Part three of my interview with Barbara

Today is part three of my interview with Barbara Friend Ish and we’re discussing the future and some books. Part one of this interview is here and part two is here.

Amy: Barbara and I discussed this first question a bit in this post, which actually led to this interview.

Amy: As we’ve chatted about briefly in blog comments, change is never easy but a necessary part of life. What are you looking forward to most in 2014?

Barbara: To finally having a healthy creative life. If I very nearly broke my creativity over the past few years, the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve learned have taught me so much about the business that I no longer feel I must bring the business stuff into my creative space. I don’t worry about those things any more; they’re a job I know how to do. And after so many years of putting the needs of others ahead of my own creative work, whether as a parent or as a publisher, I finally have the opportunity to put making art in the center of my days.

I’m also looking forward to increasing creative work with my most recent business partner and creative collaborator, Rachael Murasaki Ish. By 2014, all the work we do will be our individual projects, joint projects, or the business stuff involved in bringing our creative work to market. We’ve spent the past several years getting the kinks out of our professional relationship; now we’re ready to have fun.

Amy: I love sneaking a peek at people’s bookshelves. What are you reading right now and is there a book you can’t wait to get to?

Barbara: I just finished reading Scott Anderson’s brilliant Lawrence in Arabia, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. As a public-school kid I got far too little 20th century historical education, and it has made clear a lot of things that were fuzzy to me. That has led me to pick up T.E. Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which is much richer for that context.

As for reading I can’t wait to get to: I missed out on a lot of fiction, particularly genre fiction, during the past few years. There just wasn’t time for pleasure reading. I am very much looking forward to the leisure to read for pleasure again.

Amy: OK, I can’t let you leave here without asking a most important question. What is your favorite book? And yes, it can be more than one.

Barbara: Oh my! So many favorites. Novels that are special to me include Patricia McKillip’s lovely Riddle of Stars series, which finally came back into print a couple years ago; Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, in part because Pynchon sees your genre definitions and just doesn’t care; and Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. I remain in love with my personal memory of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, because I read it when I was still a young enough reader that it couldn’t make Editor Brain twitchy. As so often happens, my memory of that series is more pleasant than the experience of re-reading.

Nonfiction that lights me up includes Campbell’s venerable The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Hughes’ Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, and Fred Allen Wolfe’s Parallel Universes. Really, I could go on. Are we friends on Goodreads? You can find me here

Thank you so, so much for inviting me to chat! It’s always such a treat to talk with you.

Amy: And thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for me. It’s been so much fun working with you on this little project. Now, I have to go find my copy of Lawrence of Arabia on my shelf, google a few books…if you need me, I’ll be reading. 🙂

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The Shadow of the Sun Read Along – Part 3

The Shadow of the SunIt’s week three of The Shadow of the Sun read along. This week, we’re covering Chapters 16-21. I’ll post some links to other posts later in the week. Once again, thanks to nrlymrtl of Dab of Darkness for putting together the questions.

1) Up to this section, we believed the Basghilae could not cross water, but we learn to the detriment of our heroes that this is not so. What further hidden abilities do you think might crop up from these walking dead?

I think maybe they’re learning as they go. The puppeteer, that’s what I’m going to call whoever is controlling these things, is figuring out as he/she goes and has figured out a way to get them into water. I’m waiting for them to fly now.

2) As the party enters the human lands, they come up with a cover story and request that Letitia remove her torc. She refuses. Do you think her decision was the correct one?

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer. Letitia thinks she’s doing what’s right and believes that she bears the burden, always. She can’t simply remove the torc and pretend to be something she is not. I understand that devotion and sense of ownership but I think she also put the group in danger, and in her quest to not run from who and what she is, she doesn’t stop to think about the group as a whole. These people have sworn to protect her, and many have died trying, and while I do see her point, she could have given in for a short time. People are learning to compromise for her; she needs to compromise for others too.

3) At one point Ellion lingers over the warding process, specifically warding Letitia, and how a person must be completely nude for wards to be put in place. I’m going to leave this one wide open for comment ;).

He he. Ellion has got an imagination and knows how to use it. That boy has lots o’ sex on the brain.

4) Ellion makes a tough decision to leave the Tanaan and while he watches them leave he has a huge epiphany about his inner motives. How do you think this will affect his actions and motivations the rest of the book?

Oh Ellion. I so like him but I do wish he’d think a moment. He’s so worried about what his being there will mean that he doesn’t think about what his not being there will mean.

Letitia couldn’t take off her torc because she understands what it means to bear responsibility. Ellion likes to run and he thinks this is going to be the right answer in this situation as well. I don’t. Obviously, he has some power that’s going to be needed and he needs to stick it out and see what happens.

5) We saw the Tanaan and Ellion in some interesting situations of a more personal nature in these chapters, from the Night Butterflies to cutting in at a dance. What did you make of these instances, what further cultural differences along these lines do you foresee happening, and have you ever been a part of such a situation?

I’m going to tell a story here.

A few years back I had to go to Las Vegas for work. I invited a friend who had never been there to join me so we could explore. One evening, we took a stroll down the Vegas Strip and stopped in front of Treasure Island to watch the show. I’m sure it’s changed over the years but when we were there the show consisted of two pirate ships, one full of pirate women and one full of pirate men. They taunted each other something along the lines of:

Male pirate: “Surrender women!”

Female pirate 1: “Never! Why don’t you come over here and board us, boys…”

Female pirate 2: “Yes, boys, we’re all wet and hot from all the fighting. Come and board us.”

Not too raunchy, I mean Vegas is trying to be a family destination, but enough raunch to still be Vegasy. It was nothing too memorable until the following day when we ran into a few people I knew and they asked if we had the chance to see anything. We mentioned our walk down the Strip and watching the Treasure Island show. The following was said to us:

“That show is so cute. The boy and girl pirate flirting like that.”

Yeah. My brain kept yelling at my jaw to remain shut. Cute. Flirting. Um, I should also point out that all the pirates, women and men, looked as though they stepped out of a strip show soaking wet. Not the way I would have described it. It was slightly awkward and we had a great laugh after. Then again, maybe our brains just go to the dirty faster.

6) Once again, we were treated to some fight scenes. What stood out for you about these scenes?
I’m always amazed how fast everything happens in a fight scene. When I’m reading, it feels like it lasts forever but it’s minutes and people are dead and others struggling to survive when it’s over. I sometimes skip over fight scenes because they can be too violent. These scenes are adding a lot to the book and I haven’t once felt like any of it was too much.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 3

Week three of the read along and I feel I should confess something. *she whispers* I finished the book. Tell no one.

Yea, I couldn’t help myself. I’m bad with read alongs especially ones where the book is so good and each section ends on a cliffhanger and I just need to know so I keep on reading telling  myself that I’ll stop at the end of the section or maybe just finish off the chapter and put it down and then I don’t. Yea, that.

Thanks to the Little Read Reviewer for organizing and My Awful Reviews for putting together this week’s batch of questions.

Warning: my answers will be short. I’m not going to be the one to put a spoiler out there. As much as I want to I won’t.

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

Initial impression is that the magic is very dark and never used for good. Then again there aren’t many (any?) characters in this book looking to help alleviate any social problems for their fellow brethren so it does fit with the story. I can appreciate that.

I’m confident Locke will come up with a plan to get himself out whatever trouble he’s stepped in but that bondsmage is badass.

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

I have no idea. That’s the best I can do. That is such a crap answer but I won’t say more.

2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

NO, not Nazca! Ugh, I was annoyed to see her go. I was looking forward to the supposed dating/marriage thing with Locke. I really wanted to see what they would come up with to get out of it and maybe a date scene thrown in there with the two of them at dinner or something. I think it could have been entertainment to the hilt. But no, he killed her off.

Do I think there are more crazy turns? If he’s willing to axe a character like Nazca, then yep, he’s gonna take a few more crazy turns.

3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

That one got me too! My husband looked over at me (I said it out load and laughed) and just shook his head. It was awesome. And arsehole is so much funnier.

The corpse stealing scene also had me giggling.

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

I still have faith in the Bastards but I think they’re getting challenged in a whole new way. I’m don’t think they thought of their schemes as life and death —  they are supposed to be petty thieves for all anyone knows — even though they could have been killed by Barsavi if he found out what they were hiding. Now it’s more than just a gig to keep up till they can back away. I think Locke still thinks he’s clever enough to get out of it though, or at least rock headed enough to try.

5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

Yes, I read ahead. No, I will not answer this question because I know the answer.

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

Jean is a favorite of mine. I loved his introduction into the Bastards and of course his beating the crap out of Locke who roundly deserved it. He’s kind with a mean streak and that seems like a perfect combination for a Gentleman Bastard.

7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

I think the endgame is a well-rounded thief who can blend in no matter what, hide when necessary, and be capable of pulling on an accent, a cloak, or mannerism that will let him take over a situation when possible and necessary. And I feel I thought that one out too far. Really, Father Chains is a con man and he’s now got his own little roving gang of bandits and he’s training them to be the best possible players they can be.

And, that’s my two cents.