Q&A Friday

Did you know I have a Kickstarter project in the works?  Of course you did because you’re a big fan of mine, right?  I’m not saying you have to contribute to it, but if you did, I’d be your best friend forever and ever and ever.  Even if you’re not interested in contributing to the project, you might want to go ahead and check it out.  It’s a pretty cool idea, and if it gets funded, you can always end up buying a copy when it comes out.  Then we’ll be best friends forever and ever and ever.

Which is a damn good offer considering how cool a friend I am.

Check it out at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/669131589/robots-versus-slime-monsters-an-a-lee-martinez-ant

Anyway, enough with the blatant self-promotion.  Let’s move onto more subtle self-promotion.  Yes, Q&A Friday is here once again, and it’s time to open the old mailbag and see what mysteries of the universe are in need of explanation:


I have recently fallen in love with audible.com (though few states will recognize this love) and I have really enjoyed the voices narrators have given some of your characters.  If you have given any of them a listen, have you ever been surprised (pleasantly or otherwise) by the way a character was performed?

Audio books are a strange thing.  As a novelologist, I love the chance to bring my work to a new medium.  It means more exposure, a greater revenue stream, and just more possibilities.  Yet any time an actor is reading a book, he  or she is inevitably going to add their own spin and interpretation to the narration.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but usually, I find it’s just a thing.

I’ve listened to the Audible.com versions of all my books (the free previews anyway), and without exception, I can say I appreciate the hard-working voice actors who bring the books to life.  I am loathe to say anything bad about any of them, but I will say that the narrator of Gil’s All Fright Diner is a little too Southern for my tastes.  Perhaps because I myself don’t have a very strong Texas accent (though I do have a little bit of one), I tend to envision most Southern characters with a more subtle accent than the narrator chose to use.  It’s not really exaggerated.  It’s just stronger than I prefer.

On the more positive side, I really love the narrator of Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain.  It wasn’t precisely what I had in mind when I envisioned Emperor, but it is great, maybe even better.   I love the Mr. Peabody quality to the acting, and it made me realize that Emperor really isn’t much different than the wise-cracking, unflappable, time-traveling genius even if Zala is a much less fawning Sherman.


If you could live one of your books which would it be?

I’m often asked which of my books is my favorite, and it’s never an easy question to answer.  This one, however, is far easier.

I would love to live in the retro-noir future of The Automatic Detective.  Empire City, with all its glorious mutations, flying cars, and bustling robots, calls to me in my dreams like a sweet siren’s song.  If I got to be an indestructible robot too, well, what sane man could turn that down?

None of my other stories call to me in nearly the same way.  I wouldn’t mind living in Rockwood (from Gil’s All Fright Diner), but it’s a small town and I’ve had my fill of those.  Though being a werewolf, especially the badass version that is Duke, would make it tempting.  But robot beats werewolf by a smidge.

Fort Stalwart (In the Company of Ogres) is full of carousing, roughhousing monsters, and unless I got to be an ogre myself, I’m pretty sure it’d be a short visit before something crushed me.  If I had to be Never Dead Ned, I can’t say I’d be too interested.

The world of A Nameless Witch is nice, but not really the focus of the story, so there’s not a lot special about it.  I wouldn’t mind being the witch (hey, I can handle being a woman if necessary), but she has some stuff she has to deal with.  Curses and all that.  But she also has a great extended family, and while I might not always have her patience with her demon duck familiar, I could at least tolerate the guy.

Margle’s castle (Too Many Curses) is just too damned crowded.  Also, I am far too disorganized to keep it from falling into darkness and probably destroying the world in the process.

When we move to the Orbit years, there’s pretty much nothing to get me excited about either Monster or Divine Misfortune because they’re really just our world with some magical elements, which is fun, but not different enough to warrant leaving this world behind.  Monster is a dumbass, so if I had to be him, I’d say no thanks.  And it might be fun to be Lucky or Quick in Divine Misfortune, at the end of the day, have I mentioned I’d really like to be a robot?


Chasing the Moon is right out because I’d be driven mad within a day.  Unless I was a cosmic monster, but then I’d probably just end up bored.

Emperor Mollusk’s Terra is a cool version of Earth, much like Empire City.   There’s a lot to like there, but being Emperor himself would be difficult to decide on.  He is undeniably brilliant, and I’d love to build some death rays or create a robot army (which is the next best thing to being a robot).  But I get bored too easily now, and I’m not nearly as smart as Emperor.  My death ray barely tickles after all these years.

The upcoming Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest is an alternate version of our world where questing is real.  I wouldn’t mind being either Helen, the seven foot tall minotaur, or Troy, the all-around perfect guy.  Minotaur is up there on the list of things I wouldn’t mind becoming, but once again, I find that robot reigns at the top of that list.  About the only thing cooler would be a robot minotaur who changes into a dinosaur.

Hey, I should write that story so I have a new answer the next time someone asks this question.


Emperor Mollusk – live action or animated movie if you could pick?

Easy question.  I’d much prefer animated.  Not just for Emperor Mollusk either.  I think all my books would make better animated features than live action.  Some, like Monster or Divine Misfortune, are more suited for live action than others, but even then, they have weird characters and monsters.  There’s nothing like animation for creating unreal universes that have their own vibrant personalities and reality.

It occurred to me when I was watching Megamind that I don’t understand why we even make live action superhero flicks anymore.  Avengers was great, but it would’ve been just as great animated (and if you don’t believe me, check out the awesome new series, especially the brilliant and fun first season, streaming on Netflix).  The fact of the matter is that the more outrageous a universe is, the more able animation is to make it seem real and accessible.  The Incredibles remains the best superhero flick ever, and it does so because it’s world is far more real than any other superhero film ever made.  (Oh, and the amazing direction, animation, acting, writing, etc., etc., etc.)

Emperor Mollusk features a space squid as the protagonist.  The story takes place in a slightly alternate earth full of aliens, giant robots, and spaceship battles.  It is such an unreal place that any film or TV show trying to portray it would be relying mostly on animation anyway with live action only there to make it seem more mature.  Considering at one point our hero fights the giant radioactive brain of Madame Curie, I think maturity is beside the point.

Well, actually, I think the story has a lot of maturity, but most people will just see the robots and mutant dinosaurs and think it’s silly.  So why bother trying to convince them by shoving a few living actors in front of the camera?

If nothing else, Emperor himself is such an inhuman character in form that, even if everything else was live action, he’d still have to be an animated character.  Unless they decided to change him so completely as to make him almost unrecognizable visually.  I’m not against that if someone was willing to option it and give it a shot, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.


How did you get to be so cool, anyway?

That would be telling, but here’s a hint.

Drink more Ovaltine.


Keelah Se’lai

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Sarah
    Posted February 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Glad you mentioned the Kickstarter because I didn’t know!

  2. Austin the Ninja
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I could definitely see a lot of yours as animated movies instead of live action. The one ive actually always had the easiest time picturing as a live action movie is The Automatic Detective. Don’t know what it is about it but its just easy to picture.

  3. Posted February 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    i think gils should be live action and monster too and maybe nameless witch just because i want to see how someone could handle acting as the witch rather than being just voice matched to an animation.

    most of your books should be turned into animated movies.

    of course what i most want is for them to done well and retain the style and and tone of your books.

    good luck with the kickstarter campaign. i will be donating soon.

  4. Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and may come back down the road. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

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