Local sci-fi, horror authors to participate in panel discussion in Monroeville
Visitors to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Monroeville later this month may find themselves immersed in a world where women have leeches for arms, intergalactic mercenary werewolves fly through space beating people up and aliens wink at passers-by in bars with names like The Pickled Quasar.
But it’s not some sort of interstellar Halloween celebration. It’s a panel discussion with local science-fiction and horror authors including Rick Claypool (“Leech Girl Lives”), C.M. Chakrabarti (“The Planet Star: Fight to the Finish”), Jamie Lackey (“Moving Forward: a Novella of Life After Zombies”) and Gwendolyn Kiste (“The Rust Maidens,” “And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe”).
It will also feature Greenfield author Brandon Getz, 34, who will debut his latest novel, “Lars Breaxface: Werewolf in Space,” at an Oct. 11 launch party at Caffe d’Amore on Butler Street in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.
Getz’s title character has been exiled from his home planet after exposure to a virus that turns him into a werewolf, and makes his way through an irreverent take on the action-packed space opera as muscle for hire.
The book is also a collaborative effort, featuring 38 original illustrations created largely by Pittsburgh-based artists.
Getz spoke with the Trib about his novel and the challenges of crafting a story around a wise-cracking space werewolf.
Q: You’re a published author but you also have a full-time job outside of writing. How do you make time to sit down and focus on writing, and what are those sessions like when you’re not in the middle of writing a novel?
A: I was working freelance when I wrote the novel, so I would typically take a couple of hours in the morning once or twice a week to bang out a chapter. Now I have a salary gig, and my son is older, so finding time is harder. I usually get one night a week to myself for writing, and I have to force myself to do it whether or not the muse is striking. It was much easier when I was working on the novel – I could just pick up where the story left off.
Q: How did the inspiration for your most recent novel, “Lars Breaxface: Werewolf in Space,” come to you?
A: I chose the most ridiculous idea I’d ever had and let it loose. At first, all I had was the first paragraph: a werewolf punching an alien in a space cantina. It built from there.
Q: What sorts of considerations do you as an author look at when crafting a sci-fi story?
A: I didn’t do any hard science with Lars Breaxface – it’s a space opera, an adventure story with monsters and princesses and gangsters and rebellions. My sci-fi inspirations come more from “Star Wars,” “The Fifth Element,” “Firefly,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and such. It has a spaceship with a “tachyon drive” that travels FTL (faster than light); it has space whales made of gas who live on starlight; it has a werewolf who stores lunar energy in his blood. None of it makes any scientific sense.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in writing “Lars Breaxface: Werewolf in Space”?
A: I originally wrote the story as a serial. So the challenge was to keep going, even when I wasn’t sure what was next or I didn’t like a certain turn the plot took. At times it was like setting traps for myself that I’d have to write my way out of.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring sci-fi author?
A: Have fun. Write characters that are real and complex. Don’t get so caught up in ideas or political messaging that the characters become chess pieces or robots. Unless of course it’s a story about robots.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .