Nadine Matheson from Spectrum Books was kind enough to sit down for an interview with me recently. We chat about Time Heist‘s peculiar birth, the writing process, influential peeps in my life, and what projects I have on the horizon. Might I recommend you go check it out?
Recently I sat down with Preston Leigh from the Leighgendarium to answer some awesome Christmas related questions. Not only that, but I’m giving away FREE copies of Time Heist and Purgatory to everybody who leaves a comment over there. So what’re you waiting for?
A couple months back I got turned onto a little military sci-fi number called The Red by Linda Nagata. This book was a real highlight of 2015 for me, ’cause it did a number of things amazingly well. I’ve already gushed a plenty about this book HERE, so I’ll save ya’ll from suffering through more of my fan-boy’ing. Anyhoo, Linda was kind enough to sit down and chat with me about her books, writing practices, the state of trad publishing vs indie publishing, and a slew of other things I think you’ll find really interesting.
Also, for those of you not in the know, the third and final book in The Red trilogy, Going Dark, just came out on the 3rd. I got an advanced review copy and can vouch for it: You’re gonna want to read this series. Alright, enough jibber-jabber. CLICK HERE to check out the interview with the one and only, Linda Nagata.
Preston Leigh from The Leighgendarium did an interview with me the other day. Now, I know if you stop by here on a regular basis, you’ve probably had your fill of me, but maybe you want some secondsies? Perhaps some sugary dessert? Well, if so, stop on over there and check out what we chatted about.
NO? Really? You need more convincing? Okay, how about this? Stop on over there and answer a simple question posed at the end of the interview and you’ll be entered to win a FREE copy of my book Time Heist. There ya go, I literally don’t know how to make this any more enticing for you, but if you’d like I can try dancing seductively.
Or not. It’s totally your choice.
The other day I was fortunate enough to be on one of those new fangled podcast things over at SF Signal. We talked about the Hugos, WorldCon, and hot up-and-coming authors you should be reading. My recommendation for a new author you should take the time to read was none other than Ernie Luis.
I’ve read a couple of his short stories now (The Killswitch and Alternate) and both were fantastic. He writes the sort of science fiction that goes down smooth, but keeps you guessing/thinking. They’re quick and fun. What more could you ask for? Give’em a try.
Ernie originally came on my radar because we are both part of Samuel Peralta’s The Time Travel Chronicles set for release this October. An anthology of short fiction you folks definitely won’t want to miss out on.
Ernie was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat with me, so enough of me monologuing over here. Go see what Ernie has to say!
Ernie Luis Interview
Anthony Vicino: Alright, Ernie, we’re just gonna cannonball off the high-dive and get right down to it.
Now, I know it’s hard to choose, ’cause we love all our babies equally, but it’s time to play favorites. Of the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite?
Ernie Luis: The Killswitch
AV: Oh, wow. You didn’t hesitate like…at all. Why The Killswitch? Is it because it’s the prettiest?
EL: I feel like I’ve improved my writing with each story, so it’s easy for me to say The Killswitch is my favorite because it’s my most recent. I was originally going to publish it with the intention of leaving it as a short story, but I fell in love with the characters so much that I decided to write a full length. So yeah, as of this moment it is my favorite (Sorry Alternate).
AV: It’s alright, Alternate is living in a different reality, one where you actually love it the most. (For those of you who have not read Alternate, this is a funny joke because it’s all about alternate realities. For now, just take my word for it, I’m funny.)
Tell us about some of your favorite and/or least favorite story tropes.
EL: Favorite: semi-Greek tragedies. I love a good bittersweet ending. The hero accomplishing his mission and sacrificing so much for it all makes me happy and sad all at the same time, and it’s a feeling you really only get in stories I think.
Least favorite: Love triangles. Especially the ones where you have to pick a side. The only time I’ve enjoyed it was in Hunger Games. So let’s just cut that out. Love isn’t always a triangle!
AV: In my experience, love has never been a triangle. If anything it’s just a dot, or a rhombus (I’ll leave that for you geniuses at home to figure out. Hint: I don’t even know what it means.)
EL: Love rhombus. Now you’re talking.
AV: Time to reveal your deepest held feelings of inadequacy, Ernie. What do you wish you could do better as a writer?
EL: Let myself have bad days. When a bad day of writing comes, it’s like a mucky swamp I can’t get out of, and I think “This is it. I’ve written my last good words as a writer. I’m finished.” And then I’ll eventually write something decent, wipe my forehead and say “Phew!”
AV: That’s great, and highly relatable. Take note writers, stay in the game long enough and I promise you’ll feel this way at least once or twice. How ’bout literary strengths? Whatcha got?
EL: I think my strengths are in my dialogue. I really picture my characters having the conversations I write. But I may be wrong, it’s just usually the thing I least have to revise.
AV: I’ll throw you an ‘attaboy and let you know that your dialogue is fantastic. But to stop you from getting a big head, tell us about your literary weaknesses.
EL: My weakness has to be writing stories set on Earth. For some reason, if I write about some distant planet with foreign technology, or an apocalyptic Earth, I can write for hours on the smallest details. But if it’s just a plain old real world setting, I get kinda bored describing it. My mind is made for Sci-Fi I guess.
EL: Confidence is the biggest thing that’s changed. I’m not afraid to try new things, I’m not afraid to write what I want to write and not what I think will please everyone. I never really understood what people meant by different writing styles and flows, but now that I’ve found mine, I definitely understand. Writers have to find their own voice. And with each manuscript that gets finished, I’m getting more and more confident in my own voice.
AV: Ah, the ever illusive search for voice. It’s like Jason and his Argonauts going Golden Fleece shopping. Thankfully it’s one of the searches we all go through, and you know what they say about misery and company…it still sucks.
I’m always fascinated by how other writers write. Can you give us a little insight into your story creating process?
EL: I’m constantly daydreaming. I’m usually always thinking about a certain character or a certain scene. So throughout the day I’m always on my phone, writing little tidbits down in my notes. And then sitting down to write is just typing it all down, with all the pretty little details.
EL: I have an endless sea of notes in my phone, some small ones with basic story ideas, and some large ones with massive outlines. I like to outline big plot points, characters, and endings. I’m big on outlining endings. I’ll usually fill in the rest as it comes to me. I don’t like to outline scene by scene. I let the characters take me there. So it’s a bit of both.
AV: And when do you write? Do you have a daily writing schedule? Weekly? Once in a blue moon when the proper virginal sacrifices have been made?
EL: I try to write 800 words a day. I say 800, because I used to tell myself to write 1000 words a day, and I’d get lazy or procrastinate. So if I tell myself 800, I’m like “psh, I can knock out 800 no problem.” And then I usually end up writing 1000 anyway. But I do perform a proper virginal sacrifice every month while drinking a Blue Moon to really get the juices flowing. Doesn’t every writer do this?
AV: I do believe authors account for roughly 93% of all virginal sacrifices per year. Of those, Stephen King is responsible for 85%. But hey, it seems to be working for him. Moving forward what’s the plan?
EL: Write. Til Death.
AV: So that’s definitely what we’ll call playing the long game. How about in the nearer future. Say in the next 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years?
EL: I’m trying to focus more on novels now. I’ve been writing strictly short stories my entire first year in self publishing. So this next year my goal is to write my first trilogy of novels. Very excited. In 5 years, I hope to have a few sci-fi trilogies out, while also trying my hand at the mystery genre, as well as releasing a contemporary college romance novel semi based on my life. And 10 years? Well, ruling the world. Obviously.
AV: I’m afraid someday we’ll have to fight it out Highlander style for I too would like to rule the world. Oh well, maybe we can come up with some sort of time share option. You can rule the world on Monday, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
EL: Oh, so you get four days, huh? Typical.
EL: Wallet, keys, laptop, couple baseball caps, mail, headphones, and copies of The Martian, Armada, and Shift, written by Andy Weir, Ernest Cline, and Hugh Howey, respectively.
AV: Those are three great authors to have sitting on your desk, Ernie. Props. But let’s say your favorite author calls tomorrow and says they want to collaborate. Who’s calling and what sort of story do you two write?
EL: Markus Zusak: Yo, Ern.
Me: What up, MZ?
Markus Zusak: Not much, mate. So when are we going to do this collab?
Me: I’m ready to go, man. Let’s do this.
Six months later, a novel with a beautifully dark and melancholy cover titled Monsters In The Mirror is released, centered around a detective who can see people for who they really are, and fakes a drug addiction in order to deal with his hallucinations. Markus writes the chapters from the perspective of the detective, and I write the chapters from the perspective of the novel’s killer, whose identity is slowly revealed chapter by chapter.
AV: Goddamn, I really want to read that now. I’ll put a word in with Markus for you, see if we can’t make this happen. But don’t get your hopes up, there’s still that pesky restraining order keeping me at least 50 feet away from him at all times.
EL: He’s still not over the porcupine thing, is he? Dang it, Anthony, I told you it was a bad idea.
AV: Keeping with the thread of hypothetical situations, let’s imagine for a moment that you’ve been inducted into the Writing Hall of Fame (a totally real thing I’m not making up), what do they say about you/your legacy/career?
EL: Ernie Luis and Anthony Vicino are both inducted into the WHOF for their legendary interview. Their legacy will live on forever with the bar they’ve set for author interviews. Oh, and they had good writing careers too.
AV: Well, yes. This is a given. We’re redefining art, man. Let’s get deep: What do you resent most about writing?
EL: That for months on end, I am the only one knows my stories and my messages. I wish I could instantly create the stories in my head to share them with the world. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works. And so for many months, in a long and lonely process, I am the only one who knows my stories. It’s like the great Morgan Freeman once said, it’s like having “a dream that no one sees but you.”
AV: Ah, yes. The lonely suffering artist. We’ve all been there, and unfortunately it never gets easier. Best remedy? Work everyday and finish what you start. BooM! (That’s for the noobs out there).
What’s your favorite safety line? The one that keeps cropping up in your stories.
EL: “Holy sh*t”
Beautifully descriptive and multifunctional. Don’t know how we can top that, so we won’t even try. If you want to connect with Ernie find him aat ernieluis.com or on facebook at ErnieLuisWrites!