Today we’re pleased to welcome a friend of ours, author Connor Wright. Connor has gamely tackled a Random Interview, and provided an excerpt from the brand new Dreamspinner Press novella, First Flight.
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to write? What’s your latest release about? What have you read recently that knocked your socks off? (Note: Feel free to talk about your body of work, not just your most recent release. Don’t feel limited by genre lines when talking about what you like to write and/or read.)
I enjoy sleeping, looking at pretty people, and walking on the beach—Oh. Right. My name is Connor Wright and I like to write all kinds of things. I tend to stay on the light-and-fluffy end of the shelves, though; while I can appreciate a good thriller, I’m so not good with blood and gore. Mostly what I write is best classed as either Alternate Reality or Magical Realism, because I tend to have characters who essentially wake up in a normal day, but by the end of it, there’s something decidedly other happening. Someday, I really really want to write an actual mystery, with a detective (amateur or pro, I don’t care) and everything.
In my latest release—First Flight—for instance, Jesse Swanson’s day starts out like any other day in the last year: he gets up, goes to work, has an argument with his boyfriend (which is getting to be an annoyingly regular occurance), and instead of going straight home, he heads for his usual spot for sitting and thinking. Once he gets there, he finds what seems to be a dead raven on the side of the road, so he stops to pick it up… And ten minutes later, there’s this naked guy in the back of his car.
It goes on from there and involves stalking, more ravens, more eggs than any doctor wants you to eat, shiny things, and transformations.
As for my other titles… I have three contemporaries, an Alternate Universe Quasi-Historical (in a 1920s that never was), and a sci-fi/speculative fiction piece, links to which (and excerpts of) can be found <a href=”http://www.connorwrites.com/?page_id=171″>here on my site</a>.
I like to read a little bit of everything, too, with the caveat that again I’m not a huge fan of gore. The last book I read was Mike Carey’s Thicker Than Water. It’s the fourth book in a series that starts with The Devil You Know, and features Felix Castor, an exorcist who lives in a very ghost-and-zombie-riddled London. It’s one of the few books that involves zombies that I actually want to read, to be honest.
What is your ideal writing environment? – Submitted by Carl
My ideal writing environment is, basically, propped up against a pile of pillows in bed. I seem to work best when my feet are up, for some reason. Music or a familiar TV show/movie is nice for background noise, though I’ve managed to get a fair amount done with nothing more than an steady ambient hum of fans and/or goats and a rooster. (The goat(s) and the rooster belong to someone up the hill from where I’m currently staying.)
What deep-seated psychological issue are you trying to work out with all of this obsessive scribbling?
One of the biggest recurring themes in my writing is fairness. All your life you get the same litany: “The world’s not fair.” “The universe isn’t fair.” “Life’s not fair.” It may be true, but let’s face it. The truth sucks.
In my writing, there is often a gap—class/social status, financial, education levels, etc—between the protagonists, and there is just as often at least one attempt made on the part of one to reassure the other that that gap just doesn’t matter. So what if, in ‘real life’, Benny would never ever have had anything to do with Phil? In Benny and Phil’s world, it doesn’t matter a jot that Phil’s speech patterns are enough to make any editor worth their salt weep tears of bitter defeat, Benny loves Phil. It’s fair, because Phil earned his place in Benny’s heart and home on his own merits, not by being exactly like Benny. And Benny won Phil’s heart forever by simply treating Phil like everyone else they know, right down to reflexively mumbling “anyone” or “anything” when they use “nobody” or “nothing” incorrectly. (He apologizes, too. He can’t help it! Phil actually likes it, now.)
Another recurring theme in my writing is that of reaching out to someone else and having them reach back. The connection of I see you and you see me and we like each other anyway. I don’t know about anyone else, but that moment that usually happens in high school? Yeah, it didn’t, for me. Moving right along from there…
The last thing about my writing isn’t really a psychological issue, per se. No one really tells me stories, anymore—generally citing my advancing years (30+) as a reason not to—so I have to tell them myself. Of course, being old enough, it’s now my turn to tell them. I’m the next generation, so it’s up to me to pass the stories along to the one that comes after me.
I like telling stories. I especially like knowing that I can take a bunch of words, put them into a particular order, and they will make people smile or grimace or laugh or even get turned on. That’s power, and it’s pretty damn spiffy power too.
Do you remember the first time you told a story and knew it was something you wanted to keep doing?
Mm… Not the exact second, but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere in either ’97 or ’98. I can remember the moment I decided that I was going to pursue becoming a published author, which was in 2009.
In the first instance, I got an email from someone I didn’t know, telling me she really liked reading the transcripts of the role-playing sessions I’d been putting up. She wanted to see more! It only took the once—I was hooked. Now, almost fifteen years later, Michelle is still asking me when I’m going to have more for her. (Soon. Promise.)
In the second, it was after someone—Michelle or Reesa, I can’t remember who—said something about submitting a short story to an anthology. I’d kind of given up on ever being published, because every time I’d tried to write A Novel, I’d gotten bogged down in the fact that I could never come up with a plot. Fortunately, the offhand remark was more or less a wet fish to the back of the head: novels aren’t the only form of writing out there. I started writing, researching, polishing, revising, and finally, nervously, submitting. I’ve had seven accepted, and I’m still working on getting more done and out there.
Do you prefer tv or movies? What’s your favourite?
It depends on what I’m in the mood for. Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched nearly all of NCIS (seasons 1-8; I didn’t finish a few episodes for various reasons) and nearly all of A&E’s movie adaptations of C. S. Foresters’ Horatio Hornblower books. Ioan Gruffudd is my new celebrity crush, sigh.
Generally, I put the TV on for background noise or to help distract the two under-fives that currently share my home. I have a profoundly greater appreciation for both series writers and voice-actors than I ever had before, thanks to TV aimed at pre-schoolers. Wow Wow Wubbzy is pretty good; Ni-Hao Kai-Lan would be better if it was just Kai-Lan, Hoho (the monkey), and Yeye; Pocoyo is fun; The Upside Down Show is great.
What misconception of adulthood did you have as a kid that you secretly wish had been true?
That a day job is always fun and awesome and filled with fun and awesome people. That was a disappointing discovery, and it’s one of the big reasons that I’m not traditionally employed at the moment. At least dogs appreciate you, even when you’re talking to them about people who don’t exist doing things that aren’t necessarily legal.
Connor has been kind enough to give us a peek at First Flight. Enjoy the excerpt below. -R
First Flight is typical of my stories: I set out to write one thing, but by the time I’m done, I find I’ve written something else entirely. In this case, I was inspired by a call for submissions centering on Trickster characters (like Coyote, Kitsune, or my favorite, Raven). I got sidetracked thinking about urban ravens, and how one might find itself interested in a human being… And from there, I was further distracted thinking about how the interested bird’s family might react. Eventually, I realized that whatever idea I’d originally had was now completely uninteresting.
The following is the first part of the first chapter of First Flight, where Jesse meets Chris — and contains one of my favorite metaphors ever, even if I do say so myself.