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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Interview with Author, Geoffrey Thorne.

Geoffrey Thorne, novelist and screenwriter, was born in the United States and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. A Second Prize-winner in Simon & Schuster's sixth annual Strange New Worlds anthology with his story "The Soft Room," he published more stories in anthologies and the Star Trek: Titan novel Sword of Damocles.
Other stories include contributions to Phobos Entertainment's anthology Reality Cops: The Adventures of Vale and Mist, Parsec Ink's Triangulation: End of Time anthology, and the neo-pulp webzine Astonishing Adventures! Magazine.
As a screenwriter, he worked with Kickstart Entertainment to develop, Of Bitter Souls and Sword of Dracula, for television. He worked as a staff writer on season 9 of USA network's Law & Order: Criminal Intent season 3 of TNT's Leverage.
Geoffrey Thorne is co-founder and writing partner in GENRE 19, a studio formed with artist, Todd Harris, in 2008.

Tell us about WINTER OF THE WILD HUNT in a few sentences.

Well, it's an urban fantasy, paranormal romance told by the male half of the couple but focusing on the female. It's a bit of twist on a few themes and I'm really happy with it. This is taking Paranormal Romance and beating it to death with SCIENCE! Or something.

How did you come to write this particular book?

Well, technically it was the first book I ever wrote, about 20 odd years ago. Needless to say that first version was crap. I decided to see what I could do to make it work, now that, in theory, I know what I'm doing. I like myths and folk stories and I like mixing them with hard reality so this story was going to be told one way or another.

If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?

Can't say. It gives too much away. But the two lovers are pretty high up there in my esteem. Especially the girl. Romance, remember? Paranormal Romance. Extremely para.

Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?

It's set in the present, in an unnamed American city. I like the whole Tolkien-esque thing well enough for a fantasy setting but I wanted to tell this sort of story in a modern frame. And it's a REALLY old story.

How can people buy your books?

Amazon. Barnes & Noble. Powell's. Smashwords.  Basically wherever good books are sold. My Star Trek stuff is pretty ubiquitous too.

What qualities make a successful writer?

Durability. Good ideas. A good sense of the flow of language and a sense of fun being transferred from you to the reader. Understanding how people work vs how you wish they worked. Unless you write that bleak, depression-inducing stuff that makes people want to hang themselves but why would you do that?

How do you set about writing a piece?

The idea occurs to me, wherever. I jot down some notes and let the thing gel a bit. This can take as little as a few hours and as long as a year. When it's firm in my mind I sit down to write. Sometimes with an outline, sometimes not.

Beginning writers make many mistakes; what do you think is the most harmful?

Thinking they know everything and therefore everything they write is gold or, conversely, thinking they know everything and therefore their work is automatically crap. Writing, getting to be a good at it, is a long process. Dig in. Learn to learn.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?

You have to know the rules in order to break them effectively. Ask Picasso. Dig him up first, of course.

How much revision of your MS do you do before you send it off?

Hmm. Depends on the story but not many. Never more than two and never a giant overhaul. More like spot-welding. If an editor wants a rewrite she'll say so.

To what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?

Well, my stuff is all mash-ups of at least two genres at a time. I think it's a fine marketing gambit– giving the readers a rough idea of where to go– but it's limiting too. Michael Crichton's stuff is all classified General Fiction but nearly everything he wrote is Science Fiction. Why isn't Greg Bear's stuff in General Fiction? No clue.

How do you know where to begin any given story?

I don't. They tell me.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from actually writing?

Video games. Eating. Sleeping. Basically anything having to do with keeping body and soul together. Plus video games.

Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?

Not so much. My parents were great at the beginning, very encouraging and my wife has a great critical eye (when she actually has time to sit still and read something, which is rare. Her job is CRAZY!) but now it's basically just me plugging away in an office or cafe until the mountain is climbed.

Is presentation of the MS as important as most agents and publishers suggest?

Do what they tell you. Do not deviate. I used to be a reader. If the MS looks poorly formatted, I'm not wasting one second on it. Circular file. Seriously. There are just too many to get through in a given day. If the publisher tells you how they want the thing delivered, deliver it precisely that way. 

How long does it normally take you to write a piece?

No particular time period. Some things whip by; some take lots of time. There's no pattern.

Who or what inspires you?

Hmmm. My brain cooks stories. Pretty much constantly. I'm not sure I even actually need inspiration. It's more like knowing I'm not going to live long enough to tell all these stories.

If there’s a single aspect to writing that really frustrates you, what is it?

Getting books into the readers' hands.

Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?

Finishing whatever's current and moving on to the next.

Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

Both. I'm not the most gifted writer I know but I have pretty good control of my "gift." A more gifted writer might be horribly undisciplined and not have any clue what makes some of her stuff good and some crappy. That writer will not get the brass ring though she is, technically, more "gifted."

What single piece of advice would you give to writers still hoping to be published?

Marathon, not Sprint. Dig in. Write. Eat rejection like candy and keep at it. If success happens fast, it's not worth anything.

What are you writing now?

I'm desperately trying to finish the new eNovella in my GRIM ARCANA series, FIXING MR. STYX. Urban fantasy. It'll be offered for free for however many days are left in October when it's done. Halloween is my favorite holiday.

Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?

hmm. a bunch, actually. Try... http://redjacket.blogspot.com/ or the new one for the WINTERMAN PROJECT (that's the micro press we formed when the books kept selling) http://www.wix.com/wintermanproject/books

Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

A giant European manor house (Irish or English, preferably) with a two-story library/study stuffed with books.

Where do you actually write?

Anywhere I can fit me and my laptop.

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