Are you all ready to harass another interviewee? Our next victim hails from Australia but lives in Tokyo. He’s a lawyer with a ridiculously busy job as well as a brilliant writer and an editor and brainstormer so good it’s scary.
He insists that brilliance comes from the eating of writers’ brains and the worms living in his head but we know better, of course.
It’s always a pleasure to see his name appear in the typing bar of the Discord window. You all know I’m talking about @thinknzombie.
Every member of The Writers’ Block had the chance to fire off all those burning questions they’ve always wanted answered. Here goes:
It’s the zombie’s apocalypse and the humans are infecting everyone, reverting them. Zombies face extinction. All you manage to find are worms and weeks’ old brains. Which do you give to what’s left of your horde?
It is not well known, and zombies don’t usually like to talk about it, but worms are worth their weight in brains. With those worms properly installed, the survivors might still be hungry but they’ll be smart too.
Tl;dr Worms are greater than brains. I’m giving zombies worms to create an army of thinking zombies. World domination awaits! Mu hahahaha. Ahem.
What’s your best advice for someone who doesn’t know how to deal with Zombies?
Plenty of shoulder rubs. Ply them with champagne. Feed them grapes. Zombies are surprisingly low maintenance.
What is your favorite word?
What a question! That’s like choosing your favorite child. I’m not sure I want the other words to know they’re not my favorite but here goes… strudel is good. Wombat is another great word. Patisserie too. But I think my favorite must be feel, felt and all its conjugations. Writing is about feelings and emotion.
Do you remember you favorite teacher, why was she/he your favorite?
I do. My favorite school teacher was my grade 11 English teacher, Mr. L. I remember he set us creative writing pieces. It’s possible that’s why I like him, but I can’t be sure. I once wrote a page describing a telephone booth. I just realized my kids probably don’t even know what a telephone booth is…Anyway, Mr L encouraged us to write, something I already enjoyed. It was a good class.
What’s your underlying philosophy of writing? Are there any specific changes you want your writing to bring about?
I’m obsessed by how, with just a few words, writers can spark powerful emotional reactions in a reader. How did she just make me cry? Why am I laughing now? I want to not only be able to do that too, I want to be able to do it at will.
It’s one thing to have read a lot and soaked up the concept of story like a fledgling sponge, to have internalized aspects of craft by association from a reader’s perspective. It is quite another thing entirely to know the craft so well that you can take the building blocks of story, and with intent and purpose, create a story from scratch. To form the story not through instinct but by careful use of a master’s toolkit. Well...I can dream.
As for philosophy, I want to write stories that I’d like to read. That’s basically it.
Which writer's brain would you have for dinner and which special brain will make for a tasty dessert?
I was initially going to start with a helping of Brandon Sanderson. The guy can pump out books faster than anyone I know. Brandon for speed for sure. But I’m thinking I’ll try a bit of George R R Martin instead. He writes the kind of political intrigue I love and has the ability to create memorable characters in a way that still seems like magic to me. How does he do it so quickly and with so few words? Once I’ve finished chewing on GRRM’s brains I’d finish up with a double helping of Harlan Ellison. He might be a mean SOB but the guy can write.
How did you get so good at all this writing and editing stuff?
One of the things I like about writing is that it is a craft. To me, it means the more we work on it, the better we can become. I love that I can pick up anything I’ve written previously and see ways to make it better. It’s a journey.
Where do you get the brains to keep your worms fed?
Are your dialogue worms available to rent?
Absolutely. And they’re cheap too.
When did you decide you wanted to become a writer, and do you think that one day it will happen?
LIke most writers, it happened pretty early on, sometime in primary school. I’m not sure I ever really decided to be a writer. I think we are born that way. It’s an affliction. I remember I wrote a story where someone murdered the Queen. Never has Buckingham Palace had such impossibly inadequate security. Suffice it to say, I don’t think it was particularly good. I don’t remember much of what I wrote around that time, but I do remember an ongoing SF story.
There is also an enormous sheaf of foolscap pages I remember co-writing with a friend. We were trying our hand at a fantasy novel. I’m pretty sure it was terrible too, but it does show that even early on I had a love of fantasy and science fiction. Will it happen? I think you mean will I publish a novel? Not sure, but I’ll enjoy writing regardless.
Imagine: You’re stuck aboard a pirate ship and they’re about to make you walk the plank above shark infested waters. You have 5 minutes to plead for your life and convince them they need your skills to survive the journey. What do you say?
I stand on the tip of the plank, heels seaward, so close to the sun-bleached splintered edge that I can feel the roughness where it touches the soft skin behind the pads of my toes. I’m composed, even though I see the circling fins below and I know the toothy bastards are hungry. There’s nothing to eat around this reef but mangy seagulls and the odd bony whiting.
I look up at the first mate. He’s a grizzled, bearded bastard. So tough he’s managed to keep all his gold fillings. So salty he has rum in his veins in place of blood. He sees me looking at him and grins. Sunlight flashes off those fillings. There’s enough gold there to buy a weeks’ worth of beer and sausages.
He takes a step forward. “What do you have to say for yourself?” The grin hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s enjoying this far too much.
I keep my expression neutral, doing my best not to show how scared I am. “Goober the cook,” I say.
The grin on the first mate’s face wavers. “What of him?”
“He spits in your soup. Also, he’s not a cook. He’s a rat catcher’s bastard.”
The first mate frowns. Takes another step forward, hand on the handle of his belt knife. I imagine him drawing it and sticking it in me. I take a peek at the circling sharks below. It’s hard to swallow when my mouth is this dry.
“I, on the other hand,” I say, “am a trained chef. It’s just a suggestion, but how about I cook you one meal and we see if it takes your fancy? You don’t like it, you can throw me overboard. If you do like it, you make me ship’s cook. Deal?”
The grin returns. Then that knife hand moves forward faster than I could have imagined. It takes me a moment to realize he’s pulling me forward rather than shoving me off into the water to feed the fish. I let out my pent up breath and hope there’s something in the larder other than hard tack and salted beef.
Can an African swallow really carry coconuts across the ocean?
They can, but these day they ship them in bulk.
A conveys Blackacre to B “for life, then to C and the heirs of C’s body if C has reached the age of 21 by the time B has expired, then to D for the duration of E’s life.” Who has a possessory estate and future interest in Blackacre, and what are they?
@anarcho-andrei! I’m not doing your homework for you. In any case everyone knows that Blackacre burns to the ground after a particularly difficult reading of A’s will. People wanted to blame E, but she was only a kitten.
That's a wrap, guys! Thank you so much for playing along, @thinknzombie. Great job.
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