Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Interview With Myself

NOTES FROM THE LAIR: We're talking with Abner Senires, author of the new book KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE. How are you today, Abner?

ABNER SENIRES: I'm fine, Abner.

NFTL: How'd you know my name? We weren't properly introduced.

AS: This is a self-interview. I'm talking to myself.

NFTL: That's often a sign of a mental disorder you know.

AS: Interview.

NFTL: Right. Tell us about the book.

AS: KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE follows the adventures of Kat and Mouse, a pair of female soldiers of fortune trying to make a buck in 2042 Bay City, California Free State, but who have this knack for attracting trouble. And trouble comes in the form of bikergangs, street gangs, corporate soldiers, cyber-assasins, the Mob, the Yakuza, and whatever else the mean streets of Bay City decides to throw at them.

NFTL: Why did you choose to go the POD route? Why not stick to traditional publishing?

AS: From the very beginning I had two strikes against me. First, the stories originally came out as a web serial so they were technically already published. Just on the web. Second, it's considered a short story collection. Already not looking too good. So I decided to bite the bullet and do it myself.

NFTL: You mentioned the stories first came out as a web serial.

AS: Yeah, a web fiction serial.

NFTL: In episodes. Like a TV show.

AS: Right.

NFTL: So the book is really the boxed set of Season One?

AS: That's right. The first 10 episodes.

NFTL: : What made you decide on that format?

AS: I wanted the stories to come out in a specific order. The typical way of publishing wasn't going to work. Not if Story #1 and #2 come out in sequence but #4 comes out before #3. First, I toyed with the idea of a webcomic and actually did nine pages before it died.

NFTL: When was this?

AS: 2006.

NFTL: : How did that die?

AS: It was supposed to be a page per week. I gave myself a lead time of two months to work on pages--story, artwork, and lettering--and had planned on being at least four weeks ahead of the page that posted.

NFTL: And?

AS: Didn't happen. The artwork bit killed me.

NFTL: So you turned to webfiction.

AS: Yeah. I'd already published two of the stories ("A Family Affair" and "Babysitting Blues") with a webzine and in 2001 I'd written a screenplay of a KAT AND MOUSE movie. So after the webcomic petered out, I decided I'd put it up on the web as a fiction serial. I worked on the stories through most of 2007, outlining the various adventures and the major story arcs. Then for NaNoWriMo 2007, I adapted the KAT AND MOUSE screenplay into prose. That became the story "Easy Money." I spent the next several months revising and polishing. At the same time, I was writing the next story, "Price of Vengeance," and working out other elements of the world of 2042 Bay City.

NFTL: And the site went live in December of '08.

AS: On the 15th of December.

NFTL: Which means the serial is now 2 years and four months old.

AS: It is.

NFTL: Congratulations.

AS: Thank you.

NFTL: And now you have the first ten episodes, the first season, in print.

AS:
And as an e-book.

NFTL:
Kindle?

AS:
Yeah. And the Nook.

NFTL:
And with the book and e-book out, you're still running the serial on the web, correct?

AS:
Correct. We're currently in Season Two.

NFTL:
Going well?

AS:
The season? Yeah, I think so.

NFTL:
One of the reviews I read about the serial compared it to the anime Dirty Pair.

AS: Exactly the reaction I wanted. Dirty Pair was one of its inspirations. Another anime/manga inspiration was Gunsmith Cats.

NFTL: Wasn't Xena part of that inspiration, too?

AS: All three, really. One day I got to thinking about writing a series of stories featuring ass-kicking heroines. Xena had taken care of the ancient/fantasy world. Dirty Pair took care of the far future. And Gunsmith Cats, the present. Then I thought, "What about the near-future? Cyberpunk? The world of Blade Runner, Robocop, and Demolition Man?" And I came up with Kat and Mouse.

NFTL: And is it true Milla Jovovich was the basis for Kat?

AS: While working on the screenplay, yes. I had the DVD of the first Resident Evil on repeat while I wrote. So when I'm writing Kat, I see Milla Jovovich in my head.

NFTL: Which must mean that Michelle Rodriguez is Mouse.

AS: Bingo.

NFTL: Any other mental casting choices?

AS: Sean Connery playing "Ramius" in Hunt for Red October as Revell.

NFTL: Very nice. What writers influenced you?

AS: I grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein, and Tolkien. Those three got me into the genre.

NFTL: What about in terms of your writing style?

AS: I'd have to go with Robert B. Parker. I really liked the tone and style of the Spenser novels and tried to use that in writing KAT AND MOUSE. Terse. Minimalist. I learned about writing concisely when I was working on screenplays and episodic scripts so I pulled some of that in. James Cameron's scripts for Aliens and Terminator 2 are a joy to read just for action and description. Pop culture-infused dialogue and the interplay between ensemble characters I learned from Joss Whedon. There's a bit of that in David Eddings's The Belgariad. I tried to capture those elements in the stories.

NFTL: What about William Gibson? I mean, you are writing cyberpunk.

AS: Oh sure. Especially the stories in Burning Chrome. Also, Marc Laidlaw's "400 Boys" from the Mirrorshades anthology for language and imagery. And Michael Stackpole's Wolf and Raven.

NFTL: Any particular favorite books?

AS: The Belgariad. I re-read the series at least once a year. And my current book-drug of choice is Jim Butcher's Dresden novels and the Gotrek and Felix series currently by Nathan Long.

NFTL: Before we go, any advice for aspiring writers?

AS: Writing means butt in chair.

NFTL: Good advice. So there you have it, folks. KAT AND MOUSE, GUNS FOR HIRE by the talented Abner Senires. Cyberpunk action-adventure for anime, Xena, Milla Jovovich, and Michelle Rodriguez fans. Available in print, Kindle, and Nook editions. Abner, thank you for joining us.

AS: You're welcome.

NFTL: Any closing remarks?

AS: Do I have to put my pants on now?

NFTL: TMI, dude. TMI.

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