Reading the text: Brenda Cooper
Posted by Randolph Carter on September 25, 2009
Could you take a minute and explain what your Silver Ship series is about?
This series is meant to an all-ages adventure story set on other worlds. I start by marooning six genetically enhanced kids on a planet full of people who detest genetic engineering.
The first book – The Silver Ship and the Sea – is about growing up, about becoming, and about loyalty. It’s also an anti-war book, and it touches on the concept of prejudice. If human’s discriminate based on color or age or sexual orientation or just about any other slight difference, what will happen when there are real differences between us, as people have different skills and powers one from the other. This concept is actually fairly inherent in gaming, too.
The second book – Reading the Wind – is about a child finding a father and about genocide. It’s also introduces readers to The Five Worlds – a complex society spread across 5 planets (some natural, some artificial). The two most powerful planets of the five are preparing to go to war between each other….
And in book three – Wings of Creation– our heroes are trying to stop the war. They are on Lopali, a world where humans can fly….and the surface of everything looks ordered. But death and betrayal exist under even the prettiest places….
Would you mind describing what the process was like for you in getting your first book published?
My very first novel was actually a collaboration with Larry Niven: Building Harlequin’s Moon. Larry is well established, brilliant, fun, and a good teacher. Because the book was with Larry (who did tons of work on it – it’s not my book with his name on it – it’s a joint effort), I didn’t have the usual problem of getting a foot in the door. So the real challenge was believing in my work, in our work together, and in book itself. When you are achieving a life-long dream, there about a million way to sabotage yourself, so I had to watch for those and avoid them.
Would you say there is grind involved in the writing process?
Sure. A bunch of grinds. You have to write every day. At least I do. I get grumpy if I don’t. And some days I get grumpy. Some days I drag home after work and there’s social/family stuff I want or need to do and I hit the keyboard late and every word is tough. This year, work has been so hard (can you say recession) that I’ve cut my word count target in half to stay sane. I still write more many days, but it’s lets me off the hook earlier when I need it.
Marketing can be fun, but it can also be a grind. I’m happy to have been asked to do this interview, and I’m having fun answering the questions. But I’m not writing (However, I did write my minimum word count already today).
By contrast, what would you say is one of the most rewarding things about being a writer?
The act of writing is absorbing and almost always fun. Seeing your work take shape as it becomes a book is grand.
Hearing from readers is the best thing ever. I can be having a tough day at work or at home, or I can just be tired, and I’ll get a nice note from someone I don’t know who’s read one of my books, and that will be fuel for a day or a week of good energy.
Seeing my work in a bookstore is still a bit of a shock. The first time I was able to give Barnes and Noble money in trade for a short story of mine in a magazine, I cried. Dumb girl. I already had the story for free on my computer and in my head. But I cried because I could pay money for it. Humans really are silly.
When do you find time to write?
Whenever. This morning it was between 6:00 and 7:00 AM. Tomorrow it might be the same. If I don’t get to it in the morning, it will be after 10:00 PM. Sometimes I just go away for a night or two and write – especially when I’m starting a novel or a big story.
How do you tend to escape these days?
I’ve always escaped by reading. I still do. I escape by getting lost in fast, fun books like a lot of the urban fantasy that’s out there. A Patricia Briggs is like candy – I buy it and I stop my life for two hours. Lately, we’ve been watching LOST on CD (we’re still on Season 1, but I own Season 2). I walk my golden retriever, Nixie. I exercise (not nearly enough – but I always love it). On a rainy day, we do have a Wii that we like to drag out and play fun games on.
Would you have any words of advice for the would-be-writers out there?
Write. Really. Write. Write. Write. It’s all practice. Write. If you were planning to run a marathon, you’d train (run). To write a novel, you have to write. So the advice to would-be-writers is to write.
Writing makes you a writer. You can learn how to be a published writer after you practice being a writer.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with this gamer/reader audience?
To find out more about the books, go by The Academy of New World Historians. Readers who leave comments through November 10th will be entered into a drawing to win a free book (one a week). The grand prize will be a hardback set of all three books.
This website is a new concept for me, and I honestly don’t know if it’s working yet. I wanted to create a place readers would like. So if any of your audience will drop by they get a chance at a book and they get my undying gratitude for taking a minute to let me know what works and what doesn’t.
To find out more about me, drop by http://www.brenda-cooper.com/ where I post reading recommendations, musings on futurist topics, and keep my schedule up.
Just tonight, I listened to our local seattlegeekly podcast issue #32, where our intrepid podcasters interviewed game designers at PAX 09. And talk about fun. I wanted to play the games I heard about (I am scared to death of gaming. It would eat my time. I would never finish books). One of the games the show was about, Aion, has flying people in it. So does Wings of Creation. So now I want to play Aion. I probably won’t. I need time to write (see above; writer’s write).
Whether you’re gaming or creating games or writing, be happy.
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