Monday, June 17, 2013

#AuthorInterview Meinos Kaen - Children of the New Era #dystopian

1. Hi Meinos Kaen, tell us a bit about your latest book.
My latest and first book is called Children of the New Era. It's a Sci-Fi set in a semi-dystopian England, in a future where a large part of the world population is now born with supernatural abilities, following an incident the causes of which were never fully discovered or disclosed.

Set up like a non-fiction book (like World War Z, to make a famous example) it's a fugitive's published recollection of the various events brought to light on a blog he administered, concerning the people living in this new era and their problems in dealing with the world around them, their family and friends, the government and sometimes even themselves, especially when it comes to young people. If you remember that certain Twilight Zone episode, you can guess why teens and younger persons having supernatural powers does not always make for a 'Good Life'.

2. What genres do you like to write in? Do you pay attention to genre rules or bend them?
My loves are Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but I like to experiment. I consider genre rules something more akin to guidelines, to bend if you need and want to. After all, it's because of rule-bending that we have, for one, so many flavors of Sci-Fi. Space Opera, Hard-Sci-Fi, Horror-Fi... The list goes on.

3. What kind of books do you like to read? Which authors influenced you?
I'm probably one of the biggest book-worms you'll ever find. I read whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. Just last month, I bought two books on psychology -one on basic psychology and the other on PTSD- and read World War Z for the third time.

Speaking of World War Z, Max Brooks has influenced me heavily in writing Children of the New Era, as stated above. And I've always aimed to write as Oscar Wilde in The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Quite the high bar, I know.

4. Are you a character driven or plot driven writer?
I love my characters, they're the centre of the story. Without them -and without them being well developed- the story can't go anywhere, or it just goes somewhere bad.

But every time a new idea for a scene or even a story comes to me, it's always what happens that first appears in my mind, not who does it. So, yeah... I guess I'm a Plot Driven Writer.

5. Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out?
Get an EDITOR. I made the mistake of not getting one on my first release, and I suffered for it. No one would review the thing -English is not my first language no matter how much I study it, so some errors can always escape your notice- because of the errors, and a second look is a must on plot and pacing. You are not your own harshest critic, no matter what people say. Also, get Social and blog.

What is the most exciting adventure you've been on? Did you incorporate it into a story?
My most exciting adventure? Hmm... Definitely my Scouts Summer Camp back when I was 14. On the fourth day of camp we were given this mission: hike to the top of a mountain, make camp and spend the night, come back the following morning. I woke up in the middle of the night at the sound and sight of four-legged canid shapes prowling the surroundings of the tent. Nerve-wracking, but I'd do it again... With a halberd, this time.

I haven't included that in any story I've written, but I might, one day. If the plot allows.

Who is your favorite character?
Probably the narrator, Henry 'The King' Powell. I had a critic that he's maybe too eclectic, that they can't narrow him down to a typology of character. One moment he's a responsible and self-aware person, critical on his country and his dystopian society. The other he's short of juvenile, snapping with jokes and sarcasm at people who dare not appreciate Drew Struzan.

But the thing is, I grew up meeting and befriending people who acted the exact same way. One moment we're discussing the latest Internet meme, the next we're talking about the merits of gun control. Real people do not adhere to character tropes, and when it's translated into fiction I think the story is always better for it.

Who was your most difficult character?
Michael789. Returning to what I said above, real people do not adhere to tropes. But for story reasons I needed someone who always said the wrong things. I had to remember every step of the way to keep him realistic. Give him some instances where he happened to say the right things, circumstances permitting.

You don’t have to tell us, but who in your life did you pattern him/her after?
Many unfortunate encounters. Let's leave it at that.

Any kissing scenes?
Not this time. Maybe in the sequel... * checks the manuscript * Yep. It's there.

What sparked the idea for?
No matter the genre, an author needs to research. You want to write a thriller? Research the setting. You want to write drama? You should probably research psychology. You want to write Sci-Fi taking place in the future? You have to research everything. Creating your own timeline means having to take into account its evolution, how the planet went from what it is at the moment of your writing to what it is in your book.

I’m positive that many authors share my opinion. And just like me, I bet that they feel just a little bit frustrated that they don’t get to show all their work. When you write a fictional story, you have to create chances for exposition that go hand in hand with the pacing of the plot, and most times that means not being able to show everything in one sitting. Then, I read World War Z.

Max Brooks has done something incredible. Through many smaller stories he narrates a longer one spanning decades, and at the same time he exposes his world on all levels: Political, social, geographical. The disabled wanting to aid the war effort. The reaction of the various nations to the early alarms. The psychological effects of the war. One of the previous questions was about being a plot or character driven writer. Max Brooks made a Background Driven book.

So, I decided that I would write another novel, a prelude of sorts that would focus on the world I had spent so much into creating. The result of that decision is Children of the New Era.

Describe a scene in your book where you would have liked to be in. Which character would you be and what would you have done instead?
In my book's future timeline there's been a long war, called The Borders War because most of the geopolitical borders as we know them have been altered because of it. Among the many engagements, the Battle of Barcellona is described by one of the characters as 'the day the world realised that old ways of warfare were well and truly dead'.

Call me a masochist, but I would have wanted to be there. Just to see the faces of the soldiers of an army as their millions in technology suddenly became useless in the face of only one person. Maybe I would have been one of the fleeing soldiers, or maybe I would have been their opponent. Either way, I wouldn't have done anything different.

If you could go back and change the ending to any novel you’d like, which would it be and what would be the change?
Twilight, to: rocks fall. Everyone dies.

… Okay, more seriously, [SPOILER ALERT]I would have changed the finale to Carrie, from Stephen King. I would have made her survive, start a new life somewhere else. After all they put her through, she deserved it.

Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters? Was your husband/wife jealous?
I'm not married. And no, never with one of my own characters. Other authors', though... * remembers fondly his teen-hood crush on a blonde-haired Ravenclaw *

What is your greatest fear?
Being helpless.

What keeps you up at night?
Once, it was attacks of Hypocondria for the latest media-marketed disease. Then I grew up.

Right now nothing ever keeps me up at night... Except maybe a bad case of indigestion.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you began this journey?
Just how important an editor is.

Tell me what a typical day looks like.
Boring, until I do something to make it awesome. I never ever want my life to become a routine.

What do you want your readers to walk away with after reading your novel?
Wanting to know more about the world I created, and wanting to see what adventures can take place in it.

Describe your childhood. What were some of your favorite activities? Games?
I was very introverted as a kid. Always looking for my father's approval. Not very sociable. I loved reading and playing videogames and, when it was summer, hide and seek. Summer because it was the only time I could go outside, when we moved to our mountain house. I lived in a bad neighbourhood.

Did you dream of being a writer or something else?
At first I wanted to become a firefighter. Then a lawyer. … I know. What kind of kid wants to be a lawyer?

Let me get this straight. Something I didn't even tell the wife I don't have and you want me to come out with it to complete strangers on a blog? Sure, why not! Drum rolls, please.

I, Meinos Kaen, did not -I repeat, I did not-... Like The Godfather. There, I said it.

Meinos Kaen - SciFi author, reviewer and blogger. I love music, Parkour, videogames, and anything fiction. As long as it's good. Otherwise, I'm going to find you Liam Neeson style.

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