Author Interview: R.W.W. Greene

Today I am interviewing R.W.W. Greene, author of the new science-fiction novel, Mercury Rising!

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DJ: Hi R.W.W. Greene! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

R.W.W. Greene: Hi, DJ. Thanks so much for inviting me. 

Once upon a time, I was a Teacher Who Writes, but in recent years, I’ve made the pivot to Writer Who Teaches. These days I mostly work with college students, but I returned to the high-school classroom this spring for a brief encore. Before I started teaching, I did a decade as a print journalist. I’ve a couple dozen published sci-fi shorts to my name, and two prior novels — The Light Years and Twenty-Five to Life — with Angry Robot Books. I am an amateur beekeeper, and I collect manual typewriters. I drink my coffee black.

DJ: What is Mercury Rising about?

R.W.W. Greene: It’s about a small-timer named Brooklyn Lamontagne who gets caught up in things way above his pay grade and skillset. Imagine an extra from the film Taxi Driver or Saturday Night Fever who wakes up one day on Mars in the midst of an alien invasion.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Mercury Rising

R.W.W. Greene: The Seventies — the entire decade — played a huge role. The music, the movies, the politics, the attitudes, the clothing … I listened to a lot of music, read a lot of history, and wrote from photo references for this one. Add a strong desire not to think too hard about the future for a little while and my regard for the Apollo program. Bake at 250F for a few years.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?  

R.W.W. Greene: Brooklyn is so far out of his depth it is or isn’t funny, depending on your attitude to such things. He just wants to pay his bar tab, help out his ma, and keep the personal drama to a minimum. He swears a lot, has some regrets, and once lit his cousins’ tent on fire. 

I feel like there are a lot of interesting characters in the book, but I’m likely biased. None of them are perfect. Some are smart. A few are well-educated. They’re all really, really outclassed by what they’re facing. There are no heroes in Mercury Rising, just people trying to figure it out and doing what they can in response. 

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Author Interview: Khan Wong

Today I am interviewing Khan Wong, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Circus Infinite!

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*This interview was originally posted on MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape on March 22, 2022

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DJ: Hi Khan! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Khan Wong: Thanks for having me! I’ve been a creative person my whole life, and over the years I’ve published poetry, played the cello and ukulele, been a firedancer and hula hooper. I worked in the nonprofit arts for a long time.

DJ: What is The Circus Infinite about?

Khan: The elevator pitch is: it’s about a circus that takes down a crimeboss on the galaxy’s infamous pleasure moon. The longer more nuanced answer is, it’s about chosen family, community, the acceptance of people different from us, and art. With a dash of superpowers and lots of aliens and partying.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Circus Infinite

Khan: The Wayfarers books by Becky Chambers and that slice-of-life approach to space opera was a big influence on this project. The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz was also instructive for me. And my experiences in the realm of circus arts.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Khan: The main character, Jes, is an asexual empath with gravity powers. The gravity powers drive the plot, but his sexuality and empathic ability drive the character and how he relates to the world – particularly an overtly sexual world such as a pleasure moon. He’s essentially a gentle person who hasn’t experienced much kindness in his life, and struggles with some of the things he feels he has to do in the course of the story. His BFF is Esmée, who is an aspiring singer who learns to assert her identity against the cultural expectations of her people. Jes’s romantic interest is Bo, an acrobat in the circus who is fiercely loyal and protective, and devoted to his art and community. The main antagonist is Niko, the local crimeboss who has his hooks in the circus, who presents himself as being cultured and debonair, but is capable of great cruelty and violence.

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