I continue my series of posts spotlighting the current ebook bundle of winners and finalists for Canada's premier speculative fiction award, the Aurora Award. Today we have an interview with Chadwick Ginther talking about his novel Thunder Road, the first book in his same titled trilogy.
Thunder Road merges Norse mythology into a modern Canadian landscape in this gritty action-packed fantasy that fans of Gaiman's American Gods will love. Here's the interview with Chadwick.
1. What is your favourite scene in this book and why?
My favourite scene in Thunder Road is the first one I wrote: my protagonist Ted Callan being forcibly tattooed with magic powers by a trio of Norse dwarves. I’d just finished revising my first (and thankfully unpublished) novel, a 135K sword and sorcery book. I knew I wanted to do something a bit different, so I set it on contemporary Earth, and decided to try a single protagonist rather than having six narrators.
I didn’t know who Ted was yet, or why he’d ended up in a dank motor inn room in Winnipeg, or why dwarves were interested in him, but that scene was a lightning bolt to me, I skipped backward a bit to figure out the who and the why, and then I was off to the races. But I always come back to thinking about that first scene. If I’m doing a reading from Thunder Road, it’s usually the one I choose.
3. What music would be the ideal listening soundtrack for readers for this book?
I love getting this question, because while I can’t play an instrument or sing worth a damn, I love music and all my books have a soundtrack. I tend not to outline when I’m drafting, the closest I come is choosing twenty or so songs that feel how I want the book to feel, and place them in an order that I makes sense to me. I’m looking for pacing changes, and abrupt style changes when I do this as well, to hang important scenes upon.
There are two possible soundtracks for Thunder Road, the original playlist I used while I was drafting the book, and since I used song titles as my chapter titles, there is also the chapter title list which appeared in the finished book. They’re pretty close to one another in content, but I do have a slight preference for the original as some of the songs that didn’t make the cut for the chapter title list became important later on in the series and appeared on future playlists.
The Original Playlist: When the Levee Breaks-Led Zeppelin; There She Goes My Beautiful World-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds; Riders on the Storm-The Doors; Things Ain’t What They Used to Be-The Black Keys; Great Expectations-The Gaslight Anthem; Little Miss Fortune-The Now Time Delegation; A Town Called Malice-The Jam; Welcome to My Nightmare-Alice Cooper; Until Morale Improves the Beatings Will Continue-Murder By Death; Gimme Shelter-The Rolling Stones (or The Sisters of Mercy cover version); Too Tough To Die-The Ramones; Misery Loves Company-Mike Ness (with Bruce Springsteen); Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)-David Bowie; Big Mouth Strikes Again-The Smiths; Where Evil Grows-The Poppy Family; Beautiful Future-Primal Scream; This World-The Staple Singers; Fire and Brimstone-Link Wray; If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)-AC/DC; The Red Headed Stranger-Willie Nelson
Chapter Title Playlist: When the Levee Breaks-Led Zeppelin; Riders on the Storm-The Doors; A Town Called Malice-The Jam; Welcome to My Nightmare-Alice Cooper; Gimme Shelter-The Rolling Stones (or The Sisters of Mercy cover version); The Ugly Truth-Matthew Sweet; Misery Loves Company-Mike Ness (with Bruce Springsteen); In the Houses of the Holy-Led Zeppelin; Little Miss Fortune-The Now Time Delegation; Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)-David Bowie; Walk on the Water-Creedence Clearwater Revival; Born to Run-Bruce Springsteen; Your Lucky Day in Hell-The Eels; When Worlds Collide-Powerman 5000; Dirty Old Town-The Pogues; Castles Made of Sand-Jimi Hendrix; I Fought the Law-The Clash; The Payback-James Brown; Where Evil Grows-The Poppy Family; Grandmother Waits for You-The Handsome Family; If You Want Blood (You’ve Got it)-AC/DC; Fire and Brimstone-Link Wray; Don’t Look Back in Anger-Oasis
4. Did you know you were writing a series when you first began this book, or did the idea of a series grow from the telling of this book?
Initially, I anticipated that I would be writing a series with Thunder Road. I wanted to write an ongoing series; I was reading a lot of urban fantasy at the time, and had designs that would’ve meant at least a few three book arcs before I’d said all I wanted to say with the characters and world of Thunder Road.
However, as I was writing the book, a single line near the end of the book changed my mind. This line made the story for the second book arrive almost fully formed, and that also sped up my timeline, so I ended up with a single trilogy, instead of three. I’ve since taken to filling in some of the plot points or characters I’d hoped to introduce with short stories to keep the series alive.
So far, the writing of my next series, starting with Graveyard Mind, forthcoming from ChiZine Publications, is following the open ended series plan. I’m drafting a followup and haven’t had any plan-destroying details thrown in by my characters, so assuming readers enjoy it, I’ll finally get my wish to have an ongoing series.
And a short bio for Chadwick:
Originally from Morden, Manitoba, Chadwick Ginther is the winner of The Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher, the winner of The Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction and thrice nominated for the Prix Aurora Awards for Thunder Road, Tombstone Blues, and Too Far Gone.
His short stories have appeared in many speculative fiction publications, and he co-hosts the Winnipeg arm of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series. A bookseller for over a decade, Chadwick Ginther lives and writes in Winnipeg.
Check out the bundle here for more information and details on each of the included titles. And remember, it's available for a very limited time only, from now until November 30 at midnight.