Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Author Interview: Jason Erik Lundberg

Listen to the interview here!

Tell me a little about yourself and your writing.
My name's Jason Erik Lundberg, and I'm an American expatriate now in living in Singapore. Like many of the writers you've already interviewed for the podcast, my fiction tends toward the slipstreamy cross-genre variety, where elements of the fantastic reside either comfortably or uneasily alongside our conventional reality.

I'm the author of The Time Traveler’s Son (Papaveria Press), Four Seasons in One Day (Two Cranes Press, with Janet Chui), and over forty articles and short stories; with Janet Chui, I have also co-edited Scattered, Covered, Smothered and the newly available Field Guide to Surreal Botany.

My solo work has most recently appeared in Farrago’s Wainscot, Strange Horizons, Sybil’s Garage, Hot Metal Bridge, the Raleigh News & Observer, Text:UR – The New Book of Masks, The Third Alternative and Electric Velocipede; later in 2008, my writing will see publication in Polyphony 7, Subterranean Magazine, Tiny Stories, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, and other cool venues. My website and blog can be found at jasonlundberg.net.

Tell me about the story that you've created a soundtrack/playlist for.
The story is called "memory39" and is actually the third part of my novel, but I'm hoping that it can also work as a standalone short story. It's about getting over a devastating loss, and the shinyness of new love, and living in a country that is not your own. It also works out some of what I've been dealing with in terms of the death of my good friend Jamie Bishop, who was killed in the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007; the title is a direct reference to Jamie's art gallery website.

What is your playlist?
There's no real story behind the connection of these songs to the story, other than they put in me in the right kind of mood to get down to work.

[Artist, "Song," Album]

01. Beck, "Broken Drum (Remix by Boards of Canada)," Beck Remix #1
02. Radiohead, "Everything In Its Right Place," Kid A03. The Dresden Dolls, "Coin-Operated Boy," The Dresden Dolls
04. Nine Inch Nails, "The Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood)," Y34R Z3R0 R3M1X3D
05. Doris Days, "To Ulrike M. (Zero 7 Mix)," To Ulrike M.
06. Erasure, "Take a Chance On Me," Hits! The Very Best of Erasure
07. Spoon, "My Mathematical Mind," Gimme Fiction
08. Foo Fighters, "Let It Die," Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
09. Oakenfold, "Faster Kill Pussycat," Faster Kill Pussycat
10. Nine Inch Nails, "Echoplex," The Slip
11. Saul Williams, "Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)," Saul Williams
12. Gorillaz, "19-2000 (Soulchild Remix)," Gorillaz
13. Filter, "The Only Way is the Wrong Way," The Amalgamut
14. Spoon, "Stay Don't Go," Kill the Moonlight
15. Dean Gray, "Doctor Who on Holiday," American Edit
16. Muse, "Knights of Cydonia," Black Holes and Revelations
17. Justin Timberlake, "What Goes Around...," FutureSex/LoveSounds
18. Radiohead, "Like Spinning Plates (Live)," I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings
19. Nine Inch Nails, "Right Where It Belongs (Soft Edit)," /With Teeth/ (Japanese V2)

What does music mean to you? To your writing?
It's difficult for me to write without some kind of music playing; I can do it, but as I say, it's difficult. The right music can put you directly into a scene, connecting with your characters on a deeper level than just the text on the page. It gets to you on an emotional level, tapping into your lizard brain to feel things incapable of being expressed in words. It's then my job to have to translate that Platonic level of experience, clumsily and incompletely, into written form. It's never perfect, but when it's done right, it can add new layers and nuances to a piece of text and give it much deeper meaning.

What kind of music do you like to write to?
I have fairly eclectic tastes; the playlist above was assembled to put me in the right mood for this particular story, and is not exactly representative of my more general listening preferences. As of this writing, I have around 6,100 songs on my iPod, and it's sometimes difficult to pick from it all. It all depends on what I can use to emotionally lock me into a scene; this might be Nine Inch Nails or Radiohead or Spoon, or it might be Beethoven or Holst or Kabalevsky.

If this story was made into a movie, who would you want to do the soundtrack?
Trent Reznor, no question. The man is eighteen kinds of genius, and he's already shown in both his soundtrack work and his recent online release of the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts I-IV that he has a phenomenal visual ear for this type of music. The man is one of my heroes, and I'd be honored to be associated with him in any way.

To learn more about Jason, visit his website.

Next week, I interview author Alex Dally MacFarlane.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Author Interview: Susan Higginbotham

Listen to the interview here!

Tell me a little about yourself and your writing.
I’ve been writing for years, off and on, but I never tried writing historical fiction until I re-read Christopher Marlowe’s play Edward the Second online and became fascinated by the historical background to the play. I began researching the reign of Edward II, and when I stumbled across the story of his niece, Eleanor de Clare, I knew I had to tell her story. Her story became my novel, The Traitor’s Wife, and her eldest son’s story became my second novel, Hugh and Bess: A Love Story. I’m now working on a novel set during the Wars of the Roses.

Tell me about the story that you've created a soundtrack/playlist for.
The Traitor’s Wife, set in fourteenth-century England, follows the dramatic changes in fortune of Eleanor de Clare, favorite niece of the ill-fated Edward II and the wife of Hugh le Despenser, who’s believed by many to have been Edward II’s lover. Eleanor at various times in her life was a lady in waiting to Edward II’s queen, the wife of the most powerful (and most hated) man in England, a prisoner in the Tower of London, an accused thief, and the subject of litigation between two men who each claimed to be her husband.

What is your playlist?
Bedrich Smetana, “The Moldau,” from Ma Vlast. This piece is a musical depiction of a river, and it reminds me of Eleanor’s uncle Edward II, who enjoyed rowing and swimming at a time when both pastimes were considered far beneath the nobility.

Carl Orff's “Oh, Fortuna,” from Carmina Burana. The terrible scene where Eleanor’s first husband is executed always takes place to this piece in my head.

Edward William Elgar, Enigma Variation No.9: Adagio (Nimrod). A lovely piece of music that I associate with my novel, though I can’t really explain why.

Bruce Springsteen, “Rosalita” —for the scene where Eleanor elopes with her second husband.

Bruce Springsteen, “Dancing in the Dark.” This was a long novel, and I love the line in this song: “I’m sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book.”

There are others, but I would have to hear them on the radio to remember them. I should steal my daughter’s iPod.

What does music mean to you? To your writing?
I enjoy music a great deal, from rock to classical to truly awful pop, though I can’t say it has had a profound effect on me or my writing. It’s just something I like to have with me and that I would miss terribly if it wasn’t around.

What kind of music do you like to write to?
I don’t listen to music when I write fiction—I find that it negatively affects my concentration. Strangely, my day job with a legal publisher involves writing too, but there’s no creativity involved, so I don’t find the classical music I have in the background distracting. But with fiction, the only sound is my computer keys tapping.

If this story was made into a movie, who would you want to do the soundtrack?
That’s a very hard question for me to answer, because with the exception of Marie Antoinette, most of the movies I’ve seen in the last few years have been comedies. Adrian Johnston did the soundtrack for the BBC miniseries “Our Mutual Friend” about a decade ago, which I really liked, and Patrick Doyle has done the soundtrack for a number of films I’ve enjoyed. But I had to go to the Internet Movie Database to get their names—I’m not at all au courant on these matters.

To learn more about Susan, visit her website.

Next week, I interview author Jason Erik Lundberg.