Our first interview after our short hiatus is with Trey Garrison. Mr. Garrison is one of the newest authors with Harper Collins ebook line. I believe his book comes out today and I also believe this is his first interview. We wish him a long and fruitful career in SF.
The Hitchhiker asks….
Question 1- Your new book Black Sun Rising revolves around Nazis, and magic in a Dieselpunk setting I have been interested in learning more about Dieselpunk and it seems you are just the person to ask. Tell us a little about the genre?
The last thing I want to do is invoke the ire of steampunk and Dieselpunk purists. I love the purists in any fan base. I am a purist. As far as I’m concerned, there is no Star Trek outside the 23rd Century and The Empire Strikes Back was the last Star Wars movie they made. Barry Allen is still dead, zombies shamble slowly, Han shot first, and Superman wears red underwear over his blue tights.
I took a lot of the elements from steampunk and dieselpunk, but steampunk is more than just brass goggles, steam cars and airships. Dieselpunk is more than just art deco and Sky Captain type technology. For purists both have to be dystopian and nihilistic. My book is neither of those. It’s more dieselpunk in terms of time setting and technology. It’s not completely dieselpunk either, though a lot of the aesthetics are. If anything, it’s sort of a literary incarnation of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau of the 1920s rolled into an adventure story. I love the boldness of the art and architecture of that era, and I think that seeped into the fabric of THE SPEAR OF DESTINY.
Question 2- How did you move from journalism and working for Reason Magazine into writing Speculative Fiction? What do you think of Reason magazine and it’s spin on current topics?
I’m a long-time libertarian and I make no bones about that. Libertarian themes pervade THE SPEAR OF DESTINY, but this is not a message book. I present multiple viewpoints about the role of the state and what a laissez-faire society might look like – embodied primarily in the Freehold of Texas in the book. My goal was to tell a ripping, fun adventure yarn. Any political theme is largely incidental. I wanted this to be accessible to everyone, regardless of what kind of politics they practice. But it’s not a coincidence that one of the protagonists’ names is a nod to an Ayn Rand character.
I always wanted to write fiction, but I held back because writing like this is soul-baring. Everything in there – good and bad – is part of you. No matter how thick-skinned you are, you know that people judging it are judging your soul. But finally I said screw it, I want to tell a bold, entertaining adventure tale, and damn the torpedoes.
Question 3- As a new author in the genre you are sure to have some fresh insight into the business so tell us a little about where you think the future of speculative fiction is heading?
My book is being released as an eBook. It makes sense from Harper Collins’ viewpoint – they don’t want to invest too much in an unproven writer. If it sells well, they will do a print version, and my next book will likely come out in print and e-format at the same time.
I think this really helps remove a barrier of entry for first-time writers. Publishers are willing to take more of a chance since they’re not risking quite as much of an investment.
Really, I feel like a new music artist circa 2000, being told that my single will be released on this new thing called iTunes instead of a traditional CD. eBook sales outpaced print book sales last year for the first time, and I don’t think that’s a trend that’s going away.
Question 4- After the THE SPEAR OF DESTINY series what are your future plans for writing?
I really like mashing up history as a background for a story I want to tell. I’m toying with the idea of a Cold War era spy thriller, but not like anything you’re thinking. In this world, after the Civil War much of Texas and the southwest was ceded to Mexico for their help in putting down the Confederacy. There was a diaspora of Texans back to England, fundamentally altering the culture there. Now 80 years later in the 1950s, Great Britain stands as the beacon of democracy between the Soviets to the east and a fascist America to the west.
Question 5- Tell us a bit about your personal politics and how that affects your writing?
Well, I am a libertarian so I can’t help that some of that seeps into my writing. But I like to think I give a fair hearing and realistic portrayal of non-libertarian thought. I never want my books to be preachy or have some great underlying message. The story must always come first. Still, given my persuasion, I suppose I’m more likely to have heroes be unaffiliated with the government – they’re not cops or government agents or soldiers. They’re as likely as not to be traders, merchants and businessmen. In fact, the working title of THE SPEAR OF DESTINY was “The Merchant Princes” as my primary protagonists are trade negotiators who run an air cargo shipping business.
Thank you for answering our questions.
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity. If I can have a final word, it would be that I hope story comes first, last and always in my book, but libertarians will certainly appreciate the attention we don’t get so often in adventure stories.
You can order Black Sun Reich here and pre-order parts two and three as well.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/XElyyd