I’d like to welcome John B. Rosenman at this stop on his blog tour. Welcome to the Tamago, John! Without further adieu, John’s piece on What and Why I Write.
WHAT AND WHY I WRITE . . . by John B. Rosenman
Greetings to the readers of this blog, and my warmest thanks to Catherine for hosting this post. I’m John Rosenman, and I’d like to tell you a little about myself as a writer.
Altogether, I’ve published about 350 short stories in places like Weird Tales, Whitley Strieber’s Aliens, Starshore, and the Hot Blood erotic horror series. I’ve also published eight books, six of which are novels, and one of which is a short story collection. Some of the novels, like Drollerie Press’s Alien Dreams, share a basic plot: a man travels to a distant world and has amazing adventures. Why do I keep returning to this story? Well, I grew up during the Golden Age of Science Fiction which stressed the mind-boggling, mind-stretching wonders of the universe and the extraterrestrial marvels of outer space. I read The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, saw SF thrillers like War of the Worlds, Forbidden Planet, and The Thing, and had my mind splendidly warped forever by their influence. (For more information, check my web site.)
A sense of wonder and infinite, even frightening possibilities—that’s important to me. I’ve always felt free to let my imagination soar as high as it can go, even if it means taking foolish chances and proposing ideas that some people might laugh at. So in Alien Dreams, my most cosmic novel, Captain Eric Latimore actually changes his species in order to save his crew and the woman he loves. He transforms into a giant, winged, angelic-looking creature and makes love for 10,000 subjective years to the aliens’ beautiful but deadly queen to seal the deal. Then he tearfully says goodbye to his Apache lover and leads the “Angels” across the galaxy—no, across the universe—to do battle with god, or the Gatekeeper who rules this universe. What happens if he wins? What happens if he loses? Well, if he loses, two people die, because he is actually not one person but two. Fact is, a brother shares his brain with him, and they directly experience each other’s thoughts. What happens if the brother disagrees with Latimore and wants to seize control? Ah, that’s another development, another terrible complication for our complex and courageous hero.
I like to think that I write “Wow,” post-Golden Age SF that takes risks and involves high, high concepts. But characters and characterization are important too, perhaps even more important, because the soul of life consists of people, people we know and people we can imagine, even if they sometimes happen to be horrifying aliens who look completely different from us.
I’d like to thank not only Deena Fisher of Drollerie Press for taking a chance on an experimental novel like Alien Dreams, but all the adventurous publishers and editors online that have opened their creative doors to authors like me and others who don’t write to a rigid, successful formula. So thanks go to the editors of Mundania Press who purchased Speaker of the Shakk and Beyond Those Distant Stars, with their frightening and beguiling aliens and their shape-changing, transformative heroes; to Abby Carmichael of Blade Publishing who accepted my most ambitious and experimental novel, A Senseless Act of Beauty, with its neo-African alien world and standalone stories within the larger framework; to Emma Porter of Lyrical Press, who gave the young hero in Dax Rigby, War Correspondent, a chance to live in several electronic formats despite explicit sexuality and unconventional religious concepts. Last, I’d like to express my appreciation to Lauren Gilbert and the folks of Eternal Press, who recently accepted my SF horror thriller, Here Be Dragons, which will be launched next week.
What am I working on now? Hey, I’m glad you asked. Dark Wizard is a novel of alien invasion that actually occurs right here on Earth, because I finally found a terrestrial city that in some ways is just as otherworldly as anything you can find on Altair-4. San Luis Obispo, CA offers Bubblegum Alley, whose walls are encrusted with decades of gum, and a hotel/restaurant which is a deliberate monument to kitsch and outlandish bad taste. And that’s just for starters.
You know, when I was a kid, I used to lie in bed in the dark and listen to the radio. The Shadow. Lights Out. Inner Sanctum. In some ways I’m still a kid lying there, listening to the words in the teeming dark and letting them take me wherever we both want to go.