Something in the Genre of Imagination
That’s the way I like to describe my work. I don’t read a specific genre because I’m committed to that type of book, but rather because of the stories and characters in a given book. When it comes to writing, I feel the same way. I write to tell a story and it just so happens that writing in other worlds works out best for me to tell them. If this puts those tales, broadly speaking, in the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy so be it but I find that the lines often blur and there are many fantastical elements in my science fiction and a certain level of grit and hard-nosed realism to my fantasy stories. My first novel, Into the Vast, for example, has been described as “mystical science fiction”. And my short story, The Artificer’s Apprentice, is a mix of steampunk technology mixed set against the backdrop of a mediaeval society.
Another characteristic of my work is that I believe the purpose of a writer is to shine light upon the “good, the true, and the beautiful”. It’s not enough to like a given book and to get caught up in its story. If the tale does not add to your understanding of one or more of these critical aspects of reality then you have wasted your time. I know some very voracious readers of this sort. They’ll read and read and read and yet never discover the joy of reading itself. For them it is almost like an addiction. They are drawn to the outward appearance of a tale (it’s form) and never consider the rottenness which is at its core (the substance). A diet of cream-puff casper milk toast does not sustain the soul. There is nothing wrong with making books entertaining, but if that is all they are then the writer has failed. It’s not enough to say, “it’s only fiction”. Every story is inviting you to consider a certain view of life, even the bad ones, and whether consciously or unconsciously the books we read do influence us for good or ill. That is why I take very seriously my responsibility to my readers, to write stories that are worth their time.
Along those lines, one of the things that inspired me to write Into the Vast was the desire to explore what might happen if all the promise of technology could somehow be realized. What would the world look like if we solved all the problems, i.e. no more war, no more violence, no more disease, no more pain, not even death. There is this unspoken optimism in the modern world that, given enough time and the right formulas or discoveries we will be able to solve all or at least many of these problems. And I wanted to sort of cast the world far into that kind of future and imagine what it might be like. In that light it is actually a very utopian sort of story. However, since the novel is told from the perspective of someone who is on the outside looking in at this world, the reader sees the ugly underbelly of what this sort of world is built upon and it ends up being a very dystopian story when all is said and done.
Of course one might wonder just what problems a perfect world could actually have. Without going into much detail, what it comes down to is that the very ideals and motivations for creating the world depicted in Into the Vast drive those in control of it to protect it at all costs. And this becomes a dangerous thing because they find ways of justifying almost any behavior as long as it keeps this utopian dream alive. That’s all I’ll say about that, however. You’ll have to read the novel to find out more.
The novel, by the way, may have started out as sort of this exploration of a technological utopia, but it quickly became more about the characters, specifically the main character, Adan. At the opening of the story he has lost his memory. Many of his struggles early on focus on the pain he experiences as a result of that loss and his efforts to come to terms with what has happened to him. So in the end, the characters and their story are what drive the novel and it’s a tale that demanded more than one book to tell.
I’m currently busy at work on the sequel which will carry Adan further along in his quest for the truth. I hope to get it out by the end of the year. I also have a novella coming out sometime within the next month or so depending on how quickly my editors get through with it. It is set in a completely different world, but also takes place in the “future” and but revolves around the protagonist’s struggles to follow the ancient code of her people.
When I’m not writing fiction, I also publish one or two articles a week on my web site, one of which is a weekly feature on different words. I also have a family and life outside of writing and I try to keep a healthy balance there. The best place to get in touch with me is via twitter or Facebook. I’ve included those links below.
With that I’ll take my leave, but perhaps one day we’ll bump into each other, somewhere out there in the Vast.
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