One of the neatest things about having your own site is that there are no rules, except for the ones you make up. I can introduce readers to new authors, and let people know about books that should attract your attention, if they haven’t appeared on your radars yet.
For example, there’s the debut author W.G. Marshall, whose SF novel,
Enormity, is fast on its way to becoming a bestselling phenomenon. It’s a book that both looks to the future, and harkens back to the Golden Age of SF in the past. W.G., as he likes to be called, has worn many hats: he’s been a bricklayer, comic book writer, and lead guitarist in a rock band (guess which, under a different name). I am pleased & honored that this gentleman of so many talents has agreed to do this interview with me!
Douglas R. Cobb: Is it true that your brother (a well-known published author in his own right) got you interested in writing SF? What role, if any, did Sputnik, Arthur C. Clarke, and Grade B movies play in influencing your unique writing style?
W.G. Marshall: (Laughs) I think Sputnik was a little before my time, unless it beamed signals to me in the womb, but I was definitely influenced by Clarke and Heinlein and Asimov and all the other great authors of the Golden Age. I think one of the first SF books I ever read was Heinlein’s The Star Beast, which certainly echoes in my book Enormity. I’m not sure how much credit my brother would like to take for my career, but let me say this: I wouldn’t be here if not for him.
Great cover on your novel, Enormity, W.G.! Did you have
final say in which cover was used, or was that something the good people at Night Shade books chose? Whichever might be the case, it’s a pretty cool one!
Thanks a lot – I’m glad to hear you like it. My editor at Night Shade was terrific about showing me early versions of the artwork
and giving me say in how it was composed for the final cover. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. And the excellent blurb by Mario Acevedo doesn’t hurt either. For that matter, can I mention the other authors who contributed amazing blurbs? Cody Goodfellow, Nate Kenyon, James Lovegrove, Joe McKinney, Thomas S. Roche, and Greig Beck – I’m humbled by these guys.
The reason you chose the title, Enormity, had nothing at all to do with the fact that your main male character, Manny Lopes, grows to an enormous size, would it? How does this happen?
Actually, what’s funny about that is that the word enormity does not just refer to size; it also has a negative connotation, like the
enormity of a crime. The crime in this case being Man’s inhumanity to Man, which we’re all guilty of in one way or another, no matter how nice we might like to think we are.
Enormity is, as one reviewer noted: “an homage to cinematic
monsters and alienated 98-pound weaklings.” But it’s also more than that, not that it really needs to be.
Manny, like all of us, just wants to fit in, but he constantly finds
himself to be further isolated. What are some of the characteristics about him that add to his sense of isolation?
Well, he has an inferiority complex because he’s short, his marriage has fallen apart, and he’s stuck in Korea working for an expatriate military community that doesn’t really afford him the kind of cosmopolitan, hipster lifestyle that he would prefer. The last straw is when he’s turned into a 6000-foot-tall, hundred-million-ton behemoth.
How does Manny get involved with a North Korean assassin, and who is Fred Isaacson in your novel?
Isaacson is a crazy scientist trying to smuggle quantum technology to North Korea. A rogue North Korean assassin decides to grab the technology for herself, setting off the chain of events that turns
Manny into an apocalyptic menace.
What is the quantum technology that Isaacson possesses
that changes Manny’s life?
Oh, we don’t want to get into that, trust me. As one of the characters says, “You’d have to be Einstein to understand it.” Just assume that the science all very well researched and perfectly plausible.
Who is Dorothy Lee, and why does she have a fascination for
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz?
W.G. Marshall: Dorothy is the assassin Lee Yoon-sook, whose mother had once lived in Japan and loved Hollywood movies. In the gray depths of North Korea, she told these tales to Dorothy, whose memories were later twisted by her government into tools of psychological manipulation.
Why did you choose North Korea as the country where the bad guys of your novel spring forth?
I lived in Asia for almost ten years, three of those in Korea, and I even briefly crossed the border into North Korea, so it was a place I knew something about. I always thought it would make an interesting and unusual setting for a novel. But I should add that I also fictionalized a lot of stuff to serve the book; this is a satirical fantasy, not travelogue.
Your novel Enormity is filled with plenty of action and
adventure. Anyone who loves to read science fiction and thrillers will get a kick out of reading it, W.G. But, there is a tragic element to it, also. If it’s not giving too much away, can you hint at what that involves?
It’s the oldest story in the world: The agony of unrequited love.
We’ve come to the last question of the interview. You’ve hit a home run with your novel Enormity, but I was wondering if you could tell my readers if you have plans yet for another book, or if you’re currently writing one now? If so, could you let us know more about whatever you might be working on? Also, feel free to provide any links that might inform my readers more about Enormity.
At the moment I can’t really think straight about what to do next; I’m too nervous about how people will react to Enormity. I do have a new novel in progress, which is a nod to scary-cult thrillers like
The Wicker Man, so hopefully that will hit the shelves either this year or next. Anyone wishing to know more can check out my posts on The Night Bazaar (Night Shade Books), my blog here or follow
me on Twitter @WG_Marshall.
Those were some fantastic answers, W.G.! I had a fun time
doing this interview with you, and reading your novel Enormity. It’s a novel I highly recommend to anyone who loves reading science fiction and thrillers, and who has an appreciation for black-and-white science fiction movies of the past.