Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Take Two! Robert Appleton Talks About "The Mythmakers".
Hello again! This time we welcome Robert Appleton to answer two inquisitive questions about his new novella "The Mythmakers", available from Samhain.
Q.1. Following the adventures of Kate of Kratos, the protagonist of your new book is another woman: Captain Steffi Savannah. You write strong women well, giving them strength of character without bitchiness or lack of femininity. Did you make a conscious decision to depict your heroines in this way, or is that the way you like to “see” women?
A.1. It's a conscious decision, for sure. Somewhere between the damsel in distress and the man-killing warrior woman, neither of which interests me, exists a plausible kind of heroine for science-fiction. Strong-willed, emotional, flawed; she must be able to take care of herself but also realise when she needs help. She can do things the hero can't do, but not at the expense of her femininity. It isn't so much how I like to “see” women, it's more about how interesting, how plausible I can make them for the world(s) they're inhabiting. If I were to meet Kate of Kratos for real, I'd probably find her character too prickly and way too stubborn, but in a survival story on an alien planet, those flaws become strengths. Let's put it this way: I'd definitely want Kate watching over me if I ever got marooned on Kratos.
For Steffi Savannah in The Mythmakers, it was more about rekindling a sense of hope and wonder in a thankless and cynical universe. I made her tough because she's a starship captain and a smuggler. But by that same token she couldn't be a cast-iron bitch; to run an efficient ship, an even hand is required. So Steffi always respects her crew, even through her world-weariness. Her femininity gradually blossoms over the course of the story, as well as a vivacity she hasn't encountered in years. Speaking personally, that's one of my favourite types of story arc, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of telling it through a woman's eyes.
Q.2. “Ship of dreams” is a very evocative description. Could you enlarge on this?
A.2. It's really about the effect the ship's cargo has on Steffi and her crew. All of a sudden, there's an element of magic and wonder in the cold backyard of space. I don't want to give too much away, but when Steffi boards the giant alien craft, it appears to be a kind of freight vessel carrying Earth's legendary creatures. Seeing as Earth was destroyed centuries before, what is the ship's purpose? Its secret? Why is Arne, a naked blond hunk who speaks English and Danish, reluctant to tell her exactly what he is? Fascinating discoveries await Steffi and her crew...
I wrote The Mythmakers for Samhain's space opera romance anthology, so I knew I had to come up with a unique story. It started out as a Firefly-type adventure, then quickly evolved into a scenario with beautiful possibilities. “Ship of dreams” is right. That's what the story became for me. But that's not to say all the dreams were hunky-dory. ::winks:: Myths are never easy on the heroes/heroines forging them.
To read more about "The Mythmakers", visit Robert's website at the link below.