Yesterday, I posted a review on War Machine. Today, I have an interview with author Andy Remic!
SciFiChick: Tell us a bit about War Machine, in your own words.
Andy Remic: … Initially, the story begins with a quest to find an artifact which will reveal to Keenan, central protagonist, the person who killed his wife and children – through the mean streets of a bustling, lawless dystopian planet known as The City – because the city has consumed the planet – to the humid jungles of Ket and the technologically advanced savages who inhabit the City of Bone, Combat K, through adventure and action and many bullets, arrive at their destination to find the artifact holds a terrible secret: which in turn spins the story on its head, and has the unholy Combat K trio sent to Teller’s World, a dead planet, and home to the extinct GodRace Leviathan. There, Keenan must find answers to his deepest nightmares… and face a terror more ancient than anything before witnessed across The Four Galaxies.
SFC: Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
AR: Some of the character traits come from within myself, but many come from people I meet. I am like a sponge, and absorb details, characteristics, and snippets of conversation from friends, acquaintances and work colleagues. It’s funny, because many times they forget I am a writer- then accost me at a later date, saying “You __! You’ve used me in your book!” In my world, nothing is sacred. Nothing is protected. My mate [Ian Graham, author of Monument] repeatedly begs me never to use him in a novel, especially due to the many drunken adventures we’ve been through. So far, with gritted teeth, I am sticking to my promise. Soon though, you’ll see a character based on Ian Watson, a true gentleman and eccentric. Itâ€™ll be nice. I promise. 🙂
SFC: Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in a movie version of War Machine, if they gave you free reign?
AR: Bruce Willis for Keenan, without a shadow of a doubt, because he’s got that kind of sardonic grumpy grizzled visage just right for the part. And he always wears a half smile, as if constantly amused at the world. Penelope Cruz would make a superb Pippa, although she’d have to train up hard for the athletic murder. And Franco? I’m not sure about Franco, as he’s totally unique. Tom Cruise is a little guy and a superb actor, so he might do the part justice. And it would be worth it to see them shave his head and give him a bushy ginger beard. I’d also like Tarantino to direct, to give the movie that gritty urban feel it would surely deserve.
SFC: How long did it take you to write War Machine?
AR: On and off, about a year, but if you condense the writing time around family activities, holidays, and working on other projects, probably about 4 or 5 months. I enjoyed every finger-licking moment.
SFC: Do you plan on writing other Combat-K novels? What are your plans for the characters?
AR: Yup, the next Combat K novel, BIOHELL, is complete (pre-edit), and works as a standalone novel as well as a follow-on to War Machine. It’s a kind of nano-technological zombie novel. You vill like, I promise! I also have the third Combat K novel planned. It’s called SICK WORLD. It’s very, um, sick. Although this hasn’t been agreed with the publishers yet. I also have ideas for a fourth!! So, a busy bee I must be.
SFC: Will you go back and write stories of when Combat-K was in its prime?
AR: I may do, as there’s a wealth of story to be mined in that imagination lode. However, by the end of BIOHELL the trio of characters are set up to truly hate one another, and yet due to a dark military technology, are forced kicking and snarling to work together. This creates a massive amount of conflict. This creates a massive amount of fun!!
SFC: What’s next for you, after this series? Any other stories on the horizon?
AR: I’m just planning out a heroic fantasy novel, entitled KELL’S LEGEND, which I think will turn the fantasy-genre on its head; and my agent has been submitting some proposals for a series of straight mainstream thrillers in the Bourne mould, under a working umbrella title of DEATHTEC novels and featuring a twisted James Bond called Jack Snow. I’ve also planned out a further four SPIRAL novels. So. I’m a busy bunny.
SFC: Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.
AR: I’m 36 years old, started writing novels when I was about 17 (although wrote from a very early age), and basically it’s all I ever wanted to do. I’ve had jobs, yes, but I always fitted them awkwardly around my priority- my writing career. I was an English teacher for ten years, which was great and kids are always guaranteed to make you laugh, but recently I was able to write full time, although I still do some exam marking and have agreed to some university lecturing this year. I got my agent, Dorothy Lumley, in 1996 hawking a book called THEME PLANET to publishers, then my first “deal” in 2000 with Orbit Books. That was for SPIRAL, which eventually came out in 2003- it’s release date kept getting put back for marketing reasons, which was quite frustrating. I’m now with Solaris Books, who are great to work with, very professional and yet twisted and willing to experiment at the same time. I’m very happy!!
SFC: War Machine is your 4th novel. Tell us about your previous books.
AR: I wrote a trilogy of hardcore military thrillers for Orbit, beginning with SPIRAL, then QUAKE, then WARHEAD. With each successive novel they storyline became more and more SF orientated, until WARHEAD explodes with a post-apocalyptic setting (for which I’ve been heavily criticized, but hell, I love that sort of stuff). The main character is Carter, who is a deeply disturbed schizophrenic with a demon in his brain called Kade. When the going gets tough Kade takes over, and performs acts Carter would never dream of. Unfortunately, sometimes Kade takes over without Carter’s permission- a kind of mind-rape- and bad things happen. There is a love interest, the Spiral agent Natasha, and the books hammer along at breakneck pace in the manner, so it has been commented, of Matthew Reilly novels: although mine have much better and poetic writing, and far more intricate plots, haha. The official blurb runs like this: The secret organization known as SPIRAL exists to fight a shadow war against fanatics and rogue states of every faith and political persuasion. Remorseless, unstoppable, of every country and of none, SPIRAL’s agents conduct their covert operations throughout the world in a never-ending battle for civilization’s survival.
The SPIRAL novels are like a twisted version of James Bond, globe-hopping and with lots of guns, murder, black humor (in the interaction between Carter and his huge East-European squaddie sidekick, Mongrel) and basically a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek stab at big blockbuster action fests like Bond, Andy McNab and Matthew Reilly.
SFC: Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?
AR: My main loves are David Gemmell, now sadly departed and much missed, and Iain M. Banks, SF extraordinaire. I sadly don’t get much time for reading at the moment, my lifestyle is hectic, and there’s always another mountain to climb. I also, recently thoroughly enjoyed Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis, the RHCP front-man and lyricist. He portrays himself as an arse, but what a loveable arse! I’d love to meet him!!
SFC: What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?
AR: Mountain climbing, mountain biking, motorbiking (just looking to buy an Aprilia RSV, or maybe a Tuono soon, ooh my poor back!), playing with my two little boys (Joe, age 5, and Oliver, age 2) who always beat me up and are a complete joy. I love cooking, and am by my own admission superb. I haven’t poisoned anyone yet! I did kick-boxing for 5 years, but kept breaking things like knuckles and ribs, and tearing things, like groin tendons and ankle ligaments. Now I just stick to combat against my kids, which I am guaranteed to win. Sometimes. Occasionally. They’re like rabid wolves, I tell you!!
SFC: Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
AR: Thank you for the interview!! I’ll see you at Worldcon in Colorado next year, if you’re there, and buy you a glass of fine wine 🙂 Cheers, Andy Remic.