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Archangel Protocol

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LYDA F.A.Q.

Finally enough people have asked me questions like these that I decided to make a Frequently Asked Questions page. Many of these questions were asked by a reader of mine named Kurt Duerksen, some I've credited directly to those who asked them, and others I made up myself. I've organized them roughtly by topic:

Prequel:

I haven't heard anything about you in a long time! What are you doing with your life? Are you writing!!??

The Origins and Current Books:

When did you first start writing?

So once you got an agent, getting a book deal was easy, right?

What do you mean if only you could find an agent? You'd think it'd be easy for you now!

That explains how Archangel Protocol saw print, but what's the story behind Fallen Host?

Are you closing in on the finish line for Messiah Node or have to been doing too many promotion gigs to get much writing done?

Will there be more stories in the Archangel Protocol future after Apocalypse Array?

What's happening with your story set in St. Paul? Anything on paper, or is it still brewing in your brain somewhere?

So, then what the hell are you working on now?

A vampire novel? I [bleeping!] HATE vampire novels!

You talk a lot about this first novel Sidhe Promised. What ever became of that?

About Writing and the Writing Life:

How does one get into the field of writing?

Also, what about copyrights--is there a copyright office? How do I apply for a copyright?

About agents--how do I get one? And would any be willing to take a teenager as a client?

Which publishing companies do you prefer?

How do you feel about outlining?

So when do your do most of your writing? Do you follow a strict schedule, or do you work in spurts?

Are the stories any easier to get down on paper as you write and publish more, or is it just a matter of your productivity level each day?

Do you do most of your writing on computer, or do you do a lot in long hand?

Lots of rewriting?

What constitues a draft?

Have the positive experiences outweighed the negatives so far as your writing career blooms? What's been the hardest part of being published, other than all the rejections letters you probably had to endure. How has the world of agents and editors treated you thus far?

Have they used your book titles, or did they have "better" suggestions. Did you have to sell your soul!?

You have the best cover art! How much control do you have over what goes on the cover of your books?

I had a lot of problems with Fallen Host. What's up with that book?:

A series of questions about Fallen Host as asked by John Slade.

Tell me more about the creation of the AngeLINK series and what creative thought went into it!

What religion were you raised? Why do you write so much about religion?

I've noticed LINK is written in all caps. Is that some strangely consistant typo or does it ACTUALLY stand for something?

Who's your favorite character to write so far? Have you had any major surprises from your characters yet? Have they taken you places you hadn't imagined?

What kind of research did you do into the major religions in the Archangel Protocol universe? I'm just curious if you stuck with 'simply' reading the bible, the Koran, the Torah etc. or if you had any secondary sources that were particularly useful.

I realized reading your first book that I had never even possessed the capacity to imagine a hero like the Michael character ֠a classic romance dreamboat with complex spiritual depth. Can you in a few words sketch out to me how you produced your image of that character?

Where the Author and the Books Intertwine and Other Random Silliness:

What are you reading currently? Anything fantastic or wonderful?

Kirk or Picard?

If you were a student at Hogwarts, into which house would the Sorting Hat place you?

If you could be any animal what would you be (and why)?

If you could be any tree what would you be (and why)?

What's your favorite color (and why)?

If you could go back in time and talk to any historical character, who would you pick (and why)?

Boy, this just wasn't enough for me:

Okay then! Here's a collection of links to online interviews with Lyda

 

When did you first start writing?

I'm a victim of an over-active imagintion. I almost always made up stories. When I was little, I coerced neighborhood kids into playing "Star Wars" with me (I was always Han Solo). Eventually, that became somewhat awkward and inappropriate, so I had to find another outlet. So, I started writing things down on paper.

I also was, as a youngster, very fond of the Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz and the Dragonrider series by Anne McCaffery. I have notebook after notebook after notebook filled with what is essentially fanfic. It took Katherien Kurtz (and Anne McCaffery) too damn long to write her next book, so, while waiting, I'd make up what happened next. Using her characters, her world, and essentially her plots, I started practicing writing dialogue and scene setting. Thank the Goddess that I came of age in a time pre-Internet or there would be piles of fanfic out there by me. As it is, you can only find bits and pieces of "shared fluff" written by me when I was a member of a listserv (back before it was spelled with the "e" at the end) called VAMPYRE-L. And, since I know you'll go looking for it, the embarassment lives here, at RedOak.

I'm not sure when I wrote my first piece of original fiction. But, I'm certain did it out of boredom.

You see, I have this tendency to take on really, really boring day-jobs that only require about a tenth of my actual brain power to do. I know that I started writing my "trunk" novel, Sidhe Promised (a classic story of lesbian romance gone hay-wire, the Irish Republican Army, and the faerie folk) when I was working the Publicity department as a temporary, full-time employee of Pillsbury. I didn't even have a computer terminal. Just a desk and a typewriter and the occassional file that needed filing. At first, I typed a lot of letters to my friends who had moved away. Then, I started making up weird limmericks and crazy children short stories with titles like "Alfred the Slug." Then, suddenly, I was eighty pages into a really weird fantasy novel.

At this point, someone probably should have discouraged me. Or, I should have gotten a better job.

But, no. I went home to my Apple IIe and kept typing away. Pretty soon, I had a couple hundred pages. Then, several jobs later, I showed a bit of the novel to someone who wasn't related to me. Granted, she was still a friend, but she was really very encouraging, and told me that I should, you know, finish it and try to get it published. Well, I didn't do anything about it, because I hadn't a clue how a person went about doing any of that stuff. I just keep twiddling away at it whenever I was bored out of my skull, which, frankly, happened pretty often at my job.

Then, probably on Shawn's encouragement (or maybe Julie, the above-mentioned friend), I took a class at the Loft on science fiction writing. I remember it was taught by John Hartnett, who, I'm convinced, is a space alien. According to the very exhaustive Locus List, he's published, maybe, three stories in his entire life. But HE WAS THE WORLD'S BEST TEACHER. I kid you not. If I could find this guy, I'd like to credit him for really putting me on the path to publication. But, he, like, totally disappeared. I'm telling ya: Space Aliens. Crop Circles. John Hartnett.

At any rate, John also taught me everything I know about critiquing fiction. He encouraged those of us in his class to start a writers group, which we did. Harry LeBlanc (writing name "H. Couregges LeBlanc" and I formed Wyrdsmiths, which celebrated 15 years together as of September 20, 2008, and we're still going strong.

Being in Wyrdsmiths made me a professional writer. For one, I learned the discpline of deadline. Wyrdsmiths requires its members to turn in some insanely small amount of writing every month, but, when you're used to writing when you're bored... well, I suddenly learned to write every day, at least a little, so I could have something to turn in to group--which I really dug, I mean talk about a cure for boredom...Ain't nothin' cooler than hanging with a bunch of hipster skiffy writers at a coffeeshop every other Thursday night when you're a geek grrl like me.

But, seriously, Wyrdsmiths also provided me with marketing information. Together, we suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in the form of "alases" from GVG and Gardner Dozois. Plus, a friend of a friend of a friend of Harry's knew this guy who was an editor at Tor books, named Jim Frenkel. Well, through this friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, I got my work under Jim's nose. Jim didn't end up buying the book (that would be Sidhe Promised) for Tor, but he did want to agent the next one (this little book about a private investigator who meets up with an real angel named Michael).

Wait... did you just say an editor was your agent?

That's right. The guy who sold Archangel Protocol (and several other books on proposal) to Roc Books is a the editor of several Hugo award winning authors. Yes, my former agent, not my editor.

Don't ask me how that works, just know that it did.

But, seriously. How did that happen?

Well, like I said, I originally sent Jim the manuscript for Sidhe Promised which he wasn't all that thrilled with. Luckily, I didn't know he wasn't thrilled because he wouldn't return my letters or email. So, I kept writing. I ended up writing about fifty pages of Archangel Protocol when the above mentioned friend of a friend of Harry's, a great guy named Nate Bucklin, suggested that I send what I had of the newest novel to Jim to try to light a fire under him. Well, Nate was right. Jim loved what he read of Archangel Protocol and when we finally met at Minicon, Jim told me he'd love to represent this book when I finished it.

So, even though I had Sidhe Promised on the desk of another agent Merilee Heifietz, I withdrew my novel from her, and signed with Jim.

However, Jim is no longer my agent. I'm now represented by Martha Millard of the Martha Millard Literary Agency -- and very, VERY happy with her.

So once you got an agent, getting a book deal was easy, right?

Wrong.

First of all, the book Jim liked wasn't even finished yet. It took me about a year and a half to finished Archangel Protocol (although, at the time it was called Dancing on the Head of a Pin). Once it was done, I thought... okay, here comes fame and fortune. Alas, it didn't quite work that way.

Archangel Protocol was rejected three times before it sold to Laura Anne Gilman at Roc Books.

First, the book went to Bantam, where it sat on Pat LoBrutto's desk, unread for almost a year. Then, it went to Avon for about four months or so, where Diane Gill almost bought it... but the deal fell through. Then, it went to Warner, and Betsy gave it a quick (about a month) no thanks. Then it went to Roc... and at this point, I was really starting to give up. I was thinking: so what I have an agent, I still can't sell anything. In the meantime my short story "Twelve Traditions" made it over the transom at Science Fiction Age and I made my first professional sale. Scott Edelman will long be loved by me for "breaking my cherry" as Gardner Dozois says.

But just to bust another one of my long held beliefs, making that short story sale didn't instantly mean I got respect for my other short stories or for my novel. I was still getting a ton of rejections, right and left. And, I was so depressed about the state of my career that when Jim called me to tell me he sold Archangel Protocol, the conversation went something like this:

Jim: Are you coming to WisCon this year?
Lyda (irritated) No, Jim. I already told you I can't afford both WisCon and WorldCon and I decided to do WorldCon this year.
Jim (smuggly, though I missed it) Good, because you can better promote your book at WorldCon.
Lyda (really irritated) Whatever. I always promote myself, you know that.
Jim No, I sold Dancing.
Lyda You're shitting me.
Jim No, I really sold it.
Lyda You're serious?

Once Jim started quoting numbers I actually started to believe it. Then I started dancing around... which looked a little strange since I was at the Minnesota Historical Society, at work. I told Shawn, my partner, all about it when we went home for lunch. BUT.. it didn't feel real. I swore Jim to secrecy and told him not to tell anyone until we signed on the dotted line. After what happen with Avon, I just didn't trust the deal to go through. But, of course, Jim couldn't QUITE contain himself... he let lots of hints slip out to my Wyrdsmith colleagues at WisCon. It didn't seem real until I got a "welcome to Roc" email from Laura Anne. But, then I told myself, in my more parnoid moments, that anyone could buy a penguinputnam.com email account and pretend to be an editor. I finally believed it when the galleys came and I saw my name on the spine of the book.

Sometimes, I still can't believe it.

It's so cool.

That explains how Archangel Protocol saw print, but what's the story behind Fallen Host?

When Jim sold Archangel Protocol I was in the middle of a novel that I was calling To Catch A Gene Thief. Kristen Livdahl from a writing group I was in at the time (Karma Weasels) still bugs me about when I'm going to finish this book, but I was, frankly, struggling with it. I'd restarted the beast three times, and I didn't know where it was going. If you're intrgued, you can read the first chapter.

Anyway, when things were heating up at Roc, Jim asked me if I had anything else to offer. I told him about Gene Thief, so he suggested that I send him however many pages I had of it and a synopsis.

Well, I'd never written a synopsis before, much less for a book that I didn't know how it ended. But, I knew this was one of those make it or break it moments. So my partner Shawn and I went out to eat and drank a bit of wine (okay, a lot,) and I sat down to craft this thing. In retrospect, it was... deeply unprofessional. Oh, I spelled everything right, but that was about it. I'm not even sure it was in proper synopsis format and there were clearly places where I basically said, "and somehow they get themselves out of this mess."

It should NEVER have worked.

But, apparently, Archangel Protocol was strong enough to carry my lamness, because when the details finally got hammered out the contract was for two books: Archangel Protocol and "an unnamed science fiction novel."

You write science fiction like there's some kind of story there.

Well, I think there is. I can't be absolutely sure of this, but... well, let me just tell you the story and you can tell me what you think.

Okay, the first thing you need to know is that contract negotiations take a long time. Not only that, but even after the dust settles it can sometimes be months before you actually sign the physical contract. So, naturally, my editor Laura Anne Gilman and I started chatting way before I actually saw a copy of my contract.

So anyway, one of the first things I asked Laura Anne was, "What am I writing?" I don't think that was such a strange question, especially now considering that Archangel Protocol has won a mystery award and was nominated for a romance award. But, I asked, "Am I writing science fiction, fantasy, romance, mysteries, what?" She told me fairly adamantly that I was writing science fiction.

Well, next thing I know it's spelled out very specificlly in my contract. Book II would be science fiction and, not only that, but Roc only wanted the option of first refusal on my next works of science fiction.

Now, maybe this is standard language, but it really seemed kind of, I dunno ...overt[?].

So, okay, so you had to write SF. But whatever happened to Gene Thief? How did Fallen Host get conceived?

One of the reasons I asked Laura Anne what it was that I was writing was so that we could figure out what Book II was going to be. I mean, I knew I had about a year to write it, so we were hashing out what kind of thing she might like. We both agreed that Gene Thief had its problems. I might even have confessed that I'd run out of steam on it.

She asked me to throw out a bunch of ideas, which I did.

In a moment a little like the one that involved wine (only this one was stone cold naive), I just dashed off the top of my head a number of novel ideas that I'd had floating around. I probably listed five or more. If I can find the original email, I'll let you take a look at it.

At any rate, at the very bottom of this informal little ramble was a note that read something like this, "Of course, I could probably always do a sequel to Archangel Protocol if you want."

She wanted.

You say that almost like you have some regrets.

Well, almost.

Fallen Host was hard to write, but I have no idea how much of that has to do with the classic "second book-itis" and how much it has to do with the thought that I never really wanted to "commit triology."

I definitely always had more to say in the Archangel Protocol universe. Honestly, it was so shortly after this conversation with Laura Anne that I got the idea of having a book for each archangel, that I have a tendency to say that was how the book was originally conceived.

What's "second book-itis"?

Apparently, it's fairly common for writers to struggle with their second book for publication. For me, Fallen Host was the first time I was writing under contract. And... well, this going to sound really strange, but after Archangel Protocol came out, I suddenly realized that that people might actually read what I wrote.

Oh, come on! You must have known that writing Archangel Protocol. You submitted it for publication, after all.

Well, that's an excellent point, of course. Not only that, but it's not like my stuff isn't read all the time pre-publication. I have a writers group that I go to every other week. At the time I sold Archangel Protocol I had been in three. At one point, I was in as many concurrent groups as FOUR.

But writing really is a very weird profession. It's something that I do mostly all by myself. Some of it takes place almost solely inside my head, you know?

On the flip side, once you publish something, especially something as big as a novel, there's a kind of sudden EXPOSURE that happens. People you've never met before in your life tell you their opinion of stuff you previously considered very private. There's also all that stuff that happens out here, on the web. Reviews get posted. People write about your flaws in newsgroups. People (again, often complete strangers) email you with all the page numbers that have typos on them.

All of which is often, ultimately, VERY cool. Even the typo stuff, honestly, because that means someone has read your stuff very intently. (So, don't stop telling me where those typos are!)

But, see, this sudden exposure makes your prose seem very naked.

Yeah, I know. Cry me a river, you're thinking, I wish I had such problems. And, I'm with you, brother/sister. It's just that this feeling of exposure really screws up your attempt to write another novel under deadline. Every other word, I started thinking: "what if Joan in Philadelphia is offended by this?" That kind of feeling of vunerablity is very crippling when you're trying to make deadline. Thus, "second book-itis."

Clearly, I survived it, so I can't really complain. But, I think Fallen Host still doesn't feel like the novel I wanted it to be because of this.

And Fallen Host had a lot of false starts as a result. For fun, I've included one here. What's fun about that (for me, anyway,) is seeing how much was completely scrapped and how much was saved for the original. I think you'll be surprised how different this version is from what you've read. The other interesting part is how much of it got (kind of) recycled for Messiah Node

You talk a lot about your first novel Sidhe Promised. Whatever happened to that?

It has since sold to Tapas Media. Check it out! The only thing that's kind of odd about this venue is that you have to download a free app before you can read it. But... if you're curious....? There are several chapters to be had for free.

So... how does one get into the field of writing?

By accident and by design.

The field of writing is actually very odd. Unlike someone who decides they want to grow up to be a doctor, someone who decides they want to be a novelist really doesn't have a formalized way of going about that. I mean, take that doctor. S/he doesn't have to work very hard to realize that she'll be expected to go to medical school for several years to study medicine, have a kind of apprenticeship which the medical field calls a "residency," take x many tests, etc., all of which will lead directly to employment.

Writing, as you've probably already discovered, isn't like that at all.

Sure, you can go to college and get an English degree (which I highly recommend. If for no other reason than an English degree will expose you to the classics of literature.) There are even some universities that will offer courses in science fiction or in creative writing. However, there's no real "residency" or formal apprenticeship that leads a person directly to employment and publication.

I mean, some could even argue that writing is not a "field" at all, since very, very few of us writers (including myself) make a living from their writing. Many of us write as a second job. Writing is something we do in-between delivering pizzas or being clerical assistants. Back to that doctor: she's not expected to practice medicine in the evenings while being a bicycle courier from 9-to-5, but the majority of the writers whose books you enjoy do just that for their entire career. (Well, maybe not the bicycle-courier thing, but you get the gist of what I'm saying.) So, there is that part of it to consider; there's almost no money in writing. You should be cultivating some other moneymaking job to keep while trying to pursue your dream of writing.

But so, I just kind of learned my trade by accident. I did a lot of reading. It's the best way to learn how to write, reading is. Read everything you can. Then read some more. Read. Read. Read. I can't emphasis that enough.

Then there's a lot of practice writing, like the fanfic. Write as often as you can, as well. Write for your school newspaper (I did). Write reviews of movies for a small press newspaper if you can get the job (I did.) Write articles. No writing is wasted; even if it's not fiction, you'll still learn something about being bold and clear, about getting your message across to an audience.

Ah! Which reminds me. Find a copy of Elements of Style by Strunk and White and read it cover-to-cover. They have much to say about writing that is incredibly helpful.

As I've said above, I did finally find a course in writing, which I took. That helped me figure out the "by design" part. There is a method to the madness of writing. On the very basic level, you need to do what Harlan Ellison suggests, which is: "Write. Finish what you write. Send out what you write."

I started with short fiction, which is often the recommended path. Learning to write a short story that has a beginning, middle, and an end is a good skill for a novelist to cultivate as well. There are a bunch of places online that you can learn about the craft of writing fiction (and about the business end.) Let me suggest a few:

Speculations, Rumor Mill: http://www.speculations.com/rumormill/
Critters: http://www.critters.org/
Ralan's Website: http://www.ralan.com/
Paula Fleming's Market Report: http://home.att.net/~p.fleming/Sfmarket.html
SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America): http://www.sfwa.org/

Speculations is a great place to learn from people who are currently writing and marketing short fiction. Critters is an online workshop, where writers critique each other (a great way to hone your skills as a writer, although I believe there is an entry fee). Ralan and Paula's sites are listings of places to send the stuff once you've written it. SFWA has a great online section about how to get your manuscripts into the correct format for submission, how to do the actual act of submitting, and tons of other articles about the writing life.

Also, what about copyrights--is there a copyright office? How do I apply for a copyright?

You don't.

Under no circumstances do you want to waste the money on an official copyright.

Here's the deal. If your name is on every manuscript page (and it should be if you follow the official manuscript format) it is UNDERSTOOD by copyright law to be copyrighted. You do NOT need to put the copyright symbol on your work, nor the date. Your name is sufficiant in the eyes of the law.

In fact, if you have put a copyright symbol on your work, editors will probably figure you for a newbie writer (of any age.)

It also shows a lack of understanding of how the book/story business works. When you send out your manuscript, you are, in effect, selling that copyright. The publisher pays you for the right to publish your work one time (often called in this country the First North American Serial Rights -- you may see abbreviated FNASR.) In FNASR, once your story is published, the copyright reverts to you. So, you have the right to sell it again.

With books, the publisher copyrights your book. If you open up the title page of any novel, you'll see "copyright Lyda Morehouse, 2001" or whatever. Your publisher does that for you. It's part of their services, like getting an ISBN for you, etc.

For further reading about copyright issues, let me suggest one of the SFWA pages: http://www.sfwa.org/writing/copyrite.htm

About agents--how do I get one? And would any be willing to take a teenager as a client?

You get an agent the same way you get a publisher, which is to say that you find a list of agents somewhere (ala the Market Guide to Literary Agents), and you find out:

1) if they're open to submissions, and
2) what they want (sometimes they'll want a completed manuscript, sometimes they'll want three chapters and a synopsis, or just a query letter). It varies, and it's considered respectful to only send what they ask for.

Then you send along whatever they asked for with a cover letter that basically tells them you're looking for representation. There are lots of books about how to do this successfully. My favorite is one called YOUR NOVEL PROPOSAL: FROM CREATION TO CONTRACT by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook (Writers Digest Press, 1999). It should still be in print, and easy to find at a library or through Amazon.com or your favorite independent bookseller.

I will also give you the peice of advice once given to me: it helps if you have some short story credits to list. So, if I were you, I would try to sell some short stories while also trying to land an agent.

As for whether or not they'll take a teenager as a client, I can't rightly say. I would like to believe that they would represent anyone they think has the talent to sell. But, I'm not an agent.

Which publishing companies do you prefer?

The ones that buy my books.

I mean, you make it sound like I have much of a choice in the matter. I sent (well, actually my agent sent) my novel to a number of publishing companies that rejected it. Certainly, he did his homework. That means, he sent my novel to places likely to accept it, such as those known to publishŠwell, science fiction. Science fiction houses include: Tor, Roc, Ace, Daw, BaenŠalthough you will also sometimes see SF from places like Houghten Mifflin, Harper Collins, and more "mainstream" publishing houses.

But, seriously, my favorites are the ones that pay me to write. You should be considering that seriously, too. NEVER send your novel to a publisher (or an agent) who expects YOU to pay THEM. As Theresa Neisen Hayden says, "The money should always flow toward the writer," and she's right. Never pay anyone to publish you. Your work should be paid for by a publisher (even if it's not enough money to live on, you should still get money for your writing.)

A. C. Crispin has a great article about things to look out for here: http://www.sfwa.org/writing/anti-scam.htm

I also honestly have a preference for "traditional" publishers (as in ones that print the kinds of books I expect to find in bookstores), like those I mentioned above. Small press and e-publishers are also acceptable, but big publishing houses, if you can get into them, are going to do more for you. First of all, they pay better. Secondly, they will get your book into bookstores and libraries and under reviewer's noses. All of which is really important if you want to survive as a writer.

From Sarah Brown:

Now that I've gotten past those money-making issues of the writing, here's a few questions just on the basic writing of books. I usually am not able to get past a first chapter or so--I have wonderful ideas, settings or characters, but usually I have difficulty developing a story around them. Or, if I do, I usually am so impatient to write "the good stuff" that I don't want to sit there and write out a story arc or an outline--God save me from the outline. Should I just buckle under and get through that stage? Or should I just write as it comes to me?

Hi, Sarah! (Sarah actually asked the above questions as well, but this one seemed personal enough that I wanted to attach her name to it.)

Well, you need to learn how to finish things. However you get there is really up to you.

Seriously.

People write in all sorts of different ways. I know one published author, Kij Johnson, who writes scenes as they come to her regardless of what order they appear in her novel and then spends some time near the end of the process stringing them all together with various transition scenes. I write in a fairly boring, straight-forward manner. Scene one to scene two and thusly until I get to the end. Kij and I both get to the end. So, it really doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it.

I will say that when I first started out, outlining was actually very helpful for me. I used to worry a lot about getting stuck or writing myself into a corner. Having an outline (a very organic outline, I should say... mostly it was just a sheet of paper that said, "and this happens, then this, then this...") got me over that fear. If you're having problems finishing things, I might suggest just writing out a "plot treatment" might be helpful. Don't think of it as those outlines you learned about in school. Think of it as a notebook full of ideas to help you, if you get stuck. Also, don't feel that once you've committed it to paper you have to stick to it. I often change my outlines when I start them, as ideas occur to me or characters shift underneath the keyboard. I just stop after that happens and think through how that's going to change my ending. Sometimes I write it down. Sometimes it's just a mental outline. It's all about getting you to those magic words "THE END."

What kind of research did you do into the major religions in the Archangel Protocol universe? I'm just curious if you stuck with 'simply' reading the Bible, the Koran, the Torah etc. or if you had any secondary sources that were particularly useful.

Have you ever tried reading the Koran? It's very poetic to say the least. I've tried, but I will admit to mostly skimming it. I've read bits and pieces of the Torah and the Bible, but I MOSTLY rely on secondary sources. (As a former history major, I hate to admit that.)

In general, I find that research for fiction is a strange thing. It's not so straight-forward that I could just give you a list of books that I used and you could read them and say, "ah, ha! That's where she got that!" I find I pull things in from all sorts of weird places: newspapers, magazines, web sites, movies, TV, people's blogs, other people's fiction, conversations I've had, my life.... And, of course, if I don't find what I want, I make stuff up. :-)

But, that being said, there are some books that I've read that I'm certain had some influence on what I've written.

I started doing research into the Christian mythology after having read a story by Neil Gaiman in which his Satan (named Morningstar -- yes, that's where I got it,) decides to give up the keys to Hell. I believe the story is collected in the Seasons in the Mist graphic novel. (I'm only not sure because I've read all of the Sandman stories.)

Anyway, after having gotten intregued by Neil's Morningstar, I went looking for information about the war in heavan. I was very surprised to discover it's not in the Bible at all. I'd read Milton's Paradise Lost as part of my English degree, so I knew the idea had been around for a while. I went looking for sources. In the course of that search I read all of Jeffery Burton Russell's "devil series," which I highly recommend. (Despite their scholarly titles, they're actually written in a fairly popular style. I found them fairly "easy" reading, at any rate.) Those books are:

The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primative Christianity,
Satan: The Early Christian Tradition,
Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages, and
Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World

Russell has a number of other books that I'd love to read, if I could find copies of them. He's apparently got a history of witchcraft in the Middle Ages, which is supposed to be pretty interesting. I also own his history of Heaven, but, interestingly, he doesn't write with the same passion about the "good guys" as he does the devil.

Another book that has intrested me that I would like to recommend would be The Origins of Satan by Elaine Pagels. Pagels is a Gnostic scholar, and she has a number of other books about Gnosticism, which, embarassingly, I'm only now just discovering.

Another scholar who writes well about religion is Margaret Wertheim. My favorite book by her is Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars. The book is actually more about women in the "hard" sciences than it is about God, but she makes a really interesting connection between early religious movements and gender.

I also read a lot of books on the Antichrist. Some of them "serious" and some very (in my opinion) silly. One that I would recommend to serious scholars of religious history is just called Antichrist by Bernard McGinn. I learned the word "eschatology" (the study of the end of times) from that book. Antichrist is an expansive look at the legends of the Antichrist. Very good. But, one that I really enjoyed is called Antichirst and a Cup of Tea by Tim Cohen, who contends that Prince Charles (yes, that one,) is actually the Antichrist (yes, that one). My favorite part of this book? In the introduction Cohen surrenders his copyright should the tribulation begin. That made me very happy.

As you can see, most of my reading has been in the area of Christianity. I think part of that is because I was not raised Christian, and so a lot of the schoarship about Christianity is completely new to me. I also had a lot more time to do major investigative research before I published Archangel Protocol. After the book was sold, I had a year to write each subsequent book, so a lot more of my research became "on the fly."

So, for Islam, I mostly consulted web sites and general encyclopedias, etc. I did make a valient attempt to read Understanding Islam, but I didn't finish it before I had to turn in the manuscript for Fallen Host. I actually have been living in fear that someone will call me on my portrayal of Islam, but so far, the only commentary I got was from Timothy Furnish who happens to be an Islamic scholar who specializes on Islamic eschatology (love that word!) who wrote to say he liked Fallen Host. So, maybe I channeled the right answers. Furnish has also offered me several peices of his own research to me for help with the following books. Here's an article by him that appeared on the History News Network called "How the Media Misconstrue Jihad and the Crusades."

A couple of the web sites I consulted regarding Islam, are:

The Daily Life of a Muslim
Muttaqun.com (Be sure to click the American flag for the English version of this page, unless of course you prefer another language.)
Then, of course, the indespensible: How Do I Swear in Arabic?

Judaism, like Islam, I researched mostly on the fly. I had more help in this regard, however, because I know a number of people who were raised Jewish. For instance, the opening chapter of Messiah Node was taken almost directly from my experience (minus the angels and Elijah, of course,) at the Seder of my friend Andrea Gorrilla (yes, that's her real name). Andrea, like Rebeckah, liked to change the genders (even of God's pronoun) in the haggadah to be more inclusive. I really, really, REALLY wanted to include the semantic argument she and her sister Elaine had over what the gender neutral word for "forefathers" was. (We eventually decided "forebears" would work.) However, it just didn't fit into the story.

Similarly, in Messiah Node Mouse's reflection on the party he attended where a bunch of people looked up the f-word in the dictonary and discovered that a "fucker" was a "habitual bungler" is also based on a real-life party that I attended at fellow author Kelly McCullough's house (back when he still lived in Saint Paul and had semi-regular Friday night parties... *sigh*). I'm afraid that was just too good not to work in.

But, much of the "research" I did into Jewish eschatology came from the web. Some of the sites I used, include:

Moshiach Online
End Times Sequence
Jewish Virtual Library
Judaism 101

Also, because I love this site, I have to include a evangelical Christian one called Rapture Ready. A person could spent a month reading all the articles on this site.

I could probably go on. However, I think these are plenty of good places for people to get started, if they're interested on following up on some of the ideas in Archangel Protocol and my following books. (The bibliographies of the books and sites should take you further, as well). I'm also always reading new stuff. So, feel free to check into the "What are you reading currently" question on this page to see what new sources I'm stumbling across.

So when do your do most of your writing? Do you follow a strict schedule, or do you work in spurts?

I've been having trouble writing lately, actually, but my wife has talked me into writing at night. While she lies in bed and reads, I write.

Are the stories any easier to get down on paper as you write and publish more, or is it just a matter of your productivity level each day?

I wish I could I could say that writing gets easier the more you write, but that's simply not true. Maybe if I were already a master, but, despite three books under my belt, I'm still learning. I think writing is a lot like carpentry. I've just gotten to the point where I can make a really great bookcase and sell it to someone, but I'm not quite up to say, carving a piano, you know? There's still A LOT for me to learn. I think, actually, that's one of the things I like about writing: that there will always be room for improvement, things to learn how to better express. I can't see myself getting bored by this profession, honestly.

Are you closing in on the finish line for book 3, or have to been doing too many promotion gigs to get much writing done? I know Orson Scott Card has decided to "retire" from tours due to the time lost writing. I'm always glad when I have a chance to meet authors face to face, but I feel somewhat guilty too. What if they don't finish their greatest work, because something tragic befalls them as they scrawl their mark across people's books for weeks at a time.

Obviously, I finished the third book, MESSIAH NODE, some time ago, but I kept this question becuase it asks a valid question about authors and promotion. So, back to my regularly scheduled answer.... Well, I'm not as famous as Orson Scott Card, so my publisher doesn't send me out on book tours. Most of the signings/readings/etc. you see listed on my "Events" page are ones that I set up myself. Which is why, unfortunately, I rarely do booksignings outside of the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. The cold, hard truth of today's market is that in order for a book (by someone like me who isn't already Steven King, Neil Gaiman, or Orson Scott Card), is that I have to do a lot of my own publicity. I buy and design my own ads for convention magazines, I send out my own press releases when I win or am nominated for an award... all that kind of stuff is down to me, and is really fairly necessary if I want to keep being a writer as a second job. And, yeah, it eats up a LOT of my time. Too much probably. But the flip side is that if I don't do this stuff, no one else will... and the book could suffer from low sales. If that were to happen, I can kiss my writing career goodbye (or that can happen even WITH all my tireless self-promotion.) For an interesting article about the reality and problems of author self-promotion, check out this Salon article

If you're interested in knowing more about self-promotion, let me recommend a couple of books and a web site:

Book Blitz: Getting Your Book in the News: 60 Steps to a Best Seller by Barbara Gaughen, Ernest Weckbaugh,
1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer, and
Keeping Your Book Alive -- A Writer's Survival Guide by Suzette Haden Elgin.

Will there be more stories in this future after Apocalypse Array?

Ifyou haven't picked up a copy of RESURRECTION CODE, then the answer is yes. If you've read that already? *Shrugs* Now that I'm in between publishers I may return to science fiction, though probably not in this world any more.

What's happening with your story set in St. Paul? Anything on paper, or is it still brewing in your brain somewhere?

Actually, right now, the Saint Paul book is officially shelved. Neither I nor my then editor at Roc, John Morgan, were particularly enthused about it, so we decided to substitute the vampire novel Tall, Dark, and Dead for it.

For those of you who may have heard me read part of the novel at the various conventions and readings I do about town, all I can say is: "I'm sorry." This one probably won't see print for awhile. The good news is, that if I'm going to do this book, it needs TIME in order to do it right. To write convincingly about 1930s Saint Paul, I need to do a lot more research than I've done thus far. So, the book may yet see light of day, just not any time soon. I'll keep you posted.

So what the hell are you working on now?

Not a whole lot, unfortunately. PRECINCT 13 came out in August 2012, but the publisher has passed on a sequel, so I'm actually currently officially out of work. I've been slowly working on the sequel myself for self-publishing, but for all of you who say, "Oh, just write an e-book!" please know that's just as hard and time consuming as writing a "regular" book (though harder for me because it turns out I'm very motivated by a contract.) Of course, I've still been writing, but nothing contracted at the moment. Previously, as Tate, in addition to Precinct 13, I wrote the vampire princess YA series (Almost to Die For, Almost Final Curtain, and Almost Everything.) I also wrote the Garnet Lacey books, which in order are:

Tall, Dark & Dead (May 2006)
Dead Sexy (May 2007)
Romancing the Dead (May 2008)
Dead If I Do (May 2009)
Honeymoon of the Dead (May 2010), and Mason's favorite title in the series.

As I said above, I'm currently out of work, so if you hear of anything going, let me know! In the meantime I may consider self-publishing an e-book sequel to Precinct 13 or...? Feel free to drop me a line and give me suggestions as to what you'd like to see next!

What the [bleep!]? A vampire novel? I [bleeping!] hate vampire novels!

Yeah, I know, but you'll love this one, honestly. Look, it's by me, isn't it? And you want me to keep writing, right?

Vampires have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. If you've read this whole FAQ, you know some of my first online "fluff"/fanfic writing was part of a vampyre listserve. So, even if I am selling my soul to the Man, I come by it honestly.

What are you reading currently? Anything fantastic or wonderful?

Work at the library has a benefit: books! I've been reviewing for Bitter Empire, so if you're curious check out my reviews there..

Do you do most of your writing on computer, or do you do a lot in long hand?

I've done both, but I prefer typing on computer. I can type ALMOST as fast as I can think (which either says a lot about my typing skills or the speed of my brain processing).

These days, I've gotten into the strange habit of writing semi-prone. We recently re-did our TV room with a brand new couch, and I love to lay in it with the laptop on my lap and write. I don't know what it does to my process, but it's great for my back!

Stephen Fry from The New York Times had an interesting article all about this question. To which I have to reply: PC, Times Roman, 12 pt. Although I religiously reformat all my work into proper manuscript format, which is to say, double-spaced, Courier 12 pt., not only for submission, but also for my writers group. I've actually gotten quite used to reading things in Courier, but I find when I sit down to write if I have that header that says Morehouse, page 1 staring at me, I get a bit of performance anxiety... a kind of writer's block that says to my brain: "THIS IS FOR PUBLICATION, DON'T FUCK IT UP." So, I trick myself into a first draft by writing in Times Roman, single spaced.

In fact, I wrote almost all of Messiah Node in little chunks, all of which were labled, "scrap page #." It's funny what you have to do to trick yourself into writing sometimes.

Lots of rewriting? I never could stand rewrites in school. I guess that's why I'm a reader, not a writer.

LOTS of rewrites, yes. I rewrite constantly as I write.

I talk about it as "one step forward, two steps back." I always reread what I wrote the night before, and then plunge into the new stuff. PLUS, I have this bizarre habit of getting 2/3rds into a novel and figuring out what the book is "about." Then I end up going back to the beginning and re-writing the whole damn thing from the start.

Oh, and then there's the rewrites that I do for my editor, Anne Sowards. She typically sends me an "editor's letter" (it's actually an email that's about 12 pages printed out) outlining line by line where she wants more (or less) information, character development, etc. Then I get to do more rewriting when I get the copy-editor's notes. By the time the book is at the printer... it's been gone over several times.

And STILL there are typos. Pisses me off. :-)

Hi Lyda,
In a recent article in The Age (sorry, can't find the link), an Australian newspaper, the question of whether authors are sufficiently edited these days was discussed. But what I, a wannabe writer, find even more interesting is what some editors have to say about authors:

[Excerpt starts] Writers sometimes need to do more work on their manuscripts before they are submitted, says Lukin-Amundsen. "You will hear some of the older authors saying they rewrote the last chapter 40 times. But now there is a tendency to produce one draft on a word processor, and each time you go through and do corrections you imagine that's a draft."

Peter Bishop, director of the Varuna Writers' House, has found the same tendency in work from writers applying for the Varuna manuscript development award. Reading what was described as a fifth draft, he wrote in Australian Book Review, he would often find it was a first draft --- edited five times. "In the world of inevitable word processors, the fatal possibility of editing your first draft rather than rewriting completely, was always with you. [Excerpt ends]

I am very interested to hear what a working author think. So, Lyda, what is a draft? And what is only an edit? Do you have to change every word in a chapter before you can claim you have rewritten it? And why do you think a word processor would discourage an author from rewrites? I thought it would encourage it. I would be grateful if you could share your opinions.

Regards, Simon Tong
Melbourne, Australia

Hi, Simon!

Honestly? I think these editors are old fuddy-duddies who cut their teeth in the age of typewriters and can't get past that. ;-)

I don't think the word processor itself discourages me from doing major revisions, though. (Laziness might, but not the fact I chose to write on my computer.) But as I said above, I seem to have this unconscious pattern wherein somewhere near the 2/3rds mark, I finally realize EXACTLY what the novel is about, and I completely rewrite the thing from beginning to end. That HAS to qualify as a new draft in their minds, doesn't it?

You raise some interesting questions, though, for which I have no answers. I mean, at what point does a revised electronic manuscript become a new draft? When I randomly decide to renumber it? After I print it out and look at it? When I change a word here or there? ONLY after I've changed more than two-thirds or one-third or some other magically significant portion of the content?

I guess I'd say that that last one resonates the most with me. But what constitutes "significant," I'm not sure. I don't buy into the idea that the only way to make progress on a story or a novel is to completely gut it at some point and rewrite. Sometimes the Muse can be pretty straight forward.

I mean, what I dislike about this debate is the implication that multiple drafts is the _only_ key to success. Lawrence Block used to type (back in the day of those precious typewriters) *one* draft and send it in to his editor. I'm not sure anyone would dare to call Mr. Block a sloppy writer. He might be a "hack," but the plots of his mystery fiction is tighter than a lot of stuff being written today (probably including my own), and he used to just let it flow from brain to typewriter and then out the door....

What they used to have back in the day, which they don't really any more, is editors who actually had time to edit. My editor spends a lot of her time buying and selling (coordinating with marketing, making promotional plans, etc., etc.). She doesn't really have time to suggest MAJOR revisions or completely overhauled drafts. In fact, that's part of why the standard advice to new authors is for them to have as perfect a manuscript as possible before submitting it. Editors don't have time to nurture talent like they used to. Requests for rewrites and editors who can mentor new writers is a thing lost to the age of John Campbell.

Have the positive experiences outweighed the negatives so far as your writing career blooms? What's been the hardest part of being published, other than all the rejections letters you probably had to endure. How has the world of agents and editors treated you thus far?

Until recently I answered this question with a cheery, Minnesotan "Can't Complain!" Now-a-days, I wonder why anyone becomes a novelist.

What's the hardest part? Knowing that I've written a great book that's been remaindered. Still, given the state of the business these days and stories I hear from other professional writers, I have to be grateful that I've managed to take a couple of bullets to the chest and somehow survived. I'm still writing for a living as Tate Hallaway, and now there's the possibility of reviving my beloved original series with a small press. So, I guess I'll have to move on to that other Minnesotan phrase: Can't Complain!

Have they used your book titles, or did they have "better" suggestions. Did you have to sell your soul!?

I think there's got to be a certain willingness to sell out to the man -- or sell your soul -- or no one would ever sign the eighteen page contracts the publisher sends you.

But, to answer your question seriously: I suck at titles. My first title for Archangel Protocol was Dancing on the Head of a Pin (you can actually find the sale announced as Dancing on the Head of a Pin in the LOCUS from 1999.) But, while that first title might be kind of provocative, it doesn't really capture the spirit of the book as much as Archangel Protocol does (and it dosen't fit on the spine of the book!) Interestingly though, my agent is still bitter about the title change. He LOVED Dancing on the Head of a Pin.

Least you think some marketing machine pumped out that title, my partner came up with Archangel Protocol and Fallen Host and Messiah Node and Apocalypse Array and Tall, Dark & Dead and... you get the picture -- all of which the publisher used. (It's why I keep her, you know. She's also a plot WHIZ.)

You have the best cover art! How much control do you have over the covers of your books?

None. Zero. Ziltch. If I'm lucky my editor sends me a picture of what things are going to look like sometime in advance. But she doesn't really ask me what I think of it. It's much more of a: "here it is!"

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I have lucked out completely with these covers. Bruce Jensen is an amazing artist and should be nominated for a Hugo. If I ever meet him, I intend to kiss him soundly on the mouth. I'm very certain he's the reason my books have sold as well as they have.

Who's your favorite character to write so far? Have you had any major surprises from your characters yet? Have they taken you places you hadn't imagined?

My characters always surprise me. Although Mai Kito from Fallen Host was the most full of surprises... in Archangel Protocol it was Mouse that surprised me. I don't want to spoil anything for people who might be coming to my web page first, but let's just say the endings for both Mouse and Mai were COMPLETE surprises for me. I had no intention when I started Archangel Protocol for Mouse to end up where he did... which is part of why I think I'm enjoying Messiah Node so much. I get to redeem him, as it were. And, Mai... well, from the moment she showed up she was her own character. I followed where she led, not the other way around.

The most fun to write? That's a toss up. Morningstar was wickedly fun to write, but I really, really enjoy Mouse's voice (which is why there are so many Mouse letters, etc. on my web site.)

What religion were you raised? Why do you write so much about religion?

I was raised Unitarian Universalist in a mostly Catholic town. So, I got a lot of practice as the outsider, espcially since --while you can be Christian and be UU-- I was not. I write about religion because it continues to fascinate me.

I've noticed LINK is written in all caps. Is that some strangely consistant typo or does it stand for something?

Originally, LINK was just my skiffy subsitute word for Web or Internet. But, my friend Kelly McCullough came up with a backronym for it.

LINK stands for Lymphatic Interface Network Kernel. Ask Kelly to explain it. Kelly is also a science fiction writer, you can read about him at: http://www.kellymccullough.com/.

A recent New York Times articles suggests that the LINK might actually become possible, at least between conventional computers. Read "With 6 Degrees of Separation, Computers Stay in Sync" by Ian Austin. Also, apparently Google would really like to be implanted in your brain.

This question came from a reader: I realized reading your first book that I had never even possessed the capacity to imagine a hero like the Michael character ֠a classic romance dreamboat with complex spiritual depth. Can you in a few words sketch out to me how you produced your image of that character?

I think that in large part most of the characters in my fiction come from aspects of myself. Michael is me, just as Deidre is me, and Mouse is me, and Dancer the Gorgon is me.

Except in very, very rare exceptions, I donӴ tend to base the people I write about on real-life friends or family. I can think of one exception in the AngeLINK books, and thatӳ Thistle. Thistle (from Messiah Node) is very, very loosely based on an ex-girlfriend of mine. (Yes, Barb, that's you.).

Michael, however, came to me with an enormous amount of Ԣaggage,Ԡif you will. Heӳ a concept thatӳ been around for a long, long time. There are any number of images of Saint Michael throughout history. None of them, of course, show him in skin-tight jeans and a leather jacket. That was my addition to the mythology/imagery.

But, the idea of a soldier devoted to God with fiery sword in hand is not new, and part of me wanted to be true to that devout/dutiful/dangerous ideal. When you think about it, thatӳ a pretty sexy combination, and about as old as dirt. Though the ԃhristianԠsoldier archetype has fallen out of favor with a lot of modern readers and writers (though, really, thatӳ what any Medieval knight in shining armor would be), so resurrecting it was my ԮewԠtwist.

Kirk or Picard?

Kirk.

Don't get me started. I once started a flame war on STREK-L about why I thought the New Generation was a bunch of NAZIs.

If you attended Hogwarts, into which house would the Sorting Hat place you?

I've actually thought about this question a LOT. As an adult, looking at the qualities I cultivate and admire, I would have to say that, the person I am NOW, would be a fine addition to Slytherin. I am an extremely ambitious person and, like Professor Slughorn, I really enjoy placing friends into positions of power and otherwise playing politics behind the scenes. However, at 11, I would have been quite certainly been placed in Gryffandor (much to my eternal chagrin.) At 11, I wanted to be a knight in shining armor, rescue the heroine, and otherwise embrace bravery, honesty and all that. Like Harry, these two side of me war within my heart.

If you could be any animal what would you be (and why)?

An otter.

I would be an otter because once, when I was visiting the aquarium in Chicago, the tour guide told me that of all the creatures in the animal kingdom the otter is the only one that would rather play than eat. This matches my personality pretty well, honestly. It's not so much that I'm a "party animal," but that making a living is not as important to me as having fun. Thus, the string of boring jobs that have lead to a second career as a writer. I'm actually incredibly ambitious (and disciplined) when it comes to my playing, ie. my writing. But, in the mundane employed universe, I very easily fit the joke "employer recommendation," "You'll be lucky to get this employee to work for you."

If you could be any tree what would you be (and why)?

A California Redwood.

Okay, in all honesty, this has more to do with delusions of grandeur than accurately fitting my personality. I mean, I'm 5'2", people. I'm as unlike a California Redwood as I could possibly be. Sure, I could try to make some kind of association with having been born in California, but, really, I just want to live forever be an intensely impressive.

Hmmmm, maybe this says more about my personality than I'd really like....

What's your favorite color (and why)?

Yellow.

Even though my friend Mary Klauda tells me that yellow is the favorite color of the insane, I have a serious fondness for this sunny color. What can I say? It's bright, bold, and cheery. Whenever I paint a room in our house, I always say to Shawn, "How about yellow?" It just picks up the light, and here in wintery Minnesota, the more light the better.

If you could go back in time and talk to any historical character, who would you pick (and why)?

Lizzy Borden. I guess I'm curious... did she do it? Or maybe I'd ask Prince Albert if he was Jack the Ripper.... That's a tough one, honestly.

About Fallen Host... The first thing, overall, was that... hmm... it was missing a certain something. The rush of being carried along, dropped off a cliff, and saved at the last minute. The glowing crystal in the tallest tower that casts the entire castle in a spooky witchlight. The strings wrapped around the top, spun out, and then spun back again. All of these things are way metaphorical, and are trying to get at how it lacked something at the end.

Hmmmmmmm. Well, this makes no sense to me. But, I will tell you something about my impression of it. If you go into a novel of mine expecting it to "feel" like all the other books you've ever read, then you're sure to be disappointed. Neatly wrapped endings are not the stuff of life, nor of my fiction.

I sat back and considered the book for a few minutes before I wrote that. I recalled scenes, characters, and they were tight. Yes, it's well written; yes, the characters are interesting and make sense; yes, the world connects pretty well. But... but...

Mai died. And not only did she die, but she died in a long, drawn out way. And her death didn't seem to have that much to do with what happened. I mean, she ODed, didn't she? What does that form of death mean to the plot? That she was likely to die, due to the forces bubbling around her, that was forseeable, made sense.

Still, the death of a character, a sympathetic character, in the middle of all of the other crisis crap, kind of minimizes it. Call me a genre traditionalist, but as hollywood and the whole western narrative structure informs us, when a major character dies, it's big. (Now, I can bitch to you about Boromir's whole fucking 'for king, country, purity, and goodness' death scene in LOTR:FOTR but I won't. Anymore than I already have ;)

Ah. I see. You miss Mai. That's perfectly understandable. I loved her too.

I'm not sure what I could have given you that would have satisfied your need. Does it help to know that echos of Mai's death are felt in this book, and will be felt in the book after that? Mai is a hole that is never filled in my universe.

I think, perhaps unconsciously, perhaps semi-consciously, I wrote Mai's death the way I did because of my own personal experiences with grief. When my grandmother died, for instance, it was just over. You know, one morning grandma was alive in my mind, then next day I got the call and she was dead. No time for goodbye. The funeral felt distant, strange. But, grief stayed with me for years... it's still with me. Sometimes I would just be standing, waiting for a bus, and something would happen that seemed inconsequental, and bang... I was crying, grieving. I'd always THOUGHT, thanks to Hollywood, that grief was this nice, neat package that you were given at the funeral, opened, and then threw away the wrappers. It's not like that at all. There's no point at which you start feeling grief, and no point, if the loss is deep enough, that you ever really get "over" it. You do, after a while, learn to live with the hole. You learn to say, "Oh, yeah, that little tightness, that's about grandma. Gee, I miss her." But, unlike a nice, neat novel, nothing ever putties over that hole. It's there.

So, it bothers you that the lights didn't dim and the world didn't stop so that we could all say goodbye to Mai. I'm sorry, but I'm never going to do that. I'll give you a heads up: people you might love die in the next book too, and there's no time to grieve them, either. Danny got his funeral in my first novel, but he was one of the lucky ones (and, honestly, Deidre is a better person for having gotten the chance to say goodbye.) Page, however, is wounded. And will be for the rest of his life inside my universe.

You say that the book was written under time pressure - I can see that many of the things I'm bitching about are 'fine tuning' in a way.

Yes and no. I mean, given all the time in the world, I wouldn't change Mai's death. No violins are going to play. The would isn't going to stop turning. Nope. Not if I could rewrite the thing from scratch.

The introduction of the maizombie religion and the lieutenant of Morningstar making a bid for legit religious status is another example. It was cool stuff, it was another part of the world, but it was cool new stuff as the threads are all getting tied together, and it was somewhat distracting for that reason.

Well, that I might change. I would happily give you more time to get into everything. The Maizombies don't go away, though.

It had been a year since I read AP. I have a tendancy to not lodge SF plotlines in long term memory - I think so I can re-read them and still get a rush. Some things like the Gorgons were too much 'here they are, you remember?' And no, I hadn't. The whole 'semi-sequel' aspect of it... I kept waiting for the characters from the first book (and I can't name them - see, it's the long-term memory thing - except one was Michael, no?) to show up, and they basically don't.

That, too, was on purpose. I didn't want to retred Michael and Deidre. I knew that was going to be frustrating for people who loved the first book and just wanted more of the same. In fact, I broke down and gave in for Messiah Node. It's a return of everyone's favorites (including my own). But, I still only give Deidre a chapter or two of on-stage time. I just can't spend that much time with the same people over and over. I'm sorry.

It was not, in fact, intended to be a sequel. It's meant to be what is called "a follow-up" book. In the same universe, but stand alone. It wasn't supposed to matter if you remembered the Gorgons or not. I'm sorry that you felt like it did. It was not my intention for you to have to think back to the first book at all. The idea was that you could read it without having read the first. I had a writer-friend who hadn't read Archangel Protocol read a draft of Fallen Host to make sure it would stand on its own. He claimed it did. I blame him, if you felt like it was supposed to be a sequel. (Sorry, Kelly, I'm putting this one on YOU.) ;-)

I read that reviewer who didn't like the book too much. I disagree with his main point - this is cyberpunk in the one from column alpha, three from column omega. It's a solid consistant world. I do recall agreeing that some things didn't fit in too well; like the whole soul-for-AI thing. Admittedly, the book is not about the ruling, it's about the coming of the Antichrist, but you set up tension with the quest/mission of emma and then it did get offhandedly resolved at the end. Either more Vatican/world spiritual politics, or less.

The novel is actually all about souls.. who has one, and who doesn't. A lot of readers have complained to me that they never liked Em. I've written back to say, "Uh, that's because she has no soul. She's the antichrist." That was a failure of mine, I think. It's very difficult to write about someone who is sympathetically unsympathetic, as, I've always imagined, the antichrist should be. I mean, the antichrist has to have enough charisma to fool the world, after all, but at the same time be the ultimate evil. It's a tough character to pull off, and I don't think I was completely successful.

The book was about the discovery of the antichrist, not her rulership. In fact, by the end of Messiah Node, she only gets so far as to plant the seed of the beginning of her power.

Paul DiFillipo (the reviewer who disliked the book) was reading Fallen Host with too many eyes on Archangel Protocol, I think. I mean, Fallen Host was only nominally cyberpunk. There was, for instance, no punk. To me, for a novel to truly be cyberpunk it has to follow the arc (at least in spirit) of Nueromancer. Which is to say, you have to start with the life of some down and out punk, who takes on the evil corporations like a lone cowboy, and wins. That happens in Archangel Protocol. Deidre is the classic punk/dectective noir, down on her luck, who takes on the evil empire and wins in a rather dramatic way using her f33rs0me cyber-ski11z.

Usually, cyberpunk comments on (disses) the upper class, as well. That's not to say cyberpunk is the subgenre of the proletariat, no, it's the story of the digitatti, the congnoscente. Anyway, I purposely wrote against that in Fallen Host. I wrote about the upperclass in Fallen Host. I wanted to write about someone who was so used to wielding power that she didn't even notice when she crossed the line. Thus, this is NOT a cyberPUNK novel, nor should anyone be looking for cyberpunk influence in this book. For Emmaline, life without the LINK is unthinkable... it's so much a part of her life that she always has theme music going in the back of her mind. Deidre was an information junkie, but Emmaline isn't... she's like the people who use computers but don't have a clue how they work. She just uses it to get what she needs. VERY NOT CYBERPUNK. I mean, one of the whole vibe of the cyberpunk genre is that knowledge is power. Emmaline is (metaphorically and physically, thanks to her enhancements) BLIND, she doesn't get it.

Ditto on the tranformation of Morningstar into the super-killing machine - ditto meaning either do more about it or less.

I don't know quite what to say about this one. I guess it was never my intention to turn Morningstar into a super-killing machine. In fact, I didn't realize I had. If you're talking about Hatred (the sword), if you recall, Mornignstar spends a lot of time wondering what the hell he's supposed to do with that thing once it appears. He spends much of the end of the novel trying to get rid of it. It's a hassle, not some kind of super-killing weapon. I mean, when he finally gets to use it against Jibril again, it shatters.

Anyway, it was a metaphor. Albeit a pretty clumsy one.

There's too much good stuff in it. Emma's family connections, the status of Russia and mouse.net vs the rest of the world, the army of darkness. I'd like to know more, wanted to know more, and didn't get more. This is very much a setup to a sequel, to be sure, so I suspect more will be forthcoming (*and you would know, wouldn't you, ms. 'the end'! (grin))

No, see, you're all going to be so disappointed. This is not a trilogy in the traditional sense (in fact, there are at least four books planned in this universe and there always have been). Yeah, the world is moving forward, and I don't forget that, but if you expect the next book to start up where the last one ended... well, it's almost four years later.

And, I really don't believe in tying up all my loose ends. As a reader, I really like books that leave you with stuff to wonder about.

Why it is that the books of the monotheists have real entities behind them, and not other faiths, is an issue.

For you.

This is my universe. The people of the book are right. That's the whole premise of the thing. Buy in or don't.

Seriously, the "what if" question behind this series is "What if the Christian/Muslim/Jewish God is real?" The whole thing was envisioned with the idea that there would be one book that was essentially Christian (Archangel Protocol), one book that was essentially Muslim (Fallen Host) and one book that was essentially Jewish (Messiah Node.)

It's not my personal belief system, but the thing was based on the idea that the rest of us are wrong.

I haven't heard much about you lately. What are you doing with your life? Are you writing??!!

I am. Though, if you want to check out my creative projects right now, the biggest thing I'm involved in is podcast called "Travels in the UnSeen World" Don't be fooled "Dylan Calish" is just yet another pen name for me. And the podcast is going to be a regular thing (I hope) where we'll do a little fictionalizing about the world and learn some fun language phrases. Check it out. I'm also writing some short stories for Rachel as well as working on a novel that I hope to have published by Level Up Press. So, I am doing things. I've also been trying to keep this web site relatively current, so you should be able to check in here from time to time and see what's new with me.

Still not satisfied?

There have been a lot of interviews with Tate, many of which I have not linked to. However, the most recent one (December of 2012) is at Amberkatze's Blog: Author Interview with Tate Hallaway

I was on TV! You can watch the segment in the archives of KARE-11's "Showcase Minnesota"

A very nice article about my/Tate's newest release and my life appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Check out "St. Paul author introduces her new series about a vampire princess."

I was on the second half of Tuesday, July 20th's "Write On! Radio Show" on KFAI talking about life, the universe, and my new books. Finding this can be a bit of a bear, but keep clicking and eventually you'll get to an audio file.

My alter-ego and I did another podcast. This time for "Vampires, Witches and Geeks" with Morven Westfield, and you can here it here: Interview with Author Tate Hallaway

My alter-ego and I did a podcast for Adventures in SF Publishing with Shawn Ferrell that is available at http://adventuresinscifipublishing.blogspot.com/2007/07/aisfp-26-tate-hallaway-and-lou-anders.html.

A long, detailed interview about me by Lynne Jamneck appeared in the 24 July 2006 issue of Strange Horizons.

A very brief interview with me/Tate appeared on the Oshkosh Word Nerd blog: http://bkwriter.blogspot.com/2006/06/author-answers-with-tate-hallaway.html.

John Scalzi did a Wednesday interview with me/Tate on his By The Way site, which you can read here: http://journals.aol.com/johnmscalzi/bytheway.

A very detailed article by Mary Anne Grossmann appeared in the Pioneer Press about the appeal of vampire chick-lit and writing as Tate. http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/entertainment/books/

John Joseph Adam's wrote a small article about my genre shift for SCIFI WIRE. You can find it here: "Morehouse Bites Into Chick Lit".

A short article about the Philip K. Dick special citation appeared on the MISFITS local author's page by Erin Lorenz.

An article about Minneapolis/St. Paul science fiction writing women appeared in the City Pages. It's called Between Planets by Terri Sutton. This was transcribed from a live interview and I'm afraid my charm doesn't necessarily translate onto paper. (In other words, I'm convinced I sound like an idiot.) But, the other women are very thoughtful, and it's an interesting article.

A short interview with me will be appearing (or has appeared) on http://www.authoretica.com. However due to user error (in other words my own stupidity), all I could find was the exclusive excerpt of Apocalypse Array that I sent them. You can read that at: http://www.authoretica.com/content.php?article.41.

An extended interview with me called "The Devil, God, and Cyberpunk: An Interview with Lyda Morehouse by Susan Harris is up on the Broad Universe site.

A short interview with me on the GLBT Fantasy Fiction Resource site.

A short (9 question) interview went up on "Wednesday Club." Wednesday Club is a website for self-titled "fanboyz" from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. You can find the interview I did with Ron Callahan here: http://wednesdayclub.net/morehouse_interview.html

You can read more about me at Artist Interviews. I was interviewed in their August issue, and you can find it under their large list of interviews (under L for Lyda... not, as I first thought under M, for Morehouse).

An extended interview with me appeared (and quickly disappeared onto subsequent pages) at Alien Online. If this link doesn't work try going to their main page thealienonline.net

There is an article archived at the LaCrosse Tribune about me. It's called "Logan Grad finds voice in science fiction," or something very similar to that. I had some trouble with this link, so you may have to go to their main page which I believe is http://www.lacrossetribune.com and put "Lyda Morehouse" in their archive search engine (lower right hand sidebar).

Another news article (with a lot less information) showed up in the Pioneer Press archives. This one has the very clever title of "Following Protocol." Not much about me, but still neat to see.

I'm trying something new here, and I thought I'd give y'all links to some audio of me talking on KFAI "Fresh Air Radio."

KFAI "Write On Radio" Show from September 21, 2000:

In which I struggle to explain Archangel Protocol for the first time, discuss genre writing in general, and angel snot in particular.

As MP3
For Quick Time
For Windows Media

KFAI "Write On Radio" Show from June 14, 2001:

In which I talk about and read from Archangel Protocol, the LINK, and religion.

As MP3
For Quick Time
For Windows Media

And, please don't feel like you shouldn't write me! I'm always happy to answer questions about writing, books, or my universe any time!