Thanks for joining us today on my blog. Lets get started. Where did the idea for your novel come from?
The idea for Anchors No More came from my general obsessions concerning time, technology and political motivation. After finishing my second novel, which was very ‘inner-psychological’ in nature, I really wanted to get out of heads and into the world. A good old-fashioned science fiction action piece sounded fun to take on. It all came together with the idea: hey, what if someone privately uses a time machine in their basement and then, as soon as they pop back in, they are suddenly in the middle of a military procedure based on their ‘secret’ time travel device.
Writing Anchors No More was a different process from my first two novels (Linus Cain: a dark fable and D.O.V.E.). For Anchors, I was releasing it in weekly installments on a great website: SerialTeller(dot)com. This is a site based out of San Francisco that publishes only original serialized fiction. I had wanted to try my hand in that format and the general idea for the story was already in me head, so I sent the first few chapters and they loved it. I quickly planned out a very detailed road map: 46 episodes between 1000-1200 words each. That’s just under a year. Run it from February until December and see what happens. I made my outline for around 50,000 words and hit the gas. Once it was finished (in three months) I edited in small batches, a month at a time and kept ahead of the curve by always being 4 episodes ahead. Working this way allowed my to not lose too much momentum on other projects I had going.
2. How did you start writing?
I started writing young. Like when I was five or six. I was born in 1970, so keep that in mind when I give you these to examples of my early writing influences/memories. First, I do remember my first story, my mother kept it. Pac Man was new and huge when I was seven or eight years old and my first story (’77-’78) was first person POV: I was Pac Man and I was teaming up with my fellow game icons (Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, etc.) to escape our machines. How cutting edge. (haha) Memory Two: A few years later, after Empire Strikes Back the rumor began that they were going to make a third movie titled Revenge of the Jedi. Me, being impatient, wrote an original screenplay for that movie. It retrospect, it was a little short (about 20 pages) but hey, it was a start. And it did include a scene of Boba Fett escaping the Sarlac pit. How did Lucas survive without me?
Looking back, it always feels like I am doing the same exact thing I have always done since I was a kid not knowing what I was doing, just happy to create and to collaborate with my friends (sometimes, of course, against their will). Now, however, I support my family with my creativity and this changes the relationship somewhat. Or maybe my relationship to art is the same and it is my relationship towards my self in relation to the art that has shifted. Hmmm… we may never know.
3. What does your writing process look like?
My process adjusts itself all the time with different circumstances. However, there were a few good golden years when I had myself in a steady and regular routine. When that happens, I can get lost. Wake up, do the emails and futzing around for an hour and slowly begin opening files and checking progress and to do lists. Then I lock and load for four to ten hours, hopefully stop to eat lunch. I would chill for a while, maybe walk or watch a movie, then if I had no plans for the evening, I could do a light late night session. Those were a couple years when I was single and had no pressing concerns but to create.
Now I am married and have a new baby so things have dramatically changed. Now I have to get creative with my writing schedule to make sure I have enough time to keep up with my workload. I still do my email, administrative stuff first thing in the morning, but actually writing I do at different times everyday but try to always do it in a three-hour block. I need that much time to accomplish anything. Some days I can still get five hours or so, and I’m sure as the kid gets bigger it will level out again. My goal, as always, is to do eight hours a day just like a normal full time job.
4. Where is Anchors No More set?
Anchors is set in the very near future, in Kansas at a fake research facility near the real town of Pratt. The research company is named ARLIS and that same company has since appeared in a new novel I am writing and I have plans to include it in a future series I am planning titled Dust (a group of stories set on and around the moon colony – science fiction pulpy style). These stories all take place at different times and with different casts of characters and way different global circumstances but I realized that with the time device in Anchors creating split dimensions, maybe all of these stories are related but happening in different dimensions of reality. Who knows?
5. Are your characters based on real people?
No they are not based on real people but when I think about it, I did have certain images in my mind when I wrote them and at least parts of those images had roots in people I know. It is inevitable, I think. Writers always put a bit of their surroundings in their work as well as a large chunk of their own personality and experiences. Generally more than they like to admit.
6. Did you always want to write?
As I mentioned, ever since I was a child, only three things have interested me. One, telling stories. Two, mythology. 3. Three, science. So that’s what I try to do.
7. Which character is your favorite and why?
In Anchors I have a few favorites. For sure Holly and Gary are my absolute favorites. I have a lot of sympathy for them and think they are cool and quirky folks. I bet they could be fun to hang out with for a long dinner and a couple bottles of wine. Other than that, I think Restrepo is a good character and I hope he comes across as a good-hearted person. Last, I think James Brammer has the most blatant amount of my own personality in him.
8. What authors do you enjoy reading? Why?
There are so many out there how do I even begin. I have always been a classics guy, reading lots of old fiction by mostly Russian, German and French authors. Of course, I love reading philosophy (I have an MA in philosophy) and social/political non-fiction.
Lately, I have been making a real effort to read newer authors and get the flavor of what is going on around me. I have read some great books, some fair books and lots of bad books. Self-publishing and the Internet has really changed the game out there. Now, anyone anywhere can get their books out on the same platforms as the big boys and the legends. That is both good and bad as the quality does greatly differ. I still find it amazing and feel fortunate to be writing during this vibrant time of adjustments and change in the various creative publishing communities.
9. What are you reading right now?
Right now I am reading Hegal to keep my philosophy chops up.
10. Dog or Cats?
Wow, I really love both. How can you not. Dogs are dogs and cats are cats. Maybe dogs are better company but when a cat digs you, you know you’ve done something good in the world.
11. What’s next for you?
Next up I have three projects I am working on and juggling time and energy between. First is a big ol’ novel of about 120,000 words titled Swill. It is about what happens when all the industrial grade android servants in the world get hooked on a super drug called Swill. Chaos, of course, ensues. Second is the first few novellas in my massive, multi-format, multi-volume saga of my two favorite new characters, Omar and Theodore Blood. They are hitmen/thieves who work for a very eccentric man with very large plans. The series is titled The Brothers Blood and it is certain to surprise. Third on my work list is a screenplay I am pecking away at. It is called Anagnorisis and concerns a writing retreat and death.
Thanks for the interview and best of luck with your writing. Let’s do it again.
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