A few weeks ago, I had The Perpetual Motion Machine Club on Recommend It Monday. Today, author Sue Lange joins us for Author Corner.
E: Hi Sue, and welcome to Erindipity! I made up some hot cocoa for us. Care for a shot of peppermint schnapps for yours?
S: Funny you mention that. I just mixed up a Brandy Alexander for the occasion. Cheers!
E: Your book, The Perpetual Motion Club, just came out this summer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. How did you come up with the idea for it?
S: I gave myself the challenge of writing something from the world of physics. Something that many people would consider too dry for a light novel. I wanted to make the topic entertaining, to prove that this stuff is interesting if only you’ll look at it the right way.
E: My favorite part was the perpetual motion machines. How much did you know about them going in and how much did you need to research?
S: I did a lot of research. When I first started, I kept the image of one of my high school teacher explaining why Villard de Honnecort’s overbalanced wheel wouldn’t work. He told us it was because of friction at the axle. When I did my research I disocovered that was totally wrong. The truth is much more complicated. So I had to go back and relearn physics that I thought I had left far behind. It was enlightening. The most interesting thing I discovered was this whole world of fanatics working tirelessly to invent a perpetual motion machine. It’s a cult actually and not much different from the way I depicted it in the book. It’s tied in with evangelism and God plays a really big role, because in the end you have to “believe.” There’s no other way to break the laws of thermodynamics. Fascinating.
E: Are you currently working on anything?
S: I’m working on a stageplay entitled “The Digital Divide.” It has a lot to do with the technological Singularity, a subject I’ve written a lot about. I wanted to get into writing plays and thought I’d start with something that didn’t require so much research. I’m almost done with my first rewrite and I’m hoping to find a theater group that would like to do a staged reading so I can figure out what works. It’s a new medium for me and I’m really excited about it.
E: What is the hardest thing for you, personally, about being a writer?
S: There’s a lot of emphasis on marketing nowadays. I don’t like to do it. In fact I’ve written a manifesto against social media. I love the world and intend to keep on living in it. Spending a lot of time in virtual reality, i.e. the Internet, takes me away from the world, so that part of being a writer is so adios.
I like writing, I like the editing process. I like just about everything to do with the artistic end of writing. Selling my work? Not my bag.
E: Is there anything you won’t write?
S: I won’t write anything gratuitously exploitative of animals, people, or the planet. Try not to, anyway. When you write satire, you walk a fine line. I try not to hit someone when they’re down. Some people are so far up, though, that when they’re down, they still need to be drop kicked to the cheap seats.
E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc?
S: I’m doing the Celebrate the Book event in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on October 19th. (85 Marsh Drive, 9am to 4pm) I’ll be giving out freebies, holding sales, berating the passersby: the usual stuff.
E: Have you ever been tempted to give up writing? Not the usual frustrations of writing, but an actual moment of wanting to walk away from it? And if so, what made you change your mind?
S: No, not really. I write all the time even if it’s not for public consumption. Even if I stopped writing novels, short stories, or stageplays, I’d still write something. I’ll write letters to my friends, blog posts, emails to the President. Something.
Thanks, Erin, for inviting me to Erindipity. Fun! Keep up the good work.