Today’s stop was (is?) to be at Teatime and Books.
[EDIT: The site manager had a bad outbreak of RealLife(TM) on Friday, but things are back to normal, now.]
However, they’ve not got “T4L” posted, as yet. The kind folks at GoddessFish sent them a reminder around 0515, but so far, nothing.
However, not wanting to disappoint, below the fold is a copy of my responses to their interview questions. Also, there’s an excerpt from “Poisoned Hearts,” a webcomic we hope to begin releasing soon!
If T&B gets it together, I’ll post an update to that effect.
Teatime and Books
Author Interview Questions
- Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?
I’m currently on 3rd shift for my awful day-job, but I make it a point to spend at least 45 minutes at the keyboard before I go to sleep once I get home. There is no such thing as finding time to write; there is only making time to write.
- Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?
Sure! Lots and lots of Machine Civilization. So as not to just recapitulate what I’ve said on other tour stops, how about some new material from the upcoming webcomic, “Poisoned Hearts”!…
Mother! He quailed in his mind. What has happened to me?!
“Christopher!” Cat yelled at him.
“Geez; I get it that you’re tired from the long flight, but don’t zone out on me like that!” She returned her eyes to the road for the short drive up the highway from the airport to the university. Her tiny car zipped agilely through the light mid-afternoon traffic.
“So as I was saying, you can crash at my place until you find your own,” he opened his mouth, but she kept on, “and don’t start. Sure, guys, girls; I get it. But even if Aunt Junka did adopt you, you’re still my cousin and I’m not letting family stay by themselves in a hotel.” She tried to glare at him to make her point, but it melted into a grin. He really is cute, she thought….
“This being San Diego, do you have a place on the beach?” That would be nice, he thought.
“Are you an idiot? Do you have any idea how much that would cost!”
He blinked. He did now.
“My apologies. I am… very young in your home.” He dipped his head.
“What an odd thing to say!” Must be some Japanese phrase, she thought. “No worries, Chris!”
No. I do have one, he thought, looking out the window.
“Then I gratefully accept your offer.” He said. “Day after tomorrow, Monday morning, I will open a bank account and Mother will transfer funds. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a place by nightfall.”
She tossed him another disbelieving glance as she exited the freeway.
“I know that things have changed a lot here in SD recently, Chris, but I’d be really surprised if you found a place that quick.”
“Then, if I must impose upon your hospitality, please allow me to take the best care of you.” She felt her face start getting hot at that. “I am an accomplished cook and would be happy to make your meals.”
Her jaw dropped a little as she looked over at him. Was he kidding? No: he seemed to vaguely enjoy looking at the scenery go by. Her turned back and caught her looking at him. He smiled thinly.
“I am so happy to be with you, Cat!”
Driving the last, short distance to her apartment complex, she fought to understand what she was feeling.
They walked up the outside stairs of her block of residence. She looked at his single carry-on.
“Is the rest of your stuff being shipped over, or did the airline lose it?”
He glanced at the bag over his shoulder then regarded her with a slight head-tilt.
“I’ve two changes of clothes and a few personal items. There is nothing else coming.”
Family he may be, but he’s still a foreigner. Just shut your mouth, Cat! She thought.
“Fine, then!” She smiled. “This is my place: 214. If you’ve trouble getting your own place, I can get a spare key—”
A huge rottweiler came bounding up the steps behind them. Some distance back they heard a woman call, “Daisy! Wait!” It came right for Cat.
Threat assessment was one of the first things Mother taught him, even though it was part of the Third Law. Cat saw her cousin’s form become a blur as he moved in an instant to tackle the charging dog. There was a small “yip!” from it as – accompanied by a small flash of light – it was suddenly still. Ewww! Was that burnt hair?
The dog was completely still, atop Chris. Just then, her annoying neighbor, Debbie, made it to the top of the steps.
“What did you do to little Daisy, you horrible man!” She cried. Cat bridled at that.
“Since I’m still paying off the visit to the urgent clinic from the last time your goddam dog bit me, I hope he killed her!” She yelled.
Debbie – kitted out like a hooker, Cat thought – took a step back, her hand raised to her mouth.
“How could you say that about little Daisy?!”
Cat would rather have said it was an open secret why the manager let her keep that beast here, but what Debbie did with her mouth was her business. And there were more important things right now. She knelt down to Christopher.
“Are you okay, cousin?” She deliberately called attention to the LEGAL relationship between her and whom the dog assaulted.
For the first time ever, he grinned wide, showing his ordered, shiny white teeth.
“I’m fantastic now, Cat!” He rolled the unconscious animal off of him and embraced her. “Thank you so much for worrying about me! Oops!”
As if suddenly recalling who he was and where he was, he dropped his arms and turned towards Debbie. “Forgive me. I am Christopher Dennou –”
Cat didn’t know he’d kept his own surname after Aunt Junka adopted him….
“—a student from Japan. I am staying with my cousin, Katarina for a day. I am very sorry,” he bowed deeply, “for the misunderstanding with Daisy. I promise on my life to make amends to the both you!”
Confused by his polite behavior, Debbie sputtered a bit, then said, “I hope you do! Poor Daisy…!”
“She should awaken by nightfall. Shall I carry her into your flat?”
With that over, and safely into Cat’s apartment, she cranked up the AC then dropped onto her beat-up couch.
“Just what kind of black belt do you have that includes a Vulcan Death Grip for rottweilers?” She asked to the ceiling with her eyes closed. Something brushed her lips!
“Mother was always concerned that I be able to take care of myself,” he said, sitting on the couch, but away from her. What was that, she thought? “If I can defend myself against a human, a mindless animal is of no concern.”
“Aren’t we the confident one!”
His face dropped. “False modesty is the refuge of the incompetent.” He looked at the lengthening shadows in the room and the dusk outside.
“I am tired. Since I cannot sleep in your bed—”
You can’t? Ever?
“—I shall be more than comfortable here on the couch. Cat…” He leaned toward her his right hand just inches from her face. He withdrew it. “Thank you very much for being here for me today. Much… much I do not understand has happened.” He sat back.
“F—fine! We’ll make an early start to bed; that way I can show you around the campus tomorrow! That sound good?” She stood up. She had to get away from him.
He again made a little sitting bow. “Thank you, cousin Cat. I am in your care!”
He watched her leave, closing the door to her bedroom behind her. There was no sound of it locking. A data point. The shadows were deeper now. From Daisy, he knew that he’d be fine for at least another sixteen hours. Big dog. None of the Laws extended to their owners, but Mother had also tried to teach him the concept of ‘humane.’ He did not fully grasp it, so perhaps by practicing…?
Through the door he heard a toilet flush, then the creak of a Western bed. He looked one last time at the fading twilight, then closed his eyes. He triggered his ‘dream’ subroutine.
- What inspires you when you’re writing?
Alcohol and coffee. I don’t much like his stuff, but Hemmingway was a genius when he said, “write drunk; edit sober.” When I don’t see anything, sometimes a walk with my dogs helps.
- What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?
Either a highball or Martini glass; full. Why, yes, a refill would be great!
- What’s your favorite genre and why?
Whether it’s been this Machine Civilization series, or my earlier visual novels, I enjoy the freedom that science fiction and/or fantasy allows me. I live in Mundania, and I see no reason why I should confine my characters to the same fate!
- Any advice you have for a blossoming author?
I know I’m banging this drum over and over, but I do it because it is so important: you must set irrational deadlines and meet them! You WILL NOT find time to write later today or tomorrow or the next; you MUST make the time to write, now. You will have your story done by Thanksgiving; you will have it published by Christmas! You will have your next story done by Easter! Or the solstice…whatever! Pick a date! Stick to it!
- When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
At my awful day-job, attending to what my two daughters need, or asleep. Except for Mass on Sunday, nothing else exists for me.
- What or who inspired you to become a writer?
Jealousy and Katawa Shoujo. If a bunch of artsy-fartsy New Yorkers could make a visual novel, then why in the hell couldn’t I? Not the purest of motives, but it got me started!
- How long have you been writing? How long as a published writer?
About three years, now. First in visual novels, now in a more traditional medium. Traditional novels have the advantage that I do not need to rely upon an illustrator to complete a work.
- Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Writing has been, and remains, a great deal of fun for me. I hope very much that those who read me stories end with a satisfied smile upon their face. Thank you all so much.
Just for fun:
- Do you have any pets?
Two dogs: a schnoodle and a wauzer.
- Who’s your favorite musician/band?
Hmmm. Clean Tears. Also, most any Hatsune Miku… I write about machines, for heaven’s sake!
- What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Wherever there’s a bottle of whisky and a good friend.
- Do you like coffee or tea?
Coffee; but, being diagnosed with hypertension a bit ago, not as much these days.
- Did you go to college? If so, what was your major?
U of Arizona, class of 1990. BS in Systems Engineering. Never used it once.
- Are you a full-time writer or do you also work in another field? If so, what field?
My “day-job” is that of a pharmacy technician. It’s one of a half-dozen incarnations of my work-self. As I told the kids at my girls’ primary school when I gave a talk about creative writing and self-publishing, unless you get a movie contract or have rich parents, you are going to have a day job.