Author Interview: Alex White

Today I am interviewing Alex White, author of the new science-fiction novel, August Kitko and the Mechas from Space!

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DJ: Hi Alex! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Alex White: I’m a science fiction author who loves music and tech. I wrote a big space fantasy trilogy for Orbit called The Salvagers, as well as two critically-acclaimed Alien books and a Star Trek novel. I’m known for engaging, deeply human characters and cinematic action.

DJ: What is August Kitko and the Mechas from Space about?

Alex: Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.

But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

Alex: There’s plenty of anime–Evangelion, Macross Plus and Escaflowne. From America, there’s some Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a pinch of Pacific Rim. There are also quite a few musical influences: John Coltrane, David Bowie, Prince and Hiromi.

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Author Interview: Chelsea Abdullah

Today I am interviewing Chelsea Abdullah, author of the new fantasy novel, The Stardust Thief, first book in The Sandsea trilogy!

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DJ: Hi Chelsea! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Chelsea Abdullah: Hi DJ, thanks for having me! My name is Chelsea. I’m an American-Kuwaiti SFF writer who loves writing found family dynamics, exploring innovative storytelling structures, and twisting fantasy tropes and archetypes.

DJ: What is The Stardust Thief about?

Chelsea: The Stardust Thief is a quest narrative about a merchant, a prince, a thief, and a jinn who travel the desert in search of a mythical magic lamp. It’s an epic fantasy filled with stories-in-stories, chaotic misadventures, and…ghouls? So many ghouls.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Stardust Thief and the series? 

Chelsea: The central inspiration behind The Stardust Thief are the stories I grew up listening to, both Arab oral tales and stories from the 1001 Nights collection. I was born and raised in Kuwait and, when I left home to go to university in the U.S., the first thing I latched onto as a writer were those stories. It was my nostalgia for those tales, and my pride in my heritage, that inspired me to write the Arab-inspired fantasy that would eventually become The Stardust Thief.   

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Chelsea: Love this question! How about…

Loulie: Loulie al-Nazari is a legendary merchant who keeps her secrets close and her heart hidden. I fondly refer to her as a being of chaos because she always manages to stubbornly carve her own path forward. She’s a bit of a wild force, a storm cloud of emotion that is difficult to predict.

Mazen: Mazen is a prince whose head is filled with more daydreams than common sense. Soft-hearted and empathetic, he’s a bit of an untraditional hero; no combat skills, no adventuring experience—but he’s incredibly passionate about storytelling, and perceptive of those around him. Also: he’s the comic relief character. I’ve always wanted to write a comic relief POV character! 

Aisha: A stab-first-ask-questions-never thief, Aisha is a jinn hunter and one of the legendary forty thieves—a woman who single mindedly pursues her revenge against jinn. Aisha’s mind is filled with a bunch of closed doors, even to herself. But in the story she’ll be forced to open some of those doors…and face her prejudices in ways she never expected.

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