Author of Soft Apocalypse, Love Minus Eighty, and Defenders
JMW: Hello, this is Jean Marie Ward for BuzzyMag.com. With me today is Will McIntosh, the award winning author of [easyazon_link asin=”159780276X” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Soft Apocalypse[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link asin=”0316217786″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Love Minus Eighty[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link asin=”031621776X” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Defenders[/easyazon_link] which was optioned for a movie before it was released. Welcome Will.
Will McIntosh: Thanks.
JMW: Glad to have you. Let’s talk about Defenders a little bit. What prompted you to marry a first contact story with the Frankenstein myth.
Will McIntosh: I think I didn’t realize I was using the Frankenstein myth when I first started. That kind of occurred to me as I was about halfway through the novel. When I’m putting together a story, I am often thinking at plot level and not so much at theme level, and so often I’m surprised when my novel is done and someone is saying about the Frankenstein myth, oh yeah you’re right. And someone will point out something about the story but I was just…I thought it would be interesting to show humans creating creatures that they must create in order to survive, and not think about the implications of what happens after and we will survive. What do we do with the myth?
JMW: Yeah and Frankenstein is the myth for that. This is the second of your works to be optioned for film. Your short story Followed was made into a short film about three years ago. How did the two experiences compare?
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”159780276X” cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″]Defenders[/easyazon_block]Will McIntosh: The scope was very different. Followed was a very small movie and they gave it to me for about $15,000. It’s about 20 minutes long. So I was able to go in watch the film, the movie and it was interesting, fascinating, ver different from what’s going on with Defenders. Defenders has been optioned and with Defenders, it’s more “Hey we have optioned your novel, thank you very much.” And then it’s out of your hands. I haven’t seen the script, I don’t know what’s going on in terms of are they actually producing it, where are they in the process. So that’s really…that’s the main difference, it’s how closely connected I am with.
JMW: But it was exciting regardless wasn’t it?
Will McIntosh: It was really something to get that optioned.
JMW: You worked for years as a social psychology professor. You researched Internet dating, romantic relationships and then Buddhism. All that stuff is really, really happy but you look at the world of Defenders where humans are facing alien invasion by telepathic starfish. You’ve got Soft Apocalypse of hey things are really going downhill fast and barbarians are at the gate. Things are crumbling and then you’ve got guys who kill their girlfriends. It’s really dark stuff. This is dark stuff. What’s the synergy between those two? Between your two lives, writing fiction and social psychology.
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0316217786″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″]Defenders[/easyazon_block]Will McIntosh: I think the thing that connects them both is when I am writing fiction, I’m interested in characters. It’s very much about the people. Even when I’m writing a big alien invasion novel, a lot of it is about the characters. The person who actually created the defenders and how she [heals 00:04:23] about what’s happening. So that’s the thing. It’s the social psychology I’m interested in interpersonal relationships and people’s inner lives and the way they process what they are doing. I don’t know, it was not intentional that my novels would be mostly very dark. My short stories as well, I don’t know why that happens. When I am just trying to generate ideas and I am jotting them down, those are the ones that are coming to appeal to me and I accept it with my research, I mean I could…as university professor you can do research on anything. It was the lighter stuff. My dissertation was on happiness. So yeah, I don’t know why that switched into two careers.
JMW: I do notice though that you use a lot of humor albeit it dark. Is that a reflection of your yearn for happiness?
Will McIntosh: Maybe yeah, trying to…I don’t want to be in a world that’s just utterly grim. People have asked this, especially about Soft Apocalypse. Someone on Amazon in their critic said “sadistic and relentlessly grim”, and I looked at it and thought okay, I will give you sadistic but it’s not relentlessly grim. There’s a guy looking for love in this. I mean there is a balance here. So it’s really I think the overarching story is dark but I like to think that even if things were that dark, people would still be laughing and there will be some…
JMW: You recently have been signed to do a YA series and can you tell our viewers a little bit about that and what they can expect from that. And if it would be just as grim?
Will McIntosh: Burning Midnight is not going to be…It’s not grim. It’s really not grim at all. It’s based on short stories that were published in Asimov and it’s science fiction. The central premise is basically people are looking for the colored spheres that are hidden all over the world and get you remarkable powers if you could find the matching colors. That’s in a nutshell that’s what it is. There are some dark places and there are some people who die in the novel but it’s not grim. It’s not dark.
JMW: It’s not a dystopic vision.
Will McIntosh: Definitely not. It’s very in your future and if there is a darkness to it, it’s more economic. The protagonist is a kid who’s about to get…He and his mom were about to lose their apartment and his partner is a girl who has been homeless for the last two years, and they are seeking these spheres in order to save themselves from abject poverty.
JMW: To better their social condition and yeah. Sounds a little bit super hero. I am saying that as an insult by the way.
Will McIntosh: It’s not and it’s funny. It does sound like it. The way I would qualify and say it’s not. The powers that you get are all…you can’t fly. You may grow an inch or two. There’s a certain color that allows you to grow an inch or two. There are rare spheres that increase your intelligence. They are all things that we all have to some degree, you just get more of them when you…
JMW: You get a bump.
Will McIntosh: You get a bump.
JMW: Cool and that’s going to be your current project for the foreseeable future or can we look forward to anymore short stories?
Will McIntosh: I always do a few short stories. I am not doing nearly as many as I used to. I might do two or three a year. Burning Midnight is done. I am probably at the point where I am going to be doing copy edits and that’s it. That’s it. It’s a two book deal with Delacorte so I have a second young adult novel yet to be determined that I will be writing in the next year or so.
JMW: So Burning Midnight is a standalone book? It’s not…
Will McIntosh: It’s not.
Will McIntosh: It’s not. It’s a two book deal with the other book that’s going to be a different book that we hadn’t decided on yet.
JMW: And is that your next project or is something else on the works you want to talk about?
Will McIntosh: Right not I’m not working on anything, like I’m in this spot and I get here every once in a while where it’s like okay, I finished that, I finished that, I finished that. What am I going to do next? So I’m coming up with ideas for the second young adult novel but I can’t start writing it until I’m happy with an idea. I have talked bout it with my editor and we’re both excited about it. That may happen next week and it may happen two months from now. I don’t know. And the same things are going on with adult novels so I finished an adult novel. My agent is shelving it right now and I have some ideas for another adult novel but I’m not sure yet. So I’m going to between now and Christmas, I’m going to be working on either a young adult novel or adult novel.
JMW: Very cool. You won’t know until…It’s sort of like a birthday surprise.
Will McIntosh: Absolutely.
JMW: That’s a good thing to look forward to your future. We are wrapping up now. You now have the floor. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Will McIntosh: No. Thank you for speaking with me. I’ve enjoyed it.
JMW: Great. Well thank you Will and thank you for BuzzyMag.com
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.