James Pyles attended the first ever Superversive writing course, The Art and Craft of Writing. Since then, he has had short stories appear in several anthologies! He is our shooting star Guinea Pig!
Q: In what way is your work “superversive?”
Some but not all of my work is superversive because I don’t believe all interesting stories necessarily require that quality. I was introduced to the concept some years back when I read God, Robot edited by Anthony Marchetta. Superversive, for me, and this is especially relevant to science fiction, is looking toward the future as a better, brighter place rather than the general moral and social decay you find in many stories. I think of Gene Roddenberry’s vision for Star Trek as superversive, and I believe it’s something that the world desperately needs right now.
Q: Who would you consider a mentor through only their work?
The late Harlan Ellison. A lot of authors make me want to read, but he was the only one who made me want to write. His characters were so accessible on a human level, that I felt like I could make human stories as well. Of course, it’s taken me decades to even begin to realize that dream. I remember Fred Astaire saying that he wanted his dancing to look so effortless that the audience would leave the movie theater believing they could dance the same way. That’s how I experience Ellison’s writing.
Q: How did you get interested in writing science fiction and fantasy?
Probably because I’ve been a huge fan over the years, starting in childhood with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. Some kids grow up wanting to be a rock star and imagine themselves performing in front of a big audience. I’ve always wanted to see my name on a book cover.
Q: Do you see writing as a career?
It already is since I’ve been authoring textbooks and self-study guides for fifteen years and my typical day job is as a technical writer. As far as fiction writing goes, I’d love to retire and devote all of my time to it, but alas, finances won’t cooperate.
Q: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine a future where I no longer wrote. Of all of the things that will eventually fall away from my life as I get older, writing will probably be among the last, and probably because I’ve died.
Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Editing. It’s actually a double-edged sword since, in order to write a great story, you have to go over it again and again, correcting, adding details, filling in relevant dialog so what happens later or earlier makes sense. On the other hand, it takes a lot longer than the initial run through. First drafts are basically just outlines and it’s in the editing where the story comes alive. I still hate editing, though.
Q: Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
How about a scene from the first chapter of my novel?
Keisha heard and then felt the massive rotors roar to life, needles registering energy output, engine RPMs, and oil pressure. The hand on the clock mounted over the windscreen was just a minute shy of the hour. “Almost there, Grandpa.” She felt like she were talking to his ghost as she clenched her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering under the vibration.
The teenager pulled a lever with a dark wood handle and a polished white grip releasing the moorings that held the craft to the warehouse floor. The zeppelin trembled like a frightened animal and then began to slowly rise. Keisha’s breath caught in her chest. “No, can’t hit the ceiling.” Then she remembered. “Initiate transition.” She smiled at her Grandpa’s quirky sense of humor. It was a large button on the panel directly in front of her blinking red.
Her gloved palm slammed onto the button mashing it down. “Contact!” The engines screamed, the ship’s metal skeleton moaned and rattled, there was a sharp jolt, and then a violent, explosive concussion as the airship “The Graceful Delight” carried Keisha Davis into another world.
Q: Tell us your latest news.
My story “The Recall” is being featured in the Cloaked Press anthology Spring into SciFi. You can read more about it here. Also, I’m excited to report that the Impossible Hope anthology is moving forward. You will find my story “The Switchman’s Lantern” featured within its pages. I talk more about it here.: Want to find out about stories you can get right now? See my Publications page.
Q: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t really have time to watch a lot of TV or movies and usually restrict myself to what I have on DVD. As of this writing, I haven’t even seen Endgame yet. I used to watch a lot of those superhero shows on the CW, but not only were they a time suck, but after a while, I simply lost interest in their message.
Q: Where can your fans find you and follow?