Monday, October 09, 2017

Interview with Collin Piprell


* Are you currently binge watching anything on Netflix, Hulu (or elsewhere)? What keeps you glued to the screen?

I don’t watch much television. But I have enjoyed series such as The Wire, True Detective, and others that don’t leap to mind. And I do sometimes fall victim to binge watching.

* Do you prefer movies or TV series?

I think I’d side with the current wisdom that a well written and directed series achieves depths of characterization and theme development that a movie generally can’t. On the downside, the people who produce these series are experts when it comes to hooking their public, and it’s hard not to say, hey, we should watch just one more before we go to sleep, eh? Right.  

* When it comes to reading do you prefer standalones or series?

I can’t think of many series I’ve read. Though Sara did give me the first four Harry Potter novels for my birthday, way back when. I had no trouble turning my mental age back to a nine-year-old me, and really enjoyed them.

* Do you prefer to start new book series when the first book is released or do you want for a several books in the series to be released so you can binge read?

This question doesn’t really apply to me. But offhand I can’t see myself binge reading a series. (Those four H. Potter books were an exception.)

Of course I would greatly recommend the practice when it comes to Magic Circles.

* What are some of your hobbies, interests or guilty pleasures (other than reading and writing)?

I like boating and diving. I like eating and drinking in the company of friends.

* What's your guilty “nerd” pleasure (ex: Star Wars movies, ComicCons,  Cosplay)?

Okay, it can be revealed: I’m a geezer and totally out of it. I don’t think I indulge in any nerd pleasures.

* Have you ever peeked at the ending of a book?

Not with fiction. If I decide to read a novel, I prefer to let it unfold the way the author intended.

* When it comes to your own writing are you a plotter or a pantser?

With certain qualifications, certainly a pantser. Here’s my response to a similar question about a year ago:

‘Two hats: Darwinian yarning’ 


My stories generally emerge from hard dint of bashing my head against draft passages, dialogue, settings, whatever, till the structure and the point of it all finally appears. For me (and, I’d argue, for most writers) the writing activity is typically a conversation with the page, a process wherein the text evolves in the back-and-forth give-and-take of proposition and critique, experiment and revision. Or so I say.

To perform this trick successfully, I’d further claim, you have to wear two hats: that of the writer/editor and that of the reader/editor.
You don one hat and then the other, role-playing on some level – switching back and forth and back and forth as the prose passage develops. The writer proposes a word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph. At each step, the writer swaps between the standpoint of the writer – proposing – and the reader or editor – critiquing. At each step of the way, the writer proposes a change and the editor – the same person, wearing a different hat – either accedes or doesn’t. And so on. In principle, this applies to virtually any written text. Even a shopping list, as we see in ‘Story: A conversation with the page.’ 




Genesis 2.0
Magic Circles Series
Book 2
Collin Piprell

Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery Thriller

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Date of Publication: October 5, 2017

ISBN: 9781988761039

Number of pages: 660

Cover Artist: Ellie Sipila

Book Description:

A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings?

Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine —the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life.

You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.



EXCERPT 1 (700 words)

            angry gods
FLASH.
The watching has just turned prime time.
Flash, flash, flash.
The gods are angry. About seven klicks northwest of Eden, fake Edens flicker and dance across the landscape as godbolts crackle and hiss out of the high haze, leaving a succession of smoking craters across the Boogoo. Truly spectacular.
Flash-sizzle, flash.
The land itself cringes. Crater walls draw away from each strike to a hundred and fifty meters before lensing back to erase all trace of themselves. High above, the sky puckles. That’s how Poppy describes it, though Auntie says there’s no such word. It’s like a series of yellow-green holes opening and then puckering shut. It’s too bad she can’t be out here with them to watch. This is so cool. Son clicks his spearsticks together to attract Poppy’s attention and shoots him a double thumbs-up. Poppy brushes aside gods and their fireworks alike. They’ve got work to do.
The godbolts stalk across the terrain, just missing the false-Eden holos that wink in and out at random from eastern horizon to western. Never does the barrage tend closer to where Son watches. The ken suggests that he and Poppy remain safe, stationed as they are well inside the five-kilometer safe zone surrounding Eden. Never have either Eden mirages or godbolts trespassed on this apparently sacred area.
But even at this distance, where he’s concealed in the same overburden of dust that’s cratering way off in the distance, he feels it. The reaction. Like a mild electric shock followed by a tremor. It runs from the ground beneath him right up through his mantle. For that moment, he and the land are kin. Has Poppy also felt this? He’d never admit it if he has.
At one with the Boogoo. Wow. That’s something he can tell Auntie. She’ll enjoy the idea, unlike Poppy who’d probably threaten to lock him away in the back storeroom for a few days, the way he used to when Son was little, leaving him alone with himself till he got his head straight again.
Whatever. What’s past is past.
*
Gran-Gran is the one who named them godbolts. Poppy laughs and says that’s right, we’ve got the gods pissing down fire on us poor sinners who didn’t know how to look after the world we were given in the first place. Of course that’s bushwa. It’s merely an old satellite system gone gaga with neglect and blasting away at random.
But here’s a real gap in the ken. No matter how much they ponder it, looking for a pattern, the godbolts randomly target spots right across the land, the one constant being they never strike within five kilometers of Eden. Another gap, of course, is the nature of those decoy Edens.
It was Poppy who, contrary to all his own better advice about useless speculation, raised the issue again last night: “Godbolts or satrays, where do you suppose the triggerman is hiding?”
“Only one place stays safe,” Auntie replied. “Maybe that’s also the command center.”
“Eden?”
“That’s right.”
Poppy wasn’t convinced. “Why?” he said.
“Good question,” Son added. “And you still have to ask who he’s shooting at.”
This was Gran-Gran’s cue to kick in with the Word: “It’s the Lost Tribe of Israel. Flung out of paradise to wander the rest of their days.”
“For what?” asked Poppy. “Target practice? What kind of God is that?”
“Their God is an angry god.”
“Yeah? Well, it looks like he can’t hit them, whoever they are, or the strikes would’ve stopped long ago.”
Son also did what he could to keep Gran-Gran fired up: “Maybe God threw them out to wander, and then he decided he was even more pissed off than he first thought.”
“Okay,” Auntie said. “But if he’s God, why can’t he hit them?”
Such is the palaver that keeps things from getting dull in the Bunker. Of course there are no answers to many of these questions. Their world largely remains an enigma, another Auntie word.
“In the old days,” said Auntie, “we believed we understood the gist of things on planet Earth.”
Gran-Gran scoffed at this. “We knew squat, that’s what we knew. And look where it got us.”
This world, where it got them, is the only world Son has ever known.




About the Author:

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer resident in Thailand. He has also lived in England, where he did graduate work as a Canada Council Doctoral Fellow (later, a Social Sciences and Humanities Fellow) in politics and philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford; and in Kuwait, where he learned to sail, water-ski and make a credible red wine in plastic garbage bins.

In earlier years, he worked at a wide variety of occupations, including four jobs as a driller and stope leader in mines and tunnels in Ontario and Quebec. In later years he taught writing courses at Thammasat University, Bangkok, freelanced as a writer and editor, and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics (most of these pieces are pre-digital, hence effectively written on the wind). He is also the author of short stories that appeared in Asian anthologies and magazines, as well as five novels (a sixth forthcoming in 2018), a collection of short stories, a collection of occasional pieces, a diving guide to Thailand, another book on diving, and a book on Thailand’s coral reefs. He has also co-authored a book on Thailand’s national parks.

Common Deer Press is publishing the first three novels in his futuristic Magic Circles series.

Collin has another short novel nearly ready to go, something he only reluctantly describes as magic realism. Less nearly ready to go are novels he describes as a series of metaphysical thrillers. Not to mention several Jack Shackaway comic thrillers, follow-ups to Kicking Dogs. He also has a half-finished letter to his grandmother, dated 10 October 1991, saying thanks for the birthday gift.

Website/blog: www.collinpiprell.com






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2 comments:

Jennifer Herrington said...

Thanks so much for the awesome interview! Thanks for hosting Collin and Genesis 2.0.

Jenn
Common Deer Press

Collin Piprell said...

Thanks for the interview. I hope your notice encourages some of your visitors to give Genesis 2.0 a read.

Cheers,

Collin