7 Episode results for "Helen dale candice"
Episode 75: Robert G. Penner
"Conversations with scientists about the creative process host. This emerson's guest. Jean kennedy a welcome to episode seventy five of the world shapers podcast and the first episode of twenty twenty one. I'm your host. Edward willett This is the podcast right. Talk to other science fiction and fantasy author about their creative process. And i say other because i am myself an author of science fiction and fantasy my latest novel from new york publisher. Daw books is the moon. It world Which you can find everywhere it's book three in my world-shapers series and i'm currently writing a new space opera for dog books called the tangled stars that'll be out next year I also have a recent release of from three really recent releases from my own shadow. Pop press shadow press dot com including one by e c blake ec. Blake is suited him of mine and he was actually a guest host on here way back in the early go you can find it on the website. He sounds a lot like me. Only has a texan accent is put back on the accent. I used to have. When i moved up here from texas. When i was a kid. So you can check that out of your. What is lake also wrote for books he wrote. A trilogy called the masks of agreement which is kind of a young adult fantasy dystopia trilogy and very well received. And he's now put out a new book called blue fire through shadow operas If you want to check that out at shadow press dot com. It's an epic young adult fantasy to other recent releases of from pop. Press are re releases of books that were originally published by osman doran press bundoran unfortunately is gone now so the rights reverted to me and i put out two editions of right. To know and falcons egg these are Far future space opera adventures collectively. They're known as peregrine rising So check those out if you bike Far future space opera outerspace adventure and checkup blue fire. If you'd young adult fantasy adventure the other books. I really want to mention. Of course are the ones connected to this podcast. And the first one was shapers of world's that's an anthology featuring first-year guests of the podcast. It's available now in trade. Paperback book everywhere. It features new. Fiction from sean maguire. Tanya huff david weber l. d. madison junior dj butler. Christopher rocco john c. Right me and shelly. Edina and from john sculley david bridge. Haldeman judy eastern eva fonda the doctor charles e gannon gareth l powell derek kukushkin end for raya dire that shapers of worlds that came out from shadow. Pop press. it's available through whatever bookstore you might want to order through You can find it on amazon. You can find it everywhere. You can also download the book version directly from shadow. Pop press you can also buy the print version from shop press. Although i admit i cannot compete with. The shipping costs that to amazon manages to get away with. It cost me a lot more to ship them out now. There's going that that book was kick started back in march twenty twenty and i'm working towards the kickstarter for a volume two Shapers worlds volume two. Which will feature guests from the second year of this podcast and that is also an amazing list of authors much longer actually twenty four authors currently planning to be part of that they'll be new fiction from kelley armstrong marie brennan. This is an alphabet order. Helen dale candice. Jane dorsey lisa foil. Susan forrest james. Alan gardner matthew hughes heli kennedy. Lisa kester adria lay craft. Ira naming garth. Nix tim pratt. Edward salvio brian. Thomas schmidt jeremy shaw and again me edward well then. They'll also be stories from jeffrey a carver. Barbara hambly nancy. Kress david dein. Sm sterling and kerry von so. That's a really excited about that. That kick we'll go live. I hope in march. And don't worry. I will let you know about it here. On the world shapers podcast. Great backers rewards starting to come in from out of those authors as well. So it's it's going to be very exciting right. I think that will do it for the introduction. It's time to get onto this episode's guest the first guest of twenty twenty one robert g. penner rubber pinter's the author of strange labor when publishers. Weekly's best science fiction books with twenty twenty is also the editor of the online science fiction. Zine big echo and has published more than thirty short stories and a wide range of speculative and literary journals under the pseudonym of williams squirrel is a canadian currently living in the us but will be coming back to rejoin me in canada shortly. So robert r rob welcome to the world shakers. Thank you great to be here. I don't believe we've ever crossed pads in person but we do have a kind of a secondhand connection in that. The publisher of strange labor radio press is based right here in regina saskatchewan. Where i live and i know john kennedy. Who's over there very well. And in fact the anthology that came out of the first year of this podcast shapers of worlds is being distributed through it disco canadian distribution company through the good graces of radiant press. So there's kind of a connection their connection. That's the real deal. So we'll talk a little bit about your canadian roots and how you got interested in when all this science fiction stuff so but where where did you grow up i was. I was born in winnipeg But very shortly after birth off my parents took me and my brother off to africa where they were in development workers with the central committee so on the first six years. Of my life zambia. Then we came back to winnipeg for four five then to swaziland. And then back to winnipeg. But i do identify as a winnipeg an interesting combination of countries. It is so how did you become interested in. While i presume like most of this you started as a reader. When did you first find your interest in reading and writing and was it science fiction that started with to come to that later it was very young. But when when we zambia when when we were small children my dad we weren't fairly rural ambience. That much to do in my dad renaissance the whole of the lord of the rings a couple of times in the whole of the narnia series and some of those classic fantasy Books when we were very small on so we grew up. Both me and my brother are already very engaged. In sort of speculative fiction and and the pleasures of like fantasy And when we got back to winnipeg can had access to the big public library libraries my brother. My older brother started taking on a lot of science fiction libraries and i followed. His path had two older brothers and one of them in particular. Read quite a bit of science fiction so that was the stuff that was always around the house. And so i kind of picked it up. And that's how. I got a really interested in it as well How old were when you came back to winnipeg i. I was six. My brother was was five or six and my brother was eight. I'm so we were still very young but let said because of the environment we grew up in we were. We were sort of hyper literate. Because that's alder there was for entertainment So by by the time. I was ten or eleven. I was reading science fiction fairly regularly an already. I'm thinking about about writing right. As as as play as an extension of reading and usual childish fantasy life writing was just a part of it. When did you write your first sort of complete thing. I mean i. I remember that stay dry was writing. I would write a few pages of something that i never finished anything until a little bit later. So how was that for you. You could say. I still haven't But i think the first time was probably a game. Tanner eleven like pieces Nothing very extensive But by ten or eleven. I was writing little short stories. I think about when. I wrote my first complete when castro glass hyper ship test pilot was called so you could sort of. I thought i thought science fiction characters have weird names hints. Yeah i wish i could find. It said my mom typed it up for me and it's tucked away in a box somewhere. And if i ever find it. It's going on like that just as people so did you. Right into your writing through high school. Was that something that you had to not as much i'd say in high school like trailed off quite a bit in terms of my writing and then when when it went. I mean you're just busy with a lot of things in high. School had just wasn't super high on my agenda. I was my friends and i at that stage. Replaying fairmount like dungeons and dragons and traveler and things like that. So that's a type of writing to when you're preparing games. Yeah but series writing wasn't until i i think i was. I was back in university until i went to university in the in the late. Eighties early nineties. And then i started writing more and more game and some ways it might have been triggered. A game by isolation might might late teens. They spent some time working on a farm in germany and and there was nothing left and again. There's nothing to do but but read so. I read an awful lot. And i think that sort of Reinvigorated my my sort of my emissions To right so probably late eighties early nineties. I started writing again. And it was a combination of both and and i'm a periods of isolation. Doing different kinds of work where where i was thrown upon my own imagination for entertainment. What did you did. You study any writing formerly like to take classes or what you i. When i started university. I did take some. I took a couple of english. Lit courses At the at the university of winnipeg And that influenced me. I'm at red river. Red river community college has a journalism. Pr program creative communications. I did that. I'm in my early adult as well. I'm so that was some fairly formal training. But but i would say the biggest influences in terms of sort of establishing style and voice would have been just just reading just picking up independent books in experimenting on my own on. I did tend to always be fairly experimental writer. I think music the type of music. I was listening to influence that kind of music listening to old punk rock in while especially punk rock but sort of more alan garnish pop music When there was a lot of room for sort of play in experimentation. I'm even something like the talking heads. There's an awful lot going on lyrically. That isn't very typical. And just gets a young writer thinking about what's possible with language if you really push stretch You referenced from like rocket interview with you. I read about too big echo. I was wondering if that kind of music you're listening to. It was also actually for writing. I listen to a lot of i. Guess what you'd call on countries stuff like steve girl and dwight yoakam and that's a lot more sort of standardized style of writing. I think that country country western probably also shaped series combination of punk rock and country in western. Probably shake my style and my voice one of the interesting things about country music is that there's a lot more storytelling in it. I think that in than other forms of music so many so many country songs are actually little stories. One sort or no absolutely and mike. Dad listened to a lot of country well. He grew up playing country music and so there was some country music fairly early on in my life as well wasn't a big fan or anything but there was always you know i mean i learned about wilf carter and hank snow in that kind of thing fairly fairly early on as you say. That's like they write little stories And so. I was aware from quite young of this idea of of the little story as being highly entertaining. So when did you start writing. Little stories for her get the published went at the publication. Things start happening at how very late so We moved down to the states about seven or eight years ago. And i had just started writing a gain. I'd finished up in history and one of the ways to distract oneself from preparing for class. I think was to to write in this fiction. And so it started writing a lot more fiction at the tail end of my my phd but then when we moved down here my partner was working on. And i was on. I was on a visa that required me not to work was not to make any money here while i was on that visa and so there was really nothing to do. But i'm shopping cooking and take your kid and right so i started really writing a lot rate when we first moved down here and started publishing in small Fairly fairly regularly. And compulsively. I'd say so s- i would say that the really picking up the energy that was about seven or eight years ago on. I started really writing and down here. We i was lucky as well. There's a guy called andy. Stewart whose published occasionally for a fantasy science fiction and. He has a new book. Novella coming out with a tour and he happened to be living here and at the same time so we we had similar reading and writing interests and we started working together a lot on in reading each other stuff that also was a big invigoration entirely writing science fiction. Kind of stuff for you. You mentioned literary writing as well in your little brother. Yeah i do both When i was younger it was more it was very much more literary all of this I dunno like sort of male confessional charles bukowski type stuff that a lot of young men might be interested in and i found it ultimately a little boring and started retreating into sort of my my childhood looking for for for more inspiring things. More fun things to write about nine began to realize that speculative fiction on really gives you a lot of freedom to just do whatever you want in terms of your writing on as started reading more revisiting. All texts And trying to experiment and write science-fiction In ways that i hadn't before certainly not. Since i was a child. I'm there's this idea that. I think academic sometimes have that you can just start writing science fiction and it's fantasy and it's very easy and it's i mean it isn't one sense in in that play but in another sense there's quite a steep learning curve on. I started reading an awful lot of short form. Science fiction fantasy venues and more novels and avella's and sort of trying to understand the craft from a speculative perspective and was on the last seven or eight years in that was also andy was again a fairly big influence He'd been declaring on. He was a part of that scene in ways. I wasn't And had a very good i. For what sort of. Contemporary science fiction and speculative fiction was like And so that was all in the last seven or eight years. I'd say started really thinking hard about it That doesn't mean. I stopped reading literary stuff for reading it. That was going on at the same time but was that influence. Indies influence was very significant while we often say in the field that it's conversation Field in conversation with itself. Then you know. It's it's very easy for people i think come into it and haven't read mightly experienced it. Write something that would have been perfectly fresh. Fifty years ago at the field has dealt with that or is now taking that idea in unexpected directions. There's all sorts of things going on that When i when i was young writers and i do quite a bit work with young writers. I will often get stuff that it's pretty clear. They've watched science fiction. Mike starter like that but they haven't actually read it absolutely And so i was shocked. At how in some ways how hard it was to to write something fresh look really fresh original because it's been an awful lot of very clever people being very grateful for a long period of time and it's pretty hard to just walk in and think well i can start writing stuff And impress people so we'll move on to the novel. This was this your first attempt at a novel. Strange labor or something. I i saw published Sir have a political horror thing a little while ago. But i wouldn't. I wouldn't call it a novel. Warren more of an experiment. I would say in terms of just a fairly straightforward narrative novel. This was my first serious attempt. Well pretty good initial attempt that consider so. I guess the first thing to do is to give listeners synopsis of it without giving away anything you don't want to get on. The basic idea is that is that people wake up one morning And and the vast majority of the population has become overwhelmed by a compulsion to to leave the cities in in dig. These massive earthen mazes elaborates and a handful of people that are not sort of Compelled to do so And may have to find a way to live in this new world where everyone has left. The city's in their building working themselves to death to build these. These massive amounts these earth mounds. These people don't talk. They just communicate somehow to themselves almonds. We have isolated. The small is elated. Community of people aren't digging Who have to make sense of this new world and find a way to live meaningfully. I'm sort of in the margins. That's the book on and so the structure of the narrative structure is a young woman. I'm traveling across the united states. What was the united states because she wants to find out what happened to her parents. They joined the diggers. Or whether they're like her. I'm so it's this sort of combination of kind of an ear weird post apocalypse with with a fairly traditional road novel so she meets various people on the ways and and various little communicates communities that are striving to make sense of the world This new world. They find themselves in. That's the book you could say. Structure goes back to o. Say the odyssey traveling to strange. Yeah and it's i mean it's it has a fairly epizotic field in some ways to like odyssey where it's just one thing after another It is yeah. It doesn't actually hearken back to that very old style of storytelling and what was the inspiration. And the general. What is your where your you. I know it's a cliche. Where do your ideas come from. But it's a legitimate question and you know how. How do these things come to you. What sorts of things spark story ideas and this idea in particular That was a dream fragment it was a very small element of originated in a dream fragment and just playing around with it after that it was originally at short story And the short story became the end of of the novel so in a lot of ways the writing was writing back story for this short story that i really liked and couldn't couldn't get published. I don't i guess in terms of where the ideas come from just life what has odd thoughts you write them down Occasionally dream Occasionally it might be something more pointed like a very specific idea like what if idea But but i'm a a mood writer so most of my most of my ideas come from trying to capture certain mood or feeling about the world rather than a very classic. Stein's fiction axiom. Like what like if x them. Why kind of writing. Which i really enjoy and i wish i was better at but It tends to be more certain particular moods or atmospheres that that trigger ideas and narratives rather than sort of a scientific notion strange labor. Do you explain at some point. Or is it more about the mood of the strange world Nobody knows what's going on and nobody finds out. How does that explain. I don't so there's not. I can't even give it away. 'cause i have my own ideas but in a lot of ways. I think the book wasn't wasn't about this interesting thing that happened. But rather this thing has happened And how do people respond. And and how do they make. Meaning out of something. They don't understand so if you were going to boil it down to a single through the philosophical idea it would be that These people are stuck in this incomprehensible universe that they can't make sense of and they need to somehow keep living despite this And so if you do. Provide a solution to that. Problem kind of undercuts the whole purpose which is to try to think about what it's like to live in a universe. You can't quite understand and still live. Well is is it that the question we all face. Yeah it is and i. That's part of why i was reading it. Just trying to think through on sort of personal problems on a in in an aesthetic way. You're you have a phd in history has your knowledge of history. Does it plan to these sorts of things. i mean. there's been many times down through history when people have found themselves Circumstances completely out of their control and not understanding. What's going on. Do drawn some of that knowledge of history and in writing things like this. I do um strange. Labor isn't a particularly historical book or anything like that But one of the things. It's really interesting in history. Like sort of professional archival history is is you tend. You tend to always start finding yourself looking back at the big events sort of through the margins. Because you're doing. Our car will work. Because you're looking at these really subjective experiences of history in some ways you stop king historically right you stop thinking in terms of these big economic and social sweeps on any find yourself often thinking in very personal terms because you get attached particular archival voices or perspectives. And these people never know what's going to happen. I'm they're stuck in the world and they're trying to understand there. You are like two hundred or three hundred or four hundred years later and you know what's happened but you're still sort of obliged to try and enter the world that these people exist and try to understand what it looks like and what it feels like when you don't understand what's happening or what's going to happen that very very lick working historian perspective of like how you enter the world of someone who's dead. Who's living in the far reaches of the past and doesn't know what's happening or just going to happen. How do you understand their experience of the world. And how they make sense of the world and what sort of the raw material the cultural in the social and the economic raw materials through which they live in this world on that you have a sort of a post-facto of that they're stuck in the middle of When you're writing a novel it's actually quite similar. You've got these characters that don't have access to the world in the way you do And i think For me the practice of history really showed me ways to sort of think about it will. What do they have access to. How can they think what are the raw materials of their life. And how did they construct. meaning that So in that sense it sort of sort of a meta sense His was very important to the writing a strange labor And other than that. I mean you have access to interesting facts. I guess you can. You can use the spice and flavor in a novel as well. The way most people might not. But yeah i think philosophically history has been very important on specifically to strange labor but to my my writing in general just for that. This is this way of sticking yourself into the head of someone who doesn't have the same access to the facts as you do but trying to do so was respectfully in thoughtfully as possible. There have been several authors. I've interviewed who have a background in history. So it's interesting and folklore case of china mcguire folklore at plays into it as well So the idea said it started as a short story. And then you had to create a backstory. So what did your planning and outlining process. Look like this. Is your first one would kind of deciding how to do it yet is. It's you play around a little but it was. It was actually a it made it easier to know what the ending was so in a sense. Everything's focused on getting to a certain point. The problem. the biggest problem i faced was that i'd like the back. I like the original short story very much in the characters in the short story very much so i didn't want to mess it up Wanted to keep it sort of true to the original troll tone and in style of the piece but it was just it was just. It was fun. I think it was mostly just fun. You say i. I've got to get to and i'm starting at a An had to get there. There wasn't there wasn't a whole lot of planning. Initially i started writing and it just it just took off from there You mentioned the aussie earlier. And so one of the things that was a little difficult was to keep it like structured and not episodic i think the biggest danger was just turned into sequence of events that That kind of very plotti way of getting aid. Be to see I think that was the big danger on particular for a novice was was trying to have a fairly classic novel listrik structure and get to where i wanted with. Just being like a straight linear procession. Yeah started writing. When i was about halfway done i kind of have to reevaluate the structure and of start. Maybe start think. I started thinking about in terms of of acts while if the final if the theoretical short stories act three. What has to happen glenn and act to. How can i give it structure in meaning so the reader doesn't feel like they're just being dragged. Did you ever write anything. Down as formal as outlying aura. The sops something reservoir feeling your way through taking notes as necessary to know synopsis. Too late but lots of lists lots of flowcharts. I'm a big flow chart fan So so there was. I would say about a third of the way through. And i started writing flow charts making flow charts and just trying to figure out what was happening when and how and once i started working with radiant press. I had to do that a little more seriously. Because they wanted more sort of background than i provided in the original draft which were very serve excess national and they wanted a little more back so them and then you start doing this thing where you're tracking the back stories as well as the the current store so i have to think about miranda's the main characters name rand had to think about her previous life and start working that into the material And that's probably when. I started writing a novel. Proper started struggling with the usual kinds of problems on that novelists struggle with But there was there was definitely. I think flow And catalog carnage getting rearranged on tables in all kinds of desperate efforts to to to to fight through the problem of structure you mentioned the character and other officers other characters had. How did you discover the characters. You need it for this story. And how much time thinking Detailing of them did you do before you started writing. Did they also emerge as the story advanced. The main characters were there in the original on the two main characters with the original short story on and they were just there just started writing the story and i needed these characters and and i came up with him when he started doing the novel on. Then you need to put in a lot more sort of Like unique lot words about them in need a lot more shape and form so i started thinking about the more and sort of pomp dramatic turns as characters. What's this character like and somare. I'm i've mentioned this in a previous interview before. But there were two main characters miranda and dave and my partner really liked maranda. But she didn't care much for dave who was sort of The foil for miranda. And i really liked dave so a good portion of the middle of the book is me trying to convince the call my partner. That dave's dave's okay that they've the alright and that was very productive way to do it. I'm because it really cause anything water the things she doesn't like about dave and you don't want to get rid of them because you think it's part of who dave is but then you also want to start showing eliminating aspects of his his characters so for me. The most satisfying part of the writing. The writing process in terms of character building was building and gave up in such a way that that he was fuller and more understandable than he had been in the beginning I enjoy reading characters. It's one of my my favorite things about writing. I don't know if i'm particularly good at it. I sometimes feel like the tend to look a little the same But i guess that really is a lot of the the pleasure for me in the writing. Is you get these fairly basic characters. And then you start building them up into into three dimensional forums in trying to establish how they're distinct from each other and so well ultimately all our characters are really aspects of ourselves. Because we're the only ones that we really understand if we undertake particularly distressing when the cold in like dave. 'cause that's awful lot of dave. What is your actual writing process quicker. You a certain number of hours a day or you go out and under a tree with quill pen It's shifted a little lonely. I got here. I get my daughter off to school. And do the or whatever and then have a few hours and i would put in writing Once got visa that allowed me to work that change then you find yourself sort of scrambling and scratching for reading time a lot more In the last couple of months. I'm we've all been locked in with the pandemic. It's actually been a lot easier so my daughter now online at school so once i get her set up in the morning i mean i have a couple of hours just just to rate So it's actually been the last six months or so. It's actually been relatively easy right. You just get up you take your have some basic chores and emmaus workin you get everyone fed and then and then you right on for a couple of hours until you get tired Particularly over the christmas holidays. I've just it's been very easy. Get up in the morning. Start writing on the novel. Did you write a quite sequentially started at the beginning kept pressing through until you got to the end. You mentioned that halfway through you had to kind of reevaluate. but you didn't sequentially. Yeah i do. i don't i don't know what it means but i'm the novel i'm working on now again. Just i just start at the beginning and start writing. And i mean obviously at a certain point you gotta go back and reevaluate rethink it me structure and you never know how much of it you're gonna have to destroy But yeah. I ate a b. to see basically how i proceed or of your people who write Working do scenes and stitch them all together later but most people. I think find it easier to just tell the story in that worry about fixing it later. Yeah and i every once in a while. If i'm if i'm feeling stock i might jump ahead. Write and go well okay. I know this. I know this once team has to happen later. I'm going to flesh out at least and maybe that will help me and go back. But in general yeah. It's just full steam ahead. I'm trying to get to the end. Are you a fast writer. Or slow writer. I would kirk office as as fairly fast. I'm kind of depends on an jonah. I find people right fairly quickly. whereas like in literature right in the literary behind literary stuff they seem to write a lot slower I'd say i'm kind of in the middle. I'm probably very fast for literary reiter answer a little slow for Kind of kind of a guy. I remember years ago hearing if someone who had spent like eleven years writing. I don't know half a dozen short stories up again. I can't even fathom that. I could not write that slow of my life depended on it but i'm sure get bored. There's actually a new on netflix. This great movie with with Meryl streep plays a writer Margaret atwood as raider and. She's horrified She's on a boat and she's horrified when she meets a mystery writer who turns books out like two or three a year and spent for years on a single book. that's a different two different approach for sure. So you've mentioned That you were trying you know. Part of your work was making your wife like dave. Did you have any other sort of first readers or beta readers that we showed work to give you feedback. You mentioned your friends there. Andy stewart's incredibly lucky to find him. You're at a small town in western pennsylvania and both our wives reteaching at the university. Here on so we were very lucky to find each other and yeah so he was a beta reader. I'm he gave me an awful lot of feedback and he was very very useful because again because he was he was much more grounded in sort of The culture of speculative fiction. I was And so i tend to be fairly pretentious. Let's call it avant garde experimental and it was very useful to write with him because he would he would help me ground myself. I'm just always reminding. Keep keep reminding myself that you're writing for an audience. You don't have to if you just want to write for yourself. That's fine but i was trying to write for an audience so and it was very good at trying to get me to think through sort of technical issues about well okay. So what's your idea. And how do you want to communicate. It's onto your readers efficiently so that they're not constantly having to try to catch up with you. I'm so he was tremendously important in that lanes of keeping me grounded and not soaring off into the experimental stratosphere or anything like that. Say when you're reading you beat any of the new wave stuff from the sixties and science fiction. Actually i didn't wasn't the back of my mind i was reading I was when i was reading strings. Labor i was reading Mostly modern literary texts postwar europe. Like right post war era. I'm not kind of influenced. And since then i've started going back to the to the new wave stuff. I was a little leery what i was doing it. I didn't wanna read anything that was would be too closely connected to in style. I'm so one of the things that would always happened. People would say oh you have to read. The road provide legal. You're writing something like this exactly. I was terrified of reading. Go near until i was finished. And now i feel i feel free that there's all these books that people told me. I should read that now. I can go back to. I mean you. Just don't wanna read a book and then someone's done it way better than you Already a hooped. While i was a kid and when the new wave was happening and i was reading science fiction and it did not click with me at the age of say ten or twelve at. I've never gone back to see what i think. Those stories now. The only one. I really remember. I don't remember the story. I just remember the weird typography. It was a story that was printed in a spiral on the page that you read from the outside and following the words around in a spiral to whatever happened in the middle. I don't remember the story that image at the spiralling on the page. That was always the danger for me was ending up in the spiral so once you had a draft. What did revision process like mike. You've gotten some feedback did you were you working on language. Or you've mentioned structure. What were some of the things you had to continue polishing in. I guess this ties end as well to the editorial process because you mentioned that some of that feedback came from radiant. So maybe before we talk about that. How did you find radio at press. A small press but said excellent soft but it is. it's very small. press a small press. Actually i heard about through a friend. stephen whitworth who who runs the prairie dog in regina. That's how i heard about them. Before sent to condemn. I'd sent it to a whole bunch of agents all over the united states and one of the agents fairly big name got back to me and he said we'll send me more curious and so it did and he was disappointed with the rest of the book and so i talked to him a little bit. Data wanted to find a why why he was disappointed in any felt like in the middle. It got sort of trait in typical of post-apocalyptic fiction so whereas in the beginning he found it very fresh and original. Engaging it's sort of just became. I blew it all up. I just destroyed the middle of the book And started writing a so. That was the first sort of major intervention. Was just getting rid of the middle of the book. Not quite entirely but i would say like twenty percent of the book i just i just delete it so i had this big hole in the middle that i have to fill up And so the middle part of the rewrite was all that was trying to restructure the middle of the book and ways that were satisfying and not stereotypical or cliche. And then once. I have that done. I sent it to radiant presque stevenson all. You should try these people And and deborah prescott back to me and she was interested and then we started working and that was sort of the next stage of development was. She's a very good reader. Are mentioned some other good readers have a look at it and a lot of their critique was what i'd mentioned earlier was that the characters needed more back story because i was just being to existential didn't want i didn't want the region have any access to the world sort of before this happened except in the most superficial ways and read is reluctant. You know what you need to build your characters up a little more. You have to give the raiders at least something to hang onto And so a lot of the should the next stage of development was really really quite pleasant work of just trying to build up these characters. Little more through. Flashback stuff This little bits here and there just to try and give them give them depth so those who gave the major revision stages other than copy editing. Was this agent. Got back to me. He said the metal was disappointed. Disappointing i blew it up and restructured it that i got hold arabian press. And they were interested in conversations with deborah. She told me what her concerns were in particular characterization and I guess as far as they're concerned I saw them in that in that draft and then after that it was just a tweaking and fine tuning the radio. The choose some pretty good the burbs kim stanley robinson for example. That's a pretty big name to have attached to your your first novel as a favorable comment it is. It's actually still kind of confusing that you read the book and responded In that way. A lot of those blurbs got because i was writing that as running that science fiction zine big echo i interviewed a lot of these people and so capital And then i spent it's To get the blurbs So that wasn't my plan. The interviews are zine. But i realized oh. I've talked to all these people that are pretty clever known and and kind maybe they'll help me out and they did generally people in the field. Are that so pay. It forward idea. That line talked about something that i think a lot of people on the field or very very good about and then it went into come out. It was an october october. So as What was your reaction when you saw the finished book and then the response that you pet to positive goods. I'm it's exciting Book and it is a weird time for it to come out so we had been expecting to. Do you know like readings and that sort of thing that can't happen. I'm very easily. So i was stuck in the states as well which didn't make things easier But it was exciting. It would have been fun to do a little more of the typical kind of readings bookstores. And that sort of thing but it. It's just. I mean it's just aren't to have a book right like you do all this writing your whole life and you do all this reading and then all of a sudden your writings in an actual bucking an actual thing and a little. It's a little disconcerting to see it there on an exciting at that point. It's out of your control ended end going into the heads of readers who are getting all sorts of things out of it that you might not even have no you put in there absolutely. I'm so we got one really good review on and that was from publishers weekly's and that's a pretty good one and the reader was fantastic So this this anonymous reader gave it a great regained and they saw a number of things that i hadn't really been paying attention to so for instance in terms of these people digging. I'm versus people digging. There's a suggestion in the book that it has something to do with sort of Nearest to picardy right that there's something near logically different about the people that aren't digging than the people that are digging and so what that reader picked out was that there's a theme here but what it means to be neuro. Typical your typical. Or what have you like. What do these distinctions mean. In terms of what it means to be human that cetera. And i hadn't intended a particularly sensitive or thoughtful. Take a boat that in the book yet this reader picked it out and showed it showed this thing about my book that i never thought was particularly valuable as something that can be valuable to some readers so that was very exciting. Very inspiring actually to see something in your book. That's positive that you hansard of deliberately thought through or put their but the sensitive reader can pick it out and show it to you and say look what you did here. This is good. There's a there's a story that before. On the podcast came out of isaac asimov's opus one hundred which was the first of his autobiographical books. He talked about going to columbia university. I think it was a class where professor was teaching his famous story nightfall and he said at the back and listen to that afterwards. He went up to the professionally. Said said well that was very interesting. So that magic asimov. I wrote that story. And i did put anything stuff in there and the professor said well. I'm very happy to meet you but just because you wrote the story. What makes you think what's in it at interesting god and i think there is certainly we all put stuff in that. We don't know necessarily where it comes from. And then readers find things there that we didn't necessarily think we were putting in specifically and i think it's because i always like to say that writing is actually feels like a loner activity. Something do yourself but a truly collaborative it is. I think that we're instrumentally important than it's collaborative. All the way down so from the very beginning when i start writing project in it's yours and it's your own until you're your beta readers and then if you start publishing you're always having conversations with the publishers and with editors and readers get it there's a whole nother conversation and you really have very little control over the types of meanings that people are going to extract from a text and it could be a little scary when you start thinking about it about how little control you have of the language wants. It's left your once. it's left your grasp. Sometimes they can completely misconstrued what you had in mind but you don't have any either so that's the danger i wanted to go back to the zine which you'd mentioned it i'd mentioned big echo Where did that come from. And you'd mentioned that you had know number writers that you'd interviewed and i was looking at it online. And in some recognizable names had provided the short stories for it. So how did that come about. Boredom things It came from morton mortems. We moved down here. And i had some time on my hands and i had a friend Who does graphics and web pages and also love science fiction. And he was actually. He is in regina to and all of those people. That's right almost all So i said well. Why don't we put together a zine and he said okay and so then we did on and the issue. When you're putting together like that is you don't have money and you can't pay so it's really hard to get on the writers your necessarily interested in so the first year so was a lot of hustle of cold calling writers liked and asking if they'd been intra be interested in contributing something And one of the. I think in the first summer one of the first people i contacted was rudy rucker. Because he's got a cyber cyberpunk fan. I'm he's got. He ran a zine called blurb which was quite similar in and i contacted him and asked if he had anything lying around. we could use In big echo. And he was very excited about it and as you say about heinlein paying it forward. He's a very very generous kind of an artist on and so he gave us a story. That was the biggest name we'd had up to them And then he also mentioned in our conversation that the next time he had a book out if if we wanted we could interview them. And then that just got me thinking of interviews and because it was rocker i could contact. People knew who rudy rucker was and say. Hey really record did this with us. And now we're doing interviews and wondering if you'd be interested so bruce sterling and corey doctoral were both amongst their first interviews. And i'm pretty sure that's a lot of it. I mean both also very generous guys who have a lot of interviews awhile ago. Yeah he's never you never run out of things to say and he's always happy to speak to a lot of people and so both of those guys came on very early on and helped us out and made a big difference once you get a few of those big names in. It's a lot easier to attract other writers on kim stanley. Robinson was actually. He got in touch with him through andy on who mentioned a couple of times already. Andy knew him from california. I think the. I think you might have been taking a class with with stan. I'm not sure so again. It's a lot of it just has to do with like a little bit of hassle right in the beginning and then and then social networks kicking in In in good ways but the field is bigger than it was say. Back in the golden age of but It's still a fairly small group of people that know everybody so everybody knows each other. So i thought i saw on the website that you had the final issue big echo. So is it. Is it done now. We're wrapping up on. I'm just tired It's not a particularly outgoing or or extroverted person on so the the hustle. Part of it is a little difficult for me and not super comfortable as editor. I i don't like a tweaking people's voices or anything like that so it was hard work in that sense. It's also fairly niche. So we're looking for a very particular type of writing and there's only a subset of a subset of science fiction so there's not that much out there it's not. It's not particularly popular science fiction. We were interested in so it was just just kind of running out of gas. It would have been a lot a lot of work to keep to keep up the standard we set and tired so we wrapped it up. We're gonna put out an anthology shortly on probably in the next couple of months. Echoing theology for minimal cost just to try generate a bit of revenue. Just keep the website up just to keep costs so that will probably be the last thing we do with echo. But it's been it's been awfully fun has been a heck of a ride and again i a comeback to the game. What you mentioned about the generosity of people in the field It's really. it's really quite amazing that you can just cold. Call someone say. Hey and putting together zine would you be interested in depending on where they are in their career. They might help you out and generally do. But we're getting close to the end of the time. So i need to ask you the big philosophical questions which is ultimately three of them. Why do you. Why do you think any of us right. And why do we write stories of the fantastic in particular as opposed to limiting ourselves to stories of the here and now so those are the three questions. Why do you write any of us right. Why right science fiction status for me. It's i mean the to the to serve key aspects of inner. Our pleasure therapy. I mean it really ever since i was small. I've i've had a hyperactive assertive. Creative life. I love the play of imagination And it's a way to just keep doing it That you can. You can always be experimenting in playing with language and ideas on with writing It's just fun. it's just flat out fun. I know that's not true for everyone. I know for a lot of people. It's horrifying the idea of writing. But for a i was always an introverted kid. I was always hyper creative. It was just a way a way of of entertaining myself. And that whole thing about if you can't if you can't find a book You enjoy then you need to write your own. I think that's that's true. It's just yeah it's just you can write a book you'll love and it's fun to do And the therapy. I tend to write fairly fairly dark stories on the whole And it's just a way of working through sort of emotional on psychic stresses Assertive certainly when you're living through The last four years of the trump administration As a as an immigrant in the united states the pandemic and there's a lot of psychic stress. Any all the time and so writing about it in a fictionalized zing on the anxieties to feel his way of coping with her as well. I'm so for me that was always important. Why do people right. I think mostly for the same reasons. The the pleasure in the answer to the therapy of it goes hand in glove Think also the collaborative to thing you mentioned is also important. This idea of like you can do for the pleasure and the therapy. You can do that. nobody else has to read it. But there's this next step. Were start getting other people to read it as well. And there's a sort of this collaboration and conversation going on and that's that's very important. All sorts of ways dwell just the sheer fact of exchanging ideas exchange of ideas and views and perspectives. On the world is obviously important but just also again. And i'm the pleasure of having a conversation with someone about about an idea is wonderful on. It's one of the one of the best things about writing Is when you do write something and you get positive feedback from someone. You don't know like someone says oh. I really enjoyed this. This was good or this was fun. That's a tremendous charge It's a big rush I think once that starts happening to someone they probably right more and more and more because it's a really wonderful thing In in a very innocent sort of way to just do something fun and to share it and have people. You don't know saying you know what that was great that was fun and the the final part Why speculation why. Why different tastic. Why science fiction again. I think for me it was really freeing I've been reading a lot of social realism and super serious. It illogical type stuff about like boo capitalism on life sox angry loud music and then and then i started rereading spec fiqh and science fiction and there was just a freedom to it and more more honest sense of one of the reasons we right and we read is for fun on you can be super serious science fiction you know like but there's always an element of fun to it and freedom of someone taking an idea and running with it as far as they can And pushing it to its limits are. That's very exciting and invigorating. So i'm i'm on the least vanish person you'll ever meet But one of the things. I like a lot about science. Fiction and fantasy. Writing is the fan community on the enthusiasm. Just a flat-out enthusiasm for having a stock in good time when reading text To me that's one of the most attractive things about science fiction and fantasy is that is. The audience really wants to succeed because they want to have fun when they're reading the text as well. I think that's to me. What are you working on now. i'm running a historical fiction different kinds of genre a little bit draft into sort of speculative material About the for trade on the nineteenth century for trade in in the hudson's bay territories So it's from the perspective of phd. I wrote about the for trade missions in the fur trade at some other things as well. I'm going back to some of that archival material. I'm trying to turn it into a into a novel. Sounds very interesting. And where can people find you online. If anywhere online arm. I got twitter. Feed will ask bill screw. I think it's probably the safest way to find me is. There's a for the out. We have a webpage. Robert g. dot com and there'll be links on that page to the other social media sites. Okay well thanks so much for for being on the world shapers enjoyed. The conversation will be too. I did much. I'll tell the. I'll tell the radio press that i had talked to you. So they ratchet suggested. Because i didn't know about the the i knew that they were going to publish some speculative fiction because i talked about it and and then the yours came along and then. It's you know getting lots of attention. So i was very happy to be able to talk to you and also it's not very often. I talked to somebody that has any kind of connection to regina saskatchewan so that that was nice to john had nothing but good things to say about you who is very enthusiastic. Great right walk. Thanks so much by the so. Thanks again to robert g. pinner for being my guest. I enjoyed that chat tonight. I hope you enjoyed listening to it. coming up on the podcast We have Kelly rice gerald brandon. Walter john williams. Those are the ones that i have confirmed for the next three episodes. So check back to hear those. And if you'd like to listen to any of the previous seventy four episodes this is number. Seventy five You can find them all. At the world. Shapers website that satu- the world shapers dot com Complete a complete list of episodes that you can download listen to their. You can also find transcripts of most of them. There's a few that don't have full transcripts but most of them do You can find the world shapers. Also on twitter at the world. Shapers find it on facebook app. The world shapers. You can find me on twitter at t e willett tease on willett. You can find me on facebook. Edward don willett and you can find me on instagram. At edward willett author educator. Find me at my own website. Which is edward willett dot com also checkout shadow. Pop press dot com. Which is where you can find Shapers of world's among many other places that you can't buy it directly from there if you wish and you can also find me at edward willett shop dot com where you can buy autographed copies of my books should you to and i. I kind of hope you do. I should mention before it closed that the the world shapers podcast is part of the scotsman podcast network and other than that. I think i've covered everything so again. Thanks for listening to the world. Shapers podcast this time and come back many more times in the future as i to talk to other science fiction and fantasy authors about their creative process and how they shape and create the world's at that we have enjoyed so many adventures in over the years. That's it for this episode of the world shapers.
Episode 91: Joshua Palmatier
"Up to the world shapers conversations with signs process on your host and this sense guest on the to welcome to another episode of the world. Shapers the podcast right. I talked to other science fiction and fantasy authors about their creative process. My name is edward willett and diana myself and author of science fiction and fantasy. My main publisher is daw books In new york and which is also the publisher of my guest. This episode josh upon me to also have my publishing company called shadow press and my latest thing is actually from shot oppress young adult science fiction. Novel called a star song which i'm very fond of it. Almost was published by a major publisher back in the early nineties very early in my career. And it didn't happen. The publisher died in decided. The new publisher. The son of the original publisher decided that they weren't going to publish science fiction anymore. And so as a result it it language did never found a home and When i went back to it. I realized that could make it better so i completely rewrote it from start to finish. Ended is now available from Shadow pop press again. That's called star song. It's a young adult science fiction novel. Very much in the andre norton robert heinlein mode. Who were huge influences on me as a young reader and a beginning writer. So that's my latest latest thing Before that my latest book from dob books is the moon at world which is book. Three in my world shaper series. The first book is world. Shaper of the second book is master of the world and then the moon is the third book. They'll be a fourth book. I have written it yet and it will probably also be coming out from shadow. Pop press but That's it's an interesting Series i think because it said in the labyrinth shaped worlds where the people who shape the world's live inside them rather authors living inside their books so it allows for any kind of story to be told so. I've had a story that said in a version of our world was the first book. The second book was in a world very much inspired by jules verne so you know weird air ships and submarines and things kind of steam puck and then the moonlit world the most recent one is actually Set in world with where wolves vampires and peasants where roles in vampires and peasants. Oh my so you might want to check those up. Now arising out of this podcast has been an anthology called shapers of worlds. I kick started that last year and it features a first year guests of the podcast. There were nine original stories and nine reprints. From people like sean. Maguire and tanya huff and david weber and john skull and and many many other well known famous authors. That worked so well that i've kick started a new one shapers of world's volume to it's getting very close now. I think it will be out in october. It's bigger it's going to be pushing one hundred and fifty thousand words of fiction and it's going to seek to renew stories from kelley armstrong. Marie brennan helen. Dale candice chain dorsey. Lisa foils susan forest. James garner matthew. How the kennedy. These akester adria lay craft. Ira name garth nix. Tim pratt edward salvio brian. Thomas schmidt jeremy shawl and be and reprints from jeffrey a carver barbara hambly. Nancy kress david. Dein sm sterling and kerry von so among those authors. You've got winners and nominees for every major science fiction and fantasy literary award and several international bestseller's so that's coming out in october. Keep an eye out for that. It's called again. Shapers of world's volume to it will be out from shadow press. You can find a shout. Pop press books anywhere or you can them directly from the website shadow press dot com and download the book strictly from shadow poppers dot com as well right. I think that kind of covers the beginning material. This this episode of the podcast introduction was the word i was looking for. So let's get on to this episode's guest Joshua oh i should i remind you though that the world shapers. Podcast is part of the podcast network. Now let's get onto this episode's guest joshua palmyre professor of mathematics at the state university of new york in yatta joshua parameter has published nine novels the throne of angkor series the skewed thrown the crack thrown in the vacant throne with dopp books publisher. I know well the well of sorrows series well the sorrows. These aflame breath of heaven. Heaven with bain and zombies need rates and the lay series shattering the lay threading the needle reaping the aurora with dog. Which is the one. We're gonna talk about today's specifically. He's currently at work on the start of inter series he's also publishing short stories. mess to hookah and close encounters of the urban kind in tears of blood and beauty has her way both edited by jennifer prozac. The river in river edited by alma alexander and daughter of the sands and apollo's daughters edited by bryan young. So joshua. welcome to the world shapers. Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here. We've known each other for a while. Now because of the dock connection since we share a publisher and editor And i remember a memorable escape room adventure in kansas city. Where we you know. If you've ever wondered how many professionals is fiction fantasy authors. It takes to get out of it escape room more than you have. Apparently we did not do all that. Well we didn't even come close where you think you haven't done too bad then you find out. There's a whole other room that you didn't even get into. That's always that's always discouraging but it was fun. It was all about having fun. Yeah so we will start where i always start by taking you back into the midst of time and find out you had a a moving around childhood. I know that anyway where you grew up how you grew up and how you got interested in writing and gulbis started as a reader most of us do and yeah so tell. Tell me all that. Tell me your life story okay. Well yea in upstate. Central pennsylvania and my dad was in the navy though so we ended up moving around quite a bit so i've lived like texas washington state out or needed in lots of different places. And i think that actually helps with the fantasies writing because you get that exposure to So many different kinds of places and settings and cultures and stuff. But yeah i spent most of or i spent the longest amount of time in washington state out in puget sound. And that's actually where the whole thing started it was in obviously. I got into writing through reading said earlier but it wasn't until eighth grade english class. Mrs law that Actually started thinking about writing She gave us a writing assignment. That was unusual. English classes She said that she wanted us to write. You know five word short story that was kind of twilight zone ish and english. They usually focus in on like three paragraphs essays or something like that. This was like brand new. Actually what i consider creative writing. And so i like dove into this because it was twilight zone and by then i was reading a lot of fantasy and science fiction and this horrible rip off of atlanta's except spaceships. So so at that time i was like five hundred words. I can pull out five hundred. It'd be hard And so i ended up writing this and handed it in and she Senate back with you know a little note on the top saying you should write more and that was like ball moment for me. actually sat back and was like. Oh wait all of these books. That i'm reading and then i love you know their you know being written by somebody and so i was like why couldn't that meet and So i saw a but that was the spark. I sat down and i started writing pretty much immediately. After that. it's it's funny how often i talked authors. And they say they had that realization at some point. Hey people people actually write these things. I could be one of those people that seems to be a very common thing when that happens. You're just like well. Of course people write these things but it just doesn't make that connection till somebody points out and and yeah that was. That was my little epiphany when it comes to writing and i started writing things for like at the time Bring norton had the magic and iskar anthology she was doing and so i like rope short story for that and actually set that in back in the whole paper envelopes time typewriter time to i used up so much corrective tape on Liquid and liquid paper. Yeah i is the corrective tape mostly but yeah. No liquid. Paper came into yup and play and And yeah and then. And then i started of course the standard you know all of my friends in school get transported to an alternate world. Kind of of story in that one was supposed to be a novel actually had a whole orange folder. I was using. And i was writing it out by hand and putting it in orange folder. It's also exciting. And and i'm sure if i had that at this point i would horror but but you know at the time it's like it was very exciting to be actually writing this stuff and so i kept writing on stuff all through high school and then when i hit college you know along the way my i told my mom you know. I want to be a writer and fantasy writer analyst and she was like she's very encouraging said. Yeah that that's really good. You know you need to have something to fall back on if that doesn't doesn't work out and so so. I decided early on that i was going to be a math teacher and then i could write during the summer and and so i'd have a lot of time to right and so so. That was my plan. I went to college to become a math professor and And then in college at some point. I actually sat back said to my salvo. Okay are you writing just for kicks just for you and your friends and whatnot. Are you really seriously want to pursue this. And i made the who obviously seriously pursue it and and spent the first four years of college writing this novel and and it was called sorrow and if it went through i went through the whole first draft and when i hit the end of that first draft went back to the beginning and i was like holy crap. The sucks because draft. I was teaching myself how to write and so of course. The beginning was horrible. I'm so i ended up revising this like three or four times before it started sending out to agents and editor and And amazingly at the time. I didn't realize this but i was actually getting from agents. And editors i was actually getting personal response a to the manuscript and only later did i learned that you know that was like a couple of levels on rejection list so they were rejections but they were personal rid. Although that only goes so far we say yeah well. It was pretty. It was a personal rejection. But it was still rejection. It was still a reduction. Yeah and and of course. I didn't know any better. That was a better rejection than you could have gotten a so. I kept at it and eventually four books in i ended up writing the skew. Thrown insist that to Dabo by then dog was was already paying attention to me. They'd seem two or three of my books and rejected them. But but sheila was kind of paying attention to me at that and so any sentence skewed thrown she. She was excited about skewed brown. So that's essentially how ended up getting into it. You obviously like math. You wouldn't have made that as your fallback position. When did you know. I don't know if i would say that. I you know and in love with math. But i love teaching math. So i'm i am a college professor but i'm pretty hard core teacher as opposed to you know researcher Even though i work in college so i think it. I think it's more the love of teaching because i i mean if i made it really really big. I'd probably have to give up teaching. I can't imagine giving up teaching. You know just just. Because i enjoy it too much what you enjoy about teaching and does it relate to enjoy about writing. Because they're both about communication yeah. I don't know if it has much to do. I don't know never thought about it with writing. But what i love about is when you see that spark in the student when when things finally connect and they suddenly understand something that they thought was exceptionally hard. Because i you know. I'm teaching things like calculus and higher level math about calculus and stuff and and most people think the calculus horrendously difficult subject So one of my goals in teaching is to try to make people realize that it's not really as complicated as they think it is The idea behind it is actually very simple. And so when i try to get that across and seeing that understanding when they finally get it i mean that's the best part of teaching and so i don't know if that how that relates to writing Because the problem with writing is that. I'm not there to to see people reacting to it like am with teaching and that was one of the hardest things with this this past year when we had all the online teaching is getting that interaction with the students with the online teaching and not not like in the classroom and so that was kind of heart and my daughter's university age university of toronto and she was entirely online and certainly on the student side of it. It's not great i. I can't imagine like a person learning math online at horrible horrible. She's kinesiology and they were. She was helping. I your students. They're learning anatomy online and one of the things in richer. Toronto is that it's one of the few places where first year kinesiology students have access to cadavers for learning anatomy. And of course this last year's crop of students didn't have that so yeah it really was a certainly not ideal. That's for sure now. Not math online is not ideal. We just back when you're talking about writing. I had forgotten until you were talking about writing as a young person that we in fact you're on. Maybe the first time i met you in fact was at the denver world science fiction convention and we were on a panel together riders reading juvenilia. Do you remember that actually proposed that panel. I'm not. I propose that battle. Maybe we go dual proposal. Yeah so it was you and me and sarah. Hoyt and Connie willis as i recall and it it went over really well but i don't remember you reading anything for. You're really young as all of that gone missing much that most of it got lost during a flood. We had here at binghamton. We have two major floods and two thousand six and two thousand eleven. I think we had a flood. And i like i like loss. Three all my stuff in the first flood And and a lot of it was paperwork. Kind of stuff like that so So anything that. I had that i was keeping including you know my multitudinous all kindest paperwork got lost during the flood so at the time i didn't have i didn't have anything anything really old Like like the juvenile. That story that was in the orange note of stuff. That's what i would have read. If i'd had a chance though on that panel ended up just talking about the things that i've written advocate didn't have i have my old stuff in fact my first novel is near modesto it says algebra on it. But it's actually just that's just what the notebook was full of doodles of people in two hundred one hundred. My yep. don't even know how many pages i ended up with with that i I considering i know it was not novel. Incas is probably maybe thirty thousand. Words maybe tops. I would think looking at it now. It seemed like a lot of words to me at the time. Oh yeah like that. Five hundred writing five hundred words for a short story with like insane. Well we're gonna talk about your process of writing novels now that you've you know you've learned how to do it eventually start to get accomplished and we're gonna talk about the series so maybe the first thing to do i mean that's a trilogy is complete. Could they series. That trilogy is is finished. Like all three of Trilogies that i have outright. Now they're they're all set in the same world but there are different different time periods. And leslie enough. You can see where things connect up between the three series Give us an overview of the world series. Then about getting away anything. Don't give away after all you have app. You've taught classes on writers about writing up so this ought to be easy for you. Yeah no synopses are never easy especially ones where you have anything way but focus on the series but the so the idea behind the lace series was a spark of the idea was i kept reading all of these fantasies. All's and in most of the fantasy novels there is always some kind of like event that happened in the past and that was part of what had shaped the world into what it was and and i even had that You know. I had that in my throne series and so i was like you know why does nobody ever about the apocalyptic events because i mean huge huge stand elliptic stories and novels And so. I was like why. Why in fantasy worlds is always something that happened in the past and so so it's a said are minarik something in apocalypse and i already had the world's set up from the throne series and more or less in my head kind of knew what the apocalypse was so that unfortunately is not enough to actually write a book You always need you know your characters. And and so the way i think that was the idea dea for even a short story not enough you have to. Have you know a a strong story behind the idea and that usually involves a character. And i didn't have a director at the top and just file it away as a as a potential idea and And then caro showed up and once car showed up. I was like okay. She can the the world is going to be off of ley. You know those magical lines that connect stone monuments like stonehenge and stuff like that. I said so so. I also car. She's gonna be able to manipulate the so. There's my character and and i knew there was going to be apocalypse and and that i had said that by enough because you need your you know you need your fantasy world or your fantasy to have something that's different and unique about it So i was waiting to figure out what this might be and The uniqueness ended up being not laylines late lights of the us forever The uniqueness ended up being the time period. As i want to be a fantasy but i want to have a very very modern seal to so i wanted it to steal like new york or london. Maybe not right now. I'm but you know maybe one hundred years ago. Two hundred years or something like that. So so i wanted the society to be using the laylines but i wanted them to be using the power of the lines like we city so i have like i was like okay. The world's going to have like a subway and you know we're gonna use the lael to her lighting and heating and you know basically use trinity for they were gonna use the laylines for and And so that. Once i had that it felt like i had a sort of well rounded world and And at that point. I was like okay. Let's see what this feels. Like if i start writing it because i'm i'm a panzer plot synopses and i don't really rate outlines and and you know i don't plan out the chapters or anything like that i i pretty much just say. There's there's my character. So i had kara and and then i just sat down and started writing. I was like okay. She manipulates the lay. Let's start with her. You know going out to manipulate the lace somehow. And and. that's that's how i got on the whole lays series Obviously i know. Even though i'm a little bit about what's happening like for example for the lay series. I i knew we were headed. Let's um and i kind of had a rough idea of some like goalposts long way. But but that's when i sit down that's usually all i have and i learned to trust myself. That my my brain my hind brain will figure out what's supposed to happen and will make happen the way it should I thought it with those earlier on. And then i just gave up and said you know i just gotta trust myself and just right and so. That's pretty much what what i do now is just sit down and start writing doing that with the third book in the in the series. I'm writing right now. They just started like last week I have no clue where it's going. But i'm going to trust that is going to work itself out And i have to say that. With the lace. I was incredibly impressed with my hind brain Especially with book three in that series reaping the aurora The groundwork was laid obviously wanted to. But the the way that all of the little plotlines His i ended up with essentially three major characters. The way that the pla three major characters ended up coming together in the end of the third book. I was personally stunned and it all fell into place i all. I realized what was going to happen. But three being a breakfast at a convention with sheila gilbert michigan. You know we were just chatting about things and whatnot. And and i can't remember if it was something she said Or or some she asked. And i was a starting to answer it and all of sudden just hit me and you know what was going to happen in my third book and like fell in my lap complete in whole and i literally like gas was like like. She had no idea what was going on. But i was just like holy crap that at all going to fit in his all gonna work out. And i can't believe literally when i finished the book i was just like i can't believe i wrote that way. It all worked out stunning. Yeah it's it's amazing. What goes on somewhere back in your brain that you're not actually aware of it and then it presents itself Sometimes says you're writing a sec. Oh oh oh yeah. I kind of had a similar experience. So yeah i. I do know what that feels like math too. I think i think that's why math and writing go so well together to get your degree in math. You have to prove something that's never been proven before in map and so there's a lot of stress involved there because you're not guaranteed to prove it When you set out. But there's a lot of i think this is true and then you will work on it and then one night you wake up in the morning and you're just like oh let's try this and it's like your brain has figured out while you were sleeping how to solve that problem. It's just it's amazing so sicher a pancer to use. Start off with any kind of written notes to yourself about the character of the world or anything or is it you just think about it and then you start writing and then it comes together. The ladder pretty much. I don't. I don't usually write any notes. In fact people will probably be shocked. How few notes have even after. I finished the book But i i. Don't start with any in general. I don't start with any any. They outline any anything. I usually just sit down and start writing and then. I have a notebook. Keep the side. The computer and the notebook is mainly for things. Like you know when. I introduced a new character. I say they have blue eyes and you know gray hair than in the little notebook. Lou is gray hair. There's not really too many plot elements or anything that go in the notebook. Notebook is more for duty kind of things. And i write like if i'm writing like right now. I'm writing chapter two in in the new book. And as i write it have an inkling of what i think is going to happen in the next chapter. I will at the end of the current chapter. I will put in brackets a little note about what i think is going to happen. The is usually only about what's going to happen next. I rarely have a note that slight something was going to have ten chapters from now Those kind of notes. I be my head because things change As i write and they usually change so dramatically that there is no point in me. Writing the note down Because by the time. I get there. It's going to be complete so so i usually keep my notes to what's what's happening next And know halfway through the book. I've got quite a few little notes. Because i usually have quite a few character. Plotlines going on near the end of the book those notes start disappearing because he right. Egret them So that that's more or less the extent of any notes that i write. The only exception is the finances that sometimes have to right in order to sell a trilogy. So if sheila's interested in in something then of course usually wants to buy a trilogy. She doesn't want to buy just one book. So at that point you know she wants to know what's going to happen to and what's going to happen in book three as so at that point i have something In order to sell the trilogy. And so i do for for that type of situation i i will write down. You know sort of a mini plot. Synopsis of what. I think is going An but sheila learned early early on that you know gesture. Take any of these plot. Synopses that i write with a lump of salt because because it changes dramatically. Like i said as i right i was gonna ask you that if you actually worry about. What's this says you get now. I mean i will try to four warn sheila if it looks like it's going to be dramatically different so i'm sending sheila notes quite often saying by the way this is not going to happen anymore but but the get news visit is usually the end result is much more interesting and much more creative than is that i wrote down. You know two years ago when the series started Because you know the characters take control and they do things you weren't planning and and a during those two years you know it's not like i'm not thinking about the the story or anything and still thinking about the story and and new ideas crop as i'm and so you know. Those new ideas are generally far cooler than whatever the initial idea was. What does your actual writing process. I mean europe fulltime teacher. How'd you find time to write wendy. You fit it in and are are you fast writer or a slow writer. I would rate myself. Pretty slow writer by if i get a thousand words in day and that's like low for most writers that i talked to but it is somewhat of a challenge Getting the writing in while teaching go But one of the reasons. I wanted to do college teacher the college because you can kind of create your own schedule so what i do at suny. Oneonta is scheduled all my teaching in the morning. So usually i am done with teaching don with office hours. All of that. Kind of stuff Usually around noon or one. And then i have a home takes about an hour one way for the commute and so i'm usually getting home. You know like one o'clock two o'clock or whatever and then the afternoon is supposed to be writing and unfortunately doesn't necessarily mean writing. Sometimes writing means doing your taxes or things related writing promotion doing an interview during interview questions by email or you know all the business side of writing usually gets done during that time as well but most of the time i have a couple hours to sit down and write and And so that's what i do and get home and sit down at the computer. And i try to get to writing as soon as i can and try to get in at least a couple of hours and like i said i'm shooting for a thousand words Her day in that couple hours and the commute is actually useful because the hour commute gives me a chance to kind of switch from my math brain to my writing brain. So i kind of core dumping all of a mass on the drive home and auto thing whatever it is. I need to write that day. And so you know gives me a chance to think about it before. Actually sit down and right so it it helps with the sitting down and just staring at a blank. Page for at s- That doesn't usually happen because i knew easily. I'm like okay. Here's where i left off. And this is where i need to pick up and start and i get all that done while i'm driving. I find driving a great way to to think about writing. I've come up with entire new books. Driving places in thinking about on the way one walking to accept i'm currently live streaming my walks which i talk for the entire time. I'm walking so walking right now is not helping me with my but driving is great for that. Yes i i've seen. You're walking videos walking around the city. That's fun hundred thirty some straight. I've done now one hundred thirty some days straight. I haven't missed one which was quite amazing to me and the three people that watch. What does your vision process. Look like once you have a draft. Then how do you go about polishing it up before submission to use beta reader. All that stuff. Well i have a critique group where i run my short stories through and most of the time i'm not running the novels through critique group i mean i did the series that just sold a dog that should start coming out next year that one iran the entire first book through critique group. 'cause i was i was writing that one before. It was sold getting feedback on all the way through. But in general for my novels. I don't have a critique group looking at it or reading it and the critique group hasn't seen two or three for that series yet because it's still what i do for revisions is while i'm writing if there's something that i feel like i need to change. I make a little note in file. And i'd change it like you know if i'm on chapter six in all of a sudden i think. Oh you know if i'm going to do this chapter six then. I have to change this. That happened in chapter. Three I never go back and actually revise it at that point. I just say okay and note about it. This is what you need to change. And i and then i just leave it and i keep in my head. I'm basically just pretending that i wrote it that way. The first time. And i just regular rate until i i mean lots of people tell me that they go back and revise as their writing. And i can't do that I while i learned not to do that on one of my novels. Because by the time i got to the end of that now all i finally knew what the bef- was really about and so all the regions i've made along the way we're useless because now i understood exactly what the book was supposed to be about an so. I had to go back everything. I'd already changed To fit that new understanding of the book and So i learned that book that it's better to jot down some notes and in c- When you reach the end exactly what the book supposed to be about. And so that's what i do. Now wait till the end and once. I understand exactly where the book is going. And and what's going to happen and what it all means to the characters. Then i go back and look at all my revision notes and do a pass where i just revise usually revise only. What's happened or only what i have in my and what i found is usually i only ended up changing about half of the things that were in my notes like the the book that i just finished in handed in sheila. I had aided notes. So there's maybe you know like ten twelve notes. And then when i went back and read those sections over again that i saw it i had to change. I was no actually this. This actually works well the way and so. I ended up. Not changing half the things that i jotted down. I just decided they were. The change was unnecessary And like i said that was a hard lesson with the one novel So then i do a religion and at this point that revision based off of my notes and if it happens to have gone through critique group of the notes from the critique group I make changes. And i sent it to my agent and my agent usually has suggestions for changes I was really shocked with this most recent book. He had two suggestions but they weren't really changes. they were just like about this kind of things And but he usually has things he would like me to. Especially if we have sold the book yet And so usually i do another revision pass for the agent religion passes for the and then And then after that whenever they enter whoever buys it at that point they get their say. And what is the editing. I mean i know how sheila works but the let's tell people what is it working with. Sheila what sort of things come back to you from her that she didn't have to work on. The revision passed the editorial pass. Yeah the sheila usually ons more She she wants to know. And it's almost always world building stuff. She wants to know more about the world. Jala magic works. I don't generally get any kind of like juror comments from sheila. It's usually just you know. Here's the scene You mentioned this but you know you don't really go into a lot of detail here ian and she's like i want to know this part of the magic works or i wanna know like i have. I usually have narrowly large worlds. And they're usually mixing in a city and she usually wants me include. Can you bring in more. Mentions of people from different parts of the world that happened to be nailing in the city. And you know so so. You're getting in more hints about the world and how big is and how many various people in there and anything because my books tend to focus very closely on one or two characters in thrown series is entirely first person. So you know you're following one character through the whole trilogy. The more recent ones like the lay series. I usually follow like i said like with two or three characters pretty closely and so it's the because of that point of view. You're pretty restricted on what you see of the world. You're you're pretty much. Only seeing what character sees so sheila's edits or usually have her noticed more and and you know and try to fit in. She always wants me to fit in more about the world. Without of course invo dumping which is hard to do. Because if you're if you're deep inside a character's head that different characters notice different things and so it's hard to to bring in a lot of especially stuff because to that character that world building stuff is automatic. Like they don't think about because to them it's their world. They're living there. That's that's an everyday thing to them but it's not really in. Some sense is not really registering on their consciousness. Like the fish. Fish doesn't notice the water. Yeah exactly and and so inserting interesting world through that point of view without a being obvious that you know. I am the author. I'm trying to tell you this to make it fit in with the characters perspective. That bats are. Let's that's why. I think people people a lot of people say that something is an inflow down. When it's not really info damn what's happened is that you you've been inside this character and stepped outside of that character to give across this information and then you go back into the character and the reader is recognizing that you have stepped out of the characters head for a moment and and that's when you group usually says this is an info com and when i go back and look at it and i was like no. It's not really an infant announced. Just that's not something. The character would really notice so it sticks out it's it's part of the of the different viewpoints. I mean first person. Viewpoint is even worse when it comes then formation out to the reader. I agree person's really hard to do well. In fact my last few books. I have a first person character but i'm i mix it with third person characters so i have multiple viewpoints. One of them is i. I've now done that for four books. And one reason for that is that it's an opportunity to get some information about the world in a different way than if you're stuck in that one person's head who obviously is not going to notice everything that you perhaps went the reader to know about. Yes and and doing what you're doing. I think is even harder than just writing first person for the whole thing because you know i i for the whole thing once you get in their head. You're you're good to go once you've got their their their voice and their pattern down and all that kind of stuff. You're good to go but then if you're starting to mix in these other views on the writer it becomes very difficult because you've got one distinct voice that's first person but then when you skip to the third person you know you gotta get yourself out of that voice into this third person voice. I have noticed. Yeah that's extremely tough and then there there's been some writers that have said they written multiple points of view. First person for all of them. I think that's even worse. Actually tried that and i found that was not working for me at all in this particular book that i'm working on right now and it was. It was almost impossible to keep the two voices different when they're both really me away. So that's why. I think that's that's so hard it's all you gotta have distinct voices for each first person character and it i can't even i haven't even tried it. I can't even imagine. I always tell people i'm talking about writing that we're all trying to solve the same problems in. There's lots of different ways to approach these problems of getting information out to the reader and everything and we're all trying to find the best balance in whatever it is that we're writing so it's it's interesting and that's what this podcast about of course is all the the. What's that thing from kipling. They're twelve and twenty ways of constructing tribal lays or something like that. There's a lot of that. I think it's kipling they'd have to look it up again Already well there's now. There's another thing i wanted to ask you about. We've talked about your your writing process. And it's now gone to the editor and of course it's published in you make a billion dollars and everybody's happy just assume that but you've also something different in the bet you have your own publishing company now as arby's need brains llc and tell me tell me how that came about. I'm familiar with it. Because i've written a couple of short stories for recent anthologies and i also drew on your expertise in the kick-starting world when i started the anthologies connected to this podcast. So how did zombies need brains. Tell us about it and how did it come about. Raines is just a little small press. That i Founded and basically and we'd like to publish science fiction fantasy themed anthologies and as you mentioned we fund all of these things through kick stars and thankfully pretty much all of the ones. We've attempted to find the how funded and the way it came about was was actually a group signing at barnes and noble and the signing went horribly like power it was just horrible group signing and so as typical after signing like this we all decided to go to the bar after the signing we we went to the bar and we were all laughing and talking and drinking and discussing things and whatnot and And and i said oh we should all do an anthology and And i said it should be about a bar and right what exactly and of course everybody started talking about it and so it ended up being a magical bar and then it was a magical time. Trial are and patricia brady You know the bartender should be gilgamesh. That's how we found his immortality was found this far and and so we ended up with this idea of this. This bar shifted through time in the sense that at any moment in time the bar was the enemy of the best bar in the world at that time and then as soon as aim a little you know blase then the bar with magically shifts to new location and basically reshape itself into the epitome of the bar at that time and so that was that was our stuff and everybody laughed and we all went home and nobody probably nobody else but me thought about it anymore but sat down and i said we should actually do this and so the next convention which three all the next convention i went to World fantasy montreal worldcom montreal in two thousand nine that must have been worldcom in montreal at aurora award. At that one so memorable for you it's invention and i went to the one of the guys that was part of techno and ask them. You know how you get an anthology pitch dot because techno at the time was the one that was basically pitching anthology ideas to die. And so i i asked him how it happened. And he said Basically we just meet with a like e. n. We pitch all the anthology ideas we have and then if there are any that they're interested in that They you know. Pick those out and then those are the ones we do and i was like. Oh cool i you know we had this idea for an anthology and i have been authors lined up for it already and he in so i pitched the idea to him and he said well right up a like a not a synopsis right up the theme and who you're authors are going to be and we're meeting with an sheila tomorrow morning and if you can get it to me tonight we'll hitch a no pressure go so i ran a r rant home. I ran to my hotel room and wrote up. Id emailed all winter. Writers saying you know. Remember this idea. We have i said. Are you willing to be an author for it. And so i ended up putting together and they pitched it to buy said yes and that was the nfl. After hours tales from irv are. And so you know we ended up patricia brian. I ended up ended and we ended it for da and they put it out and then the next year we did another pitch for the modern. Say's guy surviving humanity and dotted that out and And then there was a huge shakeup in the Moral and Da didn't quite drop their anthology line. They reduce their anthology line from lake. Erie doing like six or eight a year and they reduced down to like one or two so basically they were not In biology's at that point because the one or two that they were doing where you know anthologies for like mercedes lackey and stuff like that So at the time i Patricia and i were kind of And we said well. Let's wait a couple years and see if dr brings back the biology line so we waited a couple of years. But i got impatient and decided algae line was never coming back. And if i wanted to edit more in policies I needed to do something about myself. And so so that was when i said okay. Let's let's see if we can create a crowdfunding was becoming a major thing at that time. And so i can get money through crowdfunding And so i. I researched it and establish the small press and Our first theology clockwork universe and crowd. Funded that and and that was the beginning we've been doing. We started off doing one anthology a year and then we switched to one year where we had to. Then i got ultra ambitious. I guess and moved to three the year after that. And so now we're doing three anthologies a year And far like i said we ended almost all two that we kind of were kind of. Don't consider them our main anthologies they were kind of sideline anthologies in those two didn't fund that our main anthologies have often so so. Yeah we do that every year. Now the pattern three new anthologies every year. That's quite a quite an impressive. You get a lot of great author that says modesty being one that's been in a couple of them But you get a lot of great authors in and great story. So and as i said it certainly was one of the inspirations for an i did the shapers of world bam policy for my first year guests and shapers of roads volume two. Then funded as well so you. You were an inspiration to me josh. I'm glad i could help with kicks nervous enough. It's not easy knowing scratch. No i put it off for a long time because it's just seems a little intimidating but it worked so there you go. Well we're almost at the end of the hour so i'll ask you my big philosophical questions now. The first one is why do you right. Why do you write this stuff. Why right. I should say why. Do you think any of us right. Why do we do this. Strange thing with words tell stories. And then the third one is why a fantastical stories specifically so there's your three a philosophical questions. Okay well i'll try to answer all three. But if i miss one just reminding the snarky answer is you know right because the voices in my head tell me too but that's not quite true it. I mean the voices are there. Yes and And like i said with the with the lace series. I didn't really get started on the lay series until till the character car showed up And i wanted to tell her story but it it. It's not that there it system. I tell their stories It it's just started back in the eighth grade where this all of a sudden arc of an idea you know people actually wrote all of these stories that sparked just stuck and i've always enjoyed you know putting words on pay and and bringing these characters to life for other people and that's why you know in college made that decision. Do i really want to do this. Just for kicks is something for me or is something Variously and try to get out there in the world. And i made the decision that you know. There wasn't any complete satisfaction in just writing it for myself. I want i i wanted. I wanted to share yours in these worlds with with other people so for me. It's it's you know it. It's an act of discovery. Because i'm the panther so i sit down and i say okay. Let's let this. And so i get to enjoy you know discovering there the characters world and living the characters life and So that's fun. That's what gets me through writing part of it And then once that's done i was never dissatisfied with. We've saying okay. That school i lived there world. I wanted to share the so. And and hopefully you know the readers. Falling in love with the character is as much as i am when i'm writing them and even though you know horrible things usually happen to the carriages so so for me. The just the writing. It's just it's living this alternative life and discovering this world outside of my own and you know why do people right in general. I think it does boil down to that. I think if you're putting a piece of yourself out there even though it's different characters and and you're you're you're sharing a little bit of yourself with with other people. And i think it's one of the great things about the Saifi community is that in general we. Are you know we are a community. We want to see what other people are doing. And we we wanna read these other worlds and find out more about these worlds and and it so it is very nice community. And i think it's all about just sharing so that's why i think people right in It's like you said earlier. It's basically a form of communication as to why why i particularly like a fantasy and science a little bit. I mean i don't write a lot of science fiction trending in that direction at the moment. it's easier to talk about things necessarily set in our world and they're not necessarily realistic. The fantasy and scifi world settings allow to sort of explore and on things in our world without necessarily creating arguments for the lay series. If you're reading closely enough in the series you know there's there's some pretty heavy duty commentary. I'm trying to make about us. Abusing natural resources is in the in the in the novels you know. The lay is a natural resource. And we're using it and the problem is that we have not just started to use the lay we've started to abuse and and that's what creates a lot of the problems in the lay sits in so there's you know there's some commentary about treating your natural resources with with a little more respect in that series and then in erie that writing for da there is there's some commentary this is more social commentary In the respective you know a lot of what's been happening in our world over the last year and a half. I didn't intentionally right about this. Like when i sat down i was like i'm gonna get on my podium and speaking about these things but crept into the book and that's why i say that's why i don't do revisions till the end because i don't know necessarily with the book is really about hit the end of the book and so so the science fiction fantasy settings. Give me a way to kind of make some commentary about this without like i said without being on a podium and brow leading people with a or whatever it's never you know soap boxes for anything like that any of these kind of social commentary things. It's always an under layer of and And hopefully people are picking up on it as they read and Hopefully whatever it is. I right makes them think about it a little bit because you've already answered the next question. Which is what are you working on next. Because you've mentioned several times there's a new trilogy coming title it. The series is called krystal cities series. It's new for me in the sense. That i am not writing this trilogy in the same world as the other three. So it's a brand new world and a brand new setting and magic. Obviously the the magic system is based off of crystals and. I don't know yet whether it's going to be released. Under my name or under a pseudonym she had a chance to talk about it because doesn't come out until next year i think the first book slated for august two thousand twenty two and the first book is called krystal laps and deccan book is crystal rebel and the third is a war. And like i said. I just started three in that series and and i'll be interested to see what people because because you know the the malays series i it's a fantasy but like i said it. It has a much more modern. He'll to it. So there's there's some kind of science fictional elements to the lay series but in the end it's fans it was written like a fantasy and it was always intended to be fancy the new series. I'm pushing the science fictional elements a lot further than i did in the late series. So it's still a fantasy it's being written as a fantasy but anybody is going to notice the sifi elements to it. That's right off the bat. So i by like i said. My current trend is leaning more and more science fiction. So we'll have to see what happens after this series and the where can people keep up with you online okay. There is a page for me and for his. My webpage is joshua. Paul matere dot com the zombies web pages. Zombies need brains dot com. And you could find us on. Things is need brains on facebook. The you a be all matere on facebook. we're on twitter. My twitter handle is ben. Tate author obviously setup. When the wealth was coming out is it was released under the pseudonym. Ben tate benjamin and then zombies. Twitter is z. Nb llc and we have a patriot and pay if you want to help support the small press and maybe even me on the side than just search for on feature trim pitch their up all right. Well they take that brings us to the end of the time. So thanks so much for for being on joshua's great to talk to you. Hope you enjoyed it. Oh yes there was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me and hopefully we will get to see each other in person again. One of these convention soon. That would be nice. I'm planning on hitting montreal. Assuming the border is open. I'm theoretically gonna be at montreal. But that's still up in the air. But i hope i'll be there. So maybe maybe that's when we will meet in person again but for now we're we're virtual and it was a it was a great chance. Thanks very much again thank you. Thanks again to joshua for that Great conversation. i really enjoyed that always like talking to my fellow authors but now talking new all authors just reminded that the world shapers is online at the world. Shapers dot com. It's also on twitter app. The world shapers and on facebook. The world-shapers you can find me online as i'm sure you want to at edward willett dot com to tease on it. You can find me on twitter at e willett. You can find me on instagram. At edward willett author. And you can find me on facebook at reduc willett. I miss that memo about having the same handle on all social media you can find shadow press which again will be publishing shapers. World's volume to close to one hundred and fifty thousand words of fiction eighteen new stories and six reprinted stories featuring authors from the second year of this podcast. That'll be coming out. In october. Shadow presses at shadow pop press dot com. It's also on twitter at shadow pop press and on facebook shadow. Pop press. we have many more. Well there's no it's just me not count the cat. I have many more great guests coming up. I recently talked to laurel k hamilton for example. So keep coming back to the world shapers and continue to check out the authors. I have talked to just before. I wrap up here. I need to remind you once again that The world checkers. Podcast is part of the statute podcast network. This is schedule. And podcast network is supported by connects us savings checkings. Gic budget our esp s. p. t.f essay mutual funds credit score emergency funds variable versus fixed rates compound interest retirement. The list goes on and on. It's time to make sense of it. All at connects credit union. They want to help. Financial literacy is critical life skill giving you the knowledge and confidence to make smart responsible decisions about your money. Visit connects us money. Talk dot ca defined expert advice tips and solutions for all life stages and events an increase your financial literacy knowledge and confidence today already that takes care of the housekeeping necessities and that takes care of this entire episode of the world. Checkers guest again. Thanks to josh. Apologize for being my guest. Thanks to you for being my listeners. And i hope that you will continue to come back come any times in the future as i continued to talk to the science fiction and fantasy authors who created the world's and characters and adventures that. We've enjoyed so much over the years. That's it for this episode
Episode 80: Mark Everglade
"Conversations with others process host guest never to another episode of the world shapers and this one is coming to you in the midst of the kickstarter campaign for shapers of world's volume two. This is an anthology that will feature guests from the second year of this podcast. And it's a follow up to shapers of worlds which was an anthology. I started last year that featured guest from the first year of the podcast. That one's widely available now. If you want to go buy a copy or twelve or you know however many you need for christmas is not that far away. It's only what eight minutes nine months get out there and buy copies shapers shapers volume two when it comes out and have a nice package to give to all of your friends and family of roads volume two will feature original fiction from kelley armstrong. Marie brennan helen. Dale candice jane dorsey. Lisa foils susan forrest. James alan gardner matthews healthy kennedy kessler a aicraft. 'iran garth nix tim pratt. Edward salvio. brian. Thomas schmidt jeremy's all and me and it will have reprints from jeffrey a carver. Barbara hambly chris. David levine. esim sterling and carrie vaughn. I'm looking for fifteen thousand dollars. Canadian to make this happen. And as of today. I am well well over. Seventy six percents Eleven thousand four hundred and something currently Enhance will not at hand but pledged and with still ten days to go. So the podcast. I mean the kickstarter ends i. Guess doesn't end. The kickstarter ends on april. Eight th at eleven. Am my time. I think Central standard time. So get your back. King in before then and the backers rewards are plentiful and quite exciting. There are all kinds of signed books including some limited editions. There's black and white photographs marie. Brennan there's an audio books. There are tucker is ations where your name is used as a character in a story or a novel and i'm even offering a short story critiques and consultations at the five hundred dollar level and at three thousand dollars if you really want to help out and also take advantage of a great opportunity. I'd like to think it's a great opportunity. I've offering writing mentorship for that price Three months writing the ship Work on whatever project you'd like to work on with extensive consultation and hands on work for me so check it out at a tiny you are. L. dot com slash shapers of worlds to that is the arabic numeral two tiny l. dot com slash shapers of world's two or of course to kick starter in search up shapers of world's volume two and Yeah i hope that you will kick in and helped me Make this happen the other thing. I just wanted to mention his not actually anything to do with writing at all but I have recently started doing well. It started out as just a live walk in my neighborhood. Live streamed on youtube but it's also turned into kind of log which is an ugly word but you know a video blog where i talk about writing mike the kickstarter in the podcast and the books that i'm working on like my upcoming novel for books the tangled stars and whatever else comes into my head is i take usually about an hour long. Walk around some part of regina saskatchewan my hometown. If you'd like to check that out you can go to my youtube channel Just do a search effort. Will that will take you to it. But if you'd like the u. r. l. is a tiny you are l. dot com slash edward willett on youtube to tease in willett. Yeah so that's the main thing to mention here except to say as i always do that The world shapers. Podcast is part of the schedule in podcast network. And now let's get onto this episode's guest mark everglade an avid reader science fiction mark. Everglades takes both its warnings opportunities for change to heart. His first novel hemispheres published through. Rocco publishing has a four point five star average rating on amazon and which number five in its category during lunch week. Mark holds a masters of science and conflict theory and his previous works have been featured an extra planet magazine and unreal politic is on numerous podcasts and new cast for his books newscasts for his book and social activism equally serious about music he has jammed with one of the rolling stones randy bachman and used to have. Jim morrison stage equipment in his basement. He currently resides in florida with his wife and four children so mark. Welcome to the world shapers. Thank you great to be here. Great to have you. And thanks for reaching out About of these. Podcasts are people. I've you know i encounter. I just see somebody online. And i think they make a good interview but you reached out to me and i'm glad you did because i think there should be an interesting conversation. You're down in florida. I understand where spring has probably already sprung. We're still kind of waiting back absolutely. I was walking around the lake this morning and which is not far from the house in the lake is still quite frozen. Wouldn't to go at the ice but it's still the geese round the ice without worrying about. Oh wow so. We're going to start as i always do by taking you back into the mists of time. I don't know how far back that is for you. It's getting further back for me to find out how you first of all where you grew up and education and all that but especially how you got interested in science fiction and probably started as a reader and then moved into the writing side of it. But how did that work for. Where did you grow up. And how did you get interested in writing. Absolutely well. Atta girl about twenty miles north of baltimore city maryland s. And i'm forty now but growing up. I was very interested in some of the books that came out in the eighties nineties That were so pumped books. That really got me involved in cyber. Fix science fiction Such as neil stevenson snow crash and william gibson's pattern recognition. I was reading a lot of that at the time. But i was also reading a lot of philosophy. A lot of Hey go and content transcendental idealism in a classic transcendental in america emerson whitman throw etc and That really generate interest in me in studying society. So i went on to Move to the south and got a masters of science degree in sociology. And i'm currently employed as a professional Is manager and sociologist with the state Looking at ya. Those early books though. I like snow crash in pattern recognition. I saw that. I i eventually kind of branched off into shows like the twilight zone star trek's Decades after the rest of the world had already covered them. You know books like one thousand nine hundred four. We brave new world fahrenheit all the classics that we all agree are at the top of the list. Although i never read dune to about five years ago and i wish i would have read it as a boy. Of course i realized there was something unique and intellectual going on here. That wasn't really about futuristic. Science it was about the present days cultural conflicts and perhaps nowhere is that more distinguished than some of the cyberpunk and early produce hyper punk literature. So when did you decide to try your own hand at writing it. I see from what you have in your website that that was pretty early You felt that you you could write better endings and you were seeing some of these stories. Yes and so yeah. I just revising like x. men episodes and other things Writing writing endings of things as a even sixth grade however overtime i wrote about four or five novels but none of them were really up to par and so i just destroyed them over the years. Cut bisa pieces out from them and to finally arrived at him as fears which took about forty five hundred hours to write and part of that has to do with the planning process which will go into later But a lot of that some of those chapters Even though release nastier were written twenty five years ago that just became kind of cut and paste from all these other works destroyed. Sto this is something. That's been simmering around in your head for a long time absolutely Did you have any formal writing training at any point Something just gotta touch yourself. Yeah i started out as an english major and took some creative writing classes in college but then switched over to the sources scientists psychology and then soc And i feel like when you do that when you have that social science understanding you're able to create a characters interior already and motivations and kind of create that complex cognitive dissidents in a character. Really really well on the other hand without having a full creative writing background. Some of the Easier things such as Dialogue for instance were very very challenging to write without having that practice a formal institutional atmosphere. I don't know i. I always ask that question of authors and an awful lot of them especially in the science fiction fantasy field who did have some sort of formal creative writing classes. They found that they were of limited. Use because you so often run into a push back against the very idea of writing than science fiction and fantasy stuff so some people still run into that. Even today you think that you'd think that mindset with the in the past but it's apparently still existed some creative writing programs. I never took creative writing myself exactly. I took one class. I went into journalism. And that's where my you know firsthand. Writing experience was so everybody comes to it from a different direction yet. Do you feel like the science fiction and are less respected in the literary world than other genres. I still think there's some of that around. I think there's hopefully less than there used to be. But right when i when i talked to different authors had different experiences it also depends on the age of the author. And you know you're when they had these classes and that sort of thing and others you know have gone the full master. Fine arts approach so right. One thing one thing i founded this podcast is that everybody does it differently. And that's one of the interesting things about it So you're you're you're currently Still working as a sociologist. You're not a fulltime writer or anything like that. It seems clear from what you said that your career that you would into his very much informing your fiction. Yeah absolutely and the whole and sociological theory and And the writers such as you know hagel and darcom etc all of this kind of mark neo marxist theory on the book is not overly political but there is a lot of social conflict between classes between those Between the haves and the have not so to speak i that we can Speak more about but yeah those dialectical conflicts really inspiring classes. And things like that well and you also write quite a bit of commentary about cyberpunk cyberpunk is it was a very new thing at one. Point out almost seems old hat. Is there a renaissance happening in cyberpunk. Do you think it's definitely considered old hat. And a lot of ways even by the old writers many of the oldest cyberpunk writers have told me they've given up the cyberpunk name title. They don't associate themselves with it anymore. however yes there is a a revivo These cyber punk coalition is a group of about twenty five published cyberpunk authors including on eric malachi patrick till it matthew goodwin etc and We've originally put out in neo a cyberpunk anthology of short stories. That show kate case what is called the new wave of cyberpunk here. That's coming up and A lot of it is a throwback to the early eighty s. Not so much the spacefaring cyberpunk that we had in novels such as Cats world or Halo for instance or frontera. Not our back him flowers not so much the space oriented cyberpunk but the more distortion near future cyberpunk the gibson style experience like four revival. And in fact it's somewhat ashamed at times at wayne gibson style has was so definitive on the john raw that to eat. It's almost becomes inconceivable to write cyberpunk without paying homage to him. I think my favorite story about that robert j sawyer who says science fiction writer that i interviewed right off the bat and i've known him for time because he's canadian. He often likes to point out as an example of how science changes and that the beginning of gibson's. I guess it's probably in your own answer. In the sky over the port was the color of tv tuned to a dead channel. Of course that used to mean grey and cloudy and now it means bright blue. Yes that's true. And of course i just wanted to talk about talk about mysterious as well. Does you know the shifting science and technology so before we get to that first of all how would you define cyberpunk. Do you have a definition for it. I mean it's difficult to find it without destroying it because it should be something that's a that's a punk that is to say an opposition a reaction to the psychiatrist of times to the tunnel. Dystopia times we find ourselves then so because those times are always changing the definition kinda change with it but overall it is A s boy sub-genre science fiction that is token and essentially explorers antagonists that are global corporations. That are manipulating people. For profit and creating wage saves And corporations have become more powerful than countries and are relying on technology such as artificial intelligence and other things to oppress the masses at in sort of anti hero that That goes against that system now in post cyberpunk the anti hero becomes basically a chosen one or someone basically a chosen one like in the matrix or to some degree in hemispheres. So there is a more an impose cyberpunk find more optimistic views technology than you did in the classic cyberpunk but classics. I remarks looking at that intersection of technology and culture culturing class. Okay now give me a synopsis of hemispheres. Before we start talking about it sure so hemispheres is a cyberpunk space opera novel about a title locked planet glossy five eighty one g. It's solar title locked so it's locked to the sun and only it's a real planet and only one hemisphere receives light which is called a big. Not which is on meaning eternal darkness so since one side of the hemisphere receives or since one and the planet received slight this causes war over land and eventually there's disputes that come to be regulated by an ai. In a sort of a technocracy we would call it so with once the with one hemisphere always dark. The government is limited. All sources of light with even fire being banned except for one source of light firefly's When the ship count is planet firefights occurred it just alright right frequency to be a light source and a suitable currency. So as new forms of light were redeveloped. Those who had their wealth in firefly's resisted the processing of tungsten and other elements meaning that the poor using light is currency. They didn't always have enough light to live by. And basically the whole thing is a metaphor. For how the poor are kept in the dark both literally and metaphorically by the elites anyway seven ribbon. Several ribbon share works for his For this government as a mercenary and he's previously been tear former. But i now he's involved in milton actions and he has second thoughts about protecting a system that results him so much inequality so when a group of radicals attempt to increase the planet's rotation to bring daylight cycles to both sides of the planet. He's ordered to shut them down If it comes to to the dark hemisphere the economy based on light would break down on the other hand. If the planet's rotation is increased then it will result in ecological disasters such as floods earthquakes and environmental destruction. so he's kind of caught in this Moral ethical conundrum. That's almost very solar pumpkin the in the ecological vibes. There's a lot going on there. Had this all about he said some of it goes back twenty five years so how this is the. This is the cliche question. Where do you get your. But it's a legitimate question because people are curious to know how things are inspired together. So what was the process here for you. What brought this all to together. As an idea processor of started when i was playing mandolin in the park outside of a college in the south and i met this wonderful beautiful woman who became my wife and came up with the idea for the novel. That's that's a good one so she came up with the idea it was actually you know we we keep up to date on science as much as possible and glossy five eighty one. G was one of these planets that had been discovered at that time as being Just like earth like a goldilocks planet is absolutely perfect. Deliver one except for the fact that is twenty million miles away twenty million light years away rather and in addition the planet is half of. It's always dark so half of it's always frozen and so those are things that are you know. would have to be surmounted but otherwise is perfect planet so studying the science Really brought allowed this Inspiration and my wife came up with the idea and you know. Lay down some things and then finally submitted. It got my first rejection letter from philip. K dick's publisher at twilight. Something who's been absorbed by kensington. And then. after. After i got one rejection i put the book down for two years and it must be crap then eventually. I got some feedback from beta readers. Which is very important and From other editors and eventually edited it. And i learned that dune had been submitted at twenty nine times before it had finally been picked up by a publisher and so i decided i would submit him as fears twenty nine times and if it wasn't published by publisher at that point i would give out when the twenty ninth time. After twenty-eight rejections rock hill publishing a traditional publisher in virginia picked it up. And so that was that i saw your websites. You had in your little About you there. You had said that you don't you don't plan outlined that's usually my next question is planning outlining. So what does that really mean. You have some planning at least mentally. Yes so the planning is something that i've actually increasing increasingly done Over time it because that's one of the reasons that it took you know thousands of hours to write a book that story in our pages because of the lack of outlining and planning are believed that if you create situations that are rife with conflict and that your characters have internal conflict as well in realistic motivations. Add that the plot kind of rights itself when they're put into conflict the atmospheres of conflict on the other hand. It's really you can really get your head underwater. If you're not careful with this approach yeah it's well. This is the what we call him. A few applauding versus panting. So it sounds like you're you're pancer. Yes but i'm a wannabe plotter. Because i when. I plot even simple shorts short story. The process goes like so much faster. You do feel at times that you're kind of contrived to connect point a. to point b. and it's almost just like following a line that's already developed kind of takes away some the free women spontaneity of the writing. I think But at the same time it it keeps the plot intact and income and cohesive and comprehensible. Well certainly the The talked to run the gamut from complete answers reno. While i have a couple of characters in two characters go into a bar in a novel comes out and there's also the other extreme and i've mentioned it several times. He doesn't mind peter v brett. Who wrote a internationally. Bestselling series called the demon cycle. He writes hundred and fifty page outlines before he begins hiding and then he just fills in the blanks so he puts all of that creativity into the outline and other people say well it could write like that it would. It would spoil the the she says. Well it's not supposed to find a job so that's thing you know. Five percent of its was the writing and ninety five percent. Is the editing the marketing and everything else. it's work so Your actual writing process. Then you're you're obviously just writing but by that by the process i mean. Do you sit with a quilt. Used parchment under a tree or go out of your house variety right in an office. What's what's interruption is really the main enemy of writing. I think and but i have to do it on the computer because i have to constantly reorganize entire pages in paragraphs for flow and constantly. Jumla them back together in different orders But you know a couple of glasses of sake helps lubricate the narratives as well They especially with some of the more intimate intimate scenes. I think they come across a lot easier for someone who's a little bit more. Bashful like me. There is a scotch that i've run across called writers tears I think it's from ireland. Where it what i. What a history of writing there. So do you work in long uninterrupted stretches. Or do you have to snatch bits and pieces when you can. What would have full-time job. Yeah i have four kids. So i wrote about two and ten minutes here and ten minutes there if i could i would spend twelve hours a day just unmoving like i did in college writing whatever whatever but you have to create that work life balance and family hobby balances well. It's very easy to become self absorbed when you do this as you're creating these whole you know very immersive worlds. I mean with me being extremely introverted. Anyway you really have to balance that with familial duties and responsibilities and you know kind of letting the ego go away and setting limits for yourself in how much sometimes writing could be a very selfish process because it's an individual process. I look at other arts. And lots of our tour group arts their creative arts where you get a whole band together and or get their family together and play six instruments at a time and it's wonderful but writing is an isolated process so i'm i'm become increasingly hesitant to isolate myself for a long period to an end because of the impacts that can have you know on the family and all especially when you're spending thousands of hours on a buck. Yeah i've done. I do this writing but i've also done professional theater which is on the other end of the scale of being surrounded by people and and working you know that way And yet i also like to say that and see what you think about this that although writing is a solitary something you do by yourself. The end product is really a collaborative product. You're putting ideas and other people's heads but they don't really exist until those people reassemble those ideas inside their heads. So you really collaborating with readers all odd. That's excellent point because once you're done on the whole interpretation of the book becomes a collective discourse either literally like in situations like this. Where like you were like. you said either. Tacitly when the reader's reading it It's almost conversation between the writer and the reader. Now you mentioned that you you know moving stuff around you work in word or do you use something like scrivener which makes that process. Perhaps a little easier. But you'd use just just weren't i mean most people i know you scrivner however yeah i have it but i don't use it so meeting to but it's it's like well. There's this learning curve and i just wanted to write so i haven't done that yet. So okay you're you're riding along. How long process was writing this book. Do you end up with what you'd call the first draft or are you drink so much revision as you go that when you get to the end it's kind of finished in your your pass just at initial draft kind of stage. I do so much editing that it destroys the writings of some degree. Editing things for business editing things for tone and everything you can actually over edited book. I was talking to jeff vandermeer. Who did the annihilation movie and books. You know and jeff told me that. He wants a character to really read a certain way like raw. He just doesn't edit their techs at all. He doesn't editor sections Because he told me there's a risk and when you add it and over edit the same line over and over yes it can look more concise more proper and everything else but you lose some of that tone which is really hard to maintain as as a writer a a unique tone of voice so over added so you end up with something. That's fairly polished. When you get to quite what you say the end yeah it and then go straight into you mentioned beta readers. So tell me about those. Where did you find them. And then how many do you use. And what do they do for. You is important for any altered. I'm an author grip on. I have in in for me I reached out to A cyberpunk author matthew goodwin. Who was putting together. An author group and We ended up. He ended up coming up with concept cyberpunk day and it cyberpunk dot com to recognize Cyberpunk as a cultural phenomenon. In celebrated every year on october tenth one binary code so because of that having an event in having a one day a year and having an author group that surrounded with projects like coming up with intelligence and all it really inspires you right but you also get that kind of reciprocity beta feedback and so authors have to join together especially if they're indie authors like these authors are who are self published then they have no choice but to constantly In themselves in the author community. So what kind of feedback do you get half. The people say. That book is way too slow and the other say the other half say. That is way too fast pace. And so that's the kind of feedback you get. There are editors there are other writers. there are critics. And then there's your reader and it's hard to please even one or two of those groups and so if you can please a couple of those groups you doing well But that's about you have to know say in. Cyberpunk people expect it to be disorienting. Fast paced the average hard science fiction. Reader is going to expect very gradual slow extradition. So you have to know your target audience so with conflicting responses coming back. How do you ultimately decide which should vice to take in which to set aside. I read the classics Most of the cyberpunk classics and tried to decide what. What was the pacing like in those books and when i read neuromancer vacuum flowers. It's extremely fast paced. And they're very disorienting. And i kind of copy that style of just throwing the reader into the action without a whole lot of physician and then then kind of feel their way through it And cyberpunk authors love that but the average sifi readers sometimes turned off by the lack of By not having ten pages of info dumped world building. I yeah very much depends on the reader. I mean i've. I've always found that part of the excitement of reading science. Fiction is being simply thrown into a strange situation in figuring out what's going on. Yeah exactly so. I've never had a problem with the kind of know i was able to finish hemispheres. I started it. And i never had a problem with being thrown into something like that and try to figure it out and i think john readers have an even bigger problems with it. Try to orient themselves. And it's one thing that turned off people that say they don't like science fiction or fantasy is that i don't know what's going on feeling even advantage so something different terms in different races and everything and sometimes you're left to kind of feel it out. Do you get any like line-by-line feedback from from beta readers. Or is that something. You're looking more towards the editing chart. Two chart above from editor and data readers on you get line-by-line feedback and i. It's hard to take sometimes on the same line that somebody who likes another person may not like the main difference seems to be the level of metaphor that people like i like extremely dense metaphorical poetic prose. Some people. you know. Say oh they let they love the book for that reason others say that it makes it too obtuse and slow to read Having to peace out all the metaphors constantly so you know that's one thing that science fiction in general a lot of the people who read it. I think one more concrete texts that are less abstract philosophical unless poetic and flowery prose. Well i think in fantasy you can get a. You can get away with some of the more eloquent poetic prose and efforts and as you said about finding your audience there so many nieces in so many different readers up. Yeah you can now. You can now right for a fairly small decent still find quite a few readers if you can just connect with them. I'll absolutely absolutely and yes. You're protests quite quite dense. That just comes naturally to you. Know it comes from the over editing you know constantly taking away and you know when writing it the first editor before i signed with rock hill Asked me to cut twenty thousand words before they would consider it so those twenty thousand words that got cut. Yeah that that's part of the reason why everything became more. That's not always a bad thing now. And with rock hill. You're working men with an editor at some point. What's the story of process like for you. Editors great athena will is an author herself and show you know read through it. And then i re through a few times and we both go back and forth the if we argue about anything. It's just a single comma usually And so yeah. It's a very amicable process. It's a back and forth But when you're with a small publisher that may produce a dozen books a year like rock hill. Then you have to be part of that publishing group and part of their weekly meetings and part of their marketing strategy and you know and giving your skills whether it's graphic design marketing etc. You know giving your skills to that group. Small publishers really benefit from the participation of their authors. While but i think that's becoming the case even with the larger publishers. Now i look at large very popular authors who stopped promoting themselves say social media and within a couple of years they disappear and people. Just don't know that mess watch others. It's interesting with this because a really really long established authors team to do fine without doing a lot on social media but it seems like anybody starting up or the snaps is not like has decades and decades of fan support built Seems to rely more and more on doing their own marketing. I know i'm constantly posting this. And that and the other thing and one thing i remember from 'cause i studied public relations among other things when i got my journalism degree which was in arkansas by the way closer to florida and i have not was one thing i remember was that ninety percent of public relations is wasted but nobody knows which ninety percent it is certainly seems to hold true for for marketing. In general oh absolutely. Yeah i mean. There's the two methods. Brian pay method. Where a spray and pray on call where you just try to reach one hundred thousand people at random or you can. You can try to put the effort in to reach those hundred people. That are actually in your niche. It might read your book. And you know that's my that's my method is just reaching that small group When you're in a niche like cyberpunk you wanna reach that specific your news now. When did the book officially kind of august twenty. So what well first of all you brought out your first book when there were a few other things going on in the world last year. Yes how did that affect you. The formatting ended up getting rushed in some ways The final product Things like the cover. The resolution and contrast a lot of things ended up kind of Everything was very hurried. i felt And all publishing was in tubes right. Then you know. Originally we had planned on releasing it like maybe in april. But that didn't seem good but you don't want to delay these things evidently I was going to do a tour across but any kind of physical book tour was cancelled. So that's why i relied on great podcast like yours. To kind of be the book touring get the word out so that really helped at hopefully in the not too distant future may be able to start doing physical book launches and things again. That would be nice. Oh yeah i've missed. I sell a lot of my books. i do. I go to a couple of local comic con type things. And i've always sold. You know thousand dollars worth of books off my table over the weekend. Which is you know not significant right and that was all god last year. So right all i know looking for it to that coming back that of course even the books that are in bookstores bookstores have been closed. And know it's been it's been quite. I reached out to a two hundred independent bookstores and nine of them. Pick the book up but a lot of them. They said they were asking. Actually saying we can't buy your book right now. Can you make a donation so we can keep our doors open and so a lot of them going out and hopefully there's there'll be a bounce back after this is all over but i guess we'll have to wait and see now. I'm so once you had the actual bug. I mean that's always exciting. First physical book in hand. What was your reaction when when it came out that field you it overwhelming. I mean there was an immediate like five hundred hours of of things. I had to do the bill. My author platform. You know you're author. Platform needs to be built two years before you Publisher book no no less than one year. But i had about three months to build my author platform before launch and so that took one hundred twenty five hours to develop my website in just the initial version of it for instance and all those things that you that you have to do creation of your marketing plan and meeting with the marketers etc. It takes tremendous amount of time and it's very overwhelming. It's also. I don't want to figure out your income from writing on an hourly basis when it would make sense. It'd be pennies on the hour no matter how much you sell. How was the reaction. What is the reaction to abandon. Have you been pleased with the way people reacted to absolutely. It went to number five in his category during During the launch week and had a few hundred readers pick it up you know just during the launch weekend and so yeah it very well at first tapered off over time as i marketed. It less and less But you really today. If i put one in our into marketing know you may get a few book sales. If you're doing. But i it's you have to constantly be at it. That's the thing releasing more books. However i've just wrote written twenty thousand words to a sequel for instance. And i have a couple of other things that are out. There are being quarried in an Reviewed but Yeah that kind of you know. Hopefully sequel would help promote the original book as well. You had a couple of short stories. Did you not a couple of other collections. Yeah i've had about dozen by now published in a variety of different areas. So how'd you find out the difference between writing for you. The way you write Writing short fiction as opposed to reading novel. I it's much harder and a half to plan in outline it. A three page short story you know could be sold for thirty dollars but it may also twenty hours to write three pages. It's more difficult to write concisely and try to put a plot and character arc into you know into their normal three four thousand words than it is to write a novel. I think the short story has challenging for form. There's i can't remember who it was. Who famously wrote in a letter. I'm sorry for the link of this letter. But i didn't have time to make it shorter or something like that. Right right fiction could feel like that for sure but with the short fiction do. Do you find that more or less satisfying than writing a novel. Which way do you think is really your natural storytelling their their role satisfying in a sense. That you need quick wins to keep you encouraged in to keep you going and if you can spend a weekend writing short story and you know corey it out and get it published in a competitive journal. That's very inspiring and people will read that and then want to reach your longer works at the same time you know. Having having kind of all of your accomplishments in one place you know so to speak and being able to plan the complexity of a novel you know there's a there's a lot of joy in that too but you know you need long term goals in quick wins or you stop doing it. One thing i meant to ask about when we're talking about writing the novel night. Because i touched on it earlier was about the rapid pace of technological advancement. Does seem to play. Now you're writing your writing. Cyberpunk set in the far future on interstellar setting right but with the pace of technology. Changing is is that a challenge for cyberpunk writers. So that you don't end. I still remember watching x. Files where they were talking about. I think it was a t three and how this was such an amazing fast right right. Able and even at the time that was in the x. files. My wife said telecommunications engineer. And i knew that a t three was already old hat and this was not latest cutting edge thing that they tried to make it. Sound like Do you think there's a an issue like that. With trying to write cyber pike and try to stay ahead of the advancement of artificial intelligence all the other things that are going on. I think that people are paying attention to cyber cybernetic augmentation synonym prosthetics. And you know. False is virtual reality in augmon. It reality they're paying attention to all those developments but anna machines but they're not paying cyberpunk authors are not paying attention to little things like a kitchen appliance technology or Or you know. Different types of technology that are everyday common goods There's one video game. For instance techno babylon that the cyberpunk game that looks at Small technological devices and how they have huge impacts on society You know we. We look at the. I think a major technology of isis being like You know whether it's the internet or the radio or the tv etc but there's you know so much smaller devices that are less significant that had large impacts based on Kind of technology that merge out of them but cyberpunk really technologically is just interested in government monitoring technology and cybernetic augmentation and that's really very limited perspective. Well it's interesting when you look through the history of any advancement the unexpected side effects of what seems like fairly minor things. Oh yeah think about how. The automobile for example changed. Change society and sexual. Moore's and everything else. Your sociologist must be something that sociology has studied and continues to study. is it absolutely Like ideas of the speed of transmission. Look at how fast on different cultures can communicate and how it affects their military fangio and their economy etc of for instance. Can they introduced cell phones to indian fishing villages in asia and an entirely impacted back at everything because they could call local fishermen and or or local Places where they would selfish and see if those fish that they caught that day where necessary or they were whether they would have a market if they if they went off to the to that location but basically this this impact the the local fishermen because if they Before they would just randomly go from doctor to see which market needed their fish sow and allowed. The fish would deny and become a rotten by the time they actually market for that. So being able to increase the speed of communication increase the efficiency of their economy Reduce food waste. You know in had an impact on the population and in from a functional perspective impacts population then affect every other aspect of society because it causes things like we gentrification cultural diffusion etc. All of science fiction is supposed to be well a bets to broader brush. Because there's so many different kinds of science fiction but of course the classic idea science fiction is that that There's two questions. Ydf and if this goes on and the if this goes on is where you're starting to get into all that kind of stuff and again that's where the cyberpunk comes in if this goes on with this level of technology and and corporate control and all that this might be where we end up. Did you do. Oh sorry go ahead. No now please. I'm just gonna say did you. Did you have to do any special research while you were writing hemispheres. The beach are tied. there was mostly on The the astronomy of a title planets. And how they how. They work reading. Nasa research reading about the physics of entropy and things like that Because that was outside of my field. And i touched very briefly in the book when the actual mechanisms of controlling the planet's angular momentum to increase. Its rotation reese. I don't touch on more more than a few paragraphs here and there is because they say right. What you know as a sociologist. I'm able to write things. I'd create a religion based around Panopticon create a religion based on In the book they worship this. God orbis who represents The panopticon of george berkeley the scottish philosopher but in any regard china. Right what you know. If you know religion philosophy you right that On the other hand if so mainly had to write the astronomy studied the astronomy side. But it's also worth noting and certainly with far future science fiction. It's not like we today. Go around and explain to each other how things work. We just accept it. That's our world and so how much of that you have to explain very much has to do with kind of story. You're telling. I think oh absolutely absolutely so. Is hemispheres standalone. You said irish. You said you're working on a sequel. Is that right yes on. The publisher has a right to the entire series. So sequel be out in a year and yeah the first twenty thousand words went very well and now i'm stuck and so i'm going to have to reach out to A couple of guys at bay the read my other work earlier work and see if they can help me out with the plot Did you do more planning outlining or are you still yet. Winging it far more planning on outlining yes but it all resolved within twenty thousand words. The whole conflict was resolved the characters to efficient it. Just maybe it's really a novella right. Well we're getting the last a ten fifteen minutes here. So i'll ask you my big philosophical questions you're You're on sociologist. Should be good with these. The first one is simply. Why do you right. I mean you started doing it when you're young. You spent years at at all these hours you put into it. You've got a book. What is it that drives you keep doing it quite you right. I mean believe that there has to be a certain value. That comes out of it that you know some kind of moral value. That comes out of literature. You don't want to overly moralize things but to write from your entertainment purposes is somewhat vain. I think these values in this case. I wanted to create two different sides and kind of mix up the conservatives and liberals so that the Kinda mix up their beliefs and show that they weren't as different as a really appeared to be on the surface To kind of break down like all. The characters are shades of gray. There's no good and evil. And when you can congra- create characters that are shades of gray. That are all flawed but still can produce work together to something good you know. There's a certain value statement that comes out of that and so that's one of the reasons and it's very cathartic and therapeutic. Most altars will say that it's cathartic to right. It's getting out all this repress stuff in the unconscious that emerges through Writers i think most writers are probably writing for more along the lines of entertainment. I do think there's some degree even myself of arm echo in narcissism involved and to some degree. I think that you have to be a little bit to be an altar to you. Have to believe that you have something special and unique to contribute. Even if you don't in you're standing on the shoulders of giants simply to put up with one hundred rejections in our all the rejection. The emails at you'll get back You kind of have to have some kind of shell there and believe that you have something to give but i do find a lot of of both sensitivity but also narcissism in the art community overall. Yeah i think. I go along with that and having this as an actor as well i could. Yeah i could see that on the slightly bigger image the picture You talk about why writers right but why as a human race do. We feel compelled to tell stories. Why do we feel compelled to make things up until store us fascinating. I'm a bit. I equate the background question to that. Is how much do we make up. You know have we can start socially constructed our entire reality right down to religion in the gods. you know Is it all socially constructed or you know what. to what degree does the material world influence social world. You look at. What's called cultural materialism anthropology allison grande anthro and in cultural materialism we look at how nature and natural pressures a shape culture and shape a discourse narrative and how those narratives serve different functions. A narrative said That we telling our societies her functions to replicate the system to a large degree Whether it's replicating patriarchy or represent or are replicating our values etc their ways of stabilizing the system. So that's when you that's when it's really special when you see something like cyberpunk that's very subversive and it wants to undermine the most commonly accepted discourse the subject Making us examined things like the power that we give corporations and a lack of regulation and the abuses that. Come out of this on. These subversive literature are very on interesting for that reason but i think a lot of a lot of our discourses just replicating and keeping the status quo. It must come from evolution ultimately. Why does this. What is the survival benefit to the species of of telling stories well. Metaphor itself has been linked to bridging societies together That let me give you an example. I thought there was a woman who was very racist and went into a mexican restaurant. Refuse to try anything. But she was with a friend. And i watched her in line and Somebody said you gotta try the case at diaz and they were able to commit you try cheesecakes ideas by telling her that basically a grilled cheese and when when when they said that she tried the case india and then i looked over at the table and she absolutely loved it and so i always remember that because it's basically by making a metaphor there that the case is like a grilled cheese. She was able to assimilate to an an important aspect of mexican culture food. Culinary culture So metaphors overall are how we Interact with situations that were uncomfortable with or that. We can't anticipate We relate them back to what we know and so promulgating. What we know helps us adapt more to a different environments in social environments an expert patient So that's part of it. I think well then why taken this is my third question. Why the next step and tell stories about things that are clearly not so or fantasy worlds or or science fiction a worldwide in the far future. Why why why take that next. Step down there. It's a lot of escapism. They did studies on the personality. Types of people who like science fiction and they're not necessarily extroverted or introverted but they are people who are kind of Pariahs to some degree or on the fringes of society in some way or another Based on either personality characteristics the status their own choice etc so in it binds them together as what the study found is that by having a unique form of escapism. That's collectively acknowledged where we can all talk about star wars or star trek than it creates a subgroup proprietors. I can identify with that. I can do all right well. You've already mentioned that what you're working on Is there anything else in the works beyond that to that sequel wrote a Story a novel digital enlightenment and it is a new universe set apart for an day sickly about a one society where they cannot write at all and another society where everything think is written down across. Tv screens the stretch out across the city. And so all their thoughts in twelve thousand thoughts a day per person are on display for the entire world to see a while into this woman from a culture. That can't write. It all goes into a culture where everything that people think is written down. And it's about how those two societies interact and with a lot of satire media and what we choose to display to the world on social media. Sounds interesting thank you. And where can people find you. Online mark laid dot com. Would be probably the best place. Okay are you on twitter Slash mark everglade where mark everglade one. One okay well thanks so much for being on the world shapers. That was a fascinating chadha. Hope you enjoyed it. Thank you absolutely my pleasure and by for now thank you so thanks again to mark everglade for being the guest on this episode of the world. Shapers that was a very interesting conversation. Style founded someone. I hope you did as well. Just reminder that you can find the world. Shapers online at the world shapers dot com and on facebook app. The world shapers and on twitter at the world shapers. You can find me. At edward willett dot com to tease on willett. You can find my books. Available for sale autographed books. At edward willett shop dot com. My publishing company is shadow. Press stop com shadow. Pop press will be publishing the shapers of world's volume to anthropology which i am currently kick-starting and you can find that kickstarter Assuming that you are listening to this. Before april eight. Twenty twenty one when the kickstarter ends at a tiny you are l. dot com slash shapers of world's to with the arabic numeral two there at the end and you can find me on twitter at e willett and on facebook at edward don willett and on instagram at edward author You can also find me on youtube at tiny you are l. dot com slash. Edward willett tube where you can find my daily live walks and blogs where i talk about writing and many other things as i walk around my hometown out of regina saskatchewan and this is part of the scotsman podcast network. Oh good place to segue that in there this podcast continues and there are many great authors. I'm working on right now. Lining up in the future jane yield dimension. Just one will be coming up very excited about that. And of course the anthology that i'm kick-starting will feature guests who are on this podcast during the second year of the podcast and if that funds i hope to do it again next year and have an anthology featuring third year guests of the podcast. So i think that's it for this time around. I hope that you enjoyed this episode of the world. Shapers will come back many times in the future to the the more conversations with science fiction and fantasy authors about the creative process and how they go about writing the wonderful stories that we've only so much that's it for this time
Episode 82: David Ebenbach
"The conversations with scientists about the creative process hunger hosts every this episode's guest even even welcome to another episode of the world. Shapers podcast right talk to other sites section at fantasy authors about the creative process. My name is edward willett. i'm your host. I am myself an author of science fiction and fantasy quite a lot of it in fact and my latest book is called the moonlit world. It's a book three in my world. Shakespeare series which shares kind of season with this podcast from don books book one was called world shaper book to master the world book. Three is the moonlight world Every story takes place in a kind of world shaped by someone from our world who's been given this world to shape so the first one was kind of like our world The moonlit world is Vampires and werewolves and peasants. Oh i it's it's that kind of a story it was. It was a lot of fun to write book to was called master. The world and it was a a jules verne like story. So that's my latest three books. I also have a book out through. Show press my own. Publishing company called a blue fire. I written under my suit and ec blake ec. Blake also wrote the masks of agreement fantasy trilogy for books. And it's a young adult epic young adult fantasy novel. You can find that well anywhere If you'd like to get the book direct from shadow pop press You can do so you can download all of the books That chanaka press publishes directly from the website. Shadow press dot com. You can get them elsewhere as well and the books are also available in print. You can order. Those shows podcasts. As well. Although i have to admit i can't compete with amazon. The shipping costs the other book. News related to this podcast is Shapers of world's last year. I successfully kick started shapers worlds and anthology featuring authors who refers to your guests of this podcast that is now available e book print And it contains new fiction from sean. Maguire tanya huff david weber ellie bodice a junior dj butler christopher rocky. Oh john c right shelly. Edina and me. Plus reprints from john. Skulls david brin joe haldeman julius tornado funded the charles e gannon gareth l powell there could skin and array a dire so that was shapers of worlds and that was successfully kick started so i did it again and just a couple of weeks ago. kick starters of world's volume two three weeks ago. Now i guess successfully funded and i got the money this week which means i'm now proceeding with the contracting authors in creating a book And the authors this year there's more of them and there's more original fiction this time so shapers of world's volume to coming up. This year will feature new fiction from kelley armstrong. Marie brennan helen. Dale candice gene dorsey. Lisa foils susan forrest james. Alan gardner matthew hughes healthy kennedy. Lisa kessler adria lay craft. 'iran garth nix. Tim pratt edward salvio. Brian thomas schmidt jeremy saul and me and reprints from a carver. Barbara hambly nancy. kress david. D levine s sterling and kerry vaughn. I already have some of those stories in hand. And i can tell you. It's going to be a great anthology. So i'm really looking forward to making that happen As this year goes along and that again will be published by shadow poppers shadow press dot com Let's see the only other thing. I should mention here before we get into the meat of this podcast episode. Is that the world shapers. Podcast is part of the and podcast network right. Then let's get onto this episodes interview with david. Even book david even bach has been writing ever since he was a kid when he kept whole family awake by banging away on an enormous manual typewriter. And he's never wanted to stop. I had a little manual typewriter myself. In fact to david's now the author of eight books fiction poetry and nonfiction and his work has picked up awards along the way such as the drew hines literature. Prize judah reprise the patricia maybe award and more at philadelphia native. these days. David does most of his writing in washington dc where he lives with his family and he uses a laptop now so he doesn't keep them awake and he works at georgetown. University teaching creative writing and literature at the center for jewish civilization and promoting student centered teaching at the center for new designs in learning and scholarship. So david welcome to the world shapers. Thank you so much for having me. And i should say by the way that the typewriter was at least enormous when i was small. It's possible to present as big as i remember. We had this little smith corona portable which took me right to university. And i i loved it because it was mechanical. If there was a key that would occasionally quit working. But i knew how to fix it and as long as i could get ribbons. I actually quite liked it. It had a nice. It was easy to type on and so i kind of miss it some but i don't really miss the sound of the tap. Tap tap tap into carried miscarriage returns flipping or cat. Yeah and when. I started as a newspaper reporter started my career. We were on manual big manual typewriters. So i did. My share of that for sure was practically a weapon. I mean if you picked it up and draft somebody. That would be the last time you talked to them. That's right. I don't think we have. I know for a fact. In fact i think that we have never met. I don't know we might have been at a convention at the same time. But we've never met a person but you came to me through a techie on Publishing your upcoming book how to mars that. We're going to talk about and we were talking before we started about What a great publishing company they are. And i've talked to several authors. Who have worked with them and have heard good things about them. I'm glad to have you on again as another representative from techie on staple of authors. I'm delighted to be here in especially as that kind of representative. I gotta say And it's not just because they're publishing might my novel tacky on his spectacular on their consummate professionals. But they're also just a ton of fun and they they they seem to have hit it just right there publishing just the number of books that allow them to get a lot of stuff out there but to be able to devote a lot of attention to each book so it's just been a real pleasure and the stuff attack on publishes you could easily just ause. You're listening to this interview. You could pause it and go grab a bunch of books from tacky on almost at random and you'd be really happy to have really great covers really like tacky on uncovers. Yes elizabeth story Does the covers or at least most of them and she did mind. That was a great day when i saw that design. We'll talk about how to mars later on. But i i will take you back into the mississippi of time and We will find out we. I know from your bio that you started writing young so out. How did that begin. How did you get interested. I presume you started as a reader and then became interested in writing but ngoepe in philadelphia. So tell me all about that and how you got into this this writing habit. It was the books. Of course you know. I i mean i was reading from a pretty young age and the stuff that little kids get to read is full of wonder and vaccination the first book i ever read out loud. Was a book called cricketer which is about this Sentient boa constrictor. That can hormonal letters of the alphabet and all the numbers but also can thwart crime in paris. Really kind of remarkable snake. In never forget that i still have that And i just absorbed. Turn from everything that i was reading and also things that i was watching so i had this enormous typewriter course and banged out what. I considered my first novel. When i was eight years old and it was i would get me into serious copyright issues if people were looking at it today because the main characters were the smurfs they were close at hand and i just grabbed him and it's this surprisingly violence spy novel about the smurfs. Actually and i still have a copy of that on my on. My shelf in. I was typing with so much enthusiasm. The some of the letters pretty much when through the paper altogether. I left it a letter size letter shaped holes in the paper. And i just went on from there. I still remember very early picture book and it's not exactly obscure triple crayon very much. Remember reading that as a kid. And how much i wanted to be able to create things just by drawing them and instead i create things by writing them so i do think that was an influence on the whole sort of wanting to make up those those very early books can have quite an impact. And you know that that's a really interesting point. You make a and lived down the block from these two really talented artists. They were kids but to my mind they. They draw things that look like things. The my not brothers. And i was not great at that. And so. I had a kind of breakthrough moment one year. When i said well okay. I'm gonna make a comic strip like they're doing. But i i'm going to write the story out and then i'll see if i can figure out how to draw it and then i had this writing of historian i thought. Well maybe this is something already without the pictures And that broke. Open the floodgates for sure so that that transition from the books with pictures to words was a real light bulb moment for me. Where did the giant manual typewriter. Come from my parents. I don't know where in the world they got it. It was very old. You know we just must have been sitting around as junk somewhere in the house. They decided at my hands needed something to do so he got hauled up to the desk. I had in my room. And i'm just bang bang bangs so you were eight. I presume you continued writing then as you went on through school and high school and not work for you. Yeah kept going in high school. I wrote a lot of pretty bad. Twist endings stories for the school literary magazine. I think probably the worst thing i ever wrote. but that i was so proud of at the time is from the point of view of this narrator. Walking through this post apocalyptic landscape. Everything's destroyed it's sort of a nuclear wasteland and then the narrator looks in a puddle and sees its reflection in the last line of the story is cockroaches the soul survivors of a war. That couldn't be one terrible one this narrative the whole time was a cockroach and to me that was like the height of cleverness. But i suppose these gotten started. I did denver world cotton. I suggested a panel that they accepted and it was writers reading juvenilia. But none other places as well. But it was me and connie willis and sarah hoyt and joshua palmer cheer and we were all reading. County actually read from the romance novels. That i romance stories. True romance stories that she wrote when she was starting out for the confessions magazines. But i actually read from some of my high school stuff. So i was. I was brave olive gold. That stuff right. I mean where would we be if we hadn't done that And it not only fan done that but if we hadn't felt good about it at the time we can look back and question but it's great that we had some early moments of pride even around stuff that later on you might be a little bit. Did you have a teacher or somebody. Along the way there that was intial you in the sort of the high school years. Yeah unbelievably so there. Is this teacher. I went to central high school in philadelphia. Which is in big big school. And i suppose you could get lost in there then. Maybe two thousand students something like that but this one teacher carol has taught creative writing class That just brought me fully to life. I felt you know. I thought endlessly about that class. I poured a ton into what i was doing there. And even though she must have seen as a grownup that i was writing things that were kind of silly and kind of predictable in away but she just gave me a lot of encouragement on were more like she gave me a lot of licensed. Keep going in. That really mattered a lot. So yeah i have put her on the acknowledgement of my gloves because she mattered enormously that to the novel michael city bourne. I dedicated to tony. Tunbridge who was my grade seven or eight english teacher because my wrote my first complete short story about that age was called castro glass hyper shipped test. Violent and i can never find it. It's going online for sure. But i don't know what happened to the copy of it but he took it seriously and he you know he said. I don't understand why you're aliens act like this. And i don't understand why your character this stupid thing and and he remarked it up and took it very seriously and i. I've credited him. Because if you find an adult who takes your writing seriously it makes you thank. You know next thing. I'm gonna ride is going to be better at least that's how it was for me now Once you've got to university. Did you study creative writing. I what exactly did you Did you go into a little. Bit of a story I chose my college because it had a strong creative writing program But then i got there. And i felt like everything i encountered was really kind of pretentious. And i really didn't enjoy my grant. Writing classes are just took a couple. And then i backed out and i picked major for me. The dumbest reason that you could pick major but I was taking a psychology class at the time on it was supposed to be philosophy class but my handwriting on my sheet that i filled out for what classes i wanted was so bad that they thought it said psychology ecology class in and. Everybody was really nice. And so i kept going with psychology. And i dropped out of the creative writing the academic piece of that though i was always writing along the side and i went off to graduate school in psychology at the university of wisconsin. And i really enjoyed that there. But all along i was running off and cheating on psychology with creative writing. I was taking classes in creative writing. Jesse lee kercheval is another name of professor who turned my life around by taking me seriously at a crucial moment And it got to the point where they actually enrolled in an mfa program while i finishing up my phd in psychology Because it was becoming clearer to me that that was the direction. I had to go Those a long detour. I don't read it a lot of cool. Things happen in psychology but it is undeniably not a straight path. Well the fact that you did go so far in psychology and you write while characters are all about psychology to certain extent is your trading and psychology help you in it comes to things like characterization and storytelling you. She would think so. You know what the i think the distinction for me was. I studied social psychology. Which is really about on how the environment effects an individual other people. How social pressure and social opportunity affects people. I was really trying to save the world in. How do you make people recycle or take on racism. And i was looking at that. So what you do. Is you run these studies you take averages across lots of people in it's a great way to learn about folks but it's almost in a way the opposite of fiction where in psychology you ask lots of people question and average them in fiction. You look at one person. Really closely in generalize to everybody Or these to a lot of people. So they're they're quite different from each other and it ends up that the fiction way of knowing is much closer to the way i think in the way i i'm interested. So when did the creative writing start to turn into actual published things during that same period Before i enrolled in the mfa program. But while i was doing the psychology degree this teacher jesse lee curtis will just kept encouraging me to take myself seriously into send stuff out and i got really really lucky that the first story that got published first of all it wasn't rejected a ton of times rejected. I think eight times which is nothing in the grand scheme of things and the magazine. That took it this little magazine from florida called and they only had five hundred Subscriptions or something like that but the letter from the editor was an. It's usually not likeness usually. It's we'd like to publish this But this was so detailed about why he wanted to publish that story on. It was so affirming in positive that the publishing can be really bruising but it was such a gentle star that it it may be made it easier. The ruses started coming. They did come. Oh yeah. I had one story that This story i like to tell because it. I it sounds like i'm bragging but then you realize how dark everything is So that my first collection of stories won a prize and the prize that the drew hines literature prize. And that's maybe the prize. I wanted most in the whole world at one another prize as well. I'm in the title story in that collection also wanna prize when it was published but before it was published. That story was rejected sixty one times. Wow so you know. If i had held back maybe it wouldn't be imprint. Maybe that wouldn't exist if i had said well. Fifty rejections is a lot. Maybe i should give up on this thing. Who knows what. I d here now. So the thing. I'm always telling my students. I tell them that story and i say what's the number of rejections before you should give up on a story. Well you should give up. Once you've asked every single magazine that exists. I was going to say. I'm not even sure i could find sixty one markets. At least not. When i started out pre internet days could certainly couldn't have. There's so many places out there. I had my copy of novel and short story writers market and i just went alphabetically. Well i guess we're those. This is really dating me. These would be electric submissions. You didn't have to send them out with postage attached. Unfortunately i appreciate a predate. Bats time so those were all in the mail. Our boy i remember those days particularly fondly. I'm so glad to not be doing that anymore. Though there was something there was a way a nice ritual of going to the post office. And i would kind of wave my hands over the envelopes. God's speed may you find a home But it is much nicer to be able to shoot them out from the computer at home especially these days. Of course i pick. There's a an email rejection is is one thing but when that envelope actually came back with the story still in it. That was always a sad moment. Orlean yeah and sometimes if it was a long story and they sort of jammed it into the return envelope. And i thought why i wasn't even meaning for your return it. I thought you were just going to you. Know send the rejection note and they'd clearly labored to force it into this envelope. It was bad site for sure. You now teach creative writing and literature. So how did how did you end up doing that. Sort of little by little you know had this degree in psychology and the natural thing would have been to teach in that and i did a little bit Just at johns In philadelphia. When i moved back there after the degree but i was really just trying to build up some publications and so i tried to get more and more things published and then we moved to new york and there's a great app. They're called. gotham writers workshops. Mom you may have seen online That they took a chance on me. Who i hadn't hadn't taught reiterating writing before and they just let me try myself out a little bit and Got some great experience there and then you know little adjunct in here. A little agitating mayor got teaching gigging a wonderful college irwin college. For five years out in indiana and then after that Came to georgetown. And it's sort of a weird situation. Georgetown in a very nice way that i teach creative writing in a jewish studies program. Which as far as i can tell. I'm the only person in the world doing that. But basically the program felt what we've got to have some humanities or else this becomes entirely about the holocaust entirely about middle east politics and we can't just have judaism be about conflict also has to be that the things that we've created in made and there are so many wonderful jewish authors that it's not hard to put together some courses where students learn to write and the folks that they're studying our jewish authors so i teach poetry. I teach fiction. I teach a little bit about identity developments. I do some literature. They give me a lot of room to to teach the things i'm excited about. And then i'm in another program That's folks who want to go on in shape. The higher education landscape are in this master's program and i teach a course on creativity for those folks and that's teaching this semester. Sounds very interesting now. I often authors. Who teach. And i've done a very small amount of teaching and mentoring and a writer in residence and that sort of thing. Do you find that teaching feeds back into your own writing in some ways. So that you you know like the line from the king and if you become a teacher by your students who are taught to find that that's true commute true for me it in a variety of different ways sometimes it. It produces a kind of pressure that i hadn't realized i was missing out on so one of the things i've done when i've taught introduction to creative writing and i teach little poetry little fictional non fictional drama and after a while i realized i was teaching drama but wasn't writing it. Something felt off about that. So i started writing plays and i've done a little bit of that since then all because the class made me feel like i bought to turns out there really fun to work with but also i learn a lot from students in particular students are just getting started getting themselves into the most interesting possible messes they write a story and something crazy happens. That makes the story kind of fall apart at the end and i think what is it what went wrong gear and watching that and studying that helps me to see what. How would you need to do to make a story work. And then of course. There's also that when they succeeded something. That's a model to. I think it's the when you're doing any kind of teaching or mentoring. Whatever you're concentrating very much on a lot of different work often but it's that very close reading something and try to figure out what works and what doesn't work. I find that that impacts me thinking about my work when it comes time for revision and that sort of thing as well Now you when did you. First novel come along. Well that That's a sort of ridiculous story. So you know first. Published novel versus first novel. I have seven unpublished novels. Which god willing. We'll never be published Because they're not very good. But i wrote my first one in college. That doesn't count the smirked. One which is actually as an under ten pages calling it. A novel was a little presumptuous But yeah. I wrote a full length novel in college. That was not very good. And i started another one in college. Also not very good. And i wrote five others. That were not very good. Apparently takes a lot of practice to do this. Well so i hit out. But i didn't see it that way. At a certain point. I thought you know what i'm a short story writer by that point. I'd had a couple of short story collections. I felt like okay. Maybe i know how to do stories at least a little bit. I don't understand novels. And i'm not gonna keep forcing it. I have one novel that i sent to agent. Who said you are distorting short story. This should be a short story. And you've turned it into a novel was very kind of her actually to do that so i decided i am not going to try this anymore so i set out to write a short story called ms portland and of course that turned into my first published novel. Because i decided i'm not going to distort this thing i'm gonna take it as long as it needs to go and no shorter and no longer and then it was novel length and apparently worked out in here we are is all of your fiction within fall into the sort of speculative fiction side of things or some fantastic if you written and mainstream fiction as they call. It's actually quite a mix the the novelist. Portland is entirely realistic description. Yeah about a woman who is suffering from bipolar disorder and is trying to figure out how to get her life right. It's quite realistic. But then there are stories in my collection. The guy who didn't invite to the orgy and other stories that are magical realist. Or otherwise title by. Thanks yeah well. I was at an artist colony. One time and somebody's came to the breakfast table and they said they'd heard a rumor about this place before they got there. The rumor was that there had been an orgy. It displays and i thought okay and she said but the thing is one guy wasn't invited. And i thought now that's a story right. I mean an orgy. Orgeon not as story but an orgy were one guy doesn't get invited is a story. So that became the genesis of that whole whole collection so that those range quite a bed. And then you have this how to mars. Which is quite speculative and then the novel i'm working on. That hopefully will come after. That also speculative so. I do range bet though. I think i'm getting more. And more drawn into this speculative world. Wilda talk about why you're drawn into two when i get to the big philosophical questions at the end. I have two things i want to put weaver. Bon mists of time and big philosophical. Questions haven't done it yet. I support you if you you also write poetry which interests me. I committed one book of poetry. So i always interested to but i certainly don't think of myself as a poet. It was a very odd way that came about but what what. When did you start writing poetry. And what drew you into that. Well i just want to applaud your courage and admitting that you write poetry socially unacceptable but we all have to be honest about who we are. yeah i do Hi my name is david. I write poetry And i do it. Because there's material i have. That doesn't make sense in any other form. I've written stories. That didn't wanna be stories and so they had to become poems Because i was more interested in the imagery or the language that i was on the this happens and then this happens and then this happens so i found that poetry is a is a great outlet for me to do different things and i like to have room to do different things so that i don't lose any of the things that interest me. We'll be fair to real poets. My my poetry book came about because of during poetry month. In twenty t nine. Thank the poet laureate of Gerald hill started this thing where he sat out every day. Every weekday during the poetry mond to every member of the scatchard writers guild. He sent two lines of published statue in poetry by publishers. Gotcha poets i should say. And the challenge was to create a new palm using those two lines or creating a poem that was inspired by those two nights and they were you know not necessarily connected in any way and much to my surprise. I wrote a poem every day using the two nine t provided but they're really stories in poetic form. They're not homes in some ways. Because i was still a story writer. But i just put them into a kind of poetic form and they turned out quite successfully and of course at the end of that i had twenty four walls. And so i've been my only book poetries far so far. So far has long had willing. So we'll we'll see how that goes by tumble through the diamond dusters. The titles. it's a. I think there's a lot of room to try a lot of things in this world. I think none of us should allow ourselves get pinned down as being one kind of thing. It's too limiting. I like to imagine write anything that made that just maybe ego but i think people write anything okay. So let's talk about How to mars as an example of your creative process. So excuse me before we do that. Perhaps you should Synopsis it for those who would have read it yet because it's not out so barrena how to mars on a certain level is about these. Six people who for various personal reasons agree to go on a one way mission to mars. And it's a pretty to be honest dubious mission because it's run by a really eccentric organization that's funding the whole thing with a reality. Tv show and they have one rule which is no sex on mars. Because it's dangerous but of course everybody breaks that rule Or actually a couple of people in the in the book. Break the rule so the novel starts with the line. This is how i find out. Jenny is pregnant on mars In the book takes us through the experience of these folks trying to figure out what to do about new life on mars and meanwhile the engineers getting a little bit angrier and more difficult to work with and perhaps dangerous and they're encountering some signs of indigenous life that might not be entirely friendly and they're also trying to figure out whether they really left behind the things that they they mentally behind so that you have this kind of the one level of reading the book and on the other level. I think it's really just about how to live life on given that were thrown onto a planet without a lot of instructions in our case it's earth on in their case it's mars but it sort of how you do this thing. How do you deal with life When we don't know exactly what we're here for what we're supposed to do. How do you do it. How how do you mars earth. So wert watts was the inspiration for this in. How does that compare to the way that you normally find. You mentioned how the story about. The guy wasn't fighted to the orgy. Came about how to stories usually come to. How did this specifically come to you or they comments so many different ways. Sometimes the thing happens in my life. That i'm i'm having trouble getting a grip on so i want. I want to write my way into. Sometimes i hear a really strange anecdote or i encounter something in the news. It's baffling the one thing that holds it. All in common is always starts from a place of me not understanding something and feeling nonetheless. Like i like i want to so. I started writing my way in order to try and figure something out and in this case were you aware as it was happening of the mars. One project oh yes. Yes i remember that. Yeah so if any of your listeners are not aware who is this crazy project. That possibly was a scam on any case. It's gone quite dark now. The original idea was to send some people on a one way trip to mars and they had the rule no sex and i thought well that's crazy. No one's gonna sign up for that. And then they announced something like two hundred thousand people had applied turns out they probably inflated that number but certainly thousands of people applied and i watched a number of application videos in my bafflement. Just ruin grew. I thought who are these folks who would be willing to never see a tree again. Never see the people they love. Some of these folks were married. You know maybe not. Very very happy marriages makes you wonder. Yeah right. i'm some were parents which is sort of inherently tragic They wouldn't feel a breeze on their face ever again unless it came from the h back system inside the dome on mars. So who are they. What would make you want to leave a planet for ever and that became the genesis of the whole book. In of course mars one turns out there. Probably not gonna send anybody to mars but my folks are already there. So i guess i won that how you do make the connection somewhere that i was reading to the ray bradbury's marge stories. Martian chronicles chronicles. For some reason. That name escaped me. It's not like it's a difficult. What's the marsha chronicle. You know he. Obviously i grew up reading in particular the dinosaurs stories but also martian chronicles fahrenheit. Four fifty one all that good stuff and hit what i like about. The way he approaches mars is that he clearly didn't know anything about mars. He i mean it was nineteen fifty. We hadn't sent any probes by so he puts breathe blair on mars. He puts canals full of water. Their birds there. There are martians. Who have families in our psychic and do all kinds of crazy things and so he thrived on the lack of science that we had available to us about mars and he engaged in what he called mythology instead of hard science in to some extent i mean my step. Is i think quite a bit more realistic than that. But it's not totally realistic. And i'm much interested in the science than i am in the people so in that sense. I'm i'm trying to live in his legacy of what kind of interesting things in learn about life and about people by being on his brand not just about mars so once you had the idea. What does your planning outlining process. Look like are you a big out liner or do you just kind of launch into it. I bounce back and forth and this was a particularly unusual case because many of the chapters stand alone as short stories Or at least they originally did a massage the mid so that they they do that a little bit less now but So they sort of popped out one by one here and there. But it's like holding a handful of marbles once you have enough of them we have to get a container because you can't hold onto all of them so i sort of throw myself in and then i come back out and i organized and i make a plan. Usually the plan is substantially wrong. So i come. I throw myself into the plan and i come back out once i realized how wrong it is and i make a new plan and keep bashing myself against it until i have something. That's a back and forth for me. What do you actually write down before you in the way of notes outlining before the first thing. I almost never write anything you know. I started the first of the very first thing that happened to me was the line. This is how i find out. Jena's pregnant on mars in that line just came into my head and i thought okay. Let's find out a lot more about that and i just wrote my way forward And then i wrote a second chapter which is part of the instruction manual that mars knots were given. It's called what you can't bring with you. And it's this list of really strange instructions about what they can and can't bring on this trip In some of it's very physical like you can't bring an umbrella because it won't fit in your bag and some of it's much less practical like you can't bring the view out your backyard Out your back window Can you bring yourself. I don't know you'll have to see. So i just threw myself into those things and then when i had a few of them i said okay. We'll then they go together in an order. What would happen next for this to make sense as a book. And i started filling in some of the gaps and then that kept going forever. You know i send it to my agent. Who took it when he then said but. I think you need a couple more chapters. So i filled in those spots. I on took the book and then they had some ideas about some things. So i feel that stuff in. It's a long long long process and it's not always fun but it is really fun to be on this side of the that's for sure and at times during an it's also very fun. How does that compare to the novels in the way that came together. This portland came together much more. I got much deeper into it before. I had to come out and do any outlining because it's a much simpler story. How to mars has a lot of characters several characters point of view. You get Miss orleans is really just from zoe's view the close third person point of view. And you stay with her. And it's pretty narrow period of time. It's about two weeks whereas how to mars takes place across the length of a pregnancy and a little bit beyond So there's just a lot more going on. And i even had to think about how to write from the point of view of martians that i had made up so i had to come back out a lot more often and do planning and at times i was not sure at all that it was going to work in. There are definitely times. When i thought this can't be book but i guess the secret to being a writer is not listening to yourself. Mary much self from to peak knows for sure. What is your actual. excuse me. What is your actual writing process. Look like it's going to mute for a minute varies to The i think the way. I liked to do it. I actually didn't really do it with this book. The like to write by hand first and then To over type that up into a document well like it because that way i mean it feels good writing i get. I have a nice fountain pen. I bought myself and enjoy using the hat and get china free revision. I type it up. Where i type up is better than what i have down on. The page does not willing to just trying to put it over word for. I can see where things are problematic. But in this case it was mostly done on the computer trend of directly. And that i would when i was working on it i would print out right knows all type up the provisions and and go from there. I always wish. I could still write by hand sometimes but when i tried it a few years ago i realized that i absolutely hate it. Now i like the. I like the idea of it but i i just. I could barely handwrite anymore. Because i type everything and have for so long. It's almost losing banak of it. I think a habit that you can either be in or out of in. It's not always a great idea. You know parts of this book how to mars are in unusual formats the astrophysicists. Her chapters are all in the form of charleston graphs and tables and formulas and that was relatively easy to do in microsoft word would have been really tricky to do in handwriting. So it's not always the best move. But i do take a kind of pleasure in it when i can. Do you get a chance to work for long uninterrupted periods or do you have to sort of fit it in around bobby other things that you're doing it's more the latter. Yeah i'm sitting in and around stuff but over the summer. I typically take a couple of weeks and just take myself somewhere where i can get a lot of time working kind of work all day. There are some retreat centers. One that i go back to a lot is the virginia center for the creative arts. Great place in virginia obviously and There are other artists and writers there and they have interesting conversations over meals. And then you go back to your studio and you just work continuously. And i find that if i could work four hours continuously. It's not like four one hour writing stretches. It's against so much more done in four continuous hours than i do. In four separate one hour sessions. Instead i count on that i get. It's none of my work done in the summer. Our best version of app while there's many but the one that i have been to the banff centre banff alberta right up in the mountains and yeah they do You can do a self directed residency up. There were basically just give you a cheap cheap place to stay and beautiful surroundings and then you just write fifty thousand words in a week up there once working on a book so i've only been twice. I think i've gone for a couple of other programs but only done the writing residency. Maybe only once. Yeah it's it's. It's great to be able to do something like that wasn't it. I mean think about that. Fifty thousand words. It's amazing yeah it was. I was amazed So you have the manuscript whatever for you said you said it to your agent that there was revisions and you said it to the editor and there were revisions was because of the nature of this book. Was that revision process of preps a bit more intense than on your other books. Well i have to say. I always find revision incredibly painful. I i think some people love revisions because it. It's the time when you're getting more right. And i feel that a little bit but mostly revision makes me want to weep Like just just soak my lap with tears. Basically every time. I'm revising on because it's like breaking a vase to try and build a new better. This is how it feels on in reality or like that but it feels that way. So every time i got revisions back i thought. Oh god i went through the five stages of revision which are for me Being overwhelmed being resentful depression. Deep depression. Eventually like i did what i needed to do. Each case and i luckily kept my resentment to myself. Because i got tons of good feedback. My agent is a really good reader folks at tacky on a really good readers but none of it makes me like revision. The only reason i do. Revision is because i care more about the book than i do about whether i feel bad or not on. That's the key for me. it's interesting. I actually kind of enjoy revision. Although i don't enjoy told what's wrong with the book but someone says oh you're a genius. Yeah there's a famous peanuts cartoon where snoopy gotten rejection back. And he's typing says dear editor regard to the recent rejection letter. You sent me. What i really wanted to for you to do is to publish my novel in sydney one hundred thousand dollars. What part of that did you not understand. Enhance so with the Revision and now. You've got your editorial process process and this book is not out yet but the books that have come out What's that feeling like for you. And and what kind of feedback have you gotten from readers. And that's been how does that impact you. It's a really really nice thing for the most part when something comes out when you've got something published even if it's an individual palmer story But it's amplified a lot if it's a whole book because there's a different kind of attention that gets put on a book and i think of it as the victory lab that you you get to just kind of share it with people in you often to share it with them to their faces and see their reactions happen in real time as you read them if it's funny And i hope that a lot of my stuff is funny They laughed right there in front of you. You know if it's sad they they make these little sounds of sympathy i i. I love that. I love when there are reviews that come out. Those tend to be a really nice experience. One thing that's going to be interesting though horse. Is this coming out. May twenty fifth twenty twenty one this year which is to say still kinda during the pandemic. Maybe a lot of people back stated. I still don't think they're going to be a lot of bookstore events so the publicity staff attack on his really energetic and creative bottle and they're you're doing lots of cool things to promote this book but look store readings that really hasn't been one of the things Because are people going gonna wanna go. Sit next to each other Masks or not no masks and listened to a reading so i think this victory lap is going to be much more virtual than the others Which has its advantages. I get to talk to people from everywhere. I'm talking to you right now. While i'm sitting in my bedroom basically but it also means that i don't get to physically go places and interact with people in person and also i have to delay my trip to mars pennsylvania which i am looking forward to doing at some point for a photo op means the flying saucer. They have in their wanted to do. There's a town in saskatchewan. Called rama are ama. And i've always wanted to go there stanford at the sign shake hands with somebody get the picture taken and then posted as a rendezvous at rama. Which of course is a famous actor. See click novel that well. I wanted to go back just a minute because one thing i kind of forgot in the the writing process was about characters i mean i asked you about psychology and characters earlier on but how do you find the characters that populate your stories how do they how do they come to you. And how do you develop them. Sometimes they come to me with a lot already done the the novel. Mrs portland on some level wasn't attempt for me to get a little bit closer to a couple of women in my family Who i lost over the last one dozen years and so things that had always struck me about them were present in his character as i began to write and she went on to become a you know her own person quite different from them in her way but i got started on the page with a lot because they were these life. The folks on mars were not connected to people that i knew and are not connected to people. I know And so it was a slower process in fact one of the greatest things that anyone did for me in. This process is the kenyon review offered to publish the first chapter of the book as story but they wanted me to do some vision. Which made me want to cry. But it was really good advice. They said they just needed to know more about why they were there. Why were they on mars And it was a thing that i had been sort of thinking out and never really solved to my own satisfaction in that question. And it's because there was pressure on like they weren't going to publish this. If i didn't figure that out so there is some pressure there and it was the key question in an unlocked the whole book and from that point i kinda thought i think this is going to be a book. I think this is gonna work and it's really thanks to that editor. Who asked me to question. Characters are always interesting because ultimately the only people we really understand we may not even understand that is ourselves so characters are really versions of ourselves influenced by observations of the people around us. I think is the way. I usually kind of think of that field. There's a lot of you in your in your character sometimes. Yeah i think in one way or another there. There has to be for me. Would it often takes the form of his. My confusion as i say. I'm always writing out of this lack of understanding that seems to be my my perennial problem but as a really productive problems on okay with it on in what i'm writing into these characters are things that i that have stuck in me that i don't understand either about me or about something observed about other people. I'm often trying to write my way into physician of empathy. When i've encountered somebody that i'm not sure i get or even that. I'm not sure that. I like a lot i wanna understand. What's going on for them. Is i really believe everybody has a story that helps us if we knew it would help us to empathize with where they are right now. So the those moments of confusion caused by encounters get lodged in me. And i write characters out of those places a lot of time but this may tie in now to my big philosophical questions. There are three limb. The first one is. Why do you right. Why do you do this. Why why why. The second one is Why any of us right on. You know mike. This species level or the level of humanity as a whole. Why why do people right and the third one is why stories. Fantastic as you said. You're you're getting more and more into that side of of writing so those are the three the three big philosophical questions. We're good ones. thank you those. The why do you write is really tied to what i've been saying about not understanding things. I write basically to figure things out there. So much that i see in the world that that baffles me and that i find Confusing and that. I want to understand better. And so i try. I try to write my way towards understanding so for example when i was looking at this mars one project. I was thinking who would do this. Who in the world would do this in. The answer couldn't be nobody. 'cause i'm looking at the videos and seeing people are signing up to go to mars forever so that made me wanna understand who they might be and what that might mean so that that was motivation there but all of my stuff comes out of trying to figure things out and also on a side note. I just feel good. When i'm you know not necessarily in the moment that i'm writing but if i write regularly i am a happier person. Then if i take long periods of time off you know if i get really grumpy a lot of times my wife will say to me. Would you just go right already. 'cause you're getting in words and i'll grump say something like it's not that when i go right and i come out and say it was that thank you for being nice to me So i do. Also because it's it's the way i'm at my happiest i think that's why do i write. It's a harder question to answer. Why do you. Why do i think anybody rights. I mean my assumption is that there are lots of reasons. There's pleasure that we can have an possibilities. We can encounter when we mess with words. Maybe were trying to learn something or articulate something or capture. Something maybe we're just having done. Maybe we're getting revenge on somebody who was mean to us in middle school. I think there could be a ton of reasons. But i think the one thing that all of us have in common is that we're not just talking to ourselves that when you write you're using a medium that is interpersonal even if you don't share it with anybody you're using language which is an interpersonal tool so there's a kind of an invisible listener and most of us do share our stuff with others so there's a kind of a larger conversation that were participating in order order. We want to. And when i was growing up my mother she was wonderfully. She kept her books in bookshelves out in the hallway or when we moved another place in the living room. They weren't in her room in. That meant that. We all my sister. And i could go beat the whenever we wanted which was wonderful and i looked at those bookshelves and i thought there's a conversation going on here and i want to be part of that and i think that was part of what fueled me is looking at all these authors talking in wanting to get into that conversation. So that's that one and then why antastic stories. Well we talked about ray bradbury earlier. He has a quote that i love. He says science fiction is a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when reality you are attacking the recent past and the present just love that i think we think we read science fiction while this is. This isn't about now. But i think a lot of really good science fiction is about now and i write about intestinal worlds. Because it's a an exciting way for me to write about this or put another way. I didn't write about mars. Because i wanted to study mars. I wrote about mars. Because i wanted to study people. Earth people and marsin like a place where i could just isolate a few of them look really closely and get to know them really really well. Under circumstances that would be likely to test them and show who they really. They really were. And what are you working on now. Well i'm finishing up a novel that has time manipulation at the center of it on that i hope will be my next novel thinking a little bit about whether how to mars is the end of the story or whether there might be room for a sequel or to some you know as i finish up this next. The question becomes what's next. I'm missing mars little bits. And i'm wondering if i wanna go back. And where can your readers find you online well. My last name is a bit of a pain. I'll admit right now. But some website is david even dot com. I would say. Just look at the webpage of the podcast. You're looking at right now and get the spelling from there. So you can find. The david even balked dot com. But i'm also on twitter. Facebook instagram On reddit on one of the rare people rented who uses his real name by me. They're on around do. Google won't have any trouble alrighty. Well that's kind of brings us to the end of the time here. So thanks so much for being on the world shapers. I certainly enjoyed that oak to to thank you. This has been really fun and the book comes out win of twenty twenty one. This year from tacky on publications. I guess is the name techie on books. Right the first time so we'll have links And all that kind of stuff when this goes live which will be still before the book comes out so watch for it in the very near future once. This podcast is out so again. Thanks so much. David thank you. Thanks everybody and thanks again to david. David buck for that. Great conversation. I really enjoyed that. I hope that you did as well. There are many more great conversations to come here at the world shapers. I have an interview with jane. Ulan coming up for example. That's just one and many more to come That i already know about and some that. I am still working on but The podcast we'll continue with these wonderful conversations usually every two weeks just reminder that you can find the world shapers online at the world. Shapers dot com. You can find it on facebook ads. The world shapers and you can find it on twitter at the world shapers. You can find me at edward willett dot com to tease on willett. You can find me on twitter. At e willett. You can find me on facebook facebook at edward. Don willett had you can find me on instagram. At edward willett has i've said before. Missed that memo about where you're supposed to keep the same antle for all of your social media accounts as i'm a bit all over the map but you can find me You can order books. As i mentioned from shadow pop press dot com and also from my online bookstore. Edward willett shop dot com where. I have You can get copies of books from my dau- books for example what you can't get through a shadow apo- press and again. I just want to mention the success of the kickstarter. So watch out for shapers of world's volume to coming later this year featuring second year guests to this podcast shapers of world's volume one featuring first-year guest is available. Now you can find it at amazon or barnes and noble or pretty much any bookstore. You should be able to find order it in and it's also dateable through shadow pop press dot com Just want to remind you one. More time that to the world shapers. Podcast is part of the statue in podcast network and that brings this episode to a conclusion. So please come back committee. More times in the future as i continue to talk to the authors of science fiction and fantasy we've created so many wonderful worlds so many wonderful characters and so many wonderful adventures that we've enjoyed over the years and will continue to enjoy the future. That's it for this episode of the world shapers ooh.
Episode 89: Violette Malan
"The world shapers conversations with science authors process. This episode's guest violent welcome to episode of the world shapers. The podcast right talked to other science fiction fantasy authors about the creative process. I'm edward village. I'm your host. I am myself an author of science fiction and fantasy. My main publisher is don books but i also published through shadow pop press and other publishers and my latest book is actually Through shadow press It's a young adult Science fiction novel called star song. And it's kind of dear to my heart because it's one of the first books that i tried to get published many many years ago and it came very close to being published by a major publisher in the nineties and then something changed at the publisher and They decided not to take it and it hadn't found a home so i recently wrote. It have brought it out through shadow. Pop press well here. I'll just. I'll just read the back cover. When the old woman who raised him in a remote villages murdered krista mark finds himself alone on a planet where he'll always be an outsider his only linked to his long dead unknown. Parents is the touch liar. They bequeathed him a strange instrument that not only plays music but pours his innermost feelings into the minds of his listeners. When tavira a girl of the space going nomadic family. Here's chris perform. She's drawn to him against her better judgment in the rules of her people with her help. Though mistrusted than even hated by some of our comrades. Chris seeks to discover the origin of the touch. Liar the fate of his parents into place where he truly belongs but the touch liar proves to be more than just a musical oddity. Powerful ruthless men will stop at nothing to get it ten. Kristen tavira are all that stand in their way. And i like to say that this one is very much in the mode. Robert heinlein and andre norton who's young adults stories. We're the ones that i grew up on. And that certainly Interested me in science fiction trilogy extent in the first place. So i'm very happy to have that out. It's called star song. It's from shot and it's available everywhere on mine in both print and e book formats you can also get it directly through shadow press out about press dot com. The other thing coming from shadow press will be shapers of world's volume two. This is the anthology of short fiction by authors. Who have been guests on his podcast. Last year i kick started the original shapers of worlds which is now available everywhere again. Book and and paperback as well even hardcover on amazon shares of worlds and it featured first year guests and then that works so this year i started a new anthology volume two which features second-year guest so When it comes out this fall shapers of roads volume two will feature new fiction from kelley. Armstrong marie brennan helen. Dale candice jane dorsey. Lisa foils susan. Forest jalen gardner matthew hughes heli kennedy these akester adrian aicraft. Ira name it garth nix. Tim pratt edward salvio brian. Thomas schmidt jeremy shawl and me plus stories by jeffrey carver. Barbara hambly nancy. Kress david dein. Sm sterling and kerry von and as you can probably tell among those authors or winners nominees for every major science fiction and fantasy literary award and several international bestseller's. I've very excited about that. I'm working on editing at right. now it'll be out. I won't promise september but certainly by october it should be available or november at the very very latest So that's something to look forward to as well and The other thing. I'm working on is my next book for for da books. It's called the tangled stars says humorous space opera Just just on the verge of submitting that now and it'll be out next year some time. Anyway that's enough about me and the latest from shadow proper. I do hope you'll check all that out at to shout. Oppressed dot com or my website at willett dot com. But now it's time to get onto this episode's guest another author violet. Mom dad is the author of the dylan and parnell sword and sorcery series ended. The mirror land series of primary world fantasies as vms escada. She's the author of the firemen prophecy including calls of law and gift of griffin's. She's on facebook. She's on twitter at violent milan and website wise. You can check either violent milan. dot com or vm. Escalona dot com. But she says not that. It's up to date because it isn't she strongly urges you to remember that no one expects the spanish inquisition so violent. Welcome to the world shapers. Oh it's great to be here. You're in spain. I'm in candidate hours. Difference that we manage to make it work so you know. I think that's been happening a lot. More in the last eighteen months to two years as people are using the available technology to connect with people in other countries and indeed people down the street. When you're not allowed to leave the house will all kinds of great stuff is happening. William finding a time that works with you is a lot easier than the couple or three times. I've talked to people in australia. Always okay it's tomorrow and that's true. No i always i always look for connections and of course we have a big one in that we're both published by don books and we share after the marvelous. She let you go. So i was just saying before we at that time you know i i could talk to all the authors but i feel i have to spread it out a little bit so i don't wanna seem like here too narrow in your approach. Exactly you have new book coming up very shortly so this was a good timing to To talk to you. And we'll talk about that. A little later on. But i i'll do what i do with all of the guests which is to take you back into the mists of time and find out Well where you grew up. You have a kind of interesting interesting background and how you got interested in. I presume you started as a reader. We all seem to writing and science fiction fantasy specifically although you right other stuff as well so tell me about yourself. Islet well people who already know me of course already know all this stuff. My mother was spanish. My father was polish. They met after the second world. War emigrated to canada where i was born a month later in toronto so the one hand i'm canadian by birth certainly and it is the country in which i grew up but on the other hand i'm also european because as chill as eddie child of immigrants will tell you inside your house. It tends to be the culture that your parents came from not the culture. That's outside of your house. So in that respect we were both. My brother and i was a little bit unusual because we knew things that are friends didn't know we spoke languages. Our friends didn't speak. And you know this kind of thing. But i think that as you're saying Most of us do start off reading the whatever genre it is. We finally ended up writing and in my case. It's entirely my brother's fault. So when i was about eight years old my brother sent to me. I've found this great book. You must read it. it's wonderful you'll love it and it was the line the which in the wardrobe so the next time. My school class went to the public library. I immediately asked the librarian for this book and basically my brother was hundred percent correct. It's a wonderful book. i loved it. I still love it. And that i think introduced me to the fantasy side of things and it was also oscar. My brother who recommended to me my first science fiction novel which was has spacesuit will travel right robert heinlein so that's a again entirely oscars fault. And he's still doing it by the way he's still recommends books to me. It's is names oscar with travel. Exactly exactly. I think it was done in a few occasions where he was actually happy to come across his name imprint. The other one was of course there's oscar levant and there's a couple of other famous oscars but most of the time he didn't like the name and people will save me like your brother's name is oscar and i'll say well you know if i'm called violent. You know my brother's not going to be dave so vice versa. Of course but he now owns the only independent bookstore left in kingston ontario and he is constantly recommending books to people other people. Obviously as well as myself. So he's still doing it. So that got you interested in both fantasy and science fiction at a fairly young age would win. Did you start thinking you might want to write it and whether other books in there. That were very influential as well. Strangely enough most of the books that i read at that time. It seem in hindsight to have been british. So i didn't read you know. Well actually no. I did read a couple of nancy drew mysteries. But i didn't go farther than second or third one because it struck me that they were all the same story kinda point. I was really disappointed. So i didn't read anymore but i read. Oh i read in the fantasy line. of course i've read nesbitt. I read done seyni. I read when i got older. I read the pre raphaelite. S- because i had to do a course in pre late eighteenth late nineteenth century poetry so i read a lot. That tennyson always my favorite. But you know it's it's stupid. I know that i was reading other things but at the moment my mind is blank. I'd sort the same way. I i read a million books but trying to suddenly pick them up at the same problem but it you started writing almost right away then did you well. I didn't write things down. But what i do is i told stories and i think as also i think fairly common with a lot of writers you start off by telling other people's stories because you realize that your your friends at school have not seen the arrow. Flynn movie with about robin hood. Because their fathers are not you know massive errol flynn fans so they don't know the story of robin hood so you tell it to them so it's kind of storytelling thing because you learn You learn the beats. You learn things that are that because you're actually watching people's faces you learn the parts that they find interesting you can tell so if you go to tell the story again. You're telling it in a kind of edited way because you know that this particular piece of the story went over big last time and that piece didn't so i think that's what i started off doing was was telling other people's stories and because there's a limit to how much you can read when your ten or eleven years old though again. It doesn't seem that way looking back on. it eventually. Have to start making up your own stories because you're running out of things that your friends haven't heard of. So where did you start writing things down. I think oh. I wrote a play. I wrote the cup class. Play in grade six. And i wrote a bunch of short stories for different competitions. Stop all through public school in high school. I didn't as much i think i was. Just i think it was working a lot. So i didn't write much. I kept reading. But i didn't write as much. I started writing again when i was in university more specifically when i was in graduate school. Because you know there's only so much eighteenth century poetry you can read and you have to take a break from it and why not you know. Toss off a good sword and sorcery story as being the exact opposite of eighteenth century pastoral poetry. Because you're actually have a phd in eighteenth century literature. Don't you i do i do. Yeah that's has that depth of looking at a particular time period and looking at the way that language was used. Then has that influenced your writing going forward. Do you think. I was asked about whatever people studied in university. Yeah i think so for me. The eighteenth century is always been the most interesting one because it's essentially of change and generous changed the way people approached writing change. The first novels were written this. This all happened in the eighteenth century in english literature. Anyway so it it gives me or it gave me an idea of of oh great freedom in a way because i'm convinced because of my studies in that that genre is a fiction. It's how you know people like to categorize things like saying. Oh it's eighteenth century literature. You immediately categorize it. But when people. I started writing. They just wrote novels. You can't say that. Don quixote is or is like is it magic realism. It is if you're looking at it. From the point of view of don quixote but then they didn't worry so much about is this fantasy is this fiction. Is this whatever. So i tend to feel that way myself like. I'm always a little astonished when people say oh like the categorize things a little too much for me. I think most people do it myself. Probably a little bit. But philip sidney and he wrote an essay on the defence of poetry and in his day there were two genres. There was poetry. And there was pros and i was gonna say the only creative writing class i took and university are. Our book was called three genres and it was poetry prose and plays. Those are what they did. It expanded it out one more so even than i remember reading i thought genre fiction was what i like to read and write but here well of course what what what sydney met by poetry was anything fictional so for him. Drama entered into him and things pros was nonfiction so it didn't have to rhyme for it to be poetry. It just had to be non. It had to be fiction. Seems like probably a reasonable division things actually basically nonfiction and fiction. You know when you think about it. You realize that at that time. They didn't have first of all. They can have anywhere near the number of readers you know. The percentage of the population who could actually read was considerably less than five percent. So whatever books there were those were the books you read because there weren't that many more in fact that's another reason that i liked the eighteenth century is it's the last century in which people could have read every book available to of course any book translated into english any book that was in latin or greek if they could read latin or greek every single book available. You could read it in your lifetime and that hasn't been true for hasn't been true since fan. I guess there was a period of time when you could have read every single science fiction book. I think so. I think when i was a kid you almost could have but now and and going back to science fiction and fantasy did you start writing and try to get published out of that. Oh come about. I mean you've done other things so and what were some of the other things you you've you've done. Oh you mean like working. Well being a shop assistant. I have been. Let's see what have i done. I've done coffee girl and a bingo. I've been a waitress. I have been a bookkeeper. I've for years. When paul my husband was working i kept all his books. I managed all the tax stuff. And all that kind of thing and i also pitched in as a carpenter's assistant when he needed an extra pair of hands that really didn't need much skill know. Hold this and or fetch me that so So yeah. I've done in that sense. I've done a bunch of different things but mostly i've either being and i've been. I've been an administrative assistant. When i stopped trying to get an academic position because in the time that i graduated. They're just four jenny available. And so i was writing. I began writing fiction more. And the more i wrote fiction the less i wanted to have a regular full-time job. So what i did was. I became an office temp. So i've i've done absolutely everything in kingston regional cancer center and the kingston general hospital other than actually being a clinician. So if there's any kind of support position. I've done it so what i found. Was you know. I could work for three weeks. And that would allow me to write for three months. So that's pretty. Well what. I did up until when i had some short stories published. They were mostly mystery stories and then my first novel of course was out now. I can't oh. I think it was two thousand six. I think i'm right and that was reprints. The first novel that i had with dog. And you know after that i still work. But i think maybe two years after that i stopped working fulltime or or taking jobs and i wrote fulltime did you. And that's what i've been doing since. Did you place that first one just on spec or did you get an agent first and then they got it i i because i mean again Talking about dr authors. We both know tanya huff really well and she's been on the show and they go and she lives in she. Well i was gonna say she lives near me but i should change that and say she wants lived. I want lived near her and she learned that i was going to a mystery conference in convention in toronto and her agent joshua bill billeness was also going to be there so she arranged for us to meet and so my work was submitted to draw the not not not until like two years later but joshua became my age and he's handled all my stuff says then you had several since then you have a new one coming out think august third is other they stay. I think so. i think so. It's usually the first tuesday or something. So i never really sure this will get this live just about the same time that comes out. So that's great so we'll start talking about your creative process and all your books but you know we'll talk about the new ones especially so maybe the place to start then because this starts a new series for you doesn't well. Yeah i so far. There's only two books. So i kind of hesitate to call it a series. So there's the first book is the gods stone and the second book which is the one. I'm writing right now and it does not have a title is basically a follow up to the god stone whether they're going to be any further stories set in this universe depends on a number of factors some of which are not under my control. So you know. Obviously i would need to come up with an idea. That's undermined control but other more practical more pragmatic factors are not under my control. Oh yes no. Yes but okay well. We'll we'll call it a geology for now them but maybe the best place to start is with a synopsis of the first one without giving away anything. You don't want to get away. I'm really really terrible at synopsys. I mean give me an elevator pitch then something even worse at those on. Somebody one of the reviews. I think it was either the reviewing qurqus or the review in publishers. Weekly i when. I read the review. I thought that is the most brilliant synopsis off the book i have ever heard. I've experienced that too or the review were really nailed it. Yeah so yes indeed you know i actually used it because the cover the cover copy that i had sent to. Aw a year ago or more When they sent me the galleys at the proofs. And i i read the cover copy. And i thought i thought you guys were going to fix. This was terrible. And then i thought well you know i a combination of this stuff that i wrote eighteen months ago and this wonderful old synopsis in this review. If i could kind of mush those two things together you know. I would have a great great cover stuff. So that's in fact what i did. So but you're serious. You actually want me to well. I think we should tell people something about the book before we start talking about it. So this is There are two main characters. One is is Female character in the other is arlen and fenra is a practitioner and i- practitioner is. What we in our universe would call a magician. Or sorcerer and So they she's she practices mostly as a healer and arlene is one of her patients and he has a chronic condition that they call loneliness and we would call it in again in our universe we would call it depression and she manages to keep him leveled and then one day. He's he's kind of in a tizzy because he needs to go to the city and he needs to go to the city because he has been asked to execute a distant relatives will and he knows for fact that this distant relative never wrote a will so he needs to get to the city to find out what's going on because of the distant relative was a practitioner and likely has some dangerous stuff in an among his possessions and arslan is trying to make sure that none of those dangerous objects make makes their way into the hands of modern day or current practitioners. So fenra goes along with him to to help and to make sure that he doesn't get low on his way to the city. Sounds like a fun. Setup fund is the right word exciting so this is the this is where i asked the question that authors profess to hate to be asked and yet it's a legitimate question. I won't phrase it as where do you get your ideas. let's say where does the seed come from that blossoms in the fertile ground of your imagination. Who who is it that called it a germ that sounds about right. Because one of the novelists i wouldn't be surprised if it was. My favorite one was who was david. Biko may be said that. There's ideas sleeping in your. You just have to be dense enough to stop one of them. Would it impacts. But they're sleeping around you all the time. It's like the neutrino. Exactly exactly i. Honestly i think my ideas come from same places that everybody else does the world around you. Something you've read something you've watched on television. How many times have you seen something badly done. And you think to yourself. I could have done that. I could have written that so much better. I would have given this way and i would have. I would have got rid of that character entirely and the next thing you know you have a book so ideas just like you say they fall on you. Where did this particular windfall for odd. This one Strangely enough started off as a mystery story in that there was there was a guy who had an. I'm not really giving anything away at this point because this is in the synopsis. That's in the cover copy. There's a guy living out in the country minding his own business. Who gets a letter from the lawyer. Saying we need you to come to ten into toronto and execute your cousins will and he knows perfectly well that his cousin didn't leave a will because he is his cousin. Oh he arranged for his death. Everybody thinks he's he's dead. It's now being seven years and they want to process things so he he knows perfectly well that he is not the executor of the will that he left. If you follow me. So i thought i had some ideas of where that could go and you know how it is. You have a drawer. Full of no said have started chapters. That kind of thing and when i was thinking about when we were thinking about moving to spain i was starting to go through all of my drawers full of paper to see what was going to go and what wasn't going to go and i came across the outline of this idea and i thought this would make a great fantasy novel. So that's what i did. My favorite is the cryptic. Handwritten note that you can't quite read anymore. Oh yeah keep saying remember. And i can't read the rest of it clearly. Something a vital importance that i wrote down but now can't read so once you have this germ culture it and you know what what what happens at the petrie dish. So that grows into something more substantial that just that initial. This is a good idea for me. I think it's always the characters. I always start off with a dialogue. I imagine two people talking about something or a meeting for the first time or having a fight having an argument and so then in that sense from me the characters and the plot kind of move forward at the same time because on the one hand you can't have action or plot without characters but on the other hand you really can't have characters without giving them something to do so but i think that's how it sort of expands from there for me usually start off with two two characters not necessarily male and though it usually is that way for me and i think that's because i have spent a good deal more than half of my life in a male female relationship and so to me scenes easier to to to deal with than something else and then of course you have to have they have to interact with other people and more conversations are happening and more characters get introduced and then it kind of grows from there. So do you do a detailed outline. Are you more organic in the way that the story grows. I actually do both because Usually joshua my agent and sheila my editor want an ally so you know if i'm pitching the next book. For example i usually have two or three different ideas on the go and i send them outlines for all of my ideas and sheila will say well. This one sounds good. Let's work on this one. So but a did. I find out how little detail there is. When i'm stuck. You know three quarters of through the book. And i think oh i must have said something about this in that outline and i look and the outline like the last half of it basically says oh and then they did something great and they triumphed. I'm thinking yeah. Did you not having ideas of how they were going to manage that. Because that's what i need to know right now. Yeah that's exactly my experience. that's exactly my experience with. That's kind of thing you get. My outlines are not as know nothing like the outlines that i wrote for my dissertation or something like that which were in fact very detailed. Sometimes you don't know what's going to happen until you get there. It's literally what. I'm going through with my next book for which is coming up next year. i wrote this and you know it sounded great. I started writing it. And i got a point where i was stuck and i said well. It's time to look back at the old synopsis and the synopsis said something like hijinks ensue. It wasn't quite like that but basically there are narrow escapes or something. I don't know exactly exactly well. Good nice dealt with the bad guys yoga and there you go. Yeah yeah. I've often mentioned on here. You know one of the things about doing this. Podcast is how everybody is different and there are the people that just start writing and see what happens and there's people that are sort of like gus. You have a synopsis. But it's not entirely complete as to what's going to need to be in the story. And then i always go back to peter. V brett Who told me. he writes. Hundred and fifty page outlines before he even starts writing his story. And i think that's the most extreme at the other end so there's a wide wide variety of ways to approach the problem. Exactly and i think that what i find. Most interesting is people's reaction to the idea of an outline because people who use them on a regular basis and right fairly detailed ones maybe not quite as detailed as peter's but detailed they they will always say the same thing. It isn't doesn't stifle your creativity because it isn't a contract not carved in stone. You can change your mind. You don't have to do what the outline what you thought of. Six months ago or sometimes six years ago when you broke down the outline and i think that a lot of people fear the outlining process because they see it as shackling themselves and it just isn't or they think that the creative process that goes into creating the outline are the synopsis takes all the creative juice out of it and after that it just becomes a drudgery. Because they've already had the all. The creative sparkles have been sprinkled onto the under the tel. Not a problem that i happen because very little of the creative process found. Its way into the three or four page outline. So that's not a worry. That i have and then there's the you just have to do a synopsis. Because as you said she wants to see one before she decided contract you for a book or not so well sometimes of course. I sell the book though. It will sound incredible at the moment since. I can't seem to sell this one. I will tell sheila what the idea is. And she'll say great right up a synopsis for that one and send it in. And i've always imagined it as you know in the old fashioned sense. They mean something for the file you know. The the financial office needs to know what they've bought so there has to be a piece of paper you know preferably three to five pieces of paper that can go into this file. That will justify the fact that they've sent you money. I don't think anybody looking after after incented. Nobody and i do tell that to people who have you know asked me about the processes that don't you have to put an exactly what you put in the synopsis. And i said no. You have to produce a book that it doesn't have to. Nobody's going back and saying oh you know well on page three of the synopsis. You said this was going to happen but on page two hundred forty-seven of the book. Something entirely different happened. That's not how it works. Thank goodness exactly exactly. Like i'm sure even peter brat doesn't follow line-by-line word by word. I'm sure he comes across something in thinks of something gets to a point. Thanks of something or way better than what he came up with in the first place and he's going to run with that he's not gonna go. Oh i'm gonna use my really terrific idea because that's not what we put the outline nunu. The important thing is the finished product absolutely and speaking of the process of getting to the finish project. What is your actual putting words down. Look like do you work a certain number of hours. Do you like to work at home. Do you like to go out somewhere else. How how does that work. Do you write long a hundred. I've raped by hand if i find myself. I if i'm out and about it particularly happens that if we're in a restaurant or you know. Paul paul will get up to either. Pay the bill go to the bathroom. Whatever and at that moment something falls into my brain. And i have to pull the little notebook that i always carry with me out of my purse and it is a very little notebook because it has to any size purse. And i'm madly scribble things. And i've i've been handed a paper place. Mats buy waiters and waitresses. Because they they see. I'm running on paper so sometimes that happens. But that's more i think of a better. Write this down before. I forget it writing rather than actual composition. Usually i well i. I do eight percent of my work in the house. Because i used to live in the country. Forty five minutes away from the nearest coffee shop. So i didn't have a lot of options of where i was going to work so might work upstairs. Downstairs on the decker on the front porch portraiture something like that but it was always at home and of course that came in that experience came in very handy during the whole lockdown for covert because here in spain. You weren't allowed to go out for any reason except to grocery shop and to walk your dog and to go to the bank. Those were the only reasons that you were allowed to to leave the house and They're they're far more careful with enforcing this kind of thing. You know because you are. They're very concerned about the public safety. And the The health of people and they take it very seriously. I think they just like to stop you and say what are you doing. But you know that's me. But i found the fact that i didn't move around a lot in while i was writing notes always at home. I found that good practice for being always at home. I i'd like to write out tonight. Actually found the my writing. Oddly enough i. I felt like i wasn't as effective writing at home. North technically work from home for twenty some years now. I missed not being here when i was doing. The actual first draft kind of really writing writing side of things so it was interesting to me. Because i didn't expect to have any particular impact on the way i worked and yet it actually kinda did psychologically as much as interesting. I know that that. I always got a lot done on days that i would be going into kingston to have lunch with someone or something like that. I always went in first thing the morning and sat in a coffee shop and wrote until the time for my appointment of raw arrived. And i would find that. I would get a tremendous like i would get my whole day's work done in an hour and a half or two hours sitting in the coffee shop. Because there were no distractions. I can't decide to go and see what the cats doing. That's it it's like. You're you're there i while you're there to have coffee and right you have to have coffee or they look at you funny but well yeah. Yeah or in my case. Since i can't drink coffee but yeah same thing you gotta have something you gotta have something or they do they look at you funny i i did at one point have to change coffee shops because the the woman who worked there was so fascinated by what i was doing that she wouldn't let me do it. She just talked to me the whole time. And like she'd go and she'd serve somebody and then come back and continue talking to me and i never felt comfortable. People would save me. I'll just tell you're working. And i never felt comfortable doing that. So like i suppose kind of very passive aggressive way. Change coffee shops. Are you a fast writer or so. Writer yes depend so yeah. I have sat down. I have. I think my record for one day is like close to four thousand words like three thousand seven hundred and something and you can imagine that day went by like a snap of the fingers because you know when you're in when you're in the groove you go everything else disappears and this is. I've always been very lucky in that. Unlike of my friends in the business my parents which impractical terms of my mother at the at the point that i started writing seriously were very supportive of of the idea of being a writer and of the necessity of not having support in a variety of ways. You know like one time. I need to replace my computer and my mother bought me a new one because after all she said it's like buying you a new pen. If you if you write with the computer then you have to have it. And i've said this before in other in other contexts that I find that people in spain are far more supportive in general terms of the arts. If i say to somebody here on they don't say do you make very much money. Thought or have they made a movie. You know what they say. is you know. basically what they say is. that's fantastic. what are you right. And they're the idea that somebody is a writer and maybe doesn't actually make much of a living at it. It's commonplace here like people don't say you know i'm i'm an office manager. They say i'm a painter and people accept that. That's what you really do. You might be doing other things to earn money. But that's that's not your work that's just your job and that seems to be in spain anyway. It seems to be very widespread in people's reactions to do have members of my family who were painters or poets and they felt the same. They felt that the culture supports the creation of things in a way that i don't think north american culture does once. You've got a draft. What does your religion process. Look like do you end you use beta readers or anything cut like some people do. I'm afraid i don't write fast enough for beta reader because what happens is you know i. I hand the manuscript into daw. And i suppose that in the Sometimes lengthy period before. I hear back from them. I could hand the manuscript to somebody else. But most of the people that i would consider feasible usable as beta readers are obviously many of them writers themselves and they're doing the same thing i'm doing. They're trying to get their manuscript finished. So i've off. I think the only person that reads it before i send. It is paul my my husband and of course he he. He always loves it. So it's not a useful reader in terms of critique short to your mother except my mother would have said. I don't like this part. I don't really like science fiction fences which you paul was one time trying to convince his mother to watch. Buffy the vampire slayer because it's fun and when he was explaining to her what it was about she goes. I don't watch that stuff. So we're we're in the car on the way home. And paul says i re i noticed that you refrained from pointing out to her that you write that stuff and i said yeah. She doesn't know because she's never read any of my books so as long as they buy them. That's i'm happy with that but that was yeah that that was the thing that i would get whereas and here again if i can just circle around to to what i was saying about spain is they don't care what genre it is. They understand you know they. They know that there is such a thing but they think it's something the french do you know. Because it's a french word. Yes yes so. It must be something the french do. We don't do that here. And there. Certainly. their contemporary writers aren't mystery writers or science fiction writers or fantasy writers. There's just writers so you get people like fawn or Arturo perez rivera and their books are far more inclusive. There's all kinds of things going on. Sometimes there's there are fantasy elements involved. Sometimes there are you. I suppose there could be science fiction elements but not as much as the fantasy. What does your personal revision. That look like you're not showing it to anybody else but you must have going back through it. What sorts of things do you find yourself having to work on after the initial getting it down or do you rolling vision as you go along. I do a little bit as i go. But of course the closer. I get to the end of the manuscript. The less rolling revision i do because of course i now see the end. At least i hope. I do. And i'm anxious to get there because then i can go back to the beginning and i keep notes as i go and i now i keep notes like If i haven't made this clear earlier or i'll say something like i don't know whether it talked about this or not if i haven't well then this is the first place it appears and if i have i need to find that spot and attend to it so i often write myself notes. Like look look for this. Look for this check if you've told if you said this already because you know the process of writing the whole book is a is a lengthy process and you're not always going to remember whether the these two particular characters have had this discussion already. At least i don't end. It's worse and a series when maybe three weeks ago when you have to check back and see. I've been on a couple of panels. And i haven't ridden my longest series was a series books. But i've been on panels talking about the challenges of writing series and continuity always comes up as a as one. That's a pain even within a single book. That could be a pain. Well somebody told me. I think it was charlene. Harris said that Thankfully her very best friend. And i major fan made a like an encyclopedia of this sukey stackhouse novels. So that if charlene couldn't remember the color of this particular characters is which is what throws me off on. She could refer to this carefully. Cross referenced encyclopedic reference that her friend had created for her. Have such friends. I just what i said. I said she busy next week. I mean for sure. But yeah i have to do that as i'm writing a lot of people are using that god no. I can't remember what scrivener. I've got it but i have a client learning curve use it. That's that's what. I'm afraid of unafraid of the learning curve. So i've always kept separately like descriptions. Every time i mentioned a character. I write the name down. I decided with the character. Looks like even if it's what what seems to be a walk on at the moment or a bit player. Because i don't know that i might not want to use that person for something else later so much. Well know what she looks like. How tall she is. You know what her voice sounds like. You know that kind of thing. But i don't go into what her favorite ice cream is or you know. That's the main characters. There's a lot of ice cream in my books resting had any ice cream. Oh maybe in the one. The young adult book amendments mice group. So now we the fun part where it has gone in to your agent and to sheila. What kind of feedback do you get at that point. I mean i know. She'll works but other stone. So what what's the editorial process like. Well i think the great thing about about sheila is that she wants your book to be the best book you can right. She doesn't want it to be the best book shaken right so she'll have areas usually what she says to me is i need more infrastructure. I need more of the political background. The social background. Because i tend to write like the characters are not going to discuss the nature of their political setup in their city because they know what it is so sometimes i just take for granted and i don't i don't actually say enough for the reader to know what it is so that's usually with sheila. That's the thing that she asks me to do. I is put in more infrastructure. Sounds familiar. yeah and you know often. It's kind of different for each book. I mean i remember for the first book because of course joshua took me over it. I think i did. Seven drafts of the mirror prints. Before i handed in and sheila said could you give us a little bit more detail on page twenty nine. Oh and on page forty two. That would work out well too and that was it. I didn't have any other. You know since then. I've had a lot more input. And i think what In talking over things with sheila and with joshua to it's the question they ask you a question and you see whether you can answer it or not you know like why did the character do this or why is this happening and if you have an answer well then maybe you didn't make clear enough. They didn't see it. Or maybe you don't have an answer and then you realize that you've got a little bit more thinking to do about this part. It sounds like it. Sounds like your books probably get longer than after the editorial consultation mind certain. Yes i mean one of the things that my agent joshua bilas always says to me is that i am the only person his only client that he has to say ads stuff. He says he's got a client in In australia that always needs to cut thirty thousand words. And i usually need to add twenty or thirty thousand words and if he could only just somehow melded together he would get the perfect book. The first time. I'd rather abdin cut myself but yeah yeah well i think it's. That's the academic training. We were always told If you if you're asked for a twenty five page essay right twenty five page essay. The professor has to read a lot of different essays. And she's not gonna wanna read one that sixty pages when she wants to read a twenty five page one. So make your point in the twenty five pages or the fifty pages or whatever. It is so essentially. You're taught to write very concisely. Get your information across clearly but concisely and at least. When i first started writing fiction full-time i tended to do the same thing. And i think that is what led to sheila saying stuff like we need more political background or we need more social infrastructure. Now i'm a little bit more aware of that. So i tend to put it in already and then sometimes i have to explain it because i didn't put it in very well and then what's the book is out in public going back to your first one where you were. You pleased with reaction that what's what's your relationship with readers them. I have to say that i. I've been pleased at the reaction to all of my books and i've gotten some odd things where i and i'm sure this has happened to you as well. People comment on the cover. Like there's something they saw about the artwork that they thought was wrong and to which you know the answer is. I didn't draw the cover and i think we at doll. We got a fair amount of input into the cover art. Yeah but most people don't at least. That's what i've been told. It's they've just the first time they see the covers the first time they see the book that too and i've been consulted several times on covers with you know here's two ways we could go and that sort of thing so exactly course also getting input from joshua on that as well And of course you know his his angle is that since he sells things professionally as it were. He knows what the cover should be. So he's all he always wants input. And i'm always kind of torn between sheila is not josh was client. Joshua is not sheila's writer. So do i. Can i take something that sheila has given me an show it to joshua certainly not without asking but you know i sometimes feel that i'm kind of in the middle because the publisher wants one thing in the agent wants something else and you you feel like saying look you guys want to just get on the phone like that's that's your job. Your job is to argue with each other not to get me to persuade one of you to do something you know but that doesn't happen very often and as i say it's often to do with the cover art but yeah i had i've had people i'm always surprised when i'm a con- like a world con- where they they they give you your autographing times and i'm always surprised that people come with books to be autographed and i think you know surely by the fifth or six time that that happened i would stop being surprised and yet no. I'm still surprised i would. It's always a little humbling. Go if you're there in georgia martin's down at one end or actually happened to me. It happened to me too. Yeah well was this in. We're was it. He was down at one end and he had a signing time every day. Like one to two thirty or something like that. Derwin mak derwin and i were scheduled for the same time period. So derwin said let's sit together because then when everybody is lining up for george martin to sign their book and no one is standing in front of us. We can talk to each other and act like that's really why we're there. We're just having fun. you know. And that one point of course because everybody comes to to get their book. Signed by george r martin in the first forty five minutes and at one point derwin who was facing in that direction said. Oh look. there's nobody in front of him either. Autographs can be autograph. Sessions can be quite ambling but it's always nice when somebody does show up at the book and it's like wow i know well let's get to the big philosophical questions to wrap up here. I gave them to you ahead of time i went is why do you write the second is why do you think any of us right. Why do people do this. Strange thing retail made up stories and then the third one is why fantastical stories specifically so those are the three big philosophical questions. Well i find it actually difficult to answer the question why i write because i don't actually remember a time when i wasn't making up stories so you know i don't know what motivated me van. I think i think people were interested in what i was doing and i liked that i was telling them stories and i was. You know for that moment. I had like an actor has their audience. And you know so. Maybe it was an ego thing. I don't know. I think that i i wanted as i grow older. I wanted to write. Because i admired the writers that i knew so much that i wanted to do that to you know in the in the same way that i admired my teachers so i wanted to teach which is one of the reasons that i went through graduate school. But so it's not any in that respect. It's not an easy. It's not an easy question to answer. But i think it might be. I think that it's important. I think that people people come to literature regardless of genre to help them understand something and either themselves the world they live in usually one of those or both. And i think that writing and obviously reading as well you're participating i think you're participating more in the world because your personal experience is going to be limited by your situation and your circumstances reading gives you every experience possible including you know what it was like to live in russia in the eighteenth century or or whatever and so if we if we sort of take them movement further and say like why fantasy writing do with fantasy and insides fiction is you can put your characters through situations. That are very clear that you couldn't do if you work writing fantasy novel and your characters have to be tested and they have to come out of the test and i. I feel that fantasy novels do that best. You only have to think of lord of the rings to see what i'm getting at. So i think that in many ways non genre fiction doesn't actually help with that distanced enough. I think with a fantasy to be able to come to terms with sometimes the horror and sometimes merely the difficulty that people go through and if you are able to use fantasy elements sometimes at least in my opinion. You show these situations these tests these trying times. You show them far more clearly and far more understandably than you could do if you were not writing passing and you've already mentioned it but what what fantasy are you working on now. Well it's the follow up to the goldstone and the moment. It doesn't have a title as i say. So basically it's in a way Obviously in the stone the major situational problem of the book is solved by the end. And then this so the follow up book is kind of a well you know. What are we doing now. And did we really solve the problem in a permanent way and You know when that one is will be coming out. Well if they want do like as they normally do as as you know they like to have the follow up book come out the next year. So intertaba respect right. I would expect it to come out next august but of course you don't know anything until you're actually told where your position is on the publication schedule. I drink i. I don't think i've mentioned them yet but I wrote four certain sorcery novels. That i call. The dylan impartial series. Because those are the names of the characters. And what. I've been doing in like when i'm not actively working on the novel which is pretty well every day but anyway like as soon as i finished this draft. I'm going to write a dylan parnell short story. So that's and i've i've written of joshua paul matere you'll be on showed the near future l. There you go and you know he with his zombies the brains his publishing house. He publishes all kinds of anthology. I've written a couple of short stories for him exactly. So you know it's an opportunity for me to to like dylan aparna Practically my favorite characters of all the characters that i've made up so i'm really happy to be able to get back to them and give you know. Give them something to do. So that's usually what i'm doing in the in the writing sense in between times that i'm focused on the novel. Where can people find you online. Facebook facebook and twitter. I have a website. But i don't think i've touched it in like five years. I think twenty. Fourteen was the last date i saw when i looked okay so that would be seven years. Something something happened. And i stopped being able to access it so i don't know i think something happened from changing from one computer to another. I'm not very savvy with these things because in theory at least i should be able to access it no matter where i am in no matter what i'm using so i haven't done a lot with it but if i usually tell people exactly what's going on. I post every day in on on twitter and on facebook and essentially on talking about what. I'm doing that. What where my writing process like what i did that day. What i'm hoping to do the rest of the week. I talk about my work rather than myself if you see great well that worthing covers the hour so that was great to chat. Thanks for thanks for being on the world shapers. Well i had a great time. I mean as you can tell. I like talking about myself. So you know always a always fun. And you don't great questions you know I know that you said like oh this this question sort of like you know. You always get asked this question. But that doesn't necessarily mean that isn't a question that should be asked. That's what i feel. Yeah yeah because you do in fact want to know these very things about other people you know. What is their process. How do they right. Know like tanya oh was used to write from From one o'clock in the afternoon to six and she do her household stuff in the morning. And i found that if i did hustled stuff in the morning i never got around to writing that day so i get up and start writing and everything else has to wait until i finished writing. That's working out really well great here. Now that we're in spain. Because now says paul is retired. He does everything around the house that i used to do so. I actually have more writing time and oddly enough tanya starting to write in the morning because she says her afternoon and evening brain Is not reliable. I procrastinate until i feel guilty not to write some more and then i then i do a lot. So sees yeah. I'm i'm not. I'm not big on the guilty part. I'm big on the procrastination though. I can always convince myself that you know. I don't really feel bad about this. Well thanks for sharing your process and continues to second or third guest on here so back in two thousand eighteen is when i talk to her when i want to go back and forth. You'll find her there. She and marine villa. Del and i did a podcast for the broadcast from the wasteland and that was a lot of fun to have like three of us at the same time but i think they probably recorded. I don't know two and a half hours three hours worth of stuff so and then obvious. oh in fact. Put it into two different podcasts. When i talked to somebody who talked so long that i couldn't justify putting it in one. And that was orson. Scott card was two hours with him. But nobody's gonna complain about two hours of listening to okay so you're a little over an hour. That's still within my grandmother's it's not like i'm a broadcast station and have to fit around the commercials or anything so again. Thanks so much and hopefully we'll see each other in person again. Sometimes i hope so. And i'll i'll say goodbye. I hear them so thanks again too. Violent for that two wonderful conversation. I certainly enjoyed that. And i hope that to you did as well that brings us to the end of another episode of the world shapers just reminder that to you can find world-shapers online at the world shapers dot com. You can find it on twitter app to the world shapers. You can find it on. Facebook at the world shapers you can find me at edward willett dot com to tease on it. You can find me on facebook. At edward don willett. You can find me on twitter at e willett and you can find me on instagram. At edward willett author and you can find shadow pop pass which will be publishing shapers of world's volume to the anthology featuring second year guests of this podcast after republishing shapers of world's original first year guests anthology last year. it's at shop dot com. It's on twitter at shadow. Pop press and on facebook at shadow pop. Press one other thing that i need to mention. Is that the world. Shapers is part of the saskatchewan. Podcast network schedule. Podcast network is supported by connects us savings checkings. Gic budget r. e. s. p. r. s. p. t. essay mutual funds credit score emergency funds variable versus fixed rates compound interest retirement. The list goes on and on. It's time to make sense of. It all connects us credit union. They want to help. Financial literacy is a critical life skill. Giving you the knowledge and confidence to make smart responsible decisions about your money visit connects us. Money talk dot ca defined expert advice tips and solutions for all life stages and event and increase your financial literacy knowledge and confidence today. There you go. That's proof that. I am part of this discussion podcast network and again that to wraps up this episode of the world shapers. I'll be back with. Oh i've got all kinds of great guests coming up Joshua pottier laurel k hamilton. David lists Oh yes many. Many great guests sorry lined up in the work says so. Do please keep coming back to listen to the world shapers and here science fiction fantasy authors. Talk about how they go about creating all the wonderful stories and characters and worlds that we have enjoyed reading about. And i guess you would say over the years. That's it for this episode bikram.
Episode 93: Lavie Tidhar
"In the world shapers conversations with the green process. Your host guest welcome to another episode of the world shapers the first episode of autumn. I guess as This goes live. It will have just become autumn. Twenty twenty one. What if i've been up to well. It's very exciting. Because of course as i may have mentioned like every episode This year. I kick started a second and follow g featuring guests of this podcast shapers of roads which featured guests from the first year came out last year successfully kick started. And so. I did it again this year. I have kick-started shapers of world's volume two and it's getting very close. The printer actually has the files for the kickstarter backers edition. So that will be being distributed in mid october and the commercial release for shapers of world's volume to is set for november second It'll be available in print and e book. You can preorder the book now. Easy way to do that is to go to books to read the numeral two books to read dot com slash shapers of to again. That's the numeral two so books to read dot com slash shapers of world's too and you'll get links to the various stores where you can preorder e book including of course amazon barnes and noble. Kobo all those kinds of places. And i highly suggest you do that because this is quite an exciting anthology i think it has a hundred and forty thousand words of fiction in it. Twenty four stories. Eighteen brand new ones and six reprints There's new fiction from kelley armstrong. Marie brennan helen. Dale candice john. Dorsey lisa foils susan forest. James alan gardner. Matthew hughes the kennedy. Lisa kessler adrian aicraft ironman. Garth nix. tim pratt. Edwards savvy. O'brien thomas schmidt jeremy shawl and me plus Reprints from jeffrey a carver. Barbara hambly nazi chris. David levine. sm. Sterling and carrie vaughn and of course now this of authors includes winners and nominees for every major science fiction and fantasy literature award and several international bestseller's so it's going to be a great anthology. I of course. I've read it multiple times and enjoyed every time through it and again that's available for pre order now on amazon or are most other bookstores and will be out to november second in both e book in print. I hope there will be a both trade paperback and hardcover editions available on november. Second but trade paperback for sure. The hardcover might come along later depending on on time constraints but the book will definitely be available on november. Second and of course I hope to kick start a volume three next year since volume one and volume two worked and i have another a great lineup of authors. Who were guests here during the third year of the podcast now into my fourth year of the podcast. So we'll see. Hopefully they'll be shapers of world's volume three next year about this time to tell you about and of course. The theology is being published by my very own shadow pop press named after our black siberian cat shadow paw and it's the same company that i published shapers of worlds through. You can also go to shadow. Pa press dot com and you'll be able to order it there you can pre-order it there yet but we'll be available there once it is widely available and you can download de book directly from there as well. Once it's set up in. That will actually make more money. That's where you choose to get the yearbook. So i do recommend that actually you can also of course from shuttle pass find many of my books. Many of them books that were previously published and have been reissued through shadow press and a couple of new ones. We're coming up on remembrance day. And there's the mars of my grandfather in law samson j goodfellow whose first world war memoirs are available and i released a young adult science fiction novel. That's never been released before called star song which i highly recommend which you might wanna check out as well and of course. I also published primarily by daw books and most recent book for them is the moonlit world book three in my role shaper series and my next book for them. We'll be coming out next year. And it's called a tangled stars in my short story in Shakers of roles volume is actually an introduction to it happens ten years before the events of the novel introduces the three main characters who will be in the book. One of whom is a wise cracking uplifted genetically modified cat. So you know you gotta read that right right. That's probably enough of blather about me. I should just mentioned before. We get onto Today's guest that The world shapers. Podcast is part of the scotsman. Podcast network all right. Let's get onto today's guest. Levy ted now. The heart is the world fantasy award. Winning author of osama twenty eleven say nominated the violent century twenty thirteen. The ger would fiction uncovered prize. Winning a man lies dreaming two thousand fourteen and the campbell award and you comprise winning central station. Two thousand sixteen and the locus in campbell award nominated unholy land twenty eighteen and many other works including the escapement which was just released actually earlier. This week is this goes live on september twenty first. I believe it was released. Other novels are by force alone and his debut children's novel candy which was released as the candy mafia in the us. He's also the author of the comics. Miniseries adler the works across genres as you could tell combining detected and thriller modes with poetry science fiction and historical and autobiographical material. His work has been compared to that of philip. K dick by the guardian and the financial times and to kurt vonnegut spy lucas. These media appearances have included channel. Four news bbc radio. London and others and his speaking engagements have included defense for everything from the ministry of defence to cambridge university english pen and the singapore writers festival He's written for conde nast. The tel aviv museum of art. The jewish museum in berlin berlin and new scientist among others and he's currently a book columnist for the washington post so levin. Welcome to the world shapers. I think you're one of a few authors that have been have been connected to via tacky on locations which is bringing out Yearbook the escapement. Is it out now or is it. It's still to come. I think it's gone to princes are. They're just waiting for the actual copies to combine again. It's coming up next month. Officially that'll be paying. Also i should point out. I've just made a mobile phone. Gangs cool. I've just released that to doing for a beta testing. Well when this goes live it'll be pretty close to win. It comes out. I think it'll balance out in the end there. So i'm very happy to talk to you. I've been aware of you for a while. And i've seen your name and seeing great praise heaped upon you. So let's start. As i always do by taking you back into the mists of time you. Where did you grow up. How did you get interested in writing all that stuff. So tell me your life story. Yeah begun a long time now. I grew up in a kibbutz in israel. People delaware kibbutzes which. I can't blame in sort of like a socialist utopian commun- so that was a slightly unusual job and Yeah i guess you know. I was always just attracted to the way the books you know the more fantastic books. I was one of those kids that kind of growing up in the library and that was always the stuff i kind of lean was always kind of wanted to be a writer that sort of you know imaginary head spice with being a rock was a thing that was possible. You know. i used to the science fiction magazine that was published for awhile over there and kind of read about these writers in america in the conventions in our awards and you know it seemed about. As distant as the moon was obviously completely unimaginable. That you can be a of the of meet some of these people and it. Some pouring i moved. I lived in south africa for one i went to school for bid and then i moved to england at some point. I basically made the decision to start writing into start writing in english rather than hebrew with the view that i might be. I could be a small fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big. The idea. I didn't actually expect to work there. Actually expect Expect to ever become a writer and then at some point i think sat down and i wrote my short story. But what happened was actually. I met a friend of writer friend. I learned about this thing that you could actually submit short stories to magazines then get rejected. That was very exciting. It never occurred to me that you could do so at some point. I basically south down right my first short story and never really stopped off the thugs and i kind of wish. I waited too long. He kind of takes over your life. Once you've started. But i've read up. I showed story. I sent it out. And i got it rejected. It was one of the most exciting things that that someone actually bothered. Look story and rejected the excitement of rejection whereas off overtime it never it. Never people seem to think like it gets easier after awhile. You know and i had a day recently like a few months ago thing and i got. I sent a bunch of stories and i got up rejection. Look okay great or rejection. And then got a second rejection. I was like great. And i got a certainly jags. That's okay it's three rejection day. And then i got the fourth same day and i thought okay this one hurt so you know even if you're a professional they don't give you any discounts. How how old were you when you wrote that. I you grown up or has to what you were a teen or or your now i did. I did some writing in hebrew when i was attain. I did some short stories I had an acceptance for literary magazine. When i was seventeen i thing and then was never actually published and i did a hebrew collection in hebrew poetry collection in israel back in the midst of time. But now i started. I won't sure exactly it was. Yeah i was sort of like twenty four. When i started writing that show stories before that i just messed about once i did that. I sat down with the idea that i would drive five hundred a day every day. I never really stopped since when you were reading the books that kind of interested you there any that that stood out as a young reader that you think particularly influential. Yeah i mean. Obviously you know. I was always very attractive. Philip k dick because he was also the early only writer i ever saw. Who mentioned the kibbutz. You know the place where i grew up and he had the mamas basically was fascinated by the idea. And i always saw bit of myself in philip k dick novel which i didn't really see anywhere else and i was a huge fan of zelezny was fun of delaney. I really liked the sixties scifi united the very outer with birds stuff that the people were doing the line whereas i think now science fiction. He's lovable commercial. That reduced debate. And i think in the sixties. They got away with just the craziest things. They could do whatever they want. No one was supervising them in. I i remember reading that stuff. I was a kid in the sixties. So it didn't the weird stuff didn't really appeal to me then but it's interesting to look back at some of the some of it just didn't work. Some of it was just so weird that it never really worked but I can remember That what did they call it ted. I've lost the expression that they used that then new new world or new new. I don't know anyway. I was familiar with it where you get stories that were i remember one. That always stuck with me. It was a story that was told in a spiral in the word. Spiral down and down in the middle of the page at least on one page. So they're all sorts of weird things going on back then You'd started traveling. It says in one bio i read quite early. And you've been all over the world. How how did that come about. If i'm honest kind kinda thing. 'cause i'm always suspected pretty dull person. I thought unless i go out and do something. I'm not gonna have anything to write about out of the idea. Yeah i i went. Backpacking a lot like traveled to I'm not very good traveling. I'd already enjoy. Travelling is it doesn't like going to places. So i found it whenever i would go somewhere. I want to just stay there and you know just get home. so traveled all around. I travel all around europe back in like you know when the yugoslavian war was still going on. That was my being trip. What's really interesting. Trappings eastern europe when you still have no western visitors. When he still at bulletholes from the you know apprising that was still going on. And yeah i spent a lot of time kind of in southern africa. Worked in malawi. Forbid i'd malaria car. Lots which is easy with eighteen. As opposed to now imagine and lifting vanuatu in the south pacific for about a year i lived in southeast asia for a couple of years But i'm mostly you know these days. I'm living a very dull suburban life in england. I would say still looking back looking back at nakata's were you're a professor our at some universities do i'm. I'm a full toward rancho beautiful for about a decade now which is pretty insane. I am what's called a visit visiting so i i'm the official writer in residence. It's like an honorary title. And it's great because dan actually expecting anything for me and i'm not expected to do anything they don't have to give us the office. Which is great. So i d- worker students or no i did i do. I did do a bit of teaching. They roped into teaching a couple of courses which was interesting dealing with students and marking essays. Abbas quite relieved to go back to my actual job after. I've been a writer in residence at a couple of public libraries in the term always implied around here whenever i see reminder and residents position. It's always you have to have all these wannabe writers. Come in and they meet with you and you give them advice. Mark up their manuscript. So that's not what writer in residence means just for you to be honest. It's very hard to say because we're in the middle of a condemned so yeah so we don't really know because the visual plans you no one's being the offices i think for like a year i was part of basically help them set up a a masters degree in science fiction fantasy film so that was part of what i did didn't think theoretically i'm expected to also give a couple of lectures on the course but again he's very hard to say what's going on you know but the situation is and At the moment and also it's the longer time arrangements. We're going to work it out as we go along. See see what we can do with it. What interesting project we can get up. But it's quite it's an american international university as well so you get out of american students in international students and it was definitely interesting doing a bit of teaching that. I'm always interested in someone who wrote in two languages started in hebrew and then started writing in english. How does how does that. Influence your writing. Do you think the fact that you have this this other language going on in your head as well. I'm curious about that. i'm. I'm unfortunately extremely union lingual except for high school french. Because i live in canada but i actually. I actually writing three languages. Because we're not lifting. I learned to speak bishop lama. Which is the local is what you'd call pidgin creole english. Which which is interesting is it's very very much. Its own thing and at some point. I ended up writing short stories in bishop. Nama purely for the joy of it really for the experiment and because i knew the editor of the newspaper you gave me column so i had. I had my own column in the daily post for a year publishing short stories in which you know very very proud to be honest Yeah i think it makes a difference. I mean i think. I try to maintain that rhythm and the structure that is slightly different to what a negative english speaker would have. You know. i'm not trying to make my writing. Fit a very standardized englishness savvy and i do borrow quite from hebrew with bar southern a certain rhythm themselves in sound sultan structure and also just leaning into alliterate tradition. That isn't an anglophone tradition with bring some of that stuff thin and of course when people do read my books. They can recognize the american references or the english references but not necessarily going to recognize the traditional references of hebrew literature that abusing and all. This travel you've done has that i'm assuming has fit into your fiction writing as well. You do. Draw a lot on your travel experiences your experiences around the world and your experience with different cultures. Do you think that. Make sure your fiction retreat. I mean it does help to an extent you know because i lived in i lived in different places i would stories set in those places and some of them were quite successful but i'll became uncomfortable with it. I think became unsatisfied with it. You know. I caught a feld. It's a bit like writing is a tourist. Even if you're living somewhere we already know it. You know you always writing as an outsider. And i think writing is an outsider is fun to a degree but i grew on satisfied with it and to me became more important to start writing about the things that are in you know and i come from a place. That isn't very what exploding literature i keep saying. You know you can read one hundred. There's one hundred books new york but how many books do you know setting to the rave for example. I keep boots. So i went back to ruin the stuff that i really knew as the stuff stuff. The anew in pasig so books at central station is set to the futuristic tel-aviv. And i thought has more honesty to it than a book if i write. Something sensing lasts for example even live the for a couple of years off daily ever. No it's as an outsider so that was a part of it but you know occasionally it's very it's very handy and it's fun to write about a places of been to and one of the tricks you make your characters outside. The student have a. I had a story in. Asimov's fatty recently and setting the gobi desert. Mongolia that's based on having gone having traveled through the desert. And and i don't i wrote it from the perspective. People also just posses through. Body will saito's facet because you get drill. You on places that are real to you. You have seen that you know what looks smells and tastes luck and i think that does make a difference. You started with short fiction and you wrote a lot of short fiction and still do when and why did you move to an awful to the novels expected to ride and also you know novels. Oh what pays the bills. Which is ridiculous. no. I mean. I think that's this idea that you should progress isn't it. People always have progressing from short stories to novels which is ridiculous which is kind of not fair to short stories which no that completely different thing that hard i think most normally off never it in the short story wouldn't know how to shoot story in an ira. I still see myself with show. Story rights essentially. I think i've tried to write a novel. Because i haven't done a novel before. I actually the fasting. I was an avella. And i've right on the valley which is actually a lengthy really ready like that. I would love to ride mowing size and people say that's the perfect like i science fiction story. It's a great length. I mean i really any talk How this to get it published. So so i tried to nevada and i manage to novell and then i kind of tried to write a book wasn't a very good book and i had no idea what i was doing but by doing it. I learned about what. I didn't know i was doing if you see what i mean so i could go on and write another book and was slightly better and And then the appeal of a short work as well when writing short stories. The appeal is that it's quit garage. You sit down you write a short story. It's done you submitted you can get it published thirty quickly. Sometimes you get very short loop but the next day you get up and you haven't gone extinct to work on unless you can come up with another show store with a novel. The nice thing is that you know what you do you get up every day and you know that you need to write a little bit more in this book because it's a comparison spending months and months and months writing this book and if you get bored in the middle of you can go you can always take some time off into a short story will do something else so. That's kind of one of the appeals of novels. It stuck scope its length and at this point technically. I kind of discovered that. I can ride really long novels. By essentially focusing on good which is writing let lang and base or short story and fella which are my strength and kind of assembling a book together out of blocks and each block almost is like a story on its right and once you do not take the pressure from having to write some monster monster big book because you're just writing a letter story each time and that that seems to work well for me not being natural novalis and this is getting into process which is what we're going to talk about so let's move onto your creative process and we're gonna focus on the escapement because that's that's newest one so maybe the first thing is to give whatever synopsis or explanation of the book you would like to give without giving away anything you don't want to give away. Yeah it's tricky. It's essentially it's a big difference in the stuff of done before it's essentially on one hand. It's bowed a sort of a cowboy and called. The stranger is a monk. Destroying germany rights across very phantasmagoric fantasy landscape called the escapement and he searching for a flower called the plant of heartbeat. And this flowers rumored to only exist beyond the mountains of madness and so he's whole journeys to try and get to this flower that no one knows how to get to on the other layer of. It is about a father now who is sitting by the bedside of his over his terminally. Ill son so the question is whether that fantasy landscape is a projection of the real world or if the two separate worlds of kind of into mingo and stop bleeding between the escapement and our world seems that people can possibly between them and so on. But essentially what. I wanted to come. Was this adventure fantasy adventure. But in order for the fantasy adventure to bihar it need the real world stuff going on and also i think i wanted to write a very simple linear book. And he didn't count so it became very very much inspired by surrealism and spaghetti westerns. I'll and picture books actually. Very visual very artfully fun book at the time but very wins time well and has salvador dali in there with watches melting on the sand credit to the description. I read that. That's what they're using advocate to promoted. Anyway yeah no. I've always loved the surrealist artists inspired by the determine munchies. But also by stuff like picture books by dr seuss which also has the surrealist quality to it. You know described this book as sergio. Leon ever directed. Oh the places. you'll go. That's that's the book you'll end up with a high concept as you could use that in an elevator pitch. So this one's specifically you've mentioned the surrealism in but what the i know it's a cliche. Where did the idea come from. And general where do ideas come to you from. Where were the inspirations to you when you decide to turn something into story so off the squire bit now and i'm not entirely showing no in this particular case. I originally wrote a short story. About ten years ago mustard bane. He was called a high noon encounter and that was kind of like the seed story for this book so it introduces the three main characters. Ovadia not showed store and introduces the world. It's evolved where you get clowns you get you know controversial. You get gunslingers intermingle. You've got circus western vibe going. It's a great cover that on the book by the way that kind of captures that spirit. I very well. Yeah i really. He likes to cover. That's that's tacky designer. She also had to do the map. They made me do a map for it. And obviously the whole point was there's no map it's not a real scientists. It doesn't make any sense. And they really wanted them out. And i had to try and draw a map and then elizabeth to design how to and put it together into something. That actually looks like a map. Not my terrible drugs. Then we kept adding more and more features to the map. Just to populate. It's i think the map is the real the real masterpiece brilliant map Yeah what we took the idea right and and how do how do you move from the idea then to novel what you're planning so i don't know this short story was about. It was ages and ages ago. I think partly the reasoning. I had was all this stuff i usually do. It's very political. You know so. I've done a book called osama won the world fantasy award and that's about the ball in tara. You know i've done a book called. The man is dreaming. And that's about the holocaust done a book called on highland and that's about israel and palestine and these are all very of that in a book violent century which is about world war two twentieth century history. You know it's all very serious. I'm kind of doing a pulp approach to very serious subjects. Essentially and i kind of wanted to move away from the stuff was doing these sort of alternative wall political stuff. I wanted to do something simple. And fun and more fantastical. And i think that was part of the reasoning. Starting this by con honestly can't remember but why this. Oh wow it started and the why was doing it. Is i started doing it as sort of sections epi surging. Almost you know that each one is like a little mini story. It's on writes an actually published a couple of them separately. And then i had one in conjunctions apex magazine But very very quickly became obvious. That this one mock once you once it got a bit further into the escapement it. You couldn't have it stand along. The individual sections were given vigil section. There will of the biggest story and so at that point. I just sat down in rugova because it would have made basically if you if you tried to publish something from the middle of the book would have made no sense whatsoever out of context at that point on a on a broader scale. What generally inspires you to write a story or a novel. Where where do you typically get in. What what. What are the seeds for which you're creative works grow. Typically i don't now i mean i i do so many different things and i think i have different prompts. One of the things. I enjoy doing purely for fun. Is science fiction short stories that that's that's the thing that i find very not always easy because sometimes i can get two years without getting anything that i can do science fiction. I'm always glad to come back to it of just finished a science fiction story for the fuss but i love playing with those stories. I love playing with science. Fiction has all that history and oldest toys that people came up with all the golden egg stuff and then he's going to cyberpunk stuff it's and you can borrow. You can take whatever you want to play with this. I really enjoy doing not so. That's always fun for me to do. As long as i can come up with a new angle with a new. You know whereas when. I'm writing books. I'm looking to write something. That has a certain something to say that it is important. Someway you know so be tackling alone so the political stuff. That dog historical stuff that matters to me an occasion. Y'all idea Just write something you know. I've done a bit of horror. I do a bit of crime every now and then but they all kind of share the same dna. I mean it doesn't really matter you know they're all they're all slightly win sloppiest skew. Sometimes you know at the moment. I'm thinking of doing a crime. The kind of ties in with the civil circus clowns things just because i came up with a nice sounding tight when i thought okay i'd like to ride and then you know like recently been during these vampire detective stories of during these judge dee stories for total calm and not purely came about. I had the idea of writing one story. I never thought of myself as a golden age mystery writer the plotting of these classical murder mysteries. I figured i could do. I could plot to murder mystery. And and i thought i'll do it for the chandan you know and i wrote this one story though is is a mystery and of palmistry state house to work with vampires right but still work as a classical golden age mystery but you can figure it out with the detective and so on so i kind of did not and i saw worked and i never intended to do any more of them but told com bought the first one and said we would really like another one. That's right yes point. People say we'll give you some money and southern your creative juices of so with the detective vampire detective which is very tongue in cheek. But it's actually very full exercise from a technical perspective. Writing golden age mysteries is is incredibly structured. So what i found out. I've recently finished the six one of richard six of these half a book at this point. And what i found was that the most of the work actually goes on plotting these. You know because you have to sit down and you have to figure out who the characters are could. Murder is who the victims who the suspect Clues you have to figure all of that stuff out before you can run the story. So i would spend something like two weeks working out the all of those elements and the writing would be almost easiest part because you just you know what's what you do. You just sit down and you right through the whole thing very very quickly so there are a lot of fun to do. Just never never thought of myself. As you know someone could do agatha christie especially the agatha christie with impose and. I never thought that. I could actually promote these very intricate. Absolutely ridiculous and one of the funds things is that the vampires keep thinking that the solution is an agatha christie solution. Like oh maybe they were all in on it. Maybe they were all the murder and obviously the fun thing is they've. i'm paused. Pretty stupid and they just killed me. So it's never christie's by law fundamental as. i'm realizing i'm actually cobb in front of agatha christie. Now now that. I think about before the novel. You talked kind of us talking about other novels too. I think we're you're you're sort of assembling it out of blocks. I think was the word you use to do. A complete outline for a novel or does it more grow organically from these sections that you start with and then they get knitted together. F- i used to be one of those people just rights with no idea of where it's coming and what i realized is when you do that you keep writing yourself into blind corners and you have to you know i think at some point. I write a book on my other books. was called camera obscure. Which is you know these. Very sort of light steam punky adventures thing or whatever and i was writing and it was fun and then i started writing the second half of the book and i could tell that he wasn't fine but i kept on right to until i got to the end and i sense to my agent and he said he was reading it and he's grade and i said we're all you and he said halfway through and i said okay and then he fired me up when he finished and he was like right and you have to cut out the second half and write something and i said i know so you know one day you have fifty forty five thousand words and the next you don't and the aftermath from scratch so i kinda want to minimize doing that now. I'm getting older now. So i don't i still don't plot very much but what i found is that i know the ending now. So i know the ending in advance. I worked towards the ending and i would usually have some sort of loose outline of what should happen where things should be going. Roughly and then. I'll be playing with that but But i can still right without it. I mean i just recently. We had locked down over here. And you know the last lockdown pretty much brugh coming. I was supposed to work on this. John novel that i just delivered and i couldn't concentrate and and i just had an image. I didn't even have an idea. Had an image of a robot and a flower that was it was roy. There was a flower. And i thought i'll write it and i sat down. I wrote a short story. Like two thousand was and it's about this robot and he shows up in a flower market and he buys a flour and he goes off into the desert. Leaves the slough someone right and i have no idea what this robot is doing. But i'm kind of curious to find out you know. So i write another story to see what happens. And at that point of this roy bodies digging a hole in the desert is looking for something in the desert. These digging up. These drawing all kinds of creatures through over. And i wrote the story. And that's all. I have no idea what he was digging for. Come ridicule funding. So let me write another story. And i run and then at that point you know writing show stories. You're writing a novel and you have no idea where it's going but it was ideal for lockdown. Because i could just ride these very very short chapters and ready just find break was going so i did that and it was. It's a show novel. It's like forty two thousand words and tack. You're gonna punish of next year to called neom so that was fun and it also saved my sanity during unit three whole months of of one. more lockdown. what does your actual writing process here fulltime writer. Do you want of course recently. They everybody's been writing at home but sometimes did you like to go out and right and other places. Do you tend to just plant yourself at your desk. You do a lot of stuff you have but columns and other things that you've written how do you. How do you plan your day. And what does that look like for you. Yeah i really do anything. I mean you know. Never believe a writer with you. Their wildcard i mean they done rug so i had. I had one on here and her. Her publicist said. Well know she's very busy so you can only have forty-five minutes. You can't have an hour. So i got to the end of the forty five minutes and i said i know you're very busy. So thank you and she said. Well i do have to feed the cat. She's that sounds about right. I mean you know the writing. As far as i can tell writings about ninety nine percent notes writing a certain. Yeah i mean. I think it's for everyone so you just sit there. And you know in my case tv i find. Tv's absolutely beneficial zone out into some sort of space. So bored that i have to write. No i don't like writing outside of never be one of those people who can go to a coffee shop and sit sit down and write or you know i try to write it the university the other day and it felt like going to an office at all. I could think of what. I should go for lunch now. It's my lunch. And i'm not getting paid to sit still have to buy all i can think of or thing about. Was you know. I wanna go for lunch now. Maybe i should take a coffee break. It just felt like bang back in an office so now. I'm not really a big fan of that. But you know. I think the case obviously of your life to to live a real life outside of writing and fighting really fits around everything. That is more important. You know why. So how does that work out for. Are you a fast writer. Or a slow writer. I don't know. I don't think i'm thaw stride set prolific. Yeah people have impression buy tickets. Because i do a lot of different things not because necessarily rb fast. But i'm able to work. I'll say i'll do a little bit of a comic and then i'll do a little bit of a wider showed story and then i'll do because you know you're not in any rush. Necessarily a novel is going to take you months and months to do you can couple shows stories between you can work on different things so i think know. I'm doing that calling for the washington post which is absolutely fun to do. it's basically just me and sylvia garcia open up the document and figure out what books we want to talk about what did ask about that. How did that come about well. They they wanted to write a column for them and for some reason she asked me to write it with it. That's it that's the absolutely have no need to me once so ever but sylvia was like. Do you want to deal with what you don't need me but show me and it's fun because we get to. Just you know geek about books which is great. But it's not you know i wouldn't call it work. How call any of this stuff. It's well everywhere you everything you've done you've probably done some actual hard physical labor at some point in and all of that travel and everything i had is when i was university i was working at the way behind grain terminal and shoveling rotting grain out of the bottom of the legs in the elevator and fixing bucks cars so they could hold grain and ninety degree heat inside the boxcar and i thought you know i wanted. I made the right decision. When i wanted to be a writer because this actual work stuff like this absolutely i mean like i said i grew up on the kibbutz and two things about acuity cultural commune which means yes grinds and chickens and shape and you know factories and everything and the other one is. They're very very big on work. Work is sort of the ultimate value. You know so even as a kid you have to work. You know you have to clean the pots pans. You have to make the bed. You have to feed the chickens. All and i've never been a i to work in and but the irony was you know it really struck me during the pandemic. I know someone who's a pilot is lost a job because of the pandemic you. Because i haven't be any flights and i saw this is ridiculous. I'm sitting getting paid right about them over mysteries. You think if you know in in a pandemic situation you would think being a pilot would be a more useful skill than making stuff up about vampires and he turns out he's That was a bit of. That's not right yeah it was. It was odd. Because i said i was actually right in residence at the saskatoon public library when it started and that meant i was driving two and a half hours. They're staying over one night coming back and had two days in the office up there and in the pandemic kit and i went virtual so i actually got pay raise. Because i wasn't having to go in person anywhere. I didn't have to have the expenses of driving five hours and and staying overnight in a hotel every week and it didn't really seem fair. I took it but it didn't really seem fair. I agree yeah know it was going to say. Do you know when you ask about travelling. Obviously these days are congo backpacking for two years easily. Move wherever i want but one of the nice things which again the pandemic kind of put a hopefully a temporary stopfel is that you do get invited as arrived. And that's one of the few perks get invited occasionally to go somewhere And that's been amazing. 'cause i go to go to japan which i've never been. I got to go to korea. I go to go to you know. I'm suppliers to get to france in in a couple of months assuming that it will let us out of the country will into europe. And that's been amazing. That's something. I've been really missing since i don't have an excuse to leave. Usually i can go where i've been invited out to go. You have to go on a long a long international flights go to japan and eat sushi. I mean i have to. It's not by choice. it's work and i can't do that at the moment. He's very frustrating. To once you get to the end of your first time through you have an awful in some fashion. What does your revision process. Look like ours. It perfect when you get to the end clearly not on that one where you had to write the second half but you know you kinda learn. Learn from your love mistakes. I'm yeah i always wrote fairly clean drafts. And i think you know i used to say it's because i don't be right which is nonsense you know. Of course i may right. But what i do is i kinda do it as i go. So i'm not gonna. I can't move on with the book until what i've done is good. And that's when. I get stuck a lot as well because icon i conscious. People say just move onto the next bit and come back and fix it later. I can't do that. I want to be in a position when i finished the book. It's ready to go to the publishers. And what the publishers. One then is we can talk about. But i try and make sure that the book is ready so i will do. I draft and i'm editing. As i go then i'll go over the data in just fixed the bits that i need fixing and tin karen and also stopped by. Ideally that's five percents out of a hundred and then it will go to the editors in the may have their own requirements law point. I'll do so. It doesn't look i was gonna say it doesn't sound like you do beta readers or anything like that like i didn't. I didn't do any of that. I mean you know. Occasionally i think i will ask someone I will ask someone who's who's another writer. I wouldn't him to have a look at a book but there are never any use. You know if there's something i know doesn't work and austin they want help me. I mean absolutely useless yeah. I mean central station. The cakes was done. You know. Because i wrote as individuals showed stories. Add up to a mosaic novel. I knew that it didn't quite work as a novel body now to fix it and i was lucky enough that when the book went to tack you on that came back to me and basically just said this is what you need to do. And they literally said cut in half drop. This story rearranged the ordering this way. Do this do that. And it was exactly what i kind of couldn't see and once they said it was the easiest rerun job because i knew i knew that would make the book right with the escapement tack you on. I mean my editors gel attack. Your knees is quite hard work. Sorry jail she's she makes me work out which is why you know. And so she wanted me to speed up sections of the book. It's called counting. She likes things to be explained. More and the escapement is very much a book where things are not necessarily explained and so i actually ended up writing a section in the first chapter of the book where they run into a guy who's trying to make sense of the escapement know and he's like i don't understand i don't stand clowns understand why they're not funny you know. And he's doing experiments on clowns. Just don't understand. Why funny. And i was purely because jim was like the rules. What is the not rules. I'm just making stuff It's it's called dream logic. It's a dream logic fantasy. It's not a tolkien. Fantasy house wonderland day shower. Things can change unexpectedly right. I mean even if you look at nanya you know the difference between anya laws. The rings a lot of the rings if he mentions an umbrella. That's because three hundred years ago. The elf set up an umbrella factory and he has his his. Yeah and it's based on -nology that was imported from the first age of man you know and that sort of nonsense whereas the phone just shows up with an umbrella. Why because it's magic. It doesn't need you know. It's the same with the turkish delight in early. I mean it's always fun to think about what. Where's the turkey coming from all the turkish delights smugglers like a black market. No it's magic so this is definitely a book that leans more towards the the dream logic element of fantasy than the kind of talk in. But yeah so that. You know editing leasing do what's asked of me. I'll try and argue. My colon. refi disagreed with something. Generally i like to go along with with the editing Some books you know. You're dealing with that israel very hands zone and sometimes they of leave you to by detroit. Deliver the cleanest possible draft What's the book comes out you've had a lot of you know words fantasy word for osama there's been other words for various things over the years. Have you been if you've been pleased with the response to your work over the years and surprised. Perhaps i mean the ball. Fantasy of what was very surprising. I mean don't forget. This was a book with rejected by every publisher in the boiled. Pretty much once you start a book called osama And any actually coming out in the tenth advisory edition in china which is which is very satisfying for me. But but that was very surprising. You know winning the ball fund to see and you know the recognition of comes with all the the stamp of approval if you will. That's a big burst when you starting out at the point now where i don't necessarily care that much certainly not start as long as i like the book. I don't really care about reviews much. Some people don't read the reviews. I read my reviews. And i don't care about bad reviews any more than i do about good reviews occasionally. There'll be a review actually says something interesting. Noggin think about you know. Sometimes it's negative in sometimes explosives and that's always something you can non from got fussing point. I'm just right immuno to please myself. I and i know i'm also. I know i'm never going to please. Everyone so only please myself and as long as i can police someone who's gonna publish the book then. That's that's a win. You some work in the comics side of things. How did that come about well. That was yeah. I've never been a big comex reader. You know we didn't really have comics in israel so i never really read comex contractor. Educate myself this debate about graphic novels stuff but never been dedicated reader but there was a small price magazine in the uk that action did fiction and comics and the editor asked me for a story at some point in that said if you ever want to write a comic i'll put you up. All these artists seems cueing so iconic so great so i taught myself out to ride a comic and if honest you know my first few attempts i didn't even know why script for comics. I think we've been on standard medium. I kept acid. I kept trying anti. I got a chance to work with a few showed strips. Sort of thing and Really enjoyed it. Because it's a different medium and so much of these artists ready to you know. And it's also greg because i can't drew and it's great to say oh do this and then someone actually has to go and drome your vision and then we can take all the credit for which is great and so one of the autism worked with Paul mccaffrey we did. A very strange book called down to the moon together which is like a picture book but wasn't radio a kid's picture boat and so we we wanted to walk together really enjoyed working again and at some point i think he was in discussions with talked comex about doing some work for them as an office. And and we basically said they will the v. Wanted to do a comic together. And i you know. I had this thing lying around and i wrote the script synopsis and also on we pitched to to them they liked it and and we did the comic so that was great. I'd love to do more but it's always interesting when your words get turned into pictures by somebody else you know. Sometimes it's cover art or or something else but it's always for me. It's interesting because you have some sort of image in your head what you're trying to convey with words and then when an artist takes that you see well maybe some people are seeing entirely different things in their heads. Perhaps than what what you sign yet. It's exciting to see that difference. I think but i also i like working if i'm writing a comic. I'd like to ride foreign artists rather than just write it. Because you know when i was writing i'd love i was riding full kind of new poll. Could do so. I'm writing it for him in. I'm not just writing it. So so i was nevis occasionally would send me a page and i would say maybe changed this and that you know a few changes but but other than that i was writing to his vision in a way. You know give pro. Yeah i'd like to think so we're talking about maybe doing something else again. And i'm basically i just said. Do you want to drew. You know and i'll write it for you because this is so much about the all but yeah it's it's an interesting. It's an interesting things to do. Just you know what i'm doing. I'm doing android mobile games at the moment and toddy by myself and that's another fascinating thing to do because he's a complete different medium again. I'm just interested in playing with different structures and media but it all comes back to telling stories which brings me to my big philosophical questions here at the end. The first one of which is simply. Why do you do this. Why do you write the second one is. Why do you think we as an a much broader scale humans. The whole species. If you like why do why does anybody right tell stories and the the third one is why stories of the fantastic specifically so there you go. You're three big philosophical questions not to run soon bombard brand. He's not capable of three questions. Is it okay. Well the first one is why do you write ultimately. Why do you do this year. The onces It's something i've always wanted to do. I didn't really know how to do it. When i was little and now i think i'm at the point where i'm just not good for anything else which i've actually likes to do something else. I'd actually like to go back and teach. I found teaching really interesting. I found it was so much outside of my comfort zone dealing with students you know having to get up and get dressed and devon talk to people and try and make sense. I found it so stressful to be honest but challenging at the same time. I think i'm not good for much any unless you need. You need help fixing your windows. Ninety five machines which you know is become less fashionable these some rain. I'm not really good first. Published book was using microsoft publisher for windows ninety five cockroach computer books in the ninety s. That was the glory days. So okay why do you think then. Why does anybody right. Why do why do people put stories in words and and put them into written forum and send out to other people. Why do we do this crazy thing. You know i again. you know. This is a philosophical question. Isn't it. I actually have a novel answered by saying i have enough where you should. I haven't novel that kind of deals with some of these big questions. You know while we here. Why do we write about why we're here sort of thing. And he's he's a book trying to raj for years and years and years. I think it must have been like ten years. He's been in the works in some form and tack. You bought it at some point. Buddy's still i just did another major veroi. Don't like a structure rewrite and trying to engage them some of these questions which isn't easy because you know why why why human consciousness. Why does it even exist. What does it mean. Does it mean anything you know if you go to lovecraft ian rupe than cosby. Says he doesn't mean acing where some people say. The universe is dependent on human consciousness. Ada part of what we are as a species. Okay i don't know. I don't know what the answer is. You know. i think you're going to need to go into Biology in niro signs. And i actually of consciousness restaurant because when my book comes out. He doesn't answer any of these. Obviously but but you should. I did find it interesting. I find it interesting intersection between science. Fiction and religion is interesting to me. You know when. She's most obvious with elwyn hubbard and scientology. So that's kind of what might book is balking about. It's what happens when you have a science fiction writer who may have figured out the truth about the union bills and started the ryan religion. I think that's that's really interesting. I think the job of variety store. Ask questions you you know. Right is can't even dress themselves. Most times i mean expected to provide an answer to philosophical question is nissan realistic. Well then the final one is and you kind of answered this right off the top with the as a kid but why why are you drawn to stories of the fantastic or what's the value writing stories with fantastic. You know. I mean that's a really interesting question have been thinking about. I mean why where the rightist come from all also interest me if i look at sei. My friends silvia moreno garcia. It's like whether she comes from. You know i mean. She grew up in mexico since starts in bryant up kibbutz in israel and solid pointing. Why do we ride. What what we ride and wider recognize that kinship people from completed opposing sides of the roads drawn to the same books strong to the same witness and writing the same sort of with i ready. It's one of those questions really fun. Really interesting The other thing was you know for a long time. Been saying i need to step away from genre just felt like i don't know how much more can do and at the same time. Can i write something without sean. You know as you will tell you like to say can you. Can you write it with the drivers in the else in the l. Because the problem with my books because my books have politics and the pulp genre mixed up that people want to read a series book. Israel and palestine don't really want of crofty jokes thrown in or alternate universe and the people who want live grafting jobs alternative universes don't really wanna scenery spoke about israel and palestine. So i'm kind of in a bindi and so can i write a book without elements and my next novel the one of just delivered in the uk. It's a huge historical epic. It's like one hundred fifty two thousand dollars which to is huge and not starts. Straight soldier historical epic historical crime pick. Maybe but he doesn't have the elves in the areas. It's completely realistic. Based on actually stoorikhel incidents aside one and he turns out writing books without elves in aliens is actually not hard. You just take the but he was so i think that's that's an interesting because that's something new for me. You know an something that. I'm able to do of found out so i probably will go on and do a few more of dutch but at the same time you know. Obviously i love writing science fiction. I love writing the weird stuff. So i'm not planning on stopping nine somewhere along the way i remember what the name of the movement was in the sixties it was the new wave. That's what it was called the new zone you it. yeah. I love the new. I mean you know they were trying to do stuff. I mean a lot of stuff didn't mug but some of it was just glorious. Got it confused with the new weird which is another movement. So yeah. That was show. Shorted live but influential. I think you know why you sort of touched on this as we wrap up. But what are you working on now. Now no working anything right. I kind of. I tried to get everything done before the summer. Because you know somebody just come and delivered huge historical epic novel of done all my edits Of the tube of two books. Coming out. In september. Taiba in the one in the us of gordon theology to i did so you know at the moment all i'm doing is implying around with some short stories and just gonna thinking just working out like i wanna go next because once you start a novel again you giving away months of your life to the snow. I wanna make sure like gun to the wrong place. And where can people follow you. Find out about you. Online mostly mostly untwisted. That's he's a tweet less than a to bit busy thanks Bob got a website. Fun google but mostly onto incidence. When you can talk to me you see what. What's the handle. Just your name. Just l- veto already. Well that's that brings us to the end of the hour so thanks. Thanks so much for that. I enjoyed the check with you too. Thanks very much again for having us and thanks again delivered for being on the program. That was a great chad. I really enjoyed it. And i hope you did as well as you listen to it. Just a few reminders of where you can find things online you can find the world. Shapers online to the world. Shapers dot com. You can find it on twitter at the world shapers and on facebook. The world shapers. You can find me online. At edward willett dot com. You can find me on twitter. At e willett you can find me on instagram at hatred willett author and you can find me on facebook at every dot. Well it because. I miss that memo about having the same handle on everything to to tease. Willett w. i l. l. e. t. t. very important and you can also find shadow. Pop press which again will be publishing shapers of world volume two on november second featuring second-year guests of this podcast one hundred forty thousand words of fiction eighteen brand new stories and six reprints from some of my fabulous guests in the second year and john paparazzi's at shadow pop press dot com. You can find it on twitter at shadow press and you can find it on facebook at shadow. Pa press we have many more great authors lined up in the future so do keep coming back to listen and Just a reminder. Before i close things off that the world shapers podcast is part of the scotch podcast network. This is scotch when podcast network is supported by direct west as marketing. Getting in the way of running your business. Direct west has a local expert. Team right here and sketch one that will work with you to build your website. Exactly how you imagine it. Let them help you improve your online presence and head to direct west dot com to learn more right. Thank you direct west. And this is catchment podcast network. That's it for this episode of the world. shapers. I hope that you enjoyed it in that. You will continue to come back many times in the future as i continue to talk to authors who create the worlds and characters in adventures that we enjoy so much and have enjoyed so much over the years. That's it for this time by for now
Episode 87: Jess E. Owen
"The world chambers conversations with about eighty percents williamson guest a welcome to another pursuit of the world shapers and it just so happens. I can also say happy independent state to my american listeners. And a belated happy candidate to mike and hideous sitters july. I was candidate. And of course july fourth is independence day in the state since. I am both american and canadian dual citizen born in the states but live in canada. It's kind of like happy both to me. So this is the program where i talk to other science fiction and fantasy authors about their creative prose. Sim myself and author of science fiction and fantasy. I happen to have a new book coming out on july thirteenth. It's called star song from shot. Press shadow pop. Press dot com. It's a young adult science. Fiction novel has kind of an interesting backstory. It was the first novel first of all grew out of one of my early publish short stories called of the minstrel which is in my collection pass to the stars if you want to to look that up and it was one of the first novels that i attempted to get Published and it came so close. It was at walker in company back in the mid nineties. When jesse fisherman was the editor and i'd send it in and she sent it back and said well i'd like this but there's this gaping hole in the middle of it. You have his big time skip. You need to flesh that out. So i did. I added nine chapters. I think to fill in that that hole and made it a more rounded story and send it back to her and she got back to me and said well that's that's great. You did exactly what i want you to do. And i was ready to make an offer on it. And then the publisher died walker and company and his son took over and decided they weren't going to publish science fiction anymore. And i was never able to find a home for it. Well now i have my own publishing company. And i'm also got a lot more years of writing under my belt so i went back to it. I rewrote it completely from start to finish and polished bandits coming out shy thirteen. It's called star song. Shot oppress dot com. It'll be available everywhere you can pre-order it now amazon or wherever barnes and noble for nook kobo or google play wherever your favorite e book provider is and they'll also be and of course coming out as well which you can order so that's coming out on july thirteenth in. It's it's a far futures space opera kind of story about this kid who has inherited a mysterious artifact that he thinks musical instrument from his parents whom he never knew and when the guardian who's been raising him on this this out of the way planet is murdered. He sets off to find out the truth about this artifact and he falls in with the wondering Nomadic spacefaring family and they find out the truth about what this thing is. There are people who are after after this thing and therefore after him and after a girl from the family who becomes his friend. So that's Star song check it out. It's available for preorder now the other thing. Of course i want to mention get you up to date on is shapers of world's volume two. That's the second anthology kickstarted featuring authors. Who are guests on this. Podcast and shapers of worlds is out now available everywhere. If you'd like to get that one feature first year guests and shares of volume two is getting very close now. I only have two stories left to come in and one of them is one that i'm writing so i'm pretty sure i'll get that one and i'm sure i'll get the other one too. I've been in touch with the author and it's coming very soon. So that's twenty four new stories in that one Eighteen original stories six reprints and the authors are new fiction from kelley armstrong. Marie brennan helen. Dale candice john. Dorsey lisa foils susan. Forrest james alan gardner matthew hughes heli kennedy lisa kester april craft iranian garth. Nix tim pratt. Edwards salvio brian. Thomas schmidt jeremy shawl and me plus stories by jeffrey carver. Barbara hambly. nancy kress david. D levine sm sterling and kerry von so among those authors are winners and nominees for every major science fiction and fantasy literary award and several international. Bestseller's so i'm really looking forward to bringing that out. It's on track to be out this fall and again that will be from shadow popcrush shadow pop press dot com but it will be available everywhere that fine books are sold the other thing i need to mention off the top here is that This podcast is part of the saskatchewan. podcast network. All right well that takes care of the housekeeping so well. Let's get onto this episode's guest jess e owen. Owen is the author of the summer king. Chronicles a young adult fantasy adventure that she describes as lion king meets lord of the rings. The first book in this debut series won a gold medal in the global book. Awards in an honorable mention in the writers digest self published book. Awards the second book sky fire when an esa major from the anthropomorphic literature and arts association for best novel in two thousand thirteen. Her short fiction has appeared in cricket magazine and various furry genre anthologies she continues to write in the world of the summer king has also contemporary young adult novel due out in spring. Twenty twenty two from page street books so jess welcome to the world shapers. Thank you very honored to be here. Feel like i'm in good company. I'd like to think so. We haven't actually met although in a way we live well. We live closer than some of the authors. I've interviewed because. I'm i'm in saskatchewan. Regina which is just north of eastern montana and you live in northwestern. Montana is a very wide state having across it. I know that but still it's kind of close Well when i when i realized you're in saskatchewan it reminded me of. I don't know if this still happens. But the the old early days of national novel writing month when there was a rivalry between saskatchewan montana that went back and forth for word counts. It was a lot of fun. I know that. I've never taken part in. I've written a novel in a month. But i've never done it as part of national trip. Definitely so we'll start by taking you back into the mists of time favorite phrase this where i'm going to put reeperbahn it this time and find out you know where you where you grew up and all of that good stuff and how you got interested in writing. Probably you started as a reader. How did that all happen for you. Tell me your life story. I have it in a nutshell because i live in a in a tourist town and one of the questions we hear even living here is where you from So i'm from here from whitefish. Montana and i claim that because my mom is a fifth or she's a fourth generation montana but she and dad met in the military so i was born overseas in germany. And we bopped around a little bit. Dad retired mom retired after she had me and we lived in texas for eight years but they talked about moving to montana on their second date. Because why wouldn't you wanna live in montana. So we've been in montana for twenty years. And then i actually went to college for theater because i loved writing art and theater and i decided that theater would pay the best and i went into technical theatre for stage. Management was going to say if you want to make anybody that theater. You're better off the technical side than on the acting side. I did and i. I was and i loved it but i'm also sort of bossy and i love people and i turned out to be good with managing people so i became a stage manager and i did national tours with montana repertory theatre and i worked with small regional theatres big big summer playhouse in alpine theatre project and then i just started to feel the call of my stories more and more and i had always been writing. I'd been constantly writing. My sister and i are both riders and since that time we were kids and teenagers and i finally reached a point where the theater so much creative energy even on you know the technical management and that i couldn't do both and i and i left business and i moved out of montana to live with my sister in north carolina where she was at fort bragg and i got a day job and i decided to focus on the writing. So that's a nutshell. Well let's go back a little bit inside the nut. Were there writing. The first was it from being a big reader. Or why did you start and remember the first thing you wrote. Definitely being a big reader. Mom and dad would both read to us. were obsessed with the serendipity books and Different not always books but a lot of the time you know when we get into my books you'll find out that animal fiction has been with me for a long long time and i think the first story i ever remember writing was called busy the be and i was like six or seven when i wrote hat story and We had bank street writer on the macintosh and mom typed it up and i was hooked so it definitely filled up the well was stories with reading and then i just had to tell them i also wanted to ask you said you lived in texas that i at one point. What did you an morello. Oh yeah well. I lived in two okay which you would know because it's not that far away it's not no we were in the The hot dry dusty. Windy part of the panhandle. Yeah my dad taught at lubbock christian college in lubbock okay and then we moved when i was quite little and then it was Tuleya for two years. And then we move to scotch when and the thing about driving from the panhandle texas scotch. When is that landscape doesn't actually change many straight up through tornado alley there and we did a detour to look at the black hills but other than that it was. It was just pray. Pray pray pray and stopped in the excellent. Did you have like summer long this way. Did you have start sharing your stories with other people was something you kept to yourself. Well one of the interesting and unique things that i have in my life is my sister. Who's a writer as well and always has been so we've always had built in critique partner and we're into and we're interested in the same sorts of things fantasy she writes Like epic fantasy was strong romance plots and Fantasy romance and i write epic fantasy with animals. But we're on kind of the same wavelength and so we've always giving each other feedback. And so i always shared with her. I think we shared almost everything unless we were when we were teenagers. And we were writing stuff that might have been you know scandalous. We didn't want our sister. Read it you know so. There might have been a few things in there. We didn't share but my sister. And then my mom you know i was on one of the i think it was the jalen podcast where she was like. I was the writer. Always the writer in class. And that's how. John and i were. You know our teachers were like. Oh you're the writer. Why don't you do this or teachers. Were also aware of the writing thing. They do tend to notice if they have. Somebody who's really and i was lucky my sixth grade teacher. Mrs williamson who. Actually i got in touch with on facebook several years ago. Because she did mean that much to me Encouraged my writing and was very supportive. And that stuck with me. And i told her when i was a little kid that i would send her a copy of my first book and i did. I had a teacher in grade seven. But i would have been eleven because i skipped a grade so i was always. You're younger and i had written my short story which was complete short story. Caster glass hyper ship. Test pilot deviated from tony. Tunbridge was the teacher and he took it and he he did me the honour of taking it seriously and doing a critique on it know. I don't understand why you're aliens act like this. And this and i've credited him ever since with kind of making me think well the next thing i write is going to be better able to track him down on facebook at facebook not too long ago and My novel the city barn which came out in two thousand seventeen is actually dedicated to him. And i was able to send them a copy of that. So it's great when you can reach out to somebody like that. When i mean as a teacher. I have many friends who are teachers. I can just imagine what that meant to him. I try to like oh it it worked. Sometimes it works yeah. I think there's a couple of teachers that were important i've been able to. I've written up books now that i can. I'm running out of people to dedicate So you went in but when you got up to university you decided on the theater side of your interest where you still writing on this lawyer doing all the theater stuff. You still always. I was always writing i. We went to a community college I couldn't say the the moment that. I chose theater. Because i had always had this idea that i was going to be an actress and a writer on all these things but i kind of moved from where i was a you know a teenager involved in acting class in texas to montana where nobody knew who i was and they all kind of had their own favorite people and i was trying to break in and they're like well you sort of have to pay your dues and so i would help out backstage and i found that i was disappointed but i actually really gelled with that. And then i had a great stage management teacher. Who inspired me to do that. But i was always working on stories. I would get up early and right or i would stay up late and write and then In the summer. When i had more time it was always always a thing i had. I still have a connecticut really sharp sensory memory of being up early in summer and working on this epic fantasy trilogy that had going at the times. Doorstop thing of novel that actually finished. I've finished two of them. Never wrote the third one. 'cause i thought well this is not you know it was never going to be published but it was a great exercise. But i yeah. I've always been a writer always done it. I'm interested in the theater thing too. Because i'm an equity actor actually and have a little bit of that. It's the sideline. I did the writing thing. I had the interest in theater but never pursued it formerly that then got involved with community theater and eventually you got into professional theatre. Say if you got your card you pursued it somewhat serious. 'cause i did a lot and eventually i got an opportunity to do professional show. I've done a handful. I mean it's still a sideline. That's why i knew that you don't make a lot of money but I've found as an actor that the the being on stage and having that constant sense of where people are in a little bit of a sense of the pace and how audiences are going to react. I do find. I think that that helps me in my writing. And i wondered if you're theatrical experience ties into your writing benefits absolutely i think that all creative callings overlap and complement each other. And even though. I wasn't acting. I was intimately involved because the stage manager is there for every single rehearsal in every single performance in. I'm watching and all the notes you know to take the show from director once it went on the road. So i was absolutely absorbing everything out the character motivations and watching these people bring the words to life and think about how somebody might bring words to life in their mind or if i was going to try to write a player screenplay absolutely it it all goes into the mill. The stage manager sees everything. The actor only sees during rehearsal is only in there for the scenes that they're rehearsing stage manager actually sees more than the in the does and the actors always more focused much more in their particular character perhaps is not getting quite the same sense of the overall show right they have to be able to really dig in to create the illusion. Now you're an artist as well are you not. It's always been a thing to i. Don't think i think little kids draw. And then i think at some point they start to compare themselves to others and if they don't think they're good enough that they stop and i. I never did that. I just kind of kept drawing sort of like the writing. When you're when you're so possessed with the need to express something you just keep at it. And so i have folders and folders of drawings that i did when i was young including the drawing debt. My longtime readers will be familiar with the the drawing that inspired the summer king chronicles. But i've kept them a lot of them. So i've always done it and i think it's just another form of needing needing to share ideas and just the the satisfaction of putting something down and making something making something that wasn't there before i was an interest of mine too. I minored in our. But the only thing i ever did with was when i started as a newspaper reporter i drew editorial cartoons for the labor view for a few years and they weren't very well drawn but they had good ideas. Boxful them somewhere. I should really scan them all and put them online just. Should you should start an instagram pinterest or something pinterest. Yeah little short-form so when did the writing turn into being published. Well i i think when i made the decision to leave the i made the decision to really. I'd always studied the industry. I think we had a subscription to writer's digest. When i was thirteen or fourteen so a lot of the questions and things that some people still come to me when they really start out. I've known for a long long time. And when i really decided to make the turn i'm going to do this professionally and i'm going to really commit to. It was in like two thousand. The end of two thousand nine. When i did my last tour with montana repertory theatre and it didn't turn into publishing for a while. I had a young adult fantasy. I was working on that in my mind. You know sort of of the legacy of tamra appears you know young girl fantasy adventure kind of thing. But i didn't really have Hasn't really figured that out yet. It was the initial story had a lot of raw good stuff it was. It was an animal story. But then i couldn't. If i were going to do it i would have to do it completely fresh because i kept overworking it and i did send it out though i i was decently happy with that. I did send it out. Because i was like. That's going to be my brand. I'm gonna do young. Adult sword and sorcery type of fantasy as well and i got a couple of nibbles on it. But it just wasn't quite there you know when you're just not quite there and i kind of shell it and re evalu- waited and i was working retail job at the time And i was really really bored. Hundred february day. I was dusting the lamp section of this store. And there's absolutely nothing else to do. But think and so. I started thinking about what kind of brand i wanted. What kind of niche could find. That hadn't really been done because we have dragons unicorns and we have sword and sorcery and all these things they started thinking about. Griffin's because i love them in several other books that i read and i felt like they were sort of an untapped fantasy creature possibility that they were interesting and then. I had this drawing that i'd done when i was thirteen in some story about these griffin's wolves were at war and and i thought you know what i kind of have the chops now to actually make a story out of this so i started to do that. I was thinking when i was in university. My roommate was in a play that i went to see him in and the name was good grief a griffin. Remember anything about the play really familiar well. Let's that's carry on that and talk about your the genesis of the summer king chronicles and and your process. So you wanted to do something with griffin's there's your inspiration i guess. How did you go about planning it out. Did you plan an entire series or was it. Just one book to start with arthur. I think because of the the books that i read I think in series like it's not just going to be one book it'll obviously be. It started in my head as a trilogy. And then as i was expanding the world came to a point in the plotting whereas like okay either. This one part needs to not happen or it needs to be four books And i really wanted this part to happen. Which is where the main character chard goes to the sunland with dragons are actually perhaps before we carry on too much. You should give an overview of what the story is about that kind of a synopsis without without giving away anything. You don't wanna give away well. My elevator pitches lion king meets lord of the rings so it's all griffin and animal characters in. It's sort of your my spin on your classic. Coming of age fantasy adventure shard is a young griffin pride of griffin's and they're a mixed pride of griffin's who are native to the silver aisles where they live and the conquering pride who came in from elsewhere and took over and have caused problems with the rest of the population the wolves and the hoofed animals and the birds and basically everybody else and starts to see that maybe everything he was raised to believe is not correct. There might be other ways of doing things and there are secrets about his own past that he doesn't know and quite a number of other creatures seem to so he starts to delve into that and we ended up with the summer king. Chronicles so going back to. You're planning out this. How much how much planning to do. And how detailed it was. It definitely was involved. I wrote the first draft. I guess it was in the spring of twenty ten. And i have. I have usually have a very very loose outline. It starts here. I definitely know that this happens. This happens in. This happens in this kind of where it's going to end but i wrote it really fast. What i call you know nanomoles style. I wrote the first draft in about a month and a half. And then i had my sister rita and she gave me some really good feedback and One of my best friends who's very good Critical reader reads widely and it's a good critique her as well and she said that she thought my writing had leveled up. I should definitely do something with the book. So i went back in polished it and started to flush out the rest of the series with basically. Like here's the one main event that happens in this book. Here's the thing we find out. And then here are some of the other characters that come into play. But i didn't actually know how everything was going to wrap up until i was near the end of the third book beginning to write the fourth book which was a really scary place to be. But i have a lot of faith in my subconscious was like i know it's there i just haven't haven't tapped into it yet. I don't recommend writing that way. Same authors. i talked to say well i. Of course i knew the ending. Before i kind of knew the ending of each book and i i knew where i wanted to end so i guess that's kind of accurate. I didn't know how i was going to get there. I didn't know what the big sticking point final resolution moment was gonna be. And i i actually found it when i was listening to a piece of music and it just sort of all unfolded cinematic magic. It was amazing. So i did some outlining but not enough. 'cause i didn't know that. So what are the books in the summer king chronicles. Because it's done and now you're starting the dragonstar saga which is a related but separate series. Yes so the summer king. Chronicles is four bucks. I is song of the summer king book to is fire in. There's a shard of sun in the last book is called by the silver wind and they're obviously all references to stuff within the the books in the previous books and then if we talk about crowdfunding later i'll talk about it but i have patriot on and i had written. I started really ambitiously by writing short stories for the patriots on the later. Put into a little anthology. So there's three little short stories that take place between by the silver wind and rise of the dragon star that aren't necessarily vital to either of the series but they're kind of nice little epilogues to king chronicles and with these books independently published. Yes and these were the crowd sourcing comes in it is i. Took song of the summer king In june of twenty eleven. So this is the amount of time. I was working on the series two thousand ten. I'm work shopping. And i took it to an sec. I conference all amazingly. Didn't land agent there and then i took it to a workshop with david farland in utah in june of two thousand eleven. And he really liked the premise. And he suggested he's like. I think you could sell it or you could self publish it. Because it's kind of nation i was. I was intrigued by that. And i had i had friends who were self publishing and i hadn't wasn't really what it is now. This was two thousand eleven which doesn't feel like that long ago. But i realize it is and i didn't know anything about self publishing but i was intrigued. 'cause i'm a control freak and i knew how like wanted that covers to look and i felt like i really knew my target audience and then eventually one of my friend said hey. Have you ever heard of kickstarter. I said no. Because i i really wanted the book to not look self published. 'cause i'm also pretty i like things of quality and i didn't want it to look like she couldn't get it published so she self published it so I was spending a lot of money on the cover art in the editing. And she was like you should start. You should crowd fund it And i and i did. And the campaigns got more and more massive. I did a campaign for each book and got more artists on board and by the end you know artists who become friends emailed me. And like hey. I'd love to be a part of the campaign. And i had plus she's made and i had sculptures and yeah you can buy them on my website but the overall goal was not just fund the books because i actually paid for the cover art and the editing out of pocket. The the goal of the campaigns was to fund a hardback print. Run with a specific Printer here in the us and also to build a community which it did. And i call the community. The griffin pride and most of them who were part of the kick starters are still hanging out on twitter and on the on the patriot. And they're like the most wonderful people and i'm so grateful that they're patient with me and my slow writing but it just it really created this neat community of readers and writers artists and bird lovebirds That's kind of what you know. The the money part was neat but it really created these this investment in the books. That was closer than i think you get now with almost any other method of publishing kind of goals you setting the goal for the first book was too low because i misunderstood there was a sort of a snafu with the salesman of the publishing. The printer that got ironed out but The goals i think in general were twelve thousand dollars to cover the printing the shipping and then the rewards that got into things like big expensive full prints of the dustjacket artwork which is amazing jennifer miller and then sculptures by an artist who goes by verdant scopes and The last the last goal. I mean it over-funded thirty thousand dollars or something. But it turned out to be just enough because if you get more people buying more things and you have to pay for things. So it all sorts. It looks like an amazing amount of money. But you're like nope that's just enough but it was awesome and excited. You know they funded in a day at least a few budgeted budget right And you you've got you know the expenses as the numbers. Go up your expenses. Go up that. Hopefully it all comes out about right the end it does. It does and i when i give advice about crowd funding. It's stretch goals and stuff are very exciting but also be realistic. And don't try to tack on much more work for yourself or too many more products that are going to end up being more trouble than costing more money. I wouldn't change how. I did it because it was an amazing insane. Thing are work. That's for sure. Yeah yeah to for policies connected to this podcast in my case expenses were mostly are mostly paying the office. Because i pay ten cents a word canadian For original and five cents word for the reprints of the authors and that adds up in a hurry so it does. But it's it's really neat. I think it's a wonderful tool for independent. Publishers and small press to put out work that they might not be able to our to attract authors. They might otherwise not be able to afford a pro rate foreign. Do exciting little It inventive projects. Yes it's been it's been interesting to to experience. Probably try it again on one of my own upcoming books that i want to write but the publisher for i might try kick starter on that one. We'll see yes A part time job. Yeah does so now. You've moved onto a related series. And that's your most recent book is the rise of the dragonstar. Which is the first book in the dragonstar saga. Yes so let's focus in on that. And how did the idea for that. Come around and again what does your. What is your planning outlining. Look at the start of a new series in this case better planning. Although it's been kind of a rocky what did. I want the book to be journey. And i'm really grateful for my editor joshua esto who's been with me since book one who i met at the david. Farland writer's retreat. We just kinda clicked. He was like. I just love this story at something. I would have read as a kid and he had just kind of started up. Is editing deal. And so i was like yes. Headed the books for me. So lots of conversations reworking. And now i have it pretty well. Now that i'm home the second book i have a pretty well concrete in my mind and i do know what the last scene is going to be the last book. What's a quick synopsis of rise of the dragonstar. Then so rise or the dragonstar a quick synopsis. it's It's it begins about twelve years after the events in by the silver wind so it's the next generation of griffin's and we start with ren who is a young 'un extrordinary Griffiths of dawn spire which is where the big griffin's from the previous book series live and she is sort of a misfit. She's not a very good huntress. She's interested in things that other griffin's are not interested in like geology and why you know water does certain things to rocks and bones and feathers and she's to sort of odd but she has some some good friends and she makes a discovery that she is puts her in concern for basically the rest of not the planet. But you know the world is stay. Know it she's concerned and day. This isn't going to be a quick synopsis. Essentially there She and some other some other. Griffin's from the don spire are part of a sort of youth exchange Their previous generation. Send them to the silver aisles and young griffin's from the silver aisles come to the dawn's viruses they can learn about each other and not have the same sort of terrible Wars and conflicts that previous generations have but when she goes to the silver isles they discovered that everything. There is sort of going wrong. There's something wrong with the water. There have been earthquakes and meteor showers and ran thinks that she can help because she notices things that other. Griffin's don't okay that's that's fairly short synopsis. so you you'd had your planning do bright down a very detailed outline or go back and forth. I'll i've tried. I'm trying all different methods to see what actually works for me as a writer because i've read all sorts of bryant books on craft and plotting and beat sheets and seen structure and what really seems to have a great detailed outline that i then just sort of completely ignore and forget about and then i'll think do in this next scene and then realized that i actually wrote it down somewhere but i think what works for me. Best is what. I've heard referred to as the headlight method. Where i know where i'm starting am. I know i wanna go. But i'm driving at night and i can really only see as far as the headlights. And i know a couple of stops gonna make on the way and then between then you know anything goes as long as i hit my major scenes my turning points and then you know my exciting conclusions up like nothing was going to be. You feel like a a deer. Sometimes you're in the car. Sometimes you're in front of it. What's your actual writing process. Fast writer slow writer. Do you like to write in an office somewhere outside. Or how i'm i'm i don't have a quilt parchment. I'm i haven't got anybody who does it's very it's writing cramp after thirty seconds that but I'm pretty much. I i need a routine. It's really good for me to have a routine so right early in the morning before my day job that i'm lucky in our. We bought a house five years ago. Now which amazes me. And i have my own little writing space so i have my desk. I have my coffee. A usually either have a candle or incense of a specific sent. The kind of helps me get into the zone of whatever. I'm working on in the nba music playlist and i tried to write for an hour to before work and how fast or slow it goes. Just kind of depends you know. Is it a really technical fight scene or is it sort of two characters talking. That goes a little faster just depends as far as how many books i'm putting out not really fast in that regard there The dragonstar books are about eighty thousand. Words prototypical weihe link. Yeah yeah not to. I'm trying to keep them the summer. King books got a little longer. But i started delving into more multiple points of view and these. I'm trying to keep a little bit slimmer. Not just to put them out faster. Although it hasn't really worked. But i think now that i have the plot. Nail down will go faster But also just to keep them a little more stream streamlined. Enough love ursula gwynn's earth's e books and they're just so tight you just so quick but there's dense now the remarkably short for everything. That's in them. I know. I know. I'm like all right. It could be a little more efficient. Probably what music do you like to listen to I have a lot of cinematic blends you know. I used to listen to sort of celtic. Norse inspired stuff. But now that the world is just at our fingertips. I've got all this. You know Audio machine in two steps from hell and all these people who put out the cinematic trailer music is perfect for me for writing. Because it's a motive. But i don't associate it with like jurassic park or star wars. It's just it can be my own little movie in. My head is interested in that. Because i'm one of the people who listen to music if i needed to shut out the sound of people talking in a coffee shop otherwise i. It's not something that i associate with the writing so it's always interesting. I know a lot of people. Do find it inspiring music. Well yeah you know. Some people are like no any total silence. And i can understand that too. I can't listen to music with lyrics. Used to i used to. But now i get distracted but i know that it helps just have like once if i have a song that i associated with the character or a scene. Have it loop for until it's just faded into the background in it but it. Somehow it helps heightened like okay. I'm feeling this thing that's happening. I'm going to write and it feels so epic and hope feels epic when i read it later. Well let's get around to reading it later. So what does the revision process. Look like usually if. I've given myself enough time to do everything which i usually don't. I my ideal. Revision process is to type the ends Give it a few days printed out and just read it and either make notes in the document or in our notebook. And sometimes i make notes as i go like. I'll put something in bold and be like you know better seen ending here or she says something profound. I hate myself from notes like that because really so i'll go back and i'll look for the big major. If there's major structural scenes i know in the document i have now. I have a couple of redundant scenes in one of them needs to go. I just have to figure out which one but you can't really see for me. You can't really see the forest for the trees until you're you're done and you can just read it as a hole and laid out so i'll address the big problems moving scenes around making sure that plotlines don't disappear for too long or characters don't disappear for too long or change color. You know my griffin's are various colors. So i wanna make sure if she's pale yellow in the beginning that she's pale yellow in the end and hasn't turned purple or something twice excite kirk through the died twice. I had i had a character who reappeared after being dead and my editor wrote. Ouch was like. Oh sorry. can't and then i'll go through it and play with The pacing of the scene. Which for me is some. Sometimes it's about content but it's a lot of how i actually put the paragraphs together to kind of lead the reader down the page and make them stop and make them go and I'm really visual writer. That way. so you'll see a lot of like text narrowing down to a single word. Like gee i wonder what she wanted you to focus on that page and then you go. If you have time. I usually don't do have time to do this before. Senate to my editor. Because i just bumped right up against those deadlines You go through it and make it pretty and everything and then send it off to have him. Tell me what's working. And what's not. And then i go through it again. You know an address his comments. I see on your website to different spellings of griffin. How is it spelled in the book. in the books it's g. r. y. f. o. n. pop. That's what i thought. I remembered in the book that you had a story. In cricket magazine spelled g. r. i f. f. o. n. was that there. It was my choice and it's actually important to the story because there's a little riddle in the story. Yeah and the griffin stick ha gotcha moment no and i when i use the griffin. My personal spelling. That's my one sort of twee thing that i kept for myself is to very purposefully. When people use that spelling. I'm hoping that they're talking about my a griffin ways to stop the more common that i've spelled it if i were just writing the word exactly so you mentioned your sisters. She still kind of a first reader for you. She definitely is data readers in their this point. Yeah my sister My friend kate. Who's the discerning Critique she just catches things that other people don't catch and she reads widely trustor and then a couple of fellow writers And who who were. Readers are like writing Peers and colleagues so an unfamiliar with the genre. Yes what kind of things do they tend to find to work on. We all have things that we we keep doing the same things over and over people. Keep telling us you know. Sometimes it's things like. I so remember one thing that My sister pointed out in summer. King which is when. I raised this mystery of how shards father died and then i answered it later. And she's like. I sort of expected that to go on a little longer. Like you made it a big deal and so it's it's often a little storytelling moment. That could be better. That could just be like it's not. I feel like when my work is polished. It's it's kind of level that's readable And that they when they when they go through it they see things that are like you know. This is okay but you could make this character. I didn't understand why they were this way or the seems out of character. This dialogue doesn't seem like something they would say or the pace. I skimmed this page. There could be something like that just ways to really hone it and make it tighter and better and sometimes it's it's stuff like hey you said this happened but you'd literally didn't put it in the books. Do you address those issues before it goes to deters all kinds of at the same time the editors looking at the same time as your ideally. I would but the last couple of books i bumped up against my ideal editing schedule would be to finish the draft. Go over it once. Myself senate to betas and then send it to my editor To have him have the final. Look but usually it's the opposite. Now i look over at send it to him because he will catch big and little. But he's a strong contents plot structure character editor that. He'll really nail that big stuff and i can fix sat up. And then send it to zimmer to the betas for Those little tweaks and things like that what was your editors may mickan joshua. So yes s. Omi as you've worked with him right from the beginning so are you in kind of internalizing the stuff that he points out. I mean i work with my editor don books. I've been working with her now for that long and little longer and all of us. Who work was she. Let she the gobert books. We've talked about on panels that we start to have this voice in the back of her head. That says what would she say about that. Little little little boys the little joshua mcsally. Yeah i do. Which is good. Because i feel like if you're writing this over and over and getting the same piece of advice and you can't eventually be like you know what we should be able to be taught should be able to be taught and sometimes it's know in the throes of writing the story and you. You can't really see where you've ignored it and sometimes it's the pressure of. Oh i need to do this. But i'm going to do it in the next draft or something but he has a group for his clients on facebook. Could cut this. Because that's a frequent comment in the like. You could cut this frequent comment in the manuscript. So we have a joke about that but yeah some of it and some of it is are things that you know and you forget. I think with every book that you write the royal you as a writer You might focus on a different lesson one of the lessons. I've been trying to really focus on. Because i think that if you have a well structured story it can be really satisfying to read Is like setting things up paying them off like really working on my foreshadowing so that at some point the reader might go She's been she's been leading to this moment and here it is and it's so satisfying because we knew it was coming all along but didn't quite know what it was going to be. So that's that's a skill that he's also very good is like if you're going to do this then you need to set it up with abc. And d i s and i've often had big moments at the end that i didn't later had to go back and add in the. Yes i had coups coming back. When i was writing the place where it should have been foreshadowed. Exactly so then. You're you're also because you're publishing these yourself. You've also all that fun stuff you know. Cover blurbs and cover art and design has to be looked after all of that. Do you find that out. You're artists but have you done your own covers or are you getting the covered. No i didn't never. I never wanted to do my own covers because there's like i'm an artist. But then there's people who are professional artists and their level is just beyond. What anything i'll i'll be able to do because i don't devote the time in the patients to it but my cover artist jennifer miller who also had for ten years now which is amazing Yeah she's she's a fantasy and wildlife artist by trade and just astonishing. Just a wonderful person to work with and Her work is just really compelling and what she brings of realism to fantasy creature. That it just makes you believe you know and she was already big in the griffin community. And i was like oh. People saw that work than bill. Associate mike books with griffin's in the fantasy and you know there are fans will become my fans and and so it worked out. Say you're pleased with the community built in response to your novels absolutely and a lot quite a few people have said i found you through jennifer's work world. It's it's it's it's gratifying. Because it started as just. Hey i would be very interested in having you work on my covers to You know a friendship and this really neat relationship in my life. Where i have these stories that i desperately wanna bring to life and bring two people and then i get these pieces of artwork back. It's like oh while they're chard there's ran. There's the silver aisles. And they're just stunning. You know if you if you go look the rest of the jeffords work. It's just it's amazing. Yeah there's a when you get good cover art for your story. It's it's always a thrill because you're seeing how somebody else has interpreted something that you've just done it in words and now it takes on this whole other life in reality. Yeah i had I had jennifer do a little promo piece. Just of chard kind of in a standing with a background of the silver house were sort of on iceland's fantasy iceland. There's forests and i just remember the time. I got that first piece of artwork on my gosh. it's real and it was so exciting and it just gave me this thrilled to keep working on the stories and if you can get artwork of your story i absolutely recommend it. Well we're getting into the last few minutes here. So let's go to my big questions or reverse abundant and i could actually put it in. I talk about this. Almost every episode. Reverb on that. But i never do. Maybe it'd be a little hokey but one of these days. I'm gonna do it. Maybe his epic adventure. I think he should go for it. There's no time like the. I'll put it on this one when i so my big philosophical questions. The first one is why do you right. I mean you've been doing it a long time ever since you were a kid. Why the second. Why do you think any of us right. I mean i right. We all know other people who write human beings right tell stories. Why do you think that is and then. The third one is wife stories of the fantastic. I mean you're also providing a contemporary way. I think we'll talk about that. Admit but why stories with fantastic specifically so those are the three questions so number one. I right and i write because i i get ideas which sounds trite. But i look at a rail or i look at a forest and i think about things that could happen there. Anything about characters it might be there in situations that might happen and i liked to build places in relationships and emotions and share them. And when you when you write something. I think it's a way of sharing experience or saying to someone you know. I i see you or look at this this this world that we can share in. It's an invitation to tell people that they're not alone but for the most part i think writers have this in common that you're always living on two levels where there's a thing happening and you're also thinking about how you could put it in your writing. And then her as humans we all create stories in a way. I think it's how we put the world into context. I think it's how we learn. You know the greatest masters in humankind of always taught through stories. There's a narrative technique in screenwriting and play writing in book writing where you tell a story within a story because it draws your reader two levels deeper because we're what we're reading one story and then character starts to tell a story so at now i need to know the end of that story and i think we're we're trying to make meaning and we're still the greeks trying to make sense of the thunder and the lightning and disfigure out. We are that. I think we do that through stories. And we identify with each other through stories. Why fantastical stories. I think fantasy and science fiction. Lets us look really real issues in a in a safe way you know. The i had a creative writing teacher who told me that not too that she thought that i was writing fantasy because it was a mask for something else and i was like well. Yes exactly it is a mask for something else. But it's also a way to get people to more deeply empathize because when you're deeply empathizing with a griffin warrior who is struggling with his moral decisions in life it's easier to do it if he's cool fantastic griffin creature than it might be another human for a little while and it doesn't have to be that deep it can also be that i wanna go and play in the forest and i wanna i wanna fly. I wanna meet dragons in those realms. I think there are things that you can say without really without saying them. If that makes sense are there specific things you want to say that you're fixing you are you. Are you getting absolutely. I think so and i think it took me a long time to figure out that i had anything to say but if you for people who read the books you know i i tell them It's all in there. And what's interesting is that i have people from all beliefs spectrums who enjoy the books. So i think the things that are in there things that we can agree on which is interesting to me. You're on your website. You use the phrase noble bright which wouldn't seem to be the opposite of grim dark. Guess it's a free. It's a phrase. We made And that i think. I think the the end goal of noble bright fantasy is hopeful and that the idea is that we as griffin's or people dragons are not all out a for ourselves you know there's some nobility and some honor and some hope and joy and optimism to be had in the world and i think that Noble bright fantasy is our is stories that illustrate that. And i i would say it's doesn't mean that grim dark things don't happen in the story. Correct it's how things play out or the hope that's president because that's i don't write grim dark i i always had some sort of hopefulness at the end. Even if i'm killed off the population of a planet in the middle things are looking up. Things are looking. It'll be okay. Well yeah because you know. Grim dark horrible. Things happened in the world and they've always happened in the world. And unfortunately i think they will always happen in the world but in the midst of that. We have chances to make it better. And what are you working on now. There is a mention on your website of a contemporary young adult novel. Is that still out there seeking home or what's snow. It has a home and it has a publication date. So the now i think official title is a furry faux pas spelled p. w. because the funny side effect of writing animal fiction is that i became wonderfully immersed in the furry community online who are Fans of anthropomorphic. Our literature writing in costuming And i've been to four for cons. And i was the writing guest of honor. Texas esta and twenty nine thousand nine which was amazing and as i was their concept of best names. Yes exactly as i. Was you know becoming part of this community. I thought you know there's a lot of really interesting people here. There's a lot of stories here. And i found myself which i never thought i would find myself. Because i'm a diehard fantasy writer Conceptualizing this character of a teen furry artist who's in the community and she lives with her hoarder mother and escapes through her artwork in her role. Play and in. The story has to make a decision about how she's going to deal with the rest of her life and her mom and this thing that's happening yeah and it was really fun to write and i found my agent and she found the book a home at page street books and they're going to publish it next. May yeah very excited to the furnace shadows which is the next dragonstar saga books. Yes do with my editor a couple of weeks. So i'm hammering away at that and polishing it up and i'm hoping to push it out later this summer. Since my self publishing deadlines and dates are really felt flexible. I can move a little quicker with those and anything else in the works books. Three and four of dragonstar saga and then Page street books actually contacted me for two contemporaries. So i'll be working on a second young adult contemporary novel. And where can people find you online. Which is how. I found your actually. I think i've encountered you on twitter to begin with so i think so. Yeah my website which is again undergoing some updates is just dot com. But i'm on twitter facebook and instagram as author jess ellen. And we also have a dischord server where you can come and talk about books and writing and share your fantasy art work and you can get to that through my website. Okay well thanks so much for this. It's been a thank you conversation. I hope you enjoyed it i did. I'm really happy to have been on. And i appreciate the invite. You're welcome and hopefully maybe. We're not only the width of montana apart. We'll will run into each other at some. Maybe maybe someday maybe maybe i can get authors of the flathead folks to have you down for a conference or something. That'd be cool. I also guy can recommend and this would actually be fairly close to you. In calgary a relatively close windwards collide which is a wonderful writing conference. That happens every year. It's windwards collide dot org and it's kind of multi genre. So there's you'll have a lot of science fiction fantasy but there's also mystery writers and romance writers in in all sorts of people may have really great guests of honor so so check that out and of course. It's virtual again this year but hopefully it'll be in person again now. That sounds really neat. Excellent all right so thanks very much. Thank you i and thanks again to adjust for that great conversation. I certainly enjoyed it. And i hope you did too. Just reminder that the world shapers podcast is online on twitter at the world shapers The website is the world. Shapers dot com. It's on facebook out to the world shapers as well You can find me online. At edward willett dot com tease willett. You can find me on twitter at e willett on instagram at edward willett author and on facebook at edward. Don willett up by press which will be publishing as i mentioned off the top shapers of world's volume to just as it published shapers worlds featuring short fiction by guests of this podcast is show press dot com and it's on facebook at chateau popper s and on twitter at shadow. Pop press. i think that covers all of my social media stuff unless you wanna buy autograph books by me. Then you're looking for edward willett shop dot com. Because i have that site as well and once again a this. Podcast is part of the schedule in podcast network. This is scheduled. Podcast network is supported by connects us savings checkings. Gic budget r. e. r. s. p. T.f essay mutual funds credit score emergency funds variable versus fixed rates compound interest retirement. The list goes on and on. It's time to make sense of it. All at connects credit union. They want to help. Financial literacy is critical life skill giving you the knowledge and confidence to make smart responsible decisions about your money. Visit connects us money. Talk dot ca defined expert advice tips and solutions for all life stages and events an increase your financial literacy knowledge and confidence today so once again thanks to just for being my guest and many more great guests already lined up. I've got guests and enough lined up by. That'll take me right. Through into september which will take into the fourth year of this podcast So many many great authors coming up that you'll be learning about their creative process just as you have Today's guests in all the other guests. I've had on here. So i hope that you will continue to come back. And listen to the world shapers podcast and continue to find out how authors create all those wonderful worlds and stories and characters enjoyed over the years. That's it for this chambers