Book Country Member Spotlight Q&A
“You could save yourself time if you pay the most attention to the criticism you most dislike.” –GD Deckard
GD Deckard is a science fiction writer from Naples, Florida. He’s been writing since he was seventeen years old, has six grandchildren, and happens to be one of the friendliest people on Book Country. In the discussion “How Do You Use Reviews,” he writes something I find quite profound. Admitting how hard it is to take peers’ criticisms of his book, he concludes: “Truth is, it’s my baby, but someday it will have to make a living in this world.” Amen to that.
Nevena: Thank you for being part of the spotlight, GD. Where do you get ideas for your fiction?
GD: The idea for my current project came to me in a series of dreams about a future America in which natural resources have run out. I didn’t dream about calamities, just bits of everyday life. Eating in a cafeteria because, well, that’s where people would eat. Finding a barracks room to stay for the night because that’s where single people would sleep. Feeling intense togetherness at a community event on a school playground, and later disturbing sadness when I realized the school was long abandoned. It never felt like my America in ruins, but inexorably the scenes came together to make a coherent world.
Nevena: What draws you to hard science fiction?
GD: Hard science fiction is the only way to write about an inevitable future world. I set my book at the turn of the next century to allow time for America to need cafeterias to feed everybody. In the story, civilization has already run out of oil in the middle of the century. That’s “fiction” because it happens in the future, and it’s “science” because it’s based on current oil company projections.
Nevena: Tell us more. Is your book a stand-alone or part of a series?
GD: The Phoenix Diary is meant to be a fast, easy read. It’s about three teens off to find an ancient diary. They don’t know what it is exactly because local legends vary. Some people think it’s a computer with the technical data needed to rebuild their lost civilization, or an almanac for restoring earth to a Garden of Eden natural balance, or an ancient tome written by a man from the stars that tells of mankind’s true beginning and ultimate destiny. “None of that is true, of course,” our hero’s father tells him. “People just need stories like that to remind them of what they can achieve.”
One of the main characters ruthlessly pursues the teens into the Rocky Mountains, through an ancient vault and into the ruins of Denver. The adventure changes them. The kids mature, become heroes, and ultimately take us into the future of human evolution.
There will be a prequel tentatively titled The Collapse and set in the days when oil runs out. Then, a final book about the next stage in human evolution.
Nevena: Do you feel a responsibility to create certain types of narratives?
GD: I like stories where the author changes one fact and shows us how that change would alter our world. Hard science fiction can show us our future by recognizing coming changes and predicting their effects. The predictions are fiction, but if the rest of the narrative is grounded in reality, it can be convincing and may even become true. Maybe we should drop “science” and just go with “hard fiction.”
What-if stories about where our world is headed.
Nevena: So how do you fit writing into your life? What do you do when you’re not writing?
GD: I’m semi-retired—what’s to fit? Besides writing and the occasional bit of work, I amuse myself with hobbies, computer games and making voodoo dolls of potential reviewers.
Nevena: Lol! Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
GD: No. I have no quirks. But I understand why you would ask, Nevena. I’ve read Carl E Reed’s posts :).
Nevena: I love inside jokes… What’s the hardest part about being a writer?
GD: Learning that what I write is not always what the reader grasps. For example, at 60k words into The Phoenix Diary, I suddenly “got” the point of view concept. Now, I’m rewriting all my point of view breaks. Ack!
Nevena: Ooh. Good luck! Why are you a Book Country member? How has it helped you grow as a writer?
GD: Book Country is to writers what Montmartre was to painters, a community for meeting fellow writers and sharing ideas. There are wonderful people here who take their time to read other writers’ work and give their honest opinion and advice. I am indebted to them for specific assistance. I believe many will become successful writers.
Nevena: That’s nice of you to say. Do you have any advice for new members?
GD: Well, based on my own experience, I’d say: “You could save yourself time if you pay the most attention to the criticism you most dislike.”
Nevena: Sounds like a good challenge.
Thanks, GD, for taking the time to answer my questions.