Warren Fahy is the author of Escaping America, The Kor, Fragment, and his brand new book, Pandemonium, just came out yesterday! Warren was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new book, and his writing, so please welcome him to the blog!
Warren, you brand new book, Pandemonium, just came out this month! Will you tell us a bit about it and what inspired you to write it?
Pandemonium is an adventure that grew out of my first novel, Fragment. Though it’s meant to stand alone, it’s also sort of the second half of Fragment, which completes the story and themes originated in Fragment, which is the relationship of sapient life to nature, in the broadest sense. First and foremost, it’s a thriller about a vast ecosystem that has evolved separately for hundreds of millions of years beneath the Ural Mountains, adjacent to an ancient salt mine Stalin converted into a city in the 1950s.
In addition to Pandemonium, you have three other novels, and a short story collection, under your belt. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a bit about yourself?
I started writing novels when I was 12 years old, so, yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve got lots of stuff in the vault! Every job I took along the way was chosen to support me while I write while somehow affording me some experience that would be useful as a writer. At 19 I managed a Vroman’s bookstore in Eaglerock, California. I then worked at Petersen Publishing Company as a statistical analyst. Then I worked as a word processor at the Century Plaza Hotel. Then I worked as an editor and managing editor of a series of movie databases. Then I wrote dialogue and story elements for Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Revolver, and became lead writer for WowWee Robotics writing comedy routines for robots and helping design toys. All the while, writing my own work nearly every night.
What kind of research did you do for Pandemonium?
A lot of research is involved in books like Fragment and Pandemonium. I really love reading a thriller that introduces me to a lot of exotic real world information so that the experience is not just an escapist adventure. The real world around us is the inspiration for all the fantasy we can come up with. By setting these adventures here on Earth in the present day, it enables me to explore all the miraculous and wonderful life that has evolved over the last three and a half billion years. So I research the latest science pertaining to the areas I want to journey into and, with the ecosystems in both novels, I start with a working idea of a community of creatures and then start looking for precedents in nature. Nature has almost always beaten me to whatever crazy idea I come up with, and so it’s a really fun process of discovery.
What do you love most about writing thrillers?
Exactly those things I mentioned. Nothing is more thrilling than discovering something new. We’re in a time when we’re recycling a lot of old things and it’s getting a little tired. As curious beings, we need the new, we need frontiers. So I wanted to bring that sense of new worlds to explore to the modern day again.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Obviously, Crichton, in the thriller department. But I love 19th century fiction, Sherlock Holmes, Jules Vern. In the literary department, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain. I notice sometimes that some reviewers will say, “He’s obviously been influenced by X, Y or Z” and I usually haven’t read X, Y or Z. I actually mostly read non-fiction. I don’t really want to be influenced too much by anyone.
What do you like to see in a good book?
I love a book that credibly takes me someplace amazing while authoritatively presenting a part of the real world I have never encountered before. Combine that with a great story, which is indispensable, and you’ve got me.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
The Lord of the Rings (all three books). The first time reading it is so magical and transporting. I really cringe to think about kids missing that because they saw the movies first.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I’m always writing.
Deep beneath the Ural Mountains, in an underground city carved out by slave labor during the darkest hours of the Cold War, ancient caverns hold exotic and dangerous life-forms that have evolved in isolation for countless millennia. Cut off from the surface world, an entire ecosystem of bizarre subterranean species has survived undetected—until now.
Biologists Nell and Geoffrey Binswanger barely survived their last encounter with terrifying, invasive creatures that threatened to engulf the planet. They think the danger is over until a ruthless Russian tycoon lures them to his underground metropolis, where they find themselves confronted by a vicious menagerie of biological horrors from their past—and by entirely new breeds of voracious predators. Now they’re rising up from the bowels of the Earth to consume the world as we know it.