Thursday, March 14, 2013

Author Interview: Tony Laplume

Today, I'm interviewing Tony Laplume, the author who contributed the short story A Home More Welcoming to "The Temporal Element."  Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Mr. Laplume.

Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

LAPLUME: Sure!  I come from a line of French Canadians, though my particular family broke off and moved into the uncharted territory of Maine, where it was rumored that indoor plumbing did not exist.  I started writing as a storytelling exercise in middle school and then actually writing in high school, although unprompted stories didn’t come until college, and then it was mostly material based on Star Trek.  I started expanding my range in 2004, when I started work on my first novel, which was about superheroes, and have since branched out into other genres, although what I like to say is that I concentrate first on the human experience and then whatever interesting trappings come to mind form around that.  I currently live in Colorado Springs.

MTI:  Getting right down to business; what made you decide to write fiction in the first place, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

LAPLUME:  Based on my above statements, I would have to say it was Star Trek, which I loved growing up, and spent a lot of my time with action figures coming up with my own adventures, which led to independent creations that I still work on to this day, which is to say that at the moment I’m focused primarily on space opera.  I’m also a big fan of Star Wars.

MTI:  If you could name only one author who has influenced or inspired you the most, who would it be?

LAPLUME:  The one author who has inspired me the most would have to be Dave Barry.  I don’t necessarily focus on humor, but his grasp of the absurd interconnectedness of things may help explain why I tend to blend disparate elements together in my stories and watch as they converge in the end.

The Temporal Element is an 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?

LAPLUME:  Absolutely.  I’ve written a number of short stories concerning time travel.  Based on my theories, time travel is regulated enough so that we will never know that it already exists, is already happening.  It’s not like the big dramatic events people tend to think.  You can’t change the past, which even in the future is someone’s past.  What’s happened, happened.  Everything else isn’t time travel, it’s alternate reality.

MTI:  If you could go back to any point in history, when would you visit?

LAPLUME:  I think experiencing the American Revolution would be pretty interesting.  It’s one thing to read about it, and quite another to experience it.  I wonder just how many common citizens really supported the cause.

MTI:  Looking forward, what futuristic piece of technology would you like to own, or have for your personal use?

LAPLUME:  A holodeck (from Star Trek).  It’s the ultimate storytelling environment.

MTI:  On the subject of writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

LAPLUME:  The first and most important book in the space opera I was telling you about.  It’s been developing since 1998, and I figured it was about time to actually write the thing.

MTI:  Other than A Home More Welcoming appearing in The Temporal Element, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

LAPLUME:  Not that I’m currently aware of.  There’s a good chance that I will self-publish more material.

MTI:  You hold a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Maine.  Tell us a little bit about life in the Pine Tree State; what are some of your fond memories from there?

LAPLUME:  Dramatic weather!  You may not always appreciate it when you’re experiencing it, but it provides some of the best memories you’ll ever have.  The Ice Storm of ’98 is pretty much legendary.  I was doing a paper route with my sister at the time.  We were like mailmen.  We went out on the perilous roads and delivered every newspaper.  The power outage provided for some unique experiences, including the only time we cooked pizza literally on the top of our wood stove.  Beyond all that, it was visually memorable, the whole landscape covered in ice.  It was breathtakingly beautiful. 

MTI:  Indeed, the Ice Storm was an amazing experience.  I could write a whole book about my own memories of that ordeal... but let's get back to our interview.  Have you watched any good tv shows lately?

LAPLUME:  I was sad to see the final episodes of “Fringe.”  Great show about interconnectedness (go figure).

MTI:  What kind of music do you prefer?

LAPLUME:  There’s a great Maine folk act known as Schooner Fare that gave me a lifetime appreciation for the form, which led me to a Newfoundland band called Great Big Sea, which I discovered completely by coincidence in college, because they performed during the freshmen orientation process.  Music for me is all about Hootie and the Blowfish, which above all else I define by this tradition.  Tellingly lead singer Darius Rucker is now a country artist.  I love the Beatles, U2, Coldplay, Oasis, stuff like that.

MTI:  As we near the end of this interview, do you have anything you'd like to say to your potential readers?

LAPLUME:  Figure out your voice.  This is good advice for writers, but even better advice for readers, listeners, whoever.  It’s knowing what moves you.  You can have an incredibly diverse range or a very limited one.  Also, try not to be too harsh on the stuff that falls out of it.  This is the toughest job anyone will ever have.

MTI:  To wrap up, do you have a few paragraphs of fresh material to share with our readers?  Something to whet their appetites?

LAPLUME:  From “Seven Thunders,” the book I was talking about:

“There was never a point in his life where he consciously betrayed his brother; it was more that Craig Moby seemed to outgrow Lance Nolan.  After that fateful meeting with his birth mother, Moby drifted away into his own life, and the method for this detachment was the same that had once united the brothers together.  The differences had been brought into stark relief.  For his part Moby could no longer ignore them.  Perhaps it was at this point that he began to appreciate how much better he seemed to be at everything, but it was not about being superior so much as awareness and interest in his own abilities.  He simply began to explore his own potential at a pace that felt more and more natural.

     When Moby started attending the school on Pedagog, he discovered an environment that rewarded him for the first time.  He hadn’t realized before how stifled he’d always been.  There were species of all variety in attendance, but the student body was dominated by Omoxians, as was the teaching board.  It was remarkably refreshing to be challenged.  He’d never had extensive interactions with Omoxians much less any other species before, yet even that development didn’t bother him.  He was fascinated by them, as if he could talk with the great figures of history on a daily basis.  Who wouldn’t enjoy that?  The Omoxians had certainly fostered a lot of strong opinions over the centuries, all of them mere trivia now that Moby had a chance to meet them.

     What he noticed more keenly than the famous glow was that they seemed to float rather than walk.  He never saw any of them jog or run or stumble, as if they were in perfect control of their bodies and had mastered a deliberate approach  to life, which he found fascinating, an innate representation of serenity that outwardly he projected but inwardly could not answer the thousand questions he still had about his nature.  Now that he had met his Danab mother, did that somehow negate the humanity he had always known?  Would he ever be able to reconcile the two halves of himself?  There could never be a satisfactory solution to this dilemma in some ways.  He did not want to betray the only family he had ever known.  The problem was that he was becoming more and more aware of the stark differences between himself and that family, and yearned to know more of the one he had never known.  The Omoxians were a living model for that contradiction.  They had survived the end of their world.  He wanted to know what that meant.”

MTI:  There you have it, folks.  Thank you, Tony, for giving such a captivating interview.  Those who want to check out his latest published story can pick up The Temporal Element.

1 comment:

  1. I think if I owned a holodeck, I would disappear in it and no one would ever see me again.