What can you tell us about your new release, The Dollfaces?
The Dollfaces is a little cyberpunk girl-gang revenge fantasy following four women as they try to take down a crime lord one bank heist at a time. Heavily inspired by Star Wars books and the videogame Payday, it originally started life as a screenplay my wife & I wrote together in Hollywood. Nearly seven years later, when I was fleshing out my Capital-verse books, my wife suggested I adapt The Dollfaces into a novela for my universe. And so we’d finally get to tell the action-heavy girl-power story we always wanted, with no limits like budget or which star had been cast as who. We could just go nuts. So instead of having to dull the edge for what fits production concerns, I got to have flying cars and gunfights on them, buildings that build themselves, a cityscape on an alien world, people walking on walls, and the unrequited yearning of young lovers. I got to write a power-trip for my friends and set a new wonderful colorful brick into my wider world, allowing the whole thing to be that much brighter.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I suppose I started very young, reading what my father was reading: Pournelle, Niven, Heinlein, with a dash of McCaffrey and Frank Herbert. Tom Clancy was a regular occurrence. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say the original fantasy epic, Lord of the Rings. So really? Tolkien. Mastery of world-building I still aspire to today.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Top 5 ever? I have to give it to, in no particular order:
· Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
· Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
· Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
· Legacy of Heorot by Jerry Pournelle & Larry Niven & Steven Barnes
· Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
My first guest on my show would have to be the great Chuck Wendig, because it was his challenge on a blog post (or possibly Twitter?) that got me writing my first book in my adult life. I wrote just a paltry 300 words a day. For a year. And that was how I got my first novel. As for a question, I’d have to ask him about the role of an author marketing themselves, the brand that is the person, and does he think an author has a responsibility to keep themselves as squeaky clean as possible for the broadest possible audience–or if passionately generating a smaller one is better?
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Wish fulfillment – 100%. I get to see worlds I dream of, impossible stunts and hideous monsters, beautiful people and horrible places, gleaming towers and shadowy depths. The heroes that struggle with both laser blasts and depression, alien monsters and their imposter syndrome, the responsibilities laid upon them by others and their own traumas. Writing, put simply, helps me exorcise real issues that I’m having, and share them with a community of people around the world who feel just like I do…who also happen to love spaceships, gunfights, and love triangles. Sort of like a group therapy that can also involve giant alien leather tank-puppies, if we want. Sky is the limit.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up late for most, around 730AM and get coffee and a muffin, settling up at my desk, where I bounce between writing emails and spreadsheets for my day job – and penning up the latest space battle in the margins. After a midday lunch, I usually try to snake time in my home recording studio working on the audiobooks, but as we get closer to the Holidays, it’s been difficult to find the free hours! My writing time that isn’t stolen minute by minute is usually after sunset, or on weekends, when I try to chase my monthly targets. I am fueled largely by coffee and spite these days.
What scene from The Dollfaces was your favorite to write?
My favorite had to be the first club scene. As I said before, I am jealous of good world-building and after doing so much research on Club, EDM and Rave culture, this was the first real test of the world. And it really gave me a chance to flex what I thought those scenes might grow into 200 years from now: what never changes, versus what is now unrecognizable? It also gave me a chance to play with perspective and point-of-view. What does he almost see, what does the reader pick out of the chaos that the character himself might miss?
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
“I do not fail—I succeed at finding what doesn’t work.” –comedian Christopher Titus, almost certainly paraphrasing Thomas Edison
When you try something wild and new, like publishing a book, you’re going to fall down. A lot. And people are going to tell you not to even take that swing, not to step up in the pocket or up to the batter’s box.
Now, you’re going to fail. You’re going to bruise yourself, break bones, cry yourself to sleep some nights. That’s part of the process of learning and growing and improving. Because after falling comes walking, and after that comes running, and somewhere along the way, you get good at it. And the people who shamed you for even trying? Now they’re all so impressed by how far you’ve come. It’s not even their fault — not all of them, anyway. Yeah, some people are just terrible, but most just can’t see what you’re chasing.
If you do see it, go get it. Don’t let them slow you down. They’re just a weight belt, helping you train. Get ready to break your nose bashing down that wall, because you will have to. You will fail over and over and over again…until the day you suddenly don’t. Don’t fear failure. “The greatest teacher, failure is.”