Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Author Interview - Daniel Solomon Kaplan

The Speculative Fiction Showcase interviews Daniel Solomon Kaplan, author of Elevated, out now.

Do you use Scrivener or Word?
Word for the moment, but I hear such good things about Scrivener that I might have to check it out.

Would you rather see your stories on the big screen or the little screen?

IMAX screen, with a subwoofer rattling fillings out of my teeth.

Do you own copies of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings DVDs? The extended version? Do you ever watch them?

I'm a huge fan of the extended versions, both from the added character moments, but also the amazing behind-the-scenes features. I've seen every feature and listen to the commentaries. I love hearing artists discuss their craft.

Have you seen the first two parts of the The Hobbit? Are you planning to see the final installment?

I did see the first two parts, and I enjoyed them quite a lot. I'm worried the final installment might be too much in the grand battle tradition, which is not my taste. Return of the King was also my least favorite of the original trilogy for the same reason. Just not into that much action. Give me the angsty inner struggle of Gollum over epic army conflicts any day. I know, not a typical guy here.

What kind of foods do you eat?

I'm a foodie and love a wide variety of cuisine. My particular favorites are Mediterranean and Thai. Willing to try most anything once.

Do you cook? What is your best/favorite/most popular recipe?

I do cook. As I said I'm a bit of a foodie, so my favorite recipe is five spice chicken with grapefruit and avocado salsa. Don't judge it until you've tried it, ok?

Do you have a garden? Have you ever grown your own food?

My tiny apartment porch allows me to grow some herbs, which my wife and I mostly keep alive. Mostly.

Do you recycle?
I recycle my jokes for years.  Just ask my wife.

Are you--or have you ever been--a gamer?
I'll be straight up honest here and say the last gaming console I owned was a Super Nintendo. Just never transitioned into the 3-d first person style of games. I still prefer old school side scrolling ala Super Mario Brothers or Donkey Kong Country. Yeah I know, might as well turn in the nerd card now.

Do you consider yourself a slave to the muse?

Nah, my muse is my loveable drunk roommate. Always around, but sometimes I have to splash a bucket of water to get him off the couch and start working.

What inspired you to write Elevated?
I was thinking about comic books like the Fantastic Four, and how the one weird thing is four people had exposure to cosmic radiation and had radically different reactions. I thought about treating that principal as a scientific fact and what would happen to society if it was actually true. Business would start to allow people to get zapped and gain powers, but then the government would swoop in to seize control and avoid mass chaos. Eventually, I postulated, the people would vote through a program to allow everyone to be zapped to give an equal chance for all citizens. From there I had my world and it sparked into a short play I presented in Orlando with Playwrights Round Table. With the positive response from those performances, I decided to expand it into a novel. That and a lot of arm twisting from my wife, who convinced me my prose wasn't pathetic.

How does Elevated differ from other YA sci-fi novels?

I feel we are coming off a tidal wave of stories with a dystopian setting. While I enjoy the thought experiments in those stories, I also find many of the worlds too extreme to immerse myself in the story. With Elevated, I tried to picture a flawed world, but not fundamentally ruined. In some ways, it’s quite tricky as I have a protagonist who begins the book very much against the system of the world, but she and the reader find out it’s a much more complex situation than it first appears.

Daniel Solomon Kaplan is a playwright turned author after much arm twisting from his wife. He currently has several novels in the works, including CATALYST, the next book of the Elevated Series, scheduled to debut before the end of the year. Visit his website at www.danielsolomonkaplan.com, his Facebook page and buy his books at Amazon.

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