Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Author Interview: Lauren A. Forry

Today, I'm interviewing Lauren A. Forry, the fabulous writer who contributed Application of the Novikov Self-Consistency Conjecture to the Daily Commute of One David Jensen to "The Temporal Element."  Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Lauren.

Let us start with some introductory material.  Tell our readers a little bit about yourself, if you don't mind.

FORRY:  I’ve been writing stories ever since my parents bought our first computer when I was in second grade, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until college. I watched too much M*A*S*H in high school and convinced myself I should be a doctor, so I started at NYU on the pre-med track. I had a free space in my second semester, so I took an open screenwriting course and was hooked. No one was surprised when I told them I changed majors. It seemed everyone knew before I did that I was a writer.

After graduating, I worked freelance in the film production industry for a few years before returning to school to get my Master’s in Creative Writing. I spent the last two and a half years living in London and just recently returned the US, but I hope to relocate there permanently at some point in the future. I miss good tea.

MTI:  What compelled you to start writing fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

FORRY:  I was an avid reader as kid, and there are only so many Goosebumps books you can read before you decide you can write one yourself. I grew up in the woods and always found ghost stories and scary stories fascinating because it felt like they could be happening right outside my door. Then my dad had me watching The X-Files at the age of eight, so loving horror and sci-fi was ingrained in me at an early age. They’re still my favorites to read and write.

MTI:  If you were to name the author who has most influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

FORRY:  Well, my favorite author tends to be the person I’ve read most recently, and right now I’ve been reading a lot of Daphne du Maurier. We have different styles, but I admire how she builds the suspense in her stories, even in seemingly ordinary moments. Having a cinema studies background, my writing is also inspired just as much by what I watch as what I read, and I’m loving the work being done by Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss on BBC’s Sherlock right now. Incredibly clever and tightly plotted.

MTI:  Yes, Steven Moffat's work is absolutely brilliant.  Sherlock is great, and I especially love his work on Doctor Who.  I just hope he keeps Matt Smith around for a few more years.

The Temporal Element is a Martinus Publishing anthology devoted entirely to time travel adventures.  These fictional accounts are fascinating, of course, but do you ever believe that humanity will discover a viable way to travel backwards and forwards through time?

FORRY:  Ever? Maybe, if humanity is around long enough. People couldn’t conceive of iPads a thousand years ago, so who knows what technology could be possible in the future. Should we? Now that’s a different question. Doctor Who presents some good reasons both for and against.

MTI:  If you were given the chance to visit any point in history, when would you visit?

FORRY:  I’d love to go to the Cretaceous Period so I could see what the T-Rex and, my favorite, the Velociraptor actually looked like, but knowing my luck I’d either a) see neither or b) get eaten.

MTI:  Another vote for dinosaurs.  Steven Gepp's Extinction should have a lot of fans.  Thinking forward, what piece of futuristic technology would you like to own, or have for your personal use?

FORRY:  I love traveling, so any type of teleportation that could move me around the world quickly would be fantastic. Airports are fantastic places to gather character ideas, but avoiding long haul flights and jetlag would be even better.

MTI:  Indeed, just watch out for the unforeseen side effects of bio-digital cloning (a little shameless Guns of Mars plug there).  Let's get back to your writing.  Can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

FORRY:  I’ve just started my second novel, The Elsewhere Men, which is a sci-fi horror set in 1955 Surbiton, England, and I’m working on two TV pilots with my screenwriting partner, Jannicke de Lange—Sunshine & Shadow, a supernatural buddy cop drama and The Ward, a dramedy set in a mental institution.

MTI:  I should consult with you on my own screenwriting aspirations sometime.  Other than the appearance of ...One David Jensen in The Temporal Element, do you have any other stories slated for publication in the near future?

FORRY:  Not at the moment. I’m focusing on getting my first novel published—Mr. Brownawell’s Collection, a gothic horror set in 1947 Great Britain—but I’m revising some short stories at the moment and hoping to have them out soon.

MTI:  You say you recently moved back to the States from the UK.  How'd you enjoy your time across the pond?

FORRY:  London is fantastic. It’s a wonderful place for a writer because you can absorb so much history just by walking down the street. Plus, there are so many museums. If you need to do research on anything, guaranteed they have a museum about it and entry will be either free or inexpensive. And the cafes are excellent. I highly recommend The Watch House in Rotherhithe, if you’re ever over there. And the National Theatre and the BFI and I’ll stop because I could go on forever and bore you to death.  

MTI:  I'll definitely have to check out the sights if I ever have the opportunity to visit London.  On the lighter side, what sort of television programs do you watch these days, if any?

FORRY:  This is another list that could go on forever. The top choices right now are Sherlock, Ripper Street, American Horror Story, Doctor Who, Community, and Life on Mars (UK). I can, and will, rewatch Life on Mars any day, any time.

MTI:  What sort of music do you prefer?  Any bands we should know about?

FORRY:  I’m notorious amongst my friends for not knowing the world’s most famous songs. The majority of things on my iPod are musicals and movie soundtracks, so I’m probably not the best person to ask, but I’ve been listening to a good deal of folk-rock lately like The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons. No idea why, but I like it.

MTI:  We're getting near the end of the interview, so is there anything special you'd like to say to your fellow writers, or to potential readers?

FORRY:  Watch the originals first, then the remakes. Sometimes the movie can be better than the book, but check out both so you can decide for yourself. Introductions to books should never be skipped; there is good information there. Be wary of US remakes of British television show (for every The Office there are five failed Spaced pilots). And get everything in writing; you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of Judge Judy.

MTI:  Very poignant advice. I, myself, have been avoiding the Game of Thrones tv series, so I can read the novels first.  Oh, and don't get me started on the absolute travesty that was the Starship Troopers movie(s).  Heinlein would likely be disappointed.

I'm sure everyone is eager to check out your work at this point.  Before we go, do you have a few paragraphs of a story you'd like to share, maybe something new that nobody else has seen before?

FORRY:  Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Brownawell’s Collection:

A single lantern hanging towards the front of the carriage was all the light they had. Eliza searched around them for something to keep warm and eventually found an old wool blanket under their seats. She tucked it around herself and Rebecca. There was nothing to see in the dark. Eliza began humming to keep her nerves steady. She didn’t realize what song it was until she reached the refrain – “I’ll Be Seeing You”. She kept humming it as they drove further down the gravel road.

The biting wind prevented her from falling asleep. She focused on finding signs of life in the unfamiliar landscape. A house, a shop, a stray dog, anything. All she could see was the road they travelled on and the grass either side.

Despite her efforts, Eliza didn’t notice the stone and iron gates until they were passing through them. She turned round to try and get a better look, but they had already disappeared into the darkness. Facing forward, she saw a speck of light in the near distance, growing stronger with each pull of the carriage.

From the light emerged the outline of a manor house. Like Carroll’s Cheshire cat, it came into being piece by piece – there a window, there a chimney, there a hedge. The carriage drew closer. There appeared a door and by that door, a thin, unmoving figure.

Mr. Drewry pulled the carriage to a stop in front of the house. The still figure remained in the doorway. It was a woman – Eliza could see now – her hair pulled back in a loose bun, dark dress swaying in the night-time breeze. Eliza and Rebecca waited to approach the house until Mr. Drewry did so. The woman stepped aside, allowing them entry, then approached the girls, a lantern held above their heads as she inspected them. The shadows from the flame fell on her face, exaggerating the wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. Grey stained her dark brown hair, and her serious manner reminded Eliza of their long-dead grandmother. When she spoke to Mr. Drewry, her voice sounded much younger.
“Why,” she asked, “are there two of them?”

MTI:  Well, that's certainly something!  Thank you, Lauren, for this captivating interview.  Those who want to read more of her work can pick up a copy of The Temporal Element.

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