I am debuting a new feature on my blog today–author interviews. Enjoy! Chris
5 Minutes with Eric Juneau
This is a chance to learn a bit more about Eric Juneau, whose novel, Merm-8, has been published by Musa.
Website: http://author-quest.blogspot.com Twitter: @theWallflower00
I started writing . . . I had three separate buttkicks into writing. When I was a kid, five or six, I would write stories on computer paper. I would draw the pictures, then I would have my dad transcribe what I wrote, since my penmanship wasn’t that great. Most of them had to do with Snoopy or E.T., my interests at the time.
My second movement occurred thanks to AOL, circa 1995. I was a big fan of Star Trek and video games, especially Mortal Kombat. But where AOL’s Star Trek fan fiction archive was extensive and diverse, the video game boards were not. Somewhere in my despondence, a thought came to me: if no one else is writing Mortal Kombat stories, maybe I can! And the best part is, since there’s no one else, I’ll automatically be the prime and best producer. That led me into the world of fan fiction.
The third epiphany came a few years after graduating from college. When I was bored at work, I would read e-versions of Stephen King novels. They had such an informal style with down-to-earth characters. Accessible, easy to read, and highly entertaining, I suddenly realized “hey, I can write like this.” Suddenly, getting a book published didn’t seem like a lofty career reserved for Faulkners and Steinbecks.
What I love most about writing . . .The plotting. When the writing is really going well, when characters fight the obstacles I put in front of them and grow stronger, when I know a plot twist is going to hit the audience right between the eyes, that’s beautiful. It’s a brief fleeting moment, but in that moment, I feel like a Creator of Worlds.
The toughest thing about writing . . . A perfect idea only stays perfect while in your mind. The moment you make it concrete, it ceases to be perfect. But you also can’t share it with anyone. Every creative act loses something in the translation from cognition to canvas, and I hate that heat loss. But it’s inevitable. When I flesh out plots, the spark of magic fades, but in it’s place is forged steel. And it’s the job of a writer to remake that steel as strong as possible.
The writer I most admire . . . I hate to say it but Stephen King. He was my first idol for writing. Just his productivity alone is amazing. I’m not fond of his style — too much overwriting, too much metaphor and metaphysics — but he went from rags to riches by harnessing fear and turning it into entertainment.
If I wasn’t a writer, I would be . . . Playing lots and lots of video games, and basically just being an all-consuming, unproductive schlump.
When I am writing, I listen to . . . I try not to listen to lyrical music. That tends to distract me. Mostly I listen to movie scores or ambient music related to the setting I’m writing in at the moment? Does it help me? I don’t know. But it keeps me focused.
-The Darkness and the Light by Peter David
-The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
-World War Z by Max Brooks
-Wren’s Quest by Sherwood Smith
-The Dark Tower Saga by Stephen King
-Tigerheart by Peter David
-Jumper by Steven Gould
-The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
-Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
-Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
-Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
-The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
-The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
-Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
-Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
-The Evil Dead
-The Lord of the Rings trilogy
-Back to the Future
-The Dark Knight
Modern convenience I can’t live without:
A laptop — the all purpose device. And I can’t type a novel on an iPod.
I wish I could stop . . . Playing Frozen Free Fall on my iPod. I’m up to level 192, and I’m determined to finish this game without paying one red cent for it.
Best advice I’ve received:
Writing is not an occupation, it’s a compulsion.
Worst advice I’ve received:
I’ve heard too many people try and say what works for them, and preach it as gospel. One guy who earned my particular ire said “don’t revise, because otherwise you’re just polishing a turd. Rewriting is not writing. Take your finished novel and mail it out”. Yeah, maybe the geniuses can write without much revising, but that’s why they’re geniuses. Since then, I now take all writing advice as “this is what works for me, I’m going to talk about it in case it could work for you”.
Advice to aspiring authors:
Stories are not real life, stories are pieces of morality made entertaining. Don’t write what you know, write what you want to read. Write what you think should be written. Fill in the gaps in the bookshelf. And finish what you write.
And now a bit about MERM-8:
Gene is a rogue-for-hire, using his one-man ship to make a decent living on the flooded Earth. His AI companion, Stitch, does most of the work of their salvage and smuggling jobs. Life is good. Until a mermaid crawls into his ship’s exhaust port. Now everyone wants to know what this fantasy creature is doing on a dying planet. Gene has to choose between protecting her and keeping himself safe.