TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Harry: I like to think of myself as quirkless. I made a serious effort some years ago to remove ritual, habit, and all the other crutches some writers have. I don't write in yellow ink on black paper. I don't play a mix tape of Beastie Boys and steam locomotive sound effects. I just try to focus and do the work.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Harry: Yes! Actually, I plot out the beginning and middle of the book and trust that the end will reveal itself in the first draft.
TQ: What inspired you to write the Twenty Palaces series?
Harry: A whole crazy mix of things, but for this answer I'll focus on one: it's standard for modern urban fantasy to have a "magic police squad" in it somewhere--people who decide what's allowed and what isn't--and the protagonist is often a loner who won't be held back by the rules.
Well, I don't much like that trope, and I wanted to recast those loners as villains.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create the world in the Twenty Palaces series?
Harry: It's pretty much our world, except that extradimensional monsters occasionally slip in to feed on us. Because I didn't want the magic or the monsters to be religious or folkloric (mostly), the research has been mostly to make sure the creatures I put in the book are *not* similar to the creatures of myth and legend.
TQ: Please briefly describe the system of magic in the Twenty Palaces world.
Harry: Actually, how the magic works is a mystery in the series, gradually revealed over the books, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail.
I will say that there is summoning magic, which calls and (hopefully) binds extradimensional creatures to our world. Other kinds of magic affect the world (and the people in it) in various direct and subtle ways. Both are cast by making specific marks on solid surfaces, along with other components.
TQ: Describe Circle of Enemies (Twenty Palaces 3) in 140 characters or less.
Harry: People have begun to notice Ray's string of successes for the Twenty Palace Society, and that's a bad thing.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Circle of Enemies?
Harry: The final 40 or so pages.
TQ: In Circle of Enemies, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Harry: The easiest was Wally King, because I understood his relationship to Ray and the other characters. I knew how he felt and what he wanted.
There was no "most difficult" though, because the book is about a circle of people who were once family but have drifted apart, who have strong bonds and deep resentments, who see things as they really are or maybe don't. The whole "circle" was difficult to write, because their relationships to Ray and each other were so complicated.
TQ: Do you and Ray Lilly have anything in common?
Harry: We both like mystery novels. We both hate to have dried sweat on our faces. Aside from that, we're not really alike at all.
TQ: How many books are planned for the Twenty Palaces series?
Harry: Plan? Is this "plan" a custom among you Earth People?
I'm going to keep writing them as long as I feel I can wring a worthwhile story out of them, and as long as readers want to read them.
TQ: What's next?
Harry: The next Twenty Palaces novel is written and the one after that has been started. I also have a book trailer for my newest novel: http://www.harryjconnolly.com/blog/?p=5232
I also took a break from the grimmity grimness of the Twenty Palaces series to write a light urban fantasy with a 65 year old socialite and pacifist in the lead. My agent has that on her to-read pile right now. Beyond that, I have a few ideas I want to explore, and I have been wanting to branch out into other genres for a while. We'll see.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
About the Twenty Palaces Series
Circle of EnemiesTwenty Palaces 3
(Del Rey, August 30, 2011)
Former car thief Ray Lilly is now the expendable grunt of a sorcerer responsible for destroying extradimensional predators summoned to our world by power-hungry magicians. Luckily, Ray has some magic of his own, and so far it’s kept him alive. But when a friend from his former gang calls him back to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, Ray may have to face a threat even he can’t handle. A mysterious spell is killing Ray’s former associates, and they blame him. Worse yet, the spell was cast by Wally King, the sorcerer who first dragged Ray into the brutal world of the Twenty Palace Society. Now Ray will have to choose between the ties of the past and the responsibilities of the present, as he and the Society face not only Wally King but a bizarre new predator.
Game of CagesTwenty Palaces 2
(Del Rey, August 31, 2010)
A SECRET HIGH-STAKES AUCTION
As a wealthy few gather to bid on a predator capable of destroying all life on earth, the sorcerers of the Twenty Palace Society mobilize to stop them. Caught up in the scramble is Ray Lilly, the lowest of the low in the society—an ex–car thief and the expendable assistant of a powerful sorcerer. Ray possesses exactly one spell to his name, along with a strong left hook. But when he arrives in the small town in the North Cascades where the bidding is to take place, the predator has escaped and the society’s most powerful enemies are desperate to recapture it. All Ray has to do is survive until help arrives. But it may already be too late.
Child of FireTwenty Palaces 1
(Del Rey, September 29, 2011)
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.For more information about the Twenty Palaces books including excerpts and more. please visit Harry's Twenty Palaces site: http://www.harryjconnolly.com/blog/?cat=59
Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.
About Harry Connolly
Harry Connolly lives in Seattle with his beloved wife, his beloved son, and his beloved library system. You can find him online at http://www.harryjconnolly.com
What: One commenter will win Mass Market Paperback copies of the 3 Twenty Palaces novels (Child of Fire, Game of Cages, and Circle of Enemies) from The Qwillery.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
Mysteries, Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Mysteries?
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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 Wednesday, September 7, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
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