This morning we are very lucky to have Luke Romyn with us for a little Q&A.
Hey Luke – I hope you’re comfortable. Once the Sodium Pentothal takes effect you’ll find everything much easier and you probably won’t even notice the earthquakes.
What’s your favorite type of takeaway? Pizza with a side order of pizza… or pizza.
Describe your current mental status. That would depend on my mood and situation. When dealing with every day issues, I’m very sane, when writing I tend to slip towards insanity. Or is it the other way around…?
How much of you is in your main character in The Dark Path? Huge amounts. Vain is like the concentration of every angry and righteous thought I’ve ever experienced, molded into a purpose-built creation focused on a mission of righteousness… or anarchy.
Do you have a favorite coffee? I’m like the most non-stereotypical writer ever. I don’t drink coffee and I’m not a miserable hermit…. Well I don’t drink coffee.
Where did the concept for your latest book come from? The ideas for all my books come from the simple question: What if…? The rest just seems to grow on its own.
Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, or perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, budgie smuggles or boxers… inquiring minds want to know.) My typical day varies so much (like my underwear) I don’t really know where to begin. I always set aside time to social network along with my writing and/or editing. At other times I find myself skillfully avoiding answering questions about my underwear….
Do you ever see yourself writing a vampire story? (Team Edward or Team Jacob… or are you more likely to join me by stuffing your head into a gas oven than ever going to the Edward or Jacob place?) I’ll never rule it out, but I think I’d have to let the current trend of metrosexual vampires die out, so to speak. I prefer to use original ideas and creations as opposed to existing fictional beasts or characterizations – I’m whacky like that.
Who would you turn gay for, or alternately who would you turn straight for? Ellen DeGeneres. Or my wife.
Who are your favorite writers? David Gemmell is definitely high on the list, as is Stephen King and Raymond E. Feist. And believe it or not, J.K. Rowling sits in there too. I like authors with characters you can relate to; I think that’s the secret to a great story.
Who inspires you to do better? Everyone. I look around and see people struggling to get ahead and it inspires me to be like them. I see people wallowing in self-pity and I’m inspired to not be like them. You needn’t simply see inspiration in people better than you. A small child might one day be the catalyst to a better world. Inspired?
Do you ever put pants on your dog? Am I supposed to? Is that in the rules?
Describe your ultimate day? Sitting in Barnes and Nobel in NYC doing a signing with a line-up going around the block. That’s about as far as I get. I prefer to put my dreams into my writing.
Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate? I have to admit I really liked Lord Voldemoort from the Harry Potter series. Rather than just slapping a superficial antagonist in there, J.K. Rowling included huge amounts of depth to her creation of Voldemoort, making him more effective as a result.
Your first novel, The Dark Path, has been out just over a year now – tell us a bit about your first year as a published novelist. It’s been like a rollercoaster. Seriously. In that time I’ve had huge highs like getting voted in the P&E readers’ poll for best horror novel of 2009, and then there are lulls during which I’ve managed to get another four novels finished.
Do you have any quirks? I like to delouse leprechauns.
All time favorite movie and why. Taken, starring Liam Neeson. It is, without doubt, the ultimate revenge movie, but with a quest intertwined in there as well as a happy ending. Not to mention several tons of kick-ass action.
What’s your preferred medium when it comes to writing – pen and paper, computer, typewriter? Definitely computer. I change my mind far too much for anything else.
How did you enjoy the editing process? The hardest thing was seeing a huge chunk of my word count – almost 10K! – getting chopped from THE DARK PATH. It was a necessary evil, and smoothed the storyline immensely, but having to delete my precious words in order to make a better book really sucked. The end result was totally worth it, though, and I learned immensely from it.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? At the moment I’m tending towards NYC. I love the excitement and size of a city like New York, and think I’d definitely fit in… for a while. I get bored easily.
What is one thing you know about New Zealand? (Do not mention LOTR. I was seriously over it before they’d finished filming!) I actually worked in Auckland for a while running a strip club called The White House. They actually did a couple of TV shows based on the club and its owner, Brian LeGros, who is a friend of mine and the reason I was working there. My wife is also from NZ, so we’ve travelled there extensively. It’s a truly beautiful place with great people.
What’s the worst book you have ever read? Green Eggs and Ham. I had the damn thing stuck in my head for a decade.
Name a book you wish you had written. The Stand, by Stephen King.
How many novels have you written, both published and unpublished? I’ve just finished my fifth novel which I’m currently editing. My agents are selling another three, which are currently under consideration by various New York publishing houses, with a lot of interest being shown already.
What were you before you became a writer? I was a security professional; a far cry from the fictional scenarios I now find myself in, but one which exposed me to so much more than imagination ever could.
Wine, beer, or spirits? None of the above. My poison of choice is Coca Cola. Spend fifteen years watching people vomit out their ears and you’ll think twice about it too.
What can we expect from you next? There are some very interesting things happening at the moment. There’s currently an online campaign to get myself and my fellow writer and friend, Claude Bouchard, onto the Ellen DeGeneres show. What started out as a bit of a joke has taken on a life of its own and is now becoming scarily possible. But my main focus is about getting my books out there to my readers, as well as getting exposure to people who might like my stuff. I seem to have found a real niche in the market that’s crying out for attention, and the future’s looking very bright indeed.
Do you carry a notebook or keep one by the bed for those sudden brilliant ideas? No, although I probably should. I tried it once and then lost the notebook and spent three months cursing and trying to remember what was on there.
What is the most random thing you have ever written with and on? I once used a slightly sun burnt backpacker to sketch a treasure map into the sand at the beach. Is this true…? Probably not.
If you’re not writing, what are you most likely to be doing? I like to get out of my cave once in a while and do normal stuff. By normal, of course, I mean totally abnormal. I get to the gym when I can and still do the occasional security work when something interesting comes up, but for now my focus is entirely on my writing.
And finally… Will Australia give Pharlap back? (Inquiring minds really want to know… you can’t blame us, Oz does keep stealing our stuff. Although we don’t want all of it back, you can keep Russell Crowe.) Unfortunately, despite popular opinion, my reach doesn’t extend to long-dead stuffed national icons. Ask whoever’s running Australia when this interview goes up; it seems to change on a daily basis.
Whoops, no, that wasn’t the last question… how often do you get to NZ? I haven’t been for a few years now, but need to get back soon if for no other reason than to make sure The White House is still running. At the moment, though, I’ve got so much stuff on my plate that getting away is a near impossibility. Maybe when my books get released there I’ll have to do a promotional tour. I’d really like that.
Thank you for taking part in the interrogation series Luke - I know once the drugs kicked in you didn't have a lot of choice, but still you entertained us! :)