Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview with Marc Vun Kannon


Loose yourself in one of Marc Vun Kannon's tales where the characters come alive and the intense action keeps you glued to the pages until the very end. Let's give Marc Vun Kannon a warm welcome.

***Contest: Marc is giving away one signed copy of St. Martin's Moon to a random commenter. So make sure you leave your email information so Marc may contact you if you should win. Good Luck!


Marc, why don't we start with you telling the readers a little about yourself :

I am a husband, father, and author, in that order. I also write computer code during the day. I build bookshelves at need, and I started a small traveling bookstore when none of the bookstores I could find would stock my book. In short, I'm a reasonable guy who occasionally experiences some unreasonable things, and then I do what I have to do to make things reasonable again. On the oddball side, I like bluegrass music, as well as Gilbert & Sullivan. The G&S might not surprise anyone. The lyrics and extraordinarily witty and hard to sing so naturally I'm drawn to them. I love to learn patter songs (such as 'I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General' or 'The Matter Patter') and Gilbert was the master of that form.

Tell the readers about your new release, St. Martin’s Moon.

St. Martin’s Moon is a werewolf adventure set on a lunar colony. It’s the story of a man, Joseph Marquand, who retired from space service after the death of his lover on the Moon, and becomes Earth’s greatest werewolf hunter. He is unwillingly recalled to duty by a werewolf attack on the Moon itself. His seemingly simple mission starts to go sideways when people on the base react to his mere presence, with hatred, fear, even love. Love twice over, for the spirit of his first love isn’t done with him yet. Yes, Coventry Base is haunted.

What inspired the story?

I was in a bookstore, checking out titles, and I came across a story called ‘Blood Moon’, and I immediately thought “Wow, a werewolf attack on a lunar colony. Great!” Of course it was no such thing, but the second thought I had was “I’m a writer. I can do that!”

But of course, that was only the beginning, and the story I set out to write is not the story I ended up writing. My genres deserted me, but before they did I had discovered a great many really cool characters, and they carried me through the rest of the way. Always trust your characters.

Tell the readers about Joseph Marquand. What kind of a man is he? What are his strengths and his weaknesses?


Joseph Marquand is an ‘operator’, someone who works for the governing body of the solar system, called Triple-S, for Special System Services. If you’ve ever read the Lensmen series by Doc Smith you’ll know what kind of man he is, because only that extremely high caliber of man can be trusted with that degree of power and autonomy. Bold, decisive, clever, ruthless, yet thoughtful, generous, and with a strong sense of himself and his goals. The story begins with him at his lowest ebb, however, four years after his lover Cynthia, a/k/a Bing-Bang, was killed in a freak accident on the Moon, an event he never got over.


Without giving too much away, can you tell the readers about Marquand’s curse?


In the beginning, it seems that the ‘curse’ is merely metaphorical, unresolved grief and all that it leads him to do. He feels himself cursed, that he has to kill people in his job as werewolf hunter, who he feels are probably innocent men and women the rest of the time. Only when he is forced to look up, forced to return to the Moon, does he realize that his curse is more real than that. It was because of this that I ultimately decided to create a new genre category to describe this book: Gothic SF. The SF is genuine, but the gothic elements are not mere SF-equivalents. SF as a genre has no room for ghosts, but Coventry Base really is haunted.


Is there a romance?


Oh, yes. The romance is the heart of the story. I hadn’t originally planned it to be, my first thought was that this was a mystery/horror type of story. By the time I realized I could write in neither genre I already had Candace on the scene. The attraction and mild romantic elements were there but even then I was still thinking of them as secondary. The story convinced me of their importance by refusing to come anywhere close to a resolution without a strong role for the romance to play. Both romances, in fact, since Bing-Bang is still there. This isn’t very unusual, I am a complete pantser, so I don’t decide the nature of the story beforehand. I follow the logic of the characters wherever it leads.


Is this story part of a series? If so, how many books will there be?


It was not intended to be, but I have had some people already ask for more stories with Marquand. I have a short story already written which has his son Robert Marquand as the main character. I’ve also had some ideas for a prequel, of his days shortly after Bing-Bang’s death and how he became a werewolf hunter. The tentative title is A Box of Soul. If Marquand speaks to me more I will certainly write more. My only concern is that whatever comes next not disrupt the HEA he’s already got. I hate it when that happens.


No matter how tragic the hero and heroine's lives are, I want a HEA, too.


Do you have a favorite reference book or website?


I rarely do ‘The Dreaded Research’. My stories are about the characters, not the gizmos. I work those in mainly to lend verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. For St. Martin’s Moon I did as much as I have ever done, which was a few minutes googling techniques for mining lunar dust for the chemical elements needed to build a lunar colony with. For the werewolves I recommend a complete viewing of every Universal Pictures wolfman movie.


What are your current projects and works in progress?

As usual I have several projects running at any given time. Depending on my mood I'm working on either Ghostkiller, a novel about a man who kills ghosts for a living, or perhaps Tales of Uncle, the third book in my Tarkas series, which began in Unbinding the Stone and continued in A Warrior Made. I also have some short stories, vampires, SF, or both, that I work on as they decide to tell me what to write.

Tell the readers where they can find you:

My website has many links and other info about my various projects, especially those that have been completed already. For projects in the works I blog about those extensively.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?

Everybody has their own way of writing. I discovered mine by simply writing, doing what felt comfortable to me, and finding ways to not write the sort of things I didn’t like to read, descriptive prose, for example. The only real advice I can give is to pay attention to your life. Everything you will have to put into a book comes from there. Write the kind of book you want to read.

Marc, thank you so much for sharing your new SF/Gothic tale with us today. It sounds fantastic. I wish you the very best with all yo do.

Excerpt:

The game was afoot. The hunters hunted, the prey prayed.

Joseph Marquand ran. It was his turn. His partners waited patiently at the covert, waiting for that which they hunted to arrive, under his gentle guidance. It would not do to disappoint them.

There! The church sign, some feast day for a saint he'd never heard of, which made it perfect to remember his directions. Turn right, he thought with grim humor, and go straight. Provided their prey obliged him by going the same way, of course. Here comes the hard part.

The Runner on the team carried no weapon, nothing to slow him. Strategy ruled this night, rather than physical prowess. In this case, little glass spheres, filled with something pheromonal and potent, would keep the prey off guard and focused. One thing the Runner needed, he had to have balls. He used them now, hurling them there–and there. His prey ran faster. So did he.

At last, the home stretch. A straight alley, no windows, no ladders, nothing but the special red carpet laid out for him, and his men just beyond, in the…tangled wreckage?

Something very large and very nasty rose from the ruins of the covert. He couldn't see it clearly, didn't need to, didn't want to. His memory could fill in the details the light of the full moon mercifully hid.

Oh, Christ, two of them!

One of him in between, with no weapon.

The one ahead leapt straight up and out, landing heavily right in Marquand's path, jaws open to catch the prey running straight into them. The creature behind howled its anger, its prey being usurped by another. The one in front looked up at the greater threat.

They weren't social creatures. Nice to know, but it sucked to be the one to find out. Marquand's knees buckled.

He dove forward, right between the legs of the creature before him, onto the mat laid out for his return. Wet and slick, he slid right down into the ruined covert, even as the front beast bent double looking for its prey.

Marquand grabbed one of the fallen weapons and shot, hitting it right in the butt. Even as the beast fell, writhing, the other one leapt over it and–

Tripped. It slid forward, unprepared and unable to keep its balance on the wet mat. Marquand watched it come towards him, jaws open, as he frantically chambered a second shell and tried to get the barrel pointing in the right direction. The beast helped, catching the barrel in its mouth and swallowing it, right up to the crossbar that prevented it from getting any further. Marquand and his men couldn't chance getting bitten.

He fired.

The beast slid backward under the force of the shot, until it ran into the body of its former rival, now inert. Neither one got up.

Marquand didn't wait. If they were going to get up they would have by now. His men had to be seen to. Now. If any had survived, survival being loosely defined–well, he hated most parts of the job, the Sad Duty most of all. Its only saving grace was that if it had to be done at all, it had to be done quickly.

No. No survivors. Thank God.

What a world, what a life, what a thing to be thankful for. He despised himself in that moment. What he'd become. So much lost. "I need a vacation." Department policy agreed with him, but he didn't really, and he knew it.

He knew what he needed, what he would never have again. He'd just have to fake it. Like he always did.

* * *

The game was afoot. The hunters hunted, even the prey preyed.

She ran. It was her turn. They were four to her one, good odds. She'd almost forgotten the thrill of the chase.

There! The right shaft. A headfirst plunge, and a quick pull on her preferred level. Wouldn't do to lose her pursuers too early. Here comes the hard part.

She carried no lures, nothing that would slow her. Strategy ruled the day rather than physical prowess, and this level housed Stink Central. She ran faster.

Something very large and dark stepped out from the shadows at the intersection. She couldn't see it clearly, didn't need to, didn't want to. Dammit, two of them. They cheated!

The one ahead took up a posture designed to capture her no matter how she moved. The usual move, slow and crude. She would show them how to do it.

Her knees buckled and she dove forward, right between the legs of the creature before her. It would hurt, but only her body. Her pride mattered far more.

At the last moment, her attacker moved, closing the gap in its defense so smoothly it must have known about it all along. A trap.

Ha! We'll see who's trapped! She prepared to move, the second her body hit the ground and she had traction once again.

Her attacker fell backward, flung itself onto the hard stone. She went up, pinned between those legs. The ground flew by under her, and she crashed in an undignified heap several steps away. She didn't bother trying to escape.

Beaten.

Her attacker moved to step over her. She saw the hair, the face, and sagged even further. Bossman's right hand…everything. "Bitch."

The other woman didn't move. "Very true," she said, in the voice of doom. She turned her head, at the sound of the pounding feet of the original pursuit, finally catching up. "Which part of 'forbidden' do you not understand?"

To their credit, none even attempted a defense. She knew they never would have caught the one at her feet. If she hadn't gotten there first–

"You're lucky the boss is busy. Triple-S is coming, and we've all got bigger things to worry about than you lot. Get out of here." They drifted away from her, even the girl, her spirits dashed. Hopefully not for too long. They had her sympathy.

She knew what they needed, what none of them would ever have again. They'd just have to fake it. Like she did.


Other Tales by Marc:

10 comments:

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Marc,

Thanks so much for joining us today!

Your book sounds fascinating and I have to say, I'm intrigued with Steampunk Santa. What inspired you to write this tale?

Jacqueline Seewald said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds very good, Marc! St. Martin's is a great publisher too.

Best,

Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH--new romantic mystery from Five Star/Gale

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Jacqueline,

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.

Author Guy said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen, Steampunk Santa was created when my publisher asked for steampunk stories, or holiday stories, on Twitter. I asked if she wanted steampunk holiday stories. The original idea for the story took only a few hours to sketch out, but of course it wasn't the story I ended up writing.

Jacqueline, back when I was trying to find a big publisher to produce it, my boss once joked that I would change the title to Random House Moon if I needed to. His wife worked for St. Martin's press, but she didn't rep people she was otherwise connected to. Unfortunately I am completely unable to synopsize the story so I couldn't write a query letter or get an agent for it.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Marc,

I enjoy werewolf stories and yours sounds really interesting.

I would love to be entered in your contest.

briananickol at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello Marc,

I love the book cover.

Do the werewolves in your book have any human qualities when they're the wolf?

kitkatwithnuts at yahoo dot com

Author Guy said... Best Blogger Tips

kitkatwithnuts, my werewolves are based on the Universal model. They are monsters in every sense. The only respect in which their human attributes show through is that the people who hate their curse are smaller and weaker as lupes than those who accept/like it. The cover is a wonderful idea of my publishers, very different and powerful in a different way than my own idea.

Author Guy said... Best Blogger Tips

Happy Memorial Day to all! I would like to celebrate this fine day withthe announcement of the winner of a free copy of the St. Martin's Moon ebook, and the winner is...


Anonymous!
(Really, you guys...) In this case Anonymous is briananickol at yahoo dot com, but whether that's Brian A. Nickol or Briana Nickol I do not know.

And there was much rejoicing!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations, Briana!!!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I won!!! Thanks so much!!

I can't wait to read your book!

Briana

(I used Anonymous because I can't get my Google Account to work.)