Sunday, August 12, 2007

An Interview With Kristin Landon!

Here, as promised, is the interview with Kristin Landon, author of THE HIDDEN WORLDS, which has been the featured debut for the past year.

I found the cultures of Nexus and Santandru to be fascinating. Did you have any particular real-world influences for these cultures?

Wellllll. . . my husband has been to Las Vegas. . . .

An Irish friend assured me that I clearly had parts of Ireland in mind when I described Santandru. That’s interesting, as I’ve never been there; but in theme I don’t think he’s far off—I respect human tenacity in harsh places, the shifts people are put to in order to survive. It’s a theme SF addresses more often than contemporary fiction can.

As for Nexus, I built that mostly by contrast to Santandru. Plenty, luxury, leisure, wealth. Yes, they have earned it by dangerous work, but there is a lack of compassion, a lack of understanding, that definitely features in the next book.

What is your favorite scene in THE HIDDEN WORLDS?

This took some thought, but I would have to say it’s the death of my male protagonist’s (Iain’s) father. It was such a pleasure to write, bringing together so many threads of plot and feeling. And I'm pleased with how well it works, and how it pays off.

What scene gave you the most trouble?

I had to rewrite the last third of the book extensively, because I’d submitted one book and in the end sold two. I’d left what I assumed was an open door for a sequel, but I discovered that that’s very different from actually planning and executing a sequel. My superb editor at Ace, Anne Sowards, was wonderfully helpful in suggesting ways to turn a fairly closed book into one that satisfies but leaves more to be told.

Of course, I’ve been told by some of my friends that the satisfaction is not quite enough, that they want more right now . . . but that’s good.

Can you give us a teaser about the sequel, THE COLD MINDS?

What happens when the Cold Minds find and use the greatest weakness of the Pilot Masters? When Iain is torn between old loyalties and new realities? When Linnea must choose between duty and family—when love pulls her in two directions?

Can you tell us the release date, if you know it?

It’s not yet set. The manuscript has been turned in, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Is this an open-ended series? If not, can you say how many books you plan on writing in THE HIDDEN WORLDS setting?

I can’t yet say, because I don’t yet know. THE HIDDEN WORLDS has only been out for six weeks. I certainly have stories to tell beyond two books, if that works out.

Have you finished any other novels besides THE HIDDEN WORLDS and THE COLD MINDS and can we expect to see them in print?

I have one other finished novel stored away. It’s set in a completely different future from THE HIDDEN WORLDS—not related at all. But at this point my agent (Donald Maass) and I agree that I should focus on writing new books. Perhaps in future we’ll give it a look, and see what potential it might have.

It was my first novel, my journeyman piece, and I'm proud of it—but I know my agent’s advice is good.

Your bio mentions that H. G. Wells prompted your love of science and science fiction. Which other authors have you admired?

Goodness, after reading Connie Willis’s wonderful tribute to Heinlein in the latest LOCUS, I know I have to say, Heinlein—specifically his juveniles, such as TUNNEL IN THE SKY, THE ROLLING STONES, and CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY. And I share Connie Willis’s judgment that the best of all of them is HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL. I’ve loved that book since I was nine, and I still love it decades later.

I also deeply admire Ursula Le Guin, a fellow Oregonian. I don’t want to claim her as an influence, because I wouldn’t want anyone to think I imagine I write like her. But THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is not the only book of hers that I find unforgettable and revisit regularly.

There are plenty of others, a pretty wild mix—Vernor Vinge, Kim Stanley Robinson, oh, goodness! Lois McMaster Bujold, I love her books! Maureen McHugh, Greg Bear— Too many to name.

Please share your publishing story and any writing advice that you may have.

I had been writing seriously for about fourteen years, and submitting off and on for ten. I entered THE HIDDEN WORLDS in a regional writing contest (Colorado Gold, run by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers—a marvelous group and a truly enjoyable conference). It and my other novel were both finalists in the SF category, so I went to the conference. HIDDEN WORLDS won. The judge was an editor from Ace, who asked me to submit the complete book.

It took me a while to work through it all, as I hadn’t looked at it in at least a year. I submitted it the following spring . . . and waited. I had health problems that fall and winter (now completely resolved, thank goodness), so it was actually a surprise to receive an email the following spring, from a different Ace editor (the original had left the company) asking, was the book still available? And could we talk?

It took off from there, to my surprise and delight. In fact, I am still surprised. And still delighted.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Persist at all costs! 

And—thank you, Tia, for choosing to feature THE HIDDEN WORLDS on Fantasy Debut!

Amazon USA, Canada and UK


Tia Nevitt said...

You are welcome, Kristin! Thanks to you for popping by from time to time with your own comments. It was lovely to have you.

Chris, The Book Swede said...

Nice one, Tia! What a great interview, and well done. I just hope my upcoming one with Brian Ruckley goes so well! =D

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks and good luck!!

John Dent said...

That's a good interview, Tia. I don't think there's a better way to get to know these debut fantasy authors than by interviewing them!

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks, John! I thought that an interview would be a great way to finish off a "featured debut".

Anonymous said...

This was the first interview I've ever done, by the way. An interesting experience. But also a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

I hope you have lots more!