Greetings, one and all! This is a rather unusual occasion. We're going underwater in what appears to be a steampunk submarine? We have a new knight to dub and what better way to do that than on one of this man's creations? Man, this is so cool! I haven't seen anything this "Neat-o Torpedo" since 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!
You know this hard-working follow from one of the longest running author blogs out there, but I also know him as a truly gifted writer and a true friend who won't hesitate to help others and inform the community of trouble, be it a writer's woes or a tornado warning. Let us board his literary creation, the Triton, to preform the first official and fully-submersed knighting in history. Seal the hatches and fire up the engines as we dub thee, Jay Noel, Knight of the Cosmic Table!
JN: David, this is such an honor. I really can't believe it. All of the Knights of the Cosmic Table are writers and bloggers that I look up to. I'm so excited that I'm feeling a little lightheaded. Or maybe it's from the thin air six hundred feet below the surface of the ocean. I think it's a combination of both.
So thank you so much for bringing me into the fold, and I'm .... hey David, I wouldn't touch that lever. I know it's all shiny and stuff, but bad things can happen when you start messing with the controls of this submursible boat.
DPK: *backs away from the lever*
I should probably holster my blaster and sword while we're down here. Is there anything in this coal-burning tub of iron that doesn't react too well to bullets either (Hunt for Red October, anyone?)?
JN: Almost everything inside this control room is made of metal. Looks like a ton of brass. But I really have no idea what all these levers and switches do. I accidentally hit one yesterday, and we went from two knots to thirty five knots. I'm not up on my knots-to-miles-per-hour conversion chart, but the sudden acceleration made me fall out of my seat.
DPK: No seat belts? You're a writer and a daredevil, I see.
JN: You probably also don't want to shoot that periscope. If you want, I can figure out how to get closer up to the surface so you can take a quick gander up top. I really have no idea where we are.
DPK: Sometimes not knowing is part of the adventure, amiright? Besides, there's no rush. We have a few questions to get to before we pop the lid and see where we end up.
I believe you started blogging right before the blogger boom when authors everywhere were being told that blogging might be a good idea. What inspired you to jump on that boat before it set sail?
JN: At the time, I was working for a company that was a spin-off of NASA. So I was surrounded by science. I'm a big science-geek, and I always came across really funny science stories. So I decided to blog about the humorous side of science: goofy experiments, wacky studies, and weird paranormal research. I loved it, and it even spawned a fun podcast.
DPK: You had me at "NASA." I seriously need to hang out at the place sometime. Maybe check out the inside of one of their grounded space shuttles since the government had to shut it down ...
JN: When I decided to rededicate myself to my true love, writing novels, I decided to change my format. After a long hiatus, my new blog emerged. It was weird at first, since my blog had a central theme and I was anonymous. But these days, I'm pretty "out there" and I share a lot of my struggles as a writer with the whole blogosphere.
DPK: And what an awesome blog you run; full of awesome factor!
*notices a school of tuna outside the window*
JN: After being underwater for four days straight, I'm so sick of seafood. I could really use a big juice hamburger...
DPK: I have a feeling your background in science had a lot to do with your writing endeavors. By the way, I just finished your debut novel, Dragonfly Warrior. And I got to tell you, I loved it! I may very well hold your responsible for making me a Steampunk fan. But I have to ask, why Steampunk? Why not something in the future? What influenced you to tap into this "alternate universe" genre?
JN: I decided to write within a steampunk setting because I thought that the Industrial Revolution was a perfect backdrop to my book. But I wanted to throw some alternative history in there. You combine those two, and you've got steampunk! I also wanted to focus on the "punk" aspect of the genre. It's all about challenging the powers-that-be. Going beyond the norm and the beautiful explosion of imagination and scientific discovery.
Steampunk was just perfect place for my story.
Oh, hey David, I see you eyeing that lever again. I know the urge to pull it is pretty tremendous, but I really think you should step away from it.
DPK: *backs away again*
But it's so cool looking! Alright, alright, no lever pulling. The last thing I want to do is crush this soda can and chill in a watery grave. That's another "deep" subject of its own, right?
What new projects are you working on now?
JN: I'm waiting for my editor to send me the next book in The Mechanica Wars series, Shadow Warrior. I'm aiming for a June release.
*looks out the window*
More tuna. Oh, and a giant squid ...
DPK: You're not going after that squid are you? Let's let Captain Nemo deal with that. We have an interview to finish!
JN: Okay. Giant squid tastes too good anyway. Also, I'm working on a young adult horror novel with the wonderful Miranda Hardy. Our book will be out just in time for Halloween.
DPK: You're working with Miranda Hardy?! THE Miranda Hardy? That's such a cool surprise! Collaborations are awesome (I say that with experience). Be sure to keep me posted on that YA horror release. Oh, and of course Shadow Warrior.
JN: Yes, Miranda is awesome and I've enjoyed the collaborative process. I'm looking forward to getting these books out there.
DPK: You're going to have to tell us a little more about this horror project. What's the premise?
JN: Miranda and I are both parents to teenagers, and she loved a post I did about the Black Eyed Kids phenomena. So our book is about teenagers with all black eyes who suck peoples' souls!
DPK: Kids with black eyes? *shivers* I'd buy that!
JN: Teens have been known to drain you.
DPK: What's the wildest thing that's ever happened to you, in life?
JN: Wildest thing? Other than being six hundred feet deep in a cigar shaped submarine powered by coal? It would have to be when I was twelve years old and saw a real ghost. I had a buddy over, and we both saw it. It was a life changing experience and probably drew me to the world of possibilities.
DPK: A for real ghost!? Next time I'm in Missouri, we're ghost hunting, okay?
I noticed the oxygen meter is low. You think it's time to meet the surface and making this knighting all official?
JN: Yes, I think it's time for you to go ahead and pull that lever. It should get this boat going up towards the surface.
DPK: Ah ha! You just wanted to keep me down here as long as possible (you clever rogue).
*pulls the lever and the sub rises to the surface*
Hey ... how did we end up in the Missouri river?
JN: Well, I thought we could check out the casino here on the river. There's a great blues bar with karaoke!
DPK: Seriously, you're one surprise after another!
Let's take care of this knighting business first. Now that you're part of the Cosmic Table, tell us what it means to be a knight, both in life and in this writing community?
JN: First of all, it's an honor to be a knight of the Cosmic Table. For me, it's a big affirmation that I'm doing something right. When I decided to pursue writing seriously (after several half-hearted attempts), I found myself surrounded by such wonderful bloggers and writers. It's been amazing, and I will do whatever I can do support others. All for one, and one for all, right? Oh wait...that's the Mouseketeers. Or is it Musketeers?
DPK: I hope not muskets. Those can't be in your sub either, right? Excellent answer, Jay. As a token of this order, I present you with this badge that you may use however you like. Post it on your blog or make pancakes with it. Maybe paste in on your killer airship (we should hop on that next). Sky's the limit! Congratulations, sir. Thank you for being the great example of humanity that you are.
JN: Thank you, David. LET'S PARTY!
*does his best Kevin Bacon Footloose impression, but he looks more FootLOST*
I'll do my best to uphold the honor of the Knights of the Cosmic Table!
* * *
Another successful knighting and interview! Thank you for coming to the Laire, Jay, and for allowing me a ride on the Triton!
This is my last chance to plug this awesome writing conference that I'm participating in this weekend. I'll be a writing instructor and a workshop teacher for the first time (no pressure). There's going to be lot's going on for this 4th year excursion. For those of you who are up to taking a trip to central-ish Utah and hang out with me in my old collage stomping grounds (and for pizza), here's my schedule:
8:30 - Collaborations - Room 1
9:30 - Effective Blogging - Room 1
2:30 - Mental Health in Fiction - Room 1
3:30 - Sci Fi/Fantasy Panel - Room 8
Thanks for stopping by, my friends. See you next month!
How long have you known Jay Noel? Has anyone else read his Dragonfly Warrior novel yet? What did you think of it?
I'm David, and now I want to try giant squid.