10Apr11 D.L. Snell interviews KJA during radio interview

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10Apr11 D.L. Snell interviews KJA during radio interview

Postby D Pope » Mon May 07, 2012 10:08 am

http://www.dlsnell.com/2011/04/kevin-j- ... rview.html

Kevin J. Anderson Interview

D.L. Snell: Hey, Kevin! Thanks for joining us!!!

Kevin J. Anderson: Thanks, David—I’m on a radio interview right now, with
5-minute commercial breaks at (in)appropriate times, so I can type answers
to the questions during the breaks.

DLS: Kevin, you have been working as an author for a long time, and have
produced volumes upon volumes. But… what about your first story? Not the
first one you ever published, but the first one you ever put to paper. What
about that story? Was it crappy? Or the best thing you ever wrote?

KJA: Oh, it was delightful—I wrote it in fourth grade about a mad scientist
who invents an injection that can bring anything to life, but when the other
scientists don’t believe him, he breaks into the wax museum and brings all
the monster figures to life, and then goes to the natural history museum and
reanimates a dinosaur skeleton, all of which go on a rampage. The writing
wasn’t very skilled, but the story was pretty cool.

DLS: You’re an editor as well. What projects have you worked on?
Who are some of the authors you have edited?

KJA: My first anthologies were for Star Wars, Tales from the Mos Eisley
Cantina, Tales from Jabba’s Palace, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, and those
are still (I believe) the best-selling SF anthologies of all time, so not a bad
way to start. Then I did War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches, spinoff stories
about the Wells Martian invasion. I thought I had given it up for good, but
HWA asked me to come up with another anthology, and I suggested Blood
Lite…humorous horror stories. That’s been a lot of fun, allowing me to work
with some of the biggest names in the genre—Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher,
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kelley Armstrong, Heather Graham, LA Banks, Sharyn McCrumb.
Of course, when someone is at that point in their career, they don’t need me
to edit them; they turn in good stories in the first place.

DLS: I’m an editor, too, and have had a couple… “funny” experiences.
The funniest had to be when someone publically accused me of inserting rape
into a novel. What’s the “funniest” editing experience you’ve ever had?

KJA: Sad more than funny, I suppose. I had one person submit the same
(awful) story to all three Blood Lite anthologies, as if I wouldn’t remember
it. They think I have skyscraper offices with dozens of staff…I have a house
and the stories come through the mailbox, and I read them. I’m not senile
yet; my memory lasts more than a few months.

DLS: I found the following in your bio: “Practically unheard-of in the field,
Anderson released all seven large volumes [of The Saga of Seven Suns] on time,
year after year, and he completed the series with Book #7.” Many writers struggle
to be prolific, let alone punctual. How do you do it?! Can you describe your typical
work schedule?

KJA: Due to a confluence of deadlines, I recently found myself finishing three
book manuscripts in two weeks—The Key to Creation (Orbit/Hachette—172,000
words), The Sisterhood of Dune, with Brian Herbert (Tor—181,000 words), and
a YA space adventure Star Challengers with Rebecca Moesta (Catalyst). Two
solid weeks of 12-hour days, 7 days a week. Not quite the stereotypical image
of a writer lounging around all day.

I have an office in my home, or I occasionally take the laptop and hide in a
local coffee shop. When I have a particularly heavy slate of writing/editing
to do, I’ll go to an out-of-the way lodge where I can work uninterrupted.
The workload changes all the time, depending on the projects, but I generally
write a couple of new chapters in the morning, edit in the afternoon, do
correspondence, blogs, etc. throughout the day and in the evening. Everybody
else with a high-end career—doctors, lawyers, restaurant managers, business
CEOs—has to put in a full day at work. Why shouldn’t an author?

DLS: Okay, here’s something a little different—a question from a horror
writer familiar with your work…

Bobbie Metevier: Kevin, how has publishing . . . the process . . .
changed since you started?

KJA: It took them quite a while, but they finally take my computer files and
typeset from that, rather than retyping the whole manuscript. The physical
production process is a lot more efficient. The business side, however, is
what’s changed the most, with distribution being completely scrambled,
online bookstores, authors being expected to do the lion’s share of publicity.

DLS: Dean Koontz was one of my biggest writing influences growing up—and this
was back when he was Dean R. Koontz. We’d love to hear about the novel you
co-authored with him, and about your co-authoring process in general. How do
you make collaboration work?

KJA: Dean had written a script for his own version of the Frankenstein story,
which was made into a TV movie so awful that he took his name off of it and
wanted it released as a book instead. He asked me to help him novelize the
script as the start of his series. Ed Gorman worked with him on the second
book, and then he has gone off to finish the series on his own. That was
different from my usual collaborating method, because Dean had already
written the story and much of the dialog. For my work with Brian Herbert,
Rebecca Moesta, and Doug Beason, it’s much more interactive from the start:
we brainstorm the whole book together, develop the chapter-by-chapter
outline together, and then write our separate chapters, before combining it all
into one manuscript and then editing it repeatedly.

DLS: It seems like every time I do a book signing, I run into at least one… “interesting”
person. For example, this lady in a muumuu—she took one look at my book cover and
started backing off, saying, “That book’s from the dark side.” You’ve been on national
book tours and have attended countless conventions. Any interesting people you can
tell us about?

KJA: Oh, always interesting people. I have plenty of unique fans, some eccentric,
some a little odd or intense, but they’re still my fans and readers, so I’m happy to
have all of them. They come in costume, some have even named their children
after my characters, and it’s great to see the impact my stories have had. I’ve
written over a hundred books, and it’s amusing sometimes that someone will come
up and ask me about a minor detail in a novel I wrote 15 years ago…
I really don’t remember!

DLS: Your new novel Hellhole, co-authored with Brian Herbert, looks stellar.
What’s it about?

KJA: Hellhole is a big SF colonization epic, about a rugged world that’s nearly been
destroyed by a massive asteroid impact. Not a pleasant place, earthquakes,
volcanoes, terrible storms, the whole ecosystem wrecked, yet a bunch of misfits try
to make a new home there…and they find remnants of an alien race wiped out in the
impact. Lots of characters, adventures, politics, a very big story.

DLS: Let’s say you committed a crime that landed you in Hellhole. What kind of
crime would it be? I mean, if you were a criminal in the Hellhole universe, what
kind of criminal would you hope to be?

KJA: In true Hollywood fashion, I would be innocent, I swear! Falsely accused,
wrongfully convicted, but because of my heart of gold, I will work to make life
better for my fellow colonists. (Fortunately, the characters in the novel itself
aren’t so clichéd.)

DLS: Here’s another question from the outside, this one also from another writer…

Zombie Zak: Kevin, I understand you carried on from AE van Vogt's work
with Slan Hunter (2007); what was that like for you?

KJA: My collaborations with Brian Herbert have led to a great resurgence in the
popularity of Frank Herbert’s works. Van Vogt was also very popular with me
when I was younger, and I was thrilled when Van’s widow Lydia got in touch
with me to ask if I would be interested in finishing the last book her husband
had begun before his death. Slan is such a classic, with such an impact on the
whole SF genre (you’ve seen it copied a million times, though Van doesn’t always
get credit). That one didn’t take off as much as the Dune books did, but it did
lead to the reprinting of other van Vogt classics and a new readership for Slan.

DLS: Any upcoming writing or editing projects?

KJA: I’m just wrapping up the manuscript and starting the boring production
parts of Blood Lite 3: Aftertaste, and that’s the only editing project I have
going right now. Next month, Tor will release this year’s Nebula Awards
Showcase, which I also edited. In coming months I will be releasing a lot of
my short story catalog as mini ebook collections, three stories for three bucks;
most of those stories have never been seen beyond their original magazine
publication, so it’ll be new stuff for most readers. I’ll also be giving away free
stories and book excerpts on our website, http://www.wordfire.com—check there in
a couple of weeks (as soon as the web guy gets all the details fixed).

DLS: Thanks for humoring us, Kevin—it was great to have you!!!

KJA: Thanks for being humored.
When a brand knew urinal puck showed up in the bathroom of my studio, I knew what I had to do.
D Pope
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