Monday, September 29, 2014

Author Interview - Scott Colby

The Speculative Fiction Showcase interviews Scott Colby, author of Shotgun and the A Date with Death series.

These days, most writers are glued to their laptops, tablets, and/or ereaders. A few still swear by print books and typewriters, the question is: Do you move at all?  

I move a lot, actually. I found it's really helpful to write in a variety of places, and there still isn't anything easier for making that work than a notebook and a pen, so I carry that stuff with me most places I go - although I'm certainly not above taking a laptop to the coffee shop for a few hours. I've done what I think is some of my best work while scribbling in a journal in the bar. I prefer to have some background noise. 

Apple or PC?

Both have their uses, but I gravitate to my Mac more than my PC. It's just less of a hassle. And it goes better with the Jobsian black turtlenecks I wear everywhere.

Do you use Scrivener or Word?

OpenOffice! It's free, open source word processing all the way for this dude.

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

TV. I think the translation from literature to film is easier when you aren't trying to shove it into a two hour running time. Take the recent Ender's Game adaptation, for instance. As a movie it felt rushed and abbreviated, and it didn't really give the viewer much reason to care about any of the characters. As a TV miniseries with a slower burn, however, it would've been fantastic.

Are you hooked on any science fiction or fantasy TV shows? If so, which one(s)?

Does WWE Monday Night Raw count? No? Then no. Although I enjoy Game of Thrones when I remember to get caught up on it. I was addicted to True Blood until I just couldn't take it anymore about three episodes into the final season.

You're not quite happy with the current state of the fantasy genre. What changes do you think are needed?

I'd like to see fantasy writers take more and bigger risks. We're talking about a genre where pretty much anything can happen, so why does so much of it fall into set patterns and archetypes? Magical stories and settings should be wild and out there and pushing the limits - and to me, that goes for presentation and tone as much as it goes for the people and events in a narrative. Let's have more fun with it!

You write humorous fantasy, which is still fairly uncommon in a genre that usually takes itself very seriously. So what is your favorite funny fantasy novel?

I'm a big fan of Good Omens, if that counts.

Are you a Luddite? Or do you prefer to be on the bleeding edge of technology?

Computers are stupid, but they sure are useful when they work. I'm somewhere in the middle. I work a full time IT job and I've got my fair share of toys, but I'll never camp out at Best Buy the night before a new phone is released.

Are you--or have you ever been--a gamer?

Console video games are my jam, yo. I like blasting aliens, rebuilding struggling sports franchises, managing teams of plucky RPG heroes, the works. I know some people prefer their PC gaming, but for me there's nothing like leaning back on the couch with a controller in hand and not having to deal with PC crap to make a game work. Borderlands 2 is probably my favorite game of the last five years.

What kind of foods do you eat? Are you a health-food-nut or is it strictly junk?

I photosynthesize. It's great.

But when the sun's not out, I eat relatively healthy. I avoid pre-processed crap and I don't really snack in between meals, but I also won't hesitate to eat an entire pizza covered in eight kinds of bacon. I'm definitely a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

Have you ever been to Starbucks or another coffee shop?

I spend more time at Dunkin' Donuts than Fred the Baker used to. It's not good. There are three distinct stores where they see me walk in and there's a medium iced coffee with cream and sugar waiting for me when I get to the counter. I should buy some Dunkin' stock.

Coffee or Tea or Water? Espresso, Drip, Instant, or French Press? Bag or Looseleaf? Bottled, Filtered, Tap or Rainwater?

Manhattan. Rye, up with a twist. Occasionally Miller High Life served in a champagne flute.

Do you wear socks?

Not if I can help it. I'd be barefoot all the time if it were socially acceptable.

Does life fascinate you?

You have no idea. People fascinate me to no end, probably because so many people make very little sense to me. I love the little absurdities I spot whenever I'm out and about. I've been trying to integrate more of that sort of stuff into my characters and settings.

Frustrated with the generic, paint-by-numbers state of modern fantasy writing, Scott Colby is working hard to give the genre the kick in the pants it so desperately needs. Shouldn't stories about people and creatures with the power to magically change the world around them be creative, funny, and kind of weird? Scott thinks so.
Born in 1983 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Scott now resides in Somerville, Massachusetts. He can often be found reading or writing in the area's various watering holes of ill repute.
You can buy his books at Amazon.

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