Author Interview: The Augmented Man by Joseph Carrabis
Publish date: 25 July 2019
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
From the opening section of, Surface, to The Augmented Man
Author Interview Questions:
Do you have a pen name and why?
I go by “Stephen King” but I spell it “J. K. R o w l i n g.” I find I get more sales that way.
What other writing have you done?
Everything from journalism to trade-technical to interview to peer-reviewed papers to poetry to children’s literature.
What makes your writing unique compared to others in the genre?
Wow that’s a dangerous question to ask an author. Ask other authors who’ve read my work and see what they say. I don’t know if the following makes my writing unique, and pretty much all comment on my characters and world-building, so I guess my ability to create believable, relatable characters and my ability to create realistic situations are good. Perhaps not unique, and good.
What made you choose this genre?
I didn’t. This genre chose me. I’ve always said I write autobiography and it gets purchased as scifi, fantasy, horror, poetry, kidlit, magic realism, fiction. Some of my readers offer that I’m genre defining, others that my genre is “Joseph.” Great branding, that.
What’s the story behind your book title?
I wrote the book in April-May 1990, before the word “augment” meant anything about augmented reality or such. I knew the main character, I knew his story, and I knew his life was his burden, that it weighed him down, pushed him down, held him down and back. I also knew he was bio- and genetically engineered to be monstrous. The word “augment”/”augmented” implies a heaviness to me, a thickness, a bigness, a massiveness. You take something and add to it, make it bigger, and in the process make it less of what it was and more of something else. The augmentation process removed what was left of his humanity and made him into a monstrosity; The Augmented Man.
What’s the basic plot of your book or series?
The basic plot. Not the theme, but the plot...
Which scene from your book do you like best and why?
Another tough question. What’s the basis for “like”?
The scene where Trailer, the main character, talks with the old Jivaro shaman about forgiveness is great because it shows someone reaching out for comfort and being comforted. The scene where Trailer uses his augmentation - part of which involves rapid healing - to restructure his neural pathways (neuroplasticity) is, to me, one of the most amazing in the book because it shows someone working in real time to change their ideas about themselves and others. The scene where the Apache gunships are searching the woods for him is wonderful because it shows the comradery of combat specialists. The opening Surface piece is incredible because it leads so well to everything that comes after. The hospital scene because it shows Trailer’s extreme isolation.
So which child do I like best? I like them all equally and for different reasons.
Which is your favourite character and why?
Trailer. Because we wear the same size clothes.
How do you develop your characters?
A question to the non-conscious, in my case. My characters tend to come to me fully realised. I may ask questions about specifics unless I’m invading their privacy.
Which one of your characters would you like to be?
I have enough trouble being me. I don’t need to be somebody else.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
All the time. Do you have any idea how vast the multiverse is?
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Nope, I’m a full time author.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?
Just tell a good story.
What song would you choose as the theme song of your book?
I’ve often thought of Indigenous’ Circle album’s “You were the one” intro as the background to a book trailer.
What music do you listen to when writing?
Right now it’s Cowboy Junkies. It can range from Dave Brubeck to Bob James to Coltrane to Miles Davis to The Beatles to Capercaille to Bach to Rachmaninoff to Seven Nations to ...
What are you working on now?
This interview. Beyond that, a complete rewrite of a short story, Mitre, another chapter in a Tales of the Northern Clan series, a fantasy based on my years as a cultural anthropologist, some blog posts. I’m working on this interview to give my brain a chance to relax from my other writing. I use blog posts pretty much the same way. A lot of my writing is exploration, it’s body-building before the pose-down. I’m learning what works and what doesn’t, how and why.
What’s your writing routine?
I sit, I write. I walk, I write. I exercise, I write. I go to sleep, I write. Pretty much everything I do is involved in my work. I’m constantly doing the one while doing any other.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
ROFL! I don’t have writer’s block, I have moments when I’m not paying attention and/or being stupid. In either case, once I recognize what’s going on, I lower, center, relax, and breathe. I listen, pay attention, watch. Everything works out fine.
Describe your road to publishing your book:
Never give up, never surrender.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I had an idea. I did some A/B testing. The responses were consistent and what I’d anticipated. I went with it.
How do you handle marketing on social media?
I don’t, really. I spend my time developing my craft and do social marketing when I need a break or the mood strikes me. And when I do go social, it’s usually to promote others, not myself. At least I think I do that. If someone disagrees, do let me know.
If you could only take three books with you through an interstellar portal, what would they be?
The Complete and Unabridged Guide to Living Anywhere After You’ve Gone Through an Interstellar Portal, Volumes I, II, and III
List some great books you have recently read:
I’m rereading the complete Katherine Mansfield because she incredible at settings and character. I recently finished Face Value which is a must for authors and anybody in half a dozen social and anthro fields. Memoirs of Hadrian is a must for language and voice.
Who are your five favourite authors?
Who has lasted the test of time...Budrys, definitely. Heinlein because he wasn’t afraid to explore. Brautigan for the power of his language. Van Vogt and Blish because when they cooked, they cooked. Bradbury. Piper. Hammett. Aldiss. Swinburne.
What is your favourite quote?
Today it’s “A compass need not see north in order to feel its pull.” - Rita Mae Brown in Starting from Scratch
Do you have a blog?
What do you write about in your blog?
Now it’s largely where I’ll be appearing and please, dear god, come by so I won’t be alone. Also excerpts from work in progress, things I’m learning about storycrafting and storytelling, some opinion pieces, and about our wildlife.
Who would you like to be stuck on a deserted planet with?
My wife, partner, Princess, Susan.
Who would you choose to read your audiobook?
How does one read an audiobook? Do they come with the equivalent of dustjackets? I would think people would listen to an audiobook. Who would I choose to listen to my audiobooks? Everybody. Through all time. Generations yet to come.
Or is the question, who would you choose to narrate your audiobook?
Sean Connery, Liam Neeson, Derek Jacobi, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford, Alec Baldwin.Think they’re available?
What’s your dream job and do you think you’ll do it one day?
I’m doing it now.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
What is this “not writing” people talk about?
Where do you like to travel to?
Places you’ve never been. Some places I hope you’ll never be.
What’s your favourite pet?
We’re back to that favorite child question.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
Depends on where I am and what I’m reading.
Are there any writing styles or genres you dislike?
Oh, yeah. I can’t stand Poor Writing. It seems to be a pervasive genre, though. I find it everywhere.
Favourite thing to cook: Anything for family and friends.
Silliest saying: Yakka foob mog. Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork. Chumble spuzz. - Calvin, giving Newton's First Law "in his own words"
Best holiday spot: You think I’m going to tell people?
Most played song: That I play the most (Bach) or that I listen to the most (no specific favorite)
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser? Both.
Do you prefer to read SciFi or fantasy: If it’s well written, I’ll read it.
Best superpower: Kindness/Compassion
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: One more good thing.