Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Interview with author John Roseman
Today my guest is MuseItUp author, John Roseman. John is here to talk about his upcoming eBook, More Stately Mansions.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
“More Stately Mansions” features a beautiful planet, K22, with soaring, shining cities. Captain Temple leads an expedition there to open up a new market and to his surprise, finds no inhabitants whatsoever. Where have they gone? Even more important, why are there so many storms and why are strange growths appearing on the bodies of his crew? Has the planet itself somehow ensnared them in a diabolic plot? This tale involves the unfolding of a cosmic mystery and challenges the reader to solve it.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
My father loved “The Chambered Nautilus,” a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes that contains lines quoted in the story. This nautilus is a symbol of spiritual growth and transcendence, and it largely inspired the story, aided by my interest in cosmic transformation.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m a hardworking college professor, and my writing is a part-time lifelong hobby. But some weeks I’ve spent seventy hours on it. I organize my time somewhat haphazardly, writing when I’ve got a hot project and when I can find the time. During the summers, which I take off, this is easier, but during the regular academic year, I have to steal time and write when I can.
One thing that’s helped me is my writers group, which motivates me to supply members with a chapter or short story every two weeks. Sadly, after twenty-one years, this group has apparently died through attrition.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I was a small kid, I’ve scribbled, beginning with cartoon stories etched in crayon. But while I liked to write, it took me till my early twenties to think of myself as a writer who wanted to devote his life to writing. You see, in our society, writing is not generally considered a profession until you’ve proven yourself at it by supporting yourself with your published books.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I want them to be moved by it, to talk about it, to tell others. I want to be remembered and change people’s lives. I want them to love my heroes and heroines, to be moved by the quality of my writing, and perhaps most of all, to continue to buy my books!
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
My favorite genre is science fiction because it contains and transcends all the other genres and forms of fiction. Science fiction is the most speculatively rich genre, which is why it’s also called speculative fiction. I also like fantasy, science-fantasy, horror, dark fantasy, and the absurd because they free my imagination from reality while at the same time, still binding me to it.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Rejection is one of the toughest parts. It’s hard and painful to write what you think is a great story or book and then find out no one cares. You just have to suck it up, swallow your tears, and keep going, even if you have to wade through a sea of your own self-doubts.
Working alone can also be tough. Despite writers’ groups, Yahoo groups, conventions, and online writers’ communities, writing often remains an intensely solitary pursuit. YOU, more than anyone else, have to provide the inspiration and determination to keep going.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Not specifically, though dangerous, forbidden planets are common in science fiction. I think “More Stately Mansions” is a work of almost pure imagination.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Hey, I’m even older than Captain Temple now! Like Temple and a lot of old guys, I feel I haven’t achieved all my goals and dreams, my full potential. Also, there’s wish-fulfillment here. I like to feel my best days and greatest experiences still lie ahead, and that proves to be the case with Captain Temple.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Not much. This is not hard science fiction but “soft” SF or perhaps science fantasy. What research I did do was to read a lot of science fiction, including science fiction of the Golden Age.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Not so much violent but highly sexual scenes have come to bother me as I get older. Please note I’m not a prude. I’ve published erotic horror stories in the HOT BLOOD series and elsewhere. It’s just that I think there’s too much romance and erotica in the market and that it’s overdone and crowding out other forms. In general, I find that if I have one steamy (but not body-parts graphic) sex scene in a novel, I’ve made my point as far as the participants are concerned. We don’t need to see them having sex repeatedly in explicit close-ups.
12) What about your book makes it special?
I think the cosmic concept at the end is rather special, and to find out what it is, you’ll have to read the tale.
Also, I think the mystery of the planet and the way I resolve that mystery are rather neat. Plus, in
Captain Temple, I’ve created a poignant character many of us can identify with. Don’t we all have dreams we failed to achieve and which continue to haunt us? Don’t we all aspire to be better than we are?
13) What is your marketing plan?
Promotion online in Yahoo groups; in blogs and blog tours, including my website; and in reviews. Other ideas will come to me.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can check my website at www.johnrosenman.com. Also, I write a monthly blog on the thirteenth at www.storytellersuplugged.com. I have blogs all over the web and over a dozen interviews as well. One interview can be found at http://www.milscifi.com/files/inter-JBR-BS.htm. Another, for July 21 of this year, is at SF Brigade, http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.com/
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Read a lot of it, both good and bad, and read critically and interactively. Read the masters, both from the past and today. Keep current. Study science and astronomy. If you can, find a good critic, an intelligent reader willing to read your stuff, and embrace them, value their help and guidance. Then write, write, write, revise, revise, revise. Be persistent, be strong, and be dedicated. Never give up and never stop trying to improve.
Above all, perhaps, remember that it’s what you write that’s important, not you. Your most important obligation is to make what you write as good as you can. Think of it as a religion if necessary.
John, thank you for being my guest today and offering me a glimpse into your writing life. You've also offered some excellent tips.