Monday, October 22, 2012

Young Adult Author Profile: E.C. Myers

Please join us this Thursday, October 25, for an evening of new young adult literature! Four authors, three local and one formerly local, will be reading from and discussing their newest books. This interview with E.C. Myers, author of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, is the third of four author profiles I'll be posting on the blog this month. Keep checking back!

For more details about the event, see our website or the Facebook event page.

1) How would you describe your writing?
Functional? Unadorned? In all seriousness, my style is often described as “clear” and “accessible,” which not every author would like to hear. In young adult fiction, this can be a strength though, and it’s just a reflection of the kind of books that I like to read. I can appreciate a clever or well-crafted line, and I respect wordsmiths who write beautiful prose, but as a reader and a writer I am most interested in characters and story and not so much in describing every detail. Every work is also different; some books need a snappy pace, and others invite a more leisurely approach to convey a particular tone or atmosphere.

2) How does writing fit into your everyday life?
Writing is the focus of most of my waking hours! First of all, I write and edit articles, letters, and speeches for my day job, and I’m working on my fiction every chance that I can get around work, family, and friends. When people say they don’t have time to write, they usually mean they won’t make time to write. As busy as life gets, and it gets very busy, I write every morning for sixty to ninety minutes before work, and often in evenings and on weekends. Of course, “writing” these days often means “writing-related activities,” whether I’m blogging, answering interview questions, designing bookmarks and swag for my book, updating my website, etc. I love watching films and television, reading, and playing video games too, but those all take a back seat to social interactions and writing, if they aren’t entirely left by the side of the road for months at a time. Though I’m a big consumer of content, I get more satisfaction from creating my own.

3) What authors and/or poets inspire you?
I am most inspired by authors who get published through talent, hard work, discipline, and sheer determination. You know that everyone who has a book on a store or library shelf has had to give up something important: time with family, hobbies, checking their Facebook page. And most authors don’t do it for money, but because they want to—they’re compelled to—tell stories. That goes for anyone who creates any kind of art.

I enjoy the work of a lot of contemporary authors of science fiction and fantasy, for adults and young adults, and I’m fortunate enough to be friends with many talented people who create amazing stories and are devoted to writing the best work they can. Every one of them inspires me to keep writing and improving and challenging myself. But I’m also inspired and encouraged by authors I read when I was young, like William Sleator and Robert C. O’Brien—writers who perhaps never achieved the fame and fortune they deserved, but created books that deeply affected me as a child and as a writer that stick with me today.

4) What part does the community of Philadelphia play in your life and your writing?
I’m a recent transplant from New York City, where I was part of a large, diverse creative community. It has taken me a while, but I’ve found a similar community in Philadelphia that is just as active and supportive. It feels somewhat smaller, but I’m impressed by how passionate everyone is about their work and excited about what their friends are doing. The only problem is I haven’t gotten as involved with the local scene as I’d like. One of the reasons it took me so long to meet other geeks and writers is because I was so busy with settling into a new city and a new job and spending time with family, but I’m ready to take more advantage of the culture and creativity here and contribute more to it.

5) What is the last book you have read that you enjoyed? Tell our Big Blue Marble community a little about it.
I’ve just finished Railsea by China MiĆ©ville, a young adult novel which takes place in a very post-apocalyptic earth covered in train rails maintained by mysterious mechanical “angels.” Trains navigate the crisscrossing network of tracks like ships on the high seas, hunting the giant, deadly creatures that now inhabit the dirt; scavenging old technology for treasure; or pirating. The story is focused on a boy named Sham Yes ap Soorap, who joins Captain Naphi’s ship as she searches for her “philosophy,” a humongous mole she’s been hunting a la Ahab and Moby Dick. Adventure ensues. It reminds me a bit of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series crossed with Philip Reeve’s Predator Cities Quartet, which are some of my favorite books.

E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and a public library in Yonkers, New York. He has published short fiction in a variety of print and online magazines and anthologies, and his young adult novels, FAIR COIN and QUANTUM COIN, are available now from Pyr Books. He currently lives with his wife and a doofy cat in Philadelphia and shares way too much information about his personal life at and on Twitter @ecmyers.

Photo credit: S. Kuzma Photography.

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