Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guest Post by Ann Aguirre and Blue Diablo Giveaway!

As my birthday present to myself I snagged a post by a guest author for today, and she's one of my favorite new authors! The Fantasy Cafe is happy to welcome Ann Aguirre, author of the immensely entertaining space operas Grimspace and Wanderlust and the forthcoming urban fantasy novel Blue Diablo (release date April 7). Below Ann talks about her experiences with reading fantasy and offers the chance for one of you to win a copy of Blue Diablo!

My Life-long love

I love fantasy. I always have.

My first memory of reading a fantasy novel: I was eight years old, and someone was in the hospital. I suspect it was one of my grandparents, but I cannot be sure because I had a copy of The Hobbit in my hands. I’d checked it out at the library and I was lost in that book. I know I sat in that hard vinyl chair in the waiting room for hours, but I don’t remember any of that day. I remember only the book I was reading at the time.

Once I discovered Tolkien’s other works, I devoured those quickly. And then I realized he was the founding father of a whole, magical realm of fiction. Each week, I went to the mall and browsed my Waldenbooks for likely candidates. I discovered Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony, almost straightaway.

This is what I spent my allowance on as a kid. After I got my first job, I put part of the money in my gas tank; the rest I spent on books. In college, I was much the same, but there were certain authors I would buy instead of food. Sharon Shinn was one of them.

So clearly I can remember how I felt when I discovered her books for the first time. I was in a dungeon of a shop in Muncie, Indiana. I didn’t really want to be there because, frankly, they sold gaming stuff: Dungeons and Dragons, sourcebooks, dice, graph paper, and pewter miniatures. I wanted to be in a proper bookstore because I had a little money to spend. (My part-time job as a pharmacy tech paid all of $4 an hour.) But I had gamer friends (and I played too, but my great love has always been books), so I was hanging around the store, waiting for them. As I wandered, I eventually came upon a wire book rack. It mostly had TSR novels (Drizzt, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance) and maybe a few White Wolf stories. I was spinning it listlessly when this fey cover art caught my eye.

Hm, what’s this? I asked myself, plucking the book from the rack. The Shapechanger’s Wife. I read the back and it sounded wonderful, so I bought it at once. While they finished shopping, I hugged the paper bag to my chest and couldn’t wait to get home to start reading. In short, I devoured that one in a few hours and then from that point on, I would buy whatever she released, even if I had to dine on ramen… or nothing at all. The coolest thing about Sharon Shinn is that so many years later, I’ve had the pleasure of her reading my book for a blurb—and then I met her last summer. After that, I cried tears of pure joy over a dream come true. It’s so wonderful when your idols turn out to be even more amazing than you dreamed.

What authors do you love like that? A random commenter will win a copy of Blue Diablo.

Giveaway Rules
1) The winner will be selected within 24 hours.
2) The winner will be contacted via email by azteclady, therefore a valid email address must be provided for the comment to be entered in the giveaway (this can be through your own blog or website).

Thank you Ann! For the record, after reading this I almost bought Archangel by Sharon Shinn, but unfortunately my local Borders was out. That won't stop me for long, though...


Ana said...

I have this thing about Neil Gaiman, I just love everything that man writes and I think the Sandman is the best work of art of all times.

There, I said it. He is my God of Writing. I keep thinking about the day I will see him in person and die on the spot.

: D

(no need to enter me in the contest)

Unknown said...

Which authors would I give up food for? Well, I'm starting to feel that way with Tobias Buckell and Paul Genesse. If I see their books in the store I immediately run over and pick it up. The only thing is I already have all their books and they aren't churning out new ones at a PKD pace, but still. PKD is one of those too. I love his work quite a lot, but he's kind of not producing anything new :P.

I used to be this way with Richard A. Knaak, back when he was writing stuff that wasn't media-based...then again, nowadays there are so many books out there that it's hard for me to discover new folks anymore...*sigh* The burdens of a bustling book market!

Oh, and as for books that I have problems putting down: Harry Potter. I don't know if it was just the movies or the hype or what, but I was hooked and couldn't stop reading except for important things...

(my email is in my profile or on my blog--should be in profile)

Mervi said...

Currently, I have two writers that I buy almost without hesitation (rent comes first, though): Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Steven Brust.

I've read Sharon Shinn's Mystic and the Rider and I intend to continue with the series.

Patricia Altner said...

It is so hard to pick one author, but if I had to it would be C. S. Friedman. The first book of hers that I read was The Madness Season (vampire/SF). Since then whenever I discover she has a new book out I must have it.

One day I hope to meet her in person and tell her how much I enjoy the worlds she creates.

M. said...

Wow. Ann Aguirre is everywhere!

My first fantasyesque book was 'A Wrinkle in Time'. Loved it, but didn't have the presence of mind (primary school? middle?) to seek other titles by the author. Now I'm nudging Madeline L'Engle's work towards by sixth-grade son -we'll see if he bites.

The authors I think I'd faint if I met include Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody!!!), Lindsey Davis (Marcus Didius Falco!!!), and Loretta Chase (so many heros! so many heroines!).

Q: what's the difference between space opera and sci fi?

(no need to enter my name, here for fun)

Memory said...

Back in the day, I felt this way about Anne Rice. I had to get her stuff in hardcover. She no longer means as much to me, but I still request her books from the library as soon as they're available.

These days, I feel similarly about Scott Lynch, Ysabeau S. Wilce and Sarah Monette. I must have their books as soon as they're out.

Karen W. said...

As a writer in general? Joss Whedon.

Book writers: Ray Bradbury, Charles de Lint, and you should have seen how excited I was when I met the late Isaac Asimov back in '82! :) My signed copy of I, ROBOT is still one of my most prized possessions.

Angiegirl said...

I think the first author I felt this way about was Lloyd Alexander. I discovered the Chronicles of Prydain in 5th grade and I was such a goner. It was also my first introduction to Welsh and Celtic mythology. We moved around a lot and I spent most of my free time pretty much haunting our local bookstores and libraries waiting for a new Alexander to show up. When I was 20, I finally worked up the courage to write him a letter and the day his reply showed up in my mailbox is still one of the happiest days of my life.

Authors I've discovered more recently that I will always give up food for include Sharon Shinn, John Green, Juliet Marillier, and Markus Zusak.

Karen W. said...

Oh, geez, I spelled my OWN name wrong in my e-mail address. It's:

karenwitkowski AT

Ann Aguirre said...

What wonderful stories!

Angie, it was 4th grade for me and Lloyd, but I am so jealous you got a letter from him!

Anonymous said...

For me, it's Michelle Sagara / Michelle West. I will read anything I can find by her. And CE Murphy runs a very close second!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go with an unoriginal answer here and say J.K. Rowling. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was in my tweens, and before that the whole concept of reading for pleasure was foreign to me. I've since become a bookworm, and HP is the one entire series I own in hardcover.

Nicki said...

A random lady at my library suggested Mercedes Lackey to me and I have loved fantasy ever since!

Nephtis said...

For my sister - Carol Berg. For me, I go through bouts of infatuation with authors, the earliest and most lasting one of which is with Catherine Asaro. Others that inspired fan-girl obsession included Tanith Lee, C.S. Friedman, Storm Constantine, Lois McMaster Bujold (Miles Vorkosigan series only), Laura Resnick, Vera Mazarian, Octavia E. Butler, Carol Berg, and Robert Jordan (there, I said it).

But if you're talking books that were magical for me, it'd have to be books I discovered even before hitting puberty: Tolkien, Jack London, Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, Harry Harrison, superb pulp space opera by Francis Carsac (a French author never translated into English), and Tais of Athens a historical romance by Russian author Ivan Efremov about the courtesan and her adventures and affairs with Ptolemy and Alexander the Great. It might still be my favorite book ever. Tanith Lee's Birth Grave would be a close second if I were to have read it decade or two ago.

Ann Aguirre said...

Oh my goodness, do I love Tanith Lee. Her Flat Earth rocked my world to the extent that all heroes paled compared to Azhrarn for the longest time.

buddyt said...

At the moment my favourites are Iain Banks and Steven Erikson.

orannia said...

I know I'm rather late (it's the time zones :) but I had to pipe up with some of the fantasy authors I love. I agree with Angiegirl about Lloyd Alexander and the Chronicles of Prydain. I just love Celtic mythology. Then I discovered Mercedes Lackey - The Last Herald Mage series will always be one of my favourites.

More recently, there is Janny Wurts. While I love all of her books that one that always makes me cry is To Ride Hell's Chasm. And then just last month I discovered Sarah Monette (which is Kristen and The Book Smugglers fault - thanks guys :)

Oh, Ann, I was introduced to Sharon Shinn a few years ago...I kept meaning to buy her books! *adds them to keeper list*

All the best with the release of Blue Diablo - it sounds amazing!

Kristen - I live far, far away, so you may want to exclude me from the giveaway on the account of postage!

Ann Aguirre said...

I meant to post this yesterday, but happy birthday, Kristen!

Now I am posting the winner:

STARFIRENZ, you need to get in touch with aztleclady1 at gmail dot com with your mailing info.

Kristen said...

Thanks Ann! I had a fantastic birthday. The office got me this heavenly triple chocolate cake and my fiance and I went out for dinner. Plus John got me gorgeous flowers and some of Catherine Asaro's Skolian novels.

So many great authors listed (and so many I still need to read)! Some of the more recent addictive authors for me are Storm Constantine, Catherine Asaro, Linnea Sinclair, Iain M Banks, Elizabeth Bear, Lois McMaster Bujold and Sarah Monette.

M. - Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction. The Wikipedia definition is: Space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities.

Ann Aguirre said...

Mmmm, triple chocolate cake. Glad you had a good birthday!

Kristen said...

It was delicious triple chocolate cake - and very pretty with detailed decorations. I brought back the two leftover pieces and John thought it was too much chocolate. There's no such thing in my book though!

orannia said...

OOPS! Happy birthday Kristen! Am glad to hear that you had a lovely day!

Kristen said...

Thanks Orannia!!