E: Hello, Perrin, and welcome to Erindipity! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, that is a corpse petting a kitten. No, you shouldn’t be alarmed.
P: It seems to me that cats, while having a reputation for being fickle, clearly aren’t. If you give them love, they’ll love you back, in their own way. They don’t discriminate based on if you have a pulse or not. This should give us hope in case some sort of dead reanimation apocalypse comes to pass. At least our furry friends won’t run away screaming.
P: An Appointment at the Edge of Forever is the story of an unlikely group of people faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. A plague threatens the universe. Evil gods, the Afortiori, are systematically enslaving all beings with Free Will. Ryo can stop them, but she doesn’t know it. She doesn’t even know who she is. Filion knows Ryo’s secret but in order to protect her, he has to first find her. He enlists the help of Captain Eri and her band of rag-tag smugglers. Together, they will search the wastes of space for Ryo. The question is, will Filion and his crew find Ryo before the Afortiori do?
Beyond the plot summary though, An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, is a quick read. You don’t have to be into ‘hard’ science fiction to understand it. You don’t know a thing about astrophysics? That’s okay. You don’t want to even read the words ‘time dilation’? Once again, that’s okay. The story isn’t driven by theoretical physics. It’s driven by a set of un unusual people who are forced to work together. Picture four of your most opposite friends stuck together in a confined space (like a space ship) and then being tasked with saving the universe. You might not want to be there while they do it, but reading the book afterwards could be fun. At the same time, An Appointment at the Edge of Forever will appeal to those who like science fiction/fantasy. It takes place in SPACE! There are phazers, alien planets, aliens, epic battles, and mind controlling gods. You want to leave your cubical for a while? I’ve got the perfect vehicle.
E: This is Book One in a trilogy. What can we expect from future books?
P: Well, I’m actually taking a break from editing the third book to answer these questions, so I’ll start by saying this, the trilogy has been completed. Book two and three are in various stages of edits. It all comes together in the end, and I’m pretty happy with it.
As for specifics… In book two, the readers are going to get to know a lot more about Captain Eri, including what happened to her wings. Ryo is going to do something that she shouldn’t be able to do, and Red, as usual, is going to screw some stuff up. I’m going to introduce some new characters, many of whom will make an appearance in book three. Also, some love interests are developing, but don’t get too wrapped around that because no one is going to have all that much free time – the crew of the Dark Horse is on a schedule.
I’m not going to say too much about book three, other than there is a pretty epic battle scene. Perhaps if we do another interview for book two I’ll have more to reveal.
E: So far, the trilogy is getting rave reviews on Amazon. Has anyone mentioned something that was surprising to you or that was particularly helpful to you as a writer?
P: One thing that has been really surprising is the wide range of people who are enjoying my book. I’ve been told by multiple people (most of whom I had no idea bought my book) that while they don’t usually like science fiction, they really liked my book. This is big to me for two reasons. One, it means people are buying my book, and two, it means I’m attracting people who aren’t ‘science fiction’ fans, per se. I also find it interesting the number of people who have read my book on their phones. That is a huge compliment to me, seeing as it takes a lot of dedication to read anything on a phone, let alone a novel.
E: On your website, you list your top books of the year, with The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time #12) by Robert Jordan as your honorable mention. I’ll have you know I’m up to Book 11. Yeah, I’m showing off a bit. Who are some other fantasy/sci-fi authors you read?
P: Well first, congrats on making it to Book 11. You should show off. You’re going to be pleased with book 12, for sure. The battle scenes are awesome. So, authors I read… Obviously, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (I’m going to read some of his other stuff after reading the last three Wheel of Time books). I just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. In the past few years I’ve read Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Lois Lowry, Robert Heinlein, Ernest Cline, Joe Haldeman, Christopher Moore, Hugh Howey, Sherri S. Tepper, Michael Crichton, Kurt Vonnegut, Orson Scott Card, Suzanne Collins, Philip Pullman, Hilary Jordan, J.K Rowling, Philip K. Dick, S.M. Sterling, Kazuo Ishiguro, Richard K. Morgan, Stephen King, Paolo Bacigalupi, David Brin, David Mitchell, Gail Carriger, J.R.R. Tolkien, Max Brooks, Michael Chabon, and Peter Benchley, and others.
I can’t say I liked all of the above author’s books, but reading a wide variety of stuff, particularly stuff that doesn’t always appeal to me, makes me a better writer. I learn what I like, what I don’t like, and how I want my books to sound.
E: When did you decide to take the plunge into writing and was there ever a time you thought about giving it up to do something else?
P: Well, I’ve been writing long pieces since high school. My first long work was a narrative about my travels with the junior and senior US national wildwater kayaking teams. I spent my senior and junior years of high school traveling around the country and the world to compete in whitewater kayaking, and I wrote a memoir, I guess you could call it, of one of those summers. It still gets passed around by my old coach, but I haven’t seen it in years. I’d be afraid to look at it. I’d want to edit it!
I wrote another long non-fiction piece while in college, also about one of my summers on the river. After I graduated, the economy tanked (August 2008 – welcome to the real world, college grads), and I found myself working at a rafting store in Montana. Well, August turned into winter, and there I was selling boats to no one while I watched the snow fall. I was trying really hard to be a real adult and get a ‘real’ job, but the only job I really wanted was that of a writer. I tried to come to my senses and stop writing, but I couldn’t. I spent all day doing nothing at my job other than thinking of stories. Finally, I realized that no matter what I was doing, be it trading stocks on Wall Street (right!) or re-arranging the neoprene gloves for the fifth time in a day, I was going to have to write.
Once I accepted the fact that I couldn’t stop writing, I just had to budget my time. I became a seasonal worker, first for the US Forest Service, then for the National Park Service. I would take the winters off and use most of my time to write my own stuff. I had other jobs for a while (promotional blog writer, substitute teacher, kayaking coach, intermittent government worker) but after Appointment at the Edge of Forever got picked up, I quit working part time in the winter. Now I work in the summers and write in the winters.
There have been a lot of moments when I wanted to quit (thank you Hobbs and Sam and Kendall and Mom and Dad for your constant support). Writing, like most art, is hard because every rejection can feel like a personal attack. I started a folder in my email for my REJECTIONS (as the folder is titled). What’s interesting is that for every ten queries I’d send, I’d only receive a handful of form letter rejections. It’s a weird world where getting an email that says ‘Dear Author’ is better than getting no response at all. It can be a demoralizing process, but my determination seems to have paid off.
I used to read articles by other published writers all the time that would say, Keep at it! J And they would piss me off because I was so frustrated. I guess one thing I’d like to say to people who are going through the cycle of rejection, is that if you are actually writing, and querying, and e-publishing, and editing, you’re so much more dedicated than most. When I graduated college, everyone wanted to be a writer. I had tons of friends who would describe themselves as writers. What I saw though was, as people entered the ‘real’ world, most of those who said they were writers didn’t actually make time to write. They just wanted to be a writer, ‘in the future’. If you write, you’re a writer. If you edit, you’re really a writer. Keep that in mind. There are those who say they are writers, and then there are those who are writers. You don’t one day wake up and become a writer when you’re an adult. You wake up and write, and therefore are a writer, every day. There is no ‘becoming a writer in the future’. There is ‘becoming a better writer in the future’ but that’s only because of the effort you’re putting in now. So good job to all you writers out there, whether or not your work has been publicly validated.
E: What was the last book that you read that surprised you? It can be good surprised or bad surprised, or maybe even a bit of both.
P: Well, I’ll give you two books. This past December I read The Devil’s Teeth by Susan Casey and, as I mentioned, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. What surprised me about The Devil’s Teeth (a non-fiction book about a Great White Shark research team based on the Farallones, a set of rocky islands within the San Francisco city limits) was how much I loved the first part of the book, and how much the second part of the book was like watching a drunk cause a car wreck. From a completely intellectual stand point, it is impressive how distinct the two halves are. I won’t spoil it for you, but you can read my review of The Devil’s Teeth on Goodreads, if you’re interested.
So, that was a bad surprise. A good surprise was the next book I read. I actually listened to The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I was only doing it because it was a book club pick. I’d read Neverwhere and the first of Gaiman’s Sandman series, and I was just not that into Gaiman. I found Neverwhere hard to follow and the Sandman series really dark. The Ocean at the End of the Lane though, kept me thoroughly entertained, and while there were some really dark bits, I listened to the entire book in a single sitting. Perhaps it helped that the audio version is read by Gaiman himself.
E: You bake pie. This pretty much makes you my favorite person on the planet. Will you bake me a pie? I’ll even share it with you.*
*There’s no way in hell that I’m sharing it with you.
P: Ha! I would make you a pie, but it won’t ship well. You’ll have to come to me, then I’ll do it. The secret’s in the crust. It’s hand made. Send me an email, we’ll talk…