Monday, November 24, 2014

The Interrogation of DO Krauss

Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest,  DO Krauss (aka Ex). On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.  


1. What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

Thai, at a murderous level of spiciness. Means no one else touches my food.

2. Describe your current mental status.

Dangerously calm.

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

In two phases, really. I see the story straight out, from beginning to end, and just sit down and write it, straight out. Odd things happen along the way, such as unknown characters popping up, known characters not behaving as predicted, and events transpiring that I did not foresee, but, overall, things proceed along the sighted path. Then come the revisions, consecutive ones that can take anywhere from one month to seven years, all designed to make the story readable. That's not straight out. That's grueling.  

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

Well, gee, which one? I just sent Tu'an, which is the sequel to Partholon, off to our slash-and-burn editor, Jayne Southern. It's set five years after the events of the first novel, in a small town where John Rashkil's son, Collier, is fighting for his life against a revolutionary army. About a week ago, I started the first revision of The Ship Looking for God which is, surprise, surprise, the sequel to The Ship to Look for God. It takes up from the last page of Look, and takes a very different, very dark turn.

5. Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?

Regardless of brand or brew, the coffee is perfect when I add cream and it doesn't change color.

Tea? What's that?

 6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

I get up sometime between 0500-0600 and work out, bike ride and weights, mostly (yes, I am one of those annoying morning people). Sometime after breakfast and newspaper and shower and throwing Gracie outside, I'm at the computer whipping the WIP of the day into shape. Around noon, lunch and a nap. I love naps. You will, too, when you get this age. Back at the WIP until about 1500, then some leisurely social media stuff. Dinner. Netflix. Or World of Warplanes, whatever the mood.

Budgie smugglers? How…picturesque. But, no, no specific luck charm, clothing or otherwise. I don't believe in luck. Unless it's bad luck.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

Let's see, I'll pick…John Rashkil, since he's a Rebel E guy. He came aborning when the anthrax letters showed up around DC, and I was trying to figure out if this was the work of some isolated nutcase, or the precursor to something bigger. Nutcase, apparently, but how would I react if it wasn't? Well, like John.

He is pretty much me in the same situation; a heroic, resourceful me, that is, not the real me. He is numb, appalled, in shock, and can't figure out why he's still alive. That he is means he has a mission: to restore order, and he embarks on that with a savagery of which he didn't know himself capable. But this is God's work, angels sit on his shoulder, so do what you gotta do. John, though, is blind to a critical fact: evil is boundless. People like John—lawful, decent, civilized—simply cannot fathom the depths of human depravity. Too bad for him.

Too bad for all of us. I firmly believe we are just one temper tantrum away from another Dark Ages, and we modern, sophisticated, oh so intelligent people will make the Visigoths and the Teutons look like pikers. After all, the Holocaust is within living memory.

8. Who are your favorite writers?

(WARNING: shameless suck up comment follows) Why, you , of course!
Cat: Shameless sucking up is always welcome and will in fact earn you extra chocolate. 

It's a toss-up between Alastair Reynolds and Neal Stephenson, both of whom write the most mind-blowing, epic fiction-to-science fiction around. I'm also a Stephen Hunter and Richard Russo fan. Any title of theirs, I grab.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)

Readers do, especially the ones who delight in language and structure and logic and warp and weave. I owe them the very best, which is why my revisions take forever. Nothing goes out until it is nigh-on perfect: no physical issues such as typos or font or punctuation; no logic bombs; no holes…well, as few as possible. No wine before its time.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

Such people are criminals. Banish them.

Cat: Rather glad Gracie isn’t subjected to this particular craziness.

11. Describe your perfect day.

It's a spring or fall one, with a cold wind blowing through budding or falling leaves, the smell of winter on the breeze (and there I am, taking my ease) with clouds flying by. Bracing. The kind of day you're just glad to be alive and you know, just know, God is standing behind the blue, smiling at your pleasure.

12. Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

I love villains who proceed from a sincere belief in their own rightness. If millions have to die in consequence, so be it. They're usually not bad guys, are downright affable, someone with whom you wouldn't mind getting a beer. But they are the most dangerous people on Earth: true believers. God save us from true believers. O'Brien in 1984 is the archetype.

13. Do you have any quirks?

Why, yes, yes I do.

14. All-time favorite movie and why?

 Doctor Zhivago, the Omar Sharif version. It is the best depiction I've seen of how the normal life can be overwhelmed by events outside one's control. I'm a big fin de si├Ęcle fan, specifically, the thunderous changes that WW1 brought to…well, everything: class structure, expectations, poetry, literature, name it. We are STILL in the throes of that. Everyone thinks WW2 dramatically changed the world but it was just result, and I don't mean Versailles. These last 100 years or so of insanity is the dust of WW1 settling.

Cat: I remember watching Doctor Zhivago … that’s all I have to say about that

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

Depends on which one you mean. Copy editing? Further versus farther, serial commas, too, to, and to…yeah, I admit a greater-than-average adeptness at those rules, allowing me to show a smug superiority for a minute or two before I admit those rules are, at best, fluid. Hey, we all need something we can cling to (ended with a preposition!).

Developmental editing? Long for it, truly, I do. I want to give a couple of my languishing WIPS to a great developmental editor and have my precious children ripped the freak apart. Some stranger rending what I think is my best work…that would be heaven.

Why, yes, those are flail marks on my back. Why do you ask?

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Somewhere about fifty miles south of where I am now, still in the Shenandoah Valley, on the West Virginia side of the Blue Ridge, but still in Virginia. Why? I love mountains, and the ones here are a bit more temperate than most so, yes, you get winter, but not so harshly as, say, the Rockies. Towards the WV side because, if you ever look at a map of light pollution, that stretch of the Valley is plunged in darkness, which means you can see the stars at night. And still in Virginia because, well, those West Virginians are crazy.

17. What is one thing you know about New Zealand?  (Please do not mention LOTR or The Hobbit. Am well over them!)

That once a year, you get a migration of crabs right across the island, going from one side to the other. I think that's marvelous.

Cat: We do? 

18. Favorite Pizza topping?

Pineapple and ham. It's called a Hawaiian pizza.

Cat: It’s called that here too. 

19. What were you before you became a writer?

An embryo.

20. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

Quit a job with the government to take a job with a contractor. Filthy lucre seduced me.

21.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Either watching a movie or playing a game, both video and board and at the same time. It's a talent.

22. Who is your ultimate character?

Wow, that's a good question. Mine would be a truly flawed man or woman, brought to a sense of self-loathing by a series of decisions and actions that could have been easily avoided with just a modicum of reflection, being suddenly thrust into a situation where he or she has to act in a way no one, not even he or she, would expect.

23. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine?


What's wine?

24. Have you ever been to New Zealand? And if not, why not?

I have not, mostly because it was not on the way to some place I was going. About the closest I got was Taiwan. Or Hawaii. Which is closer? Anyways, I hear you have this crab migration, and I just gotta see that. Bucket list item.

*coughs* really? You want to see crabs? No one you’d like to see again then? - Cat (slightly appalled that she rates below crabs.)

25. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

Wallet, keys (ALWAYS have your keys!), handkerchief because I sweat just watching people workout, and a steel yawara stick. Comes in handy when you gotta break someone's nose.

I am prepared for any kind of apocalypse you can name, short of a direct hit from a nuke. I already know which neighbors I'm going to eat.

26. Laptop, PC, tablet?


27. Ebook or tree book?


28. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?

A civil war, which, given recent events, seems more and more likely. Nothing more wrenching then suddenly having to shoot family members because of their beliefs. Although, there's some I need little urging to shoot.

29. Where do you do most of your writing?

In a little sitting room on the second floor of this English cottage I currently own. No one bothers me here. Or they better not.

30. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)

Like you, the marketing, and primarily because I just don't give a crap. I just don't. If someone stumbles across my books, well and good, but I'm not going to knock myself out advertising them. A Twitter blast, okay, an occasional ad, okay, but, really, I can't be bothered. I just recently got on Facebook because lots of people said I just have to if I have any hope of Being a Successful Writer but, you know, I regret that. I'm more than halfway ready to shut my account down, frankly. I like Twitter but not for advertising purposes, just for the fun of it. I have recently been showing up at various comic/scifi/monster cons and, tell ya, love them. But not for the sales, which are dismal—for the people, who are true hoots.

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle...
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

Give me the fish and no one gets hurt.


You can find out more about DO Krauss in the following places ...

Twitter @dokrauss


Blue Line Guy said...

Well, of COURSE I would go there to see you. Then we'd go crab dodging.

Cat Connor said...

Well that's okay then ... you can still have a chocolate fish.

I see you...

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