My series on independent and hybrid writers continues. Today I have Scott Marlowe, writer of fantasy. You can find out more about Scott at his site here: http://www.scottmarlowe.com/
1. So what made you want to write?
I think all people have an inherent need to create or indulge in some form of art. Not having much of an interest or skill in anything but writing, it was an easy discipline for me to fall into.
2. I see you like thrillers and fantasy (two of my favorite genres as well). What about those genres appeal to you?
Yes! Nothing like a good tale full of suspense, action, adventure, and the fantastic. Fantasy has always appealed to me because there are no barriers or limits. There are rules, certainly, but they aren’t the same rules we have to deal with in our everyday lives. Fantasy is the perfect escape. As for thrillers, I like it when the stakes are high. It raises the tension level, enhances the suspense, and just makes for a more engaging story.
3. You have an Assassin series out; the latest book came out in May, it looks like. Tell me about the series and the book.
“The Goddard Affair” is the latest and fourth story in the Assassin Without a Name series. The series is comprised of short stories and novellas, each a complete tale but with a recurring character and storyline about a witty assassin with a penchant for fine wine.
The series began as a sort of experiment: I wanted to see if I could write something really short, while still telling a complete story. All I really had was an idea: ‘An assassin makes a deal.’ No outlines, no planning, no coming up with character details, etc. Just write it out and see what happens. The successful result of that experiment was a 1500 word short story called “Fine Wine.” Seeing some potential, I wrote another story, this one “Killing the Dead.” By that time, I realized I might have something going here, and since I hadn’t bothered to give the main character a name (the stories were so short I didn’t feel like he needed one), I decided to call it the “Assassin Without a Name” series, and even worked that aspect of his character into the plot. After those first two stories came “Night of Zealotry” and, the latest, “The Goddard Affair,” which really is the best story of the bunch, I think. In it, readers get to see the best of the main character’s charm, wit, fighting prowess, and, because he’s an assassin, lack of conscience when it comes to making the hard decisions.
The series takes place in the same world as my other works, so, much like those, there’s a science fantasy angle to the stories, with a good blend of magic and technology which doesn’t always play well together. Actually, it never plays well together, which is all right because it gives me plenty of opportunities to create mayhem.
4. What kind of research do you do for your writing?
One of the nice things about being a writer, even one who writes about made-up stuff, is the possible range of topics one can delve into while trying to figure out how best to present a scene or character in the best, most genuine light. While I do strive for some level of legitimacy, say if I’m writing about a ship captain, because this is fantasy I also feel I have a lot of leeway in bending (warping?) conventional thinking. That being said, topics I research range from nautical terminology to medieval cuisine and clothing to Newton’s laws of motion to negative energy to black holes, amongst others.
5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
If I had to choose any one author to call my favorite, I’d pick Robin Hobb. She is consistently superb in her writing style, quality of storytelling, and development of characters. The Farseer Trilogy is amongst my favorite series of all time. I’m happy that she’s now revisiting those characters in particular in a third series.
6. What are you working on next?
I’ve got two projects ongoing right now. The first is the next Assassin Without a Name story. That one is called, “Thief’s Gambit,” and involves our witty assassin’s old flame recruiting him for another secret mission for her mysterious employer. The second is the next novel in The Alchemancer series, which is called “The Inversion Solution.” It’s currently in the planning stages. It’ll get kicked into high gear as soon as I’m done with “Thief’s Gambit.”
7. Fantasy has made huge leaps in popularity lately. Why do you think that is?
It’s definitely exploded into the mainstream, hasn’t it? I think a lot of things are responsible. However, to name a couple, I’d say technology and the fact that the quality of writing has simply gotten way, way better than ever before. With respect to the first, the Internet, and social media specifically, has allowed people to connect and share information and interests in ways not possible previously. This has brought together like-minded groups and allowed interest in things like fantasy, comics, etc. to flourish. Second, content producers have really been striving to deliver quality. Look at something like The Walking Dead. No flashy special effects, no over-the-top, crazy action. Just a whole lot of engaging storylines, characters viewers care about, and writers willing to adhere to some level of reality (yes, reality; people will slip into anarchy without laws, and that’s what happens).
8. What is something your readers would be surprised to know about you?
That my three favorite foods are peanut butter, bananas, and ice cream, and if I can get all three together, then all the better!