Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Special Guest Spotlight: Dishing with Marc Hamlet

Today I have the pleasure of talking with Marc Hamlet. Marc spent his formative years reading Robert Heinlein, Phillip K. Dick, Larry Niven and Samuel R. Delaney. He also misspent his youth playing bass and guitar in forgettable punk rock bands in the San Francisco Bay Area. For some unfathomable reason, he joined the Air Force Reserve where he served as both crew chief and flight engineer on the C-141B Starlifter. About twenty-one years ago, he forced his way into the Information Technology field and currently works for the UC Davis Health System designing financial and administrative applications.

Marc continues to play electric guitar for whomever will stop to listen, but—after rediscovering Charles Dickens—finds himself drawn into writing more than ever before. He lives in the Sacramento area with his wife of eighteen years and their two very clever sons. After a diagnosis of Stage Four colorectal cancer, Marc decided to sit his lazy ass down at the computer and write one of his story ideas. The Capable Man is the result.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book –The Capable Man?

Marc: Conceptually, the story is a moral mirror-image of Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit Will Travel. A young man, left to his own devices, must make choices counter to his moral upbringing. Physical courage comes easily to him, but moral courage is a different matter. Yet every time he chooses the immoral path, someone is there to reward him for doing it.

JET: What drew you to science fiction?

Marc: As a small boy, I was a fan of both “Star Trek” and “Lost In Space”. I fell into the literature because there was nothing on tv. The possibilities and dangers that lie in the future have always fascinated me.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Marc: Getting all my ducks in a row. I’m a terrible synopsis writer.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Marc: Well, there was the outlining phase when I saw that I had an entire story mapped out. And then, of course, when I finished the final chapter and typed THE END.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Marc: I’ve always been amazed by the army of odd characters Dickens produced. I liked the no-nonsense style of Hemmingway and Heinlein because they knew how to move the action along. I’ve always felt like I lost my innocence with Delaney’s Dahlgren (even though I was already sexually active at the time). And the hard-core hard science that Arthur Clarke put into his work always gripped me.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Marc: I’ve been a dilettante my entire adult life. The Capable Man wasn’t my first attempt, but I decided to see it through no matter what.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Marc: The craziest thing I’ve done aside from trusting Wikipedia? There was the time I held my breath until my lungs burned and my vision went wonky. Then after three breaths, I tried it again… and again. There was an action sequence I was working on.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Marc: Write the story you really want to write, and just keep at it.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten...starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Marc: Paper, but—you know—sometimes you’re left with nothing but plastic.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Marc: Steak with dry-rub seasoning.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Marc: Mountains. Who needs all that sand?

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Marc: Rock, mostly, but these days the lines are getting blurry.

JET: Angels or Demons?

Marc: That’s beyond my comprehension.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Marc: My family is transitioning to digital. As are most people I know.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Marc: Cheesy B-Rated Horror because they make me laugh.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Marc: I swing both ways.

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Marc: Back shelf. That’s how I discovered Philip K. Dick in ‘79.

JET: Star Trek or Star Wars?

Marc: Star Trek, I guess. It’s about looking forward.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Marc: I’ve been splitting my time between a Fantasy piece involving a teenage girl with a six-shooter and the sequel to The Capable Man (working title, A Tolerance For Pain).

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Marc Hamlet and his work at the following places: (send over any other links you want highlighted in the interview)

Twitter: @MarcHamlet

Until next time,

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