Wednesday 30 May 2012

Author Interview: Barton Paul Levenson

Today, we have an interview with science fiction and horror author, Barton Paul Levenson. All pictures supplied by author.

Barton Paul Levenson has a degree in physics. Happily married to poet Elizabeth Penrose, he confuses everybody by being both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat. His work has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, ChiZine, Cricket, Cicada, the New York Review of Science Fiction and many small press markets. His novel "Max and Me" can be downloaded now from Lyrical Press or "Year of the Human" is available from Solstice Publishing or amazon. Barton was prohibited from entering the Confluence Short Story Contest again after winning first prize two years in a row.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I usually start with a single scene I daydreamed, or a very simple idea.  Lately I've been planning ahead a bit more, but never very much, I'm afraid.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Often!  I've had to change some endings.

What is your favourite food?


Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Daytime by medical order.  But I often can't sleep at night, so I get up and read or write.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

Other planets, space, just because the idea is so darn cool.

Do distant places feature in your books?

If you count planets of other stars as distant...

Do you listen to music while writing?

Often.  Has to really meet the mood, though, or silence is better.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

"Year of the Human," put out by the good folks at Solstice Press, is written from the point of view of an alien teenage girl.  Throsu ka-Hohsh is interested in space and wants to become an astronaut.  But she has little interest in the humans from Earth her planet fought an inconclusive war with a generation ago.  Her attitude changes when her parents inform her they will be hosting a human mother and daughter for a year--and the daughter will be staying with Throsu, in Throsu's room!  And soon, that's the least of her worries.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

1.  Anyone can write.  A writer can rewrite.

2.  Never, never, never react emotionally to a rejection.  No matter how nasty a publisher or editor gets, you cannot afford to be nasty in return.  They have the power, you don't.

3.  A critiquing group is invaluable.  You will never be able to see your own problems as well as others will.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would have started earlier and been more persistent early on.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Mostly other writers.  Heinlein, Clark, Asimov from the old classic SF days, and Verne, Wells, Dunsany, and Lovecraft before them.  Stableford and Cherryh.  Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  And Lewis, and Tolkien.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Keep at it.  The winners are those who keep on despite one disappointment after another.  My first published short story was my 115th story submission; my first published novel my 116th novel submission.  Now I have fifty or so published short stories, five novels, and a nonfiction book.  A sixth novel is coming out soon--"The Celibate Succubus," from Barking Rain Press.

What are three words that describe you?

Christian. Liberal. Scientist.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

Favorite book...  I've got so many it's hard to say.  Right now I'm very enamoured of a manga series, Negima! by Akamatsu Ken, which has definitely attained book length at this point.  Stephen King's Dark Tower series is something I keep rereading.  And Heinlein's "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" (1958) is about the best thing RAH wrote, in my minority opinion.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book:

Delilah was the only succubus ever to desert from Hell. Now she works for a secret strike team against supernatural evil in western Pennsylvania. The little girl psychic, Chihiro Watanabe, dreamed of Delilah for years before the succubus showed up. She hates and fears the succubus, and is convinced that Delilah is no true convert. Can a demon be saved? And can Delilah and Chihiro team up long enough to prevent the Order of the Lightbringer from making Pittsburgh, PA a test run for the Apocalypse? Check out "The Celibate Succubus" when it appears from Barking Rain Press!

List of previous books if any:

Ella the Vampire. Lyrical Press, 2008. Horror.

Parole. Lyrical Press, 2009. SF.

Max and Me. Lyrical Press, 2009. SF.

I Will. Virtual Tales, 2009. SF.

The Greenhouse Effect--What It Is, How It Works., 2012. .Nonfiction.

Year of the Human. Solstice Publishing, 2012. SF.

Thank you, Barton!

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