Hey all, Jack Wylder here. With Larry still out on book tour, I thought this a good time for another exciting writer interview. (We did this one a few months back, but I’ve been waiting for the right time.) This time we’re talking with Larry’s Co-Author on the upcoming Monster Hunter Guardian (Julie Shackleford’s book) and author of everything from Shakespearean Fantasy to Space Opera. Questions in bold, her responses in italics.
- How did you get involved in the MHI universe?
Well, there were several reasons to read Larry. The most important part was that I was hanging out in Toni’s Forum when I noticed someone with the name Correia. Being not at all chauvinistic about my origins, I asked “Portuguese?” Larry said, “My dad is.” I said. “Oh, cool, there’s two of us now, we’ve got them surrounded.” I think we’ve been friends ever since. (Toni is fond of saying she THOUGHT we were joking. Ah.) Later, when the Baen MHI edition came out, my kids got to it before me. (No, I don’t remember why.) I got tired of being told I REALLY had to read this writer who was the best thing ever. (Yes, I do have two boys. Yes, they were teens at the time. Shut up.) So I read it on the plane on the way to Liberty con that year. And by the end of the flight I knew that my openings and actions scenes were severely lacking. As luck would have it, I was scheduled to teach a writing workshop at the con that year, so I started talking how to catch the reader’s attention, and I used MHI as an example. There were about 20 very well behaved people at the workshop. But there was this goon at the back who kept laughing. It wasn’t till the end of the class, when he introduced himself as Larry Correia, that I thought “oh, wow. No wonder he laughed.” Still I was very shocked and flattered that Larry asked me to write Julie’s book. I was even more shocked I found myself writing MHI fanfic. (Dark Fate, aka how many ways can I get Grant beat up in Portugal.) The fanfic is totally non cannon, but Larry has promised not to rip my head off and beat me to death with it, so I guess I’m okay.
- What is the most challenging part of writing a book in someone else’s universe?
In this case? I’m writing in the head of one of his main characters. I’m terrified of doing something that makes him go “AH, you’re completely wrong. How dare you do that?” It’s not happened yet (but I’ve only done a small portion so far, and a short story) but it COULD totally happen, and I’m terrified of it. (I think that’s why Grant. You know, he’s not Larry’s baby.)
- Working with friends can be difficult; did you and Larry have any problems working together and if so, how did you handle them?
Well, so far we’ve only done a short story and the first chapter of Guardian (yeah, I know, but there were some health crisis and I’m going to resume work on it next week) and we’ve not had any problems. If there are problems, it’s very simple, it’s his WORLD and I’m a guest there. He gets to resolve any conflicts of vision with his vision. (I’m just Jazzed to be in the show.)
- What part are you most proud of?
So far? The fact that when I sent him the first chapter, which was really tricky (our outline kind of required us to contradict something Julie told Owen. So I had to find a way to walk that line) Larry said I was in his mind. That is one of those things that make me walk around giving myself high fives all day. (Well, they would do, except the boys say it looks dorky and if I do it any more they’ll have to put me away.
- Who is you favorite MHI character and why?
I like Grant. Look, it’s a disease, okay? Part of it is that his background is a lot like my husband’s (Patrician New England families, etc,) so I understand some of the unspoken stuff. (Except in our case all the money had disappeared before our generation. Sigh.) Also, well, I always like the redeemable *ssholes. When I wrote Jane Austen fanfic, I was known as “the girl who has a crush on Whickam.” It wasn’t exactly true, but I loved writing stories in which he redeemed himself. (See, I told you it was a sickness.) For “which character would you like to hang out with?” Well, Trip. I mean, doesn’t every geek chick?
- If they made a movie of this, who would you cast?
Er… you understand that I have a condition, right? Actors don’t exist. They come to life for the movie, and then vanish when the movie is done. I don’t recognize them when they show up again. (Hangs head.) It drives my poor husband nuts.
Husband: “Who was that person in that movie about—”
Me: “Character’s name.”
Him: “The ACTOR!”
Me: “I don’t understand why you people insist on caring about people who don’t exist.” Eh.
- What’s something most people don’t know about Larry?
That he mispronounces his own name. No, seriously. It’s supposed to be Cur-Reyha. I’ve told him. He doesn’t care. (Sniffle.) On the serious side, that he’s one of the nicest, least stuck up bestsellers I have ever met, always ready to give anyone a hand as long as the person isn’t an ass. And that he’s incredibly smart (he’ll argue. Ignore him. Like he knows!) Though I guess anyone who reads his complex plots knows that.
- You write a lot of different things. Of all the series you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?
I like Darkship Thieves, mostly because it allows me to play with my future history. It’s a really big canvas, and it gives me a chance to flex my “big drama” muscles, while still writing intensely personal and human stories, which is what I like.
- When Guardian is finished, what’s next for you?
Well, I’m actually doing a chapter a day and sending it to Larry, because I don’t want to get too far ahead without his supervision, since I am in the head of one of his main characters. I don’t want to get say ten chapters ahead, and have Larry go, “You know that point where she took the bad guy in the trunk of her car? Yeah, that’s where you went wrong. So, let’s erase those five chapters…” So, I’ll be doing one chapter in the morning, and one chapter of Hacking The Storm, the next Earth revolution book, in the afternoon. For those who read the series, that’s Fuse’s book.
For those of you who’ve finished Monster Hunter Siege and want to know what happens with the ending, Monster Hunter Guardian will answer that question (soon-ish).The ‘Grant Fan-Fic’ she mentioned is available on her blog: www.AccordingToHoyt.com Do a search for ‘Dark Fate’- it will help fill the time until Guardian drops! At Larry’s signing in Austin, he mentioned that the reason he chose Sarah to write the voice of Julie is that her character Athena Hera Sinistra from the Darkship series sounded just like her. To see for yourself, check out the first book in the Darkship series, Darkship Thieves.
-Jack Wylder, signing off…