Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Deborah Walker interviews me

3 comments Written on March 12th, 2011 by
Categories: News
Tags:

Author and Blogger Deborah Walker recently interviewed me as part of her “Ten Quick Questions and Answers” series.

You can find it here: http://bit.ly/10QAlms

Thanks, Deborah!

Q & A: Gareth D. Jones

No Comments » Written on March 11th, 2011 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:

I’ve taken the last few Fridays off, but I’m back again with what I hope you’ll find another scintillating Q&A with another exciting author. And so, here we go:

Q&A with Gareth D. Jones:
Gareth Jones

In addition to possessing the kind of fascination with tea drinking that americans tend to expect from authors in the UK, Gareth D. Jones writes. Short stories. Novels. Comic books. He’s everywhere! Gareth is known for the many translations of his short story “The Gondolier,” being the editor of the forthcoming anthology The Immersion Book of Steampunk from Immersion Press, a day job in the exciting/terrifying world of hazardous waste management, and his tireless reviews of all that’s good and great in our genre. Despite my own aversion for tea, I bounced a few questions across the pond to Gareth, and he very kindly bounced back some answers.


LMS: We share an interest in language, and in having our fiction translated into other languages, including some that are rather obscure. I know my own motivations for this (which include eventual World Domination), but I’m curious to learn of yours (just in case I need to have my minions eliminate you somewhere along the way). What has driven you to pursue translations of “The Gondolier” (among others) in some twenty languages?

GDJ: I’ve always been interested in languages, picking up a few words in lots of languages from people I’ve met, learning French and German at school (enough to survive on holiday) and sign language later on. I discovered Doug Smith’s foreign market list about 5 years ago, enthusiastically started subbing stories over the world and soon I was published in Hebrew, Greek and Spanish. I’m half Welsh, and most of my relatives are bilingual, so I wanted to have a story published in Welsh. There are no Welsh SF markets, so I found a friendly translator, and started looking into the other Celtic languages, then other minority languages, then any language that I could find a literary website for. I now have ‘The Gondolier’ in 32 languages, including Latin, artificial languages Esperanto and Glosa, and hopefully Klingon soon too!


LMS: Your bio tells us that you’re an environmental scientist working in hazardous waste management. That sounds ripe for exploitation by a science fiction author. Do you don a metaphorical hazmat suit when you write and mine the toxic sludge for story ideas, or am I overly romanticizing what is actually a dull and dreary day job involving lots of reference manuals full of chemical tables and charts of decomposition rates and things to do with potash? What do you actually do as an environmental scientist, how do you mange that hazardous waste, and do you wish someone somewhere would have a protagonist who does what you do?

GDJ: I haven’t actually written any stories inspired by waste management yet, but Environmental Science is a broad subject, so I picked up a wide array of knowledge in my studies that I’ve been able to use in various stories. Plate tectonics, glaciations, meteorology, oceanography, waste water treatment, and renewable energy technology are some of the subjects I’ve made use of.
In recent years I’ve run a waste water treatment plant and a hazardous waste incinerator, handled chemicals of just about every conceivable hazard and all kinds of waste from radioactive to biohazardous. There’s an awful lot of legislation and paperwork involved in transporting and disposing of it, but it’s an endlessly varied and interesting job.


LMS: You write comics. You write short stories. You write novels. We’ve all heard of people who can do one of these things but not the others. Novelists who can’t conceive of telling a complete tale in a mere thousand words, and short story writers who cramp up if you ask them to keep going after five thousand. What’s your view on that, and what is it about your process that you think permits you to bounce back and forth?

GDJ: I started off writing stories of between about 1000 to 5000 words, then came across the word ‘drabble’ which describes a story of exactly 100 words. This seemed like a challenge, and it took me several attempts to get close. The joy of turning out a complete story in such a short time stuck with me though, and 2/3 of my stories now are flash fiction of under 1000 words.
My first novel ‘Roadmaker’ evolved from a series of 5 short stories published in Jupiter magazine. I revised and expanded them and continued the story with a further three episodes, to make an 80,000 word novel. This bridged the gap between the two forms, and my second novel ‘Gap Years’ was written with a similar structure. Oddly, ‘Gap Years’ started life as a 1000 word story.
My interest in comics came about as a result of ‘Murky Depths’ magazine, which ran an article on the process of creating a comic script. It was another interesting challenge, and I based my first comic on a flash story I’d written. Breaking the story down into scene, action and dialogue to construct a graphic story was an intriguing process, and I’ve used the lessons I learned to have a go at a screenplay too.


LMS: Most authors read quite a bit, both to stay current in the field and to see how other authors are handling various concepts and trends. But most of us don’t turn around and write reviews as a consequence. How does being a reviewer affect your work as a writer, and vice versa?

GDJ: Writing reviews helps me to analyse what works and what doesn’t, and more importantly why. This is particularly so when I review short stories in magazines or anthologies. I couldn’t point to any particular examples, but it affects the way I write in that I can spot similar problems more easily when I come to editing my own work. On the other hand, being a writer makes me a more kindly reviewer. I’ve received a couple of unfavourable reviews myself, and it’s pretty disheartening, so I always look for something good to say and try to be constructive in my criticism.


= = = = =

And that’s Gareth D. Jones. Now we come to the portion of the blog where I remind you that writers need readers. If you found Gareth’s responses in this Q&A interesting, please consider clicking below and order a copy of this anthology that includes some of his stuff. Thanks!

The Friday Flash Fiction Anthology

Luc Reid interviews me

No Comments » Written on March 7th, 2011 by
Categories: News
Tags:

Back on January 14th, I posted an interview with Author and Codex founder Luc Reid. Last week he returned the favor, and I’ve been so caught up with other things, that I neglected to let you know about it.

You can find it here: http://www.lucreid.com/?p=2691

He really got me going, and it may be the best interview I’ve given. Or it could just be that my blood sugar’s a little high. Read it and judge for yourself. You can let me know what you think in the comments.

Nancy Fulda interviews me

No Comments » Written on March 1st, 2011 by
Categories: News
Tags:

Author and anthology entrepreneur Nancy Fulda has an interview up with yours truly.

You can find it here: http://nancyfulda.livejournal.com/293384.html

Q&A: Will McIntosh

1 Comment » Written on February 11th, 2011 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:

Q&A: Will McIntosh
Will McIntosh
Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Elaine Isaak

No Comments » Written on February 4th, 2011 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:

Q&A: Elaine Isaak
Elaine Isaak
Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Aliette de Bodard

No Comments » Written on January 28th, 2011 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:

Q&A: Aliette de Bodard
Aliette de Bodard

Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Colin Harvey

2 comments Written on January 21st, 2011 by
Categories: Plugs
Tags:

Q&A: Colin Harvey
Colin Harvey

Colin Harvey is the author of the novels Winter Song and Damage Time, both from Angry Robot Books; as well as the short story collection Displacement and four earlier novels all published by Swimming Kangaroo. His short stories have been published in magazines such as Albedo One, Interzone, Apex, and Daily Science Fiction, as well as original anthologies. He has also edited anthologies such as Killers and Future Bristol for Swimming Kangaroo Books, as well as Dark Spires for Wizard’s Tower Press.


LMS: I have a PhD in cognitive psychology, and once upon a time I was arguably an expert on Human Memory. And here you’ve gone and written Damage Time, a novel in which your protagonist is described as a Memory Association Specialist, and you didn’t come and ask me for any help. Explain to me and my readers just what a Memory Association Specialist is, and also why I shouldn’t be horribly offended.

CH: To answer those in reverse order, you shouldn’t be offended because I started Damage Time way back in 2005, long before meeting you — I suspect before you were even published! [actually, I had my first short story sale in 1990. Hah! -LMS]

Damage Time is set in New York in 2050, and is replete with all the world-gone-bad tropes kicking around SF; rising sea levels, pandemics, declining life spans, food shortages, and so on.

In this world, people have begun posting their own memories onto the web, just as we post videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, etc. But there is a downside to this – just as people can post, so others can forcibly extract memories, causing their victim damage. There are markets for this kind of thing, just as there are for snuff movies.

Taken out of context, most people’s memories will be meaningless; imagine looking at your partner — who is this person? Why are they laughing, or crying? Where is this? Where is this? It’s Pete Shah’s job to find hints, or straight answers to such questions. Pete is very good as his job, which poses the local criminals problems…


LMS: You’ve been bouncing around the field for nearly ten years (maybe more, I confess to doing little or shoddy research on the topic), and now you’re hitting the Big Time with books from Angry Robot, arguably a huge step up from your earlier novels through Swimming Kangaroo. What’s your take on the role of the Small Press in our field? Do you feel that starting your publishing career with a much smaller press was a good idea, part of a strategy, or were you just trying to get in print with whoever would help you achieve that dream?

A little of both, to be honest: I had submitted to most of the major publishers, without success. But I found when I signed with Swimming Kangaroo that they were a pleasure to work with.

Small presses are willing to take many more risks than major publishers, because they have much shorter management chains. With players like Random House, say, the editor who wants to buy your work has to then sell it to the sales force, and to their senior management and to well — pretty much everyone from the cleaner on up! Any one of those stakeholders can veto the process, so anything that is a bit different is likely to be excluded. It’s getting to be a little like Hollywood nowadays.

That said, I should give a nod to Angry Robot, who are themselves major risk takers among professional imprints, and note that the advantage of a major publisher is their muscle with the trade, with reviewers and with other opinion-formers in the field.


LMS: You’ve been a reviewer, an author, and an editor. Obviously there’s some overlap across all three, but which do you like best? What insights do you find from reviewing and/or editing the work of other authors?

I’m primarily an author who does other things, so that’s where my heart lies. The benefit of reviewing is that sometimes I can pick up an idea, such as the photosynthetic skin in Winter Song and slot it into my own story. More likely than not, I can see much better how not to do things, such as the pacing of novels, for example. But more than anything, I appreciate how difficult it is to achieve certain effects.


LMS: Have you ever collaborated with another author? Have you ever given it any thought? What do you think are the strong points you might bring to a collaboration?

I’m taking an Honours Degree in Creative Writing, studying all kinds of art forms such as poetry and scriptwriting that I would never otherwise look at. Last term it led to my first collaboration – with three other writers! I don’t count it as a roaring success, and I don’t think they did either, if I’m honest. The problems may have been due to different levels of experience. If I was to do it again, I think that my strengths lie with dialogue, although even that’s a little tricky, since I’m a Brit!


= = = = =

Thanks, Colin. And now, the commercial: As I plan to remind you with every Q&A here, writers need readers! If Colin’s responses to my blatherings entertained you, please consider clicking on one or more of the images below and order yourself a book? Thanks!

Damage Time Winter Song Dark Spires