Hi everybody. This would have been interview number 80 in this series, but I don’t have one planned for today – just a moment, there’s someone at the door.
Hey, I’m Anthony Vicino, the solitary scribbling robot with a questionable work ethic responsible (or to blame) for the OneLazyRobotBlog. I have a number of short stories and novellas floating through the digital ether in addition to my debut novel, Time Heist (Book One of the Firstborn Saga), which was last seen lurking in a darkened cyber-alley. So, ya know, you’ve been warned.
SCy-Fy: I wish I had been… . Have a ginger ale, Anthony. Well, now that you’re here, let’s talk about blogging.
AV: Okay, the thing is I don’t really have a typical blogging day. In my mind I’m an author, so I spend most of my writing time working on fiction projects. But you can only do that so many hours in a row before your brain shivs the Creativity Warden and makes a break for freedom via your ears. When the cerebral ooze makes its grand escape I usually transfer over to writing for the blog which I find is a good reset button.
Topics vary depending on my moon-cycle. Sometimes it’ll be a book review. Sometimes a workshop on writing craft where I pretend I know what I’m talking about (and simply hope nobody notices I’m a complete charlatan with a fundamental disrespect for semi-colons and parentheticals.)
SCy-Fy: What are your future plans?
AV: World domination falls somewhere in my ten year plan (‘cause I’m a big, shoot-for-the-moon sort of fella), but I don’t have much in the bag when it comes to the short term. Not for OneLazyRobotBlog, at least. My goal with One Lazy Robot has always been to stimulate interesting, engaging, entertaining, and sometimes even insightful discussions into the world of modern science fiction/fantasy.
On the fiction side, things are a bit more hectic. Books 2 and 3 of the Firstborn Saga (Infinity Lost and Mind Breach respectively) will have been pried out of my skull and transferred to book format by this Fall alongside a gaggle of novellas dealing with a peculiar assortment of topics such as robotic babies, sentient homes, and cryogenically frozen assassins.
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?
But first let’s back up and take a second to revel in the fact that SFF is more popular than ever. Being a nerd is sexy. Sort of. Sure, the literary types still watch genre fiction out of the corner of their eyes like we’re gonna pants them and steal their poodle the second they turn away to smell the roses, but on the whole, Science Fiction and Fantasy are getting some major mainstream love these days.
That’s good and bad for a number of reasons. It’s good because fresh blood keeps the SFF deities appeased, but it’s bad because I think historically SFF hasn’t been so inclusive towards the outsider. As SFF bloggers I think we need to be intentional about how we reach out to the mass market while still staying true to the original fandom.
This means writing material that encourages new people to try out the genre without fear of getting hulk-smashed by its behemoth-like history. There’s a time and place for the quagmire of tangential, really obscure, sometimes mildly frightening trivia that comprises the Geek Deep-Web, but accessibility is the name of the game in the coming years.
SCy-Fy: Tips for bloggers?
AV: Think about what you’re adding to the digital noise. No, not every post needs to be a beacon of literary excellence. Nor does it have to use the Lasso of Truth to uncover some deep universal constant. But if most of your posts are throw-away – and by that I mean you don’t even bother going back and reading them on occasion just to laugh at your younger, dumber self – then eventually people are going to lose interest in you. And ultimately you are the thing people are coming to see. Be more than just background noise.
SCy-Fy: What about writers?
AV: If you really want to be a writer you’re going to face two types of resistance. First is from yourself. It’s easy to say, “I’m too tired,” after a long day of work. I get that. I do. But you need to get over it. Don’t find the time to write, make the time. That’s the only way it’ll ever get done.
The second type of resistance comes from others. People, no matter how much they care for you, simply do not understand what you’re doing in that room all by yourself for so many hours at a time. They’ll make you feel like that bubble gum stuck to the sidewalk when they give you a patronizing pat on the head and ask you to go out for a beer.
“No,” you say. “I have to write.”
“Can’t you just do that later?” they whine. “I mean, nobody’s making your write.”
And that’s the crux of the matter. Writing is a lonely, time-intensive process and it only gets done when you make time to sit down and get it done.
With that said, people are also very important, so find time for them too.
SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?
AV: Psh, you seem like a nice person, I’d hate to have to kill you. It’s probably best I keep those secrets in my lederhosen. Classified and all that nonsense.
SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?
AV: Taking the easy road, but that’s true of everything in life. Don’t poach popular opinion simply to bamboozle people into liking you. You liked Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds? Great, tell us why. Make a compelling case. Don’t just hop on the bandwagon of hatery simply because you’re afraid of being cast out of the tribe. Your opinions matter, but only when they are actually yours.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
AV: To be a writer you’ve got to have this weird balance between Han Solo’esque self-belief and C3P0 styled crippling self-doubt. Too much of either is gonna get you stuck in the mud, but a little bit of both is good. You’ve got to believe in yourself and the thing you’re doing. If you don’t believe in you, then I sure as hell won’t. Conversely, you need a bit of self-doubt to keep you sharp and hungry and trying your darndest.
The hard times I’ve hit as a writer always revolve around one of those two issues. Either too much of one, or too much of the other. It’s a sliding scale of suck, and it never stays in one place for long.
SCy-Fy: Posts of yours that have had the most impact or controversy?
Those two really seemed to strike a nerve in the SFF collective consciousness. A lot of great conversations came out of those posts (which I think is all you can ever really hope for from a blog post).
SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?
AV: How To Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu, The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin and pretty much anything by Lauren Beukes.
SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?
AV: There is already so much on the market that I don’t usually get too excited about upcoming releases, so for the most part I don’t even know what’s on the horizon. Really the only thing that niggles at the back of my mind is the third book in Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind series and Season Three of Hannibal.
I would fight a roid-raging Centaur in the octagon if I could get my hands on those.
SCy-Fy: Anything else to add?
AV: If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
SCy-Fy: OK, see you, Anthony. Yes, you can take the gummy bears with you… .