So there’s a “Blog Hop” tour going around among some writer friends in which we all answer the same four questions about our latest release and other writing related stuff. Thanks to novelist Kerry Neitz for thinking to include me. Kerry is a computer nerd who writes unique speculative fiction tales like A Star Curiously Singing (part of he Dark Trench saga) and the wildly controversial Amish Vampires in Space. Okay. Now on to the questions!
1) What am I working on?
At the moment, I’m tidying up my first Urban Fantasy novel, preparing it for publication later this year. It’s entitled The Ghost Box and is the first in a series of novels surrounding Reagan Moon, paranormal reporter and reluctant cosmic do-gooder. Reagan is a bona fide skeptic who is forced to investigate the murder of his girlfriend, leading him on a mind-blowing (literal) quest to stop the christening of a massive ghost box, an inter-dimensional transport to Hades in downtown Los Angeles. There’s monsters, the lightning rod of the Tower of Babel, a bumbling guardian angel, one of the Hydra triplets, an extraterrestrial midget, and a ninja changeling. Did I miss something? Yeah. I kinda wanted to throw the kitchen sink at the story and had a lot of fun doing so. The Ghost Box was probably the most enjoyable writing project I’ve worked on in the last decade, and I’m hoping it shows.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hm. When writing in a genre, being too different potentially puts you outside the target audience. For the genre writer, there’s often a fine balance between touching upon expected tropes and adding flares of originality. I think I accomplished both in my upcoming novel.
There’s a couple of elements in The Ghost Box that I hope separate it from others in its genre. For one, there’s lots of noir elements; Reagan Moon is sort of a mash-up between Sam Spade and Constantine. Also, I noodle a lot with religious tropes and symbolism. I am fascinated by the convergence of science and spirituality, quantum theory and the Nature of Everything. Much of The Ghost Box is an exploration of the nature of the world around us, the seen and the unseen, and the grand destinies that each of us struggle to apprehend. Or completely jettison. And, oh, one other difference — there’s no hunky vampires or werewolves. Thank God.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I’m one of those folks that finds fiction writing cathartic. So rather than banging my head against a wall or over-paying a professional therapist to listen to me rehash my bad childhood and regrets, I write. But even more to the point, I think stories have the ability to kindle our imaginations and speak to greater realities than our own. The “real world” often drains us of imagination, of life. I write because I want to connect with — and help others connect with — deeper emotions and realities, whether it’s the horrors of a world in darkness or the glories of a world yet unseen. Speculative fiction is the perfect vehicle for this kind of aim. Of course, having fun along the way helps. So in a way, I write what I write to both entertain and stir the intellectual soup.
4) How does my writing process work?
Well, I just think and think until great drops of blood appear on my forehead. Really, I’m one of those writers who can’t get serious about a project until certain elements are in place. Kind of like a kid who wants to build a Lego skyscraper, I will not even attempt it until I know I have enough pieces. Because of this, a lot of my pre-writing is collecting “pieces,” sub-plots and characters and story elements that will be parts of this skyscraper. It also helps that I’m an insomniac. Waking at ungodly hours to write is actually a blessing in disguise. Either way, waiting for inspiration to strike is not my style. Which always leaves me in some stage of building the aforementioned Lego skyscraper.
Okay. Well, that was fun. Thanks for the tag, Kerry!
I’ve invited Jill Domschot and Kevin Lucia to participate in this tour and encourage readers to check them out next Monday, August 11th. Jill is the author of Anna and the Dragon, while Kevin’s latest release is Devourer of Souls. Looking forward to hearing from both of them.