Today is the last instalment of our “Two questions with…” blog tour. I’m so thrilled to be hosting Ken as he shares a little more about his writing.
Take it away, Ken.
Thank you, Anne, for hosting me on your blog today as part of our “Two questions with…” series.
For those of you that don’t know, my name is Ken Schrader. I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, Weird Westerns (though, not necessarily in that order).
And here are my Two Questions…
Question 1. What attracted you to your genre(s)?
The first book that I can remember reading was “Sir MacHinery” by Tom McGowan. This is the book that made me a reader. It was the first book to make me forget that I was reading a book at all. The pages went away, and I was filled with a sense of wonder at what I was seeing in my mind.
There were other books, to be sure. Tolkien, The Dragonlance Chronicles, The Iron Tower Trilogy, but I’ve always had a spot in my heart for MacHinery. Arguably, one of the first urban fantasy books out there, I think that the reason why the book struck me the way it did was because it was steeped in a world that I recognized, but was, somehow, more. In its pages, indeed on the very cover, science and magic walked side by side, and I was convinced that, if I only looked in the right place at the right time, I would discover that it was all real. That’s what draws me to fantasy
Then came Star Wars. First the movie, and then the novelisation, turned my attentions from this world, to other worlds far, far, away. Interestingly enough, the famous opening line “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” also brought to mind the world that I recognized.
I would stand in my back yard or – as I do to this very day – my front porch, looking up at the night sky and wonder what was going on far, far away. If, a long time ago, they had star fighters and light sabers, I wondered, what do they have now? What epic struggles were taking place out there, while the rest of my world went on about its business, oblivious.
I had to know. And, realistically, the only way I could find out was to answer those questions myself.
Question 2. What is one thing that you’ve done for research that you’ve struggled to explain to a non-writer?
This is a great question, and situations like this, where I’m doing something for the WIP (Work in Progress) that cause non-writerly folk to raise an eyebrow, or take a few steps away, happen more often than you think.
The most recent example involves me and a bottle of brandy.
I’m currently working on a Space Opera, set “Far, far, away,” where there aren’t many current world analogues. So I’m trying to describe, using the senses (This is a good thing. Smell, taste, touch, all of that. Use it when you can) what would, essentially, be very close to a glass of brandy.
Brandy is like chocolate in that it is very difficult to describe what chocolate smells, or tastes like without using the word “Chocolate” in the description.
So there I was, at 7:30 in the morning (I get up to write pretty early, usually before the rest of the house wakes up), standing in the kitchen, with my nose stuck in a bottle of brandy – notepad and pen close at hand – inhaling over and over, and jotting down my interpretations of the smells.
Then my wife comes out of the bedroom. She takes one look at me, with the open bottle of alcohol in one hand, and a ballpoint pen in the other.
“Do I really want to know?” She asks.
I stop to consider this answer, very carefully.
“Probably not,” I say.
She nods, and returns to the bedroom.
I am a science fiction and fantasy writer, a shameless Geek, a fan of the Oxford comma, and I make housing decisions based upon the space available for bookshelves. I collect books, movies, and music.
I sing out loud when I think there’s no one around, and I try to get a blog post up once a week – One of which I have done consistently for the last few years.
I love music of all kinds, books, the big sky off my front porch, Star Wars, Firefly, Blind Guardian (to which, I write almost exclusively), Rugby, star gazing, jasmine tea, and the smell of rain on the air.
My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate. My favorite food is a grilled steak, and I can suspend disbelief embarrassingly quickly.
I live in Michigan, am co-owned by several dogs (especially the Border Collie), and I am one of the rare breed of folk that enjoys mowing the lawn.
I am represented by Dorian Maffei of Kimberley Cameron & Associates (Dorian@kimberleycameron.com)
I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ken.schrader but usually only on the weekends, and not for very long at that.
Check out Ken’s short story, THE INTERN, in the CHASING THE LIGHT anthology.
And be sure to stop by the rest of our “Two questions with…” blog tour, hosted on the below blogs!