Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Christopher Swiedler

What kind of book is In The Red? As author Christopher Swiedler relates, this seemingly simple question turned out to have a more complex answer than one might assume. CHRISTOPHER SWIEDLER: Many years ago, an instructor in a writing workshop asked me whether my sci-fi novel In the Red was for middle grade or young […]

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The Big Idea: Eeleen Lee

Travel delays are rarely the raw material for novels, but as Eeleen Lee found out, sometimes a little time — and a new obsession — can lead to inspiration, and eventually a novel, in this case, Liquid Crystal Nightingale. EELEEN LEE: In late 2005 I was stuck in transit at Charles de Gaulle airport, and […]

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The Big Idea: S.A. Jones

It’s not every day that your book is the debut novel for an entire publishing line, but S.A. Jones has that honor with The Fortress, which is the first release from Erewhon Books. It’s a big responsibility, but as you’ll see below, Jones has a big idea to match. S.A. JONES: I began writing The […]

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The Big Idea: TJ Klune

In the writing of The House in the Cerulean Sea, author TJ Klune looked a little history north of our border — and current events right here in the US — to inform his world of magic, and bureaucrats who seemingly trudge through it. TJ KLUNE: When an author gets an idea in their head—one […]

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The Big Idea: Ann VanderMeer

And now for something a little different: A Big Idea about a Web site, not a book: Avatars, Inc. But it is an anthology, and it’s something I think qualifies here, because as editor Ann VanderMeer explains, it’s got quite a big idea behind it. ANN VANDERMEER: The XPRIZE Foundation has been around for over […]

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The Big Idea: Myke Cole

In Sixteenth Watch, author Myke Cole wants to bring your attention to a different sort of military branch — one whose remit is different, but no less vital, than any other, and how that differing mission is vital for his novel and the story he’s telling within. MYKE COLE: When we hear the word “military,” […]

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The Big Idea: Premee Mohamed

For the Big Idea about her novel Beneath the Rising, author Premee Mohamed considers the nature of one of the most important types of relationship we have, yet also the one that is many ways the least understood by those who participate in it. Which type of relationship is this? Read on. PREMEE MOHAMED: The […]

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The Big Idea: Chris Kluwe

There aren’t a lot of people who are both a published science fiction author and also a pro-level athlete — but Chris Kluwe is one of those, and more besides. But in addition to the things he is, there are the things he is not. Both of those matter for his new novel Otaku, how […]

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The Big Idea: K.B. Wagers

Sometimes the world’s not easy, and sometimes the world’s imperfect. But uneasy, imperfect worlds can make for good stories, as K.B. Wagers explains in their Big Idea for A Pale Light in the Black. K.B. WAGERS: Like nearly everyone else, I suspect, I’ve weathered the last few years like a hero in the final fight […]

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The Big Idea: Katie M. Flynn

Author Katie M. Flynn took a journey to bring you her new novel The Companions, a journey where so much of it was simply experiencing the town she called home, and how it has changed over time. KATIE M. FLYNN: First the fear: In grad school at UCLA, my advisor was a German ornithologist with […]

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The Big Idea: J.T. Nicholas

To quote the immortal Freddie Mercury: Who wants to live forever? If you think you do, here’s J.T. Nicholas with a couple thoughts to consider, via his new novel, Re-Coil. J.T. NICHOLAS: What if we lived forever? Most of us learn early on that we have an expiration date. But medical technology keeps getting better […]

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The Big Idea: Jeff Wheeler

You may have heard of the expression “the stink of fear.” For The Killing Fog, author Jeff Wheeler is working with an idea that’s similar — and both bigger, and stranger. JEFF WHEELER: Like many authors, travelling to different places has sparked my imagination in surprising ways. But it was during lunch at a restaurant […]

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The Big Idea: J.R.H. Lawless

The thing with satire is that it has to have a relationship to the world we live in — and if we’re not careful the line between the two becomes blurred. As J.R.H. Lawless notes, in this Big idea for his novel Always Greener. J.R.H. LAWLESS: The Big Idea of this novel is, unsurprisingly, a […]

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The Big Idea: Michael R. Johnston

History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it can inspire writing of the future — as Michael R. Johnston discovered as he started writing the series of which his latest novel, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, is part. MICHAEL R. JOHNSTON: Some years ago, apparently unconvinced that being a full-time high school teacher, husband, and father (with a […]

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The Big Idea: K.S. Villoso

Who is the bad person? What makes the bad person bad? And how different are they, really, from you and the people you love? As K.S. Villoso observes in this Big Idea piece for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, the lines might not be as clearly cut as one might hope. K.S. VILLOSO: Monsters hide in […]

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The Big Idea: Una McCormack

On the occasion of The Last Best Hope, the first novel associated with the Star Trek: Picard television series, author Una McCormack muses on Star Trek, the future it imagines, the present we live in today… and how it all comes together. UNA McCORMACK: At the end of last year, I visited CERN. Yes, that […]

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The Big Idea: Kelly Braffet

One of the cliches of the writing life is the writer in their cold garret, scribbling furiously onto pages. As Kelly Braffet tells us in today’s Big Idea, in her case this cliche is not entirely wrong, and also, it led her on the long and strange journey that resulted in her latest novel, The […]

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The Big Idea: R.W.W. Greene

For his Big Idea on the novel The Light Years, author R.W.W. Greene considers what things make the cut, when civilization itself is on the line. R.W.W. GREENE: Moving always sucks. But especially when it’s unexpected. Even someone with Chrisjen Avasarala-level planning skills, when faced with an eviction or a sudden breakup, is going to […]

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The Big Idea: Valentine Wheeler

In No Parking, author Valentine Wheeler imagines a town undergoing change, and what it means for the people who live there. And it all started… with lunch. VALENTINE WHEELER: I started writing No Parking because of a chicken wrap. No, seriously. A new restaurant came to town, and they make a killer shawarma. I was […]

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The Big Idea: Jim Ottaviani

Sometimes storytellers miss out on telling a story. But as Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks learned with Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier, that just means that some stories, you get to come back to. JIM OTTAVIANI: Astronauts started on the cutting room floor of another book. More than ten years ago I wrote a […]

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