JMW: Hello, this is Jean Marie Ward with Buzzy Magazine. With me today is Charles E. Gannon, multi-published author of fiction, non-fiction, scripts, and now Fire with Fire, a new science fiction adventure from Bane. Welcome, Charles.
Charles E. Gannon: Thanks very much for having me on the show.
JMW: Our pleasure. Okay, Fire with Fire, it’s spies and spaceships, where did that come from?
Charles E. Gannon: Came from sort of a lifelong interest from both of those things, and a number of the other elements that pop in along the way. But I’ve been thinking about a story like this probably from the 80’s, and I started actually doing the research on this, because it’s also hard science fiction at the same time. I started doing that research in the 90’s, and so I just put together a lot of things that I love, and this is what came out.
JMW: Since it is both an adventure and a hard science fiction novel, how do you strike a balance between adventure and the technology?
Charles E. Gannon: By not worrying over much about the technology, actually. The technology is for me to worry about, and to put it in so the folks are interested in it, if they decide to sort of read between the lines and take a very close look at what I’m saying, if they go back and they do the homework, and there are lots of fans out there who do it, and I love you guys, that you’re going to find that whether or not you necessarily agree with the conclusion that I come to, I did my homework as best I know how, and filled in the blanks of the future that has yet to be unveiled for us. So to me the adventure, the characters, the story, the sense of a good read has to come first, so when it comes to technology, my attitude towards future technology is a lot like my attitude towards if I, you know, it should be no different than if I was reading a contemporary novel. I have the same expectations that some author is not going to stop and explain to me that a television is an electronic device that allows me to see happenings, and distant places, and it works via this, it used to be a cathode ray tube, but now via LCD or flatscreen, I don’t need to know that. I just need to know that it’s a box over there, and what it does, and how it impacts my life. In the peripheral references to it, there may be some hints of that stuff, and that’s where hopefully folks will also see, hey, he did his homework too.
JMW: But you’re used to doing homework, you’re a literary professor. Why are you writing hard science fiction instead of something more literary?
Charles E. Gannon: Oh well, the answer to that is that I would like to actually throw the question around in reverse.
Charles E. Gannon: Rather, how did somebody who always wanted to be a science fiction writer wind up as a literature professor?
JMW: That’s a fair question.
Charles E. Gannon: Because that’s actually the history involved. I was a, I knew from about age 12 that I wanted to be a science fiction writer, and that’s a story in and of itself that I shan’t bore you with and burn up your replaceable electrons.
JMW: They’re very replaceable.
Charles E. Gannon: Hence my slightly ironic tone. But the thing was I knew from the start that I wanted to do it, and for anybody who decides to Google me, if you really have nothing better to do like wash your imaginary dog, what you’ll find is that actually from about 1989 to 1991, ’92, I had a career in game writing, particularly, but also a growing career in fiction at that time. A variety of things changed, a variety of folks who were in the process of doing books, I was contracted to two works for hire. Management changed, ultimately some of them went out of business, and I find myself in a scenario where I really had to make sure that I had a living, rather than starving in the garret and continue down that track, and it was a bit of a detour. And when you have a lovely wife and and four kids along that way, the detour can sort of become perhaps a little bit longer than one anticipated. But here I am, and for good or for bad, back again.
JMW: Aha, so you’re following your first passion instead of your day job, in other words.
Charles E. Gannon: Absolutely.
JMW: This is a question that they ask fantasy writers all the time, but I think it’s really fair to ask science fiction writers as well, how do you know when you’ve gotten it right?
Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including art books, novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr), and short stories such as WSFA Small Press Award finalist “Lord Bai’s Discovery” and “Personal Demons” in the award-winning anthology Hellebore and Rue. Her videos include author interviews and tutorials.