Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

Sabitha: Rachel A Rosen is here! One of the founding creators of Night Beats, plus activist, writer, and all around fantastic human being, Rachel is going to tell us about her novel, Cascade, and all things magical and climate change. Rachel, take us away!

Rachel: Cascade is set a generation after climate change returns magic to the world—for better or worse, but mostly worse. A small number of people are able to channel otherwise unpredictable magical energy, and one of them, Ian Mallory, works for the Canadian government, using his precognitive abilities to keep the ruling minority party in power. But when the disaster he predicts is much larger than the usual sordid affair, expense scandal, or minor terrorist incident that he’s hired to avert, it falls to the magic-loathing photojournalist Tobias, land rights activist Jonah, climate scientist Blythe, and Ian’s emoji-spell wielding intern Sujay, to prevent a future cataclysm bigger than politics or ideology. 

Sabitha: What inspired you to write this book?

Rachel: For most of my life, I’ve worked in one way or another for social change—as an activist, educator, union member, and a volunteer for political parties. The majority of that time has been spent on the losing side of one struggle or another. Sometimes you just want to wave a magic wand and make people see reason. But of course, people being people, the realist in you knows that we’d find a way to screw that up too. Cascade, which is about magic colliding with the political process, is about that inherent contradiction.

Sabitha: We have a lot of writers in our community. What’s your writing process?

Rachel: I’m what’s known euphemistically as a discovery writer and more commonly as a pantser, which is to say that I don’t make detailed outlines or attempt to follow commercial story beats. I do have a vague plan for where the story goes—and I generally have the last scenes of each book in my mind. But the story itself comes to me in very distinct images and I write around those.

Sabitha: Which character do you relate to the most and why?

Rachel: They’re all kind of me at some level.

Sabitha: Even the villains?

Rachel: Especially the villains.

That said, in many ways Sujay is my younger self, with her insecurity and nerdy optimism, and Ian, with his cynicism and rage, is my older self. And Eric, alas, is how I often cope in a crisis.

Sabitha:  Did anything change from when you started planning your first draft to the published version? What?

Rachel: My original draft was 20,000 words longer. Much of it was supplementary material—chat logs, reports, even a Wikipedia entry. But I also cut plotlines and scenes and combined characters, in particular two pairs of important secondary characters. And there is one scene at the end that changed quite dramatically.

Sabitha: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

Rachel: Cascade is about climate catastrophe, rising fascism, and widespread apathy in the country currently known as Canada, and it’s entirely possible that my bleak novel is too optimistic. It could not only happen here, but it is happening here. And the wizards aren’t here to save us. If there’s any takeaway, it’s the pressing need for ordinary people to fight for a better world.

Sabitha: Obviously I loved this book and I think everyone else would too. Where can they find it? And you?

Rachel: You can find Cascade in various digital formats here, in paperback on Amazon, or at the BumblePuppy Press. You can connect with me through my website or on Instagram. Or, hey, right here on the Night Beats blog.

Book Giveaway!

One of our fantastic future Night Beats authors, Nicole Northwood, is having an Instagram giveaway! Her novel, a themed candle, and of course book-themed swag!

The Devil You Know Giveaway

It ends Friday, July 22 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. North American only at this time, but international readers are advised to follow Nicole on Instagram in case of future giveaways!

When the demon of Lust, Cam, decides he needs an overhaul in his ‘life after death’, he leaves the Second Circle of Hell to run an indulgent hotel and club in the heart of New York City. As his lover, Lucifer, bides his time to create a bargain to have Cam return, Cam is permitted to explore the human world, but not without being led into temptation. A group of demon hunters disguised as police set out to send Cam back into the fires of Hell by getting him lost in desire for one of their own, but things very quickly take an unexpected turn—Cam’s fallen in love with the Hedonism Hotel’s night manager, Giselle, and he won’t leave Earth so easily.

Within the liminal space of hotels and their surroundings, paranormal beings and the humans who love them travel together on intimate journeys of self discovery while learning to trust one another with the things that make them unique. Each of the seven stories in the Hotel Heat series takes the reader through a steamy romance with new main characters while featuring fan-favorite major and minor characters who have appeared in earlier novels, and will continue to appear in upcoming books.

Content warnings can be found on Nicole Northwood’s website.

Cascade Book Launches & Signing

Rachel A. Rosen hosts the first book signing for her debut novel, Cascade, Friday, July 29th, 2022, 6:00 PM at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto. Masks absolutely required!

“Rachel A. Rosen is some kind of twisted genius. I wish I had even half her moves.” — Peter Watts, author of Blindsight

If day drinking is more your cup of tea, join us for a launch party at the Imperial Pub at 4 pm on Sunday, July 31st! You can even see the legendary location where the first part of Cascade was written.

Book Report Corner

by Zilla N.

Beneath the starlit sea cover

We received an Advance Reader Copy of Beneath the Starlit Sea by Nicole Bea, and we could not have been happier.

I ONCE WAS a little girl with an affinity for fire. Now, many moons later, I am a king’s sorceress from Strandkant with a weakness for staying alive.

As a sorceress living among humans, Illyse’s life is marked by loneliness. She has her three foxes, and she has the energy the land gives her for fire, but she is kept apart from others by prejudice and by the King’s law. Magical and non-magical people are forbidden to be in love.

The King takes her solace from her, throttles her magical connection to the earth with an iron bracelet. Two of her foxes die in the task he sets for her, working alongside his trusted advisor, Garit, to solve magical murders. But Illyse is not left alone. She has her fox, Thierry. And she finds a companion in Garit, who is willing to defy his King for love.

Nicole has a gift for language, for turns of phrase that perfectly capture a mood or a moment. She captures perfect details–a fox playing with a stick, the sweetness of a candy, the heat of a fire. It’s a fairy tale, a fantastical story of love in a world that holds a mirror to our own.

Nicole will capture your heart when you read this, as she always does in her stories. 

Get your copy here.

Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

Into the unknown cover

Sabitha: Today we’re talking with one of the Night Beats crew, the multi-talented Rohan O’Duill! He’s here to tell us about the anthology he contributed to and co-edited, Into the Unknown. Rohan, so good to have you. Let’s start like we always do—tell us about the book!

Rohan: Into the Unknown is a science fiction anthology published by Lower Decks Press, a not-for-profit press set up by my writing group. An anomaly in space attracts the curious and the obsessive. An artificial intelligence expresses very real needs. A civilization lives out its last days on a doomed generation ship. From the recesses of a closet to the dark side of the Moon, from mysterious islands to alien worlds and the furthest reaches of unexplored space, join eleven authors as they explore the mysteries that lie within our technology, our universe, and ourselves. Embark on a science fiction expedition … Into the Unknown.

Sabitha: I fully intend to embark! So how did this book come to be? And what inspired your story, Alinda?

Rohan: Within our writing group, we had suggestions on an anthology theme and voted on those ideas. Exploring the unknown won the vote and I started thinking up ideas for a story. I started working on a very speculative and mind-bending story, but very soon I got bored of it and the writing dried up. I realised that it just wasn’t my style. I write stories for fun, with action and cool characters—I needed to go back to my roots.

Soon the story Alinda was born. It’s set in the Cold Verse that my other works are all written in. Josh and his rag-tag bunch of mercenaries head out on an aging frigate to the asteroid Alinda. Their mission to retrieve a mysterious artefact that had crash landed there hundreds of years earlier, but they soon realise the artefact has other plans. I had recently watched Alien with my son, and I really wanted to recreate that slowly building tension and the impending sense of doom that the movie does so well.

Also, we hope to make a healthy donation for the World Literary Foundation which is our chosen charity for this book.

Sabitha: We have a lot of writers in our community—including you! What’s your writing process?

Rohan: Umh, it might be a bit much to call it a process, lol. I get an idea and then I speed write out the story, almost like I was speaking it. Then I do a couple of run throughs where I tidy it up a bit before I hit up my critique partner for a read through. I always get great feedback from her and I do my big edits after that. Then I send it out to another 3 or 4 betas and I really try and hone down the story with that feedback.

Sabitha: What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?

Rohan: I would love readers to feel like they had a bit of fun. I write to give enjoyment, just like when I tell a story in the pub, I want a big ‘OOOOOHH’ or a belly laugh. That is what keeps me writing.

Sabitha: To give away a secret to our community—Rachel A Rosen already has her advance review copy and she’s really enjoying it! Where can everyone else get their copy? And where can they find you?

Rohan: Pre-order the book here. It comes out Sept 1, 2022, and all the proceeds go to charity to support literacy. You can find me on Twitter or check out my First Page Reads on Tiktok.