1) When did you first discover your love for writing?
I was a kid. I liked reading stories and tried to tell ones I made up. They were horrid, as you might imagine, but my teachers encouraged me and it kept me out of trouble so my family didn’t mind.
2) Do you have a favourite place to write?
Either a library or a bar, depending on my mood. Both have the advantage that people will leave you alone unless you ask them not to.
3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
I wake up, check social media, and start writing.
4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Tons. I’d start with the dude, or dudine, who wrote Gilgamesh and then every great story after that. I think, at the essence of it all, I hope to, one day, tell a great story too.
5) What inspired you to write The Brittle Riders?
Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s I was big into the speedy drugs, acid & cocaine mostly, and toured with a lot of bands. That meant riding through flat lands filled with farm animals while ripped out of my ever-loving skull. It wasn’t a giant leap in my head to have them start talking and later overthrow the human race.
6) Can you tell us a little about your book?
It’s a fun look at hubris. I kill off the human race in the preamble to get to the interesting characters. The story, sans humans, follows the adventures of five unlikely terrorists. The heroic terrorists are an odd lot; a walking skeleton with flaming eyes, a malformed centaur who worked for a queen, a mute werewolf who lives for booze, a succubus sex slave who’s lethal with a knife, and a mutant badger who likes killing and sex – but not at the same time. Those compile the good guys. There are most of your favorite tropes in there, as well, but all of them are perverted. For example, there’s the requisite fount of wisdom the heroes must find to aid their quest. But it’s a 6’ tall cockroach who likes to drink craft beers.
At its core it’s a Frankenstein saga. Man built something he can no longer control. I just pick up the story after the logical ending of humanity and try to figure out what Frankenstein’s monsters would do next.
7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
Yeah, I love Sland. He started as comic relief and became my go-to character for insight. He can parse complex things into simple bon mots, but without losing the meaning they contained. To him killing, sexing, and boozing are all easy and good; therefore life is easy and good.
8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
There are several, but the driving theme is that strength can only be achieved through diversity.
9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?
Sure. This is the scene, after they have just met, when they decide to rob the ruler’s personal bank and foment rebellion. Naturally, they’re in a bar.
Sland’s brain hurts for a sepi-clik, “Unless I’m an ass eater, that repository is not open now.”
It takes far more than a sepi-clik to sink in. They will be wanted by Xhaknar for the worst crime he has, disturbing his finances. That will get you thirty, pain-filled, turns above Xhaknar’s blood fountain and then death.
N’leah glances over at R’yune. “Well, how about it, partner? Will you let Xhaknar put another price on your head for the chance to zork him off and maybe kill him?”
R’yune growls an enthusiastic approval. The others discuss it vigorously amongst themselves and then let BraarB sum it up.
“We have all killed for less. I think it is safe to say we are with you. We just don’t know why.”
Geldish nods, orders another round of skank and snags a bowl of meat from the hands of the, now trembling, innkeeper. Then he hands the whimpering server enough goldens to keep him in bar rags for eternity.
They will wait until even-split. Then they will make their move. It is the kind of move which brooks no error. Once done with this, there is no going back. This commitment is forever. The innkeeper knows none of this, of course. He just knows he is rich beyond his wildest dreams and he’d better find some fresh meat for his new best customers.
10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Brittle Riders?
Making it stop. My first crack at this was an outline. I know the old Yiddish adage, if you want to hear God laugh, make a plan, but I did it anyway. My plan for a fun short story died about 50,000 words in, my concept of an easy novel died about 200,000 words in and I really had to come back to finish it to bring it in around 315,000 words.
11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Brittle Riders?
That I’m better at dealing with rejection than I would have thought. Not only The Brittle Riders, but everything I’ve written has been rejected at some point. I used to keep copies of the letters, vowing some vague revenge on whomever slighted me, and then, one day, I just tossed them out. Two weeks later I was getting accepted and I never looked back.
12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
There’s always something to learn.
13) Anything else you would like to say?
I began writing fiction as a way to deal with a rough patch in my life. To have it, less than eight years later, be my sole source of income is just an amazing development. Now I want everyone else to succeed too.
14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I’m currently working on the prequel / sequel to The Brittle Riders called Goptri of the Mists. It’s set, mostly, in India and takes place before and after, but never during, the events in The Brittle Riders. I’m also writing a feature film called SPLICE, and have four comic book series out; Legends Parallel, Svarozic, Jungle Grrl, and Cassandra and the Changeling Sword. By the end of 2019 I’ll also have the graphic novel Pestilent and two more series; Bob: Sins of the Son and, the good Lord willing, Alokia the Kaiju Hunter.
The Brittle Riders (Book 1)
In a far future, Earth had already been visited by an alien race called the Sominids, who came here for the express purpose of drinking and having sex with everyone they could. When one of their infamous parties resulted in the moon being cut in half, and killing everyone who happened to live there, they quietly left. Their encounter with the Sominids had taught the human race many things, primarily that faster than light travel did not exist. Denied the stars, the human race began to dwindle in numbers and terminate all of their space programs. A thousand years after that, a scientist named Edward Q. Rohta circumvented anti-AI laws, laws which had been on the books for millennia, by creating organic creatures to provide manual labor. Instead of dying after ten years, as promised in the company brochure, they would develop flu-like symptoms and go into hiding. Eventually, fed up with the mistreatment they suffered at the hands of humans they rose up and killed every man, woman, and child on the planet. This is the story of what happens next. The Brittle Riders; Apocalypses are funny that way.