fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDaniel José Older wrote the YA urban fantasy Shadowshaper, co-edited the fantasy anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and has had his short fiction published at He is the author of the new urban fantasy series BONE STREET RUMBA, the latest of which, Midnight Taxi Tango, was released on January 5, 2016. When he’s not writing fantasy, Older composes and plays music, conducts writing workshops, and blogs about his decade of experiences driving an ambulance. Despite this busy schedule, Older took some time to answer some questions for Marion and Jana about social media, music, and his latest book.

One commenter with an address in the USA or Canada will win copies of both Half-Resurrection Blues and Midnight Taxi Tango.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsJana Nyman: Your three inter-related short stories, slightly modified, make up Cycle One of Midnight Taxi Tango. Did you plan on incorporating those stories when you began work on this novel, or did they turn out to be a great way to bring Carlos, Kia, and Reza together into a cohesive storyline?

Daniel José Older: “Anyway: Angie” and “Kia & Gio” happened first, and I knew they were part of a larger narrative but wasn’t sure how it all fit together until I started plotting out MTT, threw Carlos into the mix and tied it into a cohesive whole. “Ginga” was pulled more directly from the book once it was already in motion, although I ended up switching a few things, a POV in one scene, to make it a more solid, stand-alone short.

Marion Deeds: Both Half-Resurrection Blues and Midnight Taxi Tango fairly hum with music. In Midnight Taxi Tango, Kia has her own soundtrack. Music is very important to you, obviously, since you also compose music and have a band. Do you consciously imagine “soundtrack” music for your main characters? And a follow-up, do you write to a soundtrack yourself? If so, what kinds of music do you write to?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDJO: I tend to plot out sequences while I’m on the train or walking around the city, not in front of the computer, so I’ll have earbuds in and be playing a Spotify mix and certain songs will click and sing the melody of a moment or a character. One of Reza’s key tracks was “Spoonman” by Soundgarden — pretty much all her fight scenes were choreographed to that. Which seems random as hell but hey — there it is. I put a playlist together of songs that inspired the Bone Street books:

JN: You’re extremely active on social media — you’ve got your own website, which is to be expected, but you’re also a constant presence on Twitter and Tumblr, and you regularly upload videos to YouTube. When do you have time to write or sleep?? And, slightly more seriously, has making yourself more visible and accessible changed the way you approach writing? Does the potential for instantaneous feedback change how you work on writing or music projects?

DJO: Ha! I enjoy social media, which helps, so it doesn’t feel like work generally, just kind of a part of the process. It can also break the monotony of long writing stretches — I’ve found that once I get my rhythm for the day — have a couple hundred words on the page, I can tweet and write alternately and not lose focus, probably stay in the seat longer in fact. Ultimately, it’s the conversatory nature of social media that makes it work. I love that we can live-tweet books and interact directly with authors/readers.

DJOlder interview photo - Long Hidden anthology cover imageMD: You co-edited Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and have worked on other editing projects. Is there another Long Hidden anthology in the pipeline? What do you like best about the editing process? And, we have to ask, is there another BONE STREEET RUMBA novel in the pipeline?

DJO: There is a follow up to Long Hidden — it’s called Hidden Youth and will be amazing. I’m not editing it but some terrific folks are and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I just finished the first draft of book 3 in the BONE STREET RUMBA series; it’s called Battle Hill Bolero and shit gets really real.

JN and MD: While we were reviewing Midnight Taxi Tango, we both noticed how prominently Medianoche Car Service was featured, and how cool that sounded. We were both wondering how the title of the novel came about, since it seems like it could have easily been Medianoche Taxi Tango. Could you give us a little insight into your creative process and talk about how you came to Midnight Taxi Tango?

DJO: The title of the book actually came before the name of the car company! It’s called that because I love that these car services all over Brooklyn have bilingual names as a regular practice, so it seemed right for Reza and Charo’s. As a book title though, Medianoche Taxi Tango just doesn’t have the same swing as Midnight Taxi Tango, it comes out clunkier on the tongue, even to a native Spanish speaker. Too many syllables I think. The tango element grew naturally with the story — Tango is one of the few musical styles that is marked by knife fights, along with the drunken nights in dive bars and tormented love, so it fits very well with the narrative.A Bone Street Rumba Novel by Daniel José Older

MD: One of Fantasy Literature’s traditions with interviews is to ask a writer to share a favorite or signature beverage with our readers. We’d love to hear yours.

DJO: Ha — I’m not a drinking man so I’m gonna have to go with a simple cup of Bustelo.

Readers, we’d love to know if you have a preferred style of music to listen to while reading — or if you require total silence! One commenter in either the USA or Canada will win a copy of Half-Resurrection Blues AND Midnight Taxi Tango.


  • Jana Nyman

    JANA NYMAN, with us since January 2015, is a freelance copy-editor who has lived all over the United States, but now makes her home in Colorado with her dog and a Wookiee. Jana was exposed to science fiction and fantasy at an early age, watching Star Wars and Star Trek movie marathons with her family and reading works by Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury WAY before she was old enough to understand them; thus began a lifelong fascination with what it means to be human. Jana enjoys reading all kinds of books, but her particular favorites are fairy- and folktales (old and new), fantasy involving dragons or other mythological beasties, contemporary science fiction, and superhero fiction. Some of her favorite authors are James Tiptree, Jr., Madeleine L'Engle, Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, and Seanan McGuire.

  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.