Interview with Lindsay Buroker, author of Shockwave
13 May 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Shockwave?
I’ve been calling it Big Bang Theory meets Star Wars. I really wanted to do a space adventure series where the smart geeky scientists and engineers get to be the heroes. The main character is a roboticist, and his best friend is a bacteriologist. You wouldn’t think they would be the types to run off to space on adventure, but sometimes adventure comes looking for you!
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I was an only child and read tons! My mom taught me to read at an early age, and I had a book with me for every road trip, swim meet, camping adventure, and everything in between. It was definitely my mom who instilled the love of reading in me.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Oh man, I don’t know. Nothing brilliant and literary! Probably the pulpy genre stuff that turned me into a fan of the genres I write in today.
After adoring Star Trek reruns as a kid, I wandered into the science fiction section of the bookstore in 7th grade and realized there were novels based on all my favorite characters. I spent that whole year reading them—I must have gone through at least a hundred. I always loved the ones that focused on the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Those are the kinds of characters I enjoy writing, people with lots of personality who develop tight bonds over the course of a series. I quite enjoyed the ones by Vonda McIntyre and Diane Duane.
I read most of the Jack London books at an even younger age, and I’ve always been drawn by the idea of exploring what’s left of humanity when you stick people in these dire situations where they’re stripped of the trappings of civilization. Lord of the Flies stuck with me for the same reasons.
For science fiction that is accessible and entertaining while also having its deeper, thoughtful moments, I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and re-read those every few years.
For non-fiction, I like Malcolm Gladwell’s books. They seem like such common sense, but he’s usually subverting the commonly held beliefs and makes you think about your assumptions. Also, they’re very readable!
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Being on a talk show sounds kind of horrific, but I think Neil Gaiman would be interesting to interview. He seems to have done it all, so I’d ask for some crazy stories about traditional publishing and his experiences in the writing biz.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
It’s an opportunity for me to create something—or someone—that may not be out there or may be hard to find in my genre. I’m kind of known for quirky, unique characters. I’ve done autistic heroes, smart nerds, and in this one, I’ve got someone dealing with some genetic foibles that make life more difficult for him as he’s having his adventures. I think people appreciate it when they read about someone like themselves (maybe not the epitome of beauty, charisma, and athleticism) beating the odds and saving the day. Who doesn’t like an underdog?
What is a typical day like for you?
I usually start the morning with a four mile walk with my dogs (they run off-leash and do more like sixteen miles), and then I have something to eat and start writing or editing, depending on where I am in a project. I’ll break for dinner and another dog outing (I have high-energy, needy dogs!), and then work a little more in the evenings. The evenings are often the email and “admin” stuff. I usually save bigger adventures with friends or family for between projects. I’m not very good at taking weekends off!
What scene in Shockwave was your favorite to write?
I enjoy any scene where the characters are bantering (which is a lot of them!), but one of my favorites was toward the end of the book. Our hero has been teased with secrets about himself throughout the story, and there’s a scene with the evil pirate, Captain Rache, where a big reveal comes as a shock to him. The scene has plenty of banter too. 🙂
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Even though I can’t say I adored Albert Camus when we read him in school, one of his quotes comes to mind for me a lot, and it’s why I’m an independent author and an entrepreneur. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
I love being a creator, and I’m tickled that we live in an era where it’s possible to turn it into a career without worrying about being good enough or to-market enough for the gatekeepers.
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