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Monday, July 15, 2013

Author Interview - Sean P. Wallace Talks About His YA Novel (Deep Echoes), Artistic Struggles and Boycotting Ender's Game

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Sean P.Wallace, author of the YA science fiction novel Deep Echoes. I thoroughly enjoy his blog. Make sure you check it out. (See link at end of article)

Sean P. Wallace - author Deep Echoes

1. Where did the concept for your novel, Deep Echoes, come from? It is a Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction novel. Do you read much YA? If so, what books are your favorites?

This is a complex question, sadly! Deep Echoes started a long time ago with another book, an attempt to produce serialized fiction on my website. This transformed into its own, non-serialized book, a book which I ultimately decided I didn't like as it was set too late in my chronology. But I loved the world I created, the world of Geos, and didn't want to let it go with that book. So, an event mentioned in that book was planted in my imagination and became, after much work, Deep Echoes.
2. You recently redid the cover for Deep Echoes. What made you change it? Was this process different choosing a cover the second time around?

I changed it because I decided that the old cover looked like what it was: a cover made by someone who didn't have much artistic talent. Me! It occurred to me that the cover wasn't helping to get people to read the book, something I desperately want, so I contacted a designer friend and commissioned a new cover. I had an idea of what I wanted for Deep Echoes and he realized that for me. It was a simple, professional transaction: exactly what you'd want from such an exchange!
Deep Echoes - New Cover
 3. One of my favorite posts on your blog was about your struggle to allow yourself to be an artist. What you call the “black noise” or the “anti-art” is something most creative people struggle with. How do you cope with it? Have you thought about what accomplishment in your life could shut this noise down for good?

The main way I cope with it is through music. There are certain songs that can lift me, put me into a better state of mind, and that can help me to be creative. Where I'm struggling more so than usual, I'll pick a soundtrack from a film in the same genre as my book - I used Western soundtracks for writing Dust and Sand, a novel serialized on - and that will often do the trick instead.

4. You mentioned wanting to make a film. What kind of film? Who are your film-making heroes?

I had grand ideas but I also have very good friend who've grounded me a little, advised me to live in the real world and get experience of filmmaking and the industry. As such, I'm going to do a film-making course and start with short films before deciding on the right script I could make with the budget.

My art style, no matter what the story, is to tell stories of the fantastic, of the strange and the outré, and use them to make deeper points. As such, I prefer to write and read Speculative pieces, and would expect any film I write to be such: Horror, Fantasy of Sci-Fi.

My film-making hero would be Kevin Smith, of Clerks and Dogma fame. He is an inspiring speaker, artist and human being. If you don't mind cursing and dirty humour, I'd recommend you check out his Smodcast podcast empire!

Kevin Smith
5. One thing my readers will be very interested in is your choice to sell your book directly on your site. You suggest they pay what they are willing through a “donate” option. Your book is also available on Amazon. How has your experience been with the donate option?

Without putting too fine a point on it, non-existent. This isn't something which troubles me though: as I said before, I just want people to read Deep Echoes. I think you need to be a far more established artist than I for Pay If You Like to provide any meaningful experiences. Still, I like having the option available.

6. Lastly, your most recent blog post speaks very strongly about why you are boycotting Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Why do you think some people are willing to overlook the bigotry of an artist because their books are interesting?

I have a small amount of trepidation on this topic, as I count H.P. Lovecraft as one of my favourite writers and he was a horrible racist, something which comes out through much of his work. At first, I was willing to overlook that aspect of his work but, as I grew and learned more of concepts such as Privilege, I found that I could not ignore those parts of his work. I haven't read one of his stories for many years now, and doubt I'll do so, because I can't stomach the attitudes which come across in the piece.

I think the reluctance on some people's part not to condemn Card is a fear/feeling that it reflects on them: the idea that they are being accused of being homophobic for liking Ender's Game. They don't appreciate that it is possible to enjoy a piece of media whilst still recognizing its more troubling faults, and so they become defensive.
Orson Scott Card
 The reason people can overlook the bigotry of an artist is, I imagine, that the bigotry doesn't play a part in the work being produced. It probably surprised many to find out about Card's homophobic views - I know I hadn't heard about them until the recent Superman debacle - because he was a Science Fiction writer: people often go to Science Fiction to find a world with more advanced, enlightened views, and perhaps found some of them in Ender's Game.

Then there's the concept of Free Speech, particularly when this is combined with religiously-inspired beliefs: people don't like views being denounced because of this strange idea that an opinion can't be wrong. Despite it being patently the case that they can be disproven (through scientific studies, statistics, etc.) were I to guess, I'd say that people don't like opinions being fair game for dismissal and being disproved because that might mean their own ideas are fair game.

But I'd say it's the bigotry not being clear and obvious that makes the biggest difference.

Sean P. Wallace on Amazon
Sean P. Wallace on Smashwords
Sean P. Wallace Free Books (or Donation)
Sean P. Wallace Blog
Sean P. Wallace on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. As a P.S. Kevin Smith's Clerks 2 is one of my all-time favourite movies.


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