Please Welcome...Adam Palmer
This month our interview guest is Christian speculative fiction novelist Adam Palmer!
This is what Adam has to say about himself:
I’m just a guy who lucked into being able to write for a living. I love Jesus and I try to represent him well in everything I do. I’ve written a few books; some of them have sold well, some of them have not, all of them have been honest.
That's just Adam being humble, though. In actuality he is the author of six books, two of which are novels (Knuckle Sandwich: Sometimes Rock 'n' Roll Hits Back and Mooch: Get the money. Get the girl. Get it all for free.) and two of which are co-written devotionals based on movies (Taming a Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Lessons from "Napoleon Dynamite" and The Soul of Spider-Man: Unexpected Spiritual Insights from the Legendary Superhero.)
[Editor's Note: He is also the longstanding winner of the coveted "Longest Book Title" award.]
In addition, Adam has edited or ghostwritten nearly two dozen books of every flavor. His latest endeavor is the experimental book, Space Available for Marcher Lord Press, which is being written entirely on Twitter.
Adam is married and has five children. He makes his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
And now, the interview...
WhereTheMapEnds: Catch us up with you. What have you been doing lately?
Adam Palmer: I have been working on some ghostwriting projects, which is my day job. I’d like to believe that since speculative fiction encompasses supernatural thrillers and chillers that ghostwriting would fall into that field, but I’m afraid that’s stretching the intent of the language past its snapping point.
I’ve also been working on my latest novel, a humorous sci-fi adventure that I’m composing entirely on Twitter. More on that later.
WhereTheMapEnds: What is your favorite speculative novel of all time (Christian or secular) and why is that your favorite?
Adam Palmer: Without a doubt it’s
Strange & Mr Norrell. If we’re talking overarching stories, then
we’d have to include The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of
the Rings, and the Harry Potter books, but for one-off
speculative novels, it’s tough to get much richer and more rewarding
than what Susanna Clarke accomplished in Jonathan Strange.
WhereTheMapEnds: What made you want to write Christian speculative fiction?
Adam Palmer: If you define Christian fiction as fiction written from a Christian worldview, then I didn’t make a conscious decision to it. I simply am a Christian; that will be the lens through which I view all of my writing, whether it’s fiction, a blog post, a marketing blurb, a ghostwriting project, or what-have-you.
WhereTheMapEnds: How was your first idea for a Christian speculative novel received (by anyone: spouse, friends, parents, agent, publisher, readers, reviewers, etc.)?
Adam Palmer: Space Available is the first
speculative novel I’ve written, and the only people who knew what it
would be about were my editor at Marcher Lord Press (i.e. you) and my
wife. When I mentioned it, both said, “Go for it!”
Adam Palmer: I guess my favorite to read would be alternate history: some of my favorite books from the last few years fall in that genre, especially Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. As far as writing, I’m still in the middle of my first speculative book, so I can’t really speak to a favorite genre to write. I’ll let you know after I’m finished.
WhereTheMapEnds: As I write this, your story has taken a time travel twist, which makes me wonder if you’re going to explore your alternate history bent here too. (See, even I don’t know where he’s going with it! I’m enjoying the ride along with everyone else.) What have you seen that encourages you about Christian speculative fiction writing and/or publishing?
Adam Palmer: It’s never been easier to have your work
seen by a lot of people. Used to be you had to write in a vacuum, then
cross your fingers and hope that a publisher decided to take a chance
on you. Self-publishing was expensive and second-rate, and there was
no such thing as an Internet or an e-book reader to get your work out
there without a publisher.
WhereTheMapEnds: Recently I saw someone refer
to our current age of niche publishing, micropublishing, and
self-publishing as revenge of the writers. It’s so true. For so long,
writers have been squelched by publishers. Many times, that was a good
thing. But many times, not so much. Now there are almost no
restrictions on who or what can be published. Which is also not always
good, but often is.
So, Adam, what do you think Christian speculative fiction writing and/or publishing will look like in three years? Five years? Ten years?
Adam Palmer: Hopefully it will become more and more democratized and higher quality stuff will rise to the surface. I’d love it if current trends continue.
WhereTheMapEnds: What advice would you give to someone who aspires to write and publish Christian speculative fiction??
Adam Palmer: Make the art your main goal. Don’t write
thinking about whether it will sell; don’t make calculated marketing
decisions as you go. Just make your art.
WhereTheMapEnds: Love it. What’s the best book or seminar on fiction writing you know?
Adam Palmer: I’m not a fan of his work overall, but
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King is the best
writing book I’ve ever read, hands down and is the only one I ever
recommend. A secondary recommendation is
No Plot? No Problem! by Chris
Baty, who created National Novel Writing Month. Lots of good advice in
that one, too.
WhereTheMapEnds: What writing project(s) are you working on now?
Adam Palmer: I just wrapped one ghostwriting project, am continuing with another one, editing a series of historical fiction books, and writing my novel on Twitter.
WhereTheMapEnds: Yes, let's talk about that Twitter novel. Writing that way is a crazy but fascinating idea. How did you come up with it and what were you thinking?
Adam Palmer: I was fascinated by Twitter in general,
the way it lends permanence to the inane thoughts we cough into it.
For some reason, Twitter has taken off as the new court reporter of
history as it's happening, the immediate record of the world around us.
WhereTheMapEnds: So now that it has begun, how do you like writing a novel on Twitter? What are the pros and cons?
Adam Palmer: It’s an experiment, for sure, and one
I’m still not entirely certain will work out. As of this writing I’m
about a quarter of the way into it, and on the whole I like how the
story’s shaping up so far, but it is a very different form of writing.
I set some rules up beforehand to make it more interesting and now, in
the midst of the battle of actually writing the thing, I’m wishing I
could take some of those rules back.
WhereTheMapEnds: The other thing that can get you out
of a corner, should you paint yourself into one, is that you’ve made
it a time travel story. So all you have to do is hop into the time
machine and undo whatever it was that got you stuck. Voila! What’s the best speculative story
(Christian or secular, book or otherwise) you’ve encountered lately?
Unfortunately, the filmmakers made a few character and storytelling decisions I didn’t agree with, so I can’t recommend the film wholeheartedly, but it is definitely brimming with the type of risk-taking bravado I encourage in others (and in myself). They went out on several limbs with that film, with only a very few breaks. I still can’t believe it was made.
WhereTheMapEnds: The first time I watched Scott Pilgrim and the fantasy broke into the real world (through the first evil ex), I was just giggling like a fool. I loved the instant change from reality to fantasy, and then back again. You’re right, it’s not a film to watch with your Bible study group. But it is amazing speculative storytelling.
So, Adam, what else would you like to say to
the readers of WhereTheMapEnds.com?
That's All for This Time
Awesome thought, that. And another spectacular interview here at WhereTheMapEnds. Thanks again to Adam Palmer for stopping by. Be sure to visit him online.
If you missed any of our previous interviews with other speculative authors, including Frank Peretti, Jerry Jenkins, Karen Hancock, Tosca Lee, and Ted Dekker, you can read them here.
Come back next month for an interview with another heavy hitter in the world of Christian speculative fiction.