Saturday, February 12, 2011

Science Fiction Novelist David Perlmutter Discusses his Newest Work "The Pups"

Scribal Love Welcomes David Permutter! 
David Perlmutter is an author of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery stories and novels, as well as works of non-fiction. His newest work “The Pups”, will soon be available from Library of Science Fiction Press.

What is the name of your latest book? And how did you come up with the title?

The book is called “The Pups”, in honor of its lead characters.

What is this book about? And what genre is this book in?

It is a science fiction novel set in the future, where dogs, through both the intervention of humans and their own fertility growing from this, become a sentinent, semi-human race of beings. Much of the backdrop involves the racism they experience from the human population and how they have to deal with it, positively and negatively. This runs through much of the book’s action.

Who is/are the main characters? And why did you choose them?

The Pups are a sextet of humanized dogs who are drawn together both randomly and by chance. Their parents were all exposed to the after effects of a meteor strike before they were born, and, consequently, they all have a variety of super-canine abilities that set them apart from their own people and the humans. Each in his or her own way develops an understanding of what they are capable of doing and what they can better achieve for themselves and their race together. Because I structured the book so that each of them would be telling their own story, as it were, these elements will become much more clear to the reader than if I had used a traditional narration, and will allow for them to better sympathize with them as a result.

What is the coolest or best part about your book? (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..
The best part of the book is that I managed to create a portrait of dogs that does not mention or involve any of the traditional stereotypes humans typically use when they write about them. The use of these stereotypes in the media has always bothered me deeply. If it is considered wrong to use stereotypes in creating human characters, should it not be the same for animal ones?

Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, why?
I am very partial to each of The Pups because each of them, in a way, represents a different version of myself. Each of them has a different dominant power- intelligence, strength, speed etc.- along with subordinate abilities, along with a passionate sense of justice and a desire for political action and change. In creating and writing them, I found I was able to express sentiments about the world I would not have otherwise, in more earth-bound styles of writing, and I am glad their adventures will now be shared by a wider audience, because that I was what I intended for them all along.

Is this book part of a series? If so? What can we expect in future books?

Yes, that is my intention. My publisher, Michael “Dr. Pus” West, accepted it in the hopes that we would able to create a future series out of it. My deal with him is that I have to write at least three books in the series, but I hope to do more if it catches on.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not an awful lot, I don’t think. It works well.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I did. I learned that I can write long narratives as well as short ones, and now I feel more confident in trying to add novel writing to my short story production. I’d probably end up making more money doing that, anyway.

Do you have a publisher? And if so, why did you choose them?
Yes. The Library of Science Fiction Press. It’s a unit of the Library of the Living Dead, which also encompasses the Library of Horror and the Library of Fantasy as well as the aforementioned titles. I chose to work with them because they were the first publishers to be truly accepting of “The Pups” and the social and political ideas they were based around. They’ve also been supportive of my turning some of my other short story characters into novel protagonists, so, the way things are working out, our relationship is probably going to last a while.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
When I was younger, the author that first got me interested in reading and in writing as a career was Jack London. His style of writing is much leaner and more action driven than today’s writers, and he gave me a sense of what I needed to do to move a reader the same way he moved me. More recently, though, I have become a great admirer of Robert Bloch, the author of “Psycho” and dozens of outstanding short stories, novellas and novels besides. The important thing I learned from him, I think, is that it actually is possible to write intense fantasy and horror stories while still being able to inject humor into the storylines and situations. I have been trying to study him as closely as possible, and I very much think his style has now intensely rubbed off on mine.

What books are you reading now?
I have been reading a lot of fiction anthologies, in the speculative and mystery fields, to help me understand how to write good short fiction. It must be paying off, since I made about forty sales last year, much more than the first three years of my career combined.

What are the current writing projects that you are working on?
I have several ebooks coming out this year. Several of them are from Untreed Reads, whose editor, Jay Hartman, has been very encouraging and supportive of me. He sends out messages to his authors regularly about interview opportunities, blog posts etc. Like Michael West, he seems to understand me and my work very well, and I hope to continue working with him more over the years. The same goes for Books to Go Now, another ebook publisher, which has published one of my stories as an ebook and has another slotted for release soon.

Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to do so one day?
I write very often, since I live and work at home. I work doing freelance writing for a local magazine publisher, but I have more than enough time to do my own writing. However, this doesn’t earn me enough to live yet, so I’ll have to do work for other people until I can afford to live off my writing earnings.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Mainly in the fact that, in some of the stories I read or I watched in the movies or television, I didn’t like the way the story was told. There would be something wrong with the words or the attitudes the characters used- or particularly the tone of voice- that I would object to. Because I couldn’t control those situations or those words, I felt helpless. Writing offered me the opportunity to revisit some of the scenarios I had seen other people work with, and invent new ones of my own, in a way and a style that I and not other people saw fit to use.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Trying to write stories for anthologies or magazines when the editor does not give you an exact sense of what is wanted or needed in the story. In those situations, I end up writing something that I think will be perfect for whatever the thing is, only to have the editor turn it down flat. I find that very hard. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened so much recently, since I’ve gotten better at reading submission calls and asking the editors whether or not the story would work, but also because, I think, I’ve become a better writer since I started out.

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?

Do not give up, for any reason, because you get rejected the first time out. Make sure that you understand that you will be rejected from time to time even if you start making sales, because not every editor is going to like everything you write, and even editors who like your stuff may not buy everything you write. The important thing for creating a sustained career as a writer is to find an editor who likes what you write and is willing to be a mentor figure for you. Keep pitching ideas to them and let them help you develop your feelings into stories. If you have at least one editor in your corner, you can write securely knowing that somebody likes what you’re doing, and then you might possibly build a career out of it.

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