Welcome to Barren Island Books, the author interview series that’s in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. You know the rules by now: my guests are exiled to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with those books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is T. Frohock, author of new novella In Midnight's Silence (Part I of the Los Nefilim series), out now from Harper Voyager Impulse. When she’s not being banished to a desert island, she can be found at www.tfrohock.com or on Twitter as @T_Frohock. You can discover more about the novella and the author at the end of the interview!
Ah, another fan of mysterious initials! T, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
I am T. Frohock, an author with a predilection for dark fiction in all its forms. My newest series is called Los Nefilim, and the first novella in that series is called In Midnight’s Silence. It’s a historical fantasy set in Barcelona just prior to the Spanish Civil War and it has angels and daimons and nephilim. Oh my.
All of my fears are strange, but the most irrational fear of all has to do with … BASEMENTS. I used to have nightmares about ghosts rising up out of the basement to kill me. To this day, I have to force myself to open the basement door and go downstairs. Usually, I just make my husband go.
Other than basements, I have too many illogical fears to list. I don't shark-punch, because I'm afraid of swimming in the ocean, because there are things living in the water ... and jellyfish. Come to think of it, I hate the ocean and sand, so I'm hoping you're going to put me on a desert island with some grass and trees, you know, like the one in Lord of the Flies, except without the kids and the pig's head.
And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
History inspires a lot of my works. I love taking big picture issues such as world wars, and instead of focusing on the major political issues behind the conflict, I like to narrow my focus on the people, who are just struggling to survive. With my new Los Nefilim series, I bring the focus onto a group of Nefilim, who are caught up in the years just prior to the Spanish Civil War. The angels are beginning a conflict and dragging the Nefilim into their war. As the series progresses, a supernatural civil war will mirror the conflict of the Spanish Civil War.
In Midnight's Silence focuses on one of my favorite characters, Diago Alvarez, and shows what happens when he is finally pushed into taking a side in the war between the angels and daimons. So if someone likes dark fiction with a historical edge to it, In Midnight's Silence is for you.
The best reason to take it into exile is because I tend to layer my stories so that [hopefully] the reader finds something new each time s/he reads it. So instead of having one book, the reader has two or three stories all in one.
Since I've already read it myself, I can confirm that it's well worth picking up a copy! Now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I still love the pictures in that book. The texture and detail draw the eye and fill the imagination. Besides, there is an island.
True, and you'd probably be better off on it than on the Lord of the Flies island :-) Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
Night by Eli Wiesel. I was in a real bad place in my life when I came across Wiesel's Night. The fact that he chose forgiveness and love over rage after the horrors he survived turned him into one of my heroes. Anytime I feel like life is insurmountable, I think of that book and Wiesel. He gave me a whole new perspective on life and how to live fully in spite of my circumstances. His honesty and bravery for telling his story so candidly proves that good really can win over evil.
For your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. The Binewskis and their strange Shakespearean tale can take my mind off all my troubles. I can open that book to any page and pick up the story as if I never stopped reading it. It's everything I love in a story: a demented circus family that creates its own freaks; people corrupted by their own desires; siblings murdering one another; and a girl with a tail!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
Not sure, I got sidetracked into looking up Geek Love on Amazon :-) Fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I picked it up and put it down after about a chapter or two, because I just wasn't in the mood for that kind of story. Then a reviewer that I trust offered up his opinion of the prequel, so I figured I missed something. I went back and reread the novel, and just loved it.
And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Satan goes to Russia and is enormously pleased that no one believes in God, but he gets a tad bent when he finds out that no one believes in Satan either. The story has Jesus and Pontius Pilate; Behemoth as a gun-slinging cat; Satan; an author who is in a mental asylum because evil critics destroyed his career; and the woman who loves the author. She makes a deal with Satan to free the author, who is her lover. It's really cool.
You know, I read that book when I was in my early teens and I really don't think I got it, so maybe it's time for a reread! Anyway, we’ll get those five books packaged up ready for your journey. Since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
For the film: Curse of the Golden Flower. I can watch that movie over and over and over. I don't listen to much music anymore, but if I had to pick one thing, it would be probably be "Here Comes the Rain Again" by The Eurythmics. And for the something else ... a magical, never ending supply of bug spray, because I hate bugs.
Done! Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
Isla de las Munecas, the Island of the Dolls, located between the canals of the Xochimico near Mexico City. I want to go there, because the island is supposed to be haunted. That way, when I'm not reading, I can check out the ghosts.
That’s it, then – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
BIO, BUY LINKS, AND BLURB:
Website • Twitter
T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight's Silence.
T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
Buy In Midnight’s Silence (Los Nefilim: Part I)
Amazon • Apple • Barnes and Noble • HarperCollins • Kobo
The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind …
Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can’t get to him directly, they do the one thing he’s always feared.
They go after Miquel.
Now, in order to save his lover’s life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world’s next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.
A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock’s IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he’ll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.