Tuesday, July 28, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Espanier

1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I've been writing for about as long as I could write, but it wasn't until late school that I figured out that this was something I was really good at, and then high school when I realized that I could try to get some of my stories published.

2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I had a lot of different inspiration sources: Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, and Bruce Coville were my mainstays growing up. Nowadays I enjoy Dean Koontz (just finished the Odd Thomas series) and Jim Butcher (especially The Dresden Files).

3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Heart of Steel?
It started with a song by Jonathan Coulton called "Skullcrusher Mountain", about a stereotypical villain trying (and, from the lyrics, failing) to charm one of his captives in between his plans for world conquest. I think there were some elements of "The Future Soon" in there as well, as that song is about a shy nerd who fantasizes about becoming a (literally) self-made man And Showing Them All.

4. Do you think one day cyborgs might be real? What would yo do if they were created tomorrow?
I think in a way, cyborgs are already starting to crop up in the form of bionic limbs and eyes and such, but I thing cybernetics still has a way to go to get to the point where Alistair is at the time of the story. If they were created tomorrow I would think it was cool, but there's always the tiny risk of losing touch with one's humanity--something addressed at length in other works like Ghost in the Shell.

5. Alistair is the perfect definition of a "likable villain". Why did you make him be redeemable instead of just a baddie?
I wanted to explore the mad scientist archetype, and especially what would turn an otherwise sane man to a goal like world conquest. I also had a bit of a "Beauty and the Beast" plot in there, such that Julia would see that, yes, he was insane, yes, he was disfigured, and yes, he plans to conquer the world... but there's more to him than that. There's a reason he's insane/disfigured/bent on world conquest. The perfect villains are the one's with sympathetic goals, even though they work counter to the usual definition of a hero.

6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
Alistair's social awkwardness comes (partly) from my own, since I'm kind of weird and don't always pick up on social cues. I've also lost people close to me, so the scene where he finds out why he broke drew a lot from that. 

7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I'd like to try straight steampunk (like set in the 1800s) or Lovecraftian horror sometime (I have a few ideas but nothing even close to realized.

8. What would you do if you were Julia?
I admit that I would think a cyborg mad scientist was a lot cooler right out the gate than Julia did. I'd have lots of questions about what he did and completely nerd out.

9. Will we ever see these characters again?
I'm in the planning stages of a sequel to this novel, entitled The Gentle Art of World Conquest, covering Alistair's reintroduction to the outside world and the appearance of a rival who is willing to do whatever it takes to claim the world for himself.

10. Would you like to see Heart of Steel as a film? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters?
I would love to see Heart of Steel as a film. For my heroic leads, I would cast Tom Hiddleston as Alistair and Amanda Seyfried as Julia, with Kevin Spacey as the voice of Arthur

11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
In the next ten years I hope to be successful enough to quit my day job and be writing full time.

12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
If I weren't writing, I might try my hand at making indie video games.

13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
i have a couple projects going on, depending where my muse takes me. One is a police procedural about a cop who gets changed into a vampire, one is a sci-fi horror where the Fair Folk have returned to Earth and taken over, and one is a heroic fantasy/romantic comedy about a female mercenary that discovers she is the last viable heir to the throne... and in order to end a war she needs to enter an arranged marriage.

14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
Neil Gaiman. Hands down.

15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
  • I'm A+ certified.
  • I'm a Brony.
  • I play Dungeons and Dragons
Social Media links:
Twitter: @GeekGirlWriter

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