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Monday, September 12, 2016

Interview with author Jon Methven


Strange Boat

1. What inspired you to write your book?
I’m fascinated with space travel, specifically with Elon Musk’s Mars One Mission, which is ahead of its time. I grew up on Star Wars and always loved the giant ships that served as homes for members of both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. I came across a worn book by Gerard O’Neill, The High Frontier, in which he wrote about human colonies in space. I love that book. It was written in 1976, so it was ahead of its time by even today’s standards. I thought—this would make a terrific plot for a book. Now how to set it in 2016?

2. What is it about?
Strange Boat is the story of Danders Wake, a man who grew up in Manhattan’s high society, and who has become discouraged with the world’s problems, and the fundraisers that attempt to solve the problems but do nothing. He begins to siphon all the money from charities into one pursuit: raising money to build a backup planet before we ruin this one. It’s a book about survival.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
That we’re all in this together, whether ‘this’ represents our political system, our country, or our planet. I also hope it might inspire people to pay more attention to our ventures into outer space. As it was when we set our sights on the Moon Landing, I believe every space launch should be a nationally televised affair, like Monday Night Football, with everyone crouching in front of the television to watch human beings sit on top of rockets and blast off into the galaxy.

4. What advice do you have for writers?
Write every day, even if it’s a journal entry. Read constantly. Don’t quit your day job. Don’t begrudge other writers their success. Learn how they did it, and then do it.

5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Before 1990, when no one carried around the internet in their pockets, we all read newspapers. But while there are fewer newspapers today, I think people are reading more because the internet is filled with new and interesting forms of storytelling, and reading is a hobby that becomes more exciting with practice. I think people are reading more today, and I think we’ll always have a love for books.

6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
The concept of building an artificial planet in low earth orbit lies at the heart of the plot. And while the engineering is the easy part, obtaining the materials to construct such a civilization is difficult. We would have to have the technology to travel to the asteroid belt, mine the asteroids for product, and then transport it back to the work site. Our world is decades away from doing this, so it was a struggle to make it a meaningful concept in 2016.

Also, much of the plot is why we need a new world. We have plenty of land that isn’t being used, but rather, our propensity to destroy ourselves—global warming, terrorism, nuclear annihilation—suggest we need a backup planet for humans to live o in case we end up destroying our civilization. The reasoning for how this might happen can be seen in our daily news headlines, which are terrifying, and working these into the book meant an ever-changing plot.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Strange Boat is a fun book about survival, about our strange little planet, and how we have to take better care of it, and each other. There is also who a linebacker having sex with performance-enhancing virgins to gain an advantage over other athletes on the football field, so it’s the only book like that out there.

For more information, please consult: http://jonmethven.com/ and reach out via twitter: @jonmethven.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

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