lunes, 7 de enero de 2013

Interview with Lyda Morehouse

Last week I reviewed the wonderful Archangel Protocol by Lyda Morehouse, the first volume of the AngeLINK saga, now available on ebook for the first time. It is really a pleasure for me to have the author here on Sense of Wonder answering my questions about this saga and her work in general.

Odo: Archangel Protocol is, clearly, a cyberpunk novel. However, you also use some tropes and themes from urban fantasy and I'd even say paranormal romance. Why did you decide to explore this unlikely combination? How does it relate to your romance writing under the name of Tate Hallaway?
 
Lyda Morehouse: It’s interesting that you detected urban fantasy lurking inside Archangel Protocol, since I wrote that book many years before becoming Tate Hallaway. However, I think you’re on to something.  I’ve always been a fan of both fantasy and science fiction.  In fact, I have a trunk novel that I wrote before selling Archangel Protocol that was, in fact, urban fantasy.  I was very enamored of the books of Emma Bull and some of the other early urban fantasy writers, and my first attempt at writing took me down that path. Archangel Protocol was the next book I wrote, and, clearly some of those elements continued.

In fact, when I first sold Archangel Protocol I asked my editor (Laura Anne Gilman, who you may know has gone off to have a successful writing career herself,) if my novel was science fiction, fantasy or romance.  She told me it was science fiction, but, to this day, I tend to believe I wrote a future fantasy—because, to me, what’s important in SF is that the plot turn on science.  Mine doesn’t.  It turns on what is essentially magic (the angels.)  But, when I related this story to my agent (Jim Frankel, an editor who at the time was also dabbling in agenting,) he told me that the reason Archangel Protocol is classified SF is because it “feels like science fiction.”  The world is full of classic cyberpunk tropes so even though there’s lots of magic and romance in it, it “reads” as SF.

I think, too, that I didn’t so much decide to purposely combine these elements as they were what came naturally to me.  Though I always intended Archangel Protocol to be marketed for publication, the series is very personal.  I wrote what I wanted to read.  At the time there weren’t a lot of genre mash-ups.  Of course, they’re quite popular now, so hopefully that’s part of why this book will still work for ‘modern’ audiences.

Odo: From the opening lines of Archangel Protocol I thought I could detect the echo of works such as Neuromancer by William Gibson and "True Names" by Vernor Vinge. Am I right? What other authors have influenced your writing?


LM: You’re absolutely right.  I’m a huge Gibson fan, and am pleased that my current agent also represents Gibson.  I was actually a big cyberpunk fan all through the eighties and early nineties when ‘The Movement’ had its heyday.  I pretty much read anything vaguely cyberpunk that I could get my hands on, even people who are, sadly, probably kind of obscure now like Wilhelmina Baird (Crashcourse, etc.).  I also adore Pat Cadigan (of special influence "Visual Mark" from Synners) and, a later addition to the ranks, Melissa Scott’s Trouble and her Friends, which I have to say has some of the best hacking scenes because, in reality, they’re ‘boring’ coding, which you almost never see.

I’m actually disappointed that cyberpunk seems to have run its course because I think that a lot of the themes explored in those books are really quite relevant today.

Odo: Religion (even theology) is prominently featured in your novel. Do you think that science fiction is especially suited for exploring religious themes and believes?

LM: I do.  Speaking of early influences, I was very affected as a young reader by Philip José Farmer’s Jesus on Mars.  And, when Archangel Protocol first came out, I spent a lot of interviews trying to convince people that bringing religion into science fiction was hardly new or original—because it isn’t. Science fiction, thankfully, has a long history of being subversive.  It’s a great venue to talk about political and religious themes because you have this nice “distance” of the future which an author can use to buffer the reader.  It’s not about what’s happening now, you see, because it’s THE FUTURE (while, of course, all along, you really are talking about today’s issues.)

Odo: If I'm not mistaken, so far you have written five novels set in the AngeLINK universe. What are your plans for this series?

LM: I have written five novels. In order they are: Archangel Protocol, Fallen Host, Messiah Node, Apocalypse Array, and Resurrection Code.  The first four were published by Roc/Penguin USA.  The remaining three of those first four will be coming out in e-book editions from Wizard’s Tower Press some time in 2013, I hope.  The last, Resurrection Code was published by a small press, Mad Norwegian Press, and should still be available in all formats.

Currently, I have no further plans to continue in this universe.  It’s difficult when you have a sort of apocalypse and end the world…. Resurrection Code is actually a sort of sequel/prequel with parts of the story taking place after Apocalypse Array and another huge part taking place BEFORE Archangel Protocol.

However, if some publisher showed interest, I certainly wouldn’t be against it.  The world of the AngeLINK universe is certainly rich.  There are plenty of things that could be mined.  I’d love, in fact, to write futuristic detective novels that take place while Deidre and Daniel are together in Tech Vice Squad.  I started a short story about that actually, with the intention of giving it to the Gaylaxicon program guide, but then they decided they wanted something shorter… so it’s languished, I’m afraid.

Odo: In the foreword of Archangel Protocol you explain the curious process of getting the novel into e-book format. Could you tell our readers about it? How do you think that electronic books and self-publishing will transform the publishing world in the next few years?

LM: Oh, I have no idea.  Dude, I thought DOS was going to last.  Clearly, I have no ability to predict future trends. 

But, the funny story about getting Archangel Protocol into e-book format begins, I suppose, with getting the rights reverted from Roc/Penguin.  After I did that, I spent a lot of time thinking I should really do something with those books, and did some research into doing the e-book versions myself.  But… when I went back to my old files I discovered a startling fact.  I actually didn’t have and electronic version of Archangel Protocol, at least not in its fully edited form.

Part of that had to do with the fact that, until very recently, Penguin USA did all its copyediting/manuscript revision ON PAPER.  Yeah, like dead trees.  Reams and reams of them.  So, while I had this big pile of copy edited paper in my basement file cabinet, I was faced with the prospect of rekeying it all if I wanted to make an e-book.

So I did what any modern writer would do, I put out a call on Facebook to see if anyone had a decent pirated version of the novel in e-book format.  I got several volunteers, including one from my friend Dorian who lives in Cairo, Egypt (which is, as you may recall, Mouse’s home base.)  The Torrent copy, however, was a mess, and I still felt very daunted by the prospect until Cheryl Morgan and her press offered a contract to do the work for me.  I happy signed up!

That’s how it all came about.  Plus, I was Facebook friends with the artist of the original covers, Bruce Jensen, who amazingly not only agreed to allow a second use of his art gratis for the e-book, but also did the design work.  I’m not sure Cheryl wants me to reveal this last bit yet, but there will be brand-new art for Apocalypse Array since Bruce had three working images for that book.  The fourth book, a lot of fans may remember, is quite a bit different in style from the others, so…. Let’s just say, this new version will match much better.  I’m super excited about it, honestly.

Odo: What are you working on at the moment? Can you give us a sneak peek of your future projects?

LM: Currently, I’m somewhat between projects at the moment.  My publisher passed on the proposal I sent for the next Tate book, which would have been a follow-up to Precint 13.  I’ve been sort of floundering around for ideas for the next project and I have a lot of different proposals out in the publishing world.  Hopefully one of them will strike the fancy of an editor.  One that I’m probably the most excited about is currently at Tor, and is a young adult novel called Samurai High  But, while I wait for word on that, I’ve been writing a somewhat silly superhero romance….

LM: Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

I actually do a pretty good job of keeping my website up-to-date.  You can find that at http://www.lydamorehouse.com.  I regularly write a blog on LJ called “Day in the Life of an Idiot,” http://lyda222.livejournal.com/, which is probably the place to catch the most recent (albeit sometimes boring) details of my life.  I also contribute to my writers’ group’s blog, http://wyrdsmiths.blogspot.com/Tate also has her own blog, but she’s been terrible about keeping that up.  You can check in there at: http://tatehallaway.blogspot.com/.  I’m also on Facebook both as Lyda and Tate, and on Twitter as @tatehallaway.  I also have a secret Twitter account for my fannishness, but I’ve been enjoying lurking there incognito.
 
Odo: Any other thing you'd like to add?

LM: Other than thank you?  Not really, I don’t think.  This has been tremendous fun! Thanks for the insightful and interesting questions!

Odo: Thank you very much for your time and your answers!

(You can also read this interview in Spanish/También puedes leer esta entrevista en español) 

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