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Monday, March 11, 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Gillian Philip, author of FIREBRAND

You may have seen me mention in my last book haul video an interview with a certain Gillian Philip, whose first book in the Rebel Angels series, Firebrand, has made its way to the US. And here it is! Would I lie to you? (Hush, you know I love you.)
Make sure to leave some love for Gillian in the comments, and enter to win a copy of Firebrand on the Rafflecopter below!

Hi Gillian! Thanks for stopping by The Book Rat! =D 
Hi, Book Rat - thank you for having me!

The series has already been released in the UK; how is the release experience different for you this time around? Are you less nervous (old-hat!), or just a different kind of nervous?

I’m always nervous! I’m a pessimist so that I can always be pleasantly surprised, or at least not disappointed. And a US release feels quite intimidating... So yeah, terrified! But also excited. The process has been a bit different this time, not least with the making of an actual book trailer - thank you, Tor!

I read in an interview that the 2nd book originally started out as the first, until a minor character by the name of Seth (aka the main character of Firebrand) just took over, and the whole series plan had to change as a result. Do you ever contemplate what the series would have become if Seth had never come along and been so insistent you tell his story instead?
I do think about that, though I don’t think it would ever have happened, because the series just wouldn’t have worked if he’d gone out too soon in the planned Blaze Of Glory. (He did not like that concept.) The story would have been very different, and I suspect it would have ended up as a ‘younger’ book, with Finn and Jed (who don’t appear till Bloodstone) taking the spotlight. I still love them, but there’s no doubt it’s Seth’s story, and he has such an impact on both of them...

Was it disheartening to you to then have to rework everything to accommodate this whole new angle?
No, not even a bit! I liked spending time with all the characters, and I was pleased to have an excuse to go back and hang out with them again - to add twists and develop new scenes. And it was really satisfying to find out how much better the story worked.

Speaking of things I read in interviews, I read that you are a "pantser" rather than a plotter - has this ever gotten you into trouble? Do you ever write yourself into a corner, or wish that you were more of a plotter?
Oh Lordy yes. When I finished Rebel Angels Book 3 (Wolfsbane), I had simply no idea how I was going to get my Sithe out of the mess they’d got themselves into. I spent quite a bit of time banging my head on my desk, rocking back and forth, sobbing quietly... But I’m very lucky in having a good friend who lets me use her cottage on the east coast, a beautiful wild place, for writing. I took all my characters over there for a weekend (it only sleeps six, but they all fit in somehow, though Iolaire had no end of complaints about his feet sticking over the end of the sofa, and Seth is a duvet-hogger). I sat at my desk and stared at the ocean, and they all started to play their parts. And once I got them going, I realised what was going to happen. Although, actually, quite a lot of it might still change...

As for the writing of a contemporary crime novel called The Opposite of Amber, I don’t even want to think about it. There was a moment I’d lost my way so badly, I thought the victim was never going to die, the killer would never get his act together, and I’d never find a way out of the Word file.

Was it ever a struggle to bring 16th century Scotland to life? And along those same lines, was it hard finding a balance of researched, accurate 16th century Scotland and Sithe-inhabited fantasy Scotland?
Given that I’m usually really lazy about research, I was amazed how little of a struggle it was. I suppose that’s because it was just such a fascinating period. Some of it made grim reading - the social conditions, the witch trials - but it was riveting stuff. And separating the two worlds wasn’t a problem. I knew the brothers would spend the middle section of the book in the full-mortal world, and the beginning and the end in their own - and I was fairly clear about the rules and structure of the Sithe dimension. It was diametrically different to our world, and that was half the fun.

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Vanilla. I loooove vanilla.

Physical books or E-books?
Physical books. I’ve got nothing against ebooks, and I sometimes read them, but it isn’t as satisfying an experience.

Fancy dress or Casual dress?
Fancy dress when I get any kind of excuse. I spend the rest of my life being a very boring dresser in black jeans and a t-shirt.

Breakfast or Dinner?
Breakfast. Yum. Eggs and toast and bacon and cheese and...

Fairy tales or Horror stories?
Fairy horror stories. [Misty says: YES.]

Watch the movie before reading the book, or read the book before watching the movie?
The book before the movie, but I always have to catch the movie.

At the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired.

Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father’s fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.

But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt—in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen’s machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters’ fires…

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal–nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award-nominated Bad Faith

Thanks to the folks at TOR, I have a finished copy of Firebrand to giveaway to one lucky reader! Open to residents of US & CAN; ends March 19, 2013 at 12am EST. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
PLEASE DO NOT leave sensitive info or email address in the comments - these will be deleted, and the entries disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview! I loved this book so much.

  2. I love this cover the book sounds like my cup of tea. Great interview :)

  3. I don't usually read this genre but this one captured my interest because the plot sounds so exciting. Thanks for the interview and the give away!

  4. Nice interview and Thank you both for the giveaway! That cover is an attention getter for sure.

  5. Love the cover! It looks like a movie!

  6. The book sounds really interesting. I think I may have to pick this one up! :)

  7. Wow. This book looks great! I'll definitely be reading this one.

  8. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Please

  9. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Please enter me. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

  10. What a great-looking new book. I think we'd both enjoy it very much. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. This book sounds so awesome and I would love to read it!

    -Amber Terry-


  12. I always enjoy branching out into new genres that I normally don't read, and this book sounds like a great reason to do so! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  13. Well, I've got to admit it was the cover that caught my attention -- what a great concept! And then I read the summary and wow I am intrigued, this one is definitely going on my list. The story sounds fascinating. (And I kind of love that it's a couple of guys being hunted as witches; stories aren't often told that way.)

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. I love that book cover. It almost looks like the poster for a movie.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    mestith at gmail dot com

  16. Historical fantasy has been my go to genre for years and this one sounds really intriguing. Looking forward to reading it.

  17. I love historical fantasy but I haven't been reading a lot of it. I think this just might be the book to get me reading it again.

  18. I have been really into Fantasy lately and I would love to read and then add this book to my collection!

  19. Great interview. Books seems really good and its fantasy!!!!


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