September 26, 2014

Proust Your Protagonist with K. W. Taylor

RedEye-2014
Meet Sam Brody, the protagonist of K. W. Taylor's
hit urban fantasy The Red Eye.

Presenting

Sam Brody

Today's interview is with someone who is no stranger to interviews--radio talkshow host Sam Brody of the hit late-night series The Red Eye. I'm turning the tables on Sam by asking him the questions, especially since I keep hearing this weird rumor about him being a dragon-slayer, which sounds like something he'd debunk on his own show. Maybe he'll give us the scoop; maybe not. 

Kristina: It's great to have you here, Sam.

Sam: Thanks for having me.  Listen, I've got quite a bit on my plate at the moment, so I hope you don't mind if I just blitz through these.

Kristina: No problem, I understand. Just so you know, though, some of these are of a personal nature--

Sam: It's all right. I don't avoid the tough questions on my own show; I'm fair game for yours.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The lowest depth of misery is knowing something is irrevocably screwed up and you’re totally unable to do a damn thing about it. Misery is seeing my ex with another guy, seeing the face of unfathomable horror and knowing it could slice me to ribbons in two seconds flat, or having somebody I care about be in danger. Can I do something about some of that stuff? Yeah, a little. Maybe even a lot. The danger stuff, I’m getting better at. The emotional stuff…not so much.

Where would you like to live?
I’d like to live in a safe world free from monsters, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. Silly me, I thought I did live in a world like that, but apparently not. Barring that, I guess I see myself retiring somewhere sunny with a beach…unless people like me don’t get to retire, that is.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
I’ve seen glimpses, but only just that—glimpses. Brief. Fleeting. The smile on my producer Heather’s face when I’ve done something good. The first-morning drag on a cigarette (I know, I know, I’m trying). The point where coffee cools off just enough that you can drink long and deep without burning your tongue. Simple pleasures. God knows my life is more distinct-lack-of-pleasure these days.

The quality you most admire in a man?
All the stuff I’m not, basically. Hard-working, teetotaling, clean-living, and easy to get along with. So basically my boss, Jon, but so help me, I will go to my grave denying I admire him.

Concordia-2014
If you can't get enough of Sam, check him out
in The Red Eye's prequel, The House on Concordia Drive.
The quality you most admire in a woman?
A woman can earn my eternal admiration by telling me when I’m being an ass. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop, but I’ll admire her honesty.

Your favorite virtue?
Not being a homicidal demon-type thing helps. Humanity helps. These days, as long as you’re not a ghost, a dragon, or a shapeshifter, everything else really is a virtue.

Your favorite occupation?
Of all the hats I wear right now, I still like my radio gig best, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It gets me out of the house without making me get up early, and it provides a nice cover for my recently-acquired side gig. I must admit the whole “podcasting” fad has me a little worried, but so long as the radio station keeps me employed and doesn’t ask too many questions about my all-too-frequent injuries, I’m good.

Your most marked characteristic?
I get a lot of eyerolls whenever I say something I think is especially hilarious. Apparently not everyone agrees that I am, in fact, the funniest man alive.

What do you most value in your friends?
Anybody who’s known me longer than about five minutes is going to have to be really excellent at forgiveness.

What is your principle defect?
For most of my life, I had no idea about a lot of the darker parts of the universe almost solely because while I have my problems, getting riled up and angry isn’t one of them. Apparently certain gifts don’t really present themselves if you can’t be bothered to summon up some righteous anger. So, unlike a lot of people I know—my father, for example—I actually need to work on increasing my anger.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
The greatest misfortune would be to die trying to save someone and still fail. I don’t care so much if the universe decides to off me, but if it takes me out with someone I care about, that’d be the worst.

What would you like to be?
Right more often than I’m wrong. I’ll let you know if that ever happens.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My buddy Steve is pretty chill. He’s a good friend and a decent guy, and those are few and far between in this world. Lot of heroism in grilling a good hamburger and never screwing anybody over.

Who are your favorite heroines?
My producer Heather is a true heroine, and I love her for it. So is a really brave lady named Jenny Chan. Only had the pleasure once, but she showed me what it means to stand tall in the face of real adversity, the kind that lives in your house with you and can scar you for life if you let it.

What is it you most dislike?
Mornings. Sunrise. Alarm clocks. Being at the airport while it’s still dark out. Basically anything that has me anywhere before noon.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Tact. Tact would be really useful a lot of the time. Really, anything related to not just blurting out exactly what I’m thinking. Might still be married if I had that gift.

How would you like to die?
At this point, it would be pretty satisfying in the heat of battle. If I have to go out, might as well be with my boots on.

What is your present state of mind?
Is “irrevocably damaged” a thing in the DSM? It’s probably called something fancier there, but yeah. That.

What is your motto?
Live and let live. Unless the other thing wanting to do the living is a sixty-foot-long flying and fire-breathing dragon. Then live and let die really painfully.

~*~

Image (c) K .W. Taylor
K.W. Taylor’s debut novel The Red Eye marks her fiftieth publication credit (Alliteration Ink, 2014).

She has short stories in the anthologies The Grotesquerie (Mocha Memoirs Press, 2014), 100 Worlds (Dreamscape Press, 2013), Sidekicks! (Alliteration Ink, 2013), Touched by Darkness (Etopia Press, 2012), and Once Bitten, Never Die (Wicked East Press, 2011), as well as many print and electronic magazines. Taylor’s two short novellas, The House on Concordia Drive (Alliteration Ink) and We Shadows Have Offended (Etopia Press), were released in 2014 and 2011 respectively. 

Taylor serves on several panels for local, regional and international literary grant awards and writing contests, and she is a student in the innovative Writing Popular Fiction MFA program at Seton Hill University. Taylor teaches college English and Women’s Studies in Dayton, Ohio, where she lives in a restored nineteenth-century home with her husband and the world's most rambunctious kitten. When not writing, Taylor enjoys yoga, doing crafts badly, and collecting board games. She blogs at kwtaylorwriter.com.


September 20, 2014

Proust Your Protagonist with Nick Trevano

Meet Col. Scott Columines, the protagonist of
Nick Trevano's thrilling sci-fi hit, Advenae.

Introducing

Colonel Scott Columines

I'm pleased to have another exciting guest on my website today!  Colonel Columines  took some time out of his busy schedule to let me interview him via his company's long-range comms.   He works with some very high-tech equipment, being in the military and all, and I knew the technology I had (Skype, ha!) wasn't exactly meant for outer terrestrial communication. Anyway,  when we finished our chat he kindly forwarded me the transcript of our interview  to share with you. Enjoy.

Kristina: I don't understand how you managed to set this up, but thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you! My questions, you'll find, are a little out of the ordinary, which probably suits you just fine.  Please introduce yourself!

Columines: My name is Colonel Scott Columines. I am currently with the Earth expedition to maintain the outer terrestrial outpost of Coalire. I’ve been with the military for about 16 years and I’ve seen a lot of action during that time. I don’t have a wife or girlfriend and honestly with the way things are going at the outpost, I don’t see any of that happening anytime soon.

Kristina: If I'm the first female you've spoken to like this in a while, then can I  say I'm flattered? (laughs) I mean, my interview questions are kind of personal...(unintelligible) Uh, right. Anyway.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being unable to help. Unable to do anything. Like you’re just stuck somewhere while the world falls apart around you and there isn’t a thing you can do to even try to stop it.

Where would you like to live?
Oh wow. I haven’t thought about that in a long time. I think if I ever had the chance to have a place of my own that wasn’t on a military base, I’d do with somewhere maybe out west. Wyoming maybe. My friend, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Beck, he owns a ranch in Nebraska and we always go out riding when I visit. It’s just really nice to be out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to worry about. I think I’d like to have a chunk of land out somewhere with just myself and nothing else around me.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Having food in your belly, a roof over your head, and being alive and safe.

The quality you most admire in a man?
Anytime he’s unwilling to give up. And that goes beyond just soldiers. Whether he’s defending his home or just willing to go the extra mile in life, that’s what can make the difference in how something turns out.

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Honesty. Don’t tell me one thing when you mean another. I like straight answers and I’m never going to figure something out if you’re going to be cryptic about it. If there’s a problem, tell me. Whether it’s good or bad, just let me know. You’re not going to hurt my feelings - trust me. I’ve been shot at.

Your favorite virtue?
It’s kind of a toss-up between honesty and loyalty.

Your favorite occupation?
Mine. (laughs)  Really though, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t like it. Even on the bad days, I mean...that’s just a part of it. But if I had to choose a different occupation: chef. Just the way they’re able to pick out different foods and spices and know how to put them together just right - that impresses me. That and I love food.

Your most marked characteristic?
That I don’t stop. I guess that’s what people would probably say about me. I don’t know how to stop. Just always have to get the job done. No matter what it is that I’m doing.

What do you most value in your friends?
They’re always there when I need them. I must have done something right in my life because never once have I had a friend flake out on me.

What is your principle defect?
Not knowing when to stop? (laughs) Probably that I don’t want to lose the connection I have to my men. That’s why I’ve skipped promotions in the past. I didn’t know how it would effect my connection to them and once that’s gone... I mean what’s the point in commanding them if I don’t even know their names? Then I’m just some smug bastard in the back room telling them to go out and die while I sip coffee and read the newspaper.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
If the Alliance of Order fell apart. Christ, that would be a mess.

What would you like to be?
What I am now.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Lieutenant Colonel Sharp Jackson. I always wondered who the hell would name their kid Sharp, but he’s one of the men who helped keep the world from falling apart before the Alliance of Order got put together. You’d have to pick up one of his biographies to get the full story, but it’s a damn good story. Ever since hearing that, I knew what I wanted to do.

Who are your favorite heroines?
Holy shit - my mom. I’m pretty sure she must have had a cape somewhere hanging in her closet for all the stuff she did for me. She was always going down to the principal’s office because I was getting into fights with older boys when they were picking on someone smaller than them. I got my ass kicked a lot, but because I was the one starting it, I’d get in trouble. But she knew. She always had everything ready to go when it needed to be. Always made sure I was in the right place at the right time. That woman could run a field hospital with her eyes closed and just her pinky finger.

What is it you most dislike?
People who fuck over other people. And I don’t mean by accident. I mean real, intentional shit that will fuck someone’s life or get them killed.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
If I could paint that would be pretty fantastic. I feel like that would be a great way to relieve stress. Just...making something good. Unfortunately I can’t draw or paint for shit.

How would you like to die?
A lot of people think dying on the battlefield is glorious and all that. It’s not. It’s messy and terrible. I want to die of old age. In my house. Just one day I’m there and the next I’m not.

What is your present state of mind?
I’m in a good place. I guess that’s kind of surprising given everything that’s happened. But I mean, if I dwell on it what good does that do me? I’m just going to end up wallowing in self-pity and depression and that’s just not how I operate.

What is your motto?
Don’t back down. Although these days I might have to add in: Don’t go in blind.


~*~


Cederblad 51 (cc) by J Schulmann555 via
Wikimedia Commons
About Advenae: Stepping onto a planet four worlds away from Earth is routine for Colonel Scott Columines. Outerterrestrials who call themselves the Kajla have graciously built an outpost for the arriving humans—yet when the Earth expedition arrives, their hosts are nowhere to be found.

With no clues to follow, the Earth group continues on with their original intent; exploration. Unfortunately, the universe is not a place that can quietly be explored. The Taregot invade and destroy any planet within their reach, seeking to eliminate all organisms they deem inferior—and Columines’s team makes the mistake of bumping into them.

Humanity just went to the top of their list.

About Nick TrevanoNick Trevano goes hiking and camping whenever possible, owns a wild dachshund with a brain the size of walnut (without the shell), and thrives on insanity and general mayhem.