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 WinterShadowstorm 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.
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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?
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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.
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