An Interview with Juliet Eilperin (November, 2011)

Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin is a journalist who started working for the Washington Post in 1998, covering politics. In 2004 she switched to covering the environment, which led her to writing about our world’s oceans and then sharks. Demon Fish is her second book.

Demon Fish

Alex C. Telander: When did you know you wanted to be a journalist?

Juliet Eilperin: I got into reporting at college, where I covered the university’s administration for The Daily Princetonian. I loved figuring out how people in power were making decisions that affected people’s lives, and I’ve done that ever since.

Alex: What is it like working for the Washington Post?

Juliet: On the whole it’s a great job—I’ve got generous colleagues and I never run out of story ideas. Plus, your articles have real impact, which is fantastic.

Alex: You’ve worked there for some time; what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen at the Washington Post and in print journalism?

Juliet: We’re short on money and staff, like almost every newspaper in America. It’s a huge challenge to produce quality journalism when the vast majority of the public doesn’t feel like paying for that service.

Alex: How did you switch over to environmental reporting?

Juliet: I got burnt out covering Congress, and asked to switch over to the environment in the spring of 2004. It was the smartest move I ever made.

Alex: Where do sharks enter the picture?

Juliet: I started covering oceans because they don’t get that much coverage from the mainstream media. After diving with sharks in Bimini in 2005, I decided sharks were a compelling way to explore what was happening to the sea across the globe.

Alex: Did you or do you have a fear or phobia of sharks?

Juliet: No, I don’t have a phobia, though I’d say I’ve got a healthy dose of fear when it comes to the most dangerous species.

Alex: What was it like researching and writing Demon Fish?

Juliet: It was fascinating. I got to travel the globe and both meet people from an array of cultures and backgrounds, as well as explore the underwater world. I enjoyed the research more than the writing, but in the end, I’m happy with the final product.

Alex: What do you hope readers get out of reading your book?

Juliet: I hope people get a sense that we’re more closely connected to sharks, and the sea, than we might think. Also, I’d like it if people felt better about sharks after reading the book.

Alex: Are you still in contact and possibly following up with some of the people you met and discussed in Demon Fish to see how they’re doing now?

Juliet: I see a lot of the scientists and policymakers I interviewed for the book on a regular basis, and I’ve been in e-mail contact with some of the fishermen since the book’s come out. I’d love to get back to some of the remote places I visited, such as Papua New Guinea, but I’m not sure when that would be.

Alex: Do you feel that researching and writing about sharks is something you will continue to cover in your career?

Juliet: I think I’ll write about sharks in the future—I just had a big  piece on them come out in the Post on Oct. 26—but they won’t be my exclusive focus.

Alex: Your first book was Fight Club Politics.  After writing Demon Fish, do you feel you understand politicians and politics any better or perhaps see them differently?

Juliet: I think sharks are, for the most part, more ruthless than many politicians, but they’re more direct, which is refreshing. And I’d certainly opt for jumping in the water with most species of sharks over attending a press conference featuring a bunch of politicians.

Alex: Do you have plans for another book or project?

Juliet: I’m writing a magazine piece for WIRED about the future of the solar industry, so that’s a departure for me. At some point I’ll probably write another book, but not right away.

Alex: Who do you like to read/who are some of your favorite authors?

Juliet: I enjoy reading Tom Zoellner and Barry Estabrook for non-fiction, and I like a range of fiction, from British classics to Andrew Sean Greer and Sam Lipsyte. Then there’s David Eagleman, who’s talented enough to write both fiction and non-fiction beautifully.

Alex: What are you reading right now?

Juliet: I just started Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit from the Goon Squad.” I just finished “The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund de Waal, which I really loved. It also made me feel a little insecure, since here’s a fantastic work of non-fiction written by a potter.

Alex: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Juliet: I spend time with my family and friends, read, hike, and cook from time to time.

Alex: Do you feel that humanity will come to look and respect sharks differently in time, or is it more of a losing battle?

Juliet: I think we will come to view sharks differently over time, which is a good thing. I think the only question is how long it will take to make this shift, and what will happen to sharks in the meantime.

A Man of Many Worlds: An Interview with Robert Chrarles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson

Rober Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson is the award-winning author of Spin. Some of his other books include the two sequels to Spin: Axis and Vortex, as well as Mysterium, The Chronoliths, and Julian Comstock. In the interview, Wilson talks about how he got into writing, where the idea for Spin came from, what he’s working on now, what he hopes people get out of reading his books, and what he likes to do in his spare time. Read the interview . . .

An Interview with Robert Charles Wilson (October, 2011)

Robert Charles Wilson

Rober Charles Wilson

Robert Charles Wilson is the award-winning author of Spin. Some of his other books include the two sequels to Spin: Axis and Vortex, as well as Mysterium, The Chronoliths, and Julian Comstock. In the interview, Wilson talks about how he got into writing, where the idea for Spin came from, what he’s working on now, what he hopes people get out of reading his books, and what he likes to do in his spare time.

Click on any of the covers to read a review of the book:

 

Julian Comstock Mysterium Chronoliths Spin Axis Vortex

Alex C. Telander: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Robert Charles Wilson: I’ve been writing — writing science fiction, no less — since I learned to read.  I don’t have an explanation for this, but it’s probably a diagnostic indicator for some kind of personality disorder.

Alex: Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

Robert: The stories I wrote in grade one survived for years in my mom’s attic.  They were self-illustrated and usually involved astronauts landing on an distant planet, where they were attacked by monsters.  One of them was called “In the Seas of Neptune.”  Apparently, my understanding of the nature of the solar system needed some fine tuning.

Alex: How about the first thing you got published?

Robert: I sold my first story to Analog when I was nineteen years old.  (Perhaps not coincidentally, it also involved a distant planet and a monster.)  I didn’t sell another one for ten years.  That was my real apprenticeship as a writer — the time you spend learning your craft by failing at it.

Alex: What were the steps that led to you getting your first book published?

Robert: I had sold a short story to Shawna McCarthy when she was editing Asimov’s Science Fiction. She moved to Bantam as a book editor and wrote to ask whether I had anything at novel length.  “Yes,” I said — one of those lies for which young writers can perhaps be forgiven.  The end result was A Hidden Place, my first novel.

Alex: Where did the idea for Spin come from?

Robert: For me, ideas seldom pop into existence fully formed; they accrete, like barnacles. So that’s a hard one to answer.  But I guess I can say it emerged from some thoughts about the Fermi paradox, and some further thoughts about the age of the universe and what a small slice of geological and astronomical time we experience in a single human lifetime.  I wanted to confront my characters with deep time, deep change — the aging and death of the sun, for instance.

Alex: Did you always plan for it to be a trilogy?

Robert: Spin is a stand-alone novel and can be read as such. I think of it as a book with two sequels.

Alex: Now with Vortex finished and published, do you feel your original idea with Spin has changed at all, or did you arrive at the final destination you planned on?

Robert: Any work of fiction, long or short, evolves as you write it. The trilogy wasn’t an exception.  I guess you can say it arrived at the conclusion I expected, to a first approximation.  But it surprised me often along the way.

Alex: Your books always feature strong, well developed characters, which can be rare in science fiction.  Is this an intentional thing on your part?

Robert: I don’t see characterization as some separable or dispensable aspect of fiction. It’s one of the mainsprings.  You can’t simply imagine a new world, you have to populate it, you have to inhabit it.  That’s what characterization does: it particularizes the abstraction and renders it as human experience.

Alex: Do you ever plan to write more in the world you created in Julian Comstock?

Robert: That book was great fun to write, so I’m occasionally tempted to revisit it. But no, I have no real plans to do so.

Alex: Science and evolution feature in a number of your books.  Why is this?

Robert: To me, evolution and the scientific vision of the world are perennially fascinating ideas. They take the long view.  They tell us that what seems fixed and stable has changed over time.  “All things flow,” as Heraclitus said.  That’s the thematic heart and soul of science fiction, as far as I’m concerned.

Alex: What do you hope readers get from reading your books?

Robert: Entertainment. Maybe a shiver up the spine now and then.  An unexpected thought.

Alex: Can you talk about what you’re working on now, and what your next book is?

Robert: I’ve contracted to write three stand-alone novels: Burning Paradise, The Affinities, and The Last Year..  Of these, Burning Paradise is three-quarters finished and I should be able to hand it in early in 2012. It takes place in an alternate history in which the twentieth century has been uniquely peaceful and prosperous — for a rather troubling reason.

Alex: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Robert: I still read and re-read the classic sf authors. Contemporary ones, too, though I know the field less well than I used to, simply because I read for research and because my taste in reading precludes a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy.

Alex: What are you reading right now?

Robert: The police procedurals of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. I have Neal Stephenson’s Reamde on the shelf, and I’m looking forward to that.  Recently enjoyed Steven Millhauser’s We Others — he’s a truly amazing talent — and Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear.

Alex: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Robert: Nothing extraordinary. Listen to music.  Hang out with my wife Sharry.  Some days I’ll head into downtown Toronto and poke around in the kind of shops — increasingly rare these days, alas — that sell second-hand books and vinyl records.

Alex: Is there a particular world in your books that you would like to live in?

Robert: God, no!  There are characters I wouldn’t mind meeting, but the worlds they live in are generally way too threatening for my taste.

Alcatraz’s Biggest Fan: An Interview with Alan Jacobson + BookBanter Site Update

Alan Jacboson

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson is the bestselling author of the Karen Vail mysteries, beginning with The 7th Victim, Crush, Velocity, and most recently, Inmate 1577. He has spent a number of years researching with the FBI, especially in the Behavioral Analysis Unit. He was previously interviewed on BookBanter with the release of Crush. In this interview, Jacobson talks about how he writes one of his thriller, the intense amount of research Inmate 1577 required, and why he feels this research is important, and where he sees Karen Vail headed in his next novel. Read the interview . . .

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The BookBanter website has gone through a bit of a facelift and change, all for its improvement.  I’ve switched to a two-column method, so that way you don’t feel like you’re being bombarded with material of all different varieties.  I’ve gone for simplification,  however all the information that used to be there is still on the site, just not on the homepage, but under various other pages.

From now on the homepage will feature the latest BookBanter interview, the latest Links Roundup, the Review of the Week, a BookBanter Blog post, a listing of the four latest interviews, the latest twelve book reviews, and the latest BookBanter columns.  This will all be on the left column and will be update daily and accordingly, with the latest update appearing at the very top.

In the right column you will be able to see upcoming interviews on BookBanter, currently listed for the rest of 2011.

Finally, I’ve added a quick-links bar at the bottom of the page to help in navigating around the site.

An Interview with Alan Jacobson (October, 2011)

Alan Jacobson

Alan Jacobson is the bestselling author of the Karen Vail mysteries, beginning with The 7th Victim, Crush, Velocity, and most recently, Inmate 1577. He has spent a number of years researching with the FBI, especially in the Behavioral Analysis Unit. He was previously interviewed on BookBanter with the release of Crush. In this interview, Jacobson talks about how he writes one of his thriller, the intense amount of research Inmate 1577 required, and why he feels this research is important, and where he sees Karen Vail headed in his next novel.

Click on any of the covers to read a review of the book

Inmate 1577 Velocity Crush 7th Victim

Alex C. Telander: When writing a mystery do you start with the ending and who the killer is and work your way back, or write chronologically like the reader reads it?  Do you always have the ending worked out beforehand?

Alan Jacobson: I always start with an idea that I find intriguing—and irresistible. My sense is that if it gets my storytelling juices flowing, it’ll excite my readers, too. I write down everything that I can think of relative to the developing plot, and keep typing, without stopping, until nothing else comes to mind. Over the subsequent days and weeks, it keeps bouncing around my head, and I keep jotting down those thoughts and ideas. Day by day, the story takes shape.

The characters also come to me during this brainstorming process. The question of which comes first, the characters or the plot, is tough to answer. They feed off one another, are a part of one another. The characters who populate my stories are there for a reason relative to the story, so they can’t be switched out or deleted from the story without changing the plot I’m creating.

Likewise, the ending comes to me during the outlining process. It’s organic and flows from the story that I’m telling and the characters through whom I choose to tell it. On occasion, the ending comes to me at the same time as the initial idea. But because I outline, I always know where I’m going. I don’t start writing page one before I have completed my outline—so while the ending is a surprise for the reader, it’s never a surprise for me. Everything builds up to that moment, so it’s all orchestrated, knit from page one, leading to that final paragraph.

Alex: Will the events in Inmate 1577 keep Karen Vail in Northern California from now on?

Alan: Not at all. In Inmate 1577, there was a reorganization of the Behavioral Analysis Unit such that Vail and her partner will be assigned cases that come out of the western region’s FBI field offices. This is a setup the FBI really did use at one time. But the western region is a huge area—and even at that, it doesn’t mean that future Vail novels will only be set on the west coast (in fact, the next one will not be—more on that later).

Alex: How much research did Inmate 1577 require?

Alan: Beyond belief! My readers know I spend months (and sometimes years) researching my novels. My feeling is that the story I tell and the characters I create should be the only fictional aspects—everything else should (hopefully) be factually accurate. There are people who really do the things I write about, so I try to respect their professions and knowledge base by not “just making it up.” It also takes the reader out of a story if I incorrectly refer to something he or she knows well. So if my character gets into a Lexus convertible, and Lexus doesn’t make a convertible, those readers who know cars will stop reading and say, “Huh? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” It ruins the read for those people, and it makes them doubt other things in the story. So I try to avoid that.

Inmate 1577 is certainly no exception—I ended up doing a tremendous amount of research for a number of reasons: a large portion of the novel is set in the 1950s and early 60s, so I had to be familiar with slang, conventions, technology and attire for that period; another substantial part is set at Leavenworth…so I had to know what the place looked and smelled like, what the layout of the penitentiary was back in the 50s, and what the prison culture was like back then and how the guards handled (and interacted with) the inmates.

Most importantly, of course, there’s the Alcatraz storyline, which took the lion’s share of my research efforts and time. I had to know what Alcatraz was like when it was operating as a penitentiary during the years 1958 to 1963. It was unlike any other prison, so I had to understand its history and its operational philosophy. And I had to know what the island was like during those years, as well as what it’s like in the present day because Inmate 1577 features The Rock in both time periods. I needed to know what life was like for the prisoners, for the correctional officers, and so on. And then I had to learn about the escape attempts—one in particular in excruciating detail—because I integrated my villain into that escape. It was the most intricate and daring (and famous) escape attempt in the world. I wanted my portrayal to be accurate because there are a lot of people who are very familiar with it—it’s legendary—and there are archival documents from FBI and Bureau of Prisons and US Marshals Service files.

Although it meant several months of extra work, it paid off because I’m extremely proud of how Inmate 1577 turned out—and of the terrific reviews it’s received. I’ve also included a fascinating discussion at the end of Inmate 1577 detailing the fact vs. fiction aspects of the novel.

Alex: Why do you think Alcatraz is such a special, infamous place to so many people throughout the world?

Alan: I think it’s a multifaceted phenomenon: its location and uniqueness play a large role; it’s an island penitentiary where the worst of the worst were banished to serve their time. It was a formidable place, fed by rumors, and shrouded in secrecy during its earlier years of operation. The Bureau of Prisons’ attempt to quash media reports and stories about Alcatraz only served to fan the flames of suspicion about what went on in the middle of San Francisco Bay where sharks reportedly roamed and where the incorrigible and infamous inmates Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly lived.

As a result, Alcatraz became larger than life. And since the cell house is still intact from those days, the legend feeds off itself because millions of people visit it each year. It’s easy to step back in time and lose yourself in its history. Alcatraz is one of the most unique (and most visited) National Parks in the country.

Alex: What made you decide to write two storylines with this book?  Did it start out as a single story?  Did you write each one individually, or switch off between the two like in the book?

Alan: It came to me as a two storyline plot. The initial concept that popped into my head one day was, “Karen Vail on Alcatraz.” When I started to brainstorm the story, I wanted to get into the head of a man whose story began and ended with a tragic injustice. The thought of writing that man’s story in the 1950s as historical fiction was very exciting to me. Ironically, in a broad sense, the concept is similar to the one I visited in my first novel, False Accusations (recently re-edited and re-released as both an eBook and an Amazon trade paperback). Inmate 1577 is clearly very different, but the idea of someone doing nothing wrong yet falling victim to a criminal justice system that does not do right by him was an extremely intriguing storyline…one that a great many readers have related to. In the case of Inmate 1577, I wanted a villain—a serial killer—who we could feel sorry for. That’s a huge challenge!

I wrote the book linearly, meaning from page one to the end. I alternated storylines just like the reader does when he/she reads it. However, there were a couple of occasions when I continued writing the story if I was in a rhythm in that time period and wanted to finish that particular scene. But most of it was written just like the reader reads it. Doing it that way gives me a better sense of the pacing and keeps me in touch with what the reader is feeling.

Alex: You use a number of short chapters in Inmate 1577, which is a growing style in contemporary thrillers, is there a particular reason for this?

Alan: I honestly don’t pay attention to chapter length when writing because that reduces the process to a very mechanical, rather than organic flow. James Patterson has used short chapters to great effect; he does it by design—he’ll specify in his chapter outline how many pages each chapter will be. And it’s a style that works for him. His goal is to make the reader feel as if she’s turning the pages quickly (a “page turner”)—because, well, she is. But innate pacing—driven by the writing, the action, plot, and characters, is much more important to me: is the story flowing well? Does it move from one scene to another? Is the reader engaged in what’s going on?

If I do all that well, it doesn’t matter how long the chapters are. That said, if there’s a problem with pacing, chapter length might figure into the solution. But I’ve been writing novels for 19 years, so I’m at the point where I know when something’s not working or not flowing, or if the pacing or story gets bogged down. And if I miss something, my wife is a skilled reader with a sharp editing eye and she’ll point it out. Then there’s my editor, who’s terrific, and my copyeditor—all of whom are on the alert for problems.

That said, I do pay attention to the way things are laid out on the page; if I want a scene to move quickly—if it’s an action scene, or if I want to turn up the tension—one way is to use shorter sentences, shorter paragraphs, and so on…because, as I noted above, your eyes move faster across the page. However, it’s something that comes organically while writing. Very rarely is it a conscious manipulation of the layout.

Alex: With the many locations in San Francisco featured in this book, have you thought about organizing tours?

Alan: I’ve had a lot of requests from friends and family to take them to Alcatraz! By and large, writing is a full time (and a half) job, so I wouldn’t have time to do that. But it sure would be fun to take readers to all the locations that play significant roles in Inmate 1577.

Alex: You also have a new standalone book coming out soon, what can you tell your readers about it?

Alan: Hard Target starts off with a bang—literally—with a spectacular assassination attempt on the president-elect on Election Night. Our two protagonists go in search of those responsible and the information they uncover leads to some very upsetting discoveries—including conspirators whose plan is so far-reaching and well-orchestrated that it could result in the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Lee Child called Hard Target a “great thriller” that’s “fast, hard, and intelligent.” Vince Flynn called it a “smart, complex thriller” that “scores a direct hit on my radar.”

But—I would not label it a standalone. It’s a hybrid standalone. I guess I’ve invented a new category! While it’s not part of the Karen Vail series, a number of characters who’ve figured prominently in my prior novels drive the action, alongside some new ones. Hector DeSantos, who debuted in my second novel, The Hunted (also recently re-released as both an eBook and an Amazon trade paperback), and who partnered with Vail in Velocity, returns. He teams up with FBI Agent Aaron “Uzi” Uziel, who’s in charge of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington, DC. FBI Director Douglas Knox also returns to play a significant role, as does FBI CSI Tim Meadows (introduced in The 7th Victim). And then there’s Dr. Leonard Rudnick, Vail’s psychologist, who appeared in Velocity. Oh—and Karen Vail is in a chunk of the novel, too! So while it’s not considered part of the Vail series, you can see why I call it a hybrid standalone.

Hard Target should launch by February 2012. Before then, Karen Vail returns in a short story titled Fatal Twist. I believe my publisher is looking at having it live by November as a digital release. I’ll be releasing more info about it on my website, www.alanjacobson.com, as soon as it becomes available. While there, grab the free 23-page personal safety booklet that I coauthored with FBI Profiler Mark Safarik (who’s now starring in his own hit TV series, Killer Instinct). The free booklet contains vitally important information on staying out of the crosshairs of violent criminals.

Alex: Why did you change publishers?

Alan: It’s a long story—but the short answer is that the Borders bankruptcy was announced on the day that my publisher had to commit to Inmate 1577. Borders owed them nearly $9 million–money that was never going to be repaid—so they refused to continue shipping books to Borders, even though they were one of their two main sales channels. Barnes and Noble was (is) going through a financial upheaval themselves—closing stores, severely cutting inventory and the number of titles they stock. My publisher thus wanted to publish Inmate 1577 as an eBook original—that is, no bound edition because they didn’t have enough brick-and-mortar stores to sell them through.

At the same time, with the digital revolution growing exponentially, my agent wanted me to go with a publisher who had a strong digital presence and the know-how to leverage that platform in the most efficient way possible. Inmate 1577 was thus published through Premiere Digital Publishing, who had recently re-issued my out-of-print novels, The Hunted and False Accusations. Norwood Press, which specializes in collector’s editions and signed first edition hardcovers, released Inmate 1577 in hardcover. It’s a beautiful book—they did a terrific job. There’s also a trade paperback (same size as a hardback, but with a soft cover) that will be available on 10/1/11 through Amazon.com.

Alex: Any hints at where Karen Vail will be headed next?

Alan: Yes! If my plans come to fruition, Vail is headed to England, where she’ll partner again with Hector DeSantos.

The Divining Man: An Interview with Cameron Stracher

An Interivew with Cameron Stracher

Cameron Stracher

Cameron Stracher has written for The New York Time, The New York Times Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of the young adult dystopian novel, The Water Wars. In this interview, Stracher talks about how he became a writer, where the idea for The Water Wars came from, what he’s working on next, and a number of other things. [Read the interview . . .]

The Water Wars

An Interview with Cameron Stracher (September, 2011)

Simon Pegg

Cameron Stracher

Cameron Stracher has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of the young adult dystopian novel, The Water Wars. In this interview, Stracher talks about how he became a writer, where the idea for The Water Wars came from, what he’s working on next, and a number of other things.

The Water Wars

Alex C. Telander: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Cameron Stracher: Probably when I was twelve years old and it seemed like a good way to get out of doing the dishes.

Alex: Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

Cameron: A story about robots taking over the world.  It was about two pages long.

Alex: Who were some of your influences?

Cameron: I like a wide range of writing – from David Foster Wallace and Martin Amis to Arthur C. Clarke and William Gibson to Flannery O’Connor and Jane Austen.  I leave it to readers to decide how they’ve influenced me.

Alex: What was your first book and how did you get it published?

Cameron: The Laws of Return.  I sent the first three chapters to my agent (Lisa Bankoff), and she called me the next day.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Alex: What made you decide to write a young adult novel?

Cameron: I wanted to write something my son and daughter (who were twelve and nine) at the time would not find boring.

Alex: Where did the idea for Water Wars come from?

Cameron: I was out running and I had this visual image of a boy standing in a dusty road spilling a glass of water.  The more I began to wonder who he was, the more the story began to grow.

Alex: Did it require a lot of research?

Cameron: A fair amount.  There is a lot of smart non-fiction writing about water scarcity and management, and I tried to read as much of it as I could.

Alex: The cover is very unique and distinctive.  Were you involved in its design at all?

Cameron: Thank you.  I think it’s beautiful, but I take absolutely no credit for it.  When Sourcebooks showed it to me, I said – “I love it!”  That was my contribution.

Alex: What do you hope readers get out of reading Water Wars?

Cameron: First, and foremost, I hope they will enjoy it.  Second, I hope it will make them think about the importance of water.

Alex: Is this a single novel, or is it the first in a series?

Cameron: You have to ask my publisher about that!

Alex: What other projects are you working on?

Cameron: I’m writing a non-fiction book about the 1970’s and the running boom, and I have several fiction projects in the works that I can’t talk about right now.

Alex: With your work in media, are you interested in writing for TV or the big screen?

Cameron: There was a time I was interested in writing screenplays, but I think I find it too limiting and too frustrating.  I like the control that writing a book gives me, even if it doesn’t pay as well!

Alex: Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?

Cameron: Keep trying.  Lol.  Seriously, it’s a depressing world out there for writers.  I think you have to write because you love writing, and ask yourself if you would continue writing even if you knew you were never going to get published.  Don’t write for the market; write because you have to.

Alex: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Cameron: I love to run, and I try to get out on the roads and into the woods as much as I can.  I also love to cook for my family, and rent good movies, and make popcorn with them.

Alex: Who do you like to read?

Cameron: That’s really hard to answer.  I am a very broad reader.  I like sci-fi, “chick lit,” “serious literature,” modern, American, British.  I’ll read almost anything if someone I respect recommends it.

Alex: Do you see Water Wars or elements of it as a possible future for our world?

Cameron: I hope not, but the truth is at the present rate of consumption we will be desperately short of water in about 20-25 years.  Let’s hope we wake up soon.