Friday, May 13, 2016

Interview with Michael R. Underwood

Please welcome Michael R. Underwood to The Qwillery. Michael is the author of the Rey Reyes series, Shield and Crocus, The Younger Gods, and the Genrenauts series.

I'm a huge fan of Michael's writing and there is a Kickstarter running right now for Genrenauts Complete Season One:  If you are so inclined take a look. Note: I'm a backer of course!

The QwilleryWelcome back to The Qwillery! Your new series, Genrenauts, kicked off with The Shootout Solution (Episode 1), followed by The Absconded Ambassador (Episode 2). Most recently "There Will Always Be a Max" (a Genrenauts short story) was published. Who are Genrenauts and what do they do?

Michael R. Underwood:  The Genrenauts are a group of veteran storytellers that travel the multiverse. Each other world beyond our own is the home to a narrative universe (Fantasy, Western, Romance, Science Fiction, Mystery, etc.), which is constantly playing out stories with familiar plots and archetypal characters. But when a story breaks on those worlds, the Genrenauts cross dimensions to find and fix the problem before it can ripple over to cause chaos on Earth.

TQBoth the Genrenauts series as well as your Ree Reyes series pay homage to various genres and/or geekdoms. Why is this important to you?

MU:  I’ve been fascinated by genres and storytelling basically my whole life, so it was inevitable that I’d end up telling stories about stories. The Ree Reyes series was mostly about being a fan, being a geek, and comes directly out of my time working in a game store in college and my scholarly study of RPGing and geek culture. Genrenauts is more about stories and storytellers, and about the broader cultural use of stories. And for both, I’ve spent a huge part of my life participating in geek communities, in game stores, LARP troupes, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and my day job is in SF/F publishing. So in some ways, this is a version of ‘write what you know,’ or maybe more accurately, ‘write what fascinates you,’ People and the stories they tell, the reasons they tell them, continue to fascinate me, and so I’m trying to figure it out and process it through my own storytelling efforts.

TQThe Genrenauts stories are labelled as Episodes. Why Episodes?

MU:  When the Publishing imprint was announced, the notion of writing more novellas jumped into the rock tumbler of ideas in my mind, which had already been looking at novella series (especially those by author-publishers such as Matt Wallace or J.C. Hutchins). And some of them were already using TV format terminology of episodes and seasons.

One major influence on Genrenauts is the TV series Leverage, which has its episodic heist of the week structure that informs the case of the week structure in Genrenauts. The episode and season structure also helps break the series up into readable chunks – six novellas equals one season, five seasons for the whole series. That’s much easier to keep track of than thirty individual novellas.

TQWhich genres can we expect to run into in the Genrenauts Episodes? Are there any Easter Eggs?

MU:  In Season One, the Genrenauts visit the worlds of Western, Science Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Mystery, and Fantasy genres. On my wish list for later in the series are Horror, Historical Romance, Superheroes, and Cyberpunk, as well as others. The pop culture references and Easter Eggs are less frequent and less load-bearing than those in the Ree Reyes series. Leah Tang, the lead in Genrenauts, is a geek, but her story isn’t *about* being a geek like Ree’s is.

TQWhat do you have planned for Genrenauts?

MU:  The series is planned to run a total of five seasons for the main story, but I already have ideas for several different side series, and I have the first inklings of an idea for a board/card game. I’m really excited to work in this universe for a long time to come.

The big think for me right now is that from May 9th to June 9th, I’m Kickstarting a Genrenauts Season One collected edition, comprising all six novellas. Once it goes live, you can head to to to back the campaign and help shape the future of Genrenauts. And a note for any writers reading this, the rewards include some levels that offer extensive fiction critiques and consultations, using my years of experience as an author and publishing professional, if you’re looking to take your manuscript and/or your submission materials up to the next level.

TQThank you for joining us again at The Qwillery!

MU:  Thanks so much for having me!

About Genrenauts

Introducing Genrenauts, a New Series from Michael R. Underwood!

The Shootout Solution
Genrenauts Episode 1, November 17, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 164 pages

Leverage meets Jasper Fforde in this new series from the fan-favorite author of Geekomancy.

When a story goes-off track, you send in the Genrenauts. This team of narrative specialists travels across dimensions to find, evaluate, and fix broken stories, lest the ripples manifest as violence and upheaval in our own world.

Genrenauts Episode 1: The Shootout Solution - Leah Tang just died on stage. Well, not literally. Not yet.

Leah's stand-up career isn't going well. But she understands the power of fiction, and when she's offered employment with the mysterious Genrenauts Foundation, she soon discovers that literally dying on stage is a hazard of the job!

Her first assignment takes her to a Western world. When a cowboy tale slips off its rails, and the outlaws start to win, it's up to Leah - and the Genrenauts team - to nudge the story back on track and prevent a catastrophe on Earth.

But the story's hero isn't interested in winning, and the safety of Earth hangs in the balance...

The Absconded Ambassador
Genrenauts Episode 2, February 23, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 176 pages

Fiction is more important than you think. When stories go wrong, the Genrenauts step in to prevent the consequences from rippling into our so-called real world.

When a breach is discovered in Science Fiction World, rookie genrenaut Leah Tang gets her first taste of space flight.

A peace treaty is about to be signed on space station Ahura-3, guaranteeing the end of hostilities between some of the galaxy's most ferocious races, but when the head architect of the treaty is unexpectedly kidnapped, it's up to Leah and her new colleagues to save the day.

At any cost.

There Will Always Be a Max
A Genrenauts Story
Tor Books, April 6, 2016
eBook, 32 pages

A hero is missing. The post-apocalyptic wasteland is awash with violence and injustice, and the genrenaut's own King must step in and show precisely why There Will Always be a Max.

Mike just revealed the cover for Episode Three - The Cupid Reconciliation (read more about the cover at Mike's site here).

About Michael

Copyright Tall + Small Photography
Michael R. Underwood is the author of the Ree Reyes series (Geekomancy, Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, and Hexomancy), as well as Shield and CrocusThe Younger Gods, and Genrenauts, a series in novellas. By day, he’s the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books.

Mike grew up devouring stories in all forms, from comics to video games, tabletop RPGs, movies, and books. Always books. He holds a B.A. in Creative Mythology and in East Asian Studies from Indiana University and a M.A. in Folklore Studies from the University of Oregon.

In years past, when his life was not scheduled around novel deadlines, he danced Argentine Tango and was an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, studying historical martial arts. Mike has been a hobby game store cashwrap monkey, a student archivist, a webmaster, a web design teacher, a bear-builder, a bookseller, an independent publishers’ representative, and more.

Mike lives in Baltimore with his wife and an ever-growing library. In his rapidly-vanishing free time, he studies historical martial arts and makes pizzas from scratch. He is also a co-host on the Hugo Award-Finalist The Skiffy and Fanty Show and Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers, and Fans.

Website  ~  Twitter @MikeRUnderwood  ~  Facebook  ~  Google+


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