Jun 16, 2014

Giveaway & Author Interview with Jason M. Hough (US only)


Today’s post is a little different. It’s a hybrid interview of sorts.

Jason Hough was in Phoenix for ComiCon last week, and I had the opportunity to sit down with him after his Friday signing for a chat. We spent about an hour talking about books and the convention while I tried my hardest not to be distracted by the constant parade of costumed con-goers that streamed past on the street outside.

Jason, represented by Sara Megibow of the Nelson Agency, is the New York Times Best Selling Author of the Dire Earth Cycle, A Trilogy from Del Ray that was released in July, August, and September of 2013. When I asked him about how he liked the nearly simultaneous release I got a small laugh, and a smile.

His first contract was for three hardbacks spaced approximately eight months apart. Things changed when he finished the second book in the series well ahead of schedule and his editor loved it. In a conference call with Sara and Del Ray, his publisher pushed for the quick fire release. Jason was hesitant at first, but after talking with Sara and seeing how that release schedule had worked for Naomi Novik and Kevin Hearn, he agreed.

He also mentioned that it was a relief, in the end, to have the entire series written and done before the first book came out. It took a lot of the pressure off.

How long did it take to write The Exodus Towers & The Plague Forge? And did they come to the page harder or easier than Darwin?
The Exodus Towers took about six months, and The Plague Forge took eight (with a few months of plotting and planning in between). I wrote both in the time it took to write Darwin, and that increase in productivity can be attributed to the simple fact that I had a contract and a deadline to motivate me.

When I first read the Darwin Elevator, I was fascinated by how much of the story is about the Elevator (I probably should have taken a clue from the title), and I wondered what made him choose to use the space elevator. So I asked.

Jason informed me he’s always been fascinated with space elevators. Since reading The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, and living in a world where rocketry is the accepted and unquestioned means by which we travel to space, he wanted to explore the elevator as the only means.

We then talked about his small panic attack that Darwin might be too far from the equator for a space elevator to work, he told me the story of his emails to NASA (For the full story on that, check out AmyBethInverness’s Interview). Darwin Australia is a little ways away from the equator, so the elevator would climb at an angle until it reached the equator – well above the atmosphere. And like any good author, he found this out and promptly went back to his book to make sure to change any instance where he might have implied the elevator went straight up.

John Scalzi, Arthur C Clarke, & Kim Stanley Robinson are all authors you’ve mentioned who you admire, who have played with/spurred/focused on the idea of a space elevator. Do you think there was an author in particular who really influenced Darwin’s Elevator when you wrote it?
They all contributed to my mental picture of what such a device would look like, and how it would be used. What I really wanted to do differently was have the elevator be the main set piece that glued the whole story together.  Similar, perhaps, to how Babylon 5 or Deep Space 9 serve as the central setting for those shows. Ultimately I wanted the elevator to inextricably tie a post-apocalyptic society to an idyllic space-based population.  As such most of my real inspiration came from stories in those veins. Things like Stephen King's The Stand and all the great space operas.

A question I love to ask people – mostly because I myself don’t know my own answer – is what one book they would like to erase from their memory so they could read it again for the very first time. Jason answered without hesitation, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

What one book would you love to see adapted into film? (Assuming time-related cuts, studio decisions, etc didn’t change it completely. *cough* We Can Remember It for You Wholesale *cough*)
I've always wanted to see Ray Feist's FAERIE TALE brought to the screen. Also Warren Hammond's KOP series would make a great noir-ish SF film or TV series.

If you’ve ventured to Jason’s FAQ page, you’ll find he has two infrequently asked questions.  And while I find a flaw with the type of tree he would be, Apricot jam being his favorite made me smile (It’s my husband’s favorite too). And so, because it is exactly the sort of person I am, I asked what his favorite thing is to put Apricot Jam on. He took three seconds before answering this one with normal PB&J, and then added that he often makes his boys pancakes and will put the spread on any leftover flapjacks, roll and roll them in to a delicious sort of breakfast flauta. 

But enough about that, it’s making me hungry.

While Jason couldn’t give me any real information about his 2015 release – other than that it is a totally new stand-alone SF – he was able to tell me that we can expect a prequel novella in the Dire Earth Cycle sometime this year.

Okay! On to the Giveaway!

As with everything in the universe (except chaos) there are rules!

To win the entire Dire Earth Cycle (British versions) signed by Jason you only have to do two things

#1 Leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST answering one of the questions I asked Jason: What one book would you erase from your memory so you could read it again for the first time?
#2 Fill out the Rafflecopter
That’s it.

US entrants Only

Extra entries can be gained through tweeting about the giveaway.

Giveaway ends at Midnight Thursday. Winner announced Friday!