Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Jackie Morse Kessler

Here’s a question for you: How can a book take both ten years — and only four weeks — to write? The answer lies in Hunger, the latest novel by Jackie Morse Kessler. Turns out there’s more to putting together a novel than placing fingers to keyboard, and it also turns out that when it […]

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The Big Idea: Graham Hancock

It’s probably inaccurate to call the writing of fiction “restful” (says the man currently trying to write a new novel), but can it offer a respite? From Graham Hancock, it just may. Hancock is best known as a non-fiction author of highly controversial historical books, and controversies, while sometimes invigorating, have their downside as well. […]

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The Big Idea: Matthew J. Kirby

When in doubt, simplify. This is a piece of advice that has general application but particularly works for writers, who can get lost in the thickets of their own words and ideas. Just ask Matthew J. Kirby, whose middle-grade novel The Clockwork Three (which just received a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly) has it […]

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The Big Idea: Paul Crilley

The Big Idea series here is predicated on the idea that one big concept can motivate the creation of art, but saying this doesn’t discount the idea that authors can want or desire to accomplish a number of things in their book. For The Invisible Order, Book One: The Rise of the Darklings, author Paul […]

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The Big Idea: Richard Kadrey

Trash: Junk – or a trove? Why not both? In today’s Big Idea, Richard Kadrey digs through the subject of trash and how it applies to his Sandman Slim series of novels, of which the second, Kill the Dead, has just hit the stores. The Sandman Slim books are in fact the best kind of […]

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The Big Idea: J.K. Beck

Author J.K. Beck’s new paranormal Shadow Keepers series (of which When Blood Calls, above, is the first) is about law and order in the world of magic. It’s the kind of set-up that suggests that there’s not much there that could be derived from real life. Right? Well… as Beck explains here, it turns out […]

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The Big Idea: Sam Sykes

Is the perfect protagonist perfect? Because we all love heroes: Chiseled of chin and muscle, right in act and deed, easy to admire, always there when the chips are down and the forces of good have their backs against the wall. But in writing his debut fantasy novel Tome of the Undergates, author Sam Sykes […]

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The Big Idea: Nancy Werlin

Not every choice an author makes for his or her characters seems all that important when the choice is made — a small character note here, a little personality tic there — but as the story unfolds, the “small choice” made earlier can magnify in importance. Nancy Werlin encountered this fact in the writing of […]

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The Big Idea: Elizabeth Scott

The writing process is romanticized, but the fact of the matter is that when ideas drop into a writer’s head, they don’t always choose the most momentous of times to do so — even when the idea is a profound one. You can have an idea good enough to write a book about when you’re […]

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The Big Idea: A.R. Rotruck

Do you remember what you were like when you were a kid? You think you do, of course, but do you really? After all, it’s been a while for most of us. For author A.R. Rotruck, the question had relevance: in creating her new book, Young Wizard’s Handbook, she was aiming to inform and entertain […]

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The Big Idea: Nick Mamatas

Anthologies are over the place (for which writers are grateful, because, hey –someplace to send those short stories), and just as every novel has a genesis, so too does every anthology have a small nugget of inspiration… followed by the slog of actually getting the damn thing out. Nick Mamatas, co-editor of the new Haunted […]

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The Big Idea: Sheri S. Tepper

Sheri Tepper is one of my favorite science fiction authors of the last double decade, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that she’s perfectly willing to ask the inconvenient questions in her books, and in answering those questions, give you a story whose narrative you don’t always expect. I first […]

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The Big Idea: Michele Lang

It’s one thing in fiction to change a little bit of history to fit your story plausibly inside it. But what happens when you change whole, vast chunks of it? On one hand, you’ve got the “alternate history” genre. But on the other hand, you may have a voice whispering in your ear, asking you […]

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The Big Idea: Jennifer Ouellette

I’ll make a confession here: I was the only person in my class at my very-competitive college prep high school who did not take calculus. Which is a fact which bothered the calculus teachers immensely – the would come up to me and warn me I was throwing my life away, or at least my […]

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The Big Idea: Laura Resnick

Saving the world. Paying the rent. Are these mutually incompatible activities? Laura Resnick ponders this very subject as she discusses Unsympathetic Magic, the latest installment of her fantasy series featuring the quirky character Esther Diamond. And while it might seem at first blush that one have to prioritize these desires (after all, if one does […]

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The Big Idea: Harry Connolly

Monsters: you know, those big, hairy and scaly things with the claws and teeth and the overwhelming desire to do nasty bad things to you? But then there’s Harry Connolly. No, he’s not a monster (I mean, as far as we know), but he has definite ideas about monsters, and what they should be – […]

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The Big Idea: Mark Van Name

Fiction can inspire those who read it to do new and even possibly noble things with their lives – but fiction can also be cathartic and transformative for the writer as well. While writing Children No More, author Mark Van Name discovered he wasn’t just trying to write an efficient page-turner, he was working on […]

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The Big Idea: Matthew Hughes

I’ve been a follower of Matthew Hughes’ work since Old Man’s War and one of his novels had the same “birthday,” and that following has been rewarded with a series of works that think deeply on a number of issues, along with enough plot twists and turns to keep things interesting along the way. Template, […]

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The Big Idea: Anthony Huso

Suffering: Sure, it’s a pain in the ass, but does it make for good art? And more to the point, if you make your characters suffer (which is objectively at least more comfortable than having yourself suffer), will their struggles help to perfect their stories? Perhaps it’s not the only way to tell a tale, […]

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