JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Luke “Thrythlind” Green, author of Bystander
(Self-Published through lulu.com)
Empaths. Superstrength. Kung Fu Masters. Petting Zoo People.
There is a word for people like that. A pre-packed fluffy-feeling word the government’s spin doctors had come up with.
Lucretia had her own words for her peer group: freaks of nature, science projects and fanatics. They were all the people who had been born, transformed or self-willed into something that should have been bizarre, but was becoming less so.
All she wanted to do was live an unnoticed life in her brownstone, working at the library and chasing down idiot cops who took her books on stakeouts.
Of course, there are problems with that, such as the fact that she’s considered an interesting research specimen by some of the more amoral companies. Her tendency to stick her nose in where it probably shouldn’t be. A love-hate relationship with various alcoholic beverages.
Oh yes, and the fact that she’s still on parole.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Bystander?
Luke “Thrythlind” Green: Bystander is centered around a character I’ve been developing for a good fifteen years through college and various jobs as a teacher or otherwise. It is inspired by my love of ancient mythology from around the world as well as the superhero genre, which I’ve always felt were an extension of the heroic myths and legends of our past.
Ferris Bueller, the Odyssey, Japanese myth, Revelations, history…
The list of places that have influenced me unconsciously or otherwise could go on. But my main goal is to tell Lucretia’s story. It might take me a few books, but I mean to get it done. In the meantime, I might end up doing a book on Novak when he was younger or Robles when she was an active goddess.
But that’s the main inspiration: I wanted to tell a story.
JP: What sets Bystander apart from other books in the same genre?
LG: There are a couple of things that stand out about Bystander from other superhero settings. For one thing, superhuman beings are known to exist in the world, but, for the most part, they’re just doing normal things. Some are soldiers, criminals and police officers, but the idea of the superhero or supervillain is still considered to be publicly something for the comic books.
I play with the standard tropes of the superhero genre. Alternately playing them straight, averting them, inverting them or subverting them. The individual elements are recognizable, like notes of music, but the way they’re combined is what makes the story unique.
When Robles was an active government agent, she had a superhero-esque codename based on an Aztec goddess: Tlazolteotl. Lucretia doesn’t remember her birth name and simply chose the name Lucretia because it gave her something to go by. And many people refer to her as “bystander” which will become more and more a proper name as things go on.
The idea of costumes are played with in that Lucretia wears a latex body suit instead of underwear. And Robles makes an offhand comment about the ridiculously stand out appearance of the armor she was originally assigned at least once.
Superhero registration exists, but most people largely think nothing of it. It is basically a world of mundane utility in the eyes of the public. The superhumans and shadowy agencies have successfully maintained a masquerade by breaking the masquerade.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Bystander getting out to the public?
LG: This is still a work in progress, but it has to be dogged hard work and the existence of print on demand companies.
I set up book-signings. I attend conventions. I run promotions, one of which recently ended. There is information about my books on Facebook, YouTube and deviantart. I regularly assault twitter with links to my stuff. I pass out business cards and run raffles at local events.
My current dream is to convert even ten percent of the people who read my fanfiction from college days into purchasers of my original works.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Bystander?
LG: The character for this book was first created about twelve or fourteen years ago. She’s seen a lot of developmental change since then. The outline for her story was developed in my free time over the last five years. I initially tried to find an artist to work with in order to do it as a comic book, but eventually shifted to doing it as a novel. I worked on it off and on for about two years and made a headlong determined goal to finish last year.
That was somewhat hampered by the fact that I also developed, wrote and self-published both the Zodiacs short story books and the campaign guide at that time between January and May. In addition, I was also faced with having to find another day job, which also ate time away.
Currently, I’m firming up my writing process more by setting myself clear and definite goals for each day that need to be reached. Among others, a word quota in the neighborhood of 2k words.
After I finish something, I put it forth to my pre-readers: family and friends, and ask them to find anything that bothers them or find any grammar errors that escape me.
Always have someone else check your work for you. It is very, very hard to find a mistake that you, yourself made. Other people have a much easier time of that.
JP: What’s next for Luke “Thrythlind” Green?
LG: Next for me is Greenwater Part 3, which is the third of a series of short serial novels set in a fantasy universe. I plan to have that done by Feburary 29th and ready to be introduced at Chimera-Con in San Antonio this year. That is a very short deadline, but given what I accomplished for Zodiacs last year, I hope to be able to reach it.
Regardless of whether I have Greenwater ready or not, I hope to have plenty of things to offer when I arrive at Chimera-con this year.
After Greenwater 3, I plan to move to Greenwater 4, which should end that story sequence. And then I want to get to Haunted Bytsander, the sequel to Bystander, and have that finished by the end of 2011.
At the same time, I’m doing some commissioned work for the gaming industry as well as a bit of other freelance writing such as the occasional press release here and there, which hopefully will soon be not so much occasional as constant so that I can have all the money and time I need to work on my books, publish them, advertise them and set up events to promote them.
Zodiacs is a world setting intended for use in tabletop gaming and references a lot of classic tales from cowboy, samurai and Wu Xia fiction as well as the inclusion of the titular “zodiacs” which are basically people with animal features.
Greenwater is a swords and sorcery fantasy set in an inland sea out of which grow gigantic trees. It follows the adventures of Tennel Grimbeck, a skinner (hunter) from a swamp to the north that has volunteered to serve as a military scout.