So here we are with another Q&A Friday where I, famous novelologist and all around neat guy, answer your questions. Before I get to that though, I’ll take a second to plug myself on Youtube, where I’m uploading cool videos of me talking about games and writing and whatever else crosses my mind. Look me up under the name Emperor Mollusk.
If you have any questions you’d like me to answer here (or maybe even in a video if the stars align properly) you can either leave them in the comments section here, reach me on Twitter (@aleemartinez), find me on Facebook (A. Lee Martinez), or, if you prefer a more personal approach, contact me via e-mail at Hipstercthulhu@hotmail.com.
But onto the questions:
What does the a stand for?
Listening to music while writing – yay or nay? If so: What are your go-to tunes?
Now, I am not a big music fan. I know that admitting such a thing is a bit weird, but music is something I like but not nearly as much as I like other stuff. Recently, my radio in my car stopped working, and I discovered I’m perfectly fine driving in silence, which kind of strikes even me as a bit strange. But we are who we are.
Usually, I have Pandora running in the background while writing, and right now, Pandora has decided I like Journey, Adele, Bon Jovi, and Bowling for Soup. And who am I to argue with the internet? I think that’s against the law or something, right?
Will there be a part two of Too Many Curses? Please say yes.
I’ll give the standard “Will there be a sequel to X?” answer.
No current plans. Maybe one day.
I’ve covered this in the past (a lot) and will probably continue to cover it in the future (a lot). I love that people are so excited by one of my stories that they’d love to read more about the characters and setting. But I also love exploring new ideas, new concepts, and new worlds. That said, it’s not strictly up to me. If my publisher was motivated enough to pay me a hefty sum for a sequel, I’d definitely be more open to the idea. But the only way that happens is if you, the people, buy as many copies as you can to encourage them to do so. After all, this is a business, folks. Everybody’s gotta make a living.
But for now and the near future, it is unlikely.
How tired are you of being compared to Terry Pratchett, on a scale from one to Gangnam Style?
This is a difficult question. On the one hand, being compared to one of the current giants of fantasy (especially in a positive light) is a good thing. On the other, like most artists, I strive to create my own identity and signature. I don’t want to be “The American Terry Pratchett” or any variation of that. I want to be A. Lee Martinez.
As I’ve said before, I don’t think Pratchett and I are very similar at all. We both write fantasy stories. We both have humor in our stories. But Pratchett is a satirist, often using fantasy as a way to metaphorically explore and dissect topics and ideas that might be taboo in other forms. Whereas I consider myself primarily an modern pulp adventure writer with some humorous elements. The chief difference is that if you remove the satire from Pratchett stories they lose a lot of their energy while I think my stories could be written straighter with less humor and still hold up, even if they might lose much of their signature style.
This is why I tend to dislike being categorized as a “funny” writer to begin with. I’m never trying to write funny. I just write and put some funny stuff in because it feels appropriate. This is why most of my stories have “not funny” parts that inevitably strike some readers as confusing. Am I a humorist? Is it a serious story?
The short answer is yes to both.
Granted, most funny writers, such as Pratchett, have serious moments in their stories. Discworld is full of characters given plenty of life, who are more than just jokes. But even in most of their serious moments, they have a certain light banter to the narration that usually disappears at points in my stories.
The problem isn’t just a question of narrative style either. I’m writing about space squid supervillains, robots detectives, country vampires, and so on and so on. The subject matter itself puts most people in mind of goofy silliness, and while I’m all for extremely goofy stuff in general (I am the guy who put mutant laser pterodactyls and a giant radioactive brain robot in the same story), I am never intending for these elements to be just stupid. I’m just not interested in trying to make the fantastic “believable” in some misguided attempt to make it seem more legitimate.
And that’s really what else separates me from many fantasy / sci fi writers in general. I’m not writing stories about raccoon gods and kobold housekeepers as metaphor. And I’m not interested in coming up with plausible explanations for how giant robots or time travel would work in real life. I’m a fan of fantasy for its own sake, and believe the only justification fantasy needs is that it (first) can tell a good story and (second) is something cool to write about. That doesn’t mean there aren’t metaphors and real-life parallels in the stories. It just means they happen naturally, not as a deliberate design on my part. (For the most part.)
To get back to the original question, I would love it if the comparisons stopped, but only if it meant I’d succeeded in establishing my own identity. Otherwise, I’m very happy to sit in the shadows of giants if it convinces people to give my books a shot. I certainly don’t resent Pratchett or anyone for being more successful than me and through that success, defining the art of storytelling for the average person. I just hope that with a little luck, I’ll be one of them someday.
I’ve had a frozen container of Cool Whip in my freezer for 8 months. Is it still good?
My gut instinct says yes. Whether or not you want to trust your gut to mine is entirely a different question.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,