fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsWe have with us today Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy who is also the romance novelist, Ava Gray whose Skin Games hits shelves today. Ann has become one of the more popular fantasy and Sci/Fi writers of recent years. And we are very pleased to have her with us today. She has also graciously agreed to stop by and answer our questions today. So, after reading the interview, be sure to answer questions and let her know which of her books you’d like: Doubleblind, Skin Games, or Blue Diablo.

Stephen Frank: I was looking at your website and I see that you’ve been a former clown. Can you tell us a little about that?

Ann Aguirre: Worst job ever, particularly seeing as I am mildly afraid of clowns. I would look in the mirror and scare myself. I still have residual trauma. But for the details of it, I worked at gas station grand openings, giving out free hot dogs and balloons to the kids. It’s the antithesis of awesome.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsLater this month, we’re having two self-proclaimed fantasy nerds, Lev Grossman and Jim Butcher, visit. So we’re talking a lot about what it takes to be a “fantasy nerd” this month. Do you have any hobbies besides writing Sci/Fi and Fantasy that you think would qualify you as a fantasy nerd?

I don’t think I am a fantasy nerd. I prefer the term ‘gamer geek’, thank you. I’m not really into epic fantasy, unless it takes place in the confines of a video game. Which is why I’m currently stoked to get my copy of Dragon Age.

In Doubleblind, the Ithtorian society has a sort of yin yang feel to it: An ambitious, almost brutal at times, mode of social interaction, juxtaposed with a much softer, zen-like approach to architecture and physical environment, and mannerisms like the wa. Why did you choose to make them this way?

That’s how they are. The Ithtorians have a complex civilization with layers and eons of culture and custom.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Kiss of Teeth were really unnerving. Dare I ask what inspired these creepies?

Nightmares? A few people have commented that the Morgut remind them of the Magog from Andromeda. I did watch that series for a couple of seasons so it’s possible I drew some inspiration unconsciously from them, but there are key differences in physiology and culture.

I hear that Hellfire, the sequel to Blue Diablo will hit the shelves on April 6, 2010. Where are you in that process? Does that date look solid? Any updates there for our urban fantasy fans?

Yes, the book is firmly set for April 6, 2010. I just finished copy edits, which means I have only the galley stage to complete before the book is ready to go. I also just turned in Shady Lady, so the first three books have been written at this time. There are some new characters and big surprises in store for my readers.

And what about Killbox, the next novel in the Sirantha Jax series. Is that still scheduled for October of next year?

There’s some good news about Killbox. It’s been moved up a month for a September 2010 release. So it won’t be quite a full year until the next installment.

In addition to the two series you write as Ann Aguirre, you also write revved up romance novels under the name, Ava Gray, including Skin Game, which hits stores today. Can you tell some of us who may not be familiar with those romance novels, what they’re about and how they compare to your Fantasy and Sci/Fi series?

The differences between my romances and my SF&F are two-fold: first, the primary focus is always the relationship and the beauty of falling in love, and second, the plot will come in to augment the relationship, not the other way around. Let me give you an example. In romantic science fiction, Jax and March are trying to stop a galactic conspiracy and they fall in love along the way. The romance is secondary to the conspiracy. In a futuristic romance, Jax and March fall in love–and while falling in love, they also prevent an interstellar war. It’s a slight but crucial difference.

My Ava Gray books are hot, dark, gritty and violent. I recommend them to readers of romance who are looking for something different, and for spec fic readers who like a strong romantic thread in their fiction. As to what they’re about, in most general terms, it’s about one person with extraordinary powers finding a mate and falling in love.

What other fantasy authors do you have on your bookshelf? What fantasy books and authors do you enjoy reading most?

Fantasy authors on my shelf right now include Lois McMaster Bujold, SL Viehl, Maria V. Snyder, Casey Daniels, Marjorie Liu, Eileen Wilks, Kat Richardson, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Robin McKinley, Lori Devoti, Moira J. Moore, Jacqueline Carey, Mario Acevedo, Anya Bast, Kim Harrison, and there are more upstairs. These are just the names of authors I could see on my office shelves.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsFrom TJ: Do you have in mind how the love triangle from Blue Diablo will end – or are you guessing along with us?

I didn’t know in the beginning. Now I think I do, but I don’t swear it’s right. Things happened in Shady Lady (book 3) that totally blew my mind, but I went with it because it was so obviously right. So just because I think I know the answer right now, it doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind, based on future revelations. This is a big adventure for me, too.

From Ramona: How many Corine Solomon books do you intend to write (I hope, as many as possible)? And, How is it to live in two parallel universes, one of Science Fiction and the other of Urban Fantasy? What do they have in common/different for you as an author?

Unlike Jax, where I am writing 6 books, no more, Corine has no set end date. As long as the publisher and readers want more, I will happily keep writing them. At this time, I’ve sold three books and those are written. I’d obviously love to do more, but demand will dictate whether or not that is possible. I hope readers will be totally enthralled by book three, making it possible for this to become a long-running series.

For me, it’s wonderful to have two such diverse projects to work on. I would get bored if I was married to one genre and one style. My voice is dictated by my characters, and writing both SF and UF allows me to flex my writing muscles. So that’s fantastic.

Corine and Jax are very different characters; they want different things. So there’s not a lot of overlap, I think. Jax lives for the thrill. Corine wants a place to belong. About the only thing they have in common; they are both survivors.

From Shellie: Which genre do you prefer to work in? And which of your characters is your favorite, or have you connected with the most?

I love the genre I’m with. *g* And I love all my characters when I’m writing them.

Thanks for having me!

Readers, what additional questions do you have for Ann? Remember, she’ll be stopping by to answer them!

FanLit thanks Stephen Frank for conducting this interview for us! 



  • Stephen B. Frank

    STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

    View all posts