Addleton Heights and GWP

December 12, 2016 at 6:52 am (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

15319117_1073863462722883_5887181406873428498_nI had the honor of reading an advance reader’s copy of Addleton Heights by author George Wright Padgett. In addition to that honor, I got to interview him for the release celebration!

AddeltonHeights-Book.pngWho did the cover art? How did you find them?

God bless the internet. I discovered a fantastic Italian artist by the name of Michele Giorgi (http://michelegiorgiillustrator.com). I have a commercial graphic art degree and have done my covers in the past, but Addleton Heights was different. This novel is solidly situated in the steampunk genre, so I wanted a classic romantic image with all the flourishes. While I do plenty of layout and design, I’m no illustrator; it’s an entirely different discipline, so I sought out someone with those skills.

I came across Michele’s art on the internet when I was a third of the way through the first draft and fell in love with his style. He hadn’t had any book cover commissions at that point, but I took a chance and contacted him in the hopes that he’d try something different. I emailed him with highlighted samples of his work which struck the tone I was looking for.

Many of the Steampunk images I’d come across to that point were often dark and grimy. I love those murky atmospheres, but wanted to go a completely different direction in an effort to make the book stand out. The end result is an image of bright sunshiny day in January with the snow gently falling to the ground. It’s wonderful contrast to many scenes contained within.

Is there any possibility of a graphic novel using the same illustrator in our future?

That would be amazing! I’d love to see that happen someday. Michele, if you’re reading this, I’m 100% up for it.

How much research was involved with writing a Steampunk novel set in the turn of the century (1901)?

Believe or not, I found myself doing as much research on this novel as I did for the space clone mining novel Spindown (www.georgewpadgett.com/spindown)

I tend to get caught into these perfectionist cycles where I compulsively need to know everything about the subject before putting anything on the page. The idea being that the more that I can understand the world that the characters exist in, the easier it is for me to immerse the reader into the scene. The end result is great because I get to transport the audience into the center of wherever I’m taking them; the downside is it’s a slower process. For instance, because I tend to go overboard, I now know all about the migratory birds of the Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard area though there’s only two or three mentions of birds in the entire novel.

I’m not complaining; I love learning so the research was fun. A huge component steampunk stories is their connection to history/alternate history, so I spent time studying about the area’s whaling oil industry losing out to Pennsylvania coal as a source of energy, the use of immigrants for the transcontinental railroad, Queen Victoria’s death later in the month the story takes place, the Boxer Revolution in China, etc. Weapons play an important part of the story, so I spent time with weapons expert Drew Heyen to make sure everything was authentic. Hopefully there’s enough history in the book to satisfy the cravings of those that are looking for it, but not too much as to bog down the story for those that have come to it looking for a mystery-action experience.

How was writing Addleton Heights different than writing your other books?

First of all, it’s the first full-length work that I’ve written entirely in first person narration, meaning we only see what our detective hero, Kip sees and thinks. He tells us everything we need to know. He has this delicious deadpan sense of humor mixed with a bitter melancholy. Life has been hard on him and he’s developed all of these colloquial sayings that he spouts out when describing things. These ‘Kipisms’ (as I came to call them) were a blast to write.

Also, I wanted to be true to the genre while offering something enjoyable to those uninitiated to steampunk stories. While the steampunk genre doesn’t officially have any set rules, there are elements that help to frame the story. As the story developed, I sent chapter sections to a group of beta readers for feedback. Doing it while the novel was written, allowed for me to tweak it as I went to ensure everything was ‘firing on all cylinders’. As a bonus, one of beta readers, a fellow writer, Christian Roule was well versed in the genre. More than once, he’d respond to what I’d submitted to him by saying, ‘It needs to be steampunk-ier here’. He and others helped me balance the story and not overwhelm it until it became a gadgets manual.

cruel-devices-signingI love that you cross genres and have not pidgeon-holed yourself as a storyteller.  When did you first meet the world of Steampunk? Did you find the genre or did the genre find you? (Did you read something Steampunk that inspired Addleton or did Addleton birth itself in your brilliant brain that resulted in needing the Steampunk label post development?)

Years ago I was signing books at a science fiction convention with some other authors. We were sitting across from a friendly booth of steampunk ‘makers’. They were selling all of these fantastic clothes and enhancement components (cogs, gears, and whatnot). I asked fellow author, Leo King (www.foreverwhere.com) who was next to me ‘What this steampunk thing was all about?’ He proceeded to educate me in the ways of alternate Victorian history. It was such a fresh concept to me, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

As for the story of Addleton Heights? The concept that serves as the core mystery (finding the Jason character) was an idea that I when I was seventeen. I’ve carried the idea around with me all of that time until it found a home in this novel.

You write every sub-genre of the science fiction realm… are there dragons in our future? (I, for one, would love to see what you came up with involving dragons…)

Dragons, huh? Currently I’m hard at work on a kind of time travel hide and seek adventure called Drift Pattern, but I do have a rough draft for a story which involves dragons and people using them for transportation. The working title of this fantasy-ish tale is ‘Kern’. Maybe we’ll see that in a few years.

As a woman, I adore reading Janae. She’s bold and fierce, but not without flaws.  She is not flat, but dynamic. She’s not all wonderful, nor is she a ninny. Tell me about her and your experience writing her.

I’m fortunate to have a number of strong women whom I admire in my life. I wanted to pay homage to these ladies by avoiding writing some messed up ‘damsel in distress’ trope.

Enter: Janae Nelson.  She is a force of nature! She’s my favorite character that I’ve ever written. I spent a lot of time to achieve a balance within her of being strong without forfeiting her femininity. I was careful to make sure that no man ever rescues her in the story; that she would save herself. I attempted to turn the stereotype on its head by having the damsel do some saving of her own when the male lead gets tied to the metaphorical train tracks.

If Addleton Heights were to become a major motion picture tomorrow, who would your ideal cast be?

Oh this is a tricky one… When I write I do ‘cast’ the characters with actors from movie roles and people that I know (I even print out photos for reference as I’m writing about them).

The problem with sharing this type of thing with a reader is that it’s unlikely that we visualize the same exact ‘players’. If I envision a grisly Kurt Russell for an old sea captain character, but you imagine an unshaven Dustin Hoffman for the same part, then I reveal who I’ve chosen in the role, does it reduce or nullify your experience? As with painting, what’s on the canvas is a conversation between the artist and the person witnessing it. The viewer’s interpretation is neither ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’, but in the same vein, the creator of the art shouldn’t have exclusive say once the paint has dried. In that same spirit, I humbly must decline to answer here and leave that to the reader’s imagination.

ah-mapYou’re typically a one book storyteller, completing a story in its entirety at the first go.  But I’m dying for more Addleton Heights  – is there a continuing series in our futures?

Detective stories are typically based on a single event; if it’s a who-done-it the question is who the murderer is and possibly the ‘why’ of the mystery. One thing that’s nice about these types of novels is that once the case is solved there can be another one right behind it. So we may see Kipsey again someday.

How can readers order posters and prints of the book cover and map to go with their copies of the book?

By contacting my publisher, Grey Gecko Press (www.greygeckopress.com) or by visiting www.georgewpadgett.com

Warmest thanks for your interest and support of Addleton Heights.
GWP

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George’s steampunk detective masterpiece releases 12/13/16. Order your copy online from www.amazon.com , www.barnesandnoble.com , www.greygeckopress.com, and everywhere else that sells quality books.

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Addleton Heights

October 9, 2016 at 7:31 pm (Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

31180231.jpgGeorge Wright Padgett has done it again – blown my mind with an awesome and fun reading experience.

Addleton Heights will be his third published work, but it’s an epic debut into the Steampunk genre and the world he has built and the characters he created have me smitten.

Just like everything George tackles, he writes his detective story with artistic spunk. Flare abounds from start to finish.

I believe so much in this book, the story, and the time period, I’m obsessed with the idea of launching the book release at the Cabinet of Curiosities at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Of course, this launch is expensive (mainly because booking the museum after hours costs a pretty penny), but would be worth it.

So, Grey Gecko Press and I have set up a Kickstarter page. Please, please, if you appreciate my reviews, value my bookish opinions, and/or love supporting indie authors and publishing houses, check this out:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greygeckopress/addleton-heights-steampunk-launch-party-at-hmns

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The Martian

June 24, 2015 at 10:09 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Book-Review-The-Martian

Title: The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction

The Martian is freaking amazing.  Just as amazing, it seems, is the author Andy Weir, as I was just as entertained by his essay and interview in the back of the Broadway Books edition I was reading.

In addition to being clever and snarky, the book has a fun history.  Originally it was self-published on a website.  It got such a following that it was then released for kindles… and was so popular there that Weir got a book and a movie deal practically at the same time.

Oh, and, Weir loves Doctor Who, so there’s that.

I’m a little late to the game, I wish I had discovered him sooner so I could say something original and exciting about The Martian (I would have loved to interview him) – so this review will be short and void of spoilers.  But if you’re in the mood for some suspenseful comedy set in space, all MacGyver style with the science, you need some Andy Weir in your life.

I can’t wait to see what he writes next.  If you’ve already read The Martian, you might also want to check out the work of Heinlein and/or George Wright Padgett.

In case you haven’t seen it yet – here’s the movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue4PCI0NamI

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The Best Interview Ever!

November 20, 2014 at 3:09 am (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , )

ToriI had the privilege of reading an advance copy of George Wright Padgett’s latest novel, Cruel Devices. I was pleased to share a cover reveal earlier in the season here on my blog; and now, I’m proud to post my latest interview with an author I’ve grown to respect and adore.

AW:I’ve done an interview with you before and I don’t want to ask all the same questions as last time…

Yet, Cruel Devices is so different from your previous novel, Spindown, that old questions apply to your new work. Never mind that you added the pressure of the two of us conducting the best interview ever! I’m not sure I can fill those shoes. 😉

Cruel Devices feels like the story just rolled out of bed completely wonderful and polished without effort. Maybe it fell from the sky like a dream; maybe it didn’t – but was its inception as easy for you as it feels? What drove you to write something so unique from what fans thought they could expect from you?

GWP:

That you say the writing feels effortless is a high compliment. I assure you that it wasn’t the case (just ask my editor and beta readers). It’s said that gold is refined by putting it through the fire seven times; Cruel Devices went through the ‘refinement process’ a lot more than that.

As for the differences between this novel and the last: Let me begin by saying that I love science fiction and I’m so very grateful that Spindown has been well received by the sci-fi community, but I felt it important to avoid being cast as only a writer of that genre. I know it can be risky to genre hop, but I want to establish early on to any readers that may follow me I intend to do stuff that may or may not involve outer space or robots.

I’m hopeful that someone that enjoys reading George Wright Padgett novels are reading them because the stories are well crafted and require them to think about aspects of life while going on an adventure. So after Spindown, I chose a story topic and setting that was as far removed from it as I could get. Cruel Devices takes place on modern day Connecticut on Earth (no alternate universe or anything like that). Just a semi-normal guy around normal people, but exposed to extraordinary circumstances.

I’ve always enjoyed how an author like Michael Crichton would write something like Andromeda Strain (which is a hard sci-fi story if there ever was one) and then he’d jump the fence to do something like Jurassic Park, or Rising Sun, or tackle time travel with a story like Timeline. Or look at H.G. Wells, he delivered The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, The Island of Dr. Moreau and all those other great tales. They’re wonderfully different stories (BTW he didn’t write any sequels to these), but they can’t be confined to a single genre other that than they’re all speculative fiction – to use a modern term for it.

Hopefully Cruel Devices (and the steampunk detective novel to follow it) won’t alienate my hard sci-fi readers. I’ll return to the genre in a few more books.

Cruel DevicesCoverAW: Cruel Devices feels like you really dug deep into your inner Stephen King (although it is very much your own work and I love it!). Is he an author you typically read much of?

GWP:

Stephen King is without a doubt one of the grandmasters of horror, and Yes, I’ve read him. What’s interesting is the reason that I began reading his work was not for horror at all. My colleagues kept going on about how wonderfully developed his characters were. I realized that I had to check their claims out, and discovered that he is a master of the craft and has a remarkable ability to create characters that seem as real as your next neighbor. It’s worth noting that the main character in Cruel Devices is also a master horror writer on the level as King and even mentions him as a contemporary.

AW: The main character is an author who starts the book out dreading his book signings, finding his fame a nuisance. I love having you out for book signings, please tell me that this particular aspect of your character’s development was not drawn from your own feelings or experience. 😉

GWPGWP:

*Smiles* No, I love meeting my readers in person. Please come see me Dec. 13th at Half Price Books in Humble and I’ll prove it.

I suspect that the character of Gavin Curtis did enjoy his readers at one time, but soured that’s over time. The reason he’s become embittered towards fans is he feels that they’ve trapped him artistically. He views himself as victim of his own success held captive by his creation. He wants to move on from writing pulp vampire detective stories, but his audience won’t let him. A major theme of the book is control, and his readers control him by forcing him to write what he doesn’t want. So he naturally rebels and resents them and the vampire detective character of his stories.

Many years ago I heard something about abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothco. The story goes that when is ex-wife hooked up with his agent, Rothco attempted to sabotage his painting work so the couple wouldn’t financially benefit from him. The more he tried to offer sub-par work the more his popularity and fame increased. I don’t know how true any of that is, but the idea intrigued me enough to include my version of that concept in the novel. Gavin’s fan base grows exponentially the more he mockingly offers worn out tropes in hopes that the readers will stop reading so he may pursue ‘serious literary writing’.

PumaJacketAW: Every author, like Gavin, has those questions they get bored with people asking about their book and their writing process – but also like Gavin, every author has those questions and comments that grab their attention, the questions they wish they were asked. What do you wish people would ask you about Cruel Devices? Why?

GWP:

Again, I’m not jaded like the character of Gavin Curtis, I love answering questions. I think it’s amazing that I get paid to lie (on the page) to people. I especially like questions surrounding themes and concepts of my stories. Some readers simply read for plot and action, which is fine, but I enjoy talking to people about how the work made them think and possibly examine their own opinions on things.

AW: If a book club were to read your book, what would you hope they would talk about? (If a book club were to read your book, would you make a guest appearance?)

GWP:

The protagonist is a spoiled, egotistical, prima donna who at first seems as unlikeable as Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces with a mix of Billy Halleck from Thinner. As the story unfolds, the complex layers of Gavin’s personality are revealed one by one until we see at his core he’s actually (do I dare say it?) a hero, or maybe it’s better to call him a reluctant hero. I enjoyed the reactions of my beta/critique group when presented with a seemingly unredeemable main character. Early on in the critique process one of the other novelists in my group took me aside and sheepishly asked “Should I like this guy? He really seems like a jerk.” I informed him that the character’s off-putting manner is deliberate, but he’d be rooting for him by the end of the book.

As far as participating in a book club:
I’d consider it a privilege to attend a book club reading Cruel Devices (or Spindown) though I think it’d be more fun to appear anonymously and at some point during the discussion dramatically tip over the coffee table exclaiming “That’s not what the author meant by using that metaphor!” When the other readers gathered there would challenge this, I’d reveal who I was and storm out of the meeting. Talk about making an impression!

Spindown CoverAW: How was writing Cruel Devices different from writing your previous work, Spindown? I understand that asking an author to pick their favorite out of their own work can be a little like asking a parent to choose a favorite child – but really, which one do you enjoy more? Which one did you enjoy writing more?

GWP:

The question is easier to answer than you might think because I enjoyed them both for different reasons. First of all, the stories are structured completely different from each other. Spindown is more of a quest adventure in which the characters are attempting to gain their freedom by reaching the superintendent station before they expire. Though a lot of introspection takes place along the way, the goal to make it to the end of the moon base is as destination driven as Dorothy finding Oz or Joseph Conrad’s Marlow character in Heart of Darkness going up the river to find Kurtz.

Cruel Devices on the other hand is more of a mystery. Gavin spends much of the book trying to understand what is going on and why things are happening to him.

The second thing I want to mention is since Spindown and Cruel Devices are books in two very different genres (sci-fi and horror) it didn’t feel like I was writing a second novel at all. The storytelling rhythms are noticeably different for the rise and falls of horror opposed to sci-fi. I think I’d actually convinced myself on a subconscious level that I was writing a second 1st novel (which in fact, I sorta was).

AW: Do you feel like you’ve grown as a writer between the two books? In the last few years as a published author, what have you learned about books, publishing, and the writing process that you didn’t know before publication? What do you wish you had known prior to your book deals?

GWP:

My experiences from Spindown helped me know what to pack for the journey of writing this book. Having gone through the process before, I knew to expect there would be times when things would get tough, but I had the confidence to get through because eventually you come out the other side.

I also learned to trust my instincts more on this book – to recognize and allow ideas in that maybe were not in the original blueprint outline for the story. Permitting that flexibility resulted in a much more ‘organic’ story than if I’d remained rigid to concepts that snuck aboard later in revisions. I think this may be how that ‘fall out of bed’ natural feel that you mentioned above was achieved.

As for the publishing business questions, I am grateful to have met up with a small publisher called Grey Gecko Press. I tip my hat to anyone who self-publishes; I understand that to be a tremendous amount of work that I’m just too lazy to do myself. My publisher takes care of all the non-writing behind the scenes details that are necessary to make and format my books. This allows me to focus on writing without getting bogged down in the machinery.

AW: I can’t help but long for a replica of the deadly typewriter to be present at your future events. Any chance of that happening?

GWP:

Unlikely – It’s at the bottom of the river *wink*

AW: If you were to select a soundtrack for people to listen to while they read Cruel Devices, what songs would make the list?

GWP:

I love this question. It’s funny you ask because the book originally had a number of songs embedded into it. In the first draft of the novel a lot of attention was paid to the grand re-opening of the bridge near the resort. Radio station WHCN, The River 105.9 (which is a real Connecticut station) was heard in the elevators, restaurant, cab rides, etc. The station contest played songs about bridges and rivers so I had the music constantly in the background of whatever was happening to Gavin.

I used Bridge Over Troubled Water-Simon & Garfunkel, The River– Bruce Springsteen, Take Me to the River – Al Green, etc. to name a few. The only reference to survive the editing process was Bobbi Gentry’s 1967 hit Ode to Billie Joe in which the lyrics describe someone throwing something off the Tallahatchie Bridge. As of yet, I have not attempted to listen to these songs while reading the book. If you try doing this, let me know how it turns out.

A final note: I appreciate all that your blog does to support Indie authors, mainstream writers, and everyone in between. Thanks for featuring Cruel Devices.

Madame K

http://george-p.com/cruel.htm http://georgewpadgett.wix.com/author

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The Next George Wright Padgett Novel…

October 31, 2014 at 10:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I loved Spindown – almost as much as I love the author, George.  Recently, he asked me to read his latest novel that will be released to the public in November.  It’s amazing! But I’ve had to keep my blogger mouth a little quiet about it, until now…

Welcome to the Cruel Devices cover reveal:

Cruel DevicesCover

Be prepared to purchase November 30th, 2014.  It’s exciting work, and if you’re a Stephen King fan, this one is definitely for you!

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A Fancy Dinner Party

August 26, 2014 at 3:07 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Cover_Kindle_New_largeTitle:A Fancy Dinner Party

Editor: Hilary Comfort

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Thriller/ Horror

Length: 184 pages

For nearly two years now, I have had the joy of being acquainted with a small, local publishing company called Grey Gecko Press.  As a whole, they are fun and spunky, and I enjoy both hosting events for them and attending ones where they are present.

At one of the more recent signings, Jason Kristopher handed me a copy of A Fancy Dinner Party.  I was warned not to read it too late at night – or when I was alone.

I took my time with it, limiting myself to only one or two stories per sitting.  The anthology features ten different authors, a fantastic forward by Jonathan Maberry, all neatly packaged and edited by Hilary Comfort and the folks at Grey Gecko Press.

I did read it at night.  But I did not read it alone!

These stories are a lot like P1000274the group who wrote them, spunky and fun – even when they’re scaring the crap out of you.  I enjoyed the anthology, I love that I have a copy signed by all the contributors and would highly recommend it to short story lovers…

and science fiction lovers… and readers of fantasy, and horror, and thrillers…

As the back jacket says, there’s even a bit of Americana and Japanese folklore.  The book has so much to offer and is a prime example of Grey Gecko Press, yet again, putting their best foot forward.  I especially liked the dedication at the front: “For all the new and still-struggling authors whose stories have yet to be told.”

With the chapters arranged like a menu and a forward urging us to “Sit back, tuck P1000275in your napkin […] and dig into this bizarre feat,” the book keeps the menu theme alive from start to finish. Well done.

As a reviewer of an anthology, I can’t just stop there and fail to mention one crucial point – my favorite course, of course!

Drum roll…

GGP managed to save the best for last: George Wright Padgett

I loved his story The Arrangement and it was truly the cherry on top of a very disturbing dessert!

The ebook of A Fancy Dinner Party is $2.99, well worth the download.  Good luck reading alone.

 

 

 

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Here is my interview with George Wright Padgett

August 19, 2014 at 3:29 am (Uncategorized) ()

I love this man. Check out the Interviews tab to find my own interview with George Wright Padgett.

authorsinterviews

George Inset Photo

Name:  George Wright Padgett
Age:  Acts like: 9 1/2 Actual: Middle-aged
Where are you from:
Houston, Texas
A little about yourself; ie your education Family life etc:
I’m a husband (25+ years) and father of two children (13 year old girl/10 year old boy) a jazz piano player, a graphic artist, and sometimes a playwright. I also live with a mini dachshund that goes by Jenny.


Tell us your latest news?
My first horror novel, Cruel Devices is in the hands of the editor and is due out this winter. I also just signed a contract for a 2016 release of a steampunk detective novel entitled Addleton Heights. Both are being released by a small press publisher in Katy, Texas known as Grey Gecko Press.

When and why did you begin writing?
Looking back over the years I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Only recently did I realize that I’ve unofficially…

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Interview with Science Fiction Author George Wright Padgett

July 20, 2013 at 2:12 am (Interviews) (, , , , , , , )

George_Inset_Photo_compactGeorge Wright Padgett is the author of the science fiction title Spindown .  He lives in the Houston area.

1. Describe your book and its inception. What was your muse, so to speak?

I tend to question things about the world and our place in it.  When I started writing Spindown I wanted to explore the age-old topic of nature vs. nurture – Are we born who we are to become, or are we only the byproducts of our experiences?  And what does it mean to be free?  Believe it or not, I leaned heavily on Golding’s The Lord of the Flies as a study of characters reacting individually and as a tribe with and against each other.  I freely admit that the Draad flashlight is a version of the conch shell of authority that is found on the island in his book.

My writing style is that I tend to reverse engineer my stories.  I start with the question and then work my way backwards filling in the holes until there’s a logic for why things are as they are.

For example, I decided to start with characters that were blank canvases that I could expose to extreme situations and watch how they reacted to each other and solve problems.

For it to work I had to answer to myself why would these people would not have any emotional experiences and yet be full grown adults?  The solution was make them have lives that were severely isolated – keeping them from each other as much as possible and when they were forced to interact with each other they would be drugged into a stupor.

Then the question arises how or who would do this – So by reverse engineering I realized that it must be an ore corporation behind it and to save money from sending people to Jupiter to mine, they use harvested clones to do the labor.  That’s just one example of how as I would walk through one door and answer a question, there’d be another waiting behind it.  When all of the doors were opened (save the final one) the story was over.

Spindown box

2. Your book has ‘classic science fiction’ all over it.  What authors do you read and do you consider them heavy influences on your writing?

I’ve read a tremendous amount from the classic authors Asimov, Clarke, etc.  (as a matter of fact, I recently finished Foundation again).

One thing that I’ve always appreciated about those writers is the level of authenticity in their stories.  I spent many months building and rebuilding on paper the vast mining compound on Ganymede before I wrote a single word.  It required a stupid amount of discipline to resist the urge to dive right in, but my deferred gratification paid off. When it came time to write the story, all that I had to do was to ‘activate’ the characters to run and follow them as if I were an imbedded reporter.

I didn’t set out to write a modern story in the classic sci-fi style; in fact I am humbled to have Spindown even compared to those great works.  All that I can attest the results to be my exposure to their styles must have seeped through into my story.  I feel like the character in The Amazing Colossal Man who accidentally wanders into a plutonium blast in the desert. The radiation transforms him due to his exposure to it, not through anything that he did.  I was exposed to the radiation of many great storytellers.

3. Just like when I read, when I write I find myself enjoying some characters more than others – regardless of their role in the story.  Did you have a favorite in Spindown? Who was it? Why?

Wow.  It’s too difficult for me to pick just one – so I won’t.  (I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for the uninitiated.)  I enjoyed watching Prall 4167 develop throughout the piece.  Here’s a guy that is used to being in control, and is faced with his entire world being turned inside out.  Readers undoubtedly cast him as a villain, but when you clinically review what he does and why he does things, he sort of makes sense.  He’s the most practical one of the escaped clones and never displays a shred of self-doubt.  Don’t misunderstand, what he does/allows is reprehensible to say the least, but he doesn’t see himself that way- he is only about one thing: Survival of Prall 4167.  Can you blame him?  His Machiavellian approach to situations intrigued me to the point that when it was time to assign the characters their suffix numbers, I gave him 4167 (my birthdate of 4/1/67).

Another part that was fun to write was the interactions between Martin and Buck.  By the time we meet up with them again, they have been companions for a very long time.  They remind me of an old married couple; they bicker with each other, but there’s no mistaking the love that has developed between them over the years.

Ah… then there’s Fowler and Sholve.  I enjoyed how Fowler usually has his plans backfire on him or not go exactly how he thought things would work out.  Often Sholve has to bail him out in some way.  In all, they end up making a good team, with her problem-solving skills and his physical strength. One of my favorite exchanges between them is when they have opposing views on if they should ‘contaminate’ the Setter character with the knowledge of what is actually happening to clones on Marius 516.  They come at the situation with polar opposite philosophies, forcing the reader to pick a side- Do we let him go on, and live blindly?  Or do we confront him with the truth allowing him to decide for himself what to do?

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George and Grey Gecko Press at Half Price Books Humble

4. Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?

My inability to spell and use proper grammar is far worse than I could have ever imagined (even with spellcheck)

5. Exactly how much research was needed to pull off this level of scientific expertise? What was that process like?

As I mentioned before, I probably spent way too much time on this.  I found that my compulsiveness seems to require a ridiculous amount of backstory and detail for whatever I’m working on.  An example of this is how an early draft of Spindown had the clones speak a hyper-restrictive tongue called Chone. I developed the entire language removing any ‘hot words’ from their vocabulary.  The result would have made Orwell’s writers of NewSpeak blush it was so limiting.  It took a month of refining over and over.  It was beautiful- and every bit of it ended up on the ‘cutting room floor’.  While readers likely will notice the absence of the personal pronoun of ‘us/we’ from the first half of the book, that is the only thing that remained!  It became too cumbersome for the clones to speak – a month totally wasted!  I also know more about Ganymede than any non-Nasa personnel is allowed.

My habit is to completely immerse myself in the research and the world building of the story.  This is fine, but a good writer has to edit out the artifacts that do not advance the story – sorry, Chone language.

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Click to visit Grey Gecko Press

6.How did you come across Grey Gecko Press? How has that relationship been for you?

I encountered the owner, Jason Aydelotte at a social gathering of other Houston area writers.  He’s the author of the acclaimed Dying of the Light Zombie series.  He had just self-published his first novel in the trilogy and his enthusiasm about publishing was contagious.  He told the people at the table that he was considering helping others learn how to do what he had done for their stories.  Over time, his help and advice transformed into GGP.  He left his day job to start Grey Gecko Press for authors who wanted to ‘storm the castle’ of traditional publishing with him.  I was fortunate (and maybe crazy enough) to be counted among them.  That was ten-thousand books ago.  Since then, everyone there has been remarkable.  Without Grey Gecko, there would be no Spindown because I likely would not have finished it.  Jason’s team was the mid-wife to my book.

7. If Spindown were to be made into a movie, who would you want to tackle it? (JJ Abrams? Joss Whedon? Steven Moffat? Some unknown?)

Sid and Marty Krofft (Google it, kids).

Seriously, I am flattered that so many readers have said that they’d like to see Spindown on the big screen.  I love movies, especially sci-fi, and my writing has been influenced by dozens of classic flicks, but at the end of the day, I’m just a storyteller, not a movie producer.  It’s fun to think of, but what do I know about any of that?  I’d welcome it if someone felt they bring something to the story, but I’ll leave it to the experts.

8. Other than writing, what are your hobbies and talents?

I play jazz piano (under a different stage name), I do graphic design, and am neck-deep in writing the songs and script for a full-length musical.
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9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what were some of the musical influences you had while writing Spindown?

Music is a very important part of my life, so much a part of it that songs/genres that I listen to when not writing easily distract me when I’m ‘working’.  I do this kind of Pavlovian conditioning thing in which there are some classical and ambient selections that I ONLY listen to when writing. It helps to trigger my brain into knowing that ‘It’s time to write’ when this music is played:

Philip Glass – Symphony No. 9, Low Symphony, Heroes Symphony
The soundtrack to ‘Monster’s Ball’
Brian Eno – Music for Airports
Anything from the band Pauseland
and a minimalist band from Austin called ‘Stars of the Lid’

Listen to Philip Glass/No.9 and read any of the chase scenes from Spindown.  You’ll find that they match up perfectly.

10. If there was just one thing you would want your readers/ fans to know about you, what would it be?

I’m a big dork.  Really I am (my wife and kids will attest to the fact).  I don’t allow myself to take my self too seriously, and I will do anything for a laugh (anything).  I still feel and view myself as the 4th grader version of myself.  Sure, I get to drive a car, I can order wine in a restaurant, and do ‘big people’ stuff like that, but after you pull back all the layers, I am still just as silly, needy, and unreservedly amazed with the universe as I was way back then.  And for better or worse, if I haven’t grown up by now, I think that I’m probably stuck this way – and I’m okay with that.

Click to Visit George's Facebook Page

Click to Visit George’s Facebook Page

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Spindown

July 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sprindown ReviewTitle: Spindown

Author: George Wright Padgett

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 372 pages

There are books you read and love but cringe when someone suggests they make it a movie. What if they screw with the magic? What if they ruin it?  But there are some books that as you read, before you even finish the book, just BEG you to become a movie one day.  That’s Spindown.

Visually striking, the novel drops you right into the action from the first page, dripping with images of a future on the largest moon of Jupiter where clones are created to function their entire existence as slaves on a mining outpost.  The writing style reminds me of Robert A. Heinlein (author of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) and Gershom Reese Wetzel (author of Teres, which is unfortunately not available for the public yet); and the story reminds me of some of the more futuristic sides of Doctor Who (episodes like The Rebel Flesh, and such).Spindown art

Always a sucker for dystopian societies, I love the premise and the journey these characters have from mindless machine-like worker bees to passionate beings with more than a vague idea of what is means to be “dormant dead” and no Hemlo to suppress emotions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had the pleasure of meeting George Wright Padgett at Comicpalooza this year.  His publisher, Grey Gecko Press, had a booth there.  In all the hoopla la and excitement, he had a personality that stood out in a crowd and after gathering some information on his book, I was able to set up signings with him at Half Price Books.

The signing at the Humble location was a blast.  Grey Gecko Press brought a banner to put up in the store which looked pretty stellar, the book trailer was running on a flat screen in the background, and we had cupcakes from The Martin Epicurean.  Pulling off fun events in a bookstore has just as much to do with planning and organization as personality and conversation with the author themselves.  Padgett is quite entertaining and could be an event in himself with or without the book!

PadgettsHere is a little anecdote he shared on facebook from Comicpalooza:

So this past weekend at the convention, I was approached by a guy who said his name was Tom Padgett and that his son’s name was Tommy Padgett. He told me that he saw the banner (pictured) that bore his last name, and was thrilled to see another ‘Padgett’ as the author. I don’t know if he (or Tommy) even cares for the sci-fi genre, but he bought a book simply on the sir name.So here’s my strategy for my next three projects: Each novel will be released under a different pseudonym in hopes of securing higher sales from the consumers that buy books based on their own last names. Be sure to tell your friends, family, and co-workers to be on the lookout for new books from ‘George Smith’, ‘George Davis’, and ‘George Johnson’. We’re gonna sell millions now that we’ve got this figured out!
At which point, I want to say: DO IT! Haha.
But seriously, this guy is awesome, and so is the whole Grey Gecko Press crew.  If you are a bookstore, I highly recommend having them come out and do an event.  If you are a reader – go buy Spindown NOW.   If you’re an artist, I personally would like to start seeing some fan art.  If you are a movie producer… get on this, asap.  I’m waiting.  With popcorn.
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(Stay tuned for more pictures from the Half Price Books event.)

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July 2013 Events!

June 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

George Wright Padgett July

Reeshemah at North Oaks

Karyna Humble

Karyna North Oaks

Quilting with Good Books

Melinda McGuire July 2013

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