Wednesday, September 16, 2015

6 Books with Fantasy Author Zen Cho

Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia. She is the author of Crawford Award-winning short story collection Spirits Abroad, and editor of anthology Cyberpunk: Malaysia, both published by Buku Fixi. She has also been nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Pushcart Prize, and honour-listed for the Carl Brandon Society Awards, for her short fiction. Her debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, is the first in a historical fantasy trilogy published by Ace/Roc Books (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK). She lives in London with her partner and practises law in her copious free time.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I'm getting back into the Regency era as I'm working on the second book in my trilogy, which is set in Regency England. So I have just finished Pamela Horn's Flunkeys and Scullions: Life Below Stairs in Georgian England, which is historical nonfiction about servants in Georgian England — really useful and enlightening. I'm also savouring Mrs Hurst Dancing: And Other Scenes from Regency Life, 1812-23, which is a delightful collection of paintings by Diana Sperling, an amateur artist who recorded scenes from the life of her family at their estate in Essex. It appears to have involved a lot of hilarious tumbles off horses.

2. What upcoming book you are really excited about?

I can't wait to read Ann Leckie's Ancillary Mercy , the third in her much-lauded space opera trilogy. I think of the Ancillary books as being the type of books I really like disguised as the type of books I'm usually not interested in at all.

3. Is there a book you're currently itching to re-read?

I'm always rereading old favourites so I never let it get to the point of being itchy. I think I might start on Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time.

4. How about a book you've changed your mind about over time--either positively or negatively?

I used to love Enid Blyton's school stories as a kid, but you grow out of Blyton very quickly.

5. What's one book, which you read as a child or young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

Terry Pratchett's Discworld series taught me that writing was allowed to be funny, smart and serious, all at the same time.

6. And speaking of that, what's *your* latest book, and why is it awesome?

My debut novel Sorcerer to the Crown is coming out in September and it's a historical fantasy set in Regency London. It's about England's first African Sorcerer Royal, Zacharias Wythe, whose many problems are compounded when he meets runaway orphan Prunella Gentleman — a female magical prodigy, of all things! I describe it as "like Georgette Heyer, but with magic and jokes about colonialism".