Hello, friends. A couple of weeks ago, I encouraged fellow writers (and anyone else who wanted to play along) to write a short story to accompany the writing prompt I featured and then allow me to interview them. As with many things new, a lot of times people like to wait until they see someone else dip their toe in the water before they take the plunge. But I anticipated as much when I put the challenge out there. So, rather than waiting for someone to be the first to respond to my prompt, I’m jumping right into the interview mode, sans the homework. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite blogging brothers as well as one of the most productive (and most imaginative) authors I know, C.S. (Craig) Boyack*.
*(Don’t let the word count here deter you from reading the whole thing… Craig’s discussion of his book “Grinders” will captivate you, and his answers to my questions will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!) Without further ado, I hereby present C.S. Boyack:
Thanks for inviting me over to kick off your author interview series today. I hope it becomes a big hit on your blog.
Rachel was one of my first blogging friends and earliest supporters. I lost track of her for a while, as we all did, but I’m thrilled to see her back.
My first question involves giving you the basics about myself and providing a few links where you can contact me and read my books. Always the rebel, I try to provide my bio box these days along with all the links.
You can contact Craig at the following locations:
One of the cool things about Rachel is she’s very artistic. I doubt many other authors could boast this, but she made two of my favorite book covers. As an encouragement to click on the “My Novels” link above, check out ‘Will O’ the Wisp’ and ‘The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack.’ She did a fabulous job on the covers, and I still move copies of those titles.
Let’s see… I’m supposed to tell you about my newest book and provide a snippet.
The new book is called Grinders. It’s a bit of science fiction known as cyberpunk, and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s about police officers chasing criminals known as grinders. These people operate back-room surgeries to install small bits of hardware and software into their customers. It’s almost like the tattoo industry and the plastic surgery gone haywire if you want to think of it like that. That’s the plot, but cyberpunk is largely about the environment, and it’s extensive in the story. It’s almost a character in its own right.
A small sample, but I want to lead you in first. My main character, Jimi, is a painter in her off hours. She’s purchased a Bloody Mary, then taken it to the roof of her building to work on a new project. She is accompanied by her cat, Cole, who is a robot:
The rooftop was windy, so Jimi set up behind the doorway. The garden held all manner of vegetables, and there were even some tropical fruit trees. The bananas weren’t quite ripe but made an interesting picture. She opened her photos and found the street scene with the drone and raindrops. “Can you project this across my canvas, Cole? I want to draw the… Cole?”
Cole sat across the roof from her on the very edge of the safety wall. A group of swallows flitted just outside his reach.
“I thought you were going to help me.”
“We discussed no such thing. Besides, I’m a cat. Disdain is part of our charm.”
“Ugh!” Jimi returned to her canvas and drink. Her phone made a small hologram but didn’t project it. She tried to draw the street scene as best as she could. Cole could always project it later, so she could adjust the proportions.
She snitched one of the peppers and dipped it into her drink. By the time Cole interrupted her, she’d figured out the best place to situate the drone in the painting and decided to expand the composition so some of the lights from the grid and neon from the stores made it into the image.
“Sorry to interrupt, but the crew is ready to place your vases,” Cole said.
“Okay. We got a few hours of sun, at least.” She bundled up her things then grabbed the glass. “How are the birds?”
“Maddeningly, intelligent enough to stay out of reach.”
“Millions of years of evolution, pal. That’s their edge.”
If you’d like to check it out, this is the purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders
Moving on to the next question. If, for one day, you could be any character from your most recently published novel, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one for me, because I don’t know that I’d want to be anyone else. Since it’s only for a day, I’m going to choose Lou. He’s the senior partner to Jimi who I mentioned above. I’d kind of like to explore the cyberpunk world of San Francisco, and he’d be a good one to do it as. I’d get to experience things that are important to the story, like The Grid, robotic and holographic characters, and might even go see the electronic forest before they turn it all into plywood. Then maybe I’d have a nightcap with his holographic girlfriend, Piper.
If the protagonist in your most recently published novel came to life and moved next door to you, would they be a good neighbor?
Either Jimi or Lou would be good neighbors. First of all they’re cops, so that has something going for it. Then there is the fun of creating a cyberpunk world. It’s near future, so I had to do a little projecting based upon where we are right now. The Internet has taken over so much of our lives that people don’t interact much today. We all live in our own little microcosms and this doesn’t change in the future. Having one of them next door wouldn’t be intrusive at all. Jimi is a bit more outgoing, so she might be painting in her back yard from time to time. Although, her cat might stalk the bird feeders a bit.
Even the antagonist in the story wouldn’t be a horrible neighbor. He spends most of his time indoors obsessing over his own personal problems.
What is the one thing you have done and the one thing you have not done during the course of your life that would most surprise (or shock) your readers?
This is a tough one, Rachel. Mostly because people are so judgmental, and I have a public image to maintain. I’m going to go for it and see what happens. I have an ulterior motive, because I’m thinking about writing a novel that would include some of this.
As a young man, I stuck my nose into every dark hole in the west. I’m talking about from the high arctic of Canada to Mexico. Most of these were the result of hunting or fishing trips. I know the vocal minority thinks this is horrible today, but back then it was a way of life for many of us.
I haven’t fired a rifle in twenty years now, but would again if the motivation hit me. What I gained from it is real life experience. This all happened before cellular phones, and when you’re three hundred miles into the wilderness you can’t call for pizza or an ambulance. You have to figure some things out for yourself. I have insight into a world that no longer exists. I’ve seen herds of caribou and musk oxen. I’ve been startled by the buzzing of a rattlesnake, and even played with horny toads as a kid. Having a beer with the Inuit people in their town hall was fun.
One of the advantages to an author is that I know how firearms work, and what they’re suited for. You’ll never hear the pump-racking sound of a double barreled shotgun in one of my stories. (Double barreled weapons don’t have a pump mechanism.) I also know how to build a camp and start the fire. Any zombie apocalypse I decide to take on will have realistic elements in the story.
Leading to the second part of the question, I’ve eaten a buffalo tongue (and testicles). I’ve dug my own clams and hauled in buckets full of Dungeness crabs, then cleaned and cooked them myself. I had to survive for a week on a cube of butter, some Pop-Tarts, and a case of beer. Good thing the river was full of silver salmon, and butter is a great way to cook them.
So to get to the second part of the question, I’ve never once eaten a raw oyster. I know people love them, and I might one day, but it really doesn’t appeal to me.
This interview has gotten long with the snippet included, but I’m going to tack a blurb on anyway. I hope your fans will take a chance on Grinders, and thanks for having me over.
Blurb: Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.
Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.
Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.
Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.
Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.
This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.
I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.
Thank you, Craig, for taking the time to answer my questions with such mesmerizing responses! (And also thank you for the kind words!) I wish you the best of success with “Grinders” as well as with your many other titles for sale! (Buffalo testicles, really? Wow!)
(If YOU would like to be featured in an upcoming interview, please visit my Call to Writers for details.)