Please welcome T.A. Wardrope
to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge
Interviews. Arcadian Gates
is published on March 17th by Blastgun Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing T.A. a very Happy Publication Day!
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
T.A.: I’ve been writing complete stories since seventh grade or so. I suppose it is something I enjoyed doing and received encouragement in school. I choose to re-invest in the craft on a much more serious level around 2005 when I entered the Hamline MFA program. Writing offers a creative freedom that is missing from more budget conscious narrative forms, like filmmaking.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
T.A.: I start as a plotter but always hoped to be forced into some pantser behavior by the writing process.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
T.A.: I think staying focused on the creative aspects, the actual work of writing, can be difficult with all the commercial matters independent authors have to take care of. We need to learn how to be two people, both the active community member and the reclusive mystic.
TQ: Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?
T.A.: I am pretty eclectic in my tastes. Philip K. Dick is a big one. J.G. Ballard was a revelation when I first read The Atrocity Exhibition. Jorge Luis Borges was another great discovery. Joyce Carol Oates is one of the best at slipstream prose. Samuel Delaney’s Dhalgren was a big influence on the early work of Arcadian Gates. Of course the foundations for the genre like 1984 and Brave New World. We written by Yevgeny Zamyatin was a very enlightening discovery. William Burroughs planted the seeds for pharmopunk. Edward P. Jones taught me a lot about world building.
TQ: Describe Arcadian Gates in 140 characters or less.
T.A.: Akiry, a smuggler, is caught up in a civil war. She uses this chaos to find a daughter lost in the fog of a chemical attack ten years ago.
TQ: Tell us something about Arcadian Gates that is not in the book description.
T.A.: There are some great characters in Akiry’s world. I think it also offers a blend of fierce action and visionary experiences. This is not a slim book and it covers narrative ground accordingly.
TQ: What inspired you to write Arcadian Gates? What appealed to you about writing a genre-bending dystopian novel?
T.A.: I wrote a short story about Akiry that was inspired by some pretty random events. One of these events was when I saw some artsy folks in dialogue with people in the intelligence community and it really got the wheels turning. Akiry’s story started to unlock the world around her and that led to the full scope of this story.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Arcadian Gates?
T.A.: Quite a bit really. I looked into future weaponry and extrapolated that to this particular history. There was a good amount of time looking into pharmacology and the early CIA experiments with LSD. My research into UFOs is a constant and some of that is present in this book. On a craft level, I studied the classics of dystopian world building. Honestly, I think this story is more “weird” or “fantastic” then it is dystopic as the genre is known in pop culture.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
T.A.: Akiry and Raoul were great fun to get write and get to know. I know them as I know friends of mine. The antagonists were tricky, trying to keep them human and original “villains” was not always easy. In the end, I just had to listen to what they really wanted to happen and let them have a go at it.
TQ: Which question about Arcadian Gates do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
T.A.: Is this part of a series?
This is part of a much larger world that I have spent a lot of time developing. I’ve got short stories that cover some key moments prior to Arcadian Gates. Those will get out there sooner or later. There are a lot of stories to come, and one of them could very well be a direct follow-on to this novel. I really take to authors who revisit worlds across their work, and that’s something I see myself doing.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Arcadian Gates.
1. “The feeling overwhelmed him, and as he closed his eyes, he imagined, he saw, he knew, that tiny silver blobs of lethemol had grown legs, descended like metal flies and attached themselves to the millions of branches in his brain.”
““Is it safe?” Akiry asked.
Rasyte laughed, her entire body shook and her jewelry tinkled and jingled like a percussive choir. She looked to the ceiling with a unusually broad smile and then looked sternly through Akiry with all the force of every year on her face.
“No, this is the most dangerous thing you will ever touch,” Rasyte said.”
TQ: What's next?
T.A.: I’ve got a pair of books in process right now. One’s a pretty ambitious horror project that will take awhile to finish, I think. The other is a pretty weird bit that is coming along nicely. It’s actually mostly non-fiction. Very creative non-fiction.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
T.A.: You’re welcome! Thanks for having me.
Blastgun Books, March 17, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 424 pages
Only ten years ago the entire nation was struck by a chemical weapon which destroyed most people’s memories. Akiry, a young woman who makes her way smuggling amongst the lower caste of the rebuilt country, is haunted by dreams of a daughter she otherwise does not remember.
As civil war erupts in the city around her, she takes the last chance she has to find the truth about her daughter and her past.
T.A. Wardrope writes weird, horror and speculative varieties of fiction. His novel Arcadian Gates is available from Blastgun Books. Additionally he writes essays about film, music and literature for several blogs including Hellnotes and L'Etoile. Some of his non-fiction research has been published on Disinfo.com. He lives in Minneapolis with two humans, two snakes, a lizard and a cat.Website
@tawardrope ~ Facebook