Sunday 9 November 2008
This week my guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog is author T. A. Pratt. Author of the Marla Mason series. T. A. Pratt's third book in the series called Dead Reign was just released and the fourth book in the series will be out in April. If you haven't already come across this amazing series then shame on you! ;)

Here are my reviews of the series so far -

Book #1 - Blood Engines
Book #2 - Poison Sleep
Book #3 - Dead Reign

Get to know Marla by reading this short story!

Read the interview and get to know the author and then if you feel like winning a prize enter the contest!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! I have been following your Marla Mason series and love it! To start things off could you tell my readers a little about the series?

T. A. - The series follows the adventures of Marla Mason, chief sorcerer of the East Coast city of Felport, whose job is perhaps best described as a cross between mob boss and superhero. She protects her city from assorted supernatural dangers --including but not limited to dogs from hell, nightmare kings, and the god of death -- and, in exchange, gets to make a nice living off various business interests,
legal and otherwise. She's also in charge of keeping the 99.99% of the citizens who don't believe in magic deceived about the real nature of the world.

Amber - Dead Reign is the third book in the series has just been released. What does Marla get up to this time?

T. A. - The essential premise is "Marla vs. Death." One of Marla's most valuable tools is her dagger of office, a mystical blade passed down from chief sorcerer to chief sorcerer over the years, a weapon capable of cutting through anything from steel to concrete to ghosts. Unbeknownst to Marla, the blade once belonged to the god of Death himself -- it was the Grim Reaper's scythe, Sammael's terrible sword -- and now... Death wants it back. He comes to Felport and rather rudely demands Marla return it. Marla refuses. Death attempts to force her to comply... and things get very messy very fast.

Amber - I know that the fourth book Spell Games is due out in April 2009. How many more Marla books can we expect?

T. A. - At the moment, things are a bit unclear. I've finished and turned in Spell Games, which is the last book on my current contract. I've talked to my editor about the possibility of doing more books (I have firm ideas for at least two more), but the wheels of publishing turn slowly, so I don't know yet whether the series will go forward. I hope so! But nothing is certain.

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the Marla Mason series? Did it just come to you or was it something that took time to put together?

T. A. - Marla herself was inspired by various beloved fictional heroines including Sonja Blue (star of a gritty vampire series by Nancy Collins) to the iron-willed witch Granny Weatherwax (from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series). I first started writing about her in the late '90s, and even published a couple of stories about her, but those early works were much darker and more horrific than the fast, funny (if still occasionally dark) novels you've read. Developing Marla's world and her complex network of friends, allies, enemies, and family has definitely taken time to put together! My essential premise was a world where every conceivable form of magic works, from chaos magic to tea-leaf reading to nature magic to anything else I can think of... but it's all very, very difficult to do correctly. That allows me a free hand to pursue any weird ideas I have, without having a world overrun with magicians.

Amber - Are you anything like Marla or any of the other characters? Are any of your characters based on friends or family?

T. A. - None of them are directly based on friends and family, but certainly everyone I've met goes into the giant compost heap in my mind, the pile of story-stuff from which all fiction grows. As for whether I'm like Marla, well, I like to think I'm just as loyal to my friends, if rather less ruthless with my enemies. I also like to think I have an easier time admitting I'm wrong than Marla does... but perhaps my family would dispute that!

Amber - Are you working on any other projects or are you just sticking with Marla?

T. A. - I'm always working on short stories -- some about Marla, most not -- when time allows, and occasionally still dip back into poetry, which was my first love. I just finished the first draft of a young-adult science fiction novel, basically because the idea demanded to be written, and I've sent it off to some first readers for critique. If they think it works, and I think it works when I re-read it, I'll see about selling that, too!

Amber - Did you always want to be an author? What are some of your most memorable moments as an author so far? What aspects of being a writer aren't fun?

T. A. - I've been writing since I was in third grade, at least -- that's the earliest I still have stories from, anyway, though there could be earlier lost things! I've simply always made up stories, and once I figured out I could write them down, I started doing that. (At various times I've wanted to be a musician, a chef, a teacher, and other things, but I always came back to writing.) There have been so many memorable moments as a writer, most involving meeting OTHER writers at conventions and readings and such. I'd have a hard time singling out any one of them, but sitting on a panel with Michael Chabon was a highlight, and having the opportunity a few years ago to introduce my best friend Dawson (to whom Blood Engines is dedicated) to HIS favorite writer, Neil Gaiman, was a huge happy thing. I didn't just make Dawson's day, I made his YEAR.

Amber - What books do you like reading when you have time? Any favourite authors or series that you must have?

T. A. - How much space do I have? :) Longtime favorites include Charles de Lint, Lisa Tuttle, Jonathan Carroll, Kathe Koja, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and my favorite writer of all time, Theodore Sturgeon. I'm privileged to have many friends who are also talented writers, many of whom are lately publishing stories and books and winning awards -- people like Benjamin Rosenbaum, Jenn Reese, Greg van Eekhout, Sarah Prineas, David Moles, Steph Burgis, Heather Shaw.... I really could go on and on and on, but that list should keep anybody busy reading for a while!

Amber - A lot of authors have music that influences their books. Do you have any songs or bands that you like to listen to while writing or for inspiration?

T. A. - I listened to a lot of Cake and Rilo Kiley while writing most of the Marla books, with some Radiohead and The Mountain Goats and Modest Mouse in the mix, especially for Dead Reign. (My tastes are Modern Rock Eclectic, I guess.)

Amber - If you were stranded on a desert island which 5 things would you hope to have with you?

T. A. - Oh, I dunno -- Flares, water purifier, hunting knife, first aid kit, tent? :)



Amber - Thank you for the great interview! I hope you will be back again ;)


Contest Time!

This week you can win a signed copy of T. A. Pratt's first Marla Mason book - Blood Engines!

To enter the contest post on this thread answering the following -

Marla is the chief sorcerer of the East Coast city of Felport. Which town, city, village or place would you like to rule over?

No answer = no entry!

You can earn a second entry to the contest by posting about this contest somewhere on the web. Make sure you post a link so I can confirm your entry!

The contest will close on Sunday 16th of November at 4pm CET. Entrants are advised to check in to see if they have won. I do not track down winners and will draw a new winner if the prize isn't claimed within 7 days.

Enter away!!!

Labels: , ,

posted by Unknown at Sunday, November 09, 2008 |


At 9 November 2008 at 16:28, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd like to rule Wellington, New Zealand.

Have a lovely day! :-)


At 9 November 2008 at 19:25, Blogger Bridget

I've posted at Win a Book. No need to enter the contest.


At 9 November 2008 at 20:30, Blogger darbyscloset

I would like to be the ruler of Disney Land.....rides and the beach, the best!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com


At 10 November 2008 at 01:38, Blogger Marlene

I want to rule over CrazyVille. I would be the best person to rule over the crazies. It would feel like home!


At 10 November 2008 at 02:02, Anonymous Anonymous

I would love to rule over Toronto, Ontario! Although maybe a smaller city would be less headaches, lol.


At 10 November 2008 at 06:00, Blogger Amber

I would love to rule over Firenze (Florence), Italy.

Thank you for the contest and please enter me.



At 10 November 2008 at 07:03, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd rule over Pittsburgh PA.


At 10 November 2008 at 08:39, Blogger -.-

I'd love to rule over Atlantis, just so I could finally see the place for myself.

~ Popin


At 10 November 2008 at 12:23, Anonymous Anonymous

I would like to rule over Santa's Workshop at the North Pole. I like working under pressure and the cheery atmosphere would be the best!


At 10 November 2008 at 13:43, Blogger Calliope

Hm...I think I'd like to rule over Camelot. If I was a kickass sorceress, where could be better to rule than over Merlin and Morgan Le Fey!


At 10 November 2008 at 13:46, Blogger catslady

Carol took my city so I'm going to say Camelot :)


At 10 November 2008 at 15:03, Blogger Brooke Reviews

Does it have to be a real city? I'd like to live and rule The Hollows, from Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series. :)

T.A. Pratt has the best cover artist. I love them, they are beautiful!


At 10 November 2008 at 15:13, Blogger Jami

i will like to be in charge of Transylvania in Romania.


At 10 November 2008 at 16:30, Blogger caseykelp

If we could pick any city I would have to say OZ. I really don't know why but it seems to get some great visitors. Don't ya think.


At 10 November 2008 at 18:55, Blogger tetewa

I would rule Toledo, Ohio that's where I'm from and hopefully I could get us some more jobs for our city.


At 10 November 2008 at 21:40, Blogger Unknown

I´d like to rule Middle-Earth and then all these wonderful elves would be mine....happy sigh


At 10 November 2008 at 22:33, Blogger Kimberly B.

Santa Cruz, CA. It's already a magical place; all it lacks is my touch to make it perfect!
Great interview---I can't wait to read this series!


At 11 November 2008 at 04:48, Blogger macbeaner

I'd love to rule over HI. Why not. Sun, sand, surf. What wouldn't someone like about ruling over paradise? :D


At 11 November 2008 at 05:50, Blogger Asylumgirl

I would love to rule over St. Augustine, Florida. I love that place, the sights, sounds and even smells can't be beat. Wonderful history.



At 11 November 2008 at 13:13, Blogger Esther.Jade

I would want to rule over Cape Town, South Africa. It's so beautiful and yet has so many problems that I'd love to have the power to fix.


At 11 November 2008 at 15:47, Blogger rb

Disneyland is taken :( Gimme Neverland then!


At 11 November 2008 at 18:20, Blogger Beawhiz

I'd like to rule over Rivendell on Middle Earth. : ) Mmm, elves!


At 12 November 2008 at 03:52, Blogger Winter's Queen

I'd like to rule over Edinburgh, Scotland.


At 12 November 2008 at 08:27, Blogger Ruth Schaller

I would have to say that I would want to rule over Athens Greece. Well, just because! LOL


At 13 November 2008 at 10:14, Anonymous Anonymous

I could rule whichever city I want? Why stop at one city? Why can't I rule the world? :P

I don't think I could come up with one city I would want. I loved Washington DC and San Francisco, so maybe one of those.


At 13 November 2008 at 10:15, Anonymous Anonymous

Oh and you know I've already posted this up at Literary Escapism, right. Although, I think I just mentioned the interview and not necessarily the contest. I'll rectify that with today's post.


At 13 November 2008 at 11:53, Blogger Wendy

Just one city? Pfft, I want the whole world! *g*

Not really.

I'll take Rome, Italy. :)


At 13 November 2008 at 13:38, Blogger Enchanted by Books

I would rule over Newark, NJ so I could transform the town and end all of the violence there.


At 13 November 2008 at 20:59, Anonymous Anonymous

I would love to rule over Tokyo, Japan.

Breia B.


At 13 November 2008 at 22:49, Blogger Carolyn Sharkas

I'm thinking I would like to rule over Honolulu, Hawaii. Flowers, volcanos, waves, palm trees, fresh fruit, what's not to love there?

thanks for sharing

ceashark at aol dot com

carolyn s


At 14 November 2008 at 02:28, Blogger hwm

Ruling a city? Waaay too much work.

(Hope, that entry counts)


At 14 November 2008 at 07:18, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd love to rule over California. I've never been there but if arnold can survive so can I.

I'll be back.



At 14 November 2008 at 09:53, Blogger Patricia Altner

Istanbul, Turkey is my choice. I would love to rule over a place with so much history. A place where so many cultures converged.


At 14 November 2008 at 16:27, Anonymous Anonymous

Forks, Washington
Ha Ha


At 15 November 2008 at 05:25, Blogger Kathy

Sorry it took me so long to enter this one! I read it at the first of the week, had no time to post then and just sort of let it slip by me ---- I would like to rule Hawaii --- mainly cause I'd just like to live there, lol.

I posted the contest on my blog


At 16 November 2008 at 00:21, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd like to rule my hometown in CA. Then I could put some people in their place, my way. ;)



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