Science Fiction Fantasy from the USA
I encountered S. Evan Townsend online and quickly established a connection. His work strikes chords with my own methodology, taking existing traditional genres and mixing them up, weaving in some futurism, breathing new life into old ideas. Like Townsend, I’ve had people compare my work to Robert Heinlein, although my writing tends to delve much deeper into Dark Fantasy and Horror. I like the cut of his jib so I asked if he’d like to do a spot on my blog. Here’s some brief words from the man:
DJR: What are you working on?
SET: I am finishing up a novel entitled Treasure of the Black Hole. It is a science fiction novel where I have taken the hard-boiled, film-noir detective movies of the 1940s and ‘50s and updated that theme to about 4,000 years in the future. When private detective Rick Bailey is hired by the exotically beautiful and outrageously wealthy Princess Nora, he thinks it’ll be easy money. But when the case turns deadly, Bailey realizes the roots of evil run deep. What is in the Treasure of the Black Hole and why is it worth killing for?
…an exciting, fast paced fantasy novel, blending history, politics and magic
DJR: How does your work differ from others of its genre?
SET: In most of my work I try to take conventional notions of science fiction or fantasy and twist them just a bit. My fantasy novels are not set in some feudal made up world, but in the 20th Century with characters interacting with real-world events and historical figures. In Treasure of the Black Hole I have a science fiction novel with spaceships and aliens and high technology, but told in the style of a Dashiell Hammett novel.
In the literary tradition of Robert Heinlein, Townsend is a builder of worlds – fantastic yet familiar, slightly off-kilter worlds, filled with characters and storylines that breathe new life into the genre that is speculative fiction.
DJR: Why do you write what you do?
SET: At first I thought I wrote what I do because I’m lazy and like to make up my own rules. But with my fantasy novels set in recent history I have to do a lot of research to get the history correct (and the technology, fashions, language, thought processes). But I do love playing with worlds, even if I don’t “build” them. I love taking an idea, twisting it a bit, and running with it. The notion of magical people in the real world is what my four fantasy novels of the Adept Series is all about. In my most conventional novel, Rock Killer, which is science fiction about mining asteroids, I take future trends and extend them out to what I see as their logical (and frightening) conclusions.
DJR: How does your writing process work?
SET: Of course first comes the idea. Then I spend some time just thinking, fleshing it out, maybe doing some research or calculations to see if the idea is viable. I might write a scene or two. But then at some point I decide to write the novel. I don’t outline or plot out every scene first. I liken it to a road trip: I know where to start, I know where I want to go and I have some waypoints along the route planned out. But if I come to an interesting detour or another destination looks more interesting, I’m not locked into my original plan. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought “this will be how this novel ends” and it never came close to that ending. Then I just sit down and type. I don’t listen to music because it interferes with hearing my characters. I’ll try to hammer out the entire first draft, realizing it will be far from perfect and need a lot of work. Then I’ll let it sit for a while (at least a week) in a process I call “festering.” Then I’ll read/edit it. Then let it sit. Then read/edit. Repeat. Then I have someone read it to me. I find this lets me hear things, such as word repetitions, that I didn’t catch reading it. Then I’ll have friends proofread and beta it. This takes a while. For instance, I’m just finishing up Treasure of the Black Hole which was a NaNoWriMo 2014 project. So I’ve been working on it six months since finishing the first draft.
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That’s it. Hope you found that interesting and inspirational. You can find a lot more about Townsend via these links below.
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