Wednesday, May 27, 2020

6 Books with Sarah Chorn

Sarah Chorn has been a compulsive reader her whole life. At a young age, she found her reading niche in the fantastic genre of Speculative Fiction. She blames her active imagination for the hobbies that threaten to consume her life. She is an SFF editor, author, and reviewer, a semi-pro nature photographer, world traveler, three-time cancer survivor, and mom. In her ideal world, she’d do nothing but drink lots of tea and read from a never-ending pile of speculative fiction books.

Today she shares her Six Books with us.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I’m a bit off my reading game right now because *glares at the entire world* so I’ve turned to Great Courses lectures for the time being. I’m currently listening to a Great Courses class called Maya to Aztec: Ancient Mezoamerica Revealed by Professor Edwin Barnhart. I’m ashamed to admit that I know next to nothing about the Maya, Aztec, or ancient Mezoamerica. This entire lecture series is nothing short of fascinating, and it has given me some absolutely wonderful world building ideas. I think it’s kind of tragic that I haven’t learned more about this portion of world history before now. Better late than never though, right? 

2. What upcoming book you are really excited about?

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this book. Mark Lawrence is one of my favorite authors, and just a really good person in general. His books always floor me, not just with the plots and characters, but I really love his prose. Mark always manages to take a really good idea, and sort of twist it and then turn it on its head to make it uniquely his, and I absolutely love how he manages to fuse unforgiving plots with powerful emotion and atmosphere. So yes, this one is on my “can’t-wait-to-read” list. 

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

Okay, this is a bit out of character for me (who tends to read dark fantasy and nonfiction history almost exclusively), and I think it’s probably just because of everything going on right now (pandemic and earthquakes). I just need a mental vacation. I really, really want to re-read the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs. I’m usually not one for urban fantasy and werewolves and what have you, but this series is great and I will stand by it forever. I love Mercy, and I adore the setting and the writing. It just works for me. It’s a series I can kind of turn off the world and just immerse myself in, and I think that’s exactly what I need. 

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

Pandora’s Star did absolutely nothing for me the first time I read it. I’m not sure why I bounced off of it, but I did. Hard. Then, a few years later, I randomly downloaded the audiobook from my library and started listening to it at work and I fell in love with it. I’m not sure if it was due to the narrator bringing the story to life, or maybe I was just in a different headspace, or a combination of both, but I really did just love that book. Currently, I think it’s one of his best books (though I will always love The Reality Dysfunction the most). Pandora’s star is a really gripping SciFi book, and I think he’s one of the best hard SciFi writers out there. 

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

I found Carol Berg books when I was in high school, and I fell in love with them. Carol Berg has a way with creating tortured characters who really get the holy hell pummeled out of them emotionally, and yet still manage to be amazing. She’s one of the only authors who makes me hurt so good when I read her books. Her characters in Transformation have stuck with me since I first read them all those years ago. They are just fantastically done, and the world is so unique. Carol Berg showed me that emotions in fantasy are not something to shy away from, and she really is one of the main reasons why I love playing in an emotional playground so much when I write. 

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

Of Honey and Wildfires drops on April 28. This book has me really, really nervous (and excited)… but nervous. Of Honey and Wildfires is set in a secondary world largely based on the Wild West. The magic system I’ve crafted was largely based on the oil and coal industry of the late 1800’s. I had to do a lot of research on how oil was used before people knew it could be used for machines and what have you. Like, did you know that people used oil as medicine? They’d straight up drink the stuff. Delicious, right? So I tried to take all this weird information I found out about the oil and coal industry, and how it impacted industry and resource rights and even child labor and what have you, and made a magic system out of it all, which I call “shine.” And yeah, I kind of think shine is really freaking awesome and it was an absolute headache to create and required a ton of research, but I do love the idea of it. I think it qualifies as unique. 

Thank you, Sarah!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? 2020 Hugo Finalist for Best Fan Writer. @princejvstin