Interview with Jamie McFarlane, author of On a Pale Ship
in Author Interviews, News, Science Fiction
14 Nov 2017
What can you tell us about your new release, On a Pale Ship?
On a Pale Ship came from an idea that took seed when I started thinking about how major injuries (amputations and the like) would be treated in the far future. For me – the future isn’t just about how can we take what we have and make it better – it’s more interesting if we look for that quantum leap forward. So in the case of limb replacement, what if the new limbs weren’t just good substitutes, but what if they were substantially better – but only in some cases. Drop an evil genius on top of this and all of a sudden, we have genetic experimentation and super soldiers popping up everywhere.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
One of my favorite childhood memories was a conversation I had with my belated mother. I recall saying to her that I could write stories and that I even had some that I was thinking about. She challenged me to make good on that idea and I promised her (at the age of thirteen or so) that ‘I sure would.’ It was a promise I promptly forgot about as I went about the rest of my life. It wasn’t until I was about to turn 50 that Amazon made independent writing a possibility and I decided it was time to make good on that promise. I like to think Mom knows I did.
What’s the last book you read?
I’ve jumped hard into post-apocalyptic fiction. I think the last book I finished was ‘Locker Nine’ by Franklin Horton. Either that or ‘Opus Odyssey’ by Boyd Craven.
Who is your favorite fictional character from literature?
So many to choose from, but John Greystoke aka Tarzan.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Writing days are reasonably well organized. I start right away in the morning when I wake up and get settled behind the computer before my wife wakes up. My goal is to get some writing in before she does, but I don’t mind being distracted by business things, if they’re pressing. After breakfast, I like to get right to writing, the goal being 2 scenes (about 2/3s of a chapter) by lunch with another scene after lunch. Once I get a chapter done in the day – I consider everything else to be gravy and I’ll allow myself to be distracted by other issues.
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
I think everyone would love to have dinner with a loved one that’s passed so I’ll mention it, but also let it rest. I think I’d like to spend time with Elon Musk. Here’s a guy who thinks big and seems to be constrained by very little, including his imagination. As far as I can tell, he’s going to drag us into the future, no matter how hard we resist.
What scene in On a Pale Ship was your favorite to write?
It’s a small, mostly inconsequential scene about halfway in. There’s an antihero named Jimmy Bang. He comes across as a cheesy, cardboard cutout cowboy. Hiding from responsibility, he’s opened up a western melodrama, of which he’s the star and does trick shooting. It was fun writing a mini-western in the middle of a space opera.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Everyone has a life story that’s worth listening to.
Jamie McFarlane is the author of the new book On a Pale Ship.
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