Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with G. T. Almasi and Giveaway - August 30, 2012

Please welcome G.T. Almasi to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Blades of Winter (Shadowstorm 1) was published on August 28, 2012. You may read G.T.'s Guest Blog - The Fast American Novel. Today’s high-speed digitalia leaves books in the dust. - here.

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

G.T.:  I love making up words, which I probably lifted from George Orwell and William Gibson. I also incorporate sound effects from comic books but my characters just say them like normal words.

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

G.T.:  The two books that opened my eyes to the idea that writing a book could be as fun as reading one were Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Writers I grew up with were Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Fred Saberhagen, Larry Niven, Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, C.S. Forester, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien.

Much of my sense of pacing and over-the-top action came from film makers and video-game developers. Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita and The Professional are huge influences for me, as are John Woo’s Hard Boiled and The Killer. I spent way too much time playing games like Doom and Halo, and Extreme Operations’s system of leveled character classes comes directly from the Elder Scrolls games by Bethesda.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

G.T.:  Hah, great question! My editor taught me about this the first time I met with her. Like many of her authors, I began as a pantser, and now I’m working toward being a plotter.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

G.T.:  My biggest challenge about being an author is pressing through The Fear I feel many times when I sit down to write. It’s completely non-rational, and seemingly sourceless, but I still have to consciously summon my courage and make myself start typing. Once I get started, I feel much better.

Then the biggest challenge becomes retaining the entire fictional world in my head all at once. Maintaining continuity is tricky, and this is where I’ve needed the most help from my Beta Readers and my editors.

TQ:  Describe Blades of Winter (Shadowstorm 1) in 140 characters or less.

G.T.:  It’s an action-packed sci-fi espionage thriller featuring a teenage superspy who’s sent to thwart a terrifying plot that could set human society back half a century.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Blades of Winter?

G.T.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. These two novels showed me how much fun it could be to write a book. Each of them are packed with wild prose, lots of made-up slang, and a near-total disregard for everything my third-grade grammar teacher tried to cram into me.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Blades of Winter?

G.T.:  I researched everything and everyone. My writing foundation is history, but everything else, science, politics, mechanical engineering, foreign languages, required me to start from square one.

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

G.T.:  Scarlet’s boss came to me fairly quickly, perhaps because I’ve watched so many cop shows. The hardest to write was the bad guy, because nobody thinks they’re the bad guy. Everyone thinks they’re the good guy, and I wanted this character to seem like a real person, not just some two-dimensional, bwah-ha-ha kind of villain.

I needed to generate a convincing way for this character to rationalize their actions as something positive instead of the incredibly negative act it really is. I spent a long time walking around inside this character’s head, sifting through their memories and their feelings about things. It took a while, but it was actually pretty fun.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Blades of Winter?

G.T.:  The Eiffel Tower scene. It’s one of the first scenes I wrote out in full because I couldn’t wait to “see” it.

TQ:  What's next?

G.T.:  I’ll be at NY Comic-Con this October, and Shadowstorm book two, Hammer of Angels, will be out on March 26, 2013.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

G.T.:  Thank you so much for having me here! :)


Blades of Winter
Shadowstorm 1
Del Rey, August 28, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carré novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.

Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.

Hammer of Angels (Shadowstorm 2) will be published in March 2013.

About G.T.

G. T. Almasi graduated from RISD and moved to Boston to pursue a career as a graphic designer. While he built his design portfolio, he joined a band as the bass player, and wrote and designed the band's newsletter. Once his career as an art director took off, he continued to supplement his design talents by writing copy for his clients. As a novelist, his literary influences include Robert Ludlum, Neal Stephenson, and Hunter S. Thompson. He also draws inspiration from John Woo's movies and Todd Howard's videogames. Almasi lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with his wife, Natalie, and their lovably stubborn dog, Ella.

Facebook : Shadowstorm FB Page : Twitter

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Blades of Winter (Shadowstorm 1) by G.T. Almasi from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

If you were in charge of a team of Levels (superspies) what sorts of
modifications would your Levels have?

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.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST 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 Thursday, September 6, 2012. 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. I'm not sure...but I'd want to be able to jump really high, easier to escape
    +1 comment
    +1 follower GFC and RSS Caitlin Rahm

  2. I say enhanced sense of hearing ... it's always good to know in advance when someone is sneaking up on you!

    GFC follower (Birgit)
    danaan at gmx dot at

  3. It is to be hoped that I am never put in charge of anything outside of a library or a dish of pastries. However, in the twisted world of the question writer, I am in charge of a team of Levels. I would like to have one with camoflage abilities, one with super hearing, one with extra special sight and one that is good at getting dishes of pastries to me without cost...

    GFC follower: April V.
    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  4. mutant-y!? lol . Advanced sight and hearing

    +1 comment
    +1 follower GF // rogier

    +1 twittr

    student dot caprino at gmail dot com

  5. [+1] Q: If you were in charge of a team of Levels (superspies) what sorts of modifications would your Levels have?

    A: Spies? Invisibility and abitility to come and go unseen and undetected!

    [+1] GFC follower name is Cherry.

    [+1] Twitted about your giveaway at:

    Thank you for the chance to win! :)

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-spamme [at] yahoo [dot] com

  6. Thanks for a great post! Congrats on the upcoming release! It sounds fantastic and it's on the top of my "want" list :)

    I'd have to see enhanced sight, hearing and speed. Kinda like Max from the Dark Angel TV series.

    +1 gfc: erin
    +1 comment

  7. This sounds like a great book! If I had my own team of superspies, they would be masters of disguise... like chameleons, able to look like anyone or blend in anywhere. Thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 Twitter mention:

    drakeLa90 at aol dot com

  8. Blades of Winter sounds fantastic and I love that cover! My team of Levels would have super sharp hearing and sight, excellent reflexes, accelerated healing and be able to blend in with their surroundings.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC: Barbara E.

  9. I NEED enhanced hearing ;) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom Thank you!
    GFC Krystal Larson

  10. Hmmm...... maybe to be a superspies :)

    GFC as Filia Oktarina
    Tweet :

    TsukiSelene at yahoo dot co dot id

  11. I think enhanced hearing would be good and of course strength.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  12. They would have to all be techno wizards.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  13. The ability to assume any shape & size.

    +3: comment, follower, tweeted

  14. They could teleport anywhere.

    I follow the blog.


  15. I would want to have the power to heal myself and others. I love this cover! I think this sounds like a great read! Thanks for the chance.

    I am a follower
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com