’s moves by sense of smell alone. And you had a cold. And your opponent was God.” 
― Charles Soule, The Oracle Year

How can 108 predictions destroy the world? In a wildly exciting and entertaining way. The real question is whether that world can be born anew from the ashes?

The Oracle Year is the story of Will Dando, struggling bassist and all around regular guy who happens upon 108 prophecies. He received in a dream. With the help of his Best friend Hamza, they create an anonymous website and release the prophesies slowly to the world, allowing each of them time to come true. What happens, is what always happens in a story when someone has ultimate power. The real forces in the world want that power and will do everything to get it back. It’s a fascinating thought experiment. What would you do if you knew what was going to happen? Would you try to make money? Would you try to save the world, or would you decide to change the world? Soule does an excellent job of making Will into a real character with real decisions and choices. Will isn’t brilliant, he’s a dude who likes music, and as the story progresses, Will’s personality changes and makes choices that the reader won’t see coming. As does the side characters Hamza and Miko. Characters grow and change, and it is well done. As much as I enjoyed Will, I think in most of the scenes where Hamza played Will’s foil, Hamza stole the show. Hamza is both Honda is both clever and intelligent in ways Will is not, and I enjoyed the pairing of these two.

“None of us are meant for anything, and none of us are meant for nothing. Life is chaos, but it’s also opportunity, risk, and how you manage them.” 
― Charles Soule, The Oracle Year

I know that Comic fans of Soules previous work in Star Wars and Red Devil will enjoy the style in which this story is written. It’s a very approachable book. It’s exciting, interesting, and sophisticated and I very much enjoyed it. Even though it started a little bit slow the narrative style and the dialogue style picked up and became thrilling. Although there are familiar tropes sprinkled throughout the story it still is a very original concept I think that anybody who checks it out will enjoy it. I am glad I picked this story up on a lark and gave it a chance, and I hope you will too.


Questions

  1. Do you think that there is a narrative style difference between comics and novels aside from the obvious structure differences.
  2. What would you do if you knew exactly what would happen for a short amount of time?

Procurement

I read this through Scribd


About the Author

Charles Soule is a Brooklyn, New York-based novelist, comic book writer, musician, and attorney. While he has worked for DC and other publishers, he is best known for writing DaredevilShe-HulkDeath of Wolverine, and various Star Wars comics from Marvel Comics (Darth VaderPoe DameronLando and more), and his creator-owned series Curse Words from Image Comics (with Ryan Browne) and Letter 44from Oni Press (with Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque.)

His first novel, The Oracle Year, about a man who can see the future and way this ability changes the world, will be released in April 2018 by the Harper Perennial imprint of HarperCollins.

Blackbird Vol. 1 by by Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel (Artist)

About

Nina Rodriguez knows a hidden magical world run by ruthless cabals is hiding in Los Angeles. When a giant magic beast kidnaps her sister, Nina must confront her past (and her demons) to get her sister back and reclaim her life. Don’t miss the first collection of the smash-hit neo-noir fantasy series from fan-favorite writer SAM HUMPHRIES (Harley Quinn, Nightwing) and red-hot artist JEN BARTEL (Mighty Thor)!

Stats

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Paperback
  • 168 pages
  • Expected publication: May 14th 2019 by Image Comics
  • ISBN1534312595 (ISBN13: 9781534312593)
  • Edition Language English
  • SeriesBlackbird #1-6

My Thoughts

Blackbird Vol. 1 was a decent comic. It is visually well put together. The story is interesting but I felt it was rough and flat in sections. More detail could be added to flush out the characters and back stories. Substance abuse was represented in the story, but that did not feel authentic. “I need my pills. I need my pills.” Then now what? It felt as if it was a side note, and not a major part of the characters life. As the issues progressed, the story and writing became better and more coherent.

The visuals were very well put together. Often when looking at the page it seemed like the colors would pop out at you and start blinking like a neon sign would. The character design and aesthetics had a manga vibe for me which was interesting. Over the top and over saturated. I will be looking into the next issues to see what happens with the characters if I happen upon the books. Otherwise I might give future reading a pass.


Procurement

I received an electronic copy of this via Edelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


About the Author

Sam Humphries is a comic artist living in Los Angeles.