Rika Hemachandra Interviews Joseph Carrabis about Writing

I had the great good fortune to be interviewed by Artist, Architect, Design manager and budding Writer Rika Hemachandra.

Rika currently works in the construction industry, loves art and design, has a passion for reading, spreadsheets (really? She says so) and a curiosity about people, history, current events and Cognitive dissonance (love the way she links those two, don’t you?)

Rika and I covered lots of ground about writing, researching stories, transitioning through different publishing models, and where ideas come from.

Enjoy!

 
This interview is also available on YouTube. You can find the print version on Rika’s blog.

31 Years to Publication

It took two months to write, thirty-one years to get published. And you know what? It was worth the wait.

I am so proud. I wrote The Augmented Man in April of 1990. Now I’m holding copies in my hands.

 
And the delay wasn’t because of slow mail.

I wrote the novel side-by-side with the novella, The Goatmen of Aguirra (to give you an idea of what my mind was working on at the time).

I’d workshopped The Augmented Man and received high praise. I shopped it around, no publisher was interested. I asked AJ Budrys, my mentor and an accomplished author and editor, if he’d be willing to read it and let me know if I was kidding myself, did it just need work, should I give up my dreams of being a published author…?

What you need to know is I was an accomplished trade technical author in the late 1980s through the early 1990s, at the height of the PC Boom (I discuss this in my interview) and my work was in high demand. I knew the publishing industry at that time.

AJ read it and was so blown away he offered to agent it for me. He’d published some of my short fiction in his Tomorrow magazine and he knew my work from workshops. He was familiar with my work, my style, my weaknesses, and my strengths. But The Augmented Man caught him by surprise.

I was flattered, honored. I almost fainted when I read his letter offering to represent the novel (1990, remember? We didn’t do lots of emailing back then).

For reasons that had nothing to do with the book, AJ couldn’t land it. We met at a con and he explained the situation to me. Someday, should we meet at a con, ask me and I’ll share the story.

AJ passed and I got another agent. She loved the book. Could I add 30,000 words to it?

Sure, why?

Because (at 85k words) it was too short (I reedited it to its present 97k words). Thirty-k words longer and she was sure she could land it. I added 30k words, edited, proofed, and sent the rewrite to her in under a month.

Didn’t hear from her. Called and got “Oh, on second thought, no, I don’t think this is a good enough novel. Besides, there’s too much out there already like it.”

Really? Did you read the novel?

Yeah, sure. It’s about a guy lost in a jungle, right?

On to agent #3. Who was a joke. I finally asked point blank, “How many projects have you placed?” and she responded that she couldn’t work with someone who asked such questions. This after the head of the agency phoned and talked with me for an hour to let me know how impressed he was by my work.

So I put it on the shelf. I went on with life.

Because I’m patient.

And now I’m holding the novel in my hands.

I’m so proud.


Would you like a personally autographed copy?

(and feel free to pass this on to every one)

Litcon 2021 World Building Panel with Science fiction, fantasy, alt-history, steampunk, YA science fantasy, speculative fiction, dystopia, and military science fiction authors F. Stephan, Geoff Genge, Claudia Blood, Theresa Halvorsen, C.G. Hatton, and Liz Tuckwell

 
Enjoy the panel discussion. Information on the participants is below.

 
Continue reading “Litcon 2021 World Building Panel with Science fiction, fantasy, alt-history, steampunk, YA science fantasy, speculative fiction, dystopia, and military science fiction authors F. Stephan, Geoff Genge, Claudia Blood, Theresa Halvorsen, C.G. Hatton, and Liz Tuckwell”

Joseph Carrabis On The Importance Of Literature In Modern Society

Roshan Bhodekar, author and publisher of the international, Madrid, Spain-based newspaper, Transcontinental Times, approached me to do an interview.

 
Grateful, yes, and appreciative, definitely, but I’m nothing special. Why interview me?

“Because your writing influences and inspires people. It’s important. Especially in modern society.”

Umm…okay. I don’t think of it that way, and okay.

A month later and with a few back and forths between the reporter assigned the interview and myself, you can read the interview at Joseph Carrabis On The Importance Of Literature In Modern Society.

My proposition is a simple one; you can best educate people if you entertain them. Few people remember high school algebra even a year after graduation because (when I attended high school) it was the most boring class imaginable. (anybody remember that great line from Peggy Sue Got Married regarding high school math?)

But I still remember Mrs. Hudon’s sophomore math class because she made it fun. Synthetic Division, anyone? Solving linear equations, folks?

She had a keen sense of her students and made the class interesting even on hot, muggy days when the windows were open and there wasn’t a breeze to be found.

So entertain your audience. Keep them engaged. Keep them wanting more. Keep them interested in what you’re sharing with them. Ask them questions to get them to ask questions of their own, to you, your work, and each other.

In short, get people to learn by getting them to care. Make your subject important to who they are, who they want to be. Why do most people forget books they’ve read once they’ve closed the cover? Because the book has no meaning to them, it’s a blowoff read. Sometimes such reads provide wonderful mental vacations but a steady diet of them leaves one weak and wanting, me thinks.

Roshan noticed my work affects people – or attempts it – and asked me about it. The interview is the result.

Take a read and enjoy.

And let us know what you think.

Twitter Locks and Suspends Accounts of People Tweeting in Danish!

I don’t know how many people’s accounts are locked and suspended because they tweeted in Danish.

Mine is.

And yes, because I tweeted in Danske (Danish).

Oh, the (lack of) humanity!

If you’re following me on Twitter, you may have noticed I upped my game over the past few weeks. After being off Twitter for much of Covid I got back on and began exchanging quips with folks in my stream.

Kys Kys
Then Twitter locked and suspended my account and blocked my access because I wrote “Kys Kys” to a friend in Denmark who’s teaching me Danish via Twitter. “Kys Kys” is Danish for “Kiss Kiss.”

 
I especially love the line “Please know that there are people out there who care about you, and that you are not alone.” Evidently none of these people are at Twitter.

And let’s not get into the poorly constructed sentence.

Evidently “Kys Kys” has meanings other than “Kiss Kiss.” Specifically, “Kys Kys” has something to do with encouraging suicide and self-harm. According to the Urban Dictionary kys

Stands for “Kill your self” a sarcastic term used amongst friends basically telling one another to shut the fuck up, when someone says something ignorant, embarrassing, or just plain stupid. *not intended for real suicide suggestions, please stay alive y’all…

Robots Go Where Humans Are Too Stupid to Tread
It’s obvious my KYS was caught by some robotic dolt and the issue should have been resolved quickly. I emailed Twitter explaining KYS is Kiss in Danish. I alerted them to their…error? stupidity? idiocy?…and suggested they review the exchange between my Danish friend and myself. A week’s gone by. Twitter claims they’re investigating:

 
I swear this is true. I’m a fiction author and I couldn’t make up something this inane (although it’ll show up in a future work, I promise you).

The Universe seems to be telling me “Thou shalt not twit!”

At this point, who am I to argue? I’ll start up again if Twitter unlocks my account. Maybe. I’ve never dealt well with stupid, and to me this is wildly stupid.

I will miss all the fine folks I knew there and hopefully they will find me if they wish. It would be nice to have my friends around me again.