Sunday, July 28, 2019

Kali Wallace

Kali Wallace has had a lifelong passion for both science and storytelling, and she earned a PhD in geophysics before becoming an author. Salvation Day is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of two young adult novels, Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees; the children’s fantasy novel City of Islands; and a number of short stories. After spending most of her life in Colorado, she now lives in southern California.

Recently I asked Wallace about what she was reading. Her reply:
As usual, I've got a couple of books going, because I like to blaze through some fast-paced fiction while savoring heftier fiction or nonfiction over a longer period.

This week I've been on a bit of a tear, as I turned in one novel and launched another recently, so I'm giving my own writing brain a rest by absorbing other people's words. I find it extremely comforting and relaxing to dive into other people's worlds when I'm exhausted by thinking about my own. And my go-to for comfort reading is always crime novels from across the Atlantic. I just finished Denise Mina's novel Conviction, a thriller that definitely scratches an itch for my true-crime-loving self, and Flynn Berry's A Double Life, which tweaks those same interests as a fictionalized version of the Lord Lucan case and what happens when privilege, power, and money stand in the way of justice.

Before that, I finished Val McDermind's Broken Ground, one of her seemingly innumerable excellent Scottish crime novels--I never get tired of them, and I hope she never gets tired of writing them. Her sense of place and compassion for damaged people makes every story engaging and interesting.

Up next in fiction I've got something entirely different waiting: Ada Hoffmann's The Outside, a sci fi about AI gods and what happens when you defy them. It's been a while since I've sunk my teeth into some weird, dark sci fi, so I can't wait to get into it.

I've also just started David J. Peterson's The Art of Language Invention. Peterson is the linguist who invented the Dothraki language for the Game of Thrones television show, and he's written this book as a guide for other language nerds or fantasy and sci fi lovers who want to invent their own languages. I don't know anything about linguistics, so jumping in head-first has a steep learning curve for me, but I like the careful, detailed, and thorough way Peterson works through all the different aspects of language.

And in the background of all of this, I've been savoring Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent, which is an absolutely delightful book that's a bit like what would happen if Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley got together to write a book about sea serpents. The characters are achingly charming, the language is gorgeous, and I'm taking it nice and slow because I never want it to end. I could never write a book like this, but I am happen that somebody else did, because it's a joy to read through it with that wonderful sense of awe.
Visit Kali Wallace's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory Trees.

The Page 69 Test: City of Islands.

--Marshal Zeringue