I couldn’t end this fun author Q&A series without one more special guest – my writing partner, Joshua Simpson! One of the benefits of writing with a partner, (something I never imagined I would do), is that our production meetings often spin off into enthusiastic discussions about books, stories, and storytelling. Writers begin as readers, and we write on the backs of those that came before us. Many aspects of Warpworld, (and the books to follow), have been inspired by other authors. We owe a debt to books, to reading, to stories and to storytellers. And I owe a debt to my partner, who makes the writing life a little less lonely and never lets me forget that this may be a job but it’s a damn fun job!
Don’t forget to keep following the National Reading Campaign and to encourage Canadians everywhere to read!
A career nomad, Josh Simpson has driven trucks through the lower forty-eight states, treated and and disposed of hazardous waste, mixed mud as a stonemasonry laborer, failed abysmally in marketing, got on people’s nerves as a safety man, and presently gets on their nerves even more using nerve release techniques in musculo-skeletal pain relief. He lives amidst the scrub and mesquite of West Texas, cohabiting with the requisite writer’s minimum of two cats. Warpworld is his first published novel.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: John Campbell’s Lost Fleet: Victorious
Q: As a kid, why did you love reading?
A: There’s no simple answer for that. I grew up in a family that read extensively, and so it wasn’t as if reading was a novel activity that transported me away from the humdrum of life. It was simply something we did. My family consumed food, cigarettes, and books.
Q: Are there any books that changed your life?
A: Undoubtedly any number of the loads of books I read had influence, again we read so much that pointing to a few, singular works is difficult. However, there was one story I read when I was about six or seven that does stand out. I can’t remember the name of the story, but it was a book I’d fought to read because we had fairly strict age-restrictions in the elementary library and it was considered over my ‘reading level’ in the first grade. The story was the tale of astronauts on the moon, and at the end the ‘jerk’ character sacrificed himself to save the others. The characters were on the far side, away from their base, they had enough lift in their vehicle to save two of the three they had there, and they wouldn’t be able to come back and recover the third for a week, while they had 48 hour air supplies. So at the end of the story they come back and find out that rather than wait for his air to run out, he’d popped his suit and gone out on his own terms. This ending was very different and that’s why it stayed with me so long, because at that age the typical fare would have had the jerk be redeemed and become a nice guy, and there’s always a way to save everyone. This was my first exposure to a Cold Equations type of story where the reality is that people are lost along the way.
Q: Dog ear-er or non dog-ear-er?
A: Dog ear-er, for sure. I usually keep a nonfic in the bathroom and they typically have a dog-ear for every page or two.
Q: Your favourite fictional hero and/or villain?
A: Dirk Struan from Clavell’s Tai-Pan. Such a well-rendered character. As for favorite villain I’d pretty much have to go for Tyler Brock from same novel. The conflict between the two was deep and multi-faceted, strangely honorable yet utterly cutthroat.
Q: Anything else you want to say about reading?
A: Heinlein put it best – slightly less addictive than heroin, more expensive than weed.
Thanks Josh! (Now get back to work, we have a third draft to finish!)