Great to have you on Bob. Please tell us what your book "A Hundred Thousand Worlds" is about.
A single mother and her nine year old son traveling cross country visiting a series of comic book conventions. The book is about the bond between a mother and her son, but it's also about the way we're shaped by the stories we consume and tell.
What should readers expect from you titles?
Characters who drive the plot. Sharp dialogue. A bunch of really geeky references that you don't have to get to understand the book.
What's your writing process like?
I'm very much a "get it on the page and fix it later" kind of writer. First draft is the place to make mistakes. It's important to allow yourself that. If you get caught up in this idea that it's got to be perfect right at the beginning, you end up with nothing written. My first drafts are terrible, they include notes like "WRITE DIALOGUE HERE" or "LIKE THIS BUT BETTER". But then you go back and work it out in revision. It's like in movies about movies where someone says "We'll clean it up in post."
What's next for you as an author?
I am in the process of writing a business book about Lean Media, which is a framework for creators of media such as books, film, website content, videogames, and music. This is an important framework, in that it can help other media people create new and innovative media using fewer resources and working more closely with audiences. The book will include many well-known examples, from The Simpsons to Stephen King, but there will also be lots of “ordinary” examples as well as tools that authors and other creators can use to develop new media. I will be posting blog posts and updates on leanmedia.org.
What's a writing day like for you?
We have a thirteen year old and a one year old, so any day starts with getting them off and on their way to school and daycare, and getting my wife off to work. Once the house is cleared out, I get a chance to get cleaned up. I'm sure there are people who work from home in their pajamas, but I can't do it. I have a little office space out in the garage, and I think it's good to have your workspace separate from everything else. I drink my coffee, catch up on email and Facebook and Twitter and stuff, then I turn on Freedom to shut off the internet and try to get a couple hours in before lunch. Then repeat after lunch before everyone starts coming home. Of course, this is never what really happens. But if you add in "constantly check email" and "try to return the house to a livable state" and "worry about dinner", that's more or less how the day looks.
Do you feel music has inspired your writing?
Hugely. I never listen to anything while I'm writing, but there's always a little constellation of music around a book. For this one, it was such a road trip book, and I wrote the first draft in the summer. So there was a lot of pop music, in the vein of the Beach Boys and sixties girl groups, and a lot of the contemporary indie rock bands that draw from those sounds. And Janelle Monae, because she's amazing and geeky. And David Bowie, because there's always some Bowie in there.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I flip back and forth. I need a certain amount of social interaction to keep me sane, but I'm also super picky about how much and what kind. I host a trivia night at a local bar every week, and a monthly storytelling event, and I DJ, so I spend a lot of time in front of crowds. But I'm also the kind of person who will sometimes disappear from a party without saying goodbye, or skip a social event in favor of sitting at home with a book.
It has been a pleasure having you on.