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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Interview!: Three authors of CORVIDAE answer questions about their new release

Please welcome three of the authors of the newly released "CORVIDAE" anthology! Mike Allen, Michael M. Rader, and Megan Engelhardt are answering a few questions to celebrate their new release.

Author Name: Michael M. Rader
Website Address: www.michaelmrader.com
Social Media Links:
Twitter: @michaelmrader

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them?
I read a lot about animal behavior, and I’m particularly interested in animals that use tools and exhibit higher intelligence like mirror self-recognition. Naturally, most of these animals are great apes, but there are two fascinating outliers: cephalopods and corvidae. Cephalopods have giant brains, so that’s maybe less surprising. However, the phrase “bird brain” exists for a reason. Birds have physically small brains, and anyone who has spent a lot of time with your average bird is not going to be terribly impressed with their intelligence. Except for corvidae. Ravens can use tools, Eurasian Magpies can recognize themselves in mirrors (the only non-mammal capable of doing that), and crows can recognize faces and communicate descriptions. No other family of bird can do that. They’re not just weirdos in the animal kingdom, they’re weirdos in their own class. I guess I just have a soft spot for that.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others?
Definitely the concept of the corvidae family’s higher intelligence, and also how some members of their family (blue jays) aren’t quite as impressive. 

Do you think you were successful?
I set out to tell a story about intelligence, how it differs from sense, and how just being in the right bird family (or academic setting) doesn’t make you intelligent, practical, sensical or sane. I believe the characters in my story, and the corvidae they study, really highlight that characteristic.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of?
Memory foam for comfort, pages from Discworld novels for entertainment and strips of political manifestos just to be edgy.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing?
 Love? No, that’s far too sappy. I’ll go with bits of broken glass instead.

Author Name: Mike Allen
Social Media Links:

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them?
In this case a little bird approached me, heh, heh, and asked me to consider creating a corvid story that didn't involve crows, ravens or magpies. I was intrigued with the idea of writing about a bluejay, because I have a thing for blue, and the more I read about these birds, the more inspiration I found. I had already written two short stories ("The Hiker's Tale," "Follow the Wounded One," published) and a whole novel (unpublished) that take place in a world where certain special people have spirit animal forms possessed of immense power. I didn't start out intending to set "The Cruelest Team Will Win" in that universe, but the elements just snapped into place unbidden.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others?
In the case of the bluejay, the ability the bird has to smash open acorns with a single peck of its beak.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of?
The scalps of my enemies.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing?
For me, there's nothing shinier than a wickedly good story.

Author Name: Megan Engelhardt
Website Address: megengelhardt.wordpress.com
Social Media Links:
Twitter: @MadMerryMeg

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them?
They're so smart -- almost creepily so.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others?
That intelligence, and their adaptability, as well. Corvids are birds that get the job done, whatever the job happens to be.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of?
Judging from my kitchen junk drawer, my nest would be built of bits of ribbon, slips of paper inscribed with things that I'm supposed to remember, Sharpie pens and small toys I've taken away from my children.

Happy Reading!

~!~ Amanda, Novel Addiction ~!~

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