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Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Like a lot of writers, I've had a lot of weird jobs, and have lived in a lot of interesting places, often in Asia. But I've also learned from the sidelines of enough cocktail parties that the most fascinating person in the room is usually the one who plays an excellent mirror. So I'd love to hear more about you, Petros. I've heard so much. 

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

I entered THE SPEC SET, and it's my third novel.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

This is YA, but don't hold that against it. It's a superhero mash-up spy thriller with neurodivergent kids. You've never read anything quite like it. Promise.

Editor’s Note: We’ll hold you to that…

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I've had enough beta reader feedback to know THE SPEC SET is equal parts intensity and unexpected. Because of that, I don't know if I can really hit people where they're at in fantasy genre. This book is not what you're used to. Also, disability plays a part of this story. Those who deal with disability may prefer to use reading as an escape. Those who don't may rather not go there. No judgment. No blame.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

There's a code, actually. Page 156, 78th word.

Editor’s Note: That was easy. Thanks, we’ve been looking for those two dollars for ages!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I've published with a small press, but some authors are successful going on their own. I think SPFBO can play a big part in their success.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

My current book is for kids. It's kind of high brow MG fairyland thriller.

Editor’s Note: The world needs more fairyland thrillers, thank you for contributing to the genre!

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

All thanks to the reviewers and especially to Mark. It's a vibrant community you've created and I think its going to be the way of the future.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

It's been about 30 years since Monty Python binges. Maybe its time to watch again.

Editor’s Note: Thank you for taking the time to do this, Taya! Best of luck with THE SPEC SET in SPFBO 5, and with your future projects.

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

I live in Scotland with my wife and four children, working a full time office job in sunny Edinburgh. I write whenever I can, squeezing in a few hours here and there whenever possible.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

The Queen’s Executioner. It’s the first book in my Magelands series, but I released a prequel novella called From the Ashes back at the end of December to introduce the world.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

It’s an epic fantasy, told from four points of view. The series tends to get darker as it goes along - the first book is quite light-hearted in comparison!

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I’m m hoping that the book’s originality will stand out. My ARC team were fairly consistent in stating that they never knew what was going to happen next.

Editor’s Note: Originality is fantastic, Christopher – we’re big fans of new ideas in the field.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

Under the floorboards along with the skeletons.

Editor’s Note: Don’t go dredging up old skeletons. They’re

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

Glory and riches.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

I have finished the Magelands series, and am a third of the way through book two of a follow-up series.

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

We should all remember that we are not in competition with each other; but having said that I want to win.

Editor’s Note: Vainglorious personal ambition, we like it!

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Before or after carrying coconuts across the English Channel?

Editor’s Note: Before, preferably. At any rate, thank you for joining us today! Best of luck in the coming few months!

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Blurb: Zaaz, a young girl growing up in the far arctic north, finds something in a shipwreck near her home. Growing up with red hair, pale skin, and a witch for her mother already made Zaaz different than the rest of the village. What she gained when she opened the strange box she found made her doubly so. The White Witches of Northeim will stop at nothing to take her power as their own. Destined to become a powerful and notorious witch, this is the tale of her youth and coming into magic. Fleeing from the only home she’s ever known, bound into servitude, she’ll fight for her freedom, friends and the beauty she has found. 

Witch in Winter has some fine elements too it. What it lacks in plot cohesion and editing, it makes up for in worldbuilding and creativity. 

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Greetings! I'm an English writer, living in Madrid, keeping the wolf from the door by teaching 6th grade goblins. In my spare time I write, read, travel, game and listen to loud music. I've loved fantasy since I learnt to read. Fighting Fantasy, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Hobbit were my gateway drugs.

Editor’s Note: We always knew someone had to teach all those goblins before us D&D players dispose of them by the throngs.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

The Ashen Levels. Yes, it's my debut novel (not counting the shoeboxes of scrawled A4 pads), although I've previously published a couple of novellas.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

It's a character driven story about overcoming adversity to discover an impossible truth. The world building is sublime--not info-dumped--and builds from a tiny fire lit hub to encompass continents, growing with the protagonist's exploration. It takes some unpredictable twists and turns, has a dark sense of humour and some pretty prose.

Editor’s Note: Count us in! We’re all for pretty prose and dark humour.

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I hope so. I'm rarely confident about these things. I believe that given the chance, people will enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

Under their noses.

Editor’s Note: Ew! They’re covered in snot, aren’t they?!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I've been following SPFBO17 and SPFBO18 closely and have read several of the finalists' books. I've always thought it would be a great experience and this year I have a book ready. The stars have aligned.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

As soon as school breaks up I'll be chaining myself to my writing desk. I've got a rough outline and setting planned out, so just have to jump into it now and hammer my daily word counts. The biggest difference is it's in an entirely new world and will contain multiple POVs.

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

Good luck everyone. As in past years I will attempt to read at least some of the finalists. Judges... are cool. And very good looking. Mark, thanks for going beyond the call of duty and championing the indie cause.

Editor’s Note: Nice try, Welburn! We know a sweet-talker when we see one!

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Editor’s Note: Third person to ask this question in a row, you’ve officially unlocked our No-Prize! On a serious note, good luck in the competition, Craig and we all hope you have a great time over the next few months! 

 

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Greetings! I'm an English writer, living in Madrid, keeping the wolf from the door by teaching 6th grade goblins. In my spare time I write, read, travel, game and listen to loud music. I've loved fantasy since I learnt to read. Fighting Fantasy, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Hobbit were my gateway drugs.

Editor’s Note: We always knew someone had to teach all those goblins before us D&D players dispose of them by the throngs.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

The Ashen Levels. Yes, it's my debut novel (not counting the shoeboxes of scrawled A4 pads), although I've previously published a couple of novellas.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

It's a character driven story about overcoming adversity to discover an impossible truth. The world building is sublime--not info-dumped--and builds from a tiny fire lit hub to encompass continents, growing with the protagonist's exploration. It takes some unpredictable twists and turns, has a dark sense of humour and some pretty prose.

Editor’s Note: Count us in! We’re all for pretty prose and dark humour.

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I hope so. I'm rarely confident about these things. I believe that given the chance, people will enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

Under their noses.

Editor’s Note: Ew! They’re covered in snot, aren’t they?!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I've been following SPFBO17 and SPFBO18 closely and have read several of the finalists' books. I've always thought it would be a great experience and this year I have a book ready. The stars have aligned.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

As soon as school breaks up I'll be chaining myself to my writing desk. I've got a rough outline and setting planned out, so just have to jump into it now and hammer my daily word counts. The biggest difference is it's in an entirely new world and will contain multiple POVs.

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

Good luck everyone. As in past years I will attempt to read at least some of the finalists. Judges... are cool. And very good looking. Mark, thanks for going beyond the call of duty and championing the indie cause.

Editor’s Note: Nice try, Welburn! We know a sweet-talker when we see one!

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Editor’s Note: Third person to ask this question in a row, you’ve officially unlocked our No-Prize! On a serious note, good luck in the competition, Craig and we all hope you have a great time over the next few months! 

 

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Greetings! I'm an English writer, living in Madrid, keeping the wolf from the door by teaching 6th grade goblins. In my spare time I write, read, travel, game and listen to loud music. I've loved fantasy since I learnt to read. Fighting Fantasy, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Hobbit were my gateway drugs.

Editor’s Note: We always knew someone had to teach all those goblins before us D&D players dispose of them by the throngs.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

The Ashen Levels. Yes, it's my debut novel (not counting the shoeboxes of scrawled A4 pads), although I've previously published a couple of novellas.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

It's a character driven story about overcoming adversity to discover an impossible truth. The world building is sublime--not info-dumped--and builds from a tiny fire lit hub to encompass continents, growing with the protagonist's exploration. It takes some unpredictable twists and turns, has a dark sense of humour and some pretty prose.

Editor’s Note: Count us in! We’re all for pretty prose and dark humour.

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I hope so. I'm rarely confident about these things. I believe that given the chance, people will enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

Under their noses.

Editor’s Note: Ew! They’re covered in snot, aren’t they?!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I've been following SPFBO17 and SPFBO18 closely and have read several of the finalists' books. I've always thought it would be a great experience and this year I have a book ready. The stars have aligned.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

As soon as school breaks up I'll be chaining myself to my writing desk. I've got a rough outline and setting planned out, so just have to jump into it now and hammer my daily word counts. The biggest difference is it's in an entirely new world and will contain multiple POVs.

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

Good luck everyone. As in past years I will attempt to read at least some of the finalists. Judges... are cool. And very good looking. Mark, thanks for going beyond the call of duty and championing the indie cause.

Editor’s Note: Nice try, Welburn! We know a sweet-talker when we see one!

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

 

Editor’s Note: Third person to ask this question in a row, you’ve officially unlocked our No-Prize! On a serious note, good luck in the competition, Craig and we all hope you have a great time over the next few months! 

 

Interview with SPFBO Author Sonya Black
27, Jul

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, son, and two kitties, one of whom masquerades as a playful demon. I enjoy reading books in a wide range of genres and takes my inspiration from fairy tales, folklore, myths and legends. When I'm not writing, I can be found exploring alternate worlds via video games, enjoying my garden, and spending time with my family.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

A Sea of Broken Glass and no, it's not my debut.

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

A Sea of Broken Glass is a flintlock fantasy set in a dark world where a fallen goddess unleashed a curse. It's fast-paced and has a unique magic system that incorporates music and the elements. Shapeshifting paladins, a fallen goddess, and a healer who is handy with a pistol, what's not to love?

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I hope so. But as to why? I'll let you and the judges decide :-D

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

Money? There's money hidden somewhere!?

Editor's Note: Always is.

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

I entered in SPFBO 3 and loved it. It was a wonderful experience and I met some amazing authors. I didn't have a book ready last year or I would have entered then as well.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

I have a couple of books I'm working on. The sequel to A Sea of Broken Glass and a Japanese-inspired flintlock fantasy. I'm hoping to release both of the next year.

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

This is an amazing opportunity and I'm grateful to Mark and all of the judges for the time and effort they put into this competition.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Editor's Note: Thanks for joining us, Sonya, and we wish you the very best of luck over the coming months! 

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Rob J. Hayes, first of his name, writer of words, winner of SPFBOs, father of beagles, and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

Never Die. It is not my debut. I've been around the block.

Editor’s Note: Over at booknest.eu, we are very fond of Rob. We can supply all of you with character references, if you don’t believe him!

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

Slash, stab, death, back from the dead, a quest from the gods, impossible odds, redemption.

Editor’s Note: A succinct and very correct retelling of this contender’s novel. Weeeeeell…

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I'm the ex-heavyweight champion of the world.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

You'll have to prise it from my cold, dead hands.

Editor’s Note: It didn’t have to come to this, Hayes!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

This time around? Mihir kept bugging me.

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

Angels!

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

Hi guys! *waves*

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Editor’s Note: We get that a lot. Seriously. Our AI hasn’t worked out all the kinks and intimate knowledge of birds…that’s a big one!

Thank you for doing this, Rob, and we wish you the very best of luck over what is certain to be a tough competition!

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Sure thing! My name's Travis, and I currently reside in Austin, TX. I've been writing since I was in elementary school (my first projects being a comic that was somehow a ripoff of both Samurai Jack and Osmosis Jones, and a novelization of Final Fantasy IX), and I collect what many would consider to be "way too many" blu-rays.

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

"The Narrows," which is my third novel. In last year's SPFBO, my book "Balam, Spring" made it pretty far with Team Weatherwax!

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

It's a contemporary fantasy/horror novel that tackles themes of grief, different friendship dynamics, nostalgia, and changing relationships. It's more of an atmospheric, creepy kind of horror, with a big focus on the character relationships and the main character's emotional journey grappling with the death of his friend and how their relationship ended. It's a highly personal novel which seems to have resonated with a lot of reviewers already, which is really gratifying.

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

I hope so! I think horror fantasy isn't too common, especially in the indie community. At least not with the sort of tone I was going for with this book. I hope it stands out in that regard, as well as with its strange, gross imagery and the character development. Several reviewers have stated that they were so invested in the characters, they would've read a whole horror-less book about them, so I hope the judges are similarly enamored with this cast!

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?!

Under the snow, near the fence

Editorial Note: We’d never have thought to look there!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

Last year's experience with it was great, and I'm hoping this year is similar. I met a great group of authors that I've become friends with over the past year, and it's felt nice becoming a larger part of this community that I'd mainly only been a lurker in previously. Plus, now I've been getting to beta read these authors' great new books, which is a nice perk...

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

I've been working on something for the past several months, and I'm nearing the end of the first draft. It's not a direct sequel, but it does take place in the same world as "Balam, Spring," albeit with a new cast, new story, and in a new country. It's a bit more of a lighthearted adventure than Balam and Narrows, though it still has that emotional undercurrent running through it like all my books. It involves two characters: a merchant named Kali from a race of flower-people who gain sustenance from the sun who's trying to scrounge up enough money to travel the world to share her wares; and Puk, an amphibious, drug-addicted singer who simply wants to get out of the desert and go back home. The book is about the two of them coming together for a singular task to accomplish their goals.

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

I guess I'd want to say thank you to Mark and the judges for giving these self-published books a chance every year. The scene is only putting out higher quality and more unique stories every year, and this contest has truly added some legitimacy to what us authors are doing so that casual readers actually feel compelled to give us a chance. I think there probably still is a slight stigma around being "self-published" for some people, but that stigma is going away more and more and no doubt SPFBO is a big reason why.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

11 meters per second, or so I hear.

Editorial Note: Ah, a man of culture! Thank you for taking part in this, Travis, and the very best of luck to you and your spooky fantasy novel in this year’s competition!

Welcome to BookNest.eu! Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Thank you! I'm Meg Cowley, USA Today bestselling fantasy author. I live in Yorkshire, England with my husband, son, and our two cats, Jet and Pixie. I love everything fantasy, magic, and dragons, and have been a writer and artist since I could pick up a pencil. I work best when fuelled by Earl Grey Tea, margherita pizza, and characters who won't do what they're told! I'm passionate about writing sweeping fantasies with characters that could step off the page, and worlds that could be as real as our own. My debut novel, The Tainted Crown, was a 2018 SPFBO semi-finalist, and the series now has over 1,500 Goodreads & Amazon reviews, with around 100,000 readers picking up copies worldwide. Heart of Dragons is the first instalment in a sister series I hope current and new readers will enjoy!

What book did you enter SPFBO with, and is it your debut?

Heart of Dragons. No, not my debut. :)

Tell us a few things about it. What should the Judge you'll be allocated to, expect from it?

I'm enjoying playing with themes of identity, belonging, and morality in this series. The judge will hopefully find well-rounded, complex, and morally grey characters, some running from pasts they'd rather not face, and others making some pretty big screw ups - but all having to find a way to find forgiveness and redemption from within and without, and forge unlikely and unwelcome alliances to try fix their messes. Despite the canvas of epic fantasy, these are issues we all face in our own lives, so I hope above all, the judge will be able to relate to many of the issues the characters face in a world where it's not as simple as "good vs. evil" and where the right thing is hard to do and doesn't necessarily solve the problems at hand.

You'll compete against 299 other books. Do you believe your book will stand out against the competition, and if yes, why?

Yes! My debut made semi-finalist, and this series is hands down a thousand times better. It's highly rated by my readers, so I have no doubt it's good enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other entries. This year, I want to win, or at least get one step closer and be a finalist.

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY!??!?! 

I'll never tell!!!

Why did you decide to enter SPFBO in the first place?

Last year, because the worst thing that could happen was that no one liked my book, and I could slink back to obscurity knowing I had tried. Well, actually it got a really thoughtful, kind review, despite it being my debut, and in my eyes, now painfully amateur. But more than that, I met a ton of kickass people over the past year in SPFBO4, and the team spirit was really cool. This year, I have a better book, and I want to be involved with the same community of awesome people!

Are you working on a book right now? What should we expect from you next?

Yes! The third in the Chronicles of Pelenor series, which will be a quartet. Book two, Court of Shadows, is out now. Three, Order of Valxiron, will be out in September. And the concluding volume sometime in winter 2019. So expect more epic fantasy coming at you!

Anything else you would like to add? A message to the other contestants, the Judges, or Mark Lawrence himself?

Just a big thanks. This is a really cool thing! It gives a bigger voice to the indie community, it celebrates who we are, what we do, and the stories we write, and it brings us together in true indie spirit.

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

What do you mean, an African or European Swallow?