Friday, August 10, 2007

Interview with John Scalzi

Hey. John Scalzi just posted an interview with me on Ficlets. He also mentions it on his stellar blog, Whatever. I'm thrilled about this. John's great. I admire his work and the life he's leading as a hard-core freelance writer.

I just popped over and checked out his blog and took a look at the comments so far. (One wonders if I should do this...) John gets a lot of visitors, so the comments are already lining up. One thing I'd note is that almost all the comments are about my answer to "racism in fantasy" question. Hey, I'm cool with whatever aspect of it gets folks talking, but it's funny that that's what gets picked up on. It was only one of the six questions, and none of the other ones had anything to do with race.

What about my days naked and fasting in the Arizona desert?

Or my answer to the question about a piece of writing advice I'd been given?

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Blogger Neth said...

Well, I'm curious about the naked desert fast - mostly because I live in Arizona and often work out in the desert.

3:40 PM  
Blogger John Dent said...

MMmmmm dessert.... :)

3:45 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

The race thing was the part of the interview that Scalzi highlighted. One of the things about blog posts is that by no means all readers click through on links. Many of them just respond to what they read in the post.

But hey, I smiled sadly at that writing advice. And thanks to Scalzi's plug I'm going to buy your book.

3:56 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

John, thanks for the subtle dessert typo mention. I've changed it, but herewith admit that it was once part of the official record. Naked Arizona dessert. What would that be, do you think?

Neth, in 1987 I was a student at Prescott College. I was studying Outdoor Education and Recreation. I was pretty serious about it, and later spent a few years working as an Outward Bound instructor. Anyway, on our orientation to the college we did this three week desert hiking trip. Being that we were fit college kids and it was, well... hot, we quickly began to shed clothing. When it got the fasting/solo part I wasn't satisfied with the norm, but opted to fast for an extra day and then to spend my three days butt-naked. I walked out of camp without a stitch on (had a sleeping bag, though) and was that way for three full days. Fortunately, I don't burn very easily.

Cheryl, you're right about the fact that John highlighted that in the snibbet on his blog. I'm fine with that. It's part of the interview, and he probably chose it cause it had some teeth. But when I was doing the interview I realized that it wasn't until his last question that I'd given any indication in any way of my race or my thoughts on race. It was only that one question that it came up in. I bet you're right also on people commenting without actually reading the interview. Hadn't thought of that....

Oh, and mostly, thanks (in advance) for buying the book!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Neth said...

I hope you avoided the cholla, and cat-claw acacia, and mesquite, and ... - well I'm sure you remember well how unfriendly the flora is around here.

5:08 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

I remember that everything - absolutely every living thing - seemed to have prickles/horns/needles/stingers/teeth of some sort. Pain in the ass, it was - literally.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Constance Brewer said...

Actually, I was very interested in your comment "I guess I think that part of what makes something a good story is when it’s got complexity and depth beyond the surface events."

Intelligent writing scares a lot of people. Do you think word of mouth and the positive reviews can overcome the tendency of many readers to shy away and reach for something 'easier' to read? What is your target audience? Can Acacia lure readers over from the 'light' side? :)

I, for one, welcome our new complexity and depth overlords...

7:58 PM  
Blogger John Dent said...

Sorry for mentioning it, I'm a right B*st*rd when it comes to typoes. :)
Can you tell us more about the experience?

8:14 PM  
Blogger Lou Anders said...

My favorite quote from the interview:

"On one hand, it’s very important to me that my fiction be about more than just a good story. I guess I think that part of what makes something a good story is when it’s got complexity and depth beyond the surface events. "

10:24 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Lou, you're a man of quality and high intelligence, clearly.

John, you're a grammar Nazi in a fuzzy blue goggle-eyed disguise.

Constance, ah, man... There I go thinking I'm all smart and intellectual and stuff, but forgetting that's not what the masses want... And I want the masses! Geez, I do make things hard for myself...

But I do think word of mouth can slowly spread the word about substantive stuff. DUNE found loyal, numerous readers, and it's pretty heavy. Octavia Butler left a legacy - although her sales numbers weren't as high as she deserved. Neal Stephenson's clearly a very smart man, and he sells well... So it can done. Not easily or often, but I've long held to the delusion that I'm "special". Haven't given up on it yet.

Oh, and a bad Hollywood movie can always garner extra sales...

11:42 PM  
Blogger Larry Nolen said...

After reading some of the comments at Scalzi's blog, I cannot help but notice how many readers unwittingly underscored your point about the acknowledgment of color/race by claiming that they were "color blind." I remember quite well taking a diversity class in a local university's social work program and being confronted with the fact that being "color blind" is quite a privileged position to be in in the first place.

Very good interview/answers, David - gives me more to think about and to look forward to whenever Book #2 comes out :D

6:49 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Larry,

Thanks for stopping by. The "color blind" thing...

You know what? I just wrote a response, but it got so long I think I'll make it a proper post instead. I'll put it up tomorrow.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Reginald Harris said...

Greetings from all your fans at the Pratt Library in Baltimore! Deb Taylor says hello

This is a great interview. I particularly like your comments on 'teaching writing'.

What made you decide to go to Scotland after grad school (other than the call of destiny to meet your future wife:)?

10:51 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

ReggieH, Ahhh, the Pratt Library... Just the mention of the place brings back memories. You know, when I was 18 I lived on Read St, just off of Charles. I often walked over to the library and browsed for books. It was a great time for me as a reader. A world of books to read - all of them new and full of potential.

Return my greeting to Deb. I don't know if you all would be up for it, but I'd love to stop by the next time I go out on a book tour. Stay in touch, if you will, and maybe we can make it happen somehow.

As for Scotland... I had no grand plan. I'd written a couple of manuscripts in Grad school and thought my agent would be selling them soon. (NOT - those two books were never published. G's Story is actually my third novel.) So I just wanted to head off and hang out in different places in the world. I went to London intentionally, but ended up in Edinburgh without one real reason in the world. A whim.

That whim has affected every day of my life since.

3:40 PM  

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