Fictitious Podcast with Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Ghost Talkers
Let’s call this episode a prequel, as it’s a rebroadcast that originally appeared on our flagship podcast, Nerd For A Living. We think it’s an excellent example of the kinds of conversations we’ll be bringing you on Fictitious.
This interview is with Hugo-award winning author Mary Robinette-Kowal. We spoke during the release of her novel Ghost Talkers, a historical fantasy set in Europe during World War I. Ghost Talkers was one of our favorite novels of 2016. It’s a terrific book, with graceful prose, an intriguing premise, and well-realized characters.
It follows Ginger, an American medium working with the British army as part of their Spirit Corps. British soldiers heading into combat are specially trained so that, should they die, their departing souls report first to the mediums of the Spirit Corps. This allows them to share instant information about enemy threats with military intelligence.
Ginger is engaged to a British intelligence officer. But while he is away at the front, she discovers the presence of a traitor. Without her fiancé to validate her findings to the top brass, her reports are dismissed. And things get worse as it becomes clear that the Spirit Corps are being directly targeted by the German war effort.
Ghost Talkers, published by Tor Books, is available now, and we highly recommend it.
Mary and Adron talk about how that novel came together, and they also explore the other facets of her career, including her award-winning work as a puppeteer, and her side gig as a voice over artist, reading audio books and short stories for other writers.
More from Mary Robinette Kowal
Mary Robinette Kowal Bio
Hugo-award winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer. Her debut novel Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010) was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, while three of her short fiction works have been nominated for the Hugo Award: “Evil Robot Monkey” in 2009 and “For Want of a Nail” in 2011, which won the Hugo for short story that year. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies, as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean Press.
Kowal is also an award-winning puppeteer. With over twenty years of experience, she has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve.
When she isn’t writing or puppeteering, Kowal brings her speech and theater background to her work as a voice actor. As the voice behind several audio books and short stories, she has recorded fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi.
Mary lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Sometimes she even writes on them.
Mary Robinette Kowal promotional photo © 2012 Rod Searcey.