From an online interview on June 7 through July 1, 2018.
First off, tell us a little about yourself. How do you see yourself as a writer?
I wanted to be a writer when I was growing up. I had lots of imagination but not the experience or skills to make it work. I put all my half-finished stories away under the bed to gather dust. A few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to take early retirement and I thought, What better activity to take up again than writing?
I’ve always loved sci-fi, from Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein, then moving on to Anne McCaffrey, Lois McMaster Bujold, and M. Zimmer Bradley. Now I’m having a lot of fun writing mainly short stories. I love having a prompt then trying to imagine what I could do with it. One of these days, I’ll have to lock myself away from the Internet (and Wattpad) and write a novel.
Where did you first hear the term “dreampunk,” and what does it mean to you personally?
Oh yeah, I remember that! In this context, what would you say constitutes a “dream”? Would a mystic vision count? A psychedelic trip? A system of delusions a la Don Quixote? How about a computer simulation?
I’d say yes to mystic visions and psychedelic trips but no to delusions and computer simulations… unless you’re immersed in a “virtual reality”—that might count?
I see. So it’s kind of a spectrum of experience between actual dreams and waking life. Have you ever pulled anything from your dreams to include in a story?
I’m sure I have—let me think about it…
I’ve been trying, but I can’t pinpoint anything specific from my dreams that I’ve used in stories. More feelings perhaps, a sense of anxiety, impending doom! Relief on waking up, lol.
So… not exactly nice dreams then. Which writers have influenced you the most? How did their work lead you to dreampunk?
Isaac Asimov: “Dreaming Is a Private Thing” (short story written in 1955). It was in a Best of SF anthology, one of the first sci-fi books I was given as a present.
I just finished reading that one! A good early example of dream-focused sci-fi. Can you think of any other stories, movies, art, or music that capture the feeling you want your work to have?
I guess Alice in Wonderland is the quintessential dreampunk story, but I really enjoyed Falling Awake by Jayne Ann Krentz. More of a paranormal story than sci-fi, about “lucid dreaming.” It’s a combination of nightmares interwoven with real life danger, and romance. It captures the feelings of the characters’ initial disorientation, gradually leading to them gaining control that I’d like my stories to have.
How do you hope to shape the genre of dreampunk with your writing?
Just by adding my own stories to the mix.
How can we support you in your work? What should we buy, and where can we find it?
Thanks for asking, but at present I don’t have any published works which I would describe as dreampunk, although my short story collection, TimeLabs Inc., does include “Tattoo.”
“Tattoo” is a cyberpunk story about a man who wakes up to a different reality. When things are back to normal the following day, he puts his previous experiences down to a bad dream, so maybe that is more dreampunk than I thought! TimeLabs Inc. is available as an ebook from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.
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