TQ: What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Tobias: I guess it's that I'm a pretty hard core night owl and get my most creative work and planning done after midnight. I have no particular pen that I like. No special paper. I'm sorta boring!
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Tobias: I'm a little bit of both. I like to have a rough skeleton so that I know what I'm working toward, and I have lots of pieces of research that I've saved that are pertinent to the whole piece that need to be slotted in by chapter relevance. But at the same time I build a lot of the structure as I go along in better detail. It works for me, but it means I really don't have a strong feeling about one or the other, as I steal elements of both as I need.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Tobias: The same thing as many others: building my life around the time to write. It's very easy for life to knock me out of the groove and allow me to fall behind, and then you start drowning a bit.
TQ: Describe the Arctic Rising in 140 characters or less.
Tobias: Anika Duncan, a UNPG airship pilot, has just been shot of the sky and into the no-longer frozen Arctic Ocean. She sets out to find out why.
TQ: What inspired you to write the Arctic Rising?
Tobias: I've always been fascinated about the Arctic North, and the attempts that ended in such failure to cross the Northwest Passage by ship. Now shipping companies are looking into shipping over the Northwest Passage. It's quite clear something is fundamentally changing. In some ways that will be a good thing (cheaper shipping, more resources uncovered as the ice leaves) and in many other cases, not so good (drought in some areas, too much snow due to rain fall in others due to disrupted cycles, and overall more chaos). Conflict powers books, and this a pretty interesting potential conflict.
In some cases, if we do figure out how to fix and halt global warming through some clever human trick, it'll be like having written a novel about acid rain; it'll seem less compelling. On the other hand, we seem to have passed our moment to halt it with using anything like the cap and trade system that really blunted acid rain so effectively. So it looks very likely we'll have to deal with this fallout. And since looking at future extrapolation is what I love about being an SF/F author, I really wanted to explore all that.
I mean, how could I ignore the fact that some in the US Navy are worried about the budget implications of adding an entire new ocean to their patrol area already? Finding out the the US military is the largest investor in green technology and attempts to reduce its reliance on fuel because it's one of the larger consumers of oil, well that's fascinating.
TQ: What sorts of research did you do for the novel?
Tobias: I read some freely available commentary and articles by the US military, fascinated by what I'd just mentioned above. A lot of books about the Arctic North. My favorite gem was a geological survey the Canadian government had detailing the resources up there, which led me to the story of the currently shut down Bent Horn refinery.
TQ: Which character in Arctic Rising was the most difficult for you to write and why? Easiest and why?
Tobias: Well, there's only one point of view character, which is Anika. One of the things I wanted to show was that she came from Nigeria, one with the scars of modern day Nigeria, but that after the forty or so years that have passed, one that has participated in the same transformations that seem to be going on in many African nations right now, which is a burst of GDP growth, a fall in number of births per woman. Africa is one of the more ignored growth areas during this current recessions.
I often show Westerners pictures of an East African skyscraper skyline, and ask them where they think it is, and they're always shocked when I say Africa. Africa has skyscrapers. It has a rapidly building middle class in some areas. Sometimes tipping points are hit and things change rapidly, like India or China's rise. So trying to depict that in a few brushes led to a lot me second-guessing how readers would interpret what I drew. It isn't a big piece of the novel, but the idea that Lago was a world city was important, even if I hinted that other parts of Africa were still having some issues.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Arctic Rising?
Tobias: My favorite scenes take place on Roo's little live aboard catamaran yacht. I want to live on it. I actually used a catamaran I found online that I just adored and used it as a reference. I grew up on a yacht in the Caribbean, so I became very homesick, but loved writing it.
TQ: What's next?
Tobias: My novel Apocalypse Ocean is being written directly for fans of the Xenowealth series, if you're interested in seeing some far future science fiction adventure, there are details on how to pre-order the book on my website!
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Tobias: Thanks for having me over!
About Arctic Rising
Arctic RisingTor Books, February 28, 2012
Hardcover, 304 pages
Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it's about to get even hotter. The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.
Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. Thousands of tiny mirrors floating in the air can create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth's surface. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself—but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.
Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.
Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped. But when Gaia Corp loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world. The nuclear weapon she has risked her life to find is the only thing that can stop the floating sunshade after it falls into the wrong hands.
|Photo by Jan Hilty|
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