Slight reformatting done below, but on the most part, what you will see below is exactly how it came to me. Links from the author. Also, refer to him as "BOOMER" in all of his answers, because I liked the way it looked as compared to "CLINTON"
author of "The Fierce Hammer of Winter" for the Awakened Anthology:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1891800025/the-awakened-an-epic-fantasy-anthology
and "The Hole Behind Midnight" -- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005Z8G08S
-- from Broken Eye Books: http://brokeneyebooks.com/
BOOMER - I come from a game-design background, primarily, working as a freelance writer for companies like Paizo Publishing, Zombie Sky Press, Sean K Reynolds Games, Rite Publishing, Kobold Quarterly and Legendary Games; my fiction tends to come equally from a place of high-octane gonzo action & from personal character-crisis. I like flawed and broken heroes, dark comedy, and complex villains -- Matt Forbeck compared my writing to Warren Ellis, which was immensely flattering, and Daniel O'Brien from Cracked.com said my writing was "Raymond Chandler meets Douglas Adams by way of a fantasy nerd's fever dream." I certainly won't correct them.
ME - This book represents a shared universe; would you be tempted to revisit it in a longer format?
BOOMER - Oh, yes! I've already started work on another story starring the characters of "Fierce Hammer of Winter," and I would be absolutely delighted to get to play in any part of Grimaton's universe. Pouring over the private messages between many of the writers as we were collaborating, this world has got some fascinating secrets and surprising potential story-lines.
ME - On the Kickstarter page, you appear to be involved in a lot of various projects, what were your inspirations?
BOOMER - I started gaming at a very young age -- it's what got me through Jr. High in mildly-sane shape. Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravenloft and the Underdark of the Forgotten Realms would most definitely be my biggest inspirations as a game-designer; as a writer of fiction, it's probably equal parts Neal Stephenson, Joss Whedon, China Mieville and C. D. Payne.
ME - What books are you currently reading? Any authors in the fantasy genre that you would say most influenced you?
BOOMER - I'm cranking away on Stephen King's "Under the Dome" at the moment, as well as James Clavell's "Shogun", and I just finished "Accelerando" by Charles Stross this week -- I like to keep my reading as varied as possible. My influences in the fantasy genre are mostly the obvious (Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, George R.R. Martin), but I do have an undying love of a few weirder picks: the Wiz Zumwalt books by Rick Cook, the Vlad Taltos novels by Steven Brust, "Villains by Necessity" by Eve Forward, "The Waterborn" by J. Gregory Keyes, "The Coldfire Trilogy" by C.S. Friedman, and most especially "The Scar" by the aforementioned China Mieville.
ME - If you could work in any other genre of literature, what would most interest you?
BOOMER - The really cool thing about my job is that I totally CAN work in any genre of literature; my first published novel is Urban-Fantasy Noir, which is not something I had ever worked on before just trying it. My next two novels are post-apocalyptic military-cyberpunk and a super-villain murder-mystery, respectively. I would really like to try my hand at erotica, honestly: it would be neat new challenge, I think, and might open my work to new readers.
ME - Have you read any of the other stories in this collection, and if so which of the authors in this book did you most enjoy reading?
BOOMER - I'm looking forward to reading the whole book as much as anyone, since I haven't had the chance to look at many of the other stories yet; I got the delightful opportunity to read through Torah Cottrill's story, "Skytouched," while it was still in edit, and was overjoyed. I've also gotten a chance to listen to the excerpt from Doug Herring's "Unseen," of course -- awesome stuff. I'm a total Colin McComb fanboy, too, so I'm giddy to read his work.
ME - Do you foresee “The Awakened” being a universe that you would like to revisit in the future? Do you have other ideas for stories set in this universe?
BOOMER - Totally! Beyond just the draw of telling more tales about the cold little farm-girl, Charlie Teark, I would love to sink my teeth into some of the other elements of the universe. I've got a dozen major characters lined-up in my head, each of them exciting, intensely human, and different than anything you'll find in more "standard" fantasy. I'm certain that we haven't exhausted the possibilities of the setting in this single slim anthology -- in fact, I would be shocked to discover that we had even scratched the surface!
ME - What were the biggest challenges of writing your story?
BOOMER - I loved the challenge of adding what I can only describe as super-powers to a VERY gritty, low-fantasy setting. On the one hand, the world of Grimaton is a place without elves or dwarves, without dragons or wizards, without fairies or unicorns or enchanted rings or magic swords -- on the other hand, there are focal-point characters as potent as anything you'll read out of X-Men. There was great joy in approaching what is in many ways a Shakespearean setting: something like Hamlet, or Macbeth or Romeo & Juliet, where there is magic (a ghost, for example, or three weird sisters, or alchemical potions), but the narrative is all about the tragedy of complex characters, their internal pain, and the ugly external consequences of their choices.
In my story for this anthology, I tried to approach the question of Awakening as a curse, rather than as a gift. My favorite super-powered heroes have always the ones like Rogue, Martian Manhunter and Jack Hawksmoore -- they're wounded people, longing to belong, who may have phenomenal abilities ... but they're also crippled and hampered in ways that most of us "lowly" humans aren't. My favorite super-powered villains, on the other hand, are always characters like Taskmaster or Scarecrow: people with very minor abilities, only slightly out-of-step with humanity, who abuse these advantages to the utmost for a maximum of raw personal gain.
ME - Working in a fantasy setting, are there any of the standard fantasy tropes that you are tired of?
BOOMER - I'm delighted to say that -- from what I've seen -- this anthology abjectly defies the few annoying assumptions I've grown to loathe in "standard" fantasy: this universe features strong women and dynamic people of color, and I think goes out of the way to make commentary on the importance of individuals (and individuality itself) in the face of monolithic cultures. Once we get past a history of "great men," invisible women & under-written minorities, however, I'm generally quite a fan of most other fantasy tropes; while I genuinely enjoy the idea of subverting what we might call "cliches" of the genre, it can often be fun to see those same themes played straight.
ME - Any advice for aspiring authors?
BOOMER - If you can do anything else for a living, do that -- be the awesome dentist who writes, or the funny teacher who writes, or the super-cool ditch-digger who writes if that's what it takes. Don't forget your family and friends -- be the amazing BFF, brother or sister, son or daughter, father or mother who writes. Don't write for money or for fame -- read Stephen King's "On Writing," and if you've already read it, re-read it.
Write for free; put your work on the internet. Write an episode of your favorite television show or a "missing" chapter from your favorite book, post it somewhere, and take the anonymous feedback both seriously AND with a grain of salt. Do that a thousand more times; create original characters and have them explore established universe, or the other way around. Enter fiction contests, offer to edit the work of fellow writers, and show your work to other people early and often -- both with folks you know and with folks you meet online. Write short fiction, write long fiction, and never throw anything away. Go back and read your old work; when you do, create a new draft so you can save both the edits AND keep the original material.
Have other hobbies, like reading and gardening, movies and wine-drinking, traveling and dancing and painting and photography, and never be afraid to narrate yourself out-loud.
Then write some more. Continue for as long as you like
ME - Last chance, anything you’d like to say to any readers of this interview?
BOOMER - Check out my novel, here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005Z8G08S ... the first seven chapters are free!
I'd like to thank Mr. Boomer for his time, and I hope everyone enjoyed his thoughts as much as I did.