The one-hour event (2pm-3pm EDT) will have Guy using a new online conversation technology from PollStream called OneRoom. Kay tells Medievalists.net “the Pollstream/OneRoom model offers a number of new wrinkles, including the chance for people dropping in to chat with each other while reading (and even voting on) the questions that come to the guest, and seeing his or her replies. I like this, more of a real ‘gathering’ feel. There will also be polls and videos and images popping up, as they showcase what they can do with events like this. I have no idea what numbers to expect. I compare it to a real world bookstore event – I have read for 20 people, and for hundreds, and it is rarely obvious whey one happens or the other.”
Kay has written over ten books that fall into the historical fiction/fantasy genre – his latest book Under Heaven was inspired by the Tang Dynasty China in the eighth century. He has been touring to promote his book, and is excited to take part in this online gathering.
He says, “Increasingly, authors seem to be doing online interviews and sometimes this sort of real-time discussion with readers. It combines the emergence of online tech with convenience and accessibility. I don’t entirely believe in writers being ‘out there’ endlessly (most of us aren’t interesting enough!) but I like the idea of readers who don’t live in cities I visit on tours or for conferences having at least this this form of interaction.”
Under Heaven has so far proved to be his bestselling hardcover in North America, and has received great reviews from online and print sources. “I’m genuinely pleased,” Kay explains. “I’m too old to say ‘excited’ (that would kill the jaded curmudgeon image) but I’m very happy with the energy and commitment all my publishers have brought to it. Some of the early genre online reviews, with 10/10 or 5/5 ratings, played a role in establishing the book as ‘major’ for their readers, and then the mainstream critics weighed in as strongly from the Washington Post, to the Globe & mail, and the wonderful Nancy Pearl on NPR.”
He is also very excited that Under Heaven will be published in China this July, and is interested to see how Chinese readers react to his work.