April 6, 2016 by J.C. Lillis
(ZOMG I’M POSTING TWICE IN ONE WEEK CHECK THE SKIES FOR FOUR HORSEMEN.)
Actually, don’t, ’cause today’s post is brought to you by queer romance author and professional badass Sam Schooler. Sam’s carved some time out of their always-hectic schedule to conduct part 2 of our tag-team Q&A with debut author Wes Kennedy. (Part 1 is here, if you missed it on Tuesday.) Wes’s TO TERMINATOR, WITH LOVE comes out on April 27, and Sam—who’s known TERMINATOR since it was a wee first draft—is here to ask Wes some great questions about the book’s evolution and inspiration.
Take it away, Sam and Wes!
First, a big thank-you to J.C. for hosting me! And also Wes. But mostly me.
For those of you who don’t know, Wes and I met because she emailed me out of the blue one day. I was a junior in college, and was sitting in philosophy class when I got her email, and–no joke–almost insta-deleted it, because I had gotten a string of spam emails about a short novella I’d written, and assumed it was just another offer to PUBLISH E-BOOK 4 NO COST 2 AUTHOR or to “represent” me “to all the best book firms in New York.”
Long story short, thankfully I did NOT delete it, and instead got to read the first draft of the book that would become TO TERMINATOR, WITH LOVE. And now my baby and her book are all grown up and I get to interview her! *wipes single tear*
A. They actually didn’t come until I was almost done with the manuscript. There’s a scene where Dexter suggestions the name as a title for the potential film their adventure is based on. Who doesn’t love being a little meta?
Q. You and I are both of fandom blood. Actually, the reason I didn’t insta-delete your email was because I saw “Stiles Stilinski” in it, and was at first like, “These spammers know my interests to a T,” but then realized you were not in fact a spammer. So you won me over with your Stiles and Tony Stark jokes. And you mentioned that Dexter was at least a little inspired by Tony Stark–they’re both ambitious inventors, and maybe they both accidentally get too close to destroying the world, too. What else inspired you to write TTWL? Are there other fandom influences mixed into Dexter, HAL, or Andre?
A. Confession time: All of those spam emails were me. I’m just really passionate about representing people to the best book firms in New York.
To answer the question, so many influences brought TTWL to life. I originally wrote it in between dying during finals while I was in undergrad. I translated a lot of my sleepless frustration and anxiety into Dexter.
There’s a lot of references in TTWL—from I, Robot to Twin Peaks to D-list British horror films—and all of those are by design. HAL is a reference to HAL 9000, the villain of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Andre is a product of my love for the Straight Man character to the neurotic, sarcastic lead. You know, your Agent Washingtons and Sam Winchesters. I love that type of character that crops up in my favorite fandoms, so I would say that particular fandom interest definitely played a role here as well.
Q. My favorite line of the book is “Fuck macchiatos. Seriously.” What’s yours?
A. Is it bragging to say I can’t choose? Oh, god, it probably is. I don’t mean it to be, I just love the banter between Andre and Dexter a lot. Their back and forth was the easiest to write for me because it just flowed so naturally.
Though if you twisted my arm, I’d say it’s “I’m pretty sure you just tried to sell me a bad Terminator meets Minority Report fanfic here.” Because that sounds like a fanfic I’d really like to read (I mean, it’s the internet. One has to exist, right?).
Q. So this is your first publication, and your first really meaty project. What surprised you most about the publishing process?
A. I had no idea it took so long! I was lucky to get a pretty fast turn around time when I first submitted, but after that the process really started. Edits and more edits, then re-reads and more edits, rewriting whole scenes and then more edits. I had this naive idea in my mind that publishing would take two, maybe three months tops. Oh, boy was I wrong.
I understand now that all that work is necessary to create a solid finished product. I’m glad to have had such a thorough publishing process.
Q. Dexter and I share a deep, deep love of Chipotle. What about you? And if you do, you should totally tell us your order. I don’t even care if that’s weird.
A. I was actually in the process of quelling my Chipotle addiction when I wrote this, which was why I was living vicariously through Dexter. My editor actually said “This is starting to sound like an advertisement for Chipotle.” Believe it or not, there were even more references in the original draft.
My go to order: Crunchy Tacos with chicken, cilantro-lime white rice, fresh tomato salsa, and oh my god I want Chipotle so bad now.
Q. The moment I book-met Sandhya, I was smitten. I feel like she’s a good gal to go to for life advice. So, what’re her top five tips for living, partying, and (mumblespoilersmumble)?
A. SANDHYA DAS’ GUIDE TO LIFE
Always keeps a boot on hand in case (read: when) your best friend/drunk science partner/small son comes crying to you in the middle of the night to kill a spider
Cat suits are in. Cat suits are always in.
Always keep your passport updated. You never know when you might be flying out of the country!
Be the Han Solo of your own story
And, most importantly, don’t forget your Wookiee. You’ll always need your Wookiee.
Big thanks to Sam and Wes for being here today! For the record, my favorite line in TERMINATOR is as follows:
If you’re jonesing for this book now, you’re in luck—Wes is giving away some e-copies of it! Just head over to Tuesday’s post and ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY; it’s super-easy and trust me, you want this book in your life. All the “best book firms in New York” would agree.