Today I am joined by G.G. Donnahue, science fiction author of The Emperor’s Dragon: Book 1.
IDI – When did know that you were born to be a writer?
GGD – Even as a little kid I used to write stories. I remember my first series was about a bird and a cat that fell in love and had flying kitten babies. I think I was 6 or 7 and had no idea this was completely ridiculous. I remember carefully writing the story on the bottom of the page and making sure every word was spelled right and written straight before illustrating the picture on top. Even then I had high professional standards!
IDI – I ask that question often and I can’t tell you how many times the answer I receive has to do with grade school stories and they usually involve animals. There must be something most writers share that we are unaware of at such a young age.
There is a lot of commotion about the effect eBooks are having on brick and mortar booksellers. Do you think eBooks have reached their climax or do you believe they still have room to expand in the market?
GGD – I feel like there is probably some sort of transition happening. This has happened throughout history though. How many saddle makers do you think there are still running in America? If it is something unstoppable (which you never really know until later) then it will likely be a painful transition. But, as always, the people who can adapt and change with the times will survive.
IDI – Favorite author, and why?
GGD – Kurt Vonnegut, hands down. He’s the whole package. He’s funny, weird, insightful, he can set a scene in a sentence and pin point a person in a word. And on top of all that he can still weave a yarn like no one else.
IDI – What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about writing? How has this helped you as a writer?
GGD – Probably the most important thing I’ve had to learn is to let myself stop trying to Write (with a capital W!) and just watch my characters. They know exactly what they want to say and do. It’s not up to me to make them do anything. It’s up to me to build a moment and then sit back and pay attention.
IDI – Can you tell us three interesting things about you that you’re sure we don’t already know?
GGD – I met my husband during college while playing flashlight tag during hurricane Katrina. I’m banned for life from the Vatican Museum. I figured out I was pregnant with my second child when I thought I could smell my husband coming home with pepperoni pizza, but, in reality, he’d had it for lunch four hours before. My sense of smell is just that good when I’m pregnant.
IDI – I’d love to hear the Vatican Museum story, but we’ll save that for when we have more time.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
GGD – I’d have to say my husband. He’s so into the book and the characters. It’s so crazy, it’s kind of like these characters have become real people in our house. It can get a little intense though, especially if I start changing up the plot. He’ll actually get defensive sometimes!
That said, he’s also my litmus test on when I’ve veered away from the action or the humor for too long. He makes me keep it light and moving.
IDI – Define a great book.
GGD – Whether it’s a comedy, a fantasy, a romance, or a thriller, every great book should have three things: something new, something insightful, and something a little bit painful. Why?
Because if it didn’t twinge your heart or make your grimace in recognition it didn’t have any truth to share. If it isn’t revealing something about the human experience it isn’t art. And if it didn’t make you sit back and say, “I never thought of that before,” then it’s not living up to the name “novel!”
IDI – Who, in your opinion, was the best written character of all time, and why?
GGD – Dorian Gray. He was at once the object, the hero, and the villain. That story was a really fascinating study in self-actualization.
IDI – Who is your favorite character in your book?
GGD – Oh, that’s a hard one. It’s toss up between Ito and Taern. Ito is the protagonist of course, and a straight up hottie too. So he’s definitely the front-runner. But Taern is so sensitive and sweet and awesome and when he gets his heart-broken I couldn’t help but feel terrible for him! I guess I’d call it a tie.
IDI – You use a lot of technical descriptions when talking about the space ship’s engine or the Doctor’s procedures or how Ito uses gravity to fly. Did you do a lot of research?
GGD – Yeah, but that’s stuff I enjoy reading about anyway, so it wasn’t an issue. If anything writing the book gave me an opportunity to learn a lot more about certain subjects. I think that’s part of the reason I love writing science fiction. It gives me an excuse to nerd out!
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt maybe to tickle our taste buds?
“How long is that guy going to stare at you?” Taern asked.
“Who?” Ito said, looking left and right.
“Him,” Taern said pointing up and behind them to the next story in the club.
Ito turned. There, on the shining silver platform above, was probably the most striking man Ito had ever seen. He was tall, 6’7 at least, 250 pounds, tan and with a physique like a body builder. He was handsome too, his face strong and chiseled and framed by a tousled mane of light brown hair that fell over his shoulders. He was at once arresting and intimidating, a good-looking, sharply dressed mountain of man gazing down at Ito with eyes that twinkled with mischief and intelligence. He was also had his arms spread over three Avarians.
He gave Ito a nod and half-smile.
Reaching his hand out over the gleaming metallic balustrade, he wagged his finger twice at Ito.
Ito narrowed his eyes and turned back to Taern.
“It’s kind of hard to,” Taern answered, eyes still glued to the man.
“He just another jackass,” Ito mumbled, taking a sip of his drink.
“He wants you to turn back around.”
Rolling his eyes, Ito complied. “What?”
The man called down something.
Ito brought his hand to his ear. “What?”
Cupping a hand over his mouth, the man called down again. But the thumping music in the club was blaring too loudly.
Pointing a finger at his ear, Ito shook his head. “I can’t hear you. But no thank you,” Ito finished, waving him off. “Feel free to give up now.”
Taern snickered behind him.
Frowning in frustration, the man turned to the DJ and made a throat cutting motion, which the DJ quickly saw to, bringing the club to an instant and bracing silence. People everywhere in the multi-tired establishment stopped dancing in confusion.
Ito pinched his mouth to the side. “Well? What was so important?”
“I was trying to tell you ‘We should sleep together,’” the man shouted, pointing back and forth between them, his voice booming in the silence.
Ito’s eyes went saucers as several hundred people turned to them. But his brain was too stunned to speak. He stared at the man for a long time.
“Really?” he finally blurted.
“Yes,” the man shouted back happily.
“That’s your pick up line? What are you, twelve?”
“If I was, would you spank me?”
Ito’s jaw clenched as the man waggled his eyebrows.
“Come up,” the man said waving at the stairs. “Let me buy you drink.”
Standing, Ito snatched his cup. “Don’t talk to me again,” Ito said loudly before walking away. “And you turn the music back on,” he said pointing at the DJ.
The DJ held his hands up in surrender, but smirked.
“Don’t be like that. Come on. Come back! I didn’t even catch your name!” the man shouted, his dramatic pleas bouncing off the walls for a few seconds before the music cut on again.
Ito ignored him and hurried across the room, shoulders up and clenched, as everyone continued gleefully watching his retreat.
Taern, grabbing his drink, fumbled down off his seat and glanced up at the man one last time before hurrying after Ito.
“Don’t you dare say anything,” Ito mumbled as he crawled into their booth next to Stroth. The three servicemen, still gathered on the opposite side, gave him sympathetic nods.
“That’s alright,” Stroth said giving Ito a half hug. “We knew the guys would be on you like ants on food.”
“I guess,” Ito said, shrugging off the embrace and making room for Taern.
“Still,” Taern said struggling to get onto the bench with his short legs. “That was especially horrifying.”
“Senator Mortaco isn’t exactly known for his subtlety,” Glongkyle said while scratching the back of one of his long ears.
“You know that jackass?” Ito asked.
“That’s where I know him from!” Stroth gasped while leaning forward to catch another glimpse. “He’s that crazy CEO. Or was he a politician?” Stroth asked looking back at their group.
“Both. Everybody’s both nowadays,” said Jason.
“You can’t run for a seat on a bus without owning some company,” Glongkyle agreed.
“You know,” Glongkyle said, touching a finger to his chin. “Fifty million trades wouldn’t be anything to a guy like him.”
“Yeah. He owns like several planets and half of this one,” agreed Jason.
“We don’t want to do business with anyone like that,” Taern said cutting him off.
“Why?” asked Glongkyle.
“He just got done hitting on Ito,” said Taern.
“Oh, everyone hits on Ito,” Glongkyle said waving the comment off. “The point is we need someone with cash.”
“Out of the question. A man like that doesn’t give anything away for free.”
“True, but he also loves the thrill of the hunt. And he might be willing to spend for the sheer pleasure of knowing he’d won,” said Glongkyle narrowing his eyes.
“How does that work?” asked Taern.
“It’d be like letting him make a move in a game. He already thinks Ito doesn’t like him. And with an ego like his he’d assume everyone knows who he is… So, if anything, it seems like the last thing Ito wants is his money. Or anything to do with him at all, for that matter.”
“Which is the truth,” Ito said with a disgusted look.
“Exactly,” Glongkyle agreed. “It’s perfect.”
Ito threw him a confused smile. “How is that perfect?”
“Because the only way to win you over now is to dangle the money in front of you.”
Ito frowned. “So what? Mention the favor and act as if I’d probably sleep with him?”
“No, that’s not the point at all,” Glongkyle said re-adjusting in his seat to face at Ito. “You let him think he came up with it. You don’t ask for his help. You want him to leave you alone, remember? But then, oh no, he does help you. Now he has the upper hand. You owe him, and you know it.“
“So… Ito gets him to sign the check,” Stroth asked in confusion. “… By making him think he didn’t want him to sign the check?”
Glongkyle pointed at Stroth and then his nose. “It’s the last thing he’d expected from an Av.”
“I don’t like it,” Taern said. “It’s still essentially using Ito as bait.”
“Look at him,” Glongkyle said gesturing at Ito. “He is bait.”
“I am not bait,” Ito said.
“Please,” Jason replied with a sneer.
“He is pretty baity,” Stroth agreed with a shrug.
“That’s not a word!” Ito growled. “And I don’t care what you say, I’m not letting some guy ‘make a move’ to get the upper hand on me.”
“Why not?” Stroth asked.
“Say it works and he does pays for everything, lock, stock and barrel,” Ito said turning to Stroth. “What happens two days later when he comes looking for his reward? It’s not like we’re going anywhere. I’m trying to join the local team for crying out loud.”
Glongkyle shrugged. “You break up with him.”
Ito cocked his head sideways. “And what if he doesn’t want me to break up with him?”
“He’s a public figure. Calm down with the dramatics, okay?” Glongkyle said.
“It’s not your butt on the line,” Ito said.
“You wanted an idea that would work,” Glongkyle said with another shrug. “This would work.”
“I think your idea and my idea of what works is—” But Ito was cut off when the top of the table exploded with tiny bursts of frozen chunks of something in every direction.
“Hey!” Glongkyle shouted as another barrage of the mystery shrapnel hit the table again, this time with heavier fire-power.
“It’s ice!” Taern said jumping out of the booth as everyone scrambled to follow.
Looking up, Ito gaped as the man from before grinned down at them with what appeared to be a silver bucket tucked under one arm.
“Son of a—” Ito started before being cut off as the man reached into his bucket to toss down another handful from his lofty perch above them.
“He followed you?” Glongkyle asked, jumping and blocking with everyone else.
“What the fuck?” Ito shouted up.
“Come up here,” the man said reaching in to toss a piece specifically at Ito.
“I told you to leave me alone,” Ito said knocking the piece aside.
“Not until you come up!” Grabbing another handful of ice, the man held it over his head with a smug grin.
With a snarl Ito leapt to the balcony, some fifteen feet straight up. Six inches from the man, he glared with a murderous sneer. “Stop.”
The man stared in wide wonder. “You’re a little monster, aren’t you?” Looking Ito up and down, he broke into an impressed half-smile. “What’s your name?”
“Put the ice down.”
“That’s a weird name,” the man countered, his expression never breaking.
Narrowing his eyes, Ito knocked the ice out of the man’s hand, sending it skittering across the higher level’s floor.
The man stuck out his bottom lip without moving his eyes from Ito’s face. “That was rude.”
“Stop bothering me,” Ito said before starting to push off the wall.
“Where are you going?” the man said reaching into his bucket again.
“That’s it,” Ito said grabbing the lip of bucket.
But the man held fast. “Hey, get your own.”
With an enraged bellow Ito tore the bucket away and gravity shot it into the opposite wall, embedding it twelve inches into the stone surface.
A hush fell over the club for the second time that night.
Turning back to the man, Ito leveled him with a steely glare. “Fuck. Off.”
But the man only looked at him with an even happier look of amazement. “What are you?” he whispered.
Pushing off the wall, Ito floated back. “Leaving.”
Touching down, Ito shot a single hostile glare at his group before going for the exit. Too scared to argue, everyone hurried to gather their things and follow.
“Wait!” the man on the balcony yelled. But Ito ignored him.
Then, and with a horrible wrench, the metal beam surrounding the second floor tore away from the wall and, pulling itself apart at the far end, twisted its new end down to form a make shift slide from the second floor to the first. Jumping onto it, Mortaco slid down, his arms spread out in either direction to keep balance. Guiding the beam with some unseen, ungodly force, he positioned the end of the beam to just a few feet from where Ito had stopped and turned and now stood, too stunned to move.
Hopping off the end of the beam, Mortaco lightly bounded forward the last few feet. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Ito answered, unable to come up with anything better.
“Let me start over. I’m Malogue,” he said holding out his hand. “Malogue D’Mortaco.”
Taking the man’s hand, Ito also gave his name. Glancing over the man’s shoulder, he couldn’t help looking where the metal beam had magically decided to tear away from the wall, leaving only a thirty-foot long gouge and a trail of falling rubble behind. “How’d you do that?” Ito whispered.
“How did you do that to my bucket?” Mortaco responded, nodding at the other hole in the wall.
IDI – Last question, where can reader’s find out more about The Emperor’s Dragon: Book 1?
IDI – Thank you so much for joining me today. Best of luck with your writing and we hope to see you back when your next book comes out!
GGD – Thanks for having me.