ABOUT MIDNIGHT CITY: Earth has been conquered. An extraterrestrial race known as The Assembly has abducted the adult population, leaving the planet’s youth to fend for themselves. In this treacherous landscape, Holt, a bounty hunter, is transporting his prisoner Mira when they discover Zoey, a young girl with powerful abilities who could be the key to stopping The Assembly. As they make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, the trio must contend with freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and perhaps most perilous of all: Holt and Mira’s growing attraction to each other.
Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work?
That’s a tough one, I like a lot of them. If I had to pick one, it would probably be the moment where Zoey reveals her most relevant power at the end of part one. When that happens, it changes everything because you get a glimpse of why she’s so important to the Assembly, though it definitely poses more questions than it answers. I love the transition from having a really pivotal, revealing moment…into a desperate action scene. The river battle there is one of my favorites, as well.
I don’t know about hardest ever, they all have their unique difficulties. As far as MIDNIGHT CITY goes, I would say the hardest scene to write was the dance between Holt and Mira. The writing itself wasn’t overly tough, but figuring out how to give those characters a moment like that, and have it be non-verbal and yet still resonate was hard. I think actions speak louder than words, and it’s much more engaging to go through something with two characters than it is to listen to them just speak their feelings. Besides, at this point, neither of them is really able to make sense of their feelings, much less talk about them, which makes the ideas harder to get across, but also the moment more meaningful, I think. That scene, unexpectedly, has become a very important moment, not just for the first book, but for the series as a whole. What happens there is constantly recalled for various reasons, and it sets a whole host of things in motion. I’m proud of that scene.
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
I usually read three things at once: A comic book, a non-fiction book, and a novel. I don’t like to read more than one of each with my limited attention span. Right now, comic wise, I’m reading the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller WOLVERINE storyline they did where he goes to Japan and fights the Hand. I wanted to check it out because the new movie is based on those issues. Non-fiction, I just started THE THREE PILLARS OF ZEN. And I wanted to reread William Gibson’s NEUROMANCER, which is probably my favorite novel, and one I continually find new things in every single time I read it.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Terry Brook’s THE SWORD OF SHANNARA. My mom bought it for me, and I think it was the first real book I ever read. I read it over and over, the whole SHANNARA series. I even read it before LORD OF THE RINGS for some reason. It was one of the first books where I was really aware of “world building”, and it was a major influence on me wanting to make my own.
Your five favorite authors:
Only five? That’s tough. Probably William Gibson, Michael Chabon, Robert Jordan, Ernest Hemingway (it’s a cliched choice for a reason), and H.P. Lovecraft.
Book you’ve faked reading:
Given the fact that you’re asking the question, I guess it must be a little odd that I rarely “fake read” anything? However, I did once pretend to have read Jack London’s THE SEA WOLF in order to meet a very cute “Lit” major who worked at my gym. I feel marginally bad about that, because I really would like to read THE SEA WOLF. I have a copy, someday I will.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
That hasn’t happened in a long time, but when I was a kid I do remember being drawn to Larry Elmore’s awesome cover art for the original DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES trilogy, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I think I read every DRAGONLANCE book there was up until about 1995, and I always loved Elmore’s art style on each one.
Book that changed your life:
THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV by Dostoyevsky. It changed the way I looked at literature, and also how I thought of spirituality and life and the idea of free will. It’s an amazing experience.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I already mentioned NEUROMANCER, so I’ll pick something else. Probably AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by H.P. Lovecraft, which is my favorite story of his. Lovecraft was very interested in suspending disbelief in his horror fiction, and one of the ways he did that was by writing most of them as if they were journal entries or letters from actual people. It gives the stories a very realistic feel as you move through them. MOUNTAINS was no exception, it unfolds as an account of someone’s journey to Antarctica, and the frightening, hidden evidence he finds there of a dangerous, sleeping, alien civilization. After awhile, it feels like you’re on the expedition with them, and you’re dreading what you’re going to find next. I wish I could have that experience for the first time again.
Favorite book about books or writing:
I’ve read a lot of these, but for me I think the most useful is Dean Koontz’ book on writing called HOW TO WRITE BEST SELLING FICTION. Strangely the book is out of print and can be hard to locate without paying through the nose, but it’s well worth it. His advice on structure, voice, prose, and technique is very down to earth and blunt; it’s not vague theory, it’s very detailed. He also goes through a list of all the different genres of fiction and offers his insight and tips for each one, which is enlightening. The market/business aspects of the book are definitely out of date, but the writing ideas presented by Koontz are just as relevant today as they were then. Pretty awesome book by a pretty awesome (and pretty darn prolific) writer.
A few things, but most notably book two of CONQUERED EARTH, called THE SEVERED TOWER, which I’m writing right now, and am really liking. The second book really opens up the world and increases the epic feel of the story, while adding some cool new characters, one of which I think may be my favorite in the series.
Quick note: my apologies for putting the word-verification for comments back in. I’m trying to reduce the recent flood of spam coming to my email address. I’ll take it down once the spambots have moved on!