Friday, June 21, 2013

Interview with Madeline Ashby, author of vN and iD - June 21, 2013

Please welcome Madeline Ashby to The Qwillery. iD, the second novel in the Machine Dynasty series, will be published on June 25 in the US/Canada and July 4 in the UK.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery!

Madeline:  Thank you for having me!

TQ:  What do you wish you'd known when the your first novel, vN, came out that you know now?

Madeline:  Hmm. I wish I had known how slowly the field of publishing can move, sometimes. It's not terribly fast. This isn't a bad thing, but it can be difficult to be patient, especially when it's your first book. Everything seems like it takes too long, when in reality it's just moving at the normal pace. It's just that you don't know that pace, because it's your first time. For someone who basically grew up with the Internet, it can be a little bit of a surprise.

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

Madeline:  Finding the zone. It's all too easy to procrastinate, or to tell yourself that it's just not a good day for good work, or that whatever you're working on isn't good enough and you should stop. Ignoring all that external stimuli, and all those inner voices, is really hard. It really takes a certain faith in yourself and faith in the process that can be hard to muster when you're in the mushy middle of something.

TQ:  Please tell us something about iD (Machine Dynasty 2) that is not in the book description.

Madeline:  Oh, there's a lot. I list a few things. iD has casinos, and cruise ships, and housing developments, and brothels, and theme parks, and a lot of sex instead of a lot of violence. It takes place near Christmas, but isn't really a Christmas story. It's about a guy on a quest for revenge that's really a quest for his own destiny, and that guy happens to be a robot who can't hurt human beings but is really pretty awesome in the sack.

TQ:  Which character has surprised you the most in the series so far?

Madeline:  I think Portia continues to surprise me. Or rather, it surprises me how much I enjoy being with her. She's pure villainy through and through, but she says the things that everybody wishes they could say, and she does things that they are scared to even imagine doing. She's a ferociously strong character, and I'm always surprised at the power she has to turn a scene around for me and give me something new and fun and challenging to do with it.

TQ:  Are there any other genres in which you would like to write?

Madeline:  I suppose at some point I should write a YA novel. But that's a market, not a genre. I live with a horror writer, and I spend time with a lot of horror writers, so I guess I'm likely to get the itch to do one of those some day. But I don't really feel like I'm done with science fiction. I haven't pissed enough people off, yet.

TQ:  What's next?

Madeline:  Right now I'm working on a story for the Hieroglyph Project, which is a collaboration between the Center for Science and the Imagination, and Arizona State University. The project is inspired by a speech that Neal Stephenson gave on the need for big ideas in science fiction. And I'm talking with Angry Robot about what else we can do in the future.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The Machine Dynasty

Series:  Machine Dynasty 2
Publisher:  Angry Robot, June 25, 2013 (US/Can Print / eBook); July 4, 2013 (UK Print)
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Price:   $14.99 (print)
ISBN:   9780857663115 (print)

Javier is a self-replicating humanoid on a journey of redemption.

Javier’s quest takes him from Amy’s island, where his actions have devastating consequences for his friend, toward Mecha where he will find either salvation… or death.

File Under: Science Fiction [ vN2 | Island in the Streams | Failsafe No More | The Stepford Solution ]

Series:  Machine Dynasty 1
Publisher:  Angry Robot Books, July 31, 2012 (US/Canada); August 2, 2012 (UK/RoW)
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
Price:  $12.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780857662620 (print)

Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Von Neumann Sisters | Fail Safe Fail | The Squid & the Swarm | Robot Nation ]

Covers for vN and iD are by Martin Bland.

About Madeline
(from Angry Robot)

Kayleigh McCollum
Madeline grew up in a household populated by science fiction fans. She graduated from a Jesuit university in 2005, after having written a departmental thesis on science fiction.

After meeting Ursula K. LeGuin in the basement of the Elliott Bay Book Company that year, she decided to start writing science fiction stories. While immigrating to Canada from the United States in 2006 , she could not work or study and joined the Cecil Street Irregulars – a genre writers’ workshop founded by Judith Merril – instead.

Since then she has been published in Tesseracts, Flurb, Nature, Escape Pod and elsewhere. She has a masters degree in Manga and Anime and writes on such matters for i09, and BoingBoing. Currently she works as a strategic foresight consultant in Toronto.

Madeline’s first book for Angry Robot is vN, which introduces us to Amy, a robot who has been grown in a stable family environment, with her robot mother and human father. But alone of all her kind, her human-protecting failsafe has stopped working. Soon she is on the run from the law, and worse – everyone’s after her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her. Her sole friend is a robot boy who’s programmed to only like humans…

You can find Madeline at her website, or follow her on twitter.


Read Madeline's 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blog - Gynoid Trouble - here and interview here.

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