Blog Tour: #Giveaway #Win GUILE by Constance Cooper ~ Interview

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
2/22/2016Seeing Double In NeverlandInterview
2/23/2016Here's to Happy EndingsReview
2/24/2016Take Me Away To A Great ReadGuest Post
2/25/20165 Girls Book ReviewsReview
2/26/2016Curling Up With A Good BookInterview

Week 2:
2/29/2016A Dream Within A DreamReview
3/1/2016Twinning for BooksGuest Post
3/2/2016Eli to the nthReview
3/3/2016Good Choice Reading - Interview
3/4/2016Wandering Bark BooksReview

Release Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 384
Publisher: Clarion Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


Yonie Watereye lives in the bayou. The water there is full of guile, a power that changes people and objects. Yonie, 16, makes a living investigating objects affected by guile, but in fact it’s her talking cat, LaRue, who has the power to see guile.      

Yonie becomes aware that someone is sending harmful guile-changed objects to certain people, including herself. Her investigation becomes entwined with her hunt for the secrets of her mother’s past and leads her to discover dangers hidden within her own family.      

In the suspenseful adventure that follows, Yonie and her furry sidekick face challenges that could end their adventuring forever.

Find it:

Q&A with Author Constance Cooper

1) Did you have to do any research while writing Guile?

More than you might think! Even though Guile is set in a different world, I used 1880s New Orleans as an anchor time and place so that things would feel consistent and real. That gave me a useful reference for what technology people would have (kerosene lanterns, outhouses, paddlewheelers), what food they would cook (gumbo, rice and beans), what the weather was like (torrential summer rain), what flora and fauna you'd expect (dangling moss, mosquitoes, alligators), and so on.

It was a little dangerous, though, because it's easy to fall down an internet rabbit hole once you start researching things. I'd ask myself, would it make sense for my character to use a pencil in this scene? Did pencils exist yet in the age of steamboats and revolvers? All of a sudden it would be twenty minutes later, and I'd know all sorts of interesting facts about pencils. For instance, guess why pencils are traditionally that gold-yellow color? That's Chinese imperial yellow, which was supposed to look luxurious.

I'd also have my answer: Yes, it would make sense for my character to use a pencil. So long as it didn't have an eraser on the end.

2) What was your favorite read in 2015?

Sorry, but I'm physically unable to name just one. There were continuations of series that I love: The Shepherd's Crown, which is the last, sadly, of the Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett, in which a young witch comes into her own. Darkness on His Bones, the latest vampire mystery from Barbara Hambly. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, the newest adventure of a brilliant twelve-year old girl with a passion for chemistry, who always ends up solving the murder.

I also started some new series that I'm very excited about: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher, in which people live in stupendously tall towers over a deadly planetary surface. It's got airship battles! Sorcery! A society of talking cats! Also The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, which actually came out in 2012 but slipped under my radar until last year. It's about a supernatural British secret agent named Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) who has lost her memory and has to figure out what's going on.

3) What was your favorite scene to write in Guile?

Maybe this'll make me sound heartless, but I loved writing the scene where my main character embarrasses herself horribly in front of a large audience. Also later, when she discovers there was press coverage!

4) What is your next project going to be?

I'm writing a fantasy novel set in Gold Rush San Francisco, involving a young woman who's a beekeeper. She succeeds in getting a live colony of honeybees to San Francisco, and plans to make a living as the first beekeeper in California, but strange things start happening. Her younger brother runs off to the gold fields without even saying goodbye. Her bees are stolen under peculiar circumstances, and later she spots them gathering gold dust in the streets. The city is hit by a “gold fever” too intense to be natural.

There's so much myth and folklore about bees, and I love weaving it together to make magic happen. It's also been fun learning about 1851 San Francisco, which is slightly later than a lot of Gold Rush fiction is set—the city's still a weird place to be, but it's starting to come together and be more functional.

I'm a big fan of Tim Powers's "secret histories," like The Anubis Gates, Last Call, and The Drawing of the Dark. This is my stab at a secret history—the real, magical reason for some of that Gold Rush craziness.

5) At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I've been writing all along, but writing fiction professionally wasn't something I really thought I could do until recent years. I went through three other careers first--journalism, linguistics, and software engineering. (We won't even talk about that brief period of being a professional balloon-twister.) Then I got married and my awesome husband started encouraging me to really invest some time. I still sometimes mumble when I tell people, “I'm a writer.”

6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a high-level plotter, low-level pantser. (Hmm, that sounds vaguely suggestive, so let's quickly move on.) I like to make an outline, and then discover the characters and the details as I go. Although I did write one short story where I started out with: “How about a detective story set in an alien hive society?” I went in blind and came out the other side with an ending that fit perfectly. That's a great feeling, like the universe is on your side!

7) Whose writing most inspires you?

I am in awe of Barbara Hambly. Every sentence she writes is a work of art. She's a demon with the historical research too, and though I'll never match her in that, I like to study the way she uses everyday details to make a setting come alive. Her books also show beautifully how living in a different time and place can affect the way people think. I love her James Asher vampire series, her Benjamin January series, and her Abigail Adams series (written as Barbara Hamilton), as well as all her great fantasy novels that I read growing up.

8) What do you hope readers will take away from Guile?

Mostly I just hope they'll have a good time reading it and come away happy. That said, there's a lot in the book about how sometimes, people really can change for the better. There's also a theme of family—who gets to be considered family, how much blood relationships have to do with that, and how family ties change over time.

9) What TV show is a must for you to watch? (for example, I cannot miss Once Upon a Time)

Lately I've been watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, which follows a private detective in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920s. Miss Fisher is glamorous and sassy and wicked smart, and it's worth watching for her amazing flapper outfits alone.

10) Who is the one author you would love to meet and maybe fangirl over?

Again, it's so tough to pick just one! In addition to folks I've already mentioned, I'd love to meet Robin Hobb, Lois McMaster Bujold, Laurie R. King, and Brandon Sanderson. Their books have brought me so much enjoyment, it would feel wonderful to be able to thank the authors in person.

About Constance:
Constance's fantasy novel Guile will be published March 1, 2016 by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Guile is set in the Bad Bayous, where the water makes strange and unpredictable changes to things (or animals, or people) that soak too long.

Constance's short stories have appeared in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and various other publications. Her work has been podcast, translated into Swedish and Hebrew, and included in “Best Of” anthologies. She also writes sf poetry, and has twice been nominated for the Rhysling Award.

Constance grew up mainly in the San Francisco Bay Area, with one year spent in Surrey, England and a chunk of another spent in Newfoundland, Canada. She studied journalism at UC Santa Cruz, where she hiked to class through redwood forest, explored secret caves, and helped edit the college newspaper. Later she earned an MA in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and stayed on in Philadelphia working on a linguistic research project before getting sucked into the brand-new world of website design.

After Constance met her husband, they moved to Edinburgh, Scotland for two years, where she morphed into a software engineer. Just as she'd acclimated to saying “beeta testing” and “proh-cessor,” she and her husband returned to the Bay Area to work for a natural language search company.

Now Constance lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children, and is enjoying ever-increasing time to write the kind of stories she's always loved. Her published science fiction so far has all been set on alien planets, and often told from alien viewpoints (including reptilian, mammalian, and crustacean analogues.) In writing fantasy, she's attracted to inventive, nonstandard settings, light touches of humor, and just pure adventurous fun. Constance's writing also shows the influence of her love for mysteries.

Connect with Constance here:


3 winners will receive a finished copy of GUILE, US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love fantasy and can't wait to read how this author built this world where cats can talk and water is magic. The cover says so much about the book. Great choice there to match the synopsis.

  2. A talking cat side-kick? Something tells me that's just about the ONLY aspect of this novel that's anything like a Disney movie XD I can definitely see the thrilling potential of this story just from the blurb! What a wonderful interview, too. Thanks for giving us a peek into your mind, Constance Cooper!


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