Authors Dani and Eytan Kollin have been having an exciting year. Not only have they released The Unincorporated War, the sequel to The Unincorporated Man, but their debut novel also won the Prometheus Award for Novel of the Year. Now they’re joining us on dampfang.com to take part in the Never Have, Never Will interview. Lots of ground to cover, so let’s get started.
The Never Have, Never Will interview:
1. Is there a story you’ve written that will never see the light of day? Why would you deprive us of this genius?
Eytan: Well I once wrote a Star Trek novel in response to one of the Trek movies. I didn’t like where it went so I created an alternate fiction novel in which much of the old crew ends up in Next Generation land. I just wrote it for my own give-my-favorite-characters-a-land-of-their-own-in-my imagination satisfaction. I was going to release it on one of the fanfic sites for the hell of it but I was told I couldn’t do it for reasons that have never made sense to me. But on the day my better, more screw-it impulses overwhelm I’ll release it.
But not today.
Dani: Not a story – a scene. In our first book (spoiler alert) we cut out a rather lurid description of a sexual encounter between the protagonist and his love interest. The reason it was so lurid was because we’d never written that type of scene before and so borrowed the template of a Harlequin romance novel. Suffice to say the TMI clause was invoked by our initial test readers and as such the scene never saw the light of day.
2. What’s a story you’ve never written, but always wanted to?
E: A romance novel. It sounds weird, but I think a solid romance novel is one of the hardest things to write. It would be easier for me to write a mystery that has all the clues revealed, or a science fiction novel with no techno babble than a well-crafted romance. But a romance novel that can engage, entertain, amuse and above all else, arouse would take real insight, which I fear I lack.
D: Nothing burns in me that won’t eventually get written. Having said that, my brother, and co-writer, pines to write good old fashioned action/adventure stories. Till now I’ve resisted preferring to write sociological thrillers (because the sociological implications of an idea are what fuel my passion for writing). But he’s chiseled away at my resolve and I now find myself working on a short story that involves among other creatures, zombies, vampires, werewolves and witches. Further, I’m even forced to admit I’m having a blast working on it.
3. Is there a character or plot point you’ve wanted to change in retrospect?
4. Which of your characters would you never want to meet (in a dark alley or otherwise)?
E: Nadine Harper. If I say more it will be a spoiler
D: Trica Pakagopolis – Minister of Internal Affairs for the United Human Federation.
5. Which of your worlds/realities/cities would you never want to visit?
E: So far I would like to visit them all. Of course I still have some ideas I’m working on, but that will be for future projects.
D: The Virtual Reality Museum. It would be like getting into a car knowing in advance that you’d be in a major accident that day. You’d also know that you’d survive but would be unsure as to the extent of the injuries you’d sustain.
6. Are there any real-world locations you’ve written about but have never visited (or never want to)?:
E: Fiji. But I wrote about it so if I ever go there I may have a shot writing it off my taxes, (assuming the IRS doesn’t read this).
D: Yes. There’s a major scene in The Unincorporated Man that takes place in New Orleans. I’ve never once visited the city. However, I would very much like to.
7. Is there a piece of writing advice you’ve never followed?
E: I’m not sure I ever really got any writing advice. I might have but I might have been drunk at the time.
D: Pretty much all of them.
8. What is an aspect of the writing craft you’ve never had a problem with (and why)?
E: Making stuff up. It’s just in my head when I need it. I think if I ever figure out why it will go away so I try not to think about it too much.
D: The rewrite. I’m so addicted to perfecting a concept that for me, words are like an unfinished sculpture that can be obsessed over and polished for hours on end. On completion, the feeling of satisfaction is so great I can’t wait to move on to the next sentence, paragraph, story, novel, etc.
9. What’s the one book out there you wish you’d written (but of course won’t, because it’s already written, and writing it again would be plagiarism, and that’s just mean)?
E: Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. What a brilliant way of disguising a political treatise.
D: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
10. What aspect of writing will you never stop working to improve in?
E: Creating more realistic characters. Most readers want to see not only the magic but the humanity in their characters. Sherlock Holmes was cool because he was F-ing smart. But we love him because he was manic depressive drug addict, from a broken home with homo-erotic tendencies he kept under tight control. In other words a pretty messed up, repressed human being we could relate to.
D: Being more poetic and graceful with my words. Ray Bradbury and Ursula K Le Guin are my role models. I am constantly in awe of their evocative descriptions and writing prowess.
11. What’s one part of the publishing industry/process you wish you could do without?
E: All of it. The Internet has killed the publishing industry as we know it. We’re just waiting around to figure out what happens next. The cool part is, ultimately it’s about connecting the creative at one end with the consumer at the other. Regardless of how this shakes out, I’ll always be at one end of the process, when I’m not at the other…
D: Self promotion. It’s exhausting, expensive and all rather confusing (what with all manner of social media site popping up left and right). On top of that you’re never quite sure what, if any, real impact it has.
12. What’s the one thing you would never do to shamelessly promote your current/upcoming release?
E: Dance naked on national TV, (purposely, that is. Who knows nowadays with the Internet?). But mostly because I’m huge and it wouldn’t do me any good.
D: Jump up and down on a couch on the Oprah Winfrey show.
13. What’s a question you’ve always wanted to answer, but have never been asked?
E: If I want an answer to a question I tend to say ‘hey, strange person, ask me this question,” or there about. So I can’t think of one right now. If one pops into my head after I send this I’ll be sure to…find someone and say, “hey, ask me this question.”
– And your answer?
There are never enough, are there? Answers, I mean.
D: How, as a published science fiction author can you venerate science yet profess a belief in something as unverifiable as God?
– And your answer?
From a purely scientific point of view, according the knighted astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle “The chances of life evolving into intelligent life through random chance = 1 in 10^40,000”
This number was confirmed by Francis Crick, an agnostic biologist/statistician who discovered DNA and won the Nobel Prize. “A commonsense interpretation of the facts,” said Hoyle, “suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the laws of physics.”
From a purely selfish point of view – I don’t trust the cold calculation of science to act as my moral arbiter; i.e. God. Science can’t tell us how to act but it can unlock the machinations of the “super-intellect,” Hoyle speaks of—miraculous fodder for a fertile brain.
For more information: Visit Dani and Eytan’s website for author info, reviews and their blog.