Before we begin this interview, I want to point out that my third installment of my Wrestling Column for Wrestling Glory Days is now live. Click here in order to read my column and its archives.
I’ve talked to Simon Rose on several occasions now. Each time we chat we seem to go all over the place. This time is no different as Simon mentions a couple of video projects he is up to as well as chatting about records, movie theatres and whatever else we talk about when we come together.
Joshua Pantalleresco: So what have you been up to since we last chatted?
Simon Rose: Got a couple of things on the go. The Sphere of Septimus has come out and Flashback is vein g published next month. I launched the Fantasy Fiction Focus channel on YouTube too. I’m interviewing authors of various genres, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, even a publicist. I have a few interviews done so far. It’s a lot of fun.
JP: It is.
SR: I’m trying to do about twenty or thirty minutes at the most. It’s done on Google Hangouts so you can see the author’s house in the background. You can see the cats, pictures on the walls, their home, that kind of thing. I think it gives more of an insight into what they’re all about. An hour would be too much, I think. 30 minutes seems about right to cover a good range of topics and it’s important not to bore the viewer.
JP: I really think it depends on the content of any interview.
SR: Do you really think people only want to hear authors promote their books?
JP: That’s part of the game. Look at the talk shows, heck look at our last few interviews. We talk about all kinds of stuff , mostly interesting topics too. As far as promotion goes, who doesn’t do that? Even the people on the talk shows tend to do that.
SR: I suppose you’re right now. So what are you working on?
JP: I just turned in my next book.
SR: The same publisher?
SR: I’ve been doing more film stuff lately. I’ve been working on a screenplay in recent weeks.
JP: That’s cool!
SR: It’s different. I’m learning as I go and I’m having fun with it. Hold on a minute, the phone’s vibrating. Okay, just something fed in from Facebook. I usually try to avoid the feed.
JP: I’ve been tired of my feed lately. We all kind of have to do this you know? But it seems like I see the same memes and same fads. This last week I saw a ton of vaccination stuff, tons of talk about the Grammy’s and something else. It’s just weird to me how much of it was almost word for word, the exact same thing. It kind of freaks me out a bit.
SR: I guess it’s the modern equivalent of the old water cooler conversations. Back in the days when people watched more television they’d talk about shows the next day. Now Facebook makes it happen continuously.
JP: That’s fair I suppose. New world.
SR: It’s changing all the time. I finally dropped cable.
JP: Don’t blame you. It’s the next major change coming.
SR: And now we can even watch our television favorites with our phones.
JP: You mean our tricorders?
JR: (holds up his phone) Seriously, look at this thing. What else do you think it is? It even looks like one.
SR: It’s true, isn’t it? What’s next, the transporter?
JP: They’re working on it. I was listening to a podcast the other day featuring William Shatner. He was talking about how they actually managed to transport one molecule across a set distance. I mean, it’s only a molecule, but it’s a start right?
SR: I hear they’re also working on a holodeck right now.
JP: Really? Cool. We’re moving forward into the future one bit at a time. Back to slightly more mundane matters, what do you watch on television?
SR: Soccer games and the BBC news generally. Sometimes shows like Game of Thrones, Family Guy, some other comedies and dramas, plus movies.
JP: I like the BBC. I don’t know how good they are at covering local stuff, but their tone is so different from over here.
SR: You’ve never seen anything out of North America. The BBC’s different to North American news shows, probably a lot more balanced, and usually very good.
JP: I’m just suspicious based on the news I see here. It’s all the same here, really.
SR: You do have to question the news a bit these days, but isn’t that true with everything? I mean everybody seems to be connected to everybody else in the business world, for example. It used to be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but there are charts and diagrams that let you see just how companies work together.
JP: It’s not conspiracy anymore. It’s business, plain and simple. Even with my day job they work with their competitors. Competition doesn’t really exist anymore. In just about everything there are four or five or even less companies. I mean, there’s no competition for things like hydro and power. You either bow to their whims or no power. It’s true with everything. Fast food joints, restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops. Well, there’s still a lot of independents in coffee shops.
SR: Not really. I mean, seriously, what’s the closest independent coffee shop you know?
JP: Downtown, now that I think about it.
SR: Okay, downtown, but think about this. We’re in this coffee shop, which has the same menu, offering the same things. You go anywhere else in the city, you’ll find this shop, with this exact same menu and a very similar layout, depending on the building it’s located in. Same at Tim Hortons or Second Cup.
JP: Or Timothy’s.
SR: They’re still in business?
JP: One or two.
SR: Really? Well, you learn something everyday. Have you heard about all the superhero movies Marvel is doing?
JP: Oh God. Yeah, there’s a ton of them.
SR: And it’s not just even one or two a year, seems like it’s one every quarter. DC is doing the same thing. I believe there’s a Justice League movie in the works. I’m wondering if they’re doing too many these days. I mean at the end of the day, it’s superheroes, every single one of them. Yet I guess they’ve been so successful that they’re becoming an institution. Don’t get me wrong, I love Spider-man as a concept, but do I really want to see a superhero movie every quarter? Still, it works for the studios, I guess. It’s safe.
JP: There’s always demand for content. The hows and the whys are always in flux. I find radio has made a resurgence thanks to podcasts. But some things don’t change. Movie theatres, for example are still in business.
SR: They are, aren’t they? Yeah. It’s neat. Of all the things that stick around, movie theatres are still with us.
JP: Vinyl records are in business for the same reason.
SR: Isn’t that just a fad?
JP: I don’t know.
SR: My son and his friends have vinyl records, but I don’t know. I don’t see it returning in a big way.
JP: Fair enough.
SR: So are we starting this interview yet?
JP: We have been!
SR: How do we go all over the place like this?
JP: It’s my first time I do these things, I swear.
SR: Alright, do you mind if I interview you for a sec?
SR: I’ll ask you a couple of questions similar to those I use on the YouTube channel. Let’s see, did you have a plan when you wrote The Watcher?
JP: Honestly, nothing I’ve ever done compares to that. I had no plan.
JP: I wanted a longer piece for something and wrote The Watcher. Afterwards, I just wanted to know for myself what happened next. There was no real plan. Still isn’t, to be honest.
SR: Do you have an ending in mind?
JP: For the whole thing? Yes. The one I just handed in I was simply going beyond where the first one was going. There’s those points in your life when you’re wondering if you are doing the right thing because the road you’ve travelled is the unknown. People understand freedom, but are afraid of what happens next. I thought that was a neat theme to explore.
SR: Is that it? For the story, I mean?
JP: I think I got one more after this. After that…
SR: …it’s time to do something else. I’ve tended to avoid sequels, although there are some I could go back to and might someday.
This current one might be different though. I’ve been working on the novel for a while. I wanted to finish something before the end of last year. It didn’t work out that way at all. It’s about a dark parallel universe and the story keeps expanding. I keep getting new ideas and it’s tough to know how it’s going to end.
JP: Hmm. One of things I learned recently and should have learned sooner was trying to figure out what you’re trying to say. Once you have that down, sometimes the ending just comes.
SR: It’s interesting to see how different writer’s minds work. What’s the easiest thing for you to write?
JP: Action. Far and away the easiest thing for me.
JP: It depends. If it’s talking kind of stuff, no problem. If I’m writing to advance the plot, it’s a little different.
SR: How about description?
JP: That’s something I struggle with.
SR: Me too. I’ll do dialogue all day, and it just comes very easily. I’ll do two or three chapters of dialogue or action very quickly and easily and the story progresses. But description? Sometimes I’ll work all day and get maybe two paragraphs done.
JP: I think description is a pain for us all. It’s evolved a lot too. Their used to be a lot more description in older books.ere
SR: You’re referring to the Jane Austen era, Dickens, that kind of thing?
JP: Yeah. It’s changed since then. There’s a lot less in books now. I think it’s the short attention span kind of thing.
SR: It’s been probably changing since the television era began, to be honest.
JP: Totally. So what purpose does description hold? Well, for me, it’s about establishing an experience with the reader. Sights, smells, things that people can connect too. Remember when we were talking about movie theatres earlier? I think the reason they’re still in business is the experience they creates. The same with a vinyl record.
SR: Good point. It’s kind of like going to the pub versus drinking at home. You can always go to the liquor store and just chill at home, but there’s just something about going out with people to the pub.
JP: Totally. Same with the movie theater. You can watch the show at home, but there’s something about going out and having popcorn. What I think people are going to keep paying for in the future is experience. Information and content is becoming more available but you can’t duplicate the experience of doing these things. I think that’s what people will continue to want.
SR: So we’ll do this again sometime soon?
JP: Absolutely. It was a pleasure.
Simon Rose recently launched his own youtube Channel, Fantasy Fiction Focus in which you can see his interviews in action right now. The address is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfEDOQZlgkwfpwzgCg0jKHw?spfreload=10 . Simon Rose can be reached at his website at http//www.simon-rose.com. Finally, in addition to the Sphere of Septimus being out, Simon is offering an online course at the University of Calgary for writing engaging Children’s Literature. You can read about it and register here: http://simon-rose.com/uncategorized/online-course-with-the-university-of-calgary-writing-for-children-and-youth-april-may-and-june/. I want to thank Simon for his time, and no doubt, he’ll be back on the site again before you know it.