Four Questions with Keith R.A. DeCandido, Farscape novelist....
Q1: Can you please tell us a little (or a lot <G>) about the process of writing the novel for Farscape? For instance, are you made aware in advance of the story line to follow? Or are you pretty much given free reign?

Keith DeCandido: At present, there are three FARSCAPE novels commissioned -- my own HOUSE OF
CARDS, Jim Mortimore's DARK SIDE OF THE SUN, and David Bischoff's SHIP OF GHOSTS. All three of us came up with our own plots, which were approved by Henson Productions. To say we got "free reign" is perhaps overstating the case -- no tie-in writer ever has completely free reign -- but we were not dictated plots, no.

Any time you write a book that ties into another medium like this -- or like a STAR TREK novel, a STAR WARS novel, a Buffy novel, whatever -- you're writing inside a box. Sometimes it is a light, airy, flexible cardboard box -- sometimes it's a tight, airless concrete box. So far, working on FARSCAPE has been a very large and flimsy box, so I'm quite happy. The only requirement is that the toys are put back where we found them.

As for the process, as with most tie-ins, it starts with a plot outline, which, in addition to the usual editorial process that every book undergoes, has to be approved by the licensor -- in this case, the good folks at Henson Productions. Once that's approved, then the manuscript is written, which is also edited and approved. (Or not approved as the case may be, but that hasn't happened to me yet, and I've done a few of these....)

Q2: Aside from the Farscape novel, House of Cards, you are involved with other projects within the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. Were you already familiar with Farscape when you were selected to write the book? What is your impression of it compared to other sci fi "universes" out there?

Keith DeCandido: Not only was I familiar with Farscape, but I had been lobbying Greg Cox at Tor Books (the American publisher, but not the ones who actually sign up the authors) to recommend me to Boxtree as a possible FARSCAPE author from the moment they got the license. I love the show very much, and it's been a great thrill to be involved with it.

I think Farscape has done as good a job as any genre show and better than most at world-building. It is a remarkably complex and engrossing alien landscape they've created, far more so than most genre shows. The character development has been excellent, the writing has been intelligent and thoughtful, the directing has been fantastic, the alien races have been convincing, and in general it's one of the better genre shows out there.

Q3: What can you tell us about House of Cards? Would it be possible to give us a general idea of what the story is about?

Keith DeCandido: The basic plot is as follows: Rygel loses Moya in a card game and much wackiness ensues. There's more to it than that, of course, and everyone gets something to do...

SEE Aeryn Sun get drunk!
SEE Ka D'Argo in an extended chase sequence!
SEE Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan do entertaining things with plants!
SEE Dominar Rygel XVI gamble and scheme!
SEE Chiana flirt!
and SEE John Crichton actually make use of his considerable scientific
skills!

Q4: What advice can you offer to aspiring science fiction writers out there?

Keith DeCandido: Read. Write. Read some more. Write some more. Finish what you start. Submit what you finish. Once you finish something, move on to the next thing. Read. Write. Don't take criticism personally. Did I mention you should read and write? In particular, read a broad base of work, not just stuff in the genre. And then read some more. And write -- I encounter more people who want to be writers who never actually sit down and write....

Keith R.A. DeCandido grew up watching Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, corrupting him for life in such a way that he hopes never to recover. His other fiction has been created in the worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Magic: the Gathering, Marvel Comics (Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, and the X-Men), Star Trek, Xena, and Young Hercules. His most recent work includes a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel (Diplomatic Implausibility), a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel (Demons of Air and Darkness, coming in September 2001 as part of the "Gateways" crossover), a Xena short story, and a Doctor Who short story. Keith co-developed the Star Trek: S.C.E. franchise of eBooks, and wrote the second book in the series, Fatal Error (with more on the way). Keith is also an editor, book packager, and musician--the latter with the acclaimed rock/blues/country band the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players (www.dqydjp.com). Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Keith but were afraid to ask at
www.sff.net/people/krad.

 

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