Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A. Lee Martinez's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....

A. Lee Martinez's
Would You Rather

Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?

Feet.  Both sound terrible, but I just think typing with my tongue would be more exhausting.  People can use their feet like hands, so I imagine by the end of the book, I'd be a pretty good toe typist, which might even come in handy later.  Though probably not.

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

Tough question.  Assuming you mean only one bestseller and no other successful books VERSUS a long, steady career, I guess I'd have to ask the follow up question of how big a bestseller?  Are we talking about the kind that basically means I'd never have to worry about writing for money again? Because I'd definitely take that over a long string of moderate sellers.  A lot less work that way, and it isn't like I'd have to stop writing afterward, even if not many people read the books.  I don't need a lot of fans to make it worthwhile.  Well, I DO need a lot of fans to make it worthwhile at this stage, but you get my drift.

Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?

Easy.  Well known now.  I've never found much romance in the idea of dying a misunderstood genius.  I don't need to be ahead of my time.  I'd rather earn a living now than starve.  Posterity, be damned.

Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?

Tough call.  I start a lot of my sentences with conjunctions already.  Either one seems pretty difficult to do without getting in the way of the reader enjoying the story, but I'd probably go with no conjunctions over every sentence.

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

Audio.  I'm just not a tattoo kind of guy.  Plus, my favorite book is Tarzan of the Apes so I'd walk around hearing about lion fights, and that'd probably keep me in a good mood.

Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?

Ouch.  Honestly, not easy.  I guess it depends on what you mean by EVERYTHING.  If you mean writing something that I find morally objectionable, then I'd rather not do that.  But if you're just talking about a book that I felt was artistically compromised, I'd have to answer with a yes on that.  Basically, I've toiled for about a decade in this business writing stuff I think is really pretty awesome, but am still not as solid on my career as I might like (not that I have much reason to complain).  It'd be nice to get a boost.

So, moral compromising, hard no.  Artistic compromises, soft yes.

Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?

Plot twist.  Both would annoy me, but at least the twist could just be part of the story versus the character (I assume the protagonist) who is the story.  Writing is hard enough as it is without having to hang out with a jerk for that many months of my life.

Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?

Gruesome.  Blood as ink.  It's a lot easier to replace blood than it is skin.

Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?

Tough call.  I suppose if I could become a seven foot tall indestructible robot detective in a weird science city, I just couldn't turn that down.

Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?

Both seem pretty rough, but though E is the most common letter in the English language, punctuation makes things so much easier.  Seriously, whoever invented the period and the space was a genius, and I'd be lost without them.

Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?

Teach.  Nothing hard there.  I don't care to court controversy.  I'd rather people like my book than be offended by it.  Maybe I'm just not artistic enough to see the glamor in that.  Or maybe I'd just rather live in a world where people don't ban books.

Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?

The Ayn Rand hour.  I've listened to people lecture me I don't agree with before, and I'm sure I'll do so again.  But I'm not macho enough to usually take the punch option.

Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?

Speaking.  I earn my living writing, and I'd hate to get stuck in such a limited format.  Friends and family could learn to live with speaking like that though.  Heck, it might even make me seem more artistic.

Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?

I'd have to go with 50 Shades because books I can't read really aren't worth much. 

Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?

Rip it apart publicly.  Better to be savaged by critics than languish in obscurity.  I did that for long enough while struggling to become a published writer.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

Voice in my head.  I generally think good thoughts, but nobody could look good with EVERY thought put out there.  And the narrator of my life could maybe coordinate with the narrator of Tarzan of the Apes, so they wouldn't have to be lonely.

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

Hate to say it, but pen and paper.  Especially now that I even draw using an iPad.  So it'd be hard to give up all that convenience, especially since the rest of the world would quickly leave me behind.

Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?

Laying flat.  It would just be less exhausting.

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?

Naked in a packed room.  Have I mentioned that obscurity is just about the worst thing an artist suffers under?  Nudity is a lot less frightening to me than indifference.

Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well?

This is almost difficult to say, but, as I mentioned, I do love Tarzan of the Apes.  In fact, Edgar Rice Burroughs is my favorite writer, and while I wouldn't call him a poor writer, I would say he is stilted.  His stories are so much fun, his adventure so awesome, his pacing so thrilling, and his characters so cool, I would definitely say I'd rather have all that than beautiful prose.

And here's A. Lee's response to the question I proposed last week:

Would you rather write a novel that changes someone's life but receives no mainstream attention, or a novel that is incredibly successful in sales but that no one thinks about afterwards?

As much as I hate to admit it, I'd go for sales at this point.  It might seem crass, but I've been toiling in obscurity for a while now.  It gets tiring.  It's always nice to have money to pay the bills too.  Now, if the question were about changing the lives of thousands, I might reconsider.

Check back next week to see how Caleb J Ross answer's A Lee Martinez's question:

Would you rather be able to write one (and only one) page of fiction a day (that could be part of a larger book eventually or just short stories or whatever) or only be able to write for one week a year?  In both cases, everything you write would be amazing.

A. Lee Martinez is a writer. He enjoys juggling, origimi, skulking, and time travel. While he’s a likable enough guy, he really isn’t very interesting and mostly plays video games and writes.

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