Greetings Brave Adventurers,
I have the great honour today of interviewing Danie Ware, author of the sci-fi mash up, Ecko Rising. This was a great read, and I suggest you rush out and grab a copy (as soon as you’ve read the interview, of course!)
HFA: Hi, and thank you for joining me on my blog.
Thank you for having me!
HFA: Please tell us a bit about your novel Ecko Rising.
Ecko Rising is a culture shock novel; it’s a tongue-in-cheek look at the fantasy genre. It’s a bit of sex, a bit of violence, and quite a lot of sarcasm. Ecko himself is damaged and defiant and dissonant, he’s not having any of this hero stuff – and he doesn’t care who knows it. He’s got a foul mouth and bad attitude, and if he’s the thing that has to save the world, then the world is in serious trouble!
HFA: Where did your first flash of inspiration for this novel come from?
From watching the movie ‘Repossessed’. There’s a moment where Linda Blair, restrained by the wrists (I think) and her face all contorted, comes up of the bed and rasps into the camera ‘What crawled up your butt and died?’ and the character of Ecko was born in that moment. His presence in the fantasy world, I owe to the outrageously off-the-wall creative projects of my twenties, and to my friends from that time – we used to spend our evenings in mad collaborate projects when we threw everything at everything else just to see what would go bang… and the habit kind of stuck.
HFA: Ecko Rising is a glorious clash of sci-fi and fantasy, and you write both so well. Do you consider yourself a fantasy writer or a sci-fi writer foremost?
I’m a fantasy writer foremost – the cyber-sci-fi beginning to Ecko Rising was to set the scene and background for the character so his transition has as much impact as possible. Having said that though, I really enjoyed writing the science fiction parts of the book/s and might be exploring the ideas more in the future!
HFA: Ecko Rising deftly weaves the storyline of a number of protagonists into a larger story. When you write, are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?
I’m both – a plotter initially, with careful ‘character x chapter’ spreadsheets that detail who’s doing what to whom and when. But, in the spirit of no plan surviving contact with the enemy, so no plot survives contact with the characters – and with Ecko particularly. He’s a law (or lack of it) unto himself and he doesn’t do what he’s told!
HFA: What was the biggest challenge for you in writing this novel?
Time. I’m a working single parent, and trying to fit everything in, keep all the plates spinning, can be absolutely mental. At the end of a day when I’ve been to work and back and run all errands and duties for house and child, I’m too tired to try to be creative – I just stare at the black screen and it stares straight back. To fit the writing schedule in, I usually get up at stupid o’clock in the morning when it’s quiet, and have just the cats to keep me company.
HFA: Who (or what) are the biggest influences on your writing?
There are two answers to this one!
In my teens I read fantasy – everything I could get my hands on at the time – Julian May, Stephen Donaldson, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings. In my twenties I discovered Gibson and Stephenson; in my thirties, Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. I’ve also had a thing for historical military fiction – Press field and Manfredi.
The second answer is ‘my friends’ and all of the madness we cooked up between us when we were kids. There are strong echoes (no pun intended) from those days all the way through the trilogy, and I hope the books do those friends and memories justice!
HFA: What are you reading now?
The last three books I read (or listened to, as they were all on audiobook) were Larry Niven’s Ringworld (rather underwhelmed), Mike Carey’s Better The Devil You Know (top stuff, really enjoyed it) and Jeff Noon’s Vurt (good grief, what a book!). Not sure what’s up next, as I never manage to keep pace with all of the amazing books that are coming out!
HFA: I hear that Ecko might be heading towards a trilogy. Are you able to tell us a little bit about what’s next for Ecko?
In ‘Ecko Burning’, we see more of the fantasy world’s politics and how it comes unravelled. We see an inversion of the culture shock theory. And we see Ecko offered the one thing he wants more than anything – if he’s prepared to pay the price.
HFA: What is a question about your writing that no-one ever asks, but you wish they would?
Not really a question, more of a musing…
HFA: Please share!
Very recently, we had Max Brooks at FP, signing the movie tie-in edition of World War Z – and saying quite openly that the film is absolutely nothing like the book. Likewise, we see so much merchandise now spinning out from successes like Game of Thrones – characters interpreted in figure form, in art, in vinyl collectible format, characters on mugs and keychains and everything else you can think of.
The first time I saw the cover samples for Ecko Rising, I nearly jumped out of my skin. Cover artist Martin Stiff had drawn Ecko so accurately (not actually the image we used we used for the final cover) that it absolutely freaked me – I’d never seen him look back me before. So, sometimes I look at the statues of Tyrrion Lannister et al and wonder how it feels to have the characters taken out of your head like that and crafted by so many other people.
It must be magical, and surreal… and it must be an odd feeling of a lack of control!
If you enjoyed this interview, you can see my review of Ecko Rising here.
You can also watch the trailer for Ecko Rising here:
Danie Ware is the publicist and event organiser for cult entertainment retailer Forbidden Planet. She has worked closely with a wide range of genre authors and has been immersed in the science-fiction and fantasy community for the past decade. An early adopter of blogging, social media and a familiar face at conventions, she appears on panels as an expert on genre marketing and retailing.