Saturday, January 10, 2015

3 Gregg Rosenblum, author of CITY 1, on learning what works for you as a writer

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

There’s a scene I’ve always thought of as the “robot family dinner”…I’ve had it in my mind since I started writing Revolution 19, the first book of the trilogy. There’s a lot going on internally among the characters, and it’s a pivotal plot point, but I think it was so difficult for me to write because I had been envisioning it for so long. That seems counter-intuitive…you’d think having it in my head for so long would make it a breeze to get onto paper…but for me, it created a lot of pressure to get it just right. It had taken me three years, and two and a half books, to get to that scene, after all.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

If you’re into robots and the possibilities and dangers of artificial intelligence, check out the I, Robot stories by Isaac Asimov. Yes, it’s old school (published in 1950), but it’s a cornerstone in science fiction and has influenced everyone who has written about A.I., whether he/she realizes it or not. Also get your hands on anything by Philip K. Dick. He’ll make your brain hurt, in a good way. Check out all the movie adaptations from his work, especially Bladerunner, the 1982 classic based on Dick’s short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” The question asked in Bladerunner—should self-aware artificial intelligence be considered ‘alive’?—was in the front of my thoughts as I was writing about the Senior Advisor bot.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I learned how to pace myself as a writer. I’m not a binge-writer; I can’t work all day. I’ve gotten better about getting into the “zone”…it’s still difficult, but it used to take hours of screwing around, checking email, surfing the web, false starts with scenes, before I’d settle into some real work. I’ve learned to do better with less time. If I have a four-hour block of writing time, I can’t waste half of it looking at shoes on Zappos.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Writing advice is everywhere, and some of it is contradictory. Learn what works for you as a writer, and embrace it. Don’t beat yourself up for what you’re not. I, for example, HATE first drafts. A blank screen scares the hell out of me. So I have to give myself permission to write badly, just to get anything on the page, knowing that I’ll improve it as I revise. If I try to write too perfectly in early drafts, or try to control the plot too closely, I freeze up and get nothing done. My wife (Wendy Wunder, also a writer), is the opposite. Revision to her is painful; she works slowly and tries to make her first drafts as polished as possible. Learn who you are, and how you write. Listen to advice, certainly, but always think, “Does that work for me?”

What are you working on now?

I’m kicking around some rough ideas for a funny, raunchy, urban fantasy about death. I’m not sure what that means yet.

ABOUT THE BOOK

City 1
by Gregg Rosenblum
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 1/6/2015

In the explosive conclusion to the thrilling Revolution 19 series, the time has come to win the cities back from the bots—or die trying.

After finally reuniting at a rebel camp, siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass are willing to do anything to stay together—and free their parents from bot rule. But the leader of the rebel camp has her own ideas. Cruel and determined, General Clay won’t let anything stand in the way of her plan to destroy the robots and all the brainwashed humans. This means their parents’ lives are at stake, but Nick, Kevin, and Cass can’t desert the rebels when they’re so close to freedom. How far will they go to save the world they believe in?

Created in conjunction with Alloy Entertainment; Howard Gordon, the showrunner of 24 and Showtime’s Emmy Award– and Golden Globe–winning Homeland; and James Wong, the executive producer of American Horror Story; City 1 is the gripping finale to the exhilarating Revolution 19 series.

Purchase City 1 at Amazon
Purchase City 1 at IndieBound
View City 1 on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregg RosenblumGregg Rosenblum works at Harvard, where he wages epic battles against technology as an editor/webmaster/communications/quasi-IT guy. He graduated from UC San Diego and has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

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