Author Interview with Joshua Palmatier

POSTED ON November 14, 2017 BY Austine IN Interview

Happy Tuesday, my bookish friends! Today is the release of the omnibus edition of his Throne of Amenkor trilogy! You can now get all three books in one! Want to know more? Keep reading!

About Joshua Palmatier

Joshua Palmatier is a dark, epic fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics. His most recent novel is REAPING THE AURORA, the conclusion of the “Ley” series begun with SHATTERING THE LEY and THREADING THE NEEDLE. He is also an editor of short-story anthologies, including SUBMERGED and ALL HAIL OUR ROBOT CONQUERORS!, and the founder of a small press called Zombies Need Brains.


All About Joshua

You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired The Skewed Throne?

The base concept for The Skewed Throne actually came about while I was writing another, as-yet-unpublished novel.  The characters in that novel were wandering through an abandoned museum and of course I had to fill it with cool objects.  One object was this throne that looked warped—the highest part of the seat corresponded to the shortest leg, etc.  That image of a warped throne stuck with me and eventually coupled with the idea of storing the mind/personality of past rulers inside the throne so they could advise the current ruler.  But what if there were so many personalities inside the throne that it had essentially gone insane?  And with that, the Throne of Amenkor series was born.

Introduce us to your main character!

The Throne of Amenkor series is centered around a single character, Varis.  She’s a young girl who, when we first meet her, is barely surviving in the slums of the city of Amenkor.  Orphaned when she was six, she’s survived on her own because she has a unique ability to “see” the true essence of a person, in basic terms.  Those who are dangerous to her appear red, while those who don’t wish her harm are gray.  Even so, she is slowly succumbing to the despair and desperation of the slums, until she runs across Erick, a Seeker sent into the city to punish those that the Mistress who sits on the Throne of Amenkor determines need to be punished.  Erick bonds with Varis and ends up using her to help him find the criminals that he seeks, at the same time training her to be an assassin.  But Varis begins to realize that perhaps not everyone the Mistress is punishing is as evil as Erick assumes.

Walk us through a day in the life of Joshua Palmatier.

First of all, I have a day job teaching mathematics at SUNY Oneonta, a college in upstate New York.  So on a typical day, I go to work, teach classes and hold office hours all morning, and finish that up by early afternoon.  Then I head home, where I switch gears and attempt to get some writing done.  I can only get a few hours of writing in, if I’m lucky, each day, but that’s enough for 3-5 pages.  I don’t teach anything on Fridays, so I get some extra time for writing then.  And of course during the summer and on holiday (such as winter break) I’m not teaching so have more time then.  Most of the novels get written over the course of these breaks.

Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

The publishing world is a tough business.  I think the best advice I can give is something that Kate Elliott told me early on—persistence.  There’s going to be rejection, some of it possibly harsh, but you have to be persistent.  You have to keep sitting down in that chair and writing and submitting, otherwise you won’t get anywhere.  Each time you write, you improve, and eventually you’ll learn the best writing style for you and you’ll push yourself up to a level where someone will see your story or novel and say, “Yes, I want to publish this.”  For me, it took writing four novels before I hit that mark.  The Skewed Throne was that fourth novel, and the previous three novels have never been published.  It takes time and effort and hard work, but if you’re persistent and willing to learn, you’ll eventually make that sale.

I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I just finished Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, which I thought was an excellent novel.  The world he created was interesting and the magic system used in the book was different and exciting.  I’d definitely recommend it.

Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

Because it’s cool.  *grin*  I think Varis is a compelling character, caught in a horrible situation and making the best of it, even if she is forced to make some terrible decisions and even some horrifying mistakes.  Readers will sympathize with her situation and root for her to succeed.  And even though her world is dark and vicious and gritty, I think everyone will sink into the reality of it.  That’s the hardest part of writing fantasy—creating a world separate and different from our own and making the readers believe it is real.  The Throne of Amenkor will submerged readers in a starkly real world and will carry them along with Varis as she struggles to survive in it.


Now for the Fun…

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Creative. Organized. Fun

What is your most embarrassing memory?

My most embarrassing moment was going to a piano recital when I was maybe ten years old, getting up on stage and sitting down at the piano, and then not being able to get past the first few bars of the piece I’d spent the last six months practicing.  It was made worse by the fact that my grandparents were there.  I played those first few bars a couple of times, hitting the same wall in my memory each time, and then after the third time I simply stood up and walked out of the recital hall.

What is your Hogwarts house?

I’d have to say Gryffindor.

Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?

Hmm, assuming they retained their magical powers, I’d have to say Varis.  Out of all of my novels, Varis would be the most vicious and practical of all of my characters.  If you’re only thinking in terms of the “good” characters.  If you allow the evil characters in, then Bloodmark, Varis’ rival in The Skewed Throne, would probably be the winner.

A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?

Initially, I thought Christina Ricci or Winona Ryder could play Varis, but now they’re too old for the character.  But they would have been great at the time The Skewed Throne originally came out.

You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?

It would probably have to be pianist, even though I haven’t played for ages.

Radioactive space rock fell from the sky and turned you into a superhero/villain. Tell us your new name, describe your powers, and what does your costume look like?

GID (for Get-It-Done); the ability to organize and implement the hell out of anything; shorts and a t-shirt, but covered in Post-It notes.

This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?

The Renaissance in Italy.

Coffee or tea?

Green tea, or white tea.

Best ice cream flavor ever?

Giffords’ Campfire S’Mores.

Your theme song/personal anthem?


Favorite quote?

“I would like to have seen Montana.”

– The Hunt for Red October (movie)

What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Don’t just talk about what you’d like to do.  Do it.

Author Interview with Joshua Palmatier
The Throne of Amenkor by Joshua Palmatier
Published on November 14, 2017 by Daw Books
Pages: 848
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Buy the Book!
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

The Throne of Amenkor Trilogy omnibus brings together The Skewed Throne, The Cracked Throne, and The Vacant Throne for the first time.

One young girl holds the fate of a city in her hands. If she fails, it spells her doom--and the end of her world.

Twice in the history of the city of Amenkor, the White Fire had swept over the land. Over a thousand years ago it came from the east, covering the entire city, touching everyone, leaving them unburned--but bringing madness in its wake, a madness that only ended with the death of the ruling Mistress of the city.

Five years ago the Fire came again, and Amenkor has been spiraling into ruin ever since. The city's only hope rests in the hands of a young girl, Varis, who has taught herself the art of survival and has been trained in the ways of the assassin. Venturing deep into the heart of Amenkor, Varis will face her harshest challenges and greatest opportunities. And it is here that she will either find her destiny--or meet her doom.


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