JV: Eric, tell me who would play you in a movie?
Play me in a movie? Wow that is a tough question. He’d have to be an ugly cuss that’s for sure. 😉 If you mean who would be able to act the story of my life in a movie I might actually lean in a direction that my friends would be shocked to think.
Have you ever seen The Astronaut Farmer? If so, then you might understand when I say Billy Bob Thornton. My life went the way of that character’s life for a long time, and I think he really carried the deeper frustrations that I felt going through similar things very accurately. He doesn’t resemble me really, but I think he might understand me well enough to play it.
Day jobs before you went renegade?
I’ve had literally gazillions of them. A lot of them were technical positions but some were positions I held just to learn a skill I wanted to explore. I approached jobs like school that paid me to learn rather than the other way around.
It makes me look like I have Career A.D.D. but it meant I brought an exceptionally wide range of skills forward into my present life.
I’ve been everything from an engineer, to a bouncer in a topless bar … but mostly I stuck close to creative scientific and engineering pursuits. I’ve owned and operated a recording studio (waaaay back in the 80’s), several manufacturing companies, and a research lab. I have a bit of a restless mind so it means I tend to be all over the place.
JV: Do you have a muse?
Yeah but she left town a while back…
Actually I have several things that inspire me but most people look at them and go “huh?” I like hard science and I love looking at the way technology can be bent towards the future. Everything in the world is inspiring to me, although not all of it in a good way. Sometimes it inspires me to consider leaving the planet altogether.
Write at night?
I have the advantage of not needing a day job to make ends meet but I do often write all night long. I used to call myself the “king of the land of the sleep deprived” and now even though I don’t need to do that, I still do a lot more often than not. I got in the habit of 20 hour workdays, so that is still how I operate.
My blood type is still “Dark Roast” so staying up late is an unavoidable reality in my world.
Tell me about your current Book:
I am currently finishing the third book in my series. Shadows in the Flame is the first post-apocalyptic moment in this trilogy since the unavoidable was, uhm… well, unavoidable.
The first two books dealt with the struggle of trying to stop things from happening, and now I am telling the tale of what do we do when we’re stuck with the consequences of our failures.
This book is probably grittier than the first two but at the same time there is a thread of hope that survives. It is the lifeline that the characters cling to as they try to figure out what’s next.
It will be the last in this series so I am closing off all the loose ends very precisely.
How would you classify it?
Hard Science Fiction.
People classify my work like Michael Crichton but I tend to write stories that put smart people using smart technology as the solution, and not the problem. We’ve already passed the point where we can put Pandora back in the box, so we better embrace the future instead of screaming science and scientists are the bad guys.
What will you work on next or are you doing multiple projects at once?
I have several stories in the works at any given moment as a means of always having something to write rather than banging my head against the wall. If one chokes for a while, I pick up a different one while the first goes to the back burner and simmers.
I’m already 50,000 words into a standalone novel set much further into the future than my first series. It will probably be my next project. It’s a “first contact” story vaguely like Rendezvous with Rama meets The Mote in God’s Eye.
If not that one I have two other novels that are at various stages of completion and either of them may light up and dash for the finish line too.
I’m reading the Mote in God’s Eye now. Can’t believe I missed that one when I was younger! Where is your favorite place to be when you write?
Tau Ceti Six. I love the emerald skies and the Dragon-fire Aurora over the southern continent.
Actually I have a monster computer workstation in my home office and I usually work there. It is a cave most of the time, but I have all the cool stuff there so I enjoy the dark. It’s less distracting than writing in a coffee shop.
When I do need to get out into the sunlight I take my laptop outside. I live waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by pine forest and 100 mile views.
What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?
Networking is more important than ANYTHING else. This is true of both online networking and in-person networking. Finding success as a writer is entirely a matter of building relationships.
Of course you have to hold yourself accountable too. You have to keep your personal bar as high as possible. Reach upward. Keep reaching upward every step you take, and don’t be afraid to jump at chances along the way.
If you’re fearful of leaping, you never pick your feet up, and you never learn to fly.
Give me your links:
Blog: http://ericmichaelcraig.com (My personal blog is pretty empty now. It crashed in December and since then I have been really busy doing things that support the project mentioned in the bonus question … but eventually I will get back on it.)
JV: I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Sci Fi Roundtable on FB, and now you’ve built a formal board. Can you tell us your goals for the new site?
Ducky and I started the SFRT as a place to reach out and to learn as a community. We’ve been really blessed by the people that have joined us. There are some amazing people and a wealth of knowledge there. When we put it together we conceived of it as a chance to share and grow and learn. And it has already proven that good people, can help do good things as an online community.
The FB page is set up intentionally so that anyone can read what we post, and we chose to do that so others who wanted to join would understand what we were doing. But it is a public group.
The forum on the other hand is set up so that parts of it are available to read publicly, while other parts are private and invisible to non-members. This means the SciFiRoundtable.org site (more than just the forum part of it) is a place where we can work on making things happen, and we can control how much outside scrutiny we receive.
It is to be a foundation to move theory toward practice for our members.
Indie authors have very few credible sources of information in the publishing world. Unfortunately there are a LOT of vanity-opportunists who promise the sky, and don’t have what it takes to make it real. Because so many indie authors are learning, they have no way to find out who is real and who is a scammer. Ultimately our forum will give those authors, and editors, and cover artists, and proofreaders, and whatever else, a place to meet and share truths about their experience and skills.
Soon we will be announcing several other projects that the forum will facilitate. Right now we are planning a skills-exchange, a convention co-op, critique groups, and several anthologies, strictly for members, that we will be producing through our small publishing house.
We hope to make the SFRT an open source for getting the Indie community over the bar from amateur to professional.
As these things launch, the forum will get a lot busier, but for now we’re letting the group move in and give it a life of its own.