Today, I'm interviewing Robert MacAnthony, the excellent author who contributed Temsy to "The Temporal Element." Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Robert.
MTI: To begin, perhaps you'd like to tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Nothing overly personal, just some basic background information.
MacAnthony: By day, I’m a patent, trademark, and copyright attorney. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some authors and screenwriters on the legal side of things, and that has been very interesting to me. I have loved fiction since I was around ten years old, and though I write primarily science fiction, fantasy, and horror, I enjoy the classics and modern fiction of all genres.
MTI: Now, our first pertinent question; what first compelled you to write fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
MacAnthony: Ever since I began reading fiction I’ve been fascinated by how an author creates a story and engages a reader with it. As long as I can remember, I’ve felt a desire to try my own hand at it. I like to write speculative fiction of all sorts, usually with some darker element to the story. I find that successful authors in any genre have something to teach me. Thriller writers like Michael Connelly and Robert Crais have taught me a lot about pacing and developing characters with an economy of words. Romance writers have taught me a few things about developing romantic subplots. Fiction in all of these genres makes me want to write more.
MTI: Speaking of other authors, if you had to name just one who has influenced or inspired you the most, who would it be?
MacAnthony: It’s always tough to pick just one, but I’d have to say H.P. Lovecraft. It’s not that I write in his style, or would even want to emulate what he did, but I discovered his stories when I was about fourteen and reading through his work led me to other authors of his time, like Robert E. Howard, and the stories I read at that time really solidified my own desire to write.
MTI: 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?
MacAnthony: We know it is possible to effectively travel forward in time if we can reach sufficient velocity, through the time dilation described by relativity. It doesn’t seem impossible that humans might discover other ways of traveling forward as well. I tend to view travel backwards in time as unlikely, no matter how far we advance. There are too many paradoxes, outside of some kind of multiverse theory where realities diverge when a person travels backward. I tend to think that if humans ever discover how to travel backwards in time we’d already know about it. That would be a hard secret to keep no matter how diligent the time travelers.
MTI: Well, unless you buy into my late-uncle's wild theory about flying saucers being time machines. But moving on... Regardless of whether it's probable or even possible, if you could go back to any point in history, when would you visit?
MacAnthony: I would love to visit the Maya civilization during the Classic period. I’ve long been fascinated by Maya culture and it would be great to see what they were like at the peak of their civilization and to bring some of that knowledge back with me.
MIT: Good answer! Looking forward and dreaming a bit, what futuristic piece of technology would you like to own, or have for your personal use right now?
MacAnthony: A Death Star seems cost-prohibitive and probably doesn’t have much practical value. I’d settle for something that may come to pass in my lifetime—a true holographic communications display, small enough for personal use like our cell phones are today.
MTI: I can see that happening before too long. Now, going back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
MacAnthony: I’m working on a Young Adult novel set in the modern day. The story is dark, funny in places, and draws on my interest in the Maya.
MTI: Other than Temsy appearing in The Temporal Element, do you have any other stories scheduled for publication in the near future?
MacAnthony: My story That Ol’ Dagon Dark appeared on the Pseudopod podcast in the fall of 2012. I currently have it out for placement in written form, but it isn’t sold yet.
MTI: Your bio lists you as an Intellectual Property Attorney. That sounds pretty interesting. What kind of cases do you generally handle, and have you had any high-profile clients?
MacAnthony: Most of my work is patent work, and my clients have ranged from individual inventors making devices in their garage to Fortune 500 companies. It is interesting because I learn something from every case I work on and I’m constantly dealing with cutting edge technologies.
MTI: I'll keep you in mind if I ever invent something worthy of a patent. Moving on to the lighter side, what sort of television programs do you enjoy?
MacAnthony: I don’t watch much television these days. I will sometimes watch episodes of shows I’m interested on through Netflix or Amazon. Lately, I’ve been watching science fiction or paranormal-type shows, like Firefly, Farscape, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I do enjoy educational programs about history or science, and if I do sit down in front of the television I’ll often tune into something like that.
MTI: Have you listened to any interesting music lately?
MacAnthony: I like a wide range of music, and I’m always coming across something new and interesting through online services. Lately, I’ve been listening to some of the big band musicians from the 1930s and 40s. Artie Shaw, for example. I’ve always enjoyed heavy metal in one form or another, and I love to discover bands doing interesting things in that area. Bands like Opeth or Agalloch, for example. Lately, I’ve been listening to a metal band from Jordan called Bilocate. They do some nice things drawing on traditional middle-eastern music and combining it with heavy metal.
MTI: We have a number of potential readers hanging on your every word at the moment. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with them, perhaps something to make them even more interested in your work?
MacAnthony: I’m not generally one to dispense words of wisdom. The best thing I can say is to be open to art in its various forms, and don’t restrict yourself by genre or category, whether we’re talking about fiction, music, painting, or any other artistic endeavor. I try to draw on wide sources of inspiration in my work, and I hope that most anyone will find something of interest in at least some of my stories.
MTI: Well, this certainly has been a pleasure, Mr. MacAnthony. Those who wish to read his "award winning" short story, Temsy, can pick up a copy of The Temporal Element. Until next we meet.