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Category: Guests, Gatherings, and Giveaways

Interview with Alix E. Harrow

Interview with Alix E. Harrow

Hello, everyone! Celeste here for Novel Notions, bringing you an interview with author Alix E. Harrow. We’re celebrating the publication of her debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January. As soon as the synopsis and cover art dropped in 2018, this book became my most anticipated of 2019. From its very first page, I knew that my expectations were not only going to be met, but far exceeded. January’s story is utterly delightful and charming, and Harrow’s novel is a lavish love letter to the power of the written word and the people who love words so completely. It’s thrilling and romantic and breathtakingly beautiful, and is a wonderful blend of so many genres, like magical realism and historical fiction and portal fantasy. It’s a book that I can’t wait for the world to read, and I’m incredibly humbled to have been given the opportunity to interview its author. Without further ado, here is my interview with Alix E. Harrow!


Hi, Alix!  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.  Before we get started, I wanted to congratulate you on winning a Hugo for  your lovely short story, A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies. It was definitely worthy of the award.

Thank you so much for having me! The thing about the Hugos is that all the stories were deserving of awards this year. I’m glad the finalists and winners are spread out a bit this year, between the Nebula/Locus/Hugo/Eugie Foster, because there are so many excellent authors that deserve it.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself.  When did you know that you wanted to become and author, and how did you first get into writing?

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Interview with Rebecca Kuang

Interview with Rebecca Kuang

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Rebecca Kuang, the author behind my favorite debut of 2018, The Poppy War, and soon to be released sequel, The Dragon Republic. I’m incredibly honored to have the opportunity to read The Dragon Republic early and for the fans of the first book, I can assure you that it WILL live up to your high expectation; brutally. 

Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Rebecca Kuang!


  • Hi, Rebecca! It’s been a year since our last interview. Thank you for doing another one with me. Please tell us about your newest book and its main theme. Any message you want to leave for readers?

“Brace yourself” – Fonda Lee.

  • The Poppy War was heavily inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. What would you say is the main inspiration behind The Dragon Republic?

The Dragon Republic spans more historical territory than The Poppy War, which was quite narrowly focused on WWII. You’ll find shreds of more recent episodes like the Chinese Civil War and the Opium Wars in addition to old old battles like the Battle of Red Cliffs. So in that way TDR is more of an original story, because it stitches together stories from so many different eras into an independent narrative, as opposed to TPW, which grafted quite heavily onto events from 1937-1945.

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Blog Tour: The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

Blog Tour: The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. We, the team at Novel Notions, are very thrilled and honored that we were asked by Orbit to kick-off the massive blog tour for The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. I loved this novel. It’s been four months since I finished this African-inspired epic fantasy debut and I must admit that once in a while, this work of magnificent still sneaks up on my mind. If you haven’t read it, I strongly urge you to give it a go. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Evan Winter.


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Novel Notions Classics Club reads: Jane Eyre

Novel Notions Classics Club reads: Jane Eyre

Isn’t it amazing how much smaller the internet has made our world? This little blog, started a bit over a year ago, has become a shared home for readers from Indonesia, Malaysia, France, the UK, and the United States. The ladies of the blog have decided to start a cyber book club, reading through the classics together. This book, Jane Eyre, was our inaugural selection. Whether the novel was new to us or a favorite we were revisiting, it was a wonderful experience to share. Here are some of our thoughts on what we read:

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Cover Reveal: Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2) by Michael Sliter

Cover Reveal: Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2) by Michael Sliter

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. You’re here for the cover art, I’ll keep this introduction very brief.

Today, we’re here to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for Wisdom Lost, the second book in the Pandemonium Rising series by Michael Sliter. I’ve read the first book in the series, Solace Lost, a few months ago and I’ve been repeatedly saying that this is seriously an underrated grimdark book. Joe Abercrombie is one of the main inspirations behind the author’s work, if you love grimdark reminiscent of First Law trilogy, I strongly suggest checking this series out! Without further ado, here’s the cover reveal to Wisdom Lost.

Cover art: Rene Aigner

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Interview with Michael Sliter

Interview with Michael Sliter

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Michael Sliter, the author behind the incredibly underrated grimdark debut: Solace Lost. You can check out my review of Solace Lost on the blog or Goodreads. If you’re a grimdark enthusiast, try to buy and read it as soon as possible. Plus, the Kindle price is currently set at a massive discount of $0.99 for a week! Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Michael Sliter!


  1. Hi, Mike! Thank you for doing this interview with me! Firstly, please tell us about yourself and your debut, Solace Lost.

Thanks for having me! So… me. I’m a workplace psychologist by day—I do things like leadership assessment and development, training, and data crunching. I love my job; it’s always something different and new. Nuclear power? I met the person who finds the uranium. Environmental science? I’ve seen endless labs where they quantify how much pollution is too much. Astronauts? I’ve worked with the guys who build the rockets. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Aside from work, which keeps me pretty busy, I have a fantastic, horse-riding psychologist wife, an amazingly hilarious little two-year-old daughter, and a couple of tiny, broken dogs (one missing an eye and one with extreme anxiety). I play racquetball whenever I can, and I own a couple of swords. When not I’m doing any of the above, I’m reading and writing!

Solace Lost is a character-driven grimdark fantasy novel. A civil war is brewing, and the novel explores the lives of four common folk—a former guardsman-turned-criminal, a handmaiden to a great lady, a Wasmer attempting to assimilate into human society, and a young innkeeper’s daughter with a gift—as they are caught up in the plotting and politicking of the powerful. Their stories end up intertwined as they struggle for survival in their own ways. I’m stealing the below from the back of the book because I’ll never be able to say it this well again:

“A story of love lost and family destroyed, of bigotry and belonging, of suffering and strength, and of religion and magic, Solace Lost grows from a character-driven tale to something grand in scale…”

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Interview with Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach

Interview with Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach

Hi everyone, TS here!  This is the first time Novel Notions is hosting an interview on a co-authored series.  Forever Fantasy Online is both the name of this LitRPG trilogy and the first book.  Its sequel, Last Bastion, was released yesterday and I have to say that the book was fantastic and an improvement over the first book (which was a fun and great read as well) in every way possible.

Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach have kindly agreed to answer a few burning questions that I have, and so let’s get right to it. 

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Guest Post: On the Shoulders of Jötnar by Ian Stuart Sharpe

Guest Post: On the Shoulders of Jötnar by Ian Stuart Sharpe

Hi y’all! Today we have a guest post by Ian Stuart Sharpe regarding his reasons for choosing Norse mythology as the main inspiration behind his Vikingverse series. Check it out, it’s a great read! Thank you Outland Entertainment for approaching us, it’s an honor and we look forward to working with you in the future!


On the Shoulders of Jötnar

Ian Stuart Sharpe

“A myth or legend is simply not made up out of a vacuum. Nothing is -or can be. Somehow there is a kernel of truth behind it, however distorted that might be.”

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation’s Edge

I read Asimov’s Foundation series long after they were published: the original trilogy of novels was originally a series of eight short stories published in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950. According to Asimov, the premise was based on ideas set forth in Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and was invented spontaneously on his way to meet with editor John W. Campbell.

But that central notion – that all myth is just a distorted version of the truth – stuck with me for years afterwards. History is written by the victors, and we demonize the vanquished. And given that thought, I always wanted to write stories with Norse mythology as my own foundation, if you’ll excuse the pun  –  to tell the stories of an imagined world where the Vikings won.

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Interview with M. L. Wang

Interview with M. L. Wang

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you an interview with M. L. Wang, the author behind Theonite series and the recently released standalone, The Sword of Kaigen. If you somehow missed it, I have read and reviewed The Sword of Kaigen with extremely high praises. To simplify my praises, The Sword of Kaigen hits a lot of new milestones for me:

  • Number one favorite self-published book.
  • Number one favorite standalone fantasy book.
  • One of my favorite books of all time
  • It’s literally the only standalone fantasy novel I would rate 6 out of 5 stars if possible.

Yes, that’s how much I loved it! You can check out my review of The Sword of Kaigen on the blog or Goodreads and I hope it will convince you to order and read it as soon as possible. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with M. L. Wang!


  1. Hi, M. L.  Wang! Thank you for doing this interview with me. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your newest book, and the main inspirations behind your work.

Thank you for having me!

I got started in self-publishing with my Theonite Series (now two books long), which combines some of my favorite genres, including magic school, alternate history, and superheroes. Growing up biracial in the weird tangle of racial tensions that make up the USA, I was always morbidly fascinated by racism, prejudice, and the mechanisms behind oppression. This gave rise to what is probably the most distinct feature of the Theonite universe: the planet’s inverted racial hierarchy, with a West African empire having dominated the globe and Europe being the most devastated of its many former colonies. Readers of Theonite, whatever their background, are intended to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

My newest book, The Sword of Kaigen, is a military fantasy that takes place in the Japanese-inspired corner of the Theonite universe, thirteen years before the events of the main series. The Sword of Kaigen spawned from the few-sentence-long backstory I provided to explain the Matsuda family’s anti-Ranganese tendencies and to inject some WW2-esque tragedy into Duna’s history. The middle two Matsuda brothers’ names, Hiroshi and Nagasa, are extensions of that idea, implying national trauma (heavy-handed, I know, but I was in high school when I came up with it, okay? My metaphor game was in its adolescence).

In its original form, The Sword of Kaigen was a serialized story that I released to my newsletter subscribers in monthly installments beginning in 2017. When I realized that my little ‘novella’ had exceeded 100,000 words, I decided to complete the story and publish it as a proper novel. Part of the reason I got so carried away with The Sword of Kaigen was that it presented a convenient excuse to play with a lot of things that had a place in my heart but not in the already very busy Theonite series—Japanese martial arts, Chinese martial arts, complex adult characters, Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Japanese religious symbolism, big battles, and a more personal inverted history.

I’m alive to write this story because, in 1937, in a Jiangsu Province village outside Nanjing, a Japanese bullet missed my great grandmother when she bent down to get a cooking pot. Certain events in The Sword of Kaigen harken back to the Nanjing Massacre, holding true to the guiding principle behind the Theonite universe: the mile walked in another’s shoes. What if you had been on the other side? What if it had been your family?

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Interview with Justin Call

Interview with Justin Call

Hello everyone, this is TS from Novel Notions.  It gives me great pleasure to host this interview with Justin Call following the release of his fantastic debut, Master of Sorrows.  I was intrigued when I first saw the book’s tagline – what if you were destined to be a villain?  To my utter delight as I read it, I also discovered that the story had a lot of influences from classic epic fantasy, but felt different and modern with a grittier and darker tone.  It was like that breath of fresh air that carried a scent of nostalgia. 

I should not ramble any further as you can read my review for Master of Sorrows on the blog.  Our special guest had quite a lot to share with us, so let’s get the show on the road.

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