The VOIGHT-KAMPFF* Interview
Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden, or do they write them down for you?
Mr. Holden: They’re just questions, Leon.
WHAT IS THE FIRST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK YOU REMEMBER READING?
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. I’m sure I read others first, but that’s the one that stuck with me. As it turns out, I wrote along similar themes to Miller, although my faith lies with science while his was in the Church.
WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ AGAIN?
Neuromancer, by William Gibson. It changed science fiction for me, completely. There seemed to be an abundance of epic space fantasy at the time I first read it. Other worlds, other species, other times. Neuromancer was ten minutes into the future and it was exciting. I once stood in a very long line at my favourite SF bookstore to get Gibson to sign my copy. I was the only girl.
WHAT BOOKS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
From a technical perspective there are two: How Not To Write A Novel, by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman, and Elements of Fiction Writing by Orson Scott Card. There are others, but those are the two with all the dog ears and sticky notes.
LAPTOP OR DESKTOP FOR WRITING?
Laptop. I like to move around the house, depending upon my mood. But, in the near future, I’m hoping to get an actual writing space that is ALL mine. With a door.
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?
I have a general store/café called The Lucky Penny, it’s a neighbourhood joint on Trinity-Bellwoods Park in Toronto. It was a long and tortuous process to redevelop the property and open the shop, and ultimately was the catalyst for my writing. I was so frustrated by the process over which I had no control, that I was compelled to create fictional characters so someonewould do what I wanted them to do, when I wanted it done.
JUST HOW FAR IN THE FUTURE IS YOUR TOMORROW?
It is one hundred years in the future. I chose that because I knew what one hundred years ago was like and could measure societal changes and how fast they happened. Some changes were revolutionary while other things remain almost unchanged. The rise and fall of dictatorships, for instance, can happen overnight, last sixty years, and fall apart in a matter of days. It was less than six months between the time Hitler became Chancellor and the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring was passed, so I knew my theocracy with its Genetic Integrity Act was plausible. But our weaponry, while more sophisticated and lethal, is not so completely different from WWI, so I didn’t feel compelled to create any technological wonders. Everything I imagined is an extrapolation of today while using a century ago as a reference point.
DID YOU DO ANY SPECIFIC OR UNUSUAL RESEARCH FOR THIS BOOK?
I spent a day with a Marine Sergeant at the 29 Palms marine base in California and I communicated with an amateur radio enthusiast and satellite specialist who was on a submarine with the Canadian Navy. I talked with a Hydro-electric Engineer until my phone went dead and then continued on a land line for another few hours. My ear hurt, but it was worth it. I spoke with an expert on Roma culture, a room service waiter at Caesars Palace who’d been there about thirty years and knew all the secret passages, and a country-singing cattle rancher from Alberta.
IS THERE A PARTICULAR AREA OF SCIENCE OR SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLE THAT IS A PLOT FOCUS?
The trilogy is called The Laws of Motion, and each book and title reflects one of Newton’s three laws: External Forces, Acceleration, and Opposition. I based much of what happens on current scientific theory, using my imagination to extrapolate. Genetics plays a big part, both in humans and the environment. Also, Astronomy, theories about time, and Einstein’s Law of Special Relativity come in to play. Plus, I made some stuff up.
ARE ANY OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS FROM THE LGBT (LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER) COMMUNITY.
Yes, yes there are. Two of the main group of characters are gay and in a relationship, one of whom is the main character’s best friend. But not the gay best friend. The best friend who is a pilot, has blond hair, is funny and sarcastic, and gay.
GIVE YOUR BOOK THE BECHDEL TEST
1. IT HAS TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO (NAMED) WOMEN IN IT
2. WHO TALK TO EACH OTHER
3. ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES A MAN
My book aces this test, didn’t even need to study for it.
PICK ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS AND APPLY THE SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON. GO!
1. Jess Grant’s boyfriend is Matt Anderson a Special Forces Sergeant.
2. Matt’s squad also includes Sheree LaSalle, a trained military sniper.
3. Sheree and the squad are located on a base that is a fictional version of Fort Huachuca which was also the setting for the film Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford.
4. Harrison Ford starred in Clear and Present Danger with Tim Robbins.
5. Tim Robbins was in the movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise
6. Tom Cruise was in the film A Few Good Men, about the trial of U.S. Marines, with Kevin Bacon.
YOUR MAIN CHARACTER VS BATMAN, WHO WOULD WIN?
Usually, Batman. I mean, c’mon, he’s Batman. But a certain genetic mutation could give my girl the edge.
WHAT FIVE SONGS/ARTISTS WOULD FEATURE ON THE SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR TOMORROW?
Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
Wild Feathers – Got It Wrong
Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer – Redemption Song (orig. Bob Marley)
THE HUNT. IT COMES. JULY 18-20 THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW