Thursday, May 26, 2022

R.W.W. Greene

R.W.W. Greene is based in New Hampshire, USA. He is a frequent panelist at the Boskone Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention in Boston, and his work has seen daylight in Stupefying Stories, Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, and Jersey Devil Press. Greene keeps bees, collects typewriters, and lives with his writer/artist spouse Brenda and two cats. He is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association of America.

Greene's new novel is Mercury Rising.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

Mercury Rising -- I’m pretty sure that’s been the title since I started the thing, and I received no pushback from the publisher. The name of the series, “The First Planets,” was a collaboration but mostly the contribution of my spouse.

It would be a spoiler to talk about all the work I think the title does, but on the surface it conveys “space” and “heating up.” The cover smacks of alien invasion. On an SFF store shelf among many other titles, that’s pretty much a successful mission. The other work done may only be apparent when the reader reaches The End, maybe reads the acknowledgements, closes the book, and looks at the cover again. The title is both indirectly direct and directly indirect … and maybe a misdirection.

What's in a name?

The protagonist of Mercury Rising is Brooklyn Lamontagne. It’s a French-Canadian last name, because I wanted to show his working-class roots. The first name kind of runs in that direction, too, with an attitude, a point of origin, and maybe a hint of his parents’ personalities to go along with it. His dad loved the old neighborhood so much he named his kid after it, even though the family had to move to Queens before Brooklyn was born.

How surprised would your teenage reader-self be by your new novel?

My attempt at a novel, around age 11, was called Space Academy, and by high school I was subsisting mostly on science-fiction and fantasy. The surprising part would probably be the casual diversity in the book. I grew up in a tiny, very white town in Maine before there were LGBTQ+ groups, and it took quite a few years before I realized I wasn’t seeing the complete picture. Not everyone is a Kirk or Spock analog.

My teen self would be surprised and disappointed that I wasn’t living in space by now.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

So far, both ends of the stories have shown up pretty early in the process. I knew what Brooklyn’s fate would be, even what song he’d be listening to when he met it, before I’d finished his first chapter. It was the only possible outcome for that guy at that point in his life. The work came in bending the arc of the plot to get him where he needed to go to do the thing he needed to do. It took warm hands and steady pressure.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

I’ve never felt like I had much of a personality to share with a character, but it’s telling that a lot of my creations like books and music and would probably vote for half of a ham sandwich over Donald Trump.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

My favorite painter is John Singer Sargent. There’s just something about the way he conveys light and shadow that I really like. I’d like to think I’m trying to emulate him in some ways, although he painted mostly rich people and those folks aren’t that interesting to me.
Visit R.W.W. Greene's website.

The Page 69 Test: Mercury Rising.

--Marshal Zeringue