INTERVIEW WITH LUKE GREEN (a World building author)

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Questions and ©2014 by

27th January 2014                                            Jane Peskara/Audrey Valentine,

answered by Luke Green

 

Q: How old are you? Where are you from?

A: I am 36 years old and I was born in Kentucky, though I have no memory of it really since my family left the following year.

Most of my life has been spent in Texas in one city or another though I currently live in Fukushima, Japan and have lived in Incheon, South Korea.

Q: You are a writer.

When did u realize, writing is what you want to do?

A: Hard to say, I’ve been telling stories forever.

I homebrewed my first version of a D&D-ish game when I was between 8 and 10, it was sort of  a card/board game thing.

I forget the rules now but it was based on the AD&D books I used to check out from the library.  I started writing down my stories sometime between 5th and 7th grade and started getting serious about story-writing during High School.

I began writing fanfiction in my early university days, during which time I also created the main character to my Bystander novel.

My first novel was started while waiting 12 hours to board the plane on the way to Korea the first time.

Q: What are you writing about?

A: Well, my stories are fantasies.  I like writing about people who happen to be heroes.

A number of my characters would rather never have anything exciting happen to them and would like to go through life like anybody else.  Very often my characters start out in a situation where their life and perspective has been torn to shreds by various circumstances.  Sometimes a single incident and other times by a life time of exposure to dangers.  Showing these sorts picking up the pieces and trying to fit a life for themselves amongst normal people is very appealing to me.

I also love the supposedly inane little conversations people have from day to day when talking with friends, coworkers and so on.  I tend to think that a lot of a person’s character peeks through when they’re simply chit-chatting as opposed to when they’re discussing something they consider to be important.  A casual conversation between a teenaged mercenary and a death-seer discussing their missteps in training while being listened to by a young genius whose had a comparatively normal upbringing is amazingly fun.  Likewise a truly innocent conversation between an ex-con “supervillainess” turned librarian and her parole officer regarding reading material.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your book/s?

A: I have a couple of different world-settings, which is one of the main reasons I want to get enough exposure to be making a living at this.  I need more time to fully tell all the stories in my head.

Greenwater is a traditional fantasy set in a land that is essentially a combination of an inland sea and a swamp about the size of Texas.  The waters of the Greenwater are of unknown depths since very few people live down in the Dim where mostly beasts rule.  Out of the depths grow gigantic trees that grow two miles in height and possess trunks that grow wide-enough to support an entire column of troops walking comfortably five abreast.  Most of the settlements are on the five great mesas in the area.  There are several smaller islands that are settled, but those are close to the wild Dim.  The main characters in this case are, for the most part, outsiders to the Greenwater coming as war starts to rise.

Zodiacs is primarily a game setting.  It has two books, one of which is a rules-less description of the world and the primary continent of the campaign.  The second book is a short-story anthology that gives a bit of the back story of the six heroes from the sample campaign I ran at A-Kon one year and my interpretation of the events that would occur in the first adventure where they all meet.

Bystander is a near future superhero-ish setting.  The US government admitted to the existent of so-called “peaks” who were people that had surpassed previously accepted human limits.  Some of them had gotten there through heavy training, others were volunteered for some experiment or another (or didn’t) and still others were born that way.  Most of these peaks live normal lives and have normal jobs.  There is no superhero phenomena, no people in tights acting as vigilantes.  At least no more than it happens in real life.  The main character is Lucretia, who has the dubious and faded fame of being the first “supervillain” arrested by the police, which occurred completely without aid by other peaks.  The fact that she was possibly a minor at the time, and drunk, has been either controversial or ignored depending on the whims of the press.  She currently works as a librarian where she tries to stay out of trouble despite something of a growing hero-complex.

Divine Blood is an urban fantasy with an ensemble cast and no specific main characters.  It’s an alternate history where Demons, Gods and most creatures from the myths are very real and very often living in and amongst us day to day.  Like in Bystander, the majority of these supers are no more dangerous than any other civilian despite their Talents (or the fact that they might be several thousand years old).  However, unlike in Bystander, the population is much larger, much older, understands itself much better and is, by and large, unknown to the majority of the public.  In the last fifty years, there has been an upswing in the population of supernaturals due to immigrations from extra-dimensional shards, larger families due to the perception of increased safety, the spread of trained psychic abilities and the increased frequency of Talents being born to families with no history for power.  Unbeknownst to any of the organizations, close to 1% of the world’s population is either psychic, non-human or both.  This in and of itself is not a terrible thing, since very few of these are of a combative or dangerous attitude.  But also, there are other troubles brewing.  Gods and Demons that are sick of truce and becoming more and more human and want to go back to the way things were.  Nations on the verge of starting wars of conquest.  Secret societies plotting to control or protect the world and humanity unknowingly well into the period of evolutionary development that 65 million years ago produced Demons and 6 million years ago produced Gods.  An evolutionary step that has historically come along with an Extinction Level Event.  The stories themselves revolve around a set of high school students at an international boarding school in Australia as the situation brews, but I am also working on an RPG setting that explains the broader world.

Q: What do you want to achieve with your writing?

A: I want to write stories that are fun to read.  I want to write stories that make people want to write their own stories.

I’d like Divine Blood to be a shared world setting where I can look at the fanfiction created, point to something and say “this here is canon” and ask permission to host it in a short-story anthology.

I’d like to see fanart of my characters which I didn’t commission.

I’d like to see people speculating.  I’d like to hope that my story can encourage someone else to make their own world entirely separate from my own.

But, again, most of all, I just want to write fun stories.

Q: Do you have any idols?

A: Well, being Christian, that’s a no-no.  ^_~.  That said, there are many people I respect immensely in the field of science-fiction, writing and story-telling in general.

Off the top of my head, I’d list: Fred Perry, hardest working man in comics, manga-ka of the “Gold Digger” comic and many, many other series; JRR Tolkein, who should need no explanation; Hiyao Miyazaki; director of such things as Princess Mononoke and Naussica; Jim Butcher, author of the “Dresden Files” novels; Rumiko Takahashi, author of Ranma ½ and other such titles; and JK Rowling; author of the “Harry Potter” novels.

Q: Do you like to read? If so, have you any favorite authors or Genres?

Or something you absolutely don’t want to read?

A: Heh, I think I answered this one already.  I also read and review tons of independent fiction and lots of manga.

I detest stories that give a hopeless impression to the world.  I look around and compare the world to the history I know and see things getting progressively better and better and better.

But there are some people back there that seem to think we’re descending into a morale cesspool, that humanity should be extinct, that all we do is destroy things and many other such depressing thoughts.

I have to say, bad as everything is, we’re still far more moral, ethical and financially better off today than we were fifty, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, a thousand years ago.

Q: Is there something important you want the readers to know about you?

A: I’m not sure that I am important to the work, really.  At least half the meaning of any particular book comes from the person reading it.  Each person has a different set of life experiences such that every piece of a book will connect to them in a different way, or else won’t connect at all.

Every person who has read my books has a perspective on events that I did not expect.

Most have made comments or speculations that brought up concepts and themes which I had not intended but which gave me ideas for shaping the story in the future.

My own life experiences are surely in there since the words are mine, but most of what each person sees in a book is what they bring to the table themselves.  So the important thing about me might be best described as I’m not really important.

Q: What are your plans for the future (as writer and private)?

A: As a writer I am currently working on a RPG supplement to Divine Blood which I plan to release in April.  After that, I plan to finish a sci-fi novel I was hired to write but was put on hiatus by the client due to other situations.

I will also be working on the second Bystander novel, Haunted Bystander.

As to small projects, I’ve started working with Anytime-Shorts on a serial fantasy storyline which will be released in 3k to 6k short stories once or twice a month on that site.

I also plan to produce more Divine Blood short stories.

I have one waiting for art right now and then plan to write four to five more.  The one in the wings now and the two to follow will be released with the others, but the last two or three will be released only in a short-story collection combining all of the short stories released so far in one volume.

I also have some rough outlines for the second Divine Blood novel and the fourth part of Greenwater.

Privately, I plan to work down my debts, build up the exposure my stories have and hopefully break into the point where I am earning a living on my stories.

At which point I hope to return to the States and beginning writing 8+ hours a day and making the rounds of various conventions in the States.

Thank you Luke, it was a pleasure to interview you, wish you all the best for the future.

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