I love to read interviews with famous writers I truly admire — but interviews that seem more like conversations than buy-my-new-book plugs.
What was their life like when they were just starting out? What did their family think of their becoming a writer? What instruments did/do they use, then and now — pen/pencil, typewriter, laptop? Are their methods different now as an experienced writer, as opposed to then? What advice do they wish they'd heard from their literary idols, back at the beginning?
Stephen King does it just about best, at least for me. As I read it, I can picture him sitting across from me, just talking. Not plugging, not pontificating. Jawing. Chewing the fat. Sharing ideas. Reading my newest short story and tripping over himself with praise. Okay, okay, I do sometimes veer into fantasy when it comes to The King.
Which authors would I like to talk to or read about in an interview, but can't because they're, ya know, tapping keys on that big typewriter in the sky (or dipping their pen into that heavenly inkwell)? H.G. Wells. Jules Verne. Edgar Allan Poe. So far ahead of their time. So amazingly creative. So...creepy, whether it's thudding hearts or vast, tentacled, alien spacecraft. I'd love to hear how they thought of traveling to the Moon, or other beings traveling from Mars, when the majority of people in their day could barely picture traveling to another country, or state or province. How did they imagine the mechanics of spacecraft when, here on Earth, cars had yet to be invented? Had they wondered about such things ever since they were small? Or did something, one day, just spark an idea?
As a writer, I'm more of a “spark” person, myself.
Such as...the not-yet-finished sequel to my scif-fi story Poof! came about while I was watching the news, and a story about that missing Malaysian plane. I cringed at the horror of an entire huge vehicle full of passengers disappearing, and tried to imagine what it was like for them, not knowing where they were going or if anyone would ever find them. In my original sci-fi story, an entire train was sucked into a swirling vortex that opened up in mid-air, pulling them into who-knows-where. Another planet? A parallel universe? And now in the sequel, the lone escapee is stuck between worlds, wondering if anyone will ever even know that he's gone.
Anyway, back to those dark and inventive writers of the past who influenced me from childhood (I'm so glad I had older brothers who collected classic sci-fi paperbacks. They were my Cat In The Hat).
If time machines are someday invented, and someone other than rich folks get to use them (and what are the odds of that?), that's what I'd like to do with my turn: visit those authors from wayyyy back and see what makes them...er, made them...tick. And on the way back, I'd stop in a more recent decade and buy some stock in Amazon.com. Hey, no reason why a trip through the past couldn't be both intellectually and financially fulfilling. ;-}
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