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Fantasy and Mystery Author Barbara Hambly on Off the Shelf

We were so pleased to welcome this episode’s guest, Barbara Hambly, a well-established writer who seems able to turn her hand to any genre with the same aplomb. Our only problem was how to fit in all the questions we wanted to ask. Everything she has written deserved comment, yet time constraints meant we had to  pick and choose, Our apologies if we glossed over something you think should have been covered in more depth, but I am sure you will find the things we did have time for almost as fascinating

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Additional links to the interview

You can listen to Off the Shelf via any of the following methods:

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Show Notes

Author Website | Author Blog | Amazon Author Pages: US / UK
This show’s music: “Venom in My Denim” by Ninety Pounds of Ugly on the album Richmond Motel Room 3 available on Magnatune.com

The interview begins with Barbara talking about her early days as a sword and sorcerer fantasy novelist for Del-Ray Books and about her writing process. Some of Barbara’s early writings were works-for-hire for series such as Star Trek and Star Wars and mentions some of her favorites from those series such as Crossroads, Ishmael and Children of the Jedi. As someone who sometimes draws on cultural icons in her writing, she discusses the challenges of doing so.

Simeon asks Barbara about her fantasy series The Windrose Chronicles and Sun Wolf and Starhawk. In particular, they talk about Barbara’s inspiration for characters and setting. We also discuss The Bride of the Rat God and how Barbara’s love of language lead to her character Jonathan Asher’s background as a philologist.

Many of the authors we interview choose to self-publish their backlist. Barbara chose a different direction and explains why choosing Open Road Media was a better option for her.

E-books lead into a discussion of cover art – some work, some don’t and some feature American beer. Visuals lead to Barbara’s work on graphic novels. She mentions her first experience working on a graphic story with Neil Gaiman on House of Dreams.

Moving onto Barbara’s current series, we talk about James Asher and her old school vampires. She doesn’t romanticize vampires; they are very dangerous. She makes some great points about the nature of people who are willing to become vampires and their tendency to be control freaks after they have been turned.

Barbara’s Benjamin January series features a free man of color as a detective in the pre-Civil War, American South. This set up provides Barbara with an opportunity to expose readers to a time and place many are not familiar with, as well as creating some unusual boundaries for a detective.

Barbara is writing a second detective series, this one featuring the historical figure Abigail Adams, under the pen name Barbara Hamilton.

Additionally, Barbara is revisiting her old Del-Ray series and writing new short stories and novellas. She is selling these pieces on here website under the section titled The Further Adventures of…

Barbara’s newest releases:

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Bookstacks News

 

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Five Questions with MK Hobson

MK Hobson was a recent Off the Shelf guest whom Simeon cornered for an additional 5 Questions. Hobson is up for a Nebula Award for her novel The Native Star, and her second book in the series, The Hidden Goddess, was just released. (I must say, she and I share a similar opinion on Mr Wordsworth.)

The Questions.

What was the last book you read and who was it by?

“Money” by Martin Amis

What is a favorite book from childhood?

The “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

What book do you absolutely hate but were forced to read?

As an English major in college I had to read the poetry of Wordsworth, which resulted in a loathing I retain to this day.

Are you a book collector, avid library patron, or do you use the revolving door at the used book store?

I collect reference books, especially old books on etiquette and manners. Being that I live in Portland, I am a frequent patron of Powell’s for both new and used books.

What book would you recommend to others?

“Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis. Or “Main Street”. Or basically just anything by Sinclair Lewis.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in 5 questions, Bookstacks News

 

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Five Questions with Barbara Hambly

You may remember when Simeon Beresford answered these five question, he mentioned Barbara Hambly’s Bride of the Rat God twice. It and several of the author’s other works have just become available as ebooks. Her publishers sent us a video of her talking about her work, and it got us thinking. We decide we would have to ask her those five questions.

The Questions.

Last book I read?

1776 by David McCullough.

Favorite book from childhood?

Gosh, there were so many, but I’d have to go with Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (#4 of the series, counting Wonderful Wizard as #1).

Book I absolutely hated and was forced to read?

(Other than the math textbooks in High School?) Old Mother West-Wind (again, a kid’s book. Mostly since the age of about 10 I read fast enough that I didn’t really HATE books, I just got through the ones I found tedious).

Are you a book collector, avid library patron, or do you use the revolving door at the used book store?

I collect books idiosyncratically – both for research and for reading pleasure. I don’t have much time to read, and when I’m overworked and emotionally exhausted (as I have been since about 2006) I tend to re-read favorite fiction: it’s like having the emotional equivalent of a fluttery stomach, which will only tolerate certain things.

What book would I recommend to others?

WHICH others? Who are we talking about? Some people I think really should read Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog, or Georgette Heyer’s A Civil Contract, or Fred Pohl’s Gateway; others really need to read The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous before they go any further.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in 5 questions, Bookstacks News

 

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5 Questions with Simeon Beresford

This is the first of an irregular series of questions we will ask people as the fancy takes us. First with the answers is, um me, Simeon Beresford.

The Questions.

What was the last book you read and who was it by?

I just finished a reread of an old favourite Bride of the Rat God By Barbara Hambly

What is a favorite book from childhood?

There are so many but A Bear called Paddington is hard to beat.

What book do you absolutely hate but were forced to read?

The Lord of the Flies –  I could not face it already knowing how it would end badly.

Are you a book collector, avid library patron, or do you use the revolving door at the used book store?

I keep all my books I do not collect them, which to my mind means I look after them. I use libraries on occasion, but right now second hand from Amazon is my acquisition mode of choice.

What book would you recommend to others?

I hear that the ebook rights to the long out-of-print Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly have just been acquired. Grab it when it appears!

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in 5 questions, Bookstacks News

 

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