Thursday, July 18, 2013

Harbinger by Philippa Ballantine: Interview


Welcome!  It’s great to see you again. J    How did you start your writing career?

It was strange really, but I have an ex-boyfriend to thank for this. I’d just gone through a really bad breakup, and everything seemed very bleak…yet at the same time that devastation also gave me an opportunity and the blind bravery to try things I’d always wanted to.

I went back to school to get a library science degree, and at the same time decided to turn back to my silly dream of writing I’d had when I was thirteen. I thought at that stage I had nothing left to lose, and so off I went.

I had sold my first book within a year. It was e-published (back in 2002 when that was cutting edge…guess that makes me a hipster self-publisher), and then my second and third book I got published with an independent house in Canada. From there I got an agent, and sold my first book to New York in 2009. Looking back, I am still amazed, and maybe I should send that guy a thank you card!

Tell us about your current release.

Harbinger is the final novel in the Books of the Order series. It is set in a world where the undead are always trying come through and possess people, and only the Deacons of the Order can fight them. Sorcha and Merrick, two Deacons, have to face their past as the world falls apart around them. Raed, Sorcha’s lover fights an internal battle with the geistlord who resides within him. It’s full of battles, danger, and deep friendships. I’m going to be very sad goodbye to this world, and it is a bit of a wrench for me as a writer. I hope readers are just as attached to the series as I am!

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I’m a discovery writer, which is in between. When I start I know where the story is going to end, but I never know the bits in between. It’s like setting off from New York, knowing you are going to St. Louis, but not knowing the roads you’ll take. For me, it is the best of both worlds, I have the security of that end, but I have the spontaneity of the journey.


At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?


Very early on. My Dad read Tolkien to me as a bedtime story when I was about eight years old. I soon started devouring his genre collection, and since I am a quick reader I found myself at the end of his collection pretty quickly. Really, my only solution was to become a writer!

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?


I have a real hankering to go to St. Petersburg in Russia. There is a lot of art in the Hermitage I really want to see, and I love the idea that it is a blend of Europe and Russian cultures. They have the White Nights in June where there is only a short twilight and no night, which would be something to experience. Russia is one of the places I had in mind while writing Harbinger and the other Books of the Order, so it would be wonderful to visit!


Entice us, what future projects are you considering?


Right now my husband and I are working on the fourth book of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, but am also developing a couple of other ideas. I have a idea for a sweeping story set in a world of gods and unholy monsters where three sisters must fight to keep themselves together and sane.


Do you have a Website or Blog?


I have my own website at but I also help my husband maintain the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences one at


If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?


I would love to change places with the Rossin…but just for a day. The Rossin can take any of three forms, all are feline, but designed for the earth, air and sea. His blood lust would be difficult to keep under control, but it would be wonderful to feel that powerful and free for even just one day. Then I would be sent back to the basement


Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?


Perseverance. I know you hear it all the time, and its one of the hardest things to hold onto, but I honestly believe ‘don’t give up’ got me here. Just being stubborn and bull-headed is how I made my dream a reality. I’ve had plenty of bumps and moments of self-doubt on the way, but through it all I kept writing.

Philippa Ballantine

Release date July 30th

Book Description:

The Deacons of the Order are all that stand between the wicked spirits of the Otherside and the innocent citizens of the Empire. They are sworn to protect humanity, even when they cannot protect themselves…

After the Razing of the Order, Sorcha Faris, one of the most powerful Deacons, is struggling to regain control of the runes she once wielded. The Deacons are needed more desperately than ever. The barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is weakening, and the Emperor has abandoned his throne, seeking to destroy those he feels have betrayed him.

Though she is haunted by the terrible truth of her past, Sorcha must lead the charge against the gathering hordes of geists seeking to cross into the Empire. But to do so, she will need to manipulate powers beyond her understanding—powers that may prove to be her undoing…

About the Author:

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa has always had her head in a book. For this she blames her father who thought Lord of the Rings was suitable bedtime reading for an eight year old. At the age of thirteen she began writing fantasy stories for herself.

She first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science and then a Bachelor of Applied Science in Library and Information Science. So soon enough she found herself working in the magical world of libraries where she stayed for over a decade.

Her first professional sale was in 1997, and since then she has gone on to produce mostly novel length fiction. In 2006 she became New Zealand’s first podcast novelist, and she has voiced and produced Weaver’s Web, Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and Digital Magic as podiobooks. Her podcasts have won both a Parsec Award and a Sir Julius Vogel award.

Philippa is the author of the Books of the Order series with Ace- Geist, Spectyr, Wrayth and Harbinger coming in July 2013.

She is also the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with Tee Morris. Phoenix Rising debuted in May 2011 and The Janus Affair came out in May 2012. Phoenix Rising won the Airship Award for best written steampunk, and was the number eight best Science Fiction book of 2011 according to The Janus Affair was the seventh most popular science fiction book of 2012 on The series continues with Dawn’s Early Light in December 2013.

In addition she is also the author of the Shifted World series with Pyr Books, with the first book Hunter and Fox released in June 2012, and the second Kindred and Wings scheduled for August 2013.

When not writing or podcasting, Philippa loves reading, gardening, and whenever possible traveling. With her husband Tee and her daughter, she is looked after by a mighty clowder of five cats in Manassas, Virginia.


Twitter: philippajane


Next stop
July 18 Spotlight
My Paranormal Book Review

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