Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Character coversations: Shen

I just finished the first draft of Orbital Shifts last night. We'll see how long it takes me to get antsy... and which project I'll pick up next.

I’ve been looking at other character interviews online and maybe I’m being too informal and conversational with my characters. So I’m hauling in “the responsible one” for some more official-like questions.

(That gets me a glare)
Responsible? Supposed to be the responsible one?

(From the next room, Maggie yells) Responsible for screw—

(Shen kicks the door shut.) Never going to live it down, am I.

Probably not. Okay, first question: The first novel, Course Corrections, is about breaking into a secure asteroid prison-and-rehab facility to rescue a few people. What was your role?

(I point the microphone at him and he just looks at me.) Come on, I’m God here. The authorities have to play by my rules.

I was the spider. (please explain?) Spider suit is an EVA-ready stillsuit equipped with multi-wavelength camouflage, a gecko-based adhesive surface and a facilitating AI. Spider is the chuck inside the suit. For this job, I was the one inside the Trojan Horse.

Note: anyone asking what a stillsuit is will be smacked with a hardcover copy of Dune.

Don’t you have to hand in your hard SF cred for mentioning Dune?

If we invented it tomorrow, we’d call it a stillsuit. Second question: Maggie led this break-in to rescue her cousin, Neal McBride. Why did you join her team?

Got into the resistance on the ground floor, knew all the McBrides. Neal paid the piper for a lot of us, in the end. Didn’t deserve that. They sent him off for “therapy” to “fix” him — not a thing wrong with the chuck, he’s just booter and they’re not.

To secure the funding for this break-in, Maggie had to agree to rescue some less pleasant booters who were being held in that facility.

Was going to be trouble from the start, that. Of all the booters they’ve locked up, Tanner Sheppard was one that I’d leave there. Pirate. Slaver. (shakes his head) Giving us a bad name, booters like him.

Third question: you sure I can’t get you to grow your hair out like your reference photo?

Long hair in zero gravity is a hassle. (You call that long? I point at Maggie and other long-haired characters but he shakes his head) Rough enough on it with all the coloring.

Right, we should mention your punk tendencies. Hair was dark blue at the start, wasn’t it? Unfortunately for you, I’m bored and I have Photoshop. Let’s make that pic a little more accurate.

Knew you couldn’t be serious for a whole interview.

Okay, let’s be serious then. I’m working on a Twitter-sized pitch for the sequel, Orbital Shifts: Tanner Sheppard’s no pirate, but he’ll have to prove that to all of Jupiter’s moons, clear? And to Maggie McBride.

As of the start of that (the sequel) I say he’s a drunk and a brawler and a general fuck-up. Should cut him loose and don’t look back.

Think Maggie will go easier on him than you?

(considers that for a while) Think Maggie’s ambitions could get in the way. Why I stayed on after the rescue job to watch her back. (thoughtful for another moment, and adds) When I met her, she was just Glenna McBride’s kid sister. Not the way she’ll be remembered, though.

Orbital Shifts, first draft 70.6K, is in need of betas who have not read Course Corrections. Then it will go into hibernation alongside its other half until the Viable Paradise workshop in October. Then we'll see about queries and such. Life creeps at such petty pace. Meanwhile... stay tuned.

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