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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview with Peter Hansen

*Admin Note - Riptide Publishing has generously offered a giveaway to one lucky commentor. To be entered in the drawing, you must leave an email address with your comment:
           First Wave Winner’s Choice: Pick any one backlist
book from Rachel Haimowitz, Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Brita Addams, or Cat Grant (“Frontlist” books, i.e. Riptide releases and newest non-Riptide release, are excluded, as are the Courtland Chronicles).

Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown?

I'm currently based in Buffalo, NY. I really like all of the cathedrals and churches in the downtown area—the architecture is fascinating! I love walking past them in autumn, seeing how the city's grown tall and metallic around them.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?

I wanted to be a marine biologist, when I was a kid. It seemed like a glamorous job, swimming with dolphins all day and possibly wrestling sharks in a steel cage match at a depth of a hundred feet. When my father informed me that marine biology involved more titration than shark-wrestling, however, I balked. Instead I decided to follow in his footsteps and become a teacher. Teachers, after all, knew what "titration" meant.

Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?

I've got two short pieces coming out this autumn; Riptide Publishing is putting "First Watch" out in October, and "Changing the Guard" will come out in December with Storm Moon Press's Weight of a Gun anthology. They're both military speculative fiction, although "First Watch" is heavy on the Lovecraftian horror and "Changing the Guard" has got plasma rifles and supercomputers. Both are about loyalty and comradeship, but whereas "Changing the Guard" is more about doing one's duty even when the administration makes it difficult, "First Watch" is about doing right by one's comrades in the face of unbelievable horror. I'm hoping to write a sequel to "First Watch" by December, moving away from the Tentacle Twenties to the Flying-Horror Forties. When I've got a suitably alliterative third decade, I'll round out the trilogy.

Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?

Nope! I'm not really comfortable writing contemporary fiction just yet. Give me a little time to ease into it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Writing conflict is always a trial, because I'm just not good at human (or even inhuman) cruelty. My bad guys have always got a side, even if it's a side that we'd consider alien, and so I'm always thinking about what it is that makes them do awful things rather than about how my main characters feel about those awful things. It's hard to make the antagonist's defeat feel like a triumph rather than someone else's tragedy, and that's hard to fold into my protagonists' happy ending.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Take criticism. Take it graciously. You can resent everyone secretly if you like, but accept that people who have gone through your manuscript and given you feedback have probably invested way too much time and effort to be trolling you.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

I usually have a few projects on the burner at any given time, so I just cycle through projects when I'm blocked on any one of them. It means they all get done more slowly, but it also means they all get done.

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

My favorite author is probably Tobias Smollett. Cantankerous, wry, opinionated, and an offense against every single sensibility I have—and I LOVE him for it. The man knows how to pull off a picaresque. As to the biggest influence on my life, though, I think it was significant that my dad handed me the Thomas Covenant books before I got hold of the Narnia books. I grew up wanting to be Hile Troy, and even now, I tend to anticipate much darker things from my fantasy worlds than most people.

How did you deal with rejection letters?

To my sorrow, rejection letters these days are all electronic. They made such good kindling, back in the paper days. Nothing soothes disappointment like a flame-kissed marshmallow.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

If you've got a word processor, an Internet connection, and a stack of post-it notes, you should be good.

Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

I tend to be much more explicit with gore, which is a failing in the erotic fiction genre. It's not that I draw a line, exactly—I'd be happy to write incredibly detailed erotic scenes—but rather, that I grew up on action movies and thrillers instead of romance novels. I'm used to seeing explicit gore, and I'm used to having that treated as not-very-explicit; you can see a man get his face dissolved in acid, and it only gets a PG-13 rating, but just you try finding a PG-13 dong.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?

No freaky research stuff just yet. Now, give me a sec to finish calibrating this eggbeater; once I've got it welded onto the flywheel, I'll get back to you.

Don't forget to give us links to your website etc.
Website: http://peterhansenfiction.weebly.com/
GoodReads: Peterhansen
E-mail: peter.hansen.writes@gmail.com

Of course, authors may write a blog on the topic of their choice. It can be writing related, promo, or they may answer the interview questions below or both.

Literary Nymphs Author Interview
What would you like new fans to know about you?
If you haven't read my work yet, you should know that I write erotic fiction that's heavily inflected with science fiction and horror. My short stories tend to take place on other worlds or other versions of our world, and they focus on the connections people make when their lives or livelihoods are under threat. I go for Good Soldiers and Angry Young Men, and I'm a huge fan of the idealist/cynic matchup. As for me, I'm an incurable idealist, a Scorpio, and a vegetarian.
In your fantasy world who or what would you be?
Probably a Time Lord. Can you imagine how much easier research would be if I just had to hop in the TARDIS?
What is your favorite genre to read?
Fantasy and science fiction, no question. I like learning about new worlds, and I like encountering cultures that operate on very different sets of rules than our own. When they're done right, fantasy and science fiction both teach us not to exoticize the Other, but to accept ourselves as Other to a functioning cultural system of cooperation and conflict. (When they're done wrong, of course, they only replicate and amplify the worst tropes of colonial apologist literature.)
Do you have a favorite quote?
"I will not stir from this place, do what they can; I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear. I am not afraid." – Bottom, Midsummer Night's Dream
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
Right now, I'm concentrating on writing a pair of sequels to "First Watch," my post-WWI tale of erotic Lovecraftian horror. Once I've finished that, though, I'd like to branch out a little and write something closer to contemporary fiction. Near-future SF or historical fiction set in the eighties—something a little closer to my time and my readers'.
Where can we find your website?
Website: http://peterhansenfiction.weebly.com/
GoodReads: Peterhansen
E-mail: peter.hansen.writes@gmail.com


Sarah said...

Great interview.... But Peter would research be the only thing you would use the TArdis for?

Sarah S


joder said...

Great interview. I've never heard of Tobias Smollett but will look into what he's written. And it would be wonderful having a Tardis. All the times and places I could see would be the best kind of vacation.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

booklover0226 said...

What a wonderful inteview; I enjoyed reading it.

(runs off to look up the meaning of titration)

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Bookwyrm369 said...

Great post! Had to laugh at your treatment of paper rejections :-)

smaccall AT comcast.net

-Maria- said...

Great interview.
I don't know Tobias Smollett, but I'll look for any of his books.

mariaml254 at yahoo dot com