The new cover for
As the co-author of the Moon Race thriller Red Moon, I’m naturally pleased that the novel has continued to reach a sizable audience, driven mostly by word of mouth.
Some of you may have run across the new cover for Red Moon shown here. For reasons that escape me you won’t see this on the Amazon site, but you will see it on the Barnes and Noble site. I am holding off on updating the cover image here (and on the Luna 15 site where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about it) because this may be changing yet again soon, and for a reason that I can’t talk about yet … though hopefully soon.
Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and I was invited to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the first of the three I contributed, a question and answer from the publisher about the book, and yours truly.
Authors Are People Too! – Daniel Brenton
Tidings Variance fans!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are excited for this, the last, Authors Are People Too! Our final guest is Daniel Brenton, co-author of RED MOON.
Q. What questions have you always wished people would ask you?
A. We managed to finagle a few interviews, a couple of them being by podcasters, which turned into interviews by phone or by Skype. One interviewer asked a question that I felt was really pretty thoughtful, to the point of being innovative: “Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wished I had?”
I think we both drew a blank at that point.
I didn’t realize interviews could lead to moments of hair-raising astonishment, but this one in particular did. I’ll need to set this up a little.
In the book, Dave Michaels used the historical character of S.P. Korolev, the father of (and driving force behind) the Soviet space program, to make the point that the space program was a way to divert attention (and some funding) away from the nuclear weapons race. On the other side of the ocean, he had a collaborator in spirit: most of you probably remember John Kennedy’s words that provoked America to throw the gauntlet down before the Soviet Union and challenge it to a duel in the heavens:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
With this, Kennedy did in fact turn the Cold War into a symbolic war in the heavens, which almost certainly distracted us from our seemingly hell-bent drive for Mutual Assured Destruction.
In the interview I made reference to this theme and specifically to Kennedy’s challenge, and managed to get out the sentence: “by doing this, he may in fact have saved the human race.” In the final podcast, the interviewer closed the episode by seizing on this sentence and repeating it staccato with several enhancing effects, which, frankly, gave me chills when I heard it.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. Everyone asks this question, and I guess I’m a little surprised that people ask it. I say this in that I’ve always had a very active imagination (RE-active at times, sometimes to my detriment), so much so I still am surprised at people who don’t share this. I think in part the reason I do is that it was a childhood escape. Frankly, my home environment was not particularly pleasant emotionally. As a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut, and I remember many happy days spent at libraries during the summers, absolutely fascinated with any book with anything to do with space flight. A personal favorite (long after it had become outdated) was The Exploration of Mars by Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun, featuring those gorgeous paintings by Chesley Bonestell. In reflection, this was probably about as far as I could get from my home (symbolically), so it’s not really surprising.
To … actually answer the question: sometimes, outwardly, I can juxtapose two very different ideas and come up with something interesting, though I think this is really a way of accessing an internal process. I think it’s really a matter of being quiet and letting the mind connect with the unconscious mind. Usually if I have a story problem or need, I get a handle on the problem and hang on to it until I get an answer. I’ve been doing this so long that I pretty much take for granted that there’s always an answer, even if it’s an answer that says I have to start over. It’s a process.
Ideas, actually, are cheap. It’s the execution that’s important. I read recently that Harlan Ellison, author of all those award winning science fiction short stories (“‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” “The Deathbird,” and on and on) sued the producers of The Terminator for infringing on his scripts of the classic Outer Limits episodes “Soldier” and “Demon with a Glass Hand.” There are some similarities in the material, but in my opinion Ellison was just plain wrong. The execution and theme were so different it shouldn’t have even been a question.
And, no, I don’t have a percentage of the Terminator franchise. Wish I did.
Q. What has been your experience with Variance as a publisher?
A. Needless to say, I’m extremely pleased to be in the Variance “stable” of writers. The contractual relationship between Variance and the book is actually with Dave, but Variance has been kind enough to treat me like part of the project and not an unwanted appendage, as some have treated me in the past. (Not naming names, but you know who you are.)
Q. Do you have any advice to new writers?
A. In all honesty, I’m a new writer. As much as writing has been a dream for me for most of my life, in reflection I see I have not approached it with the level of determination it needed to get anywhere. This, truly, was my mistake.
Write, keep writing, look for your opportunities, and create them if you don’t see any. It’s an uphill climb, and it’s not one little bit as glamorous as the stereotype suggests. But you know you have to do it, and to deny that is to deny a part of yourself. Don’t wait until later in your life to start taking it seriously.
Do it now, because now is all you have.
Great way to close it, Dan! To learn much much more about Red Moon be sure to take a jaunt to Luna 15 or visit the Variance Red Moon Page … Be sure to leave your questions and comments below for Dan to check out too!
I’m kind of sad to see it go – I’ve truly enjoyed reading what our authors have had to say who have been so kind let us into their lives. This won’t be the end though! Starting up soon will be a twist on this idea, Author on Author interviews (who better to interview an author than another author?). Want to put your two cents in on the next sessions? Shoot me an email, I look forward to seeing your ideas.
Thanks again for all your support, both authors and fans! Talk to you soon,
And thank you, Stanley, for showcasing Red Moon.
Copyright © 2010, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.