The Incomparable

354: Sons of Caledonia


00:00:01   the incomparable number 354 May 2017 [TS]

00:00:11   welcome back everybody to the [TS]

00:00:12   incomparable I'm your host Jason Snell [TS]

00:00:14   this is a special bonus episode of being [TS]

00:00:17   comparable with something that's only [TS]

00:00:20   been done once before only a single [TS]

00:00:22   guest it's Dan Lauren he just said Wow [TS]

00:00:27   hi Dan hi Jason [TS]

00:00:29   who was the other single guest well when [TS]

00:00:32   we did the Miyazaki overview episode [TS]

00:00:34   only Jon siracusa okay we're on it [TS]

00:00:37   because nobody else wanted to be on it [TS]

00:00:39   oh yeah that's like this show nobody [TS]

00:00:41   else wanted to be on this episode either [TS]

00:00:43   we've come a long way so people asked me [TS]

00:00:45   if we were gonna cover the fact we've [TS]

00:00:47   been talking you've been mentioning it [TS]

00:00:49   on various podcasts that you that you [TS]

00:00:51   write write novels and even work in [TS]

00:00:53   novels and you're hoping to have a novel [TS]

00:00:54   published and the plan here is that this [TS]

00:00:57   episode will go out on the day that your [TS]

00:00:58   first novel is published officially [TS]

00:01:00   although I already received my copy in [TS]

00:01:02   the mail as have many people the printed [TS]

00:01:04   Edition the e-book will come out then [TS]

00:01:06   it'll be available should be on shelves [TS]

00:01:07   and bookstores all of these things [TS]

00:01:09   should happen and everybody asked like [TS]

00:01:12   well are you gonna do an incomparable [TS]

00:01:14   episode and talk about is like well I [TS]

00:01:15   don't think we should do a regular [TS]

00:01:18   incomparable episode about the work of [TS]

00:01:21   somebody who is one of our panelists cuz [TS]

00:01:24   there's only a couple ways that can go [TS]

00:01:27   yeah one of them could be very very bad [TS]

00:01:30   right and the other would be super [TS]

00:01:33   boring because it'll just be nice things [TS]

00:01:35   about our friend in their book and [TS]

00:01:37   that's also not good so I decided that [TS]

00:01:41   maybe what we would do for this episode [TS]

00:01:43   this bonus episode is for you and me to [TS]

00:01:47   talk about about your your book in the [TS]

00:01:51   process of writing your book and the [TS]

00:01:53   story of of you putting this thing [TS]

00:01:56   together because I think people will be [TS]

00:01:58   interested in that people have been [TS]

00:01:59   listening to this podcast for a long [TS]

00:02:00   time have been hearing your voice you [TS]

00:02:02   are are the most frequent panelist on [TS]

00:02:05   the incomparable so I know hold that up [TS]

00:02:08   I mean I'm there are there people [TS]

00:02:09   nipping at my heels these days [TS]

00:02:11   yeah well David Laura is on every [TS]

00:02:12   episode of everything he says yes I have [TS]

00:02:14   to just tell him no sometimes because he [TS]

00:02:16   will always say yes so but yeah so I [TS]

00:02:19   thought if that would be a way that we [TS]

00:02:21   could do it is we could talk about the [TS]

00:02:22   book and what's in it and how [TS]

00:02:24   uuhh without you know spoiling it for [TS]

00:02:26   people yeah well yeah maybe we'll do a [TS]

00:02:29   little spoil horn at the end I don't [TS]

00:02:30   know but and about the process because I [TS]

00:02:32   think the process is interesting too as [TS]

00:02:34   I have tweeted about before I have an [TS]

00:02:36   email here from June 2010 and so almost [TS]

00:02:41   seven years ago that is you sending [TS]

00:02:44   along or offering to send along an [TS]

00:02:46   e-book of your beta stage of your novel [TS]

00:02:51   it's all the plot lines are firing [TS]

00:02:53   smoothly but ironed out most of the more [TS]

00:02:55   incidental problems but still a [TS]

00:02:57   work-in-progress danger may abound that [TS]

00:03:02   seems the accurate description of the [TS]

00:03:04   first draft of many novel so let's back [TS]

00:03:07   up from 2010 and and start with first [TS]

00:03:12   let's start with where when did you [TS]

00:03:14   write your first what you consider a [TS]

00:03:16   your first novel to have you have [TS]

00:03:19   written and and tell tell us how long it [TS]

00:03:23   was from there to the thing that became [TS]

00:03:26   the Caledonian gambit well the very [TS]

00:03:30   first thing I'm sort of looking back to [TS]

00:03:32   see what I can actually find here in [TS]

00:03:35   terms of my early early attempts of [TS]

00:03:38   writing things but I think the very [TS]

00:03:39   first thing I finished and I've been [TS]

00:03:43   trying to write novels for years I [TS]

00:03:45   remember like I got a little better at [TS]

00:03:47   it as it went along and I wrote some [TS]

00:03:49   short stories here and there but never [TS]

00:03:50   anything that I liked really I always [TS]

00:03:52   wanted to write novels and let's write [TS]

00:03:53   long stories because that's what I liked [TS]

00:03:54   reading and I wanted the ability to be [TS]

00:03:57   able to have all those things you can't [TS]

00:03:59   do easily in a short story like little [TS]

00:04:01   digression xand like world like you know [TS]

00:04:03   the you can do some of these things [TS]

00:04:04   short stories but you have to be very [TS]

00:04:05   economical about it and I'm maybe not an [TS]

00:04:08   economical person when it comes to [TS]

00:04:09   writing and so creating a short story [TS]

00:04:12   which is a very finely crafted like [TS]

00:04:15   instrument in which everything is done [TS]

00:04:18   with a purpose and everything has you [TS]

00:04:21   know is very cool Ike carefully [TS]

00:04:23   calculated it just it wasn't a medium [TS]

00:04:26   that ever spoke to me I admire those who [TS]

00:04:29   can who can craft it and wield it well [TS]

00:04:31   because it's not an easy thing to do but [TS]

00:04:34   I always really wanted to write longer [TS]

00:04:36   stories and so [TS]

00:04:38   over the years I've tried this in a [TS]

00:04:40   number of you know different attempts [TS]

00:04:41   and I think the furthest I got for a [TS]

00:04:43   long time was when I lived abroad for a [TS]

00:04:46   while in my junior year of college I [TS]

00:04:47   think I got like maybe like twenty ten [TS]

00:04:50   twenty thousand words into a story [TS]

00:04:52   before realizing like I didn't really [TS]

00:04:54   know what I was doing I didn't know [TS]

00:04:56   where the plot was going I was just sort [TS]

00:04:58   of putting one word after another and [TS]

00:05:00   and sometimes that works but in this [TS]

00:05:01   case I felt like realizing all the [TS]

00:05:03   pacing was off and this story wasn't you [TS]

00:05:05   know quite firing correctly so I ditched [TS]

00:05:09   that but that was an idea that I had [TS]

00:05:10   been working on since probably like [TS]

00:05:13   after my freshman year of college and so [TS]

00:05:16   after a couple years after I graduated [TS]

00:05:18   college I was working as a web developer [TS]

00:05:20   and an IT guy and I got kind of sick of [TS]

00:05:24   that job and I thought you know I've [TS]

00:05:25   always wanted to actually sit down and [TS]

00:05:27   finish a novel and so I started working [TS]

00:05:29   again on that idea and I started from [TS]

00:05:32   scratch and I worked on it like my spare [TS]

00:05:35   time you know around my job at night [TS]

00:05:39   weekend's etc and my favorite story [TS]

00:05:42   about that novel is that I finished that [TS]

00:05:44   novel I liked I got to a point where I [TS]

00:05:46   want to say was maybe August of 2004 or [TS]

00:05:49   so and I I sort of was like I had gotten [TS]

00:05:55   close enough I knew where the end was [TS]

00:05:56   you know and I was very close to it and [TS]

00:05:58   I remember that one day I realized you [TS]

00:06:00   know okay I'm this is this is the last [TS]

00:06:02   chapter like I know where I am and I can [TS]

00:06:04   finish this in like another couple [TS]

00:06:05   thousand words and I was at work it was [TS]

00:06:08   a Friday and it was the middle of the [TS]

00:06:09   summer in August and there was nothing [TS]

00:06:11   going on so I sort of looked around [TS]

00:06:12   realized nobody is paying any attention [TS]

00:06:14   to me that nobody's in the office a lot [TS]

00:06:16   of people on vacation so I fired up my [TS]

00:06:18   word processor and I like I know exactly [TS]

00:06:20   what I need to write and I like banged [TS]

00:06:21   out the last couple thousand words of [TS]

00:06:22   that novel while sitting at my desk [TS]

00:06:24   Clow and that was the first thing I ever [TS]

00:06:26   finished it like I remember sitting back [TS]

00:06:28   and just like looking at going like oh [TS]

00:06:29   my god I actually did it I actually [TS]

00:06:31   finished a novel and and that was [TS]

00:06:35   mind-blowing to me at 24 this thing that [TS]

00:06:38   I had been you know thinking my entire [TS]

00:06:40   life I something I wanted to do but I [TS]

00:06:42   wasn't sure I would ever actually be [TS]

00:06:44   able to do it so what what uh what novel [TS]

00:06:49   is that is that something I've read or [TS]

00:06:50   was that something that was just [TS]

00:06:51   shook your head up deed something that [TS]

00:06:53   you read is the driver that is the [TS]

00:06:56   driver series uh-huh and I think I've [TS]

00:06:59   got a copy here unfortunately um yeah I [TS]

00:07:01   don't know unfortunately not not gonna [TS]

00:07:04   read it [TS]

00:07:04   um yeah I'm trying to find if I have [TS]

00:07:06   like fortunately it was all written in [TS]

00:07:08   like Apple works or something so some of [TS]

00:07:11   these formats may be a little a little [TS]

00:07:13   past their prime [TS]

00:07:14   yeah so this was a post-apocalyptic [TS]

00:07:16   series which involved a the main [TS]

00:07:20   character was a driver he had a car [TS]

00:07:22   essentially and there were two main [TS]

00:07:24   characters one was this this driver [TS]

00:07:26   named Nathan and the other one was a [TS]

00:07:28   young woman named Ellen and it was sort [TS]

00:07:31   of you know everything everything goes [TS]

00:07:33   back to Star Wars with me Jason this was [TS]

00:07:36   kind of an attempt to do a post a [TS]

00:07:37   post-apocalyptic novel that was very [TS]

00:07:39   much the hero's journey and I fell into [TS]

00:07:42   some of my love of Star Wars it was I [TS]

00:07:44   had that's that's my memory of it [TS]

00:07:45   because I did read it and that is my [TS]

00:07:47   memory of it is that it was very it was [TS]

00:07:49   very hero's journey very Star Wars [TS]

00:07:51   except set in this kind of earthbound [TS]

00:07:53   post-apocalyptic setting but very Star [TS]

00:07:56   Wars right down to you know kind of [TS]

00:07:58   wizards and dark forces and things like [TS]

00:08:01   that officer and I and everything I know [TS]

00:08:03   so he was envisioned as a trilogy as is [TS]

00:08:05   all fantasy stories Rudy obligated to be [TS]

00:08:08   and I ended up I finished that one and [TS]

00:08:11   around the time I finished that up or [TS]

00:08:13   shortly thereafter was when I decided to [TS]

00:08:15   leave my computer job and I did that by [TS]

00:08:18   going I quit and I went to Ireland for a [TS]

00:08:21   month actually with uh my friend Tony [TS]

00:08:23   Sindelar yeah who was incomparable [TS]

00:08:25   panelist he and I traveled around for a [TS]

00:08:27   little bit [TS]

00:08:28   with another friend of ours and during [TS]

00:08:30   that time I started jotting down notes [TS]

00:08:31   for the second book in that series I [TS]

00:08:34   will note that you know not to not to [TS]

00:08:37   discourage anybody but in general if [TS]

00:08:39   you're like thinking from an actual [TS]

00:08:40   practical like business point of view [TS]

00:08:42   don't do that [TS]

00:08:43   yeah because if you start in on a second [TS]

00:08:46   book and the first book never sells then [TS]

00:08:48   you've basically written a book that is [TS]

00:08:50   not going to be saleable in its own [TS]

00:08:52   right because you've written the middle [TS]

00:08:53   of a story unless you're very very lucky [TS]

00:08:55   it's real and you're like lois mcmaster [TS]

00:08:58   bujold did that right where where she [TS]

00:09:01   wrote what ended up being um [TS]

00:09:05   the to Cordelia's honor is the is the [TS]

00:09:09   the the omnibus version but she ended up [TS]

00:09:11   writing one of those and putting it [TS]

00:09:15   aside and then writing another book in [TS]

00:09:17   the universe but it wasn't a direct [TS]

00:09:18   continuation right right now would be [TS]

00:09:20   like if yeah this would be like if you [TS]

00:09:22   know George Lucas had made Empire [TS]

00:09:23   Strikes Back like me which is a great [TS]

00:09:25   movie but like trying to sell that [TS]

00:09:26   without having Star Wars you know before [TS]

00:09:29   it seems tough yeah and so you know it [TS]

00:09:33   was good for me I'm glad that I did it [TS]

00:09:34   because I learned a lot I felt like in [TS]

00:09:36   that series every like I just kept [TS]

00:09:38   getting better it was about honing my [TS]

00:09:40   craft I felt like it really helped me [TS]

00:09:42   improve and it was it was doing it which [TS]

00:09:45   is the most important thing right it was [TS]

00:09:47   not like sitting around thinking about [TS]

00:09:49   how do I uh man I wonder figure out a [TS]

00:09:51   novel no it was actually sitting down [TS]

00:09:52   putting words on a page and you know in [TS]

00:09:54   some ways there's you never lose out if [TS]

00:09:56   you're if you're putting words on the [TS]

00:09:58   page even if those words don't end up [TS]

00:09:59   you know turning into something at least [TS]

00:10:02   you you've done it it's like you know [TS]

00:10:03   you've gone to the gym essentially [TS]

00:10:05   you've exercised your creative skills so [TS]

00:10:08   and it's true did you do NaNoWriMo I did [TS]

00:10:11   at several times a four or five times I [TS]

00:10:14   think that I actually finished it maybe [TS]

00:10:16   more I don't remember um I worked on a [TS]

00:10:19   couple different projects none of these [TS]

00:10:21   were directly connected to this I want [TS]

00:10:23   to say I have like 50,000 words of like [TS]

00:10:26   a why a sci-fi novel somewhere that I [TS]

00:10:28   worked on I have a hundred thousand word [TS]

00:10:31   like sort of like literary quote unquote [TS]

00:10:34   literary novel that I wrote which was [TS]

00:10:36   like wow semi autobiographical thing [TS]

00:10:39   that I wrote which I basically I did two [TS]

00:10:40   years of that so yeah I did the first [TS]

00:10:42   half of one year in second half and all [TS]

00:10:43   of my all of my NaNoWriMo is like that I [TS]

00:10:45   was just looking it up actually while we [TS]

00:10:47   were talking because I wanted to figure [TS]

00:10:48   out what what the three because I've [TS]

00:10:49   written three novel in manuscripts and I [TS]

00:10:52   wrote them all in blocks over to [TS]

00:10:55   NaNoWriMo years and so that because I'm [TS]

00:10:58   I answered the question of when what did [TS]

00:11:00   I first finish a novel manuscript was [TS]

00:11:03   was almost ten years ago it was November [TS]

00:11:06   2007 because I did NaNoWriMo in 2006 and [TS]

00:11:09   then finished that novel actually wrote [TS]

00:11:11   during the year too and then finished [TS]

00:11:13   the novel in in November 2007 because [TS]

00:11:15   that manuscript like 150,000 words long [TS]

00:11:18   and and so it's 250 thousand word blocks [TS]

00:11:20   and then I did like in February I did my [TS]

00:11:22   own little NaNoWriMo but you know a long [TS]

00:11:24   time now and then and then I've got two [TS]

00:11:25   others in a drawer but it goes to your [TS]

00:11:27   point about going to the gym that [TS]

00:11:30   NaNoWriMo and full disclosure I'm on the [TS]

00:11:33   board of NaNoWriMo it's a nonprofit that [TS]

00:11:35   runs the event and I because I believe [TS]

00:11:37   in it but one of the things I really [TS]

00:11:39   believe about it is you can see that the [TS]

00:11:43   more you do it the more the rust falls [TS]

00:11:44   off and the more it doesn't become [TS]

00:11:46   easier but you it becomes you become [TS]

00:11:48   more capable of doing it and it's it's [TS]

00:11:51   no wonder that when you talk to a lot of [TS]

00:11:53   writers not all writers but a lot of [TS]

00:11:54   productive novelists like Stephen King [TS]

00:11:55   the number that they say in terms of [TS]

00:11:58   word count that they basically do in a [TS]

00:11:59   day is not that far off from the [TS]

00:12:02   NaNoWriMo word count it's basically the [TS]

00:12:04   if you were a novelist you would write [TS]

00:12:07   you know fifteen hundred words a day and [TS]

00:12:09   you would be productive and the truth is [TS]

00:12:11   that doesn't sound like a lot to me [TS]

00:12:13   because I can write a I can pick out a [TS]

00:12:15   Macworld column at 1,200 words the other [TS]

00:12:19   day in a few hours but novel writing is [TS]

00:12:22   harder than writing a column I find [TS]

00:12:24   because you've got to keep your plot in [TS]

00:12:25   your head and your characters and [TS]

00:12:26   there's a lot more going on there but [TS]

00:12:28   the the my point is if you keep up that [TS]

00:12:31   pace every day for a month [TS]

00:12:33   you've got fifty thousand words if you [TS]

00:12:35   did it every day for two months you've [TS]

00:12:37   basically got a normal sized novel and [TS]

00:12:39   you can imagine that although it's not [TS]

00:12:40   realistic even if you're Stephen King [TS]

00:12:42   that means that if you wrote every day [TS]

00:12:44   for a few hours you know in the span [TS]

00:12:47   it's not like for 12 or 15 hours but [TS]

00:12:50   like maybe for eight hours or six hours [TS]

00:12:52   you could potentially write like six [TS]

00:12:55   novels in a year now you wouldn't [TS]

00:12:57   because you'd want to revise and other [TS]

00:12:59   things but it's like it's all once you [TS]

00:13:01   start to take the beyond the first step [TS]

00:13:03   in the in the journey right the first [TS]

00:13:05   step in the marathon you got to take the [TS]

00:13:08   first step and then you take the next [TS]

00:13:10   step and it's a process that leads to [TS]

00:13:12   the end yeah you can't I mean no one's [TS]

00:13:15   sitting down and writing a novel in a [TS]

00:13:16   day probably maybe someone's done that [TS]

00:13:19   but a very bad no it's probably not [TS]

00:13:21   great you know so you know it is a that [TS]

00:13:24   is I think the thing is daunting about [TS]

00:13:25   it right it's a commitment you know just [TS]

00:13:27   like driving for a 5k or something right [TS]

00:13:29   I always like it marathon or a 5 or 10k [TS]

00:13:32   or some other kind of personal [TS]

00:13:34   achievement kind of in climbing a [TS]

00:13:35   mountain it's kind of like that yeah [TS]

00:13:37   yeah a marathon probably closer because [TS]

00:13:39   like there are people who can go out and [TS]

00:13:40   run a 5k without working you know [TS]

00:13:42   without prepping themselves no sweat but [TS]

00:13:45   a marathon is everybody has to train for [TS]

00:13:47   a marathon [TS]

00:13:47   yeah even even fantastic marathon [TS]

00:13:49   runners yeah so it's it's a gradual [TS]

00:13:52   process and you know between NaNoWriMo [TS]

00:13:54   and writing some other stuff on the side [TS]

00:13:55   you know I once asked I was at a book [TS]

00:13:58   signing for Neil Stevenson and asked you [TS]

00:14:02   know for his advice and his advice to me [TS]

00:14:04   was and I think he may have said this [TS]

00:14:05   house for two it was right 10,000 pages [TS]

00:14:07   and throw him out and I feel like I got [TS]

00:14:10   pretty good I don't know if I wrote [TS]

00:14:11   10,000 pages throw him out but I wrote a [TS]

00:14:13   lot of pages that are you know never [TS]

00:14:15   gonna see the light of day basically [TS]

00:14:16   yeah and so along those lines you know I [TS]

00:14:20   worked on the sequel to that to that [TS]

00:14:22   post-apocalyptic book I started in on [TS]

00:14:24   the third book and never finished it as [TS]

00:14:27   you know because you read the first two [TS]

00:14:28   yeah and I know how it ends but I just [TS]

00:14:31   like there's no point to writing it [TS]

00:14:32   because I so that the forestay John has [TS]

00:14:34   to tell me how it ends I'll tell you how [TS]

00:14:36   it ends tell me Oh Ned's george RR [TS]

00:14:39   martin as it's in my head but one of the [TS]

00:14:41   funny things about that which I dug out [TS]

00:14:43   around the time that I got my agent was [TS]

00:14:45   I submitted that to my current now [TS]

00:14:46   current agent and he turned it down [TS]

00:14:49   I submitted to a few places and did not [TS]

00:14:51   get you know nobody nobody wanted to [TS]

00:14:54   take me on as a client on the basis of [TS]

00:14:56   that write manuscript and probably [TS]

00:14:59   rightly so because you know I wrote it [TS]

00:15:01   when I was 24 I had never written a [TS]

00:15:02   novel before I didn't really know what I [TS]

00:15:04   was doing and it's not to say that that [TS]

00:15:05   thing could not be turned into a [TS]

00:15:08   workable novel but it was gonna you know [TS]

00:15:11   it's like a house that needs to be taken [TS]

00:15:12   down to the study you probably just just [TS]

00:15:14   need to be ripped and probably start [TS]

00:15:15   over yeah I mean I I've mentioned to you [TS]

00:15:18   recently I like I think there are some [TS]

00:15:20   some cool ideas in there that I might [TS]

00:15:21   steal for for future stories so that's [TS]

00:15:25   why I won't self-published them probably [TS]

00:15:28   because I feel like they're still [TS]

00:15:29   utility of them and also self-publishing [TS]

00:15:31   stuff that you wrote 24 feel like [TS]

00:15:33   doesn't really help your your eyebrow [TS]

00:15:35   has it worked now if you if you end up [TS]

00:15:38   on a roll where they're publishing your [TS]

00:15:40   novels that's the time you dust that off [TS]

00:15:41   and again you probably strip it for [TS]

00:15:43   parts [TS]

00:15:43   oh yeah [TS]

00:15:44   anything else so how long ago did the [TS]

00:15:49   did the idea for what became Caledonian [TS]

00:15:53   gambit popped into your head and then [TS]

00:15:55   what was the journey from there to [TS]

00:15:56   actually having a finished manuscript to [TS]

00:15:58   email me about I was thinking about this [TS]

00:16:01   and I went back and fortunately I'm a [TS]

00:16:02   digital pack rat so I keep everything so [TS]

00:16:04   I was looking through my sort of old [TS]

00:16:07   writing folder and I have a document [TS]

00:16:09   called Eli dot cwk which is an Apple [TS]

00:16:13   works document and it de is dated May [TS]

00:16:16   20th [TS]

00:16:17   hey that's tomorrow 2002 so 15 years ago [TS]

00:16:22   years ago tomorrow as we record this oh [TS]

00:16:25   yeah from years ago 15 years ago almost [TS]

00:16:27   to the day of your publication day and [TS]

00:16:29   and I think that was probably the first [TS]

00:16:31   attempt to write a story I have notes [TS]

00:16:33   and I recently when I at some point dug [TS]

00:16:37   up my or cleaned a lot of stuff out of [TS]

00:16:40   my parents attic I found a bunch of my [TS]

00:16:42   notes from college and I found the [TS]

00:16:43   notebook in which I remembered I had [TS]

00:16:45   written started jotting down the ideas [TS]

00:16:47   for this story which was probably also [TS]

00:16:49   2002 or so about second semester senior [TS]

00:16:52   year I think and that was because I had [TS]

00:16:54   just been given the Vorkosigan novels by [TS]

00:16:55   lois mcmaster bujold by my cousins and I [TS]

00:16:58   was so enamored with them that I wanted [TS]

00:17:01   to write a space opera that was similar [TS]

00:17:03   to to those in the idea of like [TS]

00:17:05   sprawling universe all these you know [TS]

00:17:08   different factions political intrigue [TS]

00:17:10   characters that grow and change [TS]

00:17:12   throughout the course of a series like I [TS]

00:17:14   was I I fell in love with those books [TS]

00:17:16   and I wanted you know as we all do when [TS]

00:17:18   we find something we really love and [TS]

00:17:20   it's not like we run out of it because [TS]

00:17:22   we consume all of it we're like what [TS]

00:17:23   there's no there's no more what what if [TS]

00:17:25   I could make more but like do my own [TS]

00:17:27   thing so yeah I started that's when I [TS]

00:17:30   started jotting down notes and stuff [TS]

00:17:32   changed obviously you know that 15 years [TS]

00:17:35   is a long road for a story most things [TS]

00:17:38   probably don't don't live that long as [TS]

00:17:41   an idea and this one I picked up and put [TS]

00:17:44   down a bunch and I think the current [TS]

00:17:46   version of it really dates back to [TS]

00:17:49   probably two thousand eight or nine so I [TS]

00:17:54   sent you in what 2010 we decided yep [TS]

00:17:56   yeah so 2008 [TS]

00:17:58   9:00 at which point I was already [TS]

00:18:01   working for Macworld I don't know [TS]

00:18:05   I see how some of this I can't really [TS]

00:18:07   remember at this point honestly it's [TS]

00:18:08   been so long but I you know I was again [TS]

00:18:10   I was probably working on the side on [TS]

00:18:12   like nights and weekends [TS]

00:18:14   I don't think I did I like used [TS]

00:18:16   NaNoWriMo as an excuse for this one I [TS]

00:18:18   was actually looking at my Nana right Oh [TS]

00:18:19   a dashboard when you mentioned it and [TS]

00:18:20   realized none of my stuff's in there I [TS]

00:18:22   think they changed sites and they erased [TS]

00:18:24   their baby they wiped it out I only had [TS]

00:18:25   one in there for my last one of 2011 and [TS]

00:18:28   the rest weren't in there so I couldn't [TS]

00:18:30   close it sadly I don't I have no idea [TS]

00:18:32   the record is gone but yeah I've done um [TS]

00:18:37   you know I think NaNoWriMo is great as [TS]

00:18:39   we're just talking about for getting you [TS]

00:18:40   started and once you feel like hey I am [TS]

00:18:44   pretty confident what I'm doing you [TS]

00:18:46   realize you don't you don't need that is [TS]

00:18:48   a promise a crutch that's not you it's [TS]

00:18:51   little pejorative but like you can you [TS]

00:18:53   don't need the training wheels anymore [TS]

00:18:54   yeah like hey I know how to bike I can [TS]

00:18:56   do this you can do this all the time you [TS]

00:18:58   can internal to wait till November right [TS]

00:19:00   that way and so for me I got very [TS]

00:19:04   comfortable in writing all the time and [TS]

00:19:06   especially my day job at Macworld [TS]

00:19:07   involved writing a lot and so I was very [TS]

00:19:11   comfortable with it as like a process [TS]

00:19:13   and so I figured you know I want to [TS]

00:19:15   start back in and I got I think I was [TS]

00:19:17   working on the third book in that driver [TS]

00:19:18   series and I was like oh man I'm just [TS]

00:19:19   totally jammed up on this like I don't [TS]

00:19:21   really know what to what to do in it [TS]

00:19:22   first book didn't do you know didn't get [TS]

00:19:24   any bites and why am i working on the [TS]

00:19:27   third book of a trilogy if I can't sell [TS]

00:19:29   the first book and so I think it you [TS]

00:19:31   know at a certain point I I sort of had [TS]

00:19:33   to swallow my pride and be like that's [TS]

00:19:35   not going anywhere let's work on [TS]

00:19:36   something totally different and so I [TS]

00:19:38   wrote I think what I wrote was probably [TS]

00:19:41   the first thing I wrote was probably the [TS]

00:19:43   it might have been the prologue for this [TS]

00:19:46   book or ironically it might have been a [TS]

00:19:48   version of the first chapter of the [TS]

00:19:49   second book which will get to well house [TS]

00:19:53   indeed and we'll get so yeah 2008-2009 [TS]

00:19:57   was probably the first like when I [TS]

00:19:59   started in working on what eventually [TS]

00:20:02   become became the Caledonian gambit and [TS]

00:20:04   of course it changed a lot in that [TS]

00:20:06   period as even you saw in the time the [TS]

00:20:08   you know that you read it yeah it [TS]

00:20:11   definitely did [TS]

00:20:12   um the the so 2010 you send it to me and [TS]

00:20:16   I read it I remember reading it every [TS]

00:20:18   year for a few years there when the kids [TS]

00:20:21   were little we would go to this family [TS]

00:20:22   camp up in the woods in the Sierras and [TS]

00:20:24   I remember very distinctly sitting uh [TS]

00:20:29   reading I think on I think not on a [TS]

00:20:33   Kindle it might have been like on an [TS]

00:20:35   iPhone yeah [TS]

00:20:38   or actually could have been an iPad even [TS]

00:20:39   right Jen right maybe it was the [TS]

00:20:41   original iPad in iBooks I think that's [TS]

00:20:43   what I did and not a Kindle because the [TS]

00:20:45   Kindle that I had at that point had the [TS]

00:20:49   you know the stupid keyboard it's not [TS]

00:20:51   good anyway but I uh so the device isn't [TS]

00:20:53   clear but I know it was a digital device [TS]

00:20:54   and I was sitting there reading it like [TS]

00:20:56   in a in a lounge chair kind of thing one [TS]

00:21:00   of those like director Z chairs on dirt [TS]

00:21:03   surrounded by trees in the National [TS]

00:21:05   Forest in front of our tent cabin [TS]

00:21:07   probably drinking a beer and reading and [TS]

00:21:09   noting the book and I have a fond a fond [TS]

00:21:12   clear memory of reading and writing [TS]

00:21:14   notes about the book now you know [TS]

00:21:16   keeping in mind that my my kids were way [TS]

00:21:19   I mean it's been seven years right kids [TS]

00:21:21   have changed a lot more than you and I [TS]

00:21:22   have in the last seven years the and it [TS]

00:21:27   was it definitely hit me at the time [TS]

00:21:28   that knowing your love for the [TS]

00:21:31   Vorkosigan series and having read all of [TS]

00:21:33   those in a very short period of time [TS]

00:21:35   because of your recommendations [TS]

00:21:36   certainly I was reminded of of that kind [TS]

00:21:40   of style of thing this this is actually [TS]

00:21:42   two months before the incomparable by [TS]

00:21:44   the way yeah right right this predates [TS]

00:21:46   it so they insanely I just found a thank [TS]

00:21:48   God I used to keep a blog somewhere [TS]

00:21:50   I found a blog suggesting that I started [TS]

00:21:53   it in March 2009 so right that was out [TS]

00:21:56   Oh only about a year and a year and [TS]

00:21:59   change before I sent it to you yes so [TS]

00:22:01   you wrote wrote it across 2009 basically [TS]

00:22:04   in the beginning of 2010 that first [TS]

00:22:05   draft of it so I remember reading it I [TS]

00:22:08   remember I remember my notes of it a [TS]

00:22:12   little bit mostly that my complaint was [TS]

00:22:15   that your main character seemed like an [TS]

00:22:16   idiot yeah yeah yeah that's fair um I [TS]

00:22:22   I'm not sure how much I fixed that but I [TS]

00:22:24   hope no I don't I don't [TS]

00:22:26   feel that way anymore because I read I [TS]

00:22:27   read another draft of it much later and [TS]

00:22:29   no I mean it was just funny that was [TS]

00:22:32   that I remember that being one of my [TS]

00:22:33   main I mean I found a bunch of little [TS]

00:22:35   things I think about like oh I what [TS]

00:22:36   about this and this seems to consistent [TS]

00:22:38   in all of that but what my overarching [TS]

00:22:41   thing I think was that I had some [TS]

00:22:43   confusion about the two viewpoints [TS]

00:22:44   because there are sort of two viewpoint [TS]

00:22:46   characters in the book and my [TS]

00:22:48   frustration that your main character [TS]

00:22:50   seemed to be a little bit passive and [TS]

00:22:53   got a little bit taken advantage of by [TS]

00:22:55   other characters to the point like I [TS]

00:22:56   wanted to see him sort of like have more [TS]

00:22:58   struggle or or or feel you know figure [TS]

00:23:02   things out a little bit back a little [TS]

00:23:05   yeah because he just seemed like he was [TS]

00:23:06   giving because I mean the story in broad [TS]

00:23:08   strokes without spoiling it you end up [TS]

00:23:10   with this your main character kind of [TS]

00:23:12   has a homecoming that's kind of a [TS]

00:23:13   reluctant homecoming and it we as we [TS]

00:23:16   learn more about his family life and his [TS]

00:23:18   life back where he grew up you can see [TS]

00:23:21   that there's some very strong [TS]

00:23:22   personalities and you can see why he [TS]

00:23:24   left [TS]

00:23:25   honestly you see why he left and I think [TS]

00:23:28   the challenge in the first rap that I [TS]

00:23:29   had was that when he returns back it [TS]

00:23:32   feels like he's just going back to being [TS]

00:23:34   ping ponged around by these other people [TS]

00:23:36   in his life and I think I think in the [TS]

00:23:38   final version that isn't there that that [TS]

00:23:41   you see why he left and and why there [TS]

00:23:44   are all these issues but you also see [TS]

00:23:47   that he's his own person and he's making [TS]

00:23:49   his own decisions and he's he's not kind [TS]

00:23:52   of like there occasionally he's hapless [TS]

00:23:55   because he's learning about this new [TS]

00:23:56   kind of world that's opened up to him [TS]

00:23:57   but he's never dumb about it like he the [TS]

00:24:00   decisions he makes or the things he gets [TS]

00:24:03   steered into I don't feel like he's [TS]

00:24:05   doing it because he's been cowed or [TS]

00:24:08   because he's clueless and that that was [TS]

00:24:09   a for me that was like one of the key [TS]

00:24:11   points is I want to root for this guy [TS]

00:24:12   but every time he does something I was [TS]

00:24:14   thinking you idiot why are you doing [TS]

00:24:16   that and I think that and that's a [TS]

00:24:18   subtle thing but I think you managed to [TS]

00:24:19   navigate that a little bit in making him [TS]

00:24:21   see him a little bit well you know more [TS]

00:24:23   capable and and like when he get when he [TS]

00:24:25   does something that is dumb he does it [TS]

00:24:27   for reasons right it's not it really [TS]

00:24:29   turn out to be a regrettable later but [TS]

00:24:31   he does it for good reasons well the [TS]

00:24:33   thing and it's the thing we often [TS]

00:24:34   complain about you know when we critique [TS]

00:24:36   television shows for example or other [TS]

00:24:38   things where people do things that [TS]

00:24:40   think are dumb and the Emmy we always [TS]

00:24:42   like why did you do that and then the [TS]

00:24:43   answer it's like because that's what the [TS]

00:24:45   script told them to do right you don't [TS]

00:24:46   want you don't ever feel like you're [TS]

00:24:48   your character is doing something [TS]

00:24:49   because the plot demands that they do [TS]

00:24:52   this thing even though it makes no sense [TS]

00:24:54   right like even if they're going to do [TS]

00:24:55   something dumb or make a mistake which [TS]

00:24:57   characters have to do because they're [TS]

00:24:58   flawed and that's what makes stories [TS]

00:25:00   interesting is conflict and mistakes and [TS]

00:25:02   and that's our jazz you want to make it [TS]

00:25:05   make it seem like there was a reason [TS]

00:25:07   there was a rationale even if it was a [TS]

00:25:09   bad rationale there was a reason that [TS]

00:25:11   they did what they did yeah right like [TS]

00:25:13   this character is put under pressure in [TS]

00:25:15   a certain way psychological pressure [TS]

00:25:16   physical pressure and they react and as [TS]

00:25:19   long as it makes sense because because I [TS]

00:25:22   mean also a subtle thing right is you [TS]

00:25:24   don't want you want people to like your [TS]

00:25:26   protagonist right yeah and not feel [TS]

00:25:28   unless you're writing a like a detective [TS]

00:25:31   that's deliberately unlikable well you [TS]

00:25:32   wanna be yeah you wanna understand why [TS]

00:25:34   they do what they do and and be and [TS]

00:25:35   identify them in some with them in some [TS]

00:25:38   way and and if if if you like come on [TS]

00:25:41   dummy why did you do that that's not you [TS]

00:25:43   takes you out of the story so that I [TS]

00:25:45   remember that and definitely I was that [TS]

00:25:47   was a change that that made I don't know [TS]

00:25:49   what else you want to talk about about [TS]

00:25:50   the changes that you made along the way [TS]

00:25:52   because I know that there was a [TS]

00:25:53   different you know you kind of backed up [TS]

00:25:55   the opening of the book at one point and [TS]

00:25:57   then you kind of the final the final [TS]

00:25:59   book opens very much like the the draft [TS]

00:26:01   I read was you can went there and then [TS]

00:26:03   went away from it it went through some [TS]

00:26:05   changes and so a lot of these came as a [TS]

00:26:06   result of getting a working with the man [TS]

00:26:10   who is now my agent so let's let's and [TS]

00:26:12   let's let's talk about that yeah let's [TS]

00:26:14   talk about that for a moment so you did [TS]

00:26:16   ultimately get an agent what was that [TS]

00:26:18   process what happened with that so for [TS]

00:26:21   several years I was going to well I [TS]

00:26:23   guess I only went like once when I was [TS]

00:26:25   younger in like my mid-20s I went to vos [TS]

00:26:27   con which is a local science fiction con [TS]

00:26:29   and at the time I went which I think was [TS]

00:26:31   2006 it was in downtown Boston it since [TS]

00:26:35   moved to the over near the Convention [TS]

00:26:37   Center but a you know it was just a [TS]

00:26:39   chance to like go and and see some [TS]

00:26:42   interesting writers george RR martin was [TS]

00:26:44   there cory doctorow was there I mean [TS]

00:26:45   people that you know I knew and admired [TS]

00:26:47   I also thought hey I've written a book [TS]

00:26:49   at this point like maybe this is an [TS]

00:26:51   interesting way to like network a little [TS]

00:26:53   bit [TS]

00:26:54   and so I went to try and do that and I [TS]

00:26:56   had an interesting experience and really [TS]

00:26:58   like felt like I came away opened up to [TS]

00:27:02   a new sort of slice of fandom right like [TS]

00:27:05   kansai not I've been to other like I've [TS]

00:27:07   been Somani made conventions some video [TS]

00:27:09   game convention stuff like that I've [TS]

00:27:11   been to Macworld like but there was not [TS]

00:27:13   I had never really been to a [TS]

00:27:16   science-fiction con and so that was an [TS]

00:27:17   interesting experience several years [TS]

00:27:18   later I sort of stopped going for a [TS]

00:27:20   while and then several years later I [TS]

00:27:21   went back and around 2000 G's 2012 [TS]

00:27:27   probably I so I had gone to boss Con in [TS]

00:27:32   February or so and I was looking at [TS]

00:27:36   panels and I saw a panel by a guy named [TS]

00:27:38   Mike Cole was a writer and I had read a [TS]

00:27:41   blog post by him I'm only a month or so [TS]

00:27:44   earlier maybe linked to by John Scalzi [TS]

00:27:46   or something talking about just how hard [TS]

00:27:49   it was to make a living as a full-time [TS]

00:27:52   writer which Mike was trying to do at [TS]

00:27:53   that point and he was Mike was very open [TS]

00:27:55   about like how his books were doing the [TS]

00:27:57   kind of money he was making you know the [TS]

00:27:59   fact that he wants to live in in you [TS]

00:28:01   know New York City and how like making [TS]

00:28:03   you know even with books that did pretty [TS]

00:28:05   well it was still really really uphill [TS]

00:28:09   climb and I thought it was fascinating [TS]

00:28:11   and it was also just you know it was not [TS]

00:28:14   a rosy picture but it was a picture that [TS]

00:28:16   said like you can do this it's just [TS]

00:28:18   gonna be really hard and so I went and [TS]

00:28:21   saw Mike on a panel and later on a lot [TS]

00:28:22   of these cons do these things called [TS]

00:28:23   coffee klatches where you just sort of [TS]

00:28:25   sit down at a table [TS]

00:28:26   yeah with someone and so I signed up for [TS]

00:28:28   Mike's and I sat down and we ended up [TS]

00:28:30   chatting and Mike again very generous [TS]

00:28:32   with his time was like hey you know as [TS]

00:28:33   soon as we sat down it's like I'm sure a [TS]

00:28:35   lot of you want to be writers and are [TS]

00:28:38   trying to figure out how to break in the [TS]

00:28:39   business so if you've got questions ask [TS]

00:28:41   me I will answer him I will tell you [TS]

00:28:43   anything and so we had a very [TS]

00:28:45   interesting discussion this whole coffee [TS]

00:28:46   table and and we were done I was talking [TS]

00:28:49   to Mike a little bit and he said like [TS]

00:28:50   yeah you seem like a like a nice guy [TS]

00:28:51   like you seem very like approachable [TS]

00:28:54   very personable like you can talk to [TS]

00:28:55   people whole like and you you know we [TS]

00:28:59   talked a little bit about like my book [TS]

00:29:00   and stuff and then his agent was man [TS]

00:29:02   named Joshua Vilnius walked up and [TS]

00:29:04   Joshua reps some pretty well-known [TS]

00:29:06   people [TS]

00:29:07   including Charlaine Harris who wrote the [TS]

00:29:09   stuff that True Blood is based on and [TS]

00:29:11   brand recently very very well-known [TS]

00:29:13   fancy author and Joshua and I started [TS]

00:29:15   talking and I mentioned it was very [TS]

00:29:17   helpful at that point mentioned I'm a [TS]

00:29:19   full time writer I'm a professional [TS]

00:29:20   writer right for a technology magazine [TS]

00:29:22   and we ended up chatting for a while and [TS]

00:29:25   discovered that like he was very [TS]

00:29:27   interested in like picking my brain [TS]

00:29:28   about technology stuff too and we had [TS]

00:29:30   some common interests we both avid [TS]

00:29:32   crossword doers and so we talked for a [TS]

00:29:35   while and at the end I said hey you know [TS]

00:29:36   I've got this book I would love to send [TS]

00:29:38   it to you can I do that he said sure and [TS]

00:29:39   he gave me his card night I sent it off [TS]

00:29:41   and he eventually read it and sent me [TS]

00:29:45   back a whole bunch of comments and his [TS]

00:29:50   comments were sort of like I've cut my [TS]

00:29:52   am look at the email now cuz I'm super [TS]

00:29:53   curious to say what he said at the time [TS]

00:29:54   it's like yeah it was it was really nice [TS]

00:29:57   to meet you I really get into the book [TS]

00:30:00   and then he talked about sort of like [TS]

00:30:03   you know he thought there was promise in [TS]

00:30:06   it and he thought like I could put some [TS]

00:30:07   sentences together there was just some [TS]

00:30:09   stuff that needs to be worked on [TS]

00:30:11   there were stuff that need to be cut [TS]

00:30:13   there was deadweight there was you know [TS]

00:30:15   stuff that was just kind of overwrought [TS]

00:30:18   and sort of killed his interest in it [TS]

00:30:20   and he said like well you know what this [TS]

00:30:23   this isn't problems here but there's you [TS]

00:30:25   know I looked at some of the other stuff [TS]

00:30:26   and it seems like there's some promise [TS]

00:30:29   so you know work on it I'd be interested [TS]

00:30:31   to take another look at some point now [TS]

00:30:34   that's huge I don't know you know to [TS]

00:30:37   talk to our audience for a second if [TS]

00:30:38   you've ever tried to write into an agent [TS]

00:30:40   and submit a manuscript most of the time [TS]

00:30:42   the best you can hope for is like a [TS]

00:30:44   pretty you know form response is just [TS]

00:30:46   like sorry this wasn't for me and I've [TS]

00:30:49   gotten my fair share of those both on [TS]

00:30:50   the editorial submissions as well as on [TS]

00:30:54   agents you know agent queries and you [TS]

00:30:57   know that's kind of disheartening right [TS]

00:30:59   like you know even if it's just it's not [TS]

00:31:01   for me it makes you feel it's rejection [TS]

00:31:02   right it's a bummer but to get something [TS]

00:31:06   back that was you know if not an [TS]

00:31:08   acceptance at least a I read this here [TS]

00:31:11   are bunch and I'm looking at this email [TS]

00:31:12   it's fairly long it's like a page long [TS]

00:31:14   and so you know with specific notes [TS]

00:31:17   about things to look at and the fact [TS]

00:31:20   that some [TS]

00:31:21   one who is as busy as he is took the [TS]

00:31:23   time to read through and give me [TS]

00:31:25   specific pointers was incredibly [TS]

00:31:29   generous and like incredibly you know he [TS]

00:31:33   was willing to commit his time to do [TS]

00:31:34   that and that is HUGE because it gave me [TS]

00:31:37   something to say like I all right yet [TS]

00:31:39   work that needs to be done here I can go [TS]

00:31:41   back and I can keep working on this and [TS]

00:31:43   he might be willing to look at another [TS]

00:31:46   draft on somebody who knows about novels [TS]

00:31:49   and how they were right and and and you [TS]

00:31:51   know he's viewing a also slightly [TS]

00:31:53   different perspective which is he's [TS]

00:31:55   viewing from the perspective not just if [TS]

00:31:56   somebody in the business and not [TS]

00:31:57   somebody who doesn't have any reason to [TS]

00:31:58   tell you that they're like your book but [TS]

00:32:01   also he's thinking not just if a novel [TS]

00:32:03   he likes he's thinking of novels that he [TS]

00:32:05   knows that have sold right and he's he's [TS]

00:32:08   also yeah he's also looking at you know [TS]

00:32:11   sometimes it's about the book but a lot [TS]

00:32:13   of times it's usually about the writer [TS]

00:32:14   which is to say if a agent looks at a [TS]

00:32:17   book and thinks this book you know it's [TS]

00:32:20   not for me but it's you know there's [TS]

00:32:22   clearly something this provide this [TS]

00:32:23   person who promised are duly surprised [TS]

00:32:25   like yeah you you sometimes they will [TS]

00:32:28   talk to you and work with you and you [TS]

00:32:30   know like maybe say like not this but [TS]

00:32:31   like when you've got something else let [TS]

00:32:33   me know [TS]

00:32:34   and so because they're looking you know [TS]

00:32:36   a good agent is looking for someone [TS]

00:32:39   who's gonna have a career right like [TS]

00:32:41   they don't want to sell a book they want [TS]

00:32:42   to sell a lot of books like and they [TS]

00:32:44   want you to have a long career in which [TS]

00:32:47   you're gonna sell a bunch of books [TS]

00:32:48   because that's how they make their money [TS]

00:32:49   right like they make a commission on [TS]

00:32:50   selling stuff right so they it's in [TS]

00:32:52   their best interest for you to have a [TS]

00:32:54   long and fruitful writing career in fact [TS]

00:32:56   it seems to me that that the business [TS]

00:32:58   model of many agents including yours is [TS]

00:33:00   you place a bunch of bets and absolutely [TS]

00:33:03   and some of them will hit and you get [TS]

00:33:05   your Brandon Sanderson and some of them [TS]

00:33:08   won't know they'll write they'll be okay [TS]

00:33:09   or they'll write a couple of books and [TS]

00:33:11   they won't really go anywhere but you [TS]

00:33:12   place the bets you find people that you [TS]

00:33:14   want to place a bet on and then see what [TS]

00:33:17   happens yeah I mean it's a lot like it's [TS]

00:33:19   a lot like a lot of the entertainment [TS]

00:33:21   industry like think about movies right [TS]

00:33:22   studios put out a bunch of movies a year [TS]

00:33:24   and they have those tentpoles where it's [TS]

00:33:26   like this is our like big blockbuster or [TS]

00:33:28   summer blockbuster it's going to make a [TS]

00:33:30   ton of money and we're going to use that [TS]

00:33:32   to essentially fund a lot of our other [TS]

00:33:35   yes that are maybe not going to make as [TS]

00:33:36   much money and so you know if you have a [TS]

00:33:39   huge client who does really well that [TS]

00:33:41   enables you to take chances on new [TS]

00:33:42   people and yeah like you said that might [TS]

00:33:45   pay off you might find the next Brandon [TS]

00:33:46   Sanderson you might find the next George [TS]

00:33:48   are Martin rights how you do it no [TS]

00:33:49   that's how you do it you can find start [TS]

00:33:51   and find talent and and identify it and [TS]

00:33:53   and so he gave you he gave you feedback [TS]

00:33:55   that let you go away and I mean I I did [TS]

00:33:58   something similar because I paid Saladin [TS]

00:34:00   Ahmed for a for a critique of my most [TS]

00:34:04   recent manuscript in it similarly it was [TS]

00:34:06   like it was a lot about this is too much [TS]

00:34:08   you got too much detail here this is a [TS]

00:34:10   waste you need to delete this you need [TS]

00:34:11   to change this and it was great because [TS]

00:34:13   again same thing right he has no reason [TS]

00:34:15   to do anything except give me the truth [TS]

00:34:17   and that's what I wanted from somebody [TS]

00:34:19   who's written an award-winning novel and [TS]

00:34:21   has taught creative writing and it's [TS]

00:34:23   like it's super valuable to get that [TS]

00:34:24   perspective so you take it away and then [TS]

00:34:27   then you spend how much time working on [TS]

00:34:30   the book after that a couple years yeah [TS]

00:34:33   because we saw we stayed in touch which [TS]

00:34:35   is great because he would send me emails [TS]

00:34:36   every once a while like often not about [TS]

00:34:38   book stuff at all he was some emails [TS]

00:34:39   about Matt like Apple stuff like because [TS]

00:34:41   he'd see you know me writing about you [TS]

00:34:43   know whatever announcements came out and [TS]

00:34:45   he would just shoot me these aleem ales [TS]

00:34:47   well I got what do you think about this [TS]

00:34:48   thing or we talk about crosswords or [TS]

00:34:50   stuff so like we end up kind of becoming [TS]

00:34:51   friends which was nice and then every [TS]

00:34:53   once awhile I would have a new draft and [TS]

00:34:55   I would send it over to him but I think [TS]

00:34:56   I you know it was basically back and [TS]

00:34:57   forth until I want to say it was 2015 it [TS]

00:35:02   was only a couple years ago at this [TS]

00:35:04   point that I'd gone back and forth with [TS]

00:35:06   him and one of his other agents at the [TS]

00:35:09   agency a Sam Morgan who is since left [TS]

00:35:11   the agency and is off doing his own [TS]

00:35:13   literary agent enough elsewhere and Sam [TS]

00:35:16   Joshua both gave me a bunch of great [TS]

00:35:19   like you know feedback as I went through [TS]

00:35:21   the drafts but it was it was a couple [TS]

00:35:23   years until I think it was summer 2015 [TS]

00:35:26   that I finally got the call like you [TS]

00:35:28   know what we we read this last draft [TS]

00:35:30   there's a couple minor things we want to [TS]

00:35:32   tweak but we think on the basis of this [TS]

00:35:33   it's good enough that we we'd love to [TS]

00:35:35   have you as a client and that was that [TS]

00:35:39   was probably like you know there's a lot [TS]

00:35:41   of moments where you get to like feel [TS]

00:35:42   like take the win right like celebrate [TS]

00:35:44   and I think that was for me that was [TS]

00:35:45   really the first one where it was like [TS]

00:35:47   I have not only did I get that that call [TS]

00:35:49   to say you know we want to bring you on [TS]

00:35:51   and we're going to try to sell this but [TS]

00:35:53   you know it was a testament to the fact [TS]

00:35:55   that my butt off for like two years you [TS]

00:35:58   know making all these changes and [TS]

00:36:00   revising and to it was a it was proof to [TS]

00:36:02   me that I could not only sit down and [TS]

00:36:05   write a novel as I did like finishing [TS]

00:36:06   that first one but that I could actually [TS]

00:36:08   then do the hard work because writing [TS]

00:36:12   you know putting one word in front of [TS]

00:36:14   the other seems hard but really it's [TS]

00:36:15   it's figuring out what order to put them [TS]

00:36:17   in as I always say and so the amount of [TS]

00:36:20   time you spent like writing that first [TS]

00:36:22   novel you know rewriting it is gonna be [TS]

00:36:23   more probably and it's harder if it [TS]

00:36:25   feels harder to be way harder it's like [TS]

00:36:28   playing Jenga right like it's like oh my [TS]

00:36:29   god if I take this brick out right here [TS]

00:36:31   with this whole thing fell fall over and [TS]

00:36:33   I think I tried to talk a little bit [TS]

00:36:36   about this in a talk I did once at a [TS]

00:36:37   singleton the conference in Montreal but [TS]

00:36:40   like it's it's trying to get yourself [TS]

00:36:42   out of that mindset that like oh my my [TS]

00:36:45   story is this delicate spiderweb and if [TS]

00:36:48   I break this one strand the whole thing [TS]

00:36:50   will fall apart and trying to get [TS]

00:36:52   yourself more into the mindset of my [TS]

00:36:54   story is like a like a piece of iron [TS]

00:36:56   that is being worked in a forge right [TS]

00:36:58   where you're hammering on it to make it [TS]

00:37:00   like temper it to make it stronger than [TS]

00:37:02   the thing that was or you know [TS]

00:37:04   originally rightly you take a sword and [TS]

00:37:05   it's all about folding the metal and [TS]

00:37:07   like hammering it and trying to [TS]

00:37:09   reinforce it to the point where it's [TS]

00:37:10   like it's not going to break immediately [TS]

00:37:12   and you can hammer on something pretty [TS]

00:37:13   hard and and try to sort of work it into [TS]

00:37:16   the right shape and and that's that's [TS]

00:37:19   what you're going for when you're [TS]

00:37:20   rewriting and otherwise like you just [TS]

00:37:23   sort of get paralyzed with fear that [TS]

00:37:25   anything that you change will break [TS]

00:37:27   everything yeah and it's not the case [TS]

00:37:29   stories are pretty resilient in that way [TS]

00:37:30   and you can always fix it is the good [TS]

00:37:32   news you got to be bold you got and yeah [TS]

00:37:34   that's the goods to your kill your [TS]

00:37:35   darlings thing to would you gold and not [TS]

00:37:38   be afraid that you're gonna roll over [TS]

00:37:39   something that maybe something you're [TS]

00:37:40   really proud of and but it doesn't fit [TS]

00:37:42   and so you just got to be I'm just [TS]

00:37:44   passionate about like it's gone yeah [TS]

00:37:46   yeah I mean sometimes there are things [TS]

00:37:48   that you should fight for that are good [TS]

00:37:49   and you know they're good and you got to [TS]

00:37:50   trust your gut and say like no this is [TS]

00:37:51   good I need to find a way to make this [TS]

00:37:53   work but yeah you can't get hung up on [TS]

00:37:56   that one thing that is preventing [TS]

00:37:58   everything else from working right like [TS]

00:38:00   if it's if it's one [TS]

00:38:00   thing preventing the rest of the story [TS]

00:38:02   from working that's got to go but if [TS]

00:38:04   it's one thing that's like oh it just [TS]

00:38:05   doesn't quite fit then you know figure [TS]

00:38:07   out a way to make it fit yeah but two [TS]

00:38:11   years yeah so two years until I got the [TS]

00:38:13   the deal for that I think actually you [TS]

00:38:15   know what that must have been right [TS]

00:38:16   before that was right before we were all [TS]

00:38:20   at sass one yeah 2015 right because I [TS]

00:38:23   met I met your agents and getting a task [TS]

00:38:26   one and and Josh said to me [TS]

00:38:29   what do you have in nonfiction I'm like [TS]

00:38:31   all I got a signed sci-fi novels - I [TS]

00:38:34   don't have any nonfiction for you it's [TS]

00:38:35   like I'm really excited about a little [TS]

00:38:36   about like a nonfiction narrative I'm [TS]

00:38:38   like oh man I can't yeah I I keep [TS]

00:38:41   thinking about it like I was fine I'll [TS]

00:38:43   have anything for that he's a he's a [TS]

00:38:44   character it was fun meeting those guys [TS]

00:38:46   and yes you got to go there and at least [TS]

00:38:48   be repped by an agent right yep and and [TS]

00:38:51   but the process wasn't over because you [TS]

00:38:53   had to make changes and things like that [TS]

00:38:54   and then they had to go through the [TS]

00:38:55   process of trying to sell your book yeah [TS]

00:38:57   and that's another whole long one - yeah [TS]

00:39:00   it's always like one it's like a video [TS]

00:39:01   game level you beat that level the next [TS]

00:39:03   level is harder right yeah and so you [TS]

00:39:05   know that basically involves sending out [TS]

00:39:07   you know they craft a query letter which [TS]

00:39:09   is basically kind of a lot like the [TS]

00:39:11   thing that you send to an agent right [TS]

00:39:12   when you're when you're trying to pitch [TS]

00:39:13   your book to them and but obviously they [TS]

00:39:16   have a little more experience of doing [TS]

00:39:17   this and they have relationships with [TS]

00:39:18   editors which is great and so we spent [TS]

00:39:20   some time working on a query letter for [TS]

00:39:22   the story you know full plot synopsis [TS]

00:39:24   describing it talking about me a little [TS]

00:39:26   bit and then sending that out to a bunch [TS]

00:39:28   editors and then you get the long period [TS]

00:39:30   of waiting for the editors to get back [TS]

00:39:31   and this is basically very similar to [TS]

00:39:34   like sending stuff out to agents which [TS]

00:39:35   is to say most editors are going to turn [TS]

00:39:38   you down could be for a variety of [TS]

00:39:40   reasons they might again maybe it's just [TS]

00:39:42   not a story that resonates with them [TS]

00:39:44   maybe it just doesn't fit in with like [TS]

00:39:47   their their what they're working on or [TS]

00:39:49   their marketing or their style or tone [TS]

00:39:51   any variety of things maybe they don't [TS]

00:39:53   have money for it [TS]

00:39:54   who knows and so we went through a lot [TS]

00:39:58   maybe somewhere between 10 15 different [TS]

00:40:02   publishers before we found the deal that [TS]

00:40:05   we wanted and I should mention actually [TS]

00:40:07   as an interesting part of this which is [TS]

00:40:08   something I forget sometimes probably [TS]

00:40:11   in-between me [TS]

00:40:14   the first draft of this and actually [TS]

00:40:18   getting signed by an agent I at one [TS]

00:40:22   point submitted this to the small [TS]

00:40:24   publisher called angry robot [TS]

00:40:26   uh-huh and they had a everyone smile [TS]

00:40:28   they hold open submissions and I sent my [TS]

00:40:30   book in for that and it got to the point [TS]

00:40:32   of they requested the whole manuscript [TS]

00:40:35   and and they did not eventually like you [TS]

00:40:40   know offer to buy it but they you know [TS]

00:40:43   it got pretty far in that process and [TS]

00:40:44   then some books came out I think um I [TS]

00:40:46   think was choose uh lives of Tao came [TS]

00:40:49   out of that so you know like their books [TS]

00:40:52   real books came out of that so I felt [TS]

00:40:54   like heartened by that that even though [TS]

00:40:56   they didn't want to buy it like it had [TS]

00:40:58   you know again past a certain sniff test [TS]

00:41:00   so that was exciting and in fact we [TS]

00:41:03   submitted to them you know when we were [TS]

00:41:05   doing eight submissions editorial they [TS]

00:41:07   still didn't buy it but hey that's fine [TS]

00:41:09   I like that's already yeah right someone [TS]

00:41:12   that actually I feel like maybe some of [TS]

00:41:13   them do you remember it I don't know I [TS]

00:41:15   felt like it got better in that time but [TS]

00:41:17   yeah you know not to get too much down [TS]

00:41:19   the weeds of the editorial process but [TS]

00:41:21   you get a lot of comments back I got [TS]

00:41:22   some very nice comments by people who [TS]

00:41:23   are like oh man I really there's things [TS]

00:41:25   I really like about this but ultimately [TS]

00:41:27   I just it didn't work for me in some way [TS]

00:41:28   or you know and like that's depressing [TS]

00:41:30   too because you're like wait what didn't [TS]

00:41:32   work what didn't work what can I fix but [TS]

00:41:35   you know you're just looking for the [TS]

00:41:36   right editor so what was the process of [TS]

00:41:39   finally you know did you get did you get [TS]

00:41:42   offers and and how did you make that you [TS]

00:41:45   know without getting you know I know you [TS]

00:41:46   don't one of the things you don't want [TS]

00:41:48   to disclose but like how did that had [TS]

00:41:49   the deal get made there we ended up [TS]

00:41:52   getting two offers both of which were [TS]

00:41:56   had their virtues and we ended up going [TS]

00:42:00   with the author from Talos press which [TS]

00:42:03   is a imprint of skyhorse and if just you [TS]

00:42:08   know some of that was was purely like a [TS]

00:42:10   business decision in terms of like you [TS]

00:42:12   know what they what the terms of the [TS]

00:42:13   offer were and so you know I ended up [TS]

00:42:16   I'm working with a editor there named [TS]

00:42:18   Jason Katzman and he seemed excited [TS]

00:42:21   about the book which was great and the [TS]

00:42:23   terms were were ones that were [TS]

00:42:26   you know Amina Bowl to all parties so we [TS]

00:42:28   signed that deal and at that point then [TS]

00:42:31   that's that's another good example of [TS]

00:42:33   you could you sign that deal and you're [TS]

00:42:35   like great I've signed a deal for a book [TS]

00:42:36   when's my book come out and I sign that [TS]

00:42:38   deal like over a year ago you know so um [TS]

00:42:42   so next tip is you know if you get to [TS]

00:42:45   that point you sign a book deal [TS]

00:42:46   keep working because otherwise you know [TS]

00:42:51   you're gonna bask on you know basking [TS]

00:42:54   the Sun for a while about that and they [TS]

00:42:55   realize wow this this deal this doesn't [TS]

00:42:57   come out for a year and I'm not gonna I [TS]

00:43:00   can't just sit around and wait for it to [TS]

00:43:01   come out I gotta keep working otherwise [TS]

00:43:02   when it does come out I won't have [TS]

00:43:04   anything else to like push forward so [TS]

00:43:06   this is where writing becomes like a job [TS]

00:43:08   because you know you can never quite sit [TS]

00:43:12   back and relax yeah you had to you had [TS]

00:43:15   to to keep working as it went through [TS]

00:43:17   the process I was gonna you mentioned [TS]

00:43:22   that there's a sequel I did did no are [TS]

00:43:27   you going against your own advice there [TS]

00:43:29   by writing another book in this universe [TS]

00:43:31   when you don't know how well this book [TS]

00:43:33   is going to do and later it's gonna hurt [TS]

00:43:34   a sequel I am 100% going against my own [TS]

00:43:37   advice yeah and I had written that [TS]

00:43:40   actually before I signed with the agency [TS]

00:43:43   certainly because you read that too and [TS]

00:43:46   you had that I don't know when but [TS]

00:43:47   probably not too long after you read the [TS]

00:43:51   early versions of the Caledonian gambit [TS]

00:43:53   you probably read that it probably a [TS]

00:43:54   couple years later because I kind of [TS]

00:43:56   jumped in on that and I knew I shouldn't [TS]

00:43:57   but at the same time part of me felt [TS]

00:43:59   like well these books are not it's not a [TS]

00:44:02   trilogy it's not intended to be a like [TS]

00:44:04   beginning middle end of like books it's [TS]

00:44:07   they're more episodic and so I thought [TS]

00:44:11   to myself well you know I have an idea [TS]

00:44:13   for a story and worst case scenario you [TS]

00:44:16   know if the first book doesn't do well [TS]

00:44:17   maybe I can redo this and make this the [TS]

00:44:19   first book or sell this first as lois [TS]

00:44:21   mcmaster bujold did and so I kind of you [TS]

00:44:24   know I guess my better judgment went and [TS]

00:44:25   did that and that book is still in the [TS]

00:44:30   works I don't have too much else to say [TS]

00:44:33   about it directly I'm still working on [TS]

00:44:36   it [TS]

00:44:36   it's a getting feedback and I'm [TS]

00:44:39   be close to a draft I think that myself [TS]

00:44:42   and my agent are both happy with which [TS]

00:44:44   is a good process and then some of that [TS]

00:44:46   will depend on seeing how well the [TS]

00:44:48   Caledonian game it does so rest assured [TS]

00:44:50   that if you've if you've read it and you [TS]

00:44:51   like it there is potentially more to [TS]

00:44:54   come but obviously you know that depends [TS]

00:44:57   on how well the book does so you know [TS]

00:44:59   tell your friends he'll ever tell [TS]

00:45:00   everybody rated on Amazon rated on [TS]

00:45:02   Goodreads read reviews etc if you like [TS]

00:45:05   it and you want to see more so that's [TS]

00:45:06   how that works so let's talk a little [TS]

00:45:08   bit about the book without without [TS]

00:45:09   spoiling it so that it's science fiction [TS]

00:45:11   it's you've got a can you talk a little [TS]

00:45:14   about where this is set because it's got [TS]

00:45:17   a very particular as these space operas [TS]

00:45:19   often do it's got a very particular kind [TS]

00:45:21   of politics set up that is you know it's [TS]

00:45:27   like geopolitics except instead it's [TS]

00:45:29   Galactus politics collect a political I [TS]

00:45:32   as I call it was kind of a mouthful yeah [TS]

00:45:35   this is set in said well I'm working you [TS]

00:45:39   know the timeline is not specified in [TS]

00:45:40   the first book but it's a few hundred [TS]

00:45:42   years in the future the galaxy has [TS]

00:45:45   expanded there are still this is kind of [TS]

00:45:47   notable they're still like humans in [TS]

00:45:49   this in this galaxy it's so you know [TS]

00:45:53   there are no aliens the worlds that have [TS]

00:45:55   been settled are mainly connected via [TS]

00:45:58   wormholes and there are these gates that [TS]

00:46:01   sort of prop the wormholes open and let [TS]

00:46:02   you travel between these solar systems [TS]

00:46:04   and over the last twenty years or so [TS]

00:46:07   there's been this cold war going on and [TS]

00:46:10   I mean it started it started as an [TS]

00:46:13   actual war this the lyric and Empire [TS]

00:46:17   invaded this was a group of former Earth [TS]

00:46:21   colonists and they sort of were ticked [TS]

00:46:25   off by the way they felt like they had [TS]

00:46:26   been treated by earth and so they [TS]

00:46:28   invaded earth and took over the other [TS]

00:46:30   colonies several of the other colonies [TS]

00:46:32   including the planet caldonia which is [TS]

00:46:34   obviously in the title and which is [TS]

00:46:36   where our protagonist is from and then [TS]

00:46:38   over time it sort of settled into this [TS]

00:46:40   cold war where the remnants the people [TS]

00:46:43   who are not conquered by the lyric ins [TS]

00:46:46   have sort of formed formed this ad-hoc [TS]

00:46:48   commonwealth of independent systems to [TS]

00:46:50   basically resist [TS]

00:46:52   and the way that it's sort of shaken out [TS]

00:46:54   is that they they end up you know kind [TS]

00:46:56   of in one of these Cold War mutually [TS]

00:46:58   assured destruction scenarios where [TS]

00:47:00   they've got these two superpowers and [TS]

00:47:02   they're kind of staring each other down [TS]

00:47:03   but right now everything is kind of calm [TS]

00:47:08   before the storm so there's there's no [TS]

00:47:12   open warfare but there are occasionally [TS]

00:47:14   maybe some skirmishes and of course it [TS]

00:47:16   gives us a great opportunity for spies [TS]

00:47:18   and covert agents to do all their [TS]

00:47:20   sneaking around right so it's you get [TS]

00:47:22   the sense that maybe there's a there's a [TS]

00:47:24   change on the horizon but for now a cold [TS]

00:47:26   war there's a balance of power that at [TS]

00:47:28   least temporarily has been put in place [TS]

00:47:30   between these two factions of humans who [TS]

00:47:34   have different collections of plants now [TS]

00:47:35   Caledonia you mentioned one of the [TS]

00:47:37   concepts I think and correct me if I'm [TS]

00:47:40   wrong here that is that a lot of these [TS]

00:47:41   planets what ends up happening is that [TS]

00:47:43   there are colonists that that colonize [TS]

00:47:45   them that are at least in some cases [TS]

00:47:48   largely from particular nations on earth [TS]

00:47:51   and so you end up with kind of you know [TS]

00:47:53   a planet with a more homogeneous culture [TS]

00:47:57   than you might otherwise expect is that [TS]

00:47:58   right because Caledonia seems to be has [TS]

00:48:00   a strong Irish Scottish kind of flavor [TS]

00:48:04   to it yeah and in this case a lot of [TS]

00:48:06   that comes from the people who were the [TS]

00:48:08   founders of the colony and therefore [TS]

00:48:09   were like kind of had a vested interest [TS]

00:48:11   in pushing their own cultural agenda and [TS]

00:48:16   it's not to say that there aren't people [TS]

00:48:17   from all you know all Heritage's and [TS]

00:48:21   backgrounds but just that that has [TS]

00:48:23   evolved to become and sort of like with [TS]

00:48:26   with with some melange from some other [TS]

00:48:28   cultures but it sort of evolved to [TS]

00:48:30   become the the main culture on that [TS]

00:48:33   planet and and yeah so that's it's a [TS]

00:48:37   result sort of of the unwanted the [TS]

00:48:38   ruling class but like sort of the people [TS]

00:48:40   who were in the the upper echelons of [TS]

00:48:42   that that colony when it got settled [TS]

00:48:45   alright and so presumably other planets [TS]

00:48:48   have do do well are all planets in these [TS]

00:48:51   in this universe like that or are there [TS]

00:48:53   do they vary about whether they're super [TS]

00:48:55   very culturally tied or not at all I [TS]

00:48:57   would say they they largely vary there [TS]

00:49:00   are some with much more much stronger [TS]

00:49:03   cultural identities and then others [TS]

00:49:05   which are more melting pots it really [TS]

00:49:09   depends on where you go and you know [TS]

00:49:12   sort of who is there first and all the [TS]

00:49:13   ways those cultures to sort of evolve as [TS]

00:49:15   they go along but you know yeah in the [TS]

00:49:17   we haven't we haven't spent too much [TS]

00:49:19   time on other planets you know in this [TS]

00:49:24   first book really focuses largely on [TS]

00:49:26   caldonia and so they have a very very as [TS]

00:49:29   you said a very distinct culture which [TS]

00:49:30   is very heavily Celtic in origin now [TS]

00:49:33   while that just came from [TS]

00:49:34   I spent my a lot of time in Scotland and [TS]

00:49:36   Ireland at various points right and I [TS]

00:49:38   enjoyed the culture of it and I wanted [TS]

00:49:40   to sort of work that into a yeah I think [TS]

00:49:44   I again try not to give too much away [TS]

00:49:46   but also it has a little bit of a flavor [TS]

00:49:48   of they're there at a few points I got a [TS]

00:49:51   flavor of like you know kind of IRA kind [TS]

00:49:55   of right there's some there's a little [TS]

00:49:58   bit of crime and maybe maybe there's a [TS]

00:49:59   little bit of terrorism and it's all [TS]

00:50:02   just kind of hanging around there which [TS]

00:50:04   which that that was the flavor that I [TS]

00:50:06   got out of yeah no absolutely that's [TS]

00:50:08   that's that was another certainly [TS]

00:50:10   another influence as I said I did go to [TS]

00:50:12   Ireland for a while after finishing that [TS]

00:50:14   first book and I I did get to visit some [TS]

00:50:18   of the sites that are tied very closely [TS]

00:50:19   to to Irish history and Irish [TS]

00:50:22   nationalism and that definitely [TS]

00:50:24   influenced my my thinking on that the [TS]

00:50:27   evolution of that planet you go you go - [TS]

00:50:29   yeah well that's right when I was [TS]

00:50:30   thinking of Northern Ireland in the IRA [TS]

00:50:31   but but you're right I think you can't [TS]

00:50:33   set you really can't go around a corner [TS]

00:50:35   in Ireland without running into some [TS]

00:50:38   monument for somebody who basically [TS]

00:50:39   killed a lot of English people yep [TS]

00:50:41   English soldiers who were yeah that's [TS]

00:50:44   that's that's part of the national [TS]

00:50:47   identity there is throwing throwing off [TS]

00:50:48   the the English so um well what else [TS]

00:50:52   what else should people what else should [TS]

00:50:54   people know about the setting of this to [TS]

00:50:56   get them interested in reading this book [TS]

00:50:58   if they have not yet what do you think [TS]

00:51:00   um yeah I I think what intrigues me [TS]

00:51:04   about it I mentioned already that that [TS]

00:51:05   people are all there this is all human [TS]

00:51:08   and I think that that's a big part of it [TS]

00:51:09   for me as you know i I've read books [TS]

00:51:12   that I've enjoyed where aliens are done [TS]

00:51:14   very well but I have a lot of times [TS]

00:51:16   where I feel like sometimes you know you [TS]

00:51:18   look at like class [TS]

00:51:19   Star Trek and like even next generation [TS]

00:51:20   and people are just like ah aliens you [TS]

00:51:22   know this is like people with funny [TS]

00:51:23   foreheads and something about that I [TS]

00:51:25   always found a little off-putting and so [TS]

00:51:27   I really wanted to like delve into that [TS]

00:51:29   and so you know that's a big part of it [TS]

00:51:32   we've also got I think the the nature of [TS]

00:51:35   intersystem travel and how that setup [TS]

00:51:37   works towards making this an interesting [TS]

00:51:42   universe because these things become [TS]

00:51:44   strategic like where you can get it's [TS]

00:51:46   kind of like having bridges right like [TS]

00:51:48   where you can get and what the natural [TS]

00:51:50   environment prevents you from doing [TS]

00:51:52   makes a difference in terms of where you [TS]

00:51:57   can easily like deploy military ships [TS]

00:51:59   where are the lines drawn between these [TS]

00:52:02   different superpowers like how does that [TS]

00:52:04   play out in terms of getting people back [TS]

00:52:06   and forth across borders like I think [TS]

00:52:09   that's to me that was interesting rather [TS]

00:52:11   than just having a much more open galaxy [TS]

00:52:14   like you might see in something like [TS]

00:52:15   Star Wars or Star Trek where it's like [TS]

00:52:16   well you know like there are some [TS]

00:52:17   political lines but like your your [TS]

00:52:19   faster-than-light technology whatever [TS]

00:52:21   lets you go anywhere you want [TS]

00:52:23   essentially just whether or not you [TS]

00:52:25   should be there whereas in this it's [TS]

00:52:26   like well there's only certain routes to [TS]

00:52:29   get between certain places so that [TS]

00:52:31   becomes a matter of strategic importance [TS]

00:52:34   it becomes a matter of military [TS]

00:52:35   importance and its really it becomes [TS]

00:52:40   integral to this story too I like the I [TS]

00:52:42   like that it's strategic is the word [TS]

00:52:44   that I was searching for there to that [TS]

00:52:46   with with the Vorkosigan books with [TS]

00:52:49   something like like Lost fleet is like [TS]

00:52:51   that [TS]

00:52:52   the the new Empire series by Scalzi uses [TS]

00:52:57   this conceit of the you know jump gates [TS]

00:52:59   basically Babylon 5 there are lots of [TS]

00:53:01   examples of this but it does add that [TS]

00:53:03   strategic Geographic thing it also feels [TS]

00:53:07   a little bit like ticket to ride or [TS]

00:53:08   something like that right was like favor [TS]

00:53:09   everything is connected [TS]

00:53:10   sometimes by weird routes but it means [TS]

00:53:13   that you can cut somebody off and if [TS]

00:53:14   everybody can just go everywhere it's uh [TS]

00:53:17   it's that that's a different kind of [TS]

00:53:20   galactic political situation to use [TS]

00:53:23   you're right right now full of a of a [TS]

00:53:25   friends so but it is I would say I [TS]

00:53:27   haven't read this book several times in [TS]

00:53:29   several different forms that this is [TS]

00:53:30   this if I were to say [TS]

00:53:32   it what this book is I would say it is a [TS]

00:53:35   story about human beings who and and [TS]

00:53:39   their relationships with with each other [TS]

00:53:41   set inside a thriller about things with [TS]

00:53:48   Galacta political consequences it's like [TS]

00:53:50   those are the shells for me it's like at [TS]

00:53:52   its core this is about not just [TS]

00:53:55   relationships between people but [TS]

00:53:57   especially like familial relationships [TS]

00:54:00   and your main character is dealing with [TS]

00:54:02   family history and baggage and cultural [TS]

00:54:04   baggage and a and a planet that he [TS]

00:54:06   basically fled a home he fled for [TS]

00:54:10   reasons and then that's the core and [TS]

00:54:13   then just outside of that is there is a [TS]

00:54:15   there is a spy action thriller kind of [TS]

00:54:18   plot that has to happen that he's [TS]

00:54:19   involved with he gets caught up in and [TS]

00:54:21   then outside that is all of the the [TS]

00:54:24   political ramifications on the galaxy [TS]

00:54:27   spanning scale of what's going on which [TS]

00:54:30   is a nice it's a nice little turducken [TS]

00:54:32   of a different story [TS]

00:54:34   things happening there but people should [TS]

00:54:36   I'd say some people I think read a space [TS]

00:54:39   opera books for like galactic battles [TS]

00:54:42   and details of made-up made-up weapons [TS]

00:54:44   and made-up ships and things like that [TS]

00:54:46   like tell me about this imaginary gun [TS]

00:54:48   and how it fires and that's great [TS]

00:54:50   this is that you've got some you know [TS]

00:54:52   you've got some tech you've got some [TS]

00:54:54   space tech and you got some some [TS]

00:54:57   interesting stuff on that level but I I [TS]

00:54:59   what I like about it is that at its [TS]

00:55:01   heart you've got human characters and [TS]

00:55:03   how they their baggage and how they [TS]

00:55:06   react to each other actually if you go [TS]

00:55:08   up the chain is going to affect the [TS]

00:55:10   future the galaxy and that's pretty cool [TS]

00:55:12   right right well I mean that and that is [TS]

00:55:14   what I set out to do it's because that [TS]

00:55:15   was one of the things I really loved [TS]

00:55:16   about the Vorkosigan saga and also about [TS]

00:55:18   stuff like um I really loved Timothy [TS]

00:55:20   Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy [TS]

00:55:21   I like people who are recognizable as [TS]

00:55:24   people the expanse does this really well [TS]

00:55:26   to you know people who are recognizable [TS]

00:55:28   as people and I've read some sci-fi that [TS]

00:55:31   is like we're you know like set so far [TS]

00:55:33   in the future and it's post singularity [TS]

00:55:35   and people aren't even human anymore [TS]

00:55:37   right like and that's one type of thing [TS]

00:55:40   but it's not something that a that [TS]

00:55:41   speaks to me I wanted characters who [TS]

00:55:44   have the same [TS]

00:55:46   you know I I think you go you know for [TS]

00:55:49   400 years in the future and people are [TS]

00:55:51   still people and they have the same [TS]

00:55:53   fears and hopes and dreams and [TS]

00:55:55   attachments and conflicts that we have [TS]

00:55:59   even today you know whether it be family [TS]

00:56:01   or coworkers you know they're dealing [TS]

00:56:04   with essentially very similar problems [TS]

00:56:06   to you know ones that would be instantly [TS]

00:56:08   recognizable to anybody who picks up [TS]

00:56:10   this book and so that's that was what I [TS]

00:56:13   was shooting for it was to make people [TS]

00:56:14   who felt very human and are you know [TS]

00:56:17   dealing with problems that are not [TS]

00:56:19   totally alien to the kind of stuff that [TS]

00:56:21   we all all have to deal with every day [TS]

00:56:24   yeah no I think I think you did that and [TS]

00:56:27   it's a fun it's a fun book I think [TS]

00:56:29   people especially I do think you live up [TS]

00:56:31   to your um how do I put this [TS]

00:56:35   I can tell your love of the Vorkosigan [TS]

00:56:37   books when I read it like I can [TS]

00:56:39   recognize that and I love those books [TS]

00:56:40   too and they're fun and I I had that [TS]

00:56:42   same feeling of I wish there were more [TS]

00:56:44   books like this where there are very [TS]

00:56:46   interesting human characters but they [TS]

00:56:49   get their problems are played out over [TS]

00:56:51   this galactic spectacle which is fun I [TS]

00:56:54   mean it's it's fun and I hope I hope [TS]

00:56:57   people find it fun in even funny at [TS]

00:57:00   farts oh yeah sure you know attempts to [TS]

00:57:02   put in here where the the tone that I [TS]

00:57:04   feel like I kind of shoot for and I [TS]

00:57:06   don't know if this will be off-putting [TS]

00:57:06   to some people or not but the the tone [TS]

00:57:09   is kind of like that Marvel movie sort [TS]

00:57:11   of tone where it's like there are [TS]

00:57:12   serious moments of drama but there's [TS]

00:57:13   also a lot of levity yeah and there's [TS]

00:57:15   action and and stuff like that but like [TS]

00:57:17   it's very very digestible yeah well so [TS]

00:57:19   you've got you you definitely have [TS]

00:57:21   characters with senses of humor and it [TS]

00:57:22   comes out in different ways which is [TS]

00:57:24   which is fun that that yeah it's [TS]

00:57:27   definitely not as super serious like no [TS]

00:57:28   no this is science fiction we must be [TS]

00:57:30   serious it's not like that either so [TS]

00:57:32   yeah well it's I guess available where [TS]

00:57:36   books are sold [TS]

00:57:37   yeah that hopefully I mean you can [TS]

00:57:40   certainly find it on Amazon Barnes & [TS]

00:57:42   Noble iBooks all those places you can [TS]

00:57:45   check your local bookstore if they don't [TS]

00:57:46   have it they'll probably order it for [TS]

00:57:48   you no audio book yet but we can hope [TS]

00:57:50   right that there might be down the road [TS]

00:57:52   it's unclear right now is that right on [TS]

00:57:54   unclear I don't I don't know don't [TS]

00:57:56   really have anything to announce about [TS]

00:57:57   that but [TS]

00:57:58   I'm hopeful that at some point that will [TS]

00:58:00   be something that people can enjoy yeah [TS]

00:58:02   well that would be good that'd be good [TS]

00:58:04   yeah cuz some people want audiobooks and [TS]

00:58:06   that's yeah some people do want to [TS]

00:58:08   what's the deal the deal you made with a [TS]

00:58:09   publisher was not audio book publishing [TS]

00:58:11   deal it was a print me book deal so any [TS]

00:58:13   anything that would happen it would [TS]

00:58:15   happen at some other time so we'll see [TS]

00:58:17   I hope so though that would be nice yeah [TS]

00:58:19   we're worse that comes to worse the [TS]

00:58:21   incomparable will read your book dan [TS]

00:58:22   [Music] [TS]

00:58:24   people pay for that right they'll [TS]

00:58:26   totally pay for that everybody take a [TS]

00:58:27   page yep [TS]

00:58:28   oh that now there's an idea now that [TS]

00:58:31   seems like it really it seems like no [TS]

00:58:33   one would have a good time with that [TS]

00:58:34   including especially the listeners [TS]

00:58:36   anything we didn't cover that you would [TS]

00:58:38   like to cover in this special all day on [TS]

00:58:40   Episode oh wow yeah that's a lot of [TS]

00:58:43   pressure I'm trying to think if there's [TS]

00:58:44   anything I mean I guess the short answer [TS]

00:58:47   would be you know I feel like we have we [TS]

00:58:52   have a great audience at the [TS]

00:58:54   incomparable and I think that's been a [TS]

00:58:57   huge help to me in over this time like [TS]

00:59:00   people have been really very supportive [TS]

00:59:01   and I've gotten a ton of tweets about [TS]

00:59:04   people buying the book which is just [TS]

00:59:05   incredibly heartwarming for me on [TS]

00:59:08   something that I've worked for so long [TS]

00:59:09   and really strove for for so long and I [TS]

00:59:12   really appreciate everybody who bought [TS]

00:59:14   the book I really appreciate everybody [TS]

00:59:15   who's going to buy the book as you all [TS]

00:59:17   are I'm sure but I also you know kind of [TS]

00:59:20   want to say like hey I'm you know I [TS]

00:59:21   started this out as like I think all [TS]

00:59:24   writers pretty much I started out as a [TS]

00:59:26   fan and you know to those of you who are [TS]

00:59:30   sitting out there listening who maybe [TS]

00:59:31   thought like I'd like to write a book [TS]

00:59:33   someday I guess I just want to tell you [TS]

00:59:35   that you can do this like it's not I [TS]

00:59:37   showed you that that it is an achievable [TS]

00:59:40   goal it's going to be hard it's going to [TS]

00:59:42   take a ton of work but if you feel like [TS]

00:59:45   that's something you want to do then you [TS]

00:59:47   can absolutely do it and you know feel [TS]

00:59:51   free to reach out to me I don't [TS]

00:59:53   certainly this I'm embarking upon a new [TS]

00:59:55   section of my own life here so I don't [TS]

00:59:57   know that I will have all the answers or [TS]

00:59:59   even any of you [TS]

00:59:59   even any of you [TS]

01:00:00   answers but I will try you know I try to [TS]

01:00:02   sort of pay that forward as people have [TS]

01:00:04   in the past paid it forward for me to [TS]

01:00:07   try and help out and you know see if [TS]

01:00:09   people can achieve that so know that you [TS]

01:00:11   can do this and if you need help or [TS]

01:00:14   advice feel free to to hit me up Twitter [TS]

01:00:16   on my website what have you but [TS]

01:00:19   especially we comparable fans cuz I'm [TS]

01:00:21   I'm I'm one of you guys Dan you're [TS]

01:00:25   making me want to go back to my novel [TS]

01:00:26   rewrite it's an irony just that thanks [TS]

01:00:29   which I've read it I've read several of [TS]

01:00:30   your books [TS]

01:00:31   yeah and and I feel like there's there's [TS]

01:00:34   some really good stories there that I [TS]

01:00:35   would love to see shared with more [TS]

01:00:37   people that's a nice Monday would be [TS]

01:00:39   nice and it's doable Jason it can be [TS]

01:00:42   done it I've seen it be done and you [TS]

01:00:44   know an agent you know a guy so - I do I [TS]

01:00:46   know if you get well I'll get on that I [TS]

01:00:48   I have to say quitting my job and going [TS]

01:00:50   out on my own or or leaving my job I [TS]

01:00:52   quit it and I didn't go out of my own [TS]

01:00:53   because they kept me and then I left my [TS]

01:00:55   job but uh that that threw threw a [TS]

01:00:57   wrench into all of my kind of like [TS]

01:00:58   separation between different projects [TS]

01:01:02   and I that the writing the rewrites have [TS]

01:01:04   struggled because of that like I always [TS]

01:01:06   had that like I could write another six [TS]

01:01:08   colors post and I need I need to block [TS]

01:01:09   off time and say no at this time write [TS]

01:01:12   your novel dummy it's an it's an it's an [TS]

01:01:15   investment and honestly you know you and [TS]

01:01:17   I both left at the same time yep and [TS]

01:01:18   that was helpful for me because it [TS]

01:01:20   really gave me an impetus to be like I'm [TS]

01:01:22   gonna get this job focused focuses [TS]

01:01:24   behind a little yeah so I really yeah I [TS]

01:01:28   really had to kick my own but at that [TS]

01:01:29   point be like you know what you've [TS]

01:01:30   always wanted to do this and you're [TS]

01:01:31   never gonna have a better opportunity [TS]

01:01:33   yeah well and here you are so they can't [TS]

01:01:36   act [TS]

01:01:36   they can't take this away from you [TS]

01:01:37   published on again horrid recall unless [TS]

01:01:41   they run around for comment on all the [TS]

01:01:43   bookstores Mitchell Brooks it's done no [TS]

01:01:45   not that one just read the books alright [TS]

01:01:48   well thank you Dan and thanks everybody [TS]

01:01:50   for listening to this all day an epic [TS]

01:01:52   comfortable the Caledonian gambit by Dan [TS]

01:01:54   Morin is a published book from talos [TS]

01:01:57   press that you can go by and you should [TS]

01:02:00   buy it and buy two copies buy five [TS]

01:02:02   copies give them to your friends or just [TS]

01:02:03   leave them on a shelf somewhere and hug [TS]

01:02:05   them occasionally whatever more I'm sure [TS]

01:02:09   you'll hear more from Dan in the future [TS]

01:02:10   in that you listen to a podcast Danis on [TS]

01:02:12   of course [TS]

01:02:13   and thanks for listening to the [TS]

01:02:15   incomparable goodbye [TS]

01:02:27   you [TS]

01:02:29   [Music] [TS]