30 August 2010

Interview: Harry Connolly

Tomorrow one of my most expected books gets released, Games of Cages, the second book of the Twenty Palaces series. I want to thank the author, Harry Connolly, for being here today.


As a wealthy few gather to bid on a predator capable of destroying all life on earth, the sorcerers of the Twenty Palace Society mobilize to stop them. Caught up in the scramble is Ray Lilly, the lowest of the low in the society—an ex–car thief and the expendable assistant of a powerful sorcerer. Ray possesses exactly one spell to his name, along with a strong left hook. But when he arrives in the small town in the North Cascades where the bidding is to take place, the predator has escaped and the society’s most powerful enemies are desperate to recapture it. All Ray has to do is survive until help arrives. But it may already be too late.

- How long does it usually take you to write a book?

My agent would like me to finish in 9 months, but it usually takes me a year. Maybe a little longer.

- Some authors don't read the same genre they write. Do you?

Not too much. Lately I read mysteries and police procedurals.

- Do you listen to music while you write?

Just whatever is playing at the Starbucks. I try not to have rituals or special conditions when I sit down to write.

- What are you working on right now?

I don't have a contract for my next book. I have a couple of sample chapters and proposals on my agent's desk--we'll see if anyone bites.
In any event, it'll be different from the Twenty Palaces books I've been writing. I need to work on something new.

- What can you tell us about your next book, Games of Cages?

Aside from "It will be available August 31st?" :)
It's the second book in the Twenty Palaces series, and it features an auction gone wrong. A wealthy woman tries to auction off a long-imprisoned predator, but it gets free and hides in a nearby town. The bidders descend on the town to search for it, and plot ensues.
It's darker than the first novel. Some secrets are exposed and Ray gets a deeper view of the world he's entered, but he's still an outsider in a secret society that doesn't trust him.

- Ray and Annalise have a hate/sometimes a little less hate relationship. Is that going to change any time soon?

They get along better in book two--although Annalise's role is limited. There's still a lot of friction, though.

- Are we going to find out what happened between them in the past?

What's described in book one is where I'd planned to leave it: : that Annalise tried to take out a friend of Ray's and that, in defending his friend, Ray caused the death of someone Annalise cared about.

I'm surprised that so many people wanted more details about this. I wanted the leads in CHILD OF FIRE to have a legitimate reason for conflict, and I wanted it to be part of their backstory. And if Del Rey wants to publish a prequel, I'll be the first person to cheer. But GAME OF CAGES is going to have to sell well for that to happen.

- I've been very curious about the Twenty Palaces society. What can you tells us about it?

Not much. The society is part of the background of the stories, and will be revealed in the books.
I will say that they're a secret society that takes their secrecy seriously. They don't give tours of their headquarters to new recruits, and they don't introduce them to the head guy. (Sorry, but that always bugs me about secret organizations in books and movies.)

- Is Ray's magic going to evolve or is it going to stay the same?

Evolve. I don't want to give much more detail than that.

- In the first book, Ray doesn't seem to have a lot of friends (if any). Is he going to make any in the future?

This is something I've talked about with my editor. Lots of urban fantasy has a cast of recurring secondary characters to provide specific story functions--Butters (to pick The Dresden Files) provides medical exposition and Bob the skull provides magical exposition. Readers love the supporting cast, because they're often more quirky and outrageous than the hero.

My editor talked to me about this, but there are aspects of the story that work against it. The setting moves with every book, for instance, so it's not like Ray can drop in on his buddy the police chief every time.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see this as a supporting-cast-type of series.

- Are we going to meet any new magical creatures in the next book?

I'm planning to have at least one in every new book, and sometimes more.

- Thanks for being here today and good luck with Game of Cages!

You're welcome, and thanks for your questions. I hope your readers give the books a try.

Read my review of the first book, Child of Fire, here.
You can learn more abot the author in his website.


Laurence MacNaughton, Author said...

Excellent interview! I'm rooting for more Twenty Palaces books in the future.