I have the amazing David Macinnis Gill on the blog today, and couldn’t be more excited! David is the author of Soul Enchilada, Black Hole Sun, and its upcoming companion novel, Invisible Sun. He was kind enough to let me interrogate ask him a few questions and I’m thrilled to host him today! Also, I’m giving away my ARC of Invisible Sun, so check out the deets at the end of the post!
Please give David a warm welcome!
David, you’re the author of Soul Enchilada, Black Hole Sun, and Invisible Sun (out next week, squeeee!). Have you always wanted to be a writer? What made you decide to take the plunge and write your first novel.
I grew up in a time when mothers wore their hair teased into puffy bouffants affixed with hairspray, so my mom’s weekly visits to the beauty parlor were a staple of my elementary age childhood. Kids weren’t allowed inside, so I spent most of the hours it took to render her hairdo sitting in the car, drawing stories, writing dialog, and narrating what happened. Those stories were the genesis for wanting to be a writer when I grew. I always wanted to make comics, but I’ couldn’t draw, so I used words to do the drawing for me. I was inspired to write my first published novel, Soul Enchilada, when I entered a short story contest to write a scary Halloween story. The reaction was so positive, I turned it into a novel. The very novel I wrote (Soul as my seventh) was written in my eleventh grade Econ class. I still have it in the garage, when it sits atop the freezer gathering dust.
How did you celebrate when you sold your first book? Was there squeeeing? Dancing? Cake? All of the above?
I wish! Honest and for true, there was just a deep sense of relief. As I said above, Soul Enchilada was the seventh novel I written, and on two previous ones, it was *this close* to a sale. So when I got the call—which was actually an email—I sat and stared at the screen for an hour. There was squeeeing and cake and maybe some dance-like hopping about, but it came later on when reality sunk in.
Soul Enchilada was very much a supernatural fantasy, whereas Black Hole Sun and Invisible Sun are sci-fi and steeped in futuristic action. Was it a challenge to make the switch from fantasy to sci-fi?
It was a big challenge. With fantasy, you can really stretch things to the extreme for effect, especially considering that Soul Enchilada was written as a broad farce that was meant to make readers laugh their way through some of the very heavy themes of loss and betrayal. With sci-fi, you have to ground your work in a scientific basis.
While you can extrapolate, you still have to stay within the bounds of science. For example, in Black Hole Sun, the soldiers wear thin body armor that can absorb the energy of bullets. Currently, we have bioadaptive cloth that can adjust to temperature. I extended its capabilities by adding future nanotechnology to the mix.
Did you have to do any extra research for Black Hole Sun and Invisible Sun?
A few tons of it! Research on Mars history, terrain, atmosphere, orbits, seasons, winds, core, soil, etc. research on terraforming, greenhouse gases, permafrost, canyons, flooding, oceans, and tides. Research on Earth weapons, food, customs, languages, religions, governments, art, poetry, and hairstyles. And earrings. There’s more, but those come to mind first.
What’s one of your most unusual writing habits?
I write every scene out as a screenplay first, then write it in prose. This helps me with blocking, especially the fight scenes.
What are some of your favorite authors or books?
Oy, that’s tough. There are so many. For teens, Jo Knowles, Suzanne Collins, Chris Crutcher, Megan Whalen Turner, cind Pon, Lauren Myracle, David Lubar, and Graham Salisbury.
Are there any particular sci-fi titles (aside from Black Hole Sun and Invisible Sun, of course), that you would recommend?
Robert Heinlein’s junior novels such as Double Star and The Rolling Stones; Leviathan by Scott Westefeld; Across the Universe by Beth Revis.
What are you reading now?
Do revisions of Shadow on the Sun, the next Durango novel count? No? Ten I’m planning to read Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos when I finish.
When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
My daughters play ice hockey, so I spend a lot of time in ice rinks shivering. I also like playing video games, which is kind of obvious when you read my books.
If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Germany. I’ve always wanted to travel Europe and that seems like a starting place. Also, Black Hole Sun has been translated into German, and I would love to walk into a bookstore and say, “das ist mein Buch.”
If trips in the Space Elevator were available tomorrow, would you go? If so, who would you take with you?
Sure! I’d take my son, who loves roller coasters. I’d be terrified the whole time—I gave Durango my fear of heights.
Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
Keep an eye open for the third book in the series, Shadow on the Sun, due March out 2013!
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of INVISIBLE SUN (arc) by David Macinnis Gill to 1 winner
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 3/30/12
6. Giveaway book generously provide by the author.
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
David Macinnis Gill is an associate professor of English education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, specializing in young adult literature. He is a past president of ALAN, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE. Black Hole Sun is his second novel. His first, Soul Enchilada, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults in 2010, a Kirkus Best Book in 2009, a Bank Street College Best Books of the Year selection in 2010, and an NYPL Stuff for the Teen Age selection in 2010.