Where Writers And Authors Meet Interviews:
Edward Frank was our Featured Spotlight author last week and vistors were encouraged to ask Edward some of their own questions! Here is a link to that Spotlight! Feel free to ask more questions, and we might just be able to get Edward back for a follow up interview!
1) In the world of science, what is your first and forever love?(Victoria Adams: http://victoriasreadingalcove.wordpress.com/)
I am a geologist by training but my interests range the spectrum of the natural sciences. I don’t have a forever love per se. I like geology because it encompasses many of the fields. There is geochemistry, geophysics, biology through paleontology, and astronomy related to planetary origins. I really like the field. I am fascinated by biology and the varied expressions of life. I enjoy the discoveries being made in astronomy. I am amzed and read every day about the discovery of new of new exoplantes and new phenomena. I do chemistry stuff – I taught geochemistry recitation sessions ad assisted in the lectures for graduate student whn n my PhD program. But chemistr and I suppose classical physics do not hold my attention and interest. They have become engineerified – changed from science to industrial production in focus.
Theoretical physics is fun to read about and I await their discoveries, but it is not for me. The math is tedious and not fun. I like the more descriptive nature of many geology and biology research, rather than the contemplation of equations. I made that choice long ago. I also have a passing interest in the social sciences. They would really grab some attention if they actually attempted to be science. Many of the papers now in pschology, sociology, even anthropology are in my opinion not so much scientific enquirey, but self serving pontification and qustionable statistics. I will skip the history of paradym shifts in the understanding of various fields of science. So what is my first and forever love – all of them.
2) What is your favorite type of inciting incident in fiction? War, alien encounter, elves popping out of the kitchen wall,…? (Angus H Day: http://nextyouniverse.com/)
Those all could be a good start for a story. There are many story hooks that catch my attention. The science fiction stories I prefer are often ones with an exploration theme, with people on a mission of discovery, colonizing a planet, or search for knowledge. I also like the old fashioned poor boy makes good theme. The primary thing I want is a story is one that presents me with new ideas or perspectives.
If I had to pick one story as my favorite, I would be Fred Pohl’s “Gateway.” It is a story of a poor man raised in the food mines of a dystopian future who gets a ticket to participate in the Gateway Project. They have found an alien spaceship, empty and abandoned. It is dotted with smaller ships that can hold one to five people. In these smaller ships there basically is a lever. If you pull the lever, the spaceship goes somewhere in FTL. Sometimes they return, sometimes they do not. If you take a ship and return you will get a monetary reward depending on the nature of what you found at the other end of the journey. The protagonist takes his chances and pulls the lever. This is a theme that catches my attention. I have read thousands of science fiction books, so my tastes are not limited to this one theme, but if forced to choose a theme it is one of exploration, man against nature, much more so that military science fiction, or just another standard alien encounter.
In fantasy I am drawn to the epic quest structured like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, or the early or Brooks’ early Shannara novels. I am bored by the repetitious zombie novels, and vampire novels that fill the shelves as fantasy or horror novels. They are for the most part not horrifying, except maybe in the horrible quality of the writing. I don’t even bother with them, unless they are by an author I know I like. An elf crawling out of the cupboard would be a fine start. I liked the Harry Potter novels. I disliked Lewis’s Narnia series because it felt as if I was being preached at rather than entertained, and his Perelandra series was even worse. “That Hideous Strength” should have been entitled That Hideous Trilogy. Enough rambling for now.
3) Have you always known that you wanted to be an author? (A.E. Crowe: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AE-Crowe/466060073418231)
I have always wanted to be a writer, and a scientist as far back as I can remember. I just need to make more progress with the writer part.
4) On your website you said, “I want a story that is entertaining. I want a story that presents me with new ideas and interesting perspectives.” Would you tell us what story you’ve read that fulfilled all of these for you? (Stephan Gathings: http://noveltimes.webs.com)
I will choose Robert Franson’s novel “The Shadow of the Ship” as an example. It is not a well known book, but one of which I am particularly fond. In one sense the story is one of a trip in a train that is pulled by large creatures called way beasts, very much like oxen. This train connects different worlds across the galaxy. The track runs along a glowing blue trail. Planets with a larger piece of the trail on their surface tend to be wealthier than those who barely touch the road. The path extends from normal space into subspace. The way beasts can pull the train from our normal universe into subspace. In this setting subspace is portrayed much like a dark gray version of the Great Plains with rolling hills and valleys. The blue trail cuts across this dark landscape from world to world. The way beasts are needed to make the jump between normal and subspace. The book explores the nature of the subspace surface, the blue trail itself, and the glowing shadow of a long crashed ship stranded in subspace.
The story provides an entirely different and strange take on interstellar travel. It has a mixture of standard science fiction spaceships and animal pulled trains. It explores the nature of the subspace landscape. There are mysteries associated with the exploration of the crashed spaceship, and intrigue on the train reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” So this story meets my criteria. I would say I am pretty flexible in my application of the terms, so there are many, many, books that meet the criteria.
5) What was the hardest part in becoming a known Author?(JR Bouchard: http://www.theplansaga.webs.com/)
I don’t know, I will tell you if I ever become known. I am working on several stories and projects right now. I think it is persistence in your writing and actually putting content out there for the public to read that is the key to success. That is what I am trying to do. Once it is out there you need to promote yourself and your work. Right now my genre work consists of a rule book – The Kanrf 4 Fantasy Role Playing Game available through Amazon Kindle. My non-fiction writings and professional articles on cave research and such are known by people in those fields, and that work is cited in other reports, but that is not the same thing. As I said I am still working at writing new books and stories and on becoming a known Author.
6) What do you like most about being a writer? (Jo Linsdell: http://www.JoLinsdell.com)
There is the pressure to get things done; the difficulty getting to sleep at night because of ideas rolling through my brain, getting up in the middle of the night to write a note on an idea that popped into my head or not going to sleep until I do, the difficulty trying to find time to write in the face of the travails of life, the couple of dollars earned from sales of my hard won work, the knowing I should be writing every time I try to take a break and relax, the guilt of looking at Facebook or watching television when I should be writing… I guess I like everything but this stuff.
7) What is your favorite Sci Fi series on TV or in the movies and why? (Ruthie Derby: http://www.madison.webs.com/)
My favorite TV series are the Star Trek series and Firefly. Star Trek provides an optimistic view of the future I like in the face of the overwhelming tendency of the genre to produce dystopian futures and the myriad of real life politicians that seem bent on seeing those dark future come to pass. Star Trek in all of its incarnations had some really bad episodes, but also had some really brilliant episodes as well. Firefly because it is fun. It shows a generally good future, with the crew of the Serenity being the smugglers and rebels working on just the wrong side of the law in a rather totalitarian regime. There have been many other series out there. Star Gate, Babylon 5, Farscape, Eureka and a handful of others that were worth watching. I enjoyed “The Dresden Files” but it only lasted one season. Many other shows were just so-so, and some were really bad. The worst by far in my opinion was the remake of Battlestar Galactica. The original was often silly and unintentionally campy, but the remake was pretentious with convoluted story lines that don’t make any sense (ala Lost), and for the most part characters that I could care less about. The only decent character was Gauis Balthar and he was a both a victim and the bad guy in all of this.
Currently the one science fiction show I like is Warehouse 13. I hope it continues as it has in the early seasons. The downfall of all of these shows is that after a couple seasons they change from the interesting story driven episodes to long dark conspiracy theory drivel that I could care less about. That is what happened to X-Files, for example. I liked the strangeness of the week early episodes, but the show lost my interest with the conspiracy theory crap.
Movie I liked include: Silent Running, 2010: Space Odyssey II, A Boy and His Dog, The Postman, When Worlds Collide, the 1956 version of War of the Worlds, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit part 1. Movies I really hated recently: Avatar. It was such a disappointment. The movie was so beautiful to look at, it would have been nice if James Cameron had spent some money on a real science fiction script instead of a poorly written derivative adaptation of Dances with Wolves.
8 ) Who is your favorite Sci-Fi character and fantasy character? (Ruthie Derby: http://www.madison.webs.com/)
Every science fiction fan likes Spock. He was the misfit in the human world that lived by a code of logic. I really liked Mr. Data in the next generation, the holographic Doctor played wonderfully by Robert Picardo in Star Trek Voyager, I like Dr. Rodney McKay on Stargate Atlantis. But if I was to choose a favorite, I would be hard pressed decide between two options. The first is Lieutenant Reginald Barkley for Star Trek Next Generation with appearances in Voyager as well. He was a brilliant man, but almost paralyzed by social anxiety disorder and a slew of phobias. He tried to fit in, but was often misunderstood and struggled with his problems. I could relate to that. The second option was the character Autolycus played by Bruce Campbell on Hercules and on Xena. He was the self proclaimed King of the Thieves and played the part with much daring do and bravado, even if his character could not quite live up to his own hype.
9) Does your books encompass your experiences with Geology? Joseph Landers: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Landers/e/B0068UULZU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1361146939&sr=1-2-ent)
They have not to this point had any major themes dealing with geology. Some in the future may do so. My writing, mostly unpublished at this point is typically at one end of the spectrum or the other, hard science fiction on one end, and fantasy with full blown magic on the other. I don’t like science fiction books that are sloppy with science. They may be speculative, or wrong, but not sloppy. The books must be internally consistent on how things work. The same is true for good fantasy. Magic must have rules to abide or it is just silly. This is a reflection of my passion for science, even if I am writing about magic.
10) Do you have any works coming down the line yet? Could you tell us a little bit about one you are working on? (Virginia Lori Jennings http://www.virginialorijennings.com/)
Virginia, excellent question. Be sure that everyone gets a chance to answer this question. I am working on several things at the moment. Not for pay, but there is a project I am working on for the Native Tree Society. I am writing a series of six articles on tree measurement for inclusion in Wikipedia – overview, height, girth, crown character, volume, and Rucker index. In the science fiction category I am working on a project with Victoria Adams. We are collaborating on a short story, or two interlinked stories concerning the events on a stellar research station when VY Canis Majoris explodes to form a hypernova. A non-fiction project I have started is writing a book on the old-growth forests at Cook Forest State Park, PA geared toward children and teens with a plethora of photos, and limited text. It will be distributed in electronic versions only as the costs likely would be prohibitive in print version. I have some other novel ideas swimming around in my head as longer term projects.
Thank you everyone who ask me questions!
From the Admin: Thank you for sharing your answers with us Edward!
You can find Edward’s Book on Amazon here: