Tuesday’s Interview with Arthur Slade
After a few weeks’ absence, I’ve made it back to face the creative people of our world, their stories and hopefully, gain some knowledge and wisdom from the experience.
Claudsy: It’s good to have you here, Arthur, or do you prefer Art? I must begin by saying that I spent an amazing couple of hours perusing your websites the other day. You’ve accomplished a lot in your career. Would you give us a short description of your latest project?
Arthur: Art is fine. Or Arthur, both get my attention. My latest book is The Hunchback Assignments, which is a “steampunk” novel set in Victorian times. It’s the story of a shape-changing hunchback who becomes a secret agent for the British empire.
Claudsy: I’m intrigued at a genre label I read related to you not long ago. Would you explain to the readers just what “Steampunk” is and why do you write it?
Arthur: Steampunk is rather hard to define, but I’ll try. It’s science fiction that is set in the past or in an alternate world, in a time when everything is steam powered. I write it partly because I have a great interest in the Victorian times, but I don’t want to be completely limited by the science of the times. I also feel free to add fantastical elements (as long as they can be explained “scientifically” within the framework of the novel).
Claudsy: I’d also like to know what you feel is the biggest challenge to the MG/YA book market today. Where do you see it moving in the next five years?
Arthur: The recession certainly has made things a little harder. Publishers have tightened their purse strings, so to speak. So the promotion tends to fall on the shoulders of the writers. The next five years will be really interesting. I’m curious where all the e-book technology and e-readers and iPads will take us. I wish I knew where it was taking us. I’d make a killing on the stock market.
Claudsy: You have your Hunchback Assignment series plus many more on the shelves. I know you do more than write YA novels and comics. What genre do you most enjoy working in and why?
Arthur: Novels. Novels. Novels. Mainly because I control every aspect of a novel. That said, there is nothing like working with an artist who takes your idea and makes it ten times better.
Claudsy: You’ve had a heavy schedule of appearances, whether in person or via Skype. Do personal appearances give you a better feel for your audience, or is there any real difference?
Arthur: The appearances remind me who the audience is for the book. Sometimes I get caught up in listening to the “adults” in the industry. Their view is important. But it’s especially good to hear when a younger reader enjoys a book.
Claudsy: How long does it take you from inception to completion to do one of your Hunchback installments and do you bother with outlines?
Arthur: It took me about a year and a half to write the first one and a year to write the second one (so much research was done on the first one that carried over to the second one). I don’t outline. I’m too lazy. I prefer to write without a net. I like surprises. Though sometimes this leads to a lot of rewriting.
Claudsy: How do you juggle all of your projects and other responsibilities in your life? What kind of schedule do you use?
Arthur: I have a packed electronic calendar that is constantly reminding me of events and such. But mostly I try to keep my mornings free for writing and my afternoons open for Skype visits and promotion.
Claudsy: Many writers talk now about how difficult it is to write for kids and keep them interested. Do you find that such difficulty with the young target ages? Why/why not?
Arthur: I don’t think about it too much. Mostly I’m writing for the 13 year old inside of me, and so I think that keeps the pace of the book a little quicker than it would be otherwise.
Claudsy: What is your next work to hit the stands?
Arthur: The Hunchback Assignments II: The Dark Deeps
Claudsy: And lastly, what’s the one thing about teens and their reading habits that you would tell other writers who entertain thoughts of moving into that market?
Arthur: Just remember your own teen years and extrapolate from there.
Claudsy: I have a feeling I was rather atypical as a teen reader, but I’ll give it a shot.
I do want to thank you again, Arthur, for taking the time to be with us today. A busy schedule doesn’t always allow for such interruptions in an otherwise hectic day.
Short Personal Biography:
Full time writer, Arthur Slade, was educated in Saskatchewan. He’s been an instructor of writing at both Sage Hill Experience and Banff Writers. He’s received the Governor General’s Award for DUST.
Arthur freely admits to liking Mexican food about which you may find more at his websites: http://www.arthurslade.com and http://www.hunchbackassignments.com/ Drop by them and learn more about this funny and insightful writer. Better yet, check out any of his books.
Remember to leave your comments on this interview or anything that was discussed.
Tomorrow, as usual, I will take some aspect of this interview for a commentary. I hope all of you will stop by again to read and comment on it. But, if you can’t make it tomorrow, keep in mind that on our guest on Thursday will be illustrator, Dawn Phillips.
Have a productive and creative week everyone and feel free to stop by any time to just say hello, and hopefully, learn something new.