Q. Do you have a favorite writing place? If so, why is it special to you?
A. This question makes me a little embarrassed, actually, because it reveals what a weirdo I am.
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Still no, but it’s actually a bit complicated. In every house or apartment I’ve ever lived, I set aside a special place for myself to write. Sometimes, it’s a tiny little corner as away from everyone else as I can accomplish — a little ZACK’S PLACE DON’T TOUCH right in plain sight. Other times, it’s a little space no one sees all that often, in my own private bedroom, complete with an actual desk all set up the exact way I like it.
In all cases, after setting up my writing space, I proceed to never use it. (Well, not never, but very rarely.) For whatever reason, even though I genuinely love the idea of having a favorite writing place that’s all mine, I usually end up doing my writing nowhere near my desk. Typically, I just sit on a couch in whatever living room — or university library, or coffee shop — I find myself. I like a relatively quiet (but not too quiet) area where other people come and go around me. The emphasis? It has to be a couch. I love couches. I guess you could say couches are my favorite writing place!
Q. What is your motivation?
A. Oh, my goodness, what a broad-reaching question! Wow. Truth is, I don’t know if I’ve ever had occasion to think too much on motivation. I’ve just been sort of winging it, you know?
Let’s see… I suppose I’m motivated by two things:
First, the possibility that I might, now and then, write something better than I think I can. I’m pretty hard on myself. Nothing ever feels good enough in my writing. Those times that, instead of failing in so many small ways, I actually hit the mark — well, I’d stop writing and just do something easier if I never had those moments. Those moments make it all worthwhile. Those moments are fuel.
Second, the chance that I’ll evoke the same feelings in a reader that I was privileged to feel. Science fiction and fantasy can expand the mind in so many amazing ways. Those times when my brain seems ready to fly apart with the alien possibilities of a story, when I identify so perfectly with an odd character in a world so unlike my own — those are the moments I want to share with people. I’m motivated by the awareness that, at its best, science fiction and fantasy create a pathway for writer and reader to communicate the impossible (or greatly unlikely).
Q. Who is your favorite author of all times?
A. Roger Zelazny. He was the gateway. I no longer think his fiction is as magical as I once did (time does have a way of bleaching some of the wonder out of fiction — for me, anyway); but, nonetheless, his fiction showed me that one could write about truly wacky things and still be truly literary. I’d go on to discover for myself many authors who combined high-level speculation and fantastic storytelling skill, but he was the first to open my eyes to the great possibilities of science fiction and fantasy.
Q. Name one word that best describes you.
Q. What can we expect from your new sequel “Shower of Stones”?
A. More sex and violence! Just kidding — though maybe a little of both, yes. It is a more-or-less direct sequel to the events in “No Return,” though it varies a bit in structure and character emphasis. The biggest difference is how I approach world building. There was a lot of explaining in “No Return,” as I sought to build a picture of the world and its history. Now that I’ve given readers that picture, I want to make the narrative more active.
Basically, I think “Shower of Stones” will be a leaner, more propulsive experience for the reader. The focus is on developing the characters further while placing them in interesting situations.