Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Q&A: Lyda Morehouse (and Tate, Too)

Lyda Morehouse writes about what gets most people in trouble: religion and politics. Her latest science fiction novel is Resurrection Code (Mad Norwegian Press, 2011), a sequel/prequel to her award-winning AngeLINK series. Writing as Tate Hallaway, she is most recently the author of the paranormal mystery Precinct 13 (Berkley Trade, August 2012), as well as three books in the Vampire Princess series and five in the highly addictive Garnet Lacey series.

You’re well known to readers as a novelist (collectively Lyda and Tate have fourteen novels to their names), but you’ve also written a ton of short stories, a number of them on biblical themes with a twist. What’s your latest, and what kind of demented fun are you having the Good Book now?

My short story “God Box” recently appeared in King David and the Spiders from Mars, a biblical horror anthology from Dybbuk Press (2013).

“God Box” is a science-fictional retelling of a story from Judges in which the Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant. This is sometimes called the “golden hemorrhoids” story because among the plagues that God afflicts Israel’s enemies with is a bad case of the piles, and God demands golden tributes of all the plagues along with a return of the Ark. It’s a story that’s easily made light, because, come on, hemorrhoids, but I’ve dug a little deeper and made it very dark by, for one, telling it from the point of view of the “Philistines,” the bad guys, who, in this case, are us—a future Earth that’s become a kind of hegemony.

Looking at the year ahead, what else is new and forthcoming from Lyda Morehouse?

For sure, e-book versions of Apocalypse Array and Resurrection Code. The rest is finger-crossing.

It's been fantastic to see your AngeLINK novels, originally published between 2001 and 2004, released as e-books by Wizard's Tower Press. How would you describe the series to new readers? What was your inspiration for the setting and story?

Archangel Protocol, the first book in the series, is a cyberpunk-romance-detective novel—with angels.

The short answer is that I was inspired to write the first book because I was watching The X-Files and I was annoyed that when the devil showed up in a small town as a substitute teacher, no one mentioned the idea that, you know, if there’s a devil, then God must exist. It just so happened that at the same time I’d just read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman run that’s collected in Season of Mists, and he had a wonderful moment in which Morningstar (his Satan, and, yes, my inspiration,) decides to give up the keys to hell.

A perfect storm of inspiration hit me, and suddenly I was several chapters into a book in which real angels come to clear their names because someone is impersonating them on the future Web, which is called the LINK.

Resurrection Code, your sequel/prequel to the four original AngeLINK novels, was recently published as a trade paperback by Mad Norwegian Press. Do you think you’ll ever revisit the world of the LINK again? What does the future hold for the series?

I don’t know. Probably a lot of nothing. A problem with the AngeLINK universe that I discovered when I was writing the foreword to the new e-book edition of Archangel Protocol is that the future is now—and a lot of what I wrote in 1999, which was innovative and cutting edge at the time, now seems very dated.

However, I may be returning to science fiction. The upside of not having a contract at the moment is that no one can tell me what to write.

What are you working on now? Do you have a seekrit project?

Currently I’m working on two things. One is sort of seekrit, but I’ll tell you about it anyway. I’m writing a sequel to Precinct 13. The seekrit part is that I’m considering posting chapters of it on AO3 (Archive of Our Own) under my fannish pseudonym.

The other is a fantasy novel about a genderqueer teen who discovers that their dreaming life is leaking into reality, which unfortunately means that samurai, oni, and fox demons suddenly start popping up in a small Mississippi town.

And what’s your alter ego, Tate Hallaway, up to these days?

I guess, technically, she’s the one busily writing a sequel to Precinct 13. I believe her agent is also shopping a trunk novel of ours around, so, with any luck, she’ll see print again soon (knocking on wood).

Your writing notebooks are full of wonderful pencil and pen sketches and drawings. Is there a relationship between your drawing and writing? Does the artwork feed the fiction, or vice versa?

I was a visual artist first, so I’ve always been a very visual writer. I often picture the scenes I’m writing in my head in great detail. For me, writing is like sketching, really—a way to paint pictures with words.

Do you have a Tumblr?

I do. junko222.tumblr.com. But I would caution anyone who finds me there: this is my fan space. There’s a lot of squee there for Attack on Titan (a.k.a. SnK), Free! , Samurai Champloo, Pok√©mon, Bleach, and a dozen other anime and manga.

What are you reading these days besides manga? What's the best book you've read so far this year?

I finally read Terry Pratchett. A friend recommended Equal Rites, and I enjoyed that, as one does. I recently started working in a library, and I’ve started a book by Haruki Murakami called 1Q84, which I’m sort of enjoying, though I find it very … trippy.

Are you a blogger? What do you blog about, and where?

I blog about my stupid life on, of all places, LiveJournal. Currently I’ve been writing about my fish tanks, so, you know, riveting stuff.

Besides your published work as Lyda and Tate, rumor has it that you also write fan fic. Is fan fic—both reading and writing—just a guilty pleasure, or does it have a deeper connection to writing professionally in the field of genre fiction?

I came to writing via fan fic. I didn’t know it was called that then, and, well, it was so long ago that the Internet literally didn’t exist yet. But I got very into the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and the Deryni books by Katherine Kurtz; I had what the kids these days would call “feels.” I wanted “moar,” so I wrote it for myself. It was practice writing that filled notebook after notebook after notebook from sixth grade to college.

Archangel Protocol started out in my head as X-Files fan fic, but then it quickly became something entirely different.

Now I seem to have returned to my roots. Bleach gave me “feels” like nothing I’ve felt in ages, and it was an overwhelming feeling to write something for fun. I can’t even tell you how awesome it is to feel fifteen in my writing heart again. Fan fic has given me back a joy that got a bit stomped on by the ups and downs of the publishing industry. And 700,000 words and counting later, I’m still having a blast.


Eleanor said...

Good work, Bill and Lyda!

tate hallaway said...

Thanks, Eleanor!

Frank said...

The tumblr link above goes to their log-in page. I think you need it to be junko222.tumblr.com.

Bill Henry said...

Thanks, Eleanor. We'll do one of these with you soon enough--fair warning! ;-P

Frank, thanks for the heads-up on the Tumblr link; I changed it so it goes directly to junko222.tumblr.com.

tate hallaway said...

Thanks, Frank! Though I'm a bit nervous anyone is following through!! Warning: too much Bleach!