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Author Update: BR Kingsolver

BR Kingsolver is a prolific author of 19 novels published in the speculative fiction genre since 2012. Readers find Kingsolver’s books to be “engrossing with great world building, believable characters who enlist your emotions, and masterful storylines.” BR’s latest release is Soul Harvest (June 2021), the third and final installment in The Rift Chronicles. Find all the author’s books on and Amazon, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and read SWW’s 2020 interview.

What would you like readers to know about The Rift Chronicles?
It’s a science fiction fantasy cross, set about two hundred years in the future. The premise of the book was having technology that can be manipulated by magic.

Between the three books in the series, which was the most challenging to write?
The last one—Soul Harvest. The first book in a series is always the easiest. The premise, the characters, are all new and exciting. By the time I get to the last book, there are a lot of things that have to be dealt with. Plot lines, characters, things that have happened in previous books, and making sure I tie up all the loose ends.

What was the inspiration for the first book, Magitek?
The idea of magic manipulating technology. In most fantasy, you either have technology or magic. Very rarely do the two things interact.

Tell us a little about your main characters.
Danica James is a cop, a detective, who deals with the Magi—the magicians who rule the world—and the Rifters, the monsters who crossed a rift in space-time from other dimensions. She’s from one of the wealthy ruling families, but feels like an outsider because she’s a magitek. Her best friend is her roommate, Kirsten, a witch who owns a shop that sells magical potions, charms, and that sort of thing. Kirsten thinks Dani is too serious, works too much, and has too little love life.

What is the main setting, and why is this the perfect place for your story to unfold?
The primary setting is Baltimore, which is a place I know well after living there for a dozen years. The books take place after a series of nuclear wars and pandemics. Washington was bombed, but Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware, survived as two of the only major port cities on the East Coast. Since the ruling magical families are all about business, trade, and wealth, seaports are central to control of trade and wealth.

How did the books come together?
I started Magitek in the spring of 2020 and published it the end of August. The second book, War Song, was published in December, and Soul Harvest was released in June 2021. So, three books in a year. That’s a little slow for me. I prefer to publish four to five times a year. The editing cycle usually takes about a month. I send a manuscript to my editor, she returns it with corrections and comments, and after I work through that, she takes another swing at it. I’ve worked with the same editor for twenty-three books, so we know each other pretty well.

What did you do to make your world, with its social structure and magic system, believable and logical?
The big thing with world building in science fiction and fantasy is consistency. Reality has rules, and so should a fantasy world. An author can’t violate the rules or just use handwavium to get around problems unless that handwavium fits within the rules. The social structure I used in these books is an oligarchy with a magical class system. As in most social systems, the powerful rule and reap the riches. Everyone else serves them.

You have five complete series so far. What key issues do you focus on to keep readers coming back for more?
Relatable characters and an interesting story. Good writing is third. There are lots of poorly written best sellers, but they tell a story that interests people.

What are the hardest kinds of scenes for you to write?
Sex scenes, so I stopped trying to write them.

Any advice for beginning or discouraged writers?
Some of the best advice I received when I started was BICHOK—Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. There is no substitute for writing. You have to do it to get better at it.

What writing projects are you working on now?
My new project is an urban fantasy novel in a cozy mystery setting. I know there’s a market for that kind of book, but I have to pull it off. I’ve read lots of mysteries, and I think they’re difficult. Cozies are very hard because the tropes are so specific. I’m hoping to catch people who read both urban fantasy and also like cozy mysteries.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I didn’t start writing fiction until I was sixty years old. I always wanted to, but didn’t think I had any talent. Whether I do or don’t, people seem to like my stories. You’ll never know if you can do something until you try.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2020 New Releases for SWW Authors #3

Authors William Fisher, Cornelia Gamlem, Larry Kilham, BR Kingsolver, RJ Mirabal, and Lynne Sturtevant represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with 2020 releases in the genres of historical fiction, business, biography, and several speculative fiction sub-genres. The releases in this post couldn’t fit into this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2021.

At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of interviewed SWW authors for books published in 2020.

William Fisher’s debut novel, Cruel Road (October 2020), is a mid-eighteenth-century historical drama. John Fraser, Scots-Irish gunsmith and militiaman, faces a difficult dilemma when his new and pregnant wife is taken captive by a local tribal chief. This is the story of real-life John and Jane Fraser, among the first settlers of western Pennsylvania. Their lives are challenged by Indian conflicts, French and English fighting over territory, and survival in the Pennsylvania wilderness. The book is a dramatization of true events. Most characters are actual historical characters. John and Jane Fraser are the author’s direct ancestors. Some characters are fictional, and certain actions and descriptions are conjecture.

Visit Bill’s Amazon author page.

They Did What? Unbelievable Tales from the Workplace (September 2020) is Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell’s newest nonfiction release. People have been misbehaving at work since work began. If you’ve ever been curious about workplace misbehavior, this book just might hold some answers. A compilation of stories collected from HR and other business leaders have been woven into a narrative that showcases the challenges HR professionals face daily in dealing with employees. They Did What? is funny, sad, and most definitely unbelievable—except it is all based on actual situations.

Visit Cornelia’s Amazon author page.

In Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (November 2020), Larry Kilham tells the true story of the flight engineer on the first transatlantic flight in 1919 who went on to develop 130 patents for home and military space heaters. Dismissing a high society Long Island life, Jim moved to New Mexico in 1929 to start fresh in the unencumbered West. There he built his oil burner business with sales in the millions of dollars. The twists and turns through his adventure-packed life reveal lessons for everyone including many insights for aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs.

Visit Larry’s Amazon author page.

BR Kingsolver published three novels in 2020 (read the interview for Knights Magica here). The two most recent releases are in the new Rift Chronicles series. In Magitek (book 1, August 2020), the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Danica James’ grandfather wanted to end war. Instead, he broke the world. Through the Rift came demons, vampires, and monsters. Danica is a cop with the Arcane Division. She’s also a magitek. Her job is to clean up her grandfather’s mess. She’s not making much progress.

In book two, War Song (December 2020), Danica James is still a cop with the Arcane Division who works to protect humanity from monsters — whether they be human or creatures from the Rift. It beats sitting in a factory cubical all day, which is where magiteks usually work. Most of humanity hates the magic users who rule the world, but for a hundred years, the Magi have kept the demons, vampires, and other monsters in check. But now one Magi Family has allied itself with the demons in a bid for world domination. It was ugly before, but now it’s getting worse.

Visit the author’s Amazon author page.

RJ Mirabal’s newest release is the young adult fantasy Dragon Train (December 2020). Jaiden, a 15-year-old farm boy, dreams of a more exciting life in a world where people have enslaved dragons as beasts of burden, guard animals, and soldiers. He has never been more than a few miles beyond his farm and the quiet village of Hilltop. Yet Jaiden desires escape from his grouchy and somewhat abusive father. And then the dragon train makes an unscheduled stop in Hilltop. Skye, the huge Blue Dragon pulling the train, may die of exhaustion unless someone can help. Thus, a boy and dragon embark on an epic adventure in the hopes of fulfilling their longing for freedom, excitement, and happiness.

Visit RJ’s website and his book page.

Fairy Trouble (September 2020), by Lynne Sturtevant, is a contemporary Celtic fairy tale. People used to know the truth about fairies and they were afraid of them. When visiting homemaker Ginger Stewart encounters a troop of fairies in the wild, green hills of West Virginia, she learns magic is real. She also learns our ancestors were right. There are reasons to be afraid. Ginger is astounded when a fairy attacks her while she’s calling on an elderly client, Violet. Violet has spent her life hiding the fairies and protecting them from the outside world. But something has changed. The fairies have become angry and aggressive and she has no idea how to pacify them. As the mayhem escalates, Ginger and Violet negotiate a maze of folklore, ancient symbols, and dark family secrets. Will they find a way to restore equilibrium to the fairies before it’s too late?

Visit Lynne’s Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2020 Releases

Connie Flores
Our Fascinating Life: The Totally Accidental Trip 1979
Sue Houser
BR Kingsolver
Knights Magica
Dr. Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy
Manfred Leuthard
Broken Arrow: A Nuke Goes Missing
Shirley Raye Redmond
Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
J.R. Seeger
A Graveyard for Spies
Lynne Sturtevant
Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide and The Collaboration Kit
Patricia Walkow
New Mexico Remembers 9/11

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

An Interview with Author BR Kingsolver

BR Kingsolver combines adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction to craft imaginative worlds (currently eighteen published novels across five series). The author’s latest release is Knights Magica (2020), the fifth book in the Rosie O’Grady’s Paranormal Bar and Grill series. Find all the author’s books on and Amazon, and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

What is your elevator pitch for Knights Magica?
The exciting conclusion of the best-selling five book Rosie O’Grady’s Paranormal Bar and Grill series. Find out why these books have been at the top of Amazon’s Supernatural Thriller lists for more than a year.

Who is your main character, and why will readers connect with her?
The main character is Erin McLane, a former assassin for the Illuminati who discovered the secret order was working for their own dark ends instead of for the good of mankind. It’s a redemption story, and people seem to connect with a hard, capable, but naïve woman trying to find her way in the world. She knows a hundred ways to kill someone, but has never encountered a coin-operated washing machine before. Readers also seem to like all the quirky characters at the bar, from the pink-haired half-elven astrophysicist, to the aeromancer waitress, to the pyromancer chef.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for this series?
I constructed a city in a place where there isn’t one on the Oregon coast, and making sure the details remained consistent throughout all the books in the series was a bit of a challenge. That and describing the Fae village that lies between the Underworld and the city of Westport.

Tell us how the book came together.
I actually bought three pre-made book covers from another author. I didn’t have a story idea, or a character in mind. At the time, I was working on a book for another series, and then I wrote a book for still another series. When those books didn’t sell as well as I hoped, I started working on the first book in the Shadow Hunter series with only a series title and a vague idea of a girl/woman running from something. I really intended the series to be more lighthearted, and there are moments of that and of humor, but parts are much darker than I originally intended.

I wrote the first six chapters—in first person—trying to hide who the protagonist was and what she was running from, but it became increasingly difficult. I could have done it easier in third person, but most urban fantasies currently are written in first. So, I went back and wrote a prologue to give her back story, which turned out to be problematic. A lot of people don’t like prologues. I wrote the book in about six weeks, then turned it over to my editor and she loved it.

I’ve been working with the same editor my entire writing career. She does it all—comments on story, characters, sentence structure, spelling, grammar, the whole works. We usually do three passes with revisions, then I format the final manuscript and publish it. I released Shadow Hunter on April 17, 2019 and had my best month ever. The response was far beyond anything I expected. The book hit #1 in at least five sub-categories on Amazon. When I released the second book, Night Stalker, six weeks later, everything just took off. Dark Dancer is the third book—and the last cover that I originally bought. It released in August of 2019. Three best sellers in a row. I didn’t expect such an incredible response to the books.

Is there a scene in Knights Magica that you’d love to see play out in a movie?
Perhaps the part where Erin is taken underground, into the land of faery. But the scene I think would truly be fun is the costume party New Year’s scene at the bar from Night Stalker. The aeromancer juggling three witches would be incredible to stage.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
This was the first series I started with a story idea designed for a trilogy. That goes back to buying those three book covers. I was pleased with the way that worked out. The second trilogy with the same characters didn’t work out so well, and ended up only being two books.

In the past year you’ve published five books in the Rosie O’Grady’s Paranormal Bar and Grill series. What’s your secret to releasing so many books in such a short amount of time?
Sometimes a story just flows. I wrote the first three books in less than six months. The last two in the series took ten months to write. But I had few distractions with the first three books. I had recently retired and was sitting alone in Baltimore waiting for my house to sell. I really didn’t have much else to do except write.

Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you started your writing career today?
Start a mailing list and engage my readers. Be more active on social media. I’m an introvert, and all that is difficult, but if you don’t have a large publisher spending large sums to promote you, then you have to do it yourself.

What typically comes first for you: a character? A scene? A story idea?
A character. For one of my books, I had a character in mind for years, but then I had a story idea that was right for her, so I wrote it. Scenes are often adaptable to many different characters or stories.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m a pantser. I might have an idea of how I want a story to end, but very rarely do I know how I’m going to get there. That’s part of the excitement of writing.

What writing projects are you working on now?
My current book is called Magitek. It’s set about 200 years in the future after a series of pandemics and wars ended with an act that broke the world and opened a rift into other dimensions. In the aftermath of all that, most of the world is dominated by a magiocracy. (Magitek is currently on pre-order through Amazon, with a release date of August 30.)

Anything else you’d like readers to know?
I have four series of urban fantasy novels published. The ebooks are available from Amazon and print books from almost all online bookstores, such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. Two of my series, Dark Streets and Rosie O’Grady’s Paranormal Bar and Grill, are available as audiobooks, published by Tantor. Audio production of my Chameleon Assassin series is scheduled to start in August 2020. The audio books are widely available almost everywhere on line.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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