The latest thing I’ve finished working on is the Dark League Press project of Curved Space – The Adventures of Stella Star. It’s a ‘continuing saga’ if you will of the character Stella Star, made famous in Luigi Cozzi’s film, “Starcrash”.
Richard Dean, who edited the book, had this idea kicking around that Stella’s story was never finished. For whatever reason, be it the time it came out, financing, other projects by those involved, whatever, thankfully “Starcrash” didn’t make it into that nauseating cycle of sequels made to just to cash in on the success of the first one. But it was one of those films that had just stuck with all the writer’s involved as having needed a sequel, and one done by people who truly loved the first movie.
Cut to some international phone calls, some investigation and schmoozing, and we were given the green light to go ahead with the book. We even got our foot in the door with Stephen Romano, who was producing the Dvd/BluRay re-release of the movie and nabbed ourselves some ‘chapter’ titles. Robin (Grenville-Evans), who does the art for Caroline Munro’s newsletter, got on board and contributed this amazing cover art as well as individual works for each story. It’s really this amazing collaborative effort between these six writers who loved this movie and managed to parlay that passion onto paper.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I’ve been writing for all long as I could hold a pencil, as clichéd as that sounds. I’ve still got some of the most incredibly horrible things you’ve ever read that I scribbled out when I was young.
Probably the most interesting thing about my writing now is that I took so long to get back to considering how much I loved it when I was little. I sort of transferred my passions for creativity into music for a long time, but always kept coming back to the writing end of it, the words on paper over everything else. So I finally cut out the middleman as it were and just went back to doing what I loved, and that was telling stories instead of trying to condense and minimize them in lyrics. Not having to make everything rhyme is nice too.
What inspired you to write this book?
I think for all of us it really comes down to Caroline Munro. The woman was a goddess then and how ever many decades later, is still one of the most stunning women you’ll ever see. ‘Starcrash’ had everything for wee little lads like ourselves of that generation. The mysteries of outer space, of scantily clad women, of things and places to grow up and discover. Caroline embodied all aspects of growing up and becoming men, reaching for the stars, and this was pre Princess Leia in a gold bikini mind you, wore things we’d never seen in science fiction movies before. How could you not be inspired to write about her eventually (laughs)?
How did you choose the title?
We voted on it, actually! We tossed titles back and forth, ‘Bikini’s and Blasters’, ‘Crashed’, but finally settled on ‘Curved Space’. I could give you some longwinded speech about Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and about how space and time aren’t rigid arenas and how it applies to our stories all being done without knowledge of the other and stand alone but somehow connect, but I think the ‘Curved’ speaks more about Caroline’s frame than anything else. You’d have to ask Scott Brents. That one was his idea to start with.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
The main thing was finding out who owned the rights to what and trying not to step on anybody’s toes. Everyone was not only cooperative, but incredibly supportive and giving in the process. Luigi donated an incredibly impassioned foreword about how ‘Starcrash’ came about and Caroline contributed her own bit of tales and support in one as well.
For us, the main thing was just beating the deadline so we could get the book out the same date as the re-release of the film. Thankfully, we live in a day and age when communicating with the States and England are just a web-click away.
Do you have any writing rituals?
None whatsoever (laughs). I just write when I want to, when I have to as it were. If I’m working on a project, I will set aside a certain amount of time and just dive in and get it going. Otherwise, I can just be struck while watching television and have to grab the laptop and start typing ideas down. Pretty much anywhere or anytime. Except when I’m waking up in the morning. That is a long, slow process that involves reading the news and taking information in, not trying to pound out fuzzy words that end up as incoherent as I am at dawn.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned that there are some incredibly friendly and supportive reviewers out there. I expected a big resistance to getting any press for a book that’s a sequel to a movie a lot of people haven’t seen and that a lot of the reading public weren’t even born yet when it came out. Almost everyone knew of the film and even if they hadn’t seen it, were more than willing to give it a go and give us some nods just from what we’d written. I even had one reviewer who bought the movie just because of our book.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing (laughs). I love the book the way it is, warts and all. I think the deadline gave it an urgency, a solid feel of guys trying to revisit their childhoods. It’s silly in some parts, a little gory, a little sexy. PG rated and full of energy, the way we all were back then.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
I read almost everything, but I’m a horror guy at my core. King, Laymon, those guys I read and read again. I’m a big fan of ‘contemporary’ writers, which I think is a horrible label, like Ellis and McInerney. I try to break up the constant flow of horror book by just grabbing something. I’m ashamed to say I’d never read much Joyce Carol Oates outside of things in school and just recently finished ‘Wild Nights’ and was completely blown away by it.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m editing a finished book right now that has the title ‘Everything August’ attached to it. It’s a good vs. evil, God vs. the Devil kind of thing, but a little more humorous, a little of the not what you’d expect. It’s sort of the anti-apocalypse novel, but with plenty of death thrown in.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write it, edit it, rewrite it, reedit it, do it again and again, shake, stir and get it out there. I’ve run into so many people who boohoo about being rejected, what should I do different, etc. Don’t annoy editors with poor grammar and poor structures, give those people a break on that end, but do the best you can with what you’ve got. Either people like it or they don’t. Send it out, if it gets sent back, keep sending and just forget about it and move on. You should be writing because you love to write.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
We cover a pretty broad spectrum of readers in this one. It’s got a science fiction base, but my stories of course have the ‘horror’ element as does Tom Berdinski’s. He directed two zombie movies so of course there’s zombies in his story. Mark’s is quirky and funny, Richard’s and Scott’s are more hard sci-fi, as is Robin’s. They all have the basic elements of adventure and action and there’s even some love story and sadness in the mix.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
You can pick up a copy of the book at Curved Space – The Adventures of Stella Star
I’m out and about all over the web and if you see me in person, stop and say hi. We’ll talk books.