We have a special treat for you in the form of an interview with Michael Gibson, author of the Technomancer series. The Technomancer series is an urban fantasy cyberpunk series set in a dystopian post-apocalypse world where demons rule creation. It stars a wise-cracking protagonist and his mentor as they attempt to make the world slightly less awful. They're just really bad at it.
1. So, how was the reception of To Beat the Devil?
Are you kidding?! A multi-million dollar, seven picture movie deal!....Oh, I thought the question was “How did I want the reception of To Beat the Devil” to be.
The reception? I’ve limped onto the scene ;) But, I’m a first time writer from a small press. However, all the feedback I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. It is holding strong with mostly 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. So, no complaints. But, if you have 50,000 friends who wanna read a good book, I’d appreciate the good will ;-)
2. Could you tell newcomers about the Technomancer world?
Depends, do they want to sleep well tonight? :) The Technomancer world is my manic brainchild which mixes The Dresden Files and cyberpunk, then propels it into a post biblical apocalypse.
As a kid, I was always fascinated by The Book of Revelations. The Bible said that after the great ascension, Hell would rise and rule. That scared the shit out of me as a kid and really stuck with me. So, I set my book(s) in the world after God left. A world where Hell rules, and mankind is the slaves of demons. But, in this world, demons are now flesh and blood. So, what would this world look like? How would it function? Could it function? And above all that, what kind of stories could I tell in a technologically advanced, magic and myth infested world?
3. What about its heroes, Salem and Grimm?
Salem and Grimm are my Riggs and Murtaugh. Both of them are immortals, and both see the world through different lenses. Salem is my main protagonist who lived through the rise of Hell, and the wars which came after. He is a smuggler and a survivor. My Han Solo. And, to anyone who knows me, a lot of me in there.
Grimm however, is far, far older and does not see the world the same as Salem. He is empowered by great magic and is compelled to go into the darkest of places. Father Grimm is my Gandalf. But a Gandalf who is far more willing to do the dark things.
4. What are they up to in your next novel?
Earlier I mentioned Riggs and Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon. In the classic 80s action flicks, the heroes usually never have repercussions. Buildings explode, laws are broken and none of it matters. As a gamer, writer and just general fan of fun story telling, I dislike when such things happen. Book 2, aptly titled Flotsam Prison Blues details what happens as a result when our hero burst onto the scene in book 1.
5. Who is your favorite character from your new book?
Well, aside from my beloved Salem, I had to chance to explain through flashbacks what Salem was doing before book 1 happened. Since he is over 200 years old, he wasn’t always “Salem”. And who he was before, wasn’t always nice. I was able to explore him when he was a war profiteer named “Reynolds”. Reynolds had a relationship with a demoness named Gh’aliss, and that dynamic was challenging,fun, sexy and dark to write. I think fans of the book(s) will see a side of Salem they may not have wanted to see, but needed to see nonetheless.
Additionally, Chael was a new, different character to write. The 10’ psychotic prisoner Salem meets during his incarceration was a joy to explore. How often do you get to write a walking engine of destruction, who is not only deadly, but possessed by dark forces?
6. How do the two books compare?
Hmm...interesting. They are both in “my style” but are vastly different in terms of character interaction and growth. Book 1 set up the world. Book 2, let me play in it. I always hate when sequels don’t live up to the first. Which is why I worked very, very hard to make book 2 able to stand on its own. A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back dynamic. I hope. *crosses fingers*
7. What was the most surprising criticism you got from To Beat the Devil?
Heh heh, you’re going to make me say it, aren’t you? OK folks, here’s the skinny: Charles and I talk. A lot. Contemporaries and friends who read one another works and help each other out. So, Mr. Phipps’ not so subtle (to me anyway) approach to this question is that he knows about my one and only, 3-star review on Amazon.
In this review, the reviewer praised my action, praised my world and praised my character growth. But, two stars were deducted for, one, my rough transitions in the first few chapters, which, to be fair, are there and I’ve been working on that.
The second deduction was for my portrayal of female characters. The reviewer thought I did not include enough women, and those I did, did not have equal agency as the males, and existed to service the protagonists.
She’s right. When I wrote my story, I was focused to much on what she called “Male Fantasy”. And I’ve thought long and hard about that criticism. What the reviewer doesn’t know is that I currently have enough material written for five books. In that material, one of my female characters from book 1 makes a return and a very grand, very evolved way. And, I wrote this material before book 1 was even published. But, that is not on her to know. So, her criticism concerning book 1 is fair.
I am very aware of the current, and growing, female consumers of sci-fi/fantasy and how that is reflected in the zeitgeist. I am also aware of how much of a microscope that has places on all artists, writers and content creators. I only hope my stories entertain, as I strive to become better and include more facets of the world, giving all races, genders and orientations equal agency and life.
I honestly would like to thank her, the reviewer, one day. In my heart of hearts, I see all people as equal. But, biases and blinders occur whether we want them to or not and sometimes we have to reminded of that.
...Oh, and last week, a girl told a friend of mine she would “rather gouge out her eye with a rusty spork, than read another word” of my book. So, that’s a kick in the nuts. With that in mind, coming soon The Rusty Spork, my new web page sub-page for harsh critics and reviews.
8. What was your highest praise?
Well, like question 7, that reviewer had high praise for the parts she liked. But, my best praise thus far have come from the most interesting place: people who’ve never read much, if any, sci-fi/fantasy. I have several reviews from people who’ve decided to read my book as their first step into the geek world and...they liked it. It was how I wrote, the characters, how they grew, and what they did which pulled them in. The setting of a cyberpunk dystopian was just background noise to them. That meant a lot to me.
9. What do you love most about writing in the world?
The challenge. Imagining a world which doesn’t exist, imagining new technology, imagining how humans and demons could survive, imagining the economy, the smell, the look. And on top of all of that, telling a compelling story within the rules you create.
10. What can we expect of you in the future?
Well, until I get that 50,000 readers I mentioned earlier, a shit-ton more begging I imagine. :)
But I am currently working on the edits to Book 3, tentatively titled Gods Gonna Cut You Down, while my fantasy action-comedy Villains Rule is on the shortlist to come out December 2016 from Amber Cove Publishing.
Villains Rule is where I take the piss out of the fantasy genre by playing with all the classic tropes, using a villain adviser from “the real world” who, when trapped in a fantasy universe, has to use his knowledge of the fantasy realms to break the rules and come out on top. Trust me, it’s a lot funnier and more interesting than how I’m describing it.