1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
If the focus is only on those that were actually completed and published, I’d have to go back a whole year to the first anthology, Tales From the Guild: Music to Your Ears. There have been more recently written things but they were so short, I’m hesitant to call them “projects”. I’d be more comfortable with “drafts”.
Anyway, that one (“Echoes from the Consort Box”) was inspired by an image of a confrontation that didn’t actually make its way into that story; the story that was published is, if anything, a prequel to what I was really starting on; it’s still in progress.
In a wider sense, the big project I’m working on now is to write a textbook for a class I’ve taught several times. I’d guess that almost nobody will actually read it and even fewer people really want to hear about that, it’s Linear Algebra. I doubt I’ll make any money off of it; the book will be more of a photocopied loose-leaf packet that I hand out to students at the beginning of the semester.
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
What’s a “pantser”? Like, “by the seat of your pants”? I guess I’m like that. I mentioned an image before; most of what I do is inspired by an image. This isn’t the .jpg or .gif type! It’s one that comes when I’m either thinking of nothing in particular; hear (or mishear!) something, or think “Now how would this unfold if it were in a furry world instead of this one?” Try it: if I say “That’s not the way cake is supposed to look” and you imagine a cake, and something’s wrong with it. What, precisely, is the matter? Who made it? A lot of things can snap into place as if they came from somewhere else; you just write about it as you go.
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
My favorite kind of story to write is one that I don’t think I’ll have to finish!
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
That’d have to be Hauke von Friedrichs, the cockatrice (or basilisk, if you speak German) professor. He dates back to a very primitive time in my writing career: he’s my alter ego, my self-insertion into the furry world. As I started writing more and more, he got left out more and more, but I’ve got a soft spot for him.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
The single most influential author on me I can name is Lynda Barry. I suppose Harvey Pekar should be mentioned as well. I have a lot of authors whose work I admire and that I love to read, but I find myself stealing from those two when I turn around and try to write something.
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
If I interpret this as the latest book I’ve read that has left a good impression, that would be City by Clifford Simak. It’s the book I’ve read most recently that has stuck with me. I’m a little surprised that I had never heard other people in the fur fandom talk about it. Structurally it was appealing to me since it’s several short works bound together with one theme (I think to myself “I could do that!” as I look over the very short pieces I’ve done). Simak’s stories are told as myths and legends by dogs about the mythical human race.
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I put in a few hours at the county jail as a volunteer; I knit things and I’m trying to pick up crochet but for some reason that’s not going as well. Lately I’ve been spending too much time on my iPad raising dragons and other things (Dragonvale and Brave Frontier really sucked me in).
8. Advice for other writers?
Write a lot; write more than I do, at least.
9. Where can readers find your work?
A lot of my work is at FurAffinity. A smaller collection is at both DeviantArt and SoFurry. I do try to put disclaimers and warnings on the pieces that need them. If I do come out with something longer that gets published, hints of it probably show up at one of those places.
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
It seems that a lot of fandoms settle in a phase where it’s all about dressing up and costuming; sometimes it’s not even about making them, but buying them. Look at Star Trek: it seems like you aren’t really a Trekker nowadays if you don’t have a Starfleet uniform or dress as a Klingon (and speak a little of it!). Furry fandom is turning into that now: in some circles, you aren’t a furry if you don’t have a fursuit. In the words of Smashmouth, “Fashion is smashin’ the true meaning of it”.
But there are still quite a few interesting people who are creating things, whether that be writing, drawing, or creating the suits. As long as that contingent is still going strong, the fandom will remain an interesting set of people.
Check out Mark “Prof Hauke” N’s member bio here!