Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Author Interview with Paul Levinson!

1. Hello, and welcome to my blog! To start off, what made you decide to take the plunge into the world of publishing?

For me, the act of writing strongly implies the act of publishing.  After all, why write in the first place if you don't want as many people as possible to read what you wrote?  For most of my career as an author, I've been traditionally published by major houses like Pearson and Routledge for my scholarly nonfiction, and Tor for my science fiction.  But, in 2012, I started working with a small press for my science fiction - JoSara MeDia.   Sooner or later I'll definitely self-publish as well.  It's all part of the writing process.  And my philosophy as a writer is, if it works, do it - whatever it takes to get your works to more readers and receive decent compensation.   One problem with traditional publishers is that the compensation won't make you rich, unless you're a best-selling author.  Small presses and self-publishing will give much more money per sale.

2. Tell me about your book.

Well, I have 15 books published - nine nonfiction, on the history and future of media, and six science fiction, including my Phil D'Amato series about an NYPD forensic detective with a knack for getting into strange cases, and my Sierra Waters time travel series.   I'm also writing more than one book at the same time - sometimes nonfiction and science fiction.  Critics of my media theory have said it read likes science fiction - I take that as a compliment, because I love science fiction.

3. Who/what inspired you to write?

Isaac Asimov, more than any other writer, inspired me to write science fiction and nonfiction - Asimov wrote both, and did in a riveting way.  He was a master of words, with a lean, effective style that appealed to me the instant I read it, when I was about 12 years old.  As for the what - I love the feeling of being able to create worlds that didn't quite exist before - or, in the case of my nonfiction, of being able to explain something complex in a clear way.   Some of my nonfiction books are used as text books - like New New Media - and that makes me very happy.

4. I see one of your series involves time travel back to the time of Socrates. Very interesting concept. Did this require a lot of research?

The Plot to Save Socrates took a huge amount of research.  Part of it was done over the years, since I was a student in college in a philosophy class, and became interested in why Socrates insisted on drinking the hemlock when he had been given a chance to escape by his friend Crito.   But as I was writing the novel, and began including real characters, I spent days in libraries  doing research - lots of material about ancient philosophers, when I was writing the novel in 2004-5, wasn't yet online.  But the research was fun!

5. What sci-fi writers would you say have most influenced your writing?

Well, I already mentioned Asimov.  Others would be Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, James Blish, and Alfred Bester -  and of course H. G. Wells and Jules Verne - I've loved the masters of science fiction.
6. What do you do when you're not writing?
I'm a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, so I do a lot of talking when I'm not writing.  I'm also interviewed a lot on television and radio - here's a YouTube page with a lot of my interviews - And, for fun and relaxation, I swim about 20 laps a day, garden, and have a goldfish. And family is the most important of my life.

7. Any books we should be expecting from you soon?

I just finished writing Chronica - the third novel in the Sierra Waters series.  It should be published in about a month, and available for pre-order on Amazon sooner than that.  I just need to give it one more read-through.   I'm also writing a 4th Phil D'Amato novel.

Off-beat questions

1. You have written about time travel. If you could travel through time, what time period would you travel to, and why?

Today I would say the 1890s, because that's where a lot of Chronica takes place.  But tomorrow I might say someplace else.   Any place in the past would be fabulously interesting to me.  And, then, we have future ...

2. You also have written non-fiction about the digital age. What do you find the be the most interesting aspect of the digital age, and where do you think it will lead us?

As I explain in New New Media, the most revolutionary aspect of the digital age is that every consumer can become a producer - that's what Kindle publishing is all about, where any reader can become a published author; that's what Wikipedia is all about, where the articles can be written by anyone;  that's what YouTube is about, where people put up home videos all the time.  For the first time in human history, writers and speakers and photographers don't need to get anyone's permission to get their work out to the world.  That's a great step forward for humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment