Hi, Milo. Thanks for agreeing to the interview today. Musa Publishing will be releasing your second novella, Yakuza Territory, on the 7th November, 2014, and it’s worth pointing out here that anyone who orders a copy before October 31st will get 30% off the normal retail price. Also, before we start the interview, let me tell everyone they can win a copy of Girl of Great Price, the first episode in the series. All they have to do is leave a comment and their contact details below and they will be included in the draw.
Okay, Milo, can you begin by telling us a little about Yakuza Territory?
Yakuza Territory is the third in a series of future noir (crime noir + science fiction) novellas I’ve been writing for the past three years. The first two are Girl of Great Price and Immaterial Evidence, available wherever eBooks are sold. Here’s the blurb for Yakuza Territory:
A detective with no way out. A telepath with something to prove…
Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen gunmen with a score to settle. What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison’s past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he’s outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.
Exciting stuff, Milo! Tell me, when did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a kid, I listened to radio shows from the ’40s and ’50s: Box 13, X Minus 1, The Lone Ranger, and many others. Around the same time, I read through a few dozen Hardy Boys and started to get bored with them. “I can write something better,” I thought. I don’t know if I succeeded, but I entertained myself in the process. And the consistent narrative structure of those radio programs helped to make me the pulpy writer I am today.
Creative people are born that way but they are also shaped by various outside influences. Were you influenced by any particular authors, alive or dead? Does music or some other medium inspire you to write what you do?
Ray Bradbury’s writing has inspired me for years, but I get a lot of my ideas while reading, watching TV/movies, and asking “What if?”
Do you recall the moment when you got the idea for your first book?
I was probably in the shower—or dreaming. That’s where my better ideas show up.
Dreams and daydreams are a great source of inspiration, I agree. Milo, of all the characters you have created, do you have a favourite; and, if so, why?
Charlie Madison has been with me since I was a kid, learning to type on a manual typewriter. He’s definitely one of my favorites—if only because he’s stuck with me the longest. And he’s got real personality.
If someone asked you for one tip to improve their writing, what would it be?
Write more. We only get better through practice.
Many authors have certain recurring themes or messages in their work. Do you see any in your own books?
Good versus evil is a big one. I like to think I’m shining light into the darkness of speculative fiction, which is often nihilistic in nature. Even in my horror stories, I try to include a glimmer of hope.
Most readers would probably thank you for that, Milo. What advice would you give to aspiring, young writers who are seeking publication but don’t know where to start?
Follow Write1Sub1 (www.write1sub1.com) and learn the ropes along the way. Check out The Submission Grinder (http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/) for publications accepting submissions, and get crackin’.
Some good advice there. Is there a work in progress you’d like to tell us about?
I’m working on a sequel to Yakuza Territory, and it’s going to be a doozy full of serial killings, assassinations, kidnappings, illegal border crossings, and maybe even a mad scientist.
It is said of writers, don’t make them angry or you might end up parodied or horribly slaughtered in their next novel. Have you taken revenge on anyone in this way?
Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he’s not grading papers, he’s imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. He is an active SFWA member, and his work has appeared in more than ninety publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology.
His novel Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Space-Time Displacement Conundrum is forthcoming from Every Day Publishing, and his other stories can be found wherever eBooks are sold.
Musa Publishing are also offering 30% off pre-orders of eBooks from now till October 31st.