Author Interview: Paul Genesse – “Smart People are in Charge Again”

Today we welcome Paul Gennese, one of the authors who contributed to “The Phantom Games,” the Tokyo 2020/2021 Olympics anthology.

Paul Genesse is the bestselling author of the Iron Dragon series, including The Golden Cord, The Dragon Hunters, and The Secret Empire, and is the co-author of the best-selling Cyberpunk novel Sakura: Intellectual Property. He’s edited seven anthologies and is the editor of five volumes in the shared multi-verse The Crimson Pact series.
In addition to being a writer, Paul worked as a charge nurse in a cardiac unit for seventeen years before getting into IT, where he’s the Nursing Solution Architect for the electronic medical record system for a large healthcare company.

Tell us about the “Iron Dragon” series.

I always wanted to create a super-dangerous and hostile fantasy world where the humans were in the minority and low on the food chain. In my bestselling Iron Dragon series, the dominant forces are predatory, intelligent creatures that hunt the humanoid species. Dragons and griffins prowl the sky and prey upon the humans, dwarves, and giergun, who are always at risk and must take extreme precautions to stay alive.

It was very interesting for me to explore the societal and cultural effects of living in that kind of world. Especially if humans were subservient to dwarves, who vastly outnumbered them and have huge families, and of course lived a lot longer. Why can’t dwarves who live for hundreds of years have twenty children?

The humans who escape becoming prey—or enslavement in the Drobin Empire—hide in secret villages. Surviving in the depths of the Thornclaw Forest, the people of Cliffton live on the edge of the Void—an abyss of clouds that surrounds the plateaus and blocks the view into the Underworld.

The opening book, The Golden Cord, tells the tale of a hunter who must leave behind the woman he loves, as he is forced to guide his most hated enemies on a suicidal journey to the lair of the dragon king.

The Iron Dragon series is classic adventure fantasy with some new twists. The villain is a scheming mastermind, who also happens to be the king of the dragons.

 

What is “The Crimson Pact”, and which other authors are participating?  

The Crimson Pact anthology series (Volumes 1-5) is where I learned to be an editor and put together anthologies. There are 113 stories and about half a million words that all spin off from the dark fantasy novella, “The Failed Crusade” by Patrick M. Tracy and I. The origin story in volume 1 features the heroes who first made the Pact and followed the demons of the Rusted Vale into the far reaches of the multiverse.

It’s a shared multiverse series where New York Times bestselling authors such as Dan Wells and Larry Correia write tales alongside over a hundred other authors. Several authors have stories in each volume, continuing the stories of their characters. The stories run the gamut from urban fantasy to sci-fi to horror and steampunk.

The “Star Wars Rock Opera” sounds fantastic! What was your role in it? 

Thank you, it was so much fun! I wrote, produced, directed and played a small role (the voice of Yoda). It featured a bunch of parodies of pop songs by wonderful singer/actors, and told the comedic story in an alternate galaxy far, far away. We tackled Episodes 1-6. We had Duchess Vader, who of course started out as Little Orphan Anakin (Anne). Her first song was “The Sith Will Come Out Tomorrow”. We had Han singing the Elvis song, “A Little Less Conversation”, the Madonna classic, “Like A Virgin” became “Like A Sith Lord”. The whole thing was a blast and we performed at a local convention, and some other events. I also wrote and produced The Steampunk Rock Opera.

What are you working on now? Do you have any future projects you’d like to talk about?

I’m working on more books in the Iron Dragon series, though life has delayed them for far too long. I’m editing book 4 and will soon finish the draft of book 5. Both will come out together.

You’ve also had an extensive career in the healthcare industry. You wrote a scathing editorial in “The Phantom Games” on the state of the world in 2020, so to follow up – what are your thoughts looking back on 2020, and how do you feel about life in 2021?

I feel like we are finally going in the right direction, but we have a long road ahead. At least we are following science now in the U.S., when it comes to public policy. The vaccines are extremely effective, but it won’t be until mid 2021 before they are widely distributed. My editorial in The Phantom Games was written long before we hit 500,000 deaths, which is a sobering reality I hoped would not occur. The dire predictions about how bad things would get have come to pass, and still people think this is a hoax. However, I do have hope now that the leadership of the U.S. government will do everything they can to solve this, rather than pretending it’s not a problem. Smart people are in charge again.

What’s one of the best things that’s happened to you as an author?

Superficially, getting the star treatment and being a guest at ICON in New York a while ago. That was a great honor, but really the best thing was getting to connect with so many readers. I made a difference in their lives and helped them escape and cope with life. That’s the best thing.

What is one thing that you’ve learned about yourself as an author?

I’m super picky when it comes to books I read now. I have a certain flavor and style preference that I like. I have a very hard time reading books that might tell a great story, but are poorly written in my opinion.

What does your research process look like? 

I tend to explore articles online, watch documentaries, movies, and read non-fiction books about whatever might influence whatever I’m writing. I’ve published almost twenty short stories and novellas and some of them took a lot of research. I even visited Greece to research a still unpublished novel, Medusa’s Daughter, and my trip to Japan spurred several short stories, and one #1 bestselling novel, the sci-fi novel Sakura: Intellectual Property, which I co-wrote.

 Which book or books are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading a soon to be published manuscript by a good friend, Absynthe, which is a deco punk alternate history thriller set in 1920’s North America. My friend, the author Bradley P. Bealieu, and I share manuscripts and I help him refine his fiction. I love it and am helping him with the final edits.

I’m also reading The Two Towers, book 2 in the Lord of the Rings series. I enjoy re-reading those books, even though the style can be a little off-putting sometimes. I also just finished Of Honey and Wildflowers by Sarah Chorn, a brutal Western fantasy that stabbed me in the heart.

What book would you like to see turned into a movie, and who should play the leading roles? 

The novel, Got Luck, by Michael Darling would be a really cool movie. It’s an urban fantasy series about a private investigator, and Ryan Reynolds would be great. The book is super funny and movie would be a lot of fun.

When you aren’t writing, what can you typically be found doing?

Binging on far too many TV shows. The Mandalorian and The Haunting of Hill House have been my recent favorites. I used to be an avid basketball player, but the pandemic has put a stop to that. Role-playing games, such as D&D have been a big passion as well.

Tell us about something in your life that brings you happiness. What is it, and why? 

Meeting and falling madly in love with my life-partner, Ciara, has been the best thing that happened to me in 2020. We spend a lot of time together and I’m so fortunate to be with her.

Another fun thing is writing adventures for my role-playing game group. I’ve got a campaign set in Middle-earth during the Second Age right after Sauron had the One Ring cut from his finger. I’m exploring with my group the henchmen of the Dark Lord who live in the East, Rhunland. I’ve loved what amounts to a fan fiction role-playing game with 5th edition D&D rules.

Where is an interesting place you went to before the COVID-19 travel restrictions?

New Zealand. We went to Hobbiton and it was spectacular. The North and South Island there are gorgeous and I want to go back. Japan is also one of my favorite trips ever.

Tell us about something in your life that brings you happiness. What is it, and why? 

Meeting and falling madly in love with my life-partner, Ciara, has been the best thing that happened to me in 2020. We spend a lot of time together and I’m so fortunate to be with her.

Another fun thing is writing adventures for my role-playing game group. I’ve got a campaign set in Middle-earth during the Second Age right after Sauron had the One Ring cut from his finger. I’m exploring with my group the henchmen of the Dark Lord who live in the East, Rhunland. I’ve loved what amounts to a fan fiction role-playing game with 5th edition D&D rules.

What tasty dish have you cooked recently?

I don’t cook very well, but the best thing I ate recently was Tuscan cream sauce on chicken parmesan that Ciara made. Oh, and homemade banana cream pie. Yum.

Tell us a strange, random fact. 

I have a 1,550 square foot fantasy art gallery in my basement with over 85 pieces of art on the walls with a professional lighting system. I have art addiction.

Any final thoughts?

Thank you so much for the interview. It’s made me remember how much I love books.

Thank you for your time Paul!

Paul Genesse’s novels can be found here …

The Phantom Games anthology can be found here!

 

 

 

 

About J P Catton

Speculative storytelling and skewed fiction: the blog and website of author John Paul Catton.
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