HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Lucian Aurelianus, the main character in my unpublished novel about Camelot after the death of King Arthur. Lucian grew up saturated in Arthur's idealism, but a family squabble led him to go fight barbarians in the "North Country". He returns just after Arthur's death a hardened, tired cynic, but desperately wanting to recapture the idealism and hope he once new...particularly when the handful of surviving Knights of the RoundTable ask him to help rebuild what was lost with Arthur's death.
I've seen a lot of people struggle with hopelessness and frustration and a feeling of powerlessness like Lucian does. While I was writing Lucian, he became an offering to the people I know who are struggling, and a tribute to those who surmounted those troubles.
2. Tell me about your travels.
Unfortunately there's not much to tell, but I could tell you what I would like to do. I would like to spend a week hiking through the Grand Canyon. I would like to walk along the medieval walls of Carcassone, York, and Rothenburg at sunrise and sunset. I would like to fly over the Himalayas and see if I can spot Shangri-La. I would like to wander inside the Great Pyramid of Cheops. I want to walk along the beach of Monuriki, the Fijian island where Castaway was filmed. I have friends and family on six of the seven continents, and would be happy spending a year doing nothing but visiting all of them.
And doing all this with my wife Laurie, who is far and away my favorite traveling partner!
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
Academia--sort of. It's not that I'm necessarily an academic myself, but I've got so many interests that don't fit into pop culture it's hard to find myself interested in pop culture. Like ancient history, for example...unless you count Gladiator, King Arthur, or 300.
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Everywhere. I know that's a stock answer, but I'm interested in almost everything to one degree or another (except maybe for much of pop culture, unless Cory Doctorow is writing about it), fascinated by multitudes of things, and I tend to write about anything that strikes me.
And often my stories and poems are created by combining two things that nature never intended. My poem Braiding the World Lines (Ideomancer), for instance, combined my interests in quantum computer and South American mythology. My story Redshift Dreamer (Trabuco Road) combined Australian Aboriginal mythology with my fascination after reading a story about potential planets that have small, narrow habitable zones between regions that are too hot or too cold.
But a lone thing can be the trigger too: on an Appalachian Trail hike last year my friend Tamara and I found some juvenile American Chestnut trees which, we were told, would be dead in a year or two--because all American Chestnuts die once they reach adulthood thanks to the Chestnut Blight. A hundred years ago they blanketed the Appalachians as surely as Oaks did, but now they're bordering on extinction. This tree became my poem "Chestnuts, Sleep", which is also (so far) my only non-speculative poetry sale (to Appalachian Heritage).
And then--there's Laurie, who is simply inspiration on all sorts of different levels and on a regular basis. Not to mention always supportive of my writing, which is more important especially to my inspiration) than I can say.
So, yeah...anything and everything.
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
That depends on what I want from the story. Novels I tend to outline more, if only because I know I'll be working on them for a lot longer, and putting a lot more work into them. Short stories are more likely to take me along for a ride, particularly the ones I start simply to answer a question I have. Then again, I also usually have a good idea of where the stories will end up, so the wild ride may only get just so wild.
But not always. Even when I outline, things happen that I don't expect and can take me far away from anything I'd planned for. And when those stories work, I consider them the best kind, my favorites by far.
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Philip Jose Farmer, naturally; he gifted me with a serious interest in writing when I was 12 and, particularly as he's my uncle, was always there to encourage me--and, for that matter, be a constant example that a writer really could make good even if other people told him writing was stupid (especially writing speculative fiction!). Finishing his book The City Beyond Play was a long-time dream come true.
Beyond him, I'd say Mark Twain--for his social commentary disguised as sharp humor I could never hope to match. James Michener, who first taught me how a single book could carry you through a grand, epic sweep of history. And as a child my sense of wonder was sparked by the short stories of a lot of the greats such as Asimov and Bradbury; a lot of those old short stories still tickle me, and to this day short stories are still my favorite form of speculative fiction.
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Danny Adams was born somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains in October of 1970, and since then has enjoyed such activities as making covenants with bobcats (1993), partying with James Doohan (1992), outrunning a train on foot (1994), hunting down psychics and spirit channelers and haunted houses (1991 to present), working in other centuries (1999, 1850, 1740, and 1671), and other mundane pastimes. His favorite passions include writing and anything outdoors.
He is the co-author, with Philip Jose Farmer, of the short science fiction novel The City Beyond Play, forthcoming from PS Publishing in May of 2007.