Monday, April 07, 2014

Interview with Michael R. Underwood, author of the Ree Reyes series - April 7, 2014

Please welcome Michael R. Underwood to The Qwillery. Attack the Geek, A Ree Reyes Side-Quest, is out today from Pocket Star. Please join us in wishing Michael a Happy Publication Day!

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. Attack the Geek, a new story in the Ree Reyes series, is out today. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Geekomancy (2012)?

Michael:  It sure has. I outline a lot more of the story ahead of time now, laying down waypoints in the story before I dive into the scene-by-scene writing. I’m still trying to leave myself the space to discover fun ideas on the spot while giving myself more to work with. I’m writing faster now, and am doing better at being able to write anywhere, anytime, which is especially good when traveling so much (for my publishing day-job and as a writer).

TQAttack the Geek is a Ree Reyes Side-Quest. What is a Side-Quest?

Michael:  In video games, side-quests are optional missions you take on for your character or party. They aren’t totally essential to the main storyline of the game, but often feed back into the main story, help develop secondary characters, and add to the overall fun. They also help round out the game, exploring settings and adding to the game’s overall length so that the main story isn’t the only story.

So how does that apply to prose?

I wanted to make Attack the Geek (originally titled Fortress Grognard) a story that would develop and enriched the world established in the first two novels (Geekomancy and Celebromancy), but might also be fairly accessible to readers new to the series to give them a taste of the kind of fun that the overall series will provide (Geeky magic! Action! Humor!).

The shorter format turned out to be quite a lot of fun to play with, and was really conducive to a short, compact story.

TQ:  Tell us something about Attack the Geek that is not in the description.

Michael:  In Attack The Geek, I take the time to develop the magic style of geekomancy a bit more – Ree learned her chops from Eastwood, but the types of geekomancy they do are far from the only ones. In Attack The Geek, we see how other members of the Pearson magical underground do geekomancy, from Uncle Joe who uses his collection of card games cards for one-shot magic effects to Grognard’s brewed geekomantic beer potions.

TQ:  In the Ree Reyes series so far which character has surprised you the most?

Michael:  Drake Winters was originally meant to be a secondary character who would help Ree out in Geekomancy, and maybe come back a time or two throughout the series. But he was so much fun to write, and proved to be such a great foil to Ree, that he very quickly made room for himself as a leading man, Ree’s constant companion and love interest.

TQ:  The Ree Reyes series is Urban Fantasy. What appeals to you about that sub-genre? Are there any other genre or sub-genres is which you'd like to write?

Michael:  My love of Urban Fantasy can probably be traced most directly to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, which I watched from the first season, growing up a couple of years younger than Buffy and the Scooby Gang. I love the ability to mix the contemporary world that we all live in, and to suggest that there may be several magical worlds of adventure and menace just around the corner. And as someone who lived in NYC in the early 90s, cities often *did* have danger around the corner, or in the park late at night. Living in Brooklyn as a kid likely primed me to respond to Urban Fantasy later on.

As far as other genres, I’d love to write across the full range of SF/F over my career. Just right now, I have ideas for epic fantasy, contemporary YA, supers, etc.. I have an idea that I’ve been developing (inspired by a comment by my friend Marie Brennan) which is currently code-named Anthropologists! In! Space! But it’ll take tons of research before I feel comfortable starting to write it. I have another idea for a series that would combine epic fantasy and near-future science fiction. Mostly, I need to find a way to get more time in the day so I can write all of these ideas.

TQ:  What's next?

Michael:  I’m about to start writing Ree Reyes #3 – Hexomancy. I also have two more books coming out this year. The first is an action fantasy called Shield and Crocus, which tells the story of an aging revolutionary who has been fighting to free his city for fifty years. He strikes a bargain with his oldest, most deadly foe, hoping to tip the scales of power before he’s too old to continue fighting.

The other novel is called The Younger Gods, which is a very different urban fantasy, starring a young man who is the only moral son from a family of demon worshippers. He escapes his family and goes off to college, trying to learn how to live in the real world. But when his sister comes to town, trying to kick off the apocalypse, he has to make connections and stop her before she can raise the Younger Gods and begin the Last Age. It’s rather darker than the Ree Reyes series, and the lead is a very different kind of person – he’s less humorous, less certain of himself, but perhaps even more driven.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michael:  Thanks so much for having me! It’s always fun to stop back by and see what other exciting debuts are coming this year, and to re-connect with readers who have been with me since my own debut back in 2012 (Which seems like it was way more than two years ago).

Attack the Geek
Ree Reyes Sidequest
Pocket Star, April 7, 2014
eNovella, 160 pages

A side-quest novella in the bestselling Geekomancy urban fantasy series—when D&D-style adventures go from the tabletop to real life, look out!

Ree Reyes, urban fantasista and Geekomancer extraordinaire, is working her regular drink-slinger shift at Grognard’s bar-and-gaming salon when everything goes wrong. The assorted magic wielders of the city’s underground have come to test their battle skills via RPGs like D&D, V:TES, White Wolf, and the like. All the usuals are there: her ex-mentor Eastwood, Drake (the man-out-of-time adventurer), and, of course, Grognard himself (her boss and a brewer of beer that act as magic potions). However, it’s the presence of these and other “usuals” that makes all the trouble. For, a nemesis from Eastwood and Ree’s past decides to finally take her revenge not just on those two, but on every self-styled “hero” in the city who happens to have crossed her at one point or another. When wave after wave of monsters besiege Grogrnard’s store, if Ree & Co. are going to survive, they’re going to have to work together. And avoid the minotaur. That’s always a good rule of thumb.

Ree Reyes 2
Pocket Star, July 15, 2013
eBook, 400 pages

Fame has a magic all its own in the no-gossip-barred follow-up to Geekomancy. Ree Reyes gets her big screenwriting break, only to discover just how broken Hollywood actually is.

Things are looking up for urban fantasista Ree Reyes. She’s using her love of pop culture to fight monsters and protect her hometown as a Geekomancer, and now a real-live production company is shooting her television pilot script.

But nothing is easy in show business. When an invisible figure attacks the leading lady of the show, former child-star-turned-current-hot-mess Jane Konrad, Ree begins a school-of-hard-knocks education in the power of Celebromancy.

Attempting to help Jane Geekomancy-style with Jedi mind tricks and X-Men infiltration techniques, Ree learns more about movie magic than she ever intended. She also learns that real life has the craziest plots: not only must she lift a Hollywood-strength curse, but she needs to save her pilot, negotiate a bizarre love rhombus, and fight monsters straight out of the silver screen. All this without anyone getting killed or, worse, banished to the D-List.

Ree Reyes 1
Pocket Star, July 10, 2012
eBook, 400 pages

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?

About Michael

While Michael Underwood was born in Bloomington, Indiana, he’s made his home everywhere from New York to Oregon and Texas to Brooklyn. Currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael is a lifelong gamer and geek and a huge sci-fi fan. He attributes this to working in a game store while in his teens. Michael graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University in 2005, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in creative mythology. He holds a Master of Arts in Folklore Studies from the University of Oregon, where he wrote his thesis on tabletop role-playing games.

Michael has always had a passion has always been in teaching, and he has taken every opportunity he can to share his skills with others. He’s so far held classes for everything from web design to the tango and, of course, writing. He attributes his passion for public speaking and theatricality to his parents, who met while performing musical theater together. Michael combines his love of teaching and passion for performance across disciplines, from historical fencing to headlining an Argentine tango band.

He is the author of Geekomancy, Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, and the forthcoming novels Shield and Crocus and The Younger Gods.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @MikeRUnderwood

The Giveaway

What:  Three entrants will each win a digital copy of Attack the Geek by Michael R. Underwood courtesy of  Pocket Star.

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with an emailing address. Giveaway ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on April 15, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. My comment got eaten?

    Anyway, I enjoy the diversity of Mike's writing and his efforts to try a bunch of things.

    (this reminds me that I need to read this newest Ree Reyes story soonish. It dropped on my Kindle today...)