Friday, December 09, 2011

Interview with Mazarkis Williams and Giveaway - December 9, 2011

Please welcome Mazarkis Williams to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Emperor's Knife (The Tower and Knife Trilogy 1), Mazarkis' debut novel, was published on December 6, 2011 by Night Shade Books in the US and in October 2011 by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Mazarkis:  I'm starting to realize I don't enjoy the painful process of writing. Perhaps that's a strange thing, for a writer.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Mazarkis:  Almost every writer is my favorite. I've been a reading maniac since I learned how to do it. As a child I read Madeleine L'Engle, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and many others. When I got a bit older I enjoyed E.M. Forster, Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and--really, all the books they ask you to read at university, except that it never seemed a chore; I always loved the books. As for current mainstream authors I am a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, Gail Godwin, Khaled Hosseini, and a few others. I didn't start reading fantasy until I was much older, as I was a bit of a literary snob (I am embarrassed about that now). When mainstream fiction started to get a little bit "navel-gazy" to me, I turned to other genres.

My favorite fantasy authors are Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Carol Berg, George R. R. Martin, J.V. Jones, Scott Lynch, and Guy Gavriel Kay. In science fiction I like Gene Wolfe and C.S. Friedman.

I wouldn't be able to say who has influenced me the most out of all the authors listed. I try to make my prose as clean and shiny as Gaiman's and as rich with meaning as Wolfe's; but I don't come anywhere close.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mazarkis:  Neither, but if I have to pick one, I am more of a plotter.

TQ:  Describe The Emperor's Knife (The Tower and Knife Trilogy 1) in 140 characters or less.

Mazarkis:  TEK is about damaged people reaching deep inside themselves to find the strength, smarts, and self-forgiveness to fight an all-powerful foe.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Emperor's Knife?

Mazarkis:  A historical account of an imprisoned prince. In his case, he was completely mad by the time they let him out, and they eventually killed him. Hopefully Sarmin will be a bit luckier.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Emperor's Knife?

Mazarkis:  None, except that which I had done previously, at university. For the second book I've had to look up a number of things including how ancient sewer systems worked.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Mazarkis:  I found Eyul the easiest. He's older and carries a lot of guilt and I can relate to that. I found Mesema the hardest, as she is so strong and at the same time, innocent. It's hard to remember how that feels.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Emperor's Knife?

Mazarkis:  I love it when the two brothers get together for the first time. There is so much love there, but also pain and resentment.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Tower and Knife series?

Mazarkis:  Three. The second is Knifesworn.

TQThe Emperor's Knife is a fantasy novel, are there any other genres in which you'd like to write?

Mazarkis:  Not really. I like the broad range that fantasy allows me.

TQ:  What's next?

Mazarkis:  Well, right now both of my publishers have exciting things going on. Jo Fletcher Books is doing lots of giveaways. I would check their website or their twitter feed. Sometimes it's as easy as answering a trivia question to get a free book.

Night Shade is putting up a lot of book excerpts right now. There have a great author line-up including Courtney Shafer, Teresa Frohock, Martha Wells, and Bradley Beaulieu. People really need to go out and buy these books! They're great.

I'm very much looking forward to next year's releases, including Martha Well's Serpent Sea and Carol Berg's Daemon Prism (both in January). Crossing my fingers we'll see Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves in 2012. I'm still just a big fan.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mazarkis:  Thank you for inviting me!

About The Emperor's Knife

The Emperor's Knife
The Tower and Knife Trilogy 1
Night Shade Books, December 6, 2011 (US)
Hardcover, 300 pages

There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon's law...but now the pattern is running over the Emperor's own arms.

His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon's agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor's only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court's stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor's Knife.

As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses - a path that just might save them all.

About Mazarkis

Mazarkis Williams is a writer with roots in both the US and UK, having worked in and been educated in both countries. Each year is divided between Boston and Bristol and a teleport booth is always top of the Christmas wish-list. Mazarkis has degrees in history and physics with a diverse set of interests accumulated while misspending a hectic youth. Cooking has always been a passion and in addition to feeding six children and a sizable herd of cats Mazarkis regularly caters for crowds of permanently hungry friends.

Mazarkis' Links


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of The Emperor's Knife (The Tower and Knife Trilogy 1) from Mazarkis Williams!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is/are your favorite Fantasy novel(s)?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, December 16, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Thanks for the giveaway.

    It is very hard to pick just one fantasy novel or even just one series, but if you insist then I would say The Black Company series by Glen Cook.

    When I first read him many years ago he astonished me because it was something new and fresh in a genre that was becoming a bit formulaic.

    I still enjoy his writing.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  2. my favorite fantasy book is harry porter and narnia

    thanks for the giveaway

  3. Thanks you for this giveaway

    i would say: the Hobb's bargain by patricia briggs

    gfc follower( email and rss): miki or isabelle frisch


    all the best

  4. I really like The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone by Greg Keyes and A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. The Malazan Book of the Fallen without a question. It's simply brilliant.

  6. While I have many favorites, the first thing to jump in my mind when I read the question was Kate Elliot's Jaran series - love them!
    (+3: comment, follower, unabashed retweeter)

  7. I also love Patricia Briggs' fantasy novels, especially The Hob's Bargain, but my all-time favorite fantasy author is Robin McKinley.


    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweeted (!/RebeLovesBooks/status/145203128726327296)

  8. I'm not sure I have one. I read a lot of paranormal and some UF books with strong fantasy elements. I would say the Fever series which is not full fantasy (UF). Looks like I need to read more from this genre.

    +1 GFC follower

  9. This is a difficult question for me to answer, but I think I would have to say my favorite fantasy series is the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

    GFC Silverrose313
    silverrose313 at gmail dot com

  10. my favorite fantasy book is narnia
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC: blackwolf
    +1 tweet:!/PandoraSWolf/status/145214947897507840

  11. It's hard to just pick one fantasy novel, I have many, mainly grouped into the paranormal.


  12. I love all of Richelle Mead's books! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larson
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  13. Thank you for another wonderful giveaway!

    I'm a huge fan of the DragonLance Fantasy Series.

    +1 GFC Follower Gena Robertson
    +1 FB share
    +1 comment

    Happy Holidays!

    Gena Robertson

  14. Thanks for a great post and giveaway!

    My fav fantasy book(s) would be Masques and Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs.

    +1 GFC: erin
    +1 comment

  15. Thanks for the giveaway.
    my favorite fantasy book is narnia and the marked son by shea berkley

    +1 comment
    +1 follower ; rogier


  16. harry potter is my alltime favourite fantasy series, but i also loved Magic Moon by Wolfgang & Heike Hohlbein as a kid - one of the first fantasy books i've read and fell in love with.

    gfc: yto

    witchvela at web dot de

  17. Hmmm... so hard to choose! Well, I do love the Immortals After Dark series. Cant beat Kresley Cole :)
    +1 comment
    +1 Follower

  18. I'd say The Lord of the Rings is my favorite fantasy series. For Urban Fantasy, I'd choose The Iron Druid series.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  19. I am not sure. I am new to fantasy but I remember enjoying a series where it is set on earth and her name is a male's name.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  20. My favorite fantasy novels besides HP are Graceling and Fire by Kristen Cashore. Can't wait for Bitterblue!
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC: Vivien

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  21. My favorite fantasy novel is Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R.Tolkien, no doubt.
    Never get enought of it. I read those 3 novels over and over again. And the movies are great. Luv it....

    Thank u for the giveaway

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 share on twitter!/JungieFairy/status/145320236202213377

  22. Lord of the Rings is amazing, but also a given. I also love Patricia Briggs (Hob's Bargain) and Patricia C. Wrede (her dragon series).
    Love that you listed Dr. Seuss! I have been reading his books a lot with my daughter!
    Your book sounds gripping!

    GFC follower Lexi
    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. As I see others have said, that's a very difficult question to answer. IF I had to pick one series, it would be Rowling's Harry Potter series...
    This debut book in a new series sounds very good.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    I'm a GFC Follower!

  24. I would have to say the Harry Potter series. It is just so hard to top them!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  25. I love fantasy! It would be impossible to pick a favorite, but at the moment I am still sighing over Maria V. Snyder's Touch of Power. :) Thank you for the chance!

    GFC - Lieder Madchen


  26. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R.Tolkien. This books are legendary for the reason)))
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower as Sofija Kapranova

  27. I've just re-read THE HOBBIT in preparation for the movie. I love all Tolkein's works.


  28. My favorite fantasy book is Harry Potter and The Hobb's bargain by patricia briggs.

    Thanks for giveaway.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 facebook

    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  29. nothing is better than Tolkien! I loved all his books!

    GFC follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  30. Uf, a hard question since it seems to be something which changes with time and books I have read. But currently I'd go for the Malazan Empire series (to encompass both the works of Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont in that shared universe).

    thanks for the giveaway :)


  31. I LOVE Fantasy it is my absolute favorite genre. Currently I would have to say that the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks is my favorite but there are so many authors/books/series that i really love.

    megnate at telus dot net

  32. I tweeted:!/zaira_faith/status/145913155732766721

    megnate at telus dot net

  33. The Farseer books by Robin Hobb are my favorites and I push them on everyone I can!

    GFC follower Spaz

    Thanks for the giveaway and chance to win what I hear is a fantastic book!