#NanoInterview: Jake Bible
DD: Thanks for plugging in, Jake! First off, tell us about EVERREALM and what a LitRPG novel is.
JB: So, let's start with what LitRPG is. It's a fairly new genre which stands for "Literature Role Playing Game". Basically, the main character(s) end up inside a game for real. It can be a tabletop RPG or an online MMORPG or any game or virtual setting. Tron would be a very old example. Or Zathura. Ready Player One would be considered LitRPG. The novels contain some sort of game mechanics like character classes, leveling up, treasure finds, quest fulfillment, etc. It sounded like a cool thing to get into, so I gave it a try. EverRealm is the first book in my Level Dead series. It's the 23rd century and the zombie apocalypse has destroyed Earth. Some gamers and programmers have figured out how to fully transfer their minds/souls into what used to be the largest MMORPG (EverRealm) on the planet in order to escape the horrors of reality. But, those horrors taint the game world and now there are zombies in EverRealm! It was my way to combine fantasy, gaming, zombies, and plenty of snark. I had a blast writing it and look forward to writing the next in the series, which will be in a different game setting! Fun!
DD: Just out is MECH CORPS. You seem to be the go-to guy for mech action. What's new in this book?
JB: My very first novel was Dead Mech, where I combined a far-future zombie apocalypse with the kickassness of giant battle mechs! Zombies, mechs, zombies in mechs! Last year I extended that mythos by writing a companion series set centuries later called Fighting Iron, my far-future mech western. I knew I wasn't done with mechs, so I decided to write a new series set centuries after Fighting Iron where the Earth's environment is trashed so much that humanity has to look to the stars for a new home. This bridges the world of Dead Mech and Fighting Iron with my space adventure universe I built in Salvage Merc One. I wanted to go old school military scifi with Mech Corps. Basically, a team of mechs that are the first strike option when humans find a viable planet for colonization, but it's occupied by a monstrous alien race that won't give up until they butcher every human being they come in contact with. It was awesome getting back into writing about a team of mech pilots and how they kick some butt. This time it's alien butt instead of zombie-mech butt!
DD: Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what were the "soundtracks" for these two books?
JB: I do listen to music when I write, but nothing with lyrics. Lyrics pull me out of the zone. I prefer movie and game soundtracks. EverRealm I wrote to fantasy movie and game soundtracks like Dragonslayer and World of Warcraft. I wrote Mech Corps to the Titanfall, Tron: Legacy, and Edge of Tomorrow soundtracks. I am currently writing my second Roak: Galactic Bounty Hunter novel to Edge of Tomorrow and some old Italian crime B-movie soundtracks. Roak is really a crime series set in space, so I wanted that gritty crime feel to the music. It works nicely. When I write post-apocalyptic stuff I go for Book of Eli, Last of Us, The Road, and I Am Legend. Those match the mood. Spotify is the best for finding all these soundtracks.
DD: Do dreams influence your writing? Do you keep track of dreams?
JB: Dreams don't really influence my writing. My dreams tend to be more "real life" centered, in a whacked-out dreamlike way. However, I do get a lot of my story inspiration and epiphanies right as I'm falling asleep. You know, when you're in that half-awake, half-asleep state? I have tons of Ah-Ha! moments then. I keep my iPhone handy and usually force myself to wake up enough to write the ideas down. I have learned to put in is much detail as possible into my notes right then. I've woken up in the morning and looked at the notes from the night before and all I could do was shrug because it would be three words that make zero sense.
DD: Finally, on the zombie front, is there anything you'd like to see more (or less) of in the zombie genre?
JB: I'd really like something new in the zombie genre. Most of the novels and movies coming out are the same old story. It's why I wrote my first zombie novel with mechs in it and why I wrote my LitRPG series with the zombie aspect. These put the genre someplace new and different than just the dead coming to life and a group of survivors getting picked off one by one. I thought 28 Days Later did a great job of reinventing the genre when it came out. We need some new authors with fresh takes to get a hold of the genre and turn it on its head. I am not a zombie "purist". I don't care about fast, slow, virus, meteor, demon-possessed, or whatever kind of zombies they are. I just want something new with a good story, great writing, and characters I care about.
Posted by Dave Dunwoody at 11:09 PM