Yesterday, I had the privilege of interviewing Joel A. Parisi, author of Shadow Play. It was quite interesting for me, and I hope you enjoy it.
Joel A. Parisi: Sure! I'm a writer, editor, and all-around geek who lives in Tucson, Arizona. I've been writing for the past eight years, but only recently have I actually begun to produce quality work. Shadow Play, my debut novelette, is the first thing I've felt was good enough to self-publish and promote.
Jesse Rice: What first caused you to become interested in writing?
Joel A. Parisi: Hmm.... I would have to say it was Star Wars. My first attempt at writing a novel (which failed miserably) was driven by my somewhat misguided desire to make 'a Christian Star Wars.' But then, I was only twelve at the time.
Jesse Rice: Would you say science fiction is your favorite genre, then?
JAP: Science fiction and fantasy have to share, actually. *laughs* I love both genres for different reasons, but I love them about equally.
JR: In which genre do you prefer to write?
JAP: Again, I split my time about equally between sci-fi and fantasy. (And yes, I consider supervillains to be science fiction, at least the way I write them.)
JR: On that note, can you tell me a little bit about Shadow Play?
JAP: Absolutely. It's a bit of a mashup between your usual superhero/supervillain fare and modern action, specifically black ops. The story revolves around Paul Cantref, an ex-Army Ranger who's been recruited by the Supervillain Handling, Research And Intervention Department (SHRAID) to kill supervillains. He's assigned to lead a team into a very volatile situation in the field, and has to deal with his own insecurities while holding the team together and (hopefully) managing to kill their target.
JR: Sounds interesting. Now, from what I've heard, you are writing in a shared universe. Can you tell me a bit about that?
JAP: Yeah, that's a very interesting part of this experience.... basically, Katie Lynn Daniels started publishing a series of novelettes last year which dealt with the aftermath of the "Supervillain Outbreak" on Earth and the efforts of an alien trained to kill supervillains. She licensed the series under Creative Commons, which means (for me) the universe is open for others to contribute. She had mentioned in passing that the US had a "superhero" program (and one of the central conceits of the series is that superheroes don't exist). My reaction was "Well, we wouldn't be THAT stupid, would we? No, it must be a cover for something else." And so the idea for SHRAID was born.I talked to Katie about the idea and she was game to not only endorse my writings, but accept them as canon within the universe. And we may be doing a crossover (eventually) where our main characters run into each other....
JAP: Good question. We're still not really sure ourselves.... I know that major events (such as Katie's Season Two finale, and my series finale [sorry, no spoilers!]) will be cross-referenced. But as far as the average reader is concerned, you don't need to be intimately familiar with her series to enjoy mine, or vice versa. Though if you are familiar, you'll notice a few easter eggs.
JR: Sounds fascinating. From what I've read, your series seems to have a story arc over the entire series. After reading Supervillain of the Day, my biggest complaint was the episodic nature of the series. What caused you to choose a different route?
JAP: Well, I should mention that Katie's series does have a unified arc-- it's just a really long one.I honestly don't think I consciously chose to go a different route. But then again, I've always enjoyed long epics, featuring a meta-story spread over several volumes, so I think I may have just automatically slipped into that mode of storytelling. And then there is the fact that I tend to write plot first, while Katie tends to write characters first. So you'll see that the plot is, to me, the most important consideration (and hopefully my characters don't suffer too much as a result.)
JR: So what are some of your favorite epic stories?
JAP: The Lord of the Rings, of course (including The Hobbit and The Silmarillion). Also the Dune saga, Asimov's Robots and Empire series, The Wheel of Time, Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, and Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen.
JR: What about favorite authors? Do you find your own writings are patterned after a particular person's writing style?
JAP: Ah, that's a question a lot of authors get. For me, no. I read, and have read, so much that no one author has really 'defined' my voice.That said, aside from the authors I mentioned above, some of my favorites are Timothy Zahn, CS Lewis, Terry Pratchett, Orson Scott Card, Christopher Paolini, Madeline L'Engle, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens.... yeah, I could write a several-page-long list of those.
JR: What are your plans for future novels?
JAP: Cue sinister laughter.
In all seriousness, though, I have the next five novelettes for SHRAID to finish before I can really think of doing more. But I do have some ideas.... There's a three-part (or maybe just two-part) fantasy/sci-fi mashup that's been percolating in the back of my head for about a year now. It involves a pair of opposed but complimenting magic systems (dealing with matter and energy), an isolated colony world, and universe-ending danger. And then I also have an idea for a standalone sci-fi novel dealing with an invasion precipitated by extra-dimensional Lovecraftian aliens.
JR: Well, with that to think on, I think I've taken up enough of your time. Thank you very much for allowing me to interview you. I hope your writing endeavors continue to go well. How can my readers find you on the internet?
JAP: Not a problem! Thanks for the interview.They can check out my website, joelaparisi.com; and they can also check out my Facebook page (facebook.com/joelaparisi), follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/authorjoelap), and they can find Shadow Play for sale on Amazon and the Createspace eStore.
JR: Thank you very much. Have a nice day!