Science fiction and fantasy author David King recently sat down to discuss his writing process, the world of publishing, and his latest book.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I love writing science fiction because you start with complete freedom, then you have an immediate and complete responsibility to what you have created. Starting from a blank slate, you can create an entire world, the point of your story could be “What would life be like on a dark planet?” or “What if the dead stayed omnipresent with the living?” and you begin to set down rules about how your world works and what everyone in the story has to deal with and do. From that point on, after you have written a rule down, you either have to enforce it, or you have to go back to the beginning and reform your entire universe, and then you have to enforce those new rules.
What have you written so far?
So far, I have self-published five novels: Utsukushii Kuro (lesbian vampire romance); Licantropa Sogno (lesbian werewolf romance); La Zorra Ciega (lesbian fencing pulp-style action romance); Vox (sword-fighting pirates vs. religious crusaders fantasy in a world where humans can’t speak); and MC (futurist horror in the age of downloading human brains into computers). A sixth is completed and currently in editing.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
First one, then the other. I start with the general idea, letting it take its own course for a while. Following that, I begin asking questions about how things should progress if they are going to be logical and get together the major events in a set of notes. As things progress and a few chapters get written out, chapter-by-chapter notes take shape. From that point, I just write one chapter at a time.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Indie publishing is a double-edged sword, both for the reading public and the author. For the reading public, you don’t have your choices limited by a publishing executive who thinks they know better than you what you would like to read, but the is a risk that what you buy or borrow may not be as polished as those that went through the professional process. For the author, you don’t have to hope and pray for approval or compromise what you want to write, but when it is all in your control, there is much less sense of accomplishment or achievement from clicking a button that says “Publish” rather than having someone willing to take a risk on you.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My latest release is MC. I try my hand at describing the futuristic medical science of Cyberneurology, the transfer of a person’s mind, memory, and personality into a specialized computer. The procedure has become so normal, Dr. Langas, our lead character, has begun feeling the tedium of his apparently glamorous job. The new case that comes up, however, is going to prove the real test of his skill and patience for this job.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
Jessika Kendall (Utsukushii Kuro) is an open-minded exchange student, and Aiko Kuroki is the Japanese vampire she falls in love with. Lia D’Ortano (Licantropa Sogno) is the last female werewolf in the world. Nina Moreira (La Zorra Ciega) is a blind fencer of great skill. Omina (Vox) is a desert-born master of the seas who wishes life for her friends and revenge for her family. Dr. Jeffery Langas (MC) is a trusted Cyberneurology doctor who tries not to let the tedium of downloading human minds into computers overwhelm his wish to care for his patients. That is what they are, for what they do…you would have to look into the stories.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?
I would prefer to cast unknown, new actors. I will admit that I have indulged in the delusion of grandeur about my books becoming movies…many times. I figure that if I am given the chance to make a name for myself that way, why shouldn’t I let others have their chances? Even if the movie ends up a flop because people don’t like my story, the actors might get a second chance when someone sees their skilled performance.
What role does research play in your writing?
For some stories, it didn’t. For more recent ones, I’m trying to make things more believable. For Utsukushii Kuro, you could say it was researched because I had studied Japanese and was living in Japan at the time. For Licantropa Sogno, I really didn’t research much of anything but a few words in Italian and German. La Zorra Ciega, I had experience with fencing, but didn’t look into much else, and purposefully so, since I was going for the “pulp fiction” feel. That, it should be noted, was a mistake. In Vox, I was crafting my own universe, but I did have to research a bit about ships to get it right. In MC, I consulted with my girlfriend, who is much more of a scientist, about the theoretical ideas of what parts of a brain need to be transferred into a computer, versus which can be substituted with programming. I also disagreed with her hard-science objections in some places. Good thing she is VERY understanding towards me. For my most recently completed [work], I mostly only mapped things, but my experience with Korean language did also help. And [for] the next project, I am throwing myself quite heavily into research about Mars.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I am not sure if I should include Rebecca Sugar as either new or an author, since her primary medium is television, but she and her crew on “Steven Universe” are crafting a universe very well. While we are all starting out at an “Innocence” point, we are gradually understanding how complex, how cruel, and how wonderful life can be, with small, jarring glimpses into the “Adult” world. I like it.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Help everyone become literate in their own language. Not only for the obvious “education is good” reason, but also because literacy is the first major educational step and leads, for many, directly to critical thinking. A literate populace is less likely to believe propaganda, because, especially now with the internet, they have the self-driven ability to research and question. And I would wish for everyone to be literate in their language because each language has its own stories and feelings and concepts that can only truly be understood and expressed within that language. Having that many people be literate in that many languages would make the tapestry of human culture so much richer!
How can you connect with David King?