I recently read William I. Levy’s second novel, The Starcrossed, and was really impressed. I got the chance to sit down and ask him a few questions.
Thanks for the interview, William!
Right off the bat, congratulations on getting your latest novel, The Starcrossed (out from BlackWyrm Books), published! I know this was your second novel, and ninth book, so how was the process this time around? How was working with the people at BlackWyrm?
Really great. Frankly, they took a bit of a chance on me, and I'm grateful. We're working hard to get the book out there, and Dave has done a lot to get venues, and not been shy about accepting suggestions from my own freelance experience.
Before we jump too much into The Starcrossed, can you tell us a bit about the other pieces of writing you have done?
I tend to run amuck across the genre landscape; done everything from a book about practical philosophy, several graphic and short story collections, an rpg, and even an erotic romance set in an alternate universe. Ideas don't stay in categories for me, always interested in almost everything. Which is reflected in what I write about. Start one of my stories, you may run into midget angels, bored warmechs, or living rollercoasters in love. But I try to keep it interesting.
Now, to The Starcrossed (I liked the double entendre of the title, by the way). It seemed to me that you were playing with everything from pulp science fiction to super heroes to modern military thrillers. Did you intend from the beginning to play with all of these genres, or did the story really develop beyond its original scope in the process? Were there any particular inspiration for certain elements, such as the Pact or the catmorphs?
Nifty that you noticed. Yeah, first I was digging into a 'real' version of hero, not the street gritty weirdness or the saintly pure, but an explanation that shows what drives people like Barret. More than human, but still very human without being a total neurotic.
Secondly, I was going for something between action and romance, an area we don't really explore much here in the US. The former is regarded as pure male, the latter pure female, and that's silly. Not to defy the grand and glorious market barons, but you CAN put elements of both together and the entire audience will enjoy it.
And inspirations? Well, I'm not exactly standard issue humanity. A convention organizer once described me as an oversized Klingon ogre disguised as Albert Einstein. Most of my life I've dealt with the consequences, good and bad, of being able to do more than anyone in the area. So you could say I'm an expert on the subject. And catmorphs?
Okay, so I had my hormones carbolyzed by Julie Newmar on the Batman tv show when I was entering puberty. (Let me tell you, I finally met her a few years ago, she's so sweet, smart, still sexy, and that hug was amazing!). So when I wanted a sweet, sexy, cute, alien female...
While we are on the topic of inspirations, who and what are the big ones for you and your writing?
The romance elements; pure and simple, Milady. Karen, my goddess, wife, partner, soul.
And she's gonna get so annoyed with me for saying that in print. Then she'll get all melty...
Other than that, I get so many ideas from the world at large, I don't think I'll ever run out. I read Mental Floss, Funny Times, The Week, and the papers to keep up on new stuff.
I hear you are already at work on the sequel. Can you tell us a little bit about it? Any idea of when we might see it in print?
The sequel is almost a third finished, and starts off with a glimpse of Paum and Col as children, on Preen. Then it moves to traumatic events back on Earth, as our characters and society in general try to come to grips with the ramifications of What is Human?, legally, morally, and medically. Readers will get a deeper look behind the curtain at the shadow players attempting to control the planet, and inklings of how something like the Holsai came to be.
Do you have any other works we will be seeing in the near future, or that are in the works as we speak?
Definitely. I work on multiple projects at the same time. That way when I run into a block, I drop it and go work somewhere else until I figure out a solution.
Right now I'm almost finished with an armageddon action fantasy called LORDS OF NEXUS about a plot by psycho ancient demi-gods to reboot the universe.
Also writing a serial called OUT OF SPACE which I post on Deviant Art about a not-so-secret philosophical invasion of Earth by a galactic civilization using cable television. (But it's for our own good, and quite friendly.)
A hardboiled hedgewitch series is coming along nicely, as is another about a cursed sorority house that randomly spews crazed superheroines out into the world.
And one about a ship full of rejected spys and cyber criminals, protecting a little girl.
Not to mention a mystery series about a stranded alien.
Gimme a couple of years...
What are you reading, in and out of the genre?
A lot of manga, especially some of the older stuff, Yen, and alternate comics. Tons of books; Terry Pratchett is my fave, but I've picked up on a lot of Tom Holt, Modessitt, Butcher, Weber, and a recently completed set of Strangers In Paradise. I read fast, at least a book a day. Darn near a drug habit.
Any final comments?
I couldn't do this without the feedback and support I've gotten over the years. I really appreciate it. I'll try to keep writing interesting stories.