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Question-Answer Period

First up: received my third rejection of the year, an eighteen day personal rejection with many nice things in it (altho' not the nicest of all) from Strange Horizons. And now I'll open the floor up to some questions. Yes, you in North Carolina:

Five questions from the esteemed Jason Erik Lundberg:

1. What book or story inspired you to become a writer?

Well, it wasn't the classic version: reading something atrocious and saying, "well, I could do better than that!" I read a lot of spec fic at a very impressionable age, stuff with big complicated worlds: the Lord of the Rings books, my mom's copies of ERB's John Carter of Mars books, McCaffrey's Pern books, the Chronicles of Narnia, and so forth. When I was ten I got into D&D and all sorts of role playing games, and that both helped and hindered the storytelling urge at the same time. On one hand it pulled me in deeper into SF (Roger Zelazny, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Michael Moorcock, Stephen R. Donaldson, Jack Vance), but any creative behavior on my part went into building characters and worlds for the games. I can't remember thinking even seriously about writing until high school, when I wrote a parody of a Conan story for English class. Wasn't great, but it was around three thousand words and I wrote it all in a weekend, just letting it flow out my fingertips. That same year a writer came and spoke at our school (Tom Deitz; he was a friend of the shop teacher). It was then I thought writing would be a cool thing to do for a living. At the moment it's more of a hobby. But I can't really point to anything in particular and say, "it's all his fault."

2. Where the hell did you get the idea for Tales of the Plush Cthulhu? When I met my wife-to-be in college, she had a very small collection of stuffed animals. Three or four teddy bears, plus maybe one or two others. After a little bit the two of us started calling them odd nicknames, like Red Communist Agitator Bear, and Drunken Homosexual Sailor Bear. The collection grew as we dated and after we got married. Stuffed animals tend to turn up as small gifts or get included in gifts when you're dating. After a while, the collection got fairly big. At any rate, we were visiting a friend in Seattle back in 2002 and came across plush Cthulhu in a store in the Pike Place fish market. As soon as I saw him, it flashed on me as to what might happen if you released what was, essentially, a beanie baby from Hell in with a bunch of ordinary stuffed animals. Wrote itself, really.

3. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, do you have a favorite artist/band?
I actually don't listen to music when I write, since I find lyrics a bit distracting. Bands I do like include the Beatles, Barenaked Ladies, REM, Rush, U2, and Great Big Sea. Anything singable, really, which is probably why lyrics distract me.

4. How big are your libraries (both at home and at work)?
Hard to say, really. The library at work is roughly 600,000 books, not including journals, government docs, and other sundries. Makes it bigger than most bookstores, but it's the smallest library I've worked in so far. My library at home, well, I've lost count. My last accurate count from a couple years ago was about 1,200, and that was just the fiction. Best guess for everything, say, 2,000 books.

5. What's your favorite childhood memory?
Heh. I have a lot of memories that flash 'round from time to time, but I can't really pick one of them as a favorite: sitting in my grandparents' kitchen on Sapelo Island, drinking a coke from a little green bottle; bodysurfing in the Atlantic off Brunswick; sitting out in the yard with my brother and my mom, tasting honeysuckle, while Dad focused his telescope at the moon, Saturn, and parts beyond; feeling the weight of Franklin, my first cat, curl up on my back while I lay on my stomach on the living room floor, watching cartoons waaay too early on a Saturday morning; opening up a book while I was at my grandparents' and reading, entranced at the weird story that was unfolding in front of me (found out later the book was The Stand). Those are the highlights. Do I have to pick one?

Rules to be included if you want to play:

  1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.

  2. I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.

  3. You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.

  4. You'll include this explanation.

  5. You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.