Folks, please welcome the highly entertaining James Livingood. I have had the pleasure of enjoying 3 of his stories (Pale Rider, Summer Sword, & Magic Factory). We chat about Brandon Sanderson’s works, supernatural creatures, Firefly, and plenty more. Also, don’t miss out on the audiobook giveaway at the end of this post!
Would you rather have a dragon, or be a dragon?
I would rather have a dragon than be a dragon. Popular media shows dragons as hording gold and the closest I’ve every come to that is having a “piece of eight” pirate treasure mounted in my office. I am not very materialistic.
If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?
I like the idea of a supernatural creature saving me from doom. Much of the current portrayal of superheros seem like “happy accidents”. They accidentally gain great power and now use that power for good. On the other side of that space aliens feel like deus ex machina. They can be anything the author wants because humanity has never met an alien. Furthermore, alien technology can be whatever the author wants. However, supernatural creatures are purpose driven which I find fascinating. They exist for a reason and that binding (then breaking) of rules is what draws me to fiction.
Book: God Emperor of Dune
Movie: Flash Gordon
TV Series: Firefly
For me, the entire Dune universe came to a conclusion in the God Emperor of Dune book. Flash Gordon is something my family watched on a regular basis. The soundtrack was created by Queen and the movie was a cheesy type of fun. Finally, Firefly was well written and a pleasure to watch.
If you were sent on a magical quest which other 4 fantasy authors would you take with you?
Brandon Sanderson would be the guide, since he knows the rules. Kevin Hearne could provide jokes and positive attitude. Jim Butcher could be the brooding one in the back that comes up with a crazy plan. Finally, I could sacrifice Terry Goodkind to the lion / volcano / angry natives. After reading all 11 of the original Sword of Truth series, I ended up only liking one book.
Who or what are your non-writer influences?
There are a lot of them: family, friends, teachers. I’ve been lucky to have so many great people in my life that singling just one out is difficult.
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you chose to do?
My other job is playing with technology. Beyond writing, it’s the closest thing to playing with magic. Using universal machines to create anything and communicate anywhere feels very magical.
I once got into an awkward argument with Brandon Sanderson. I felt he wrote the exact same female characters better than Robert Jordan. He was humble and disagreed. However, I was in full fanboy mode and I kept pushing my point. It was very awkward.
Which favorite fictional worlds would you like to visit?
I am working my way through Scott Meyer’s Magic 2.0 series. I think it would be fun to visit a world that I could program like a computer code. Living in that world would be like the holodeck in Star Trek.
What is the first book you remember reading on your own?
The first one I remember reading would be Where the Wild Things Are.
“I am often left to wonder why a zombie, walking around in the sun, smells better than a pooping dinosaur.”
Two worlds collide in this action novelette. Zombies have destroyed civilization. Gasoline fuel is no longer an option, but humanity must find a way to survive. In response to trying to restore our way of life, we engineer franken-monsters. Because of their small brains and massive sizes, these beasts make quick work of farming and clearing land. These large creatures are immune to the zombie virus and perform excellently in loud conditions. They are easy to train. They behave like war horses, prone to help charge in and defend our livelihood.
In honor of the past, and to help build our future, we named these creatures dinosaurs.