This June 9th, Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to host an event with Keith R. A. DeCandido – an author and editor many of the staff have been fans of for a long time. Whether you are among the numbers of Keith’s friends and fans, or haven’t heard of him before, below, he takes a few moments with Annie’s staff to talk a little more about his work. Thank you, Keith!
For those who have not yet been acquainted with how awesome you are, how would you describe yourself and your writing career?
I’m a writer of science fiction, fantasy, thriller, and mystery fiction in both prose and comics form, with a lot of media tie-ins to my credit–stories based on various media universes including TV shows, movies, games, and comics — as well as original work, including some fantastical police procedurals, and some shared-world stuff as well. I’m also an editor, working for clients both personal and corporate.
Your novel, GOBLIN PRECINCT, is out now, and is part of a series you have going that are high fantasy police procedurals. What gave you the idea for this format, and what were some of the challenges in adapting the formula to the setting? What has been your favorite thing in playing with this series? What can readers expect from GOBLIN PRECINCT?
Basically, it’s a melding of fantasy and mystery — the setting is a fairly standard high fantasy one, with humans, elves, dwarves, and gnomes, but the main characters are detectives. The Cliff’s End Castle Guard are tasked with maintaining law and order, and they have to solve crimes that are committed in the city-state. But the crimes are sometimes based in fantastical tropes. DRAGON PRECINCT had the victims all be members of a heroic quest who are being picked off one by one; UNICORN PRECINCT has a murder victim being an upper-class girl having an affair with someone who has magically hid their face; and GOBLIN PRECINCT involves a magically-created designer drug.
It’s fun to play with the tropes of fantasy and put them in a procedural setting. There’s the M.E. who arrives at crime scenes — the magical examiner, a wizard who’s assigned by the Brotherhood of Wizards to assist the Castle Guard. The Brotherhood also tends to barge in and take over any investigation involving magic, which annoys our heroes no end.
I have a great deal of fun with these books, and I think fans of both fantasy and procedurals will like them.
I’m also generally a huge fan of police procedurals, and of taking them and putting them in odd settings. I have another series out that I just started recently called SCPD: THE SUPER CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT. The first novel, THE CASE OF THE CLAW, is out now, and it features cops in a city filled with superheroes. But it’s not about the heroes; it’s about the cops and the crap they have to deal with.
Your novella, “The Ballad of Big Charlie,” is featured in the V-WARS anthology in a shared vampire world, edited by Jonathan Maberry. For those not familiar with the world, what are the basics? How accessible is it to new fans? What was your favorite part of being in this anthology?
V-WARS is the debut of this shared world, so everyone who reads it is a new fan, and this anthology introduces the concept. The melting of the polar ice caps has unleashed a virus that activates junk DNA in some people, which turns them into vampires. But these aren’t the vampires of popular culture – these are the vampires of folklore. Each person who suffers from the virus becomes a vampire from the folklore of their ethnic heritage. A Chinese person becomes a hopping ghost, a Greek person becomes a vyrkolatios, a Haitian becomes a loup garou, and so on.
My own approach was to look at what happens when a local politician contracts the disease, and still runs for reelection — and then later runs for national office, which is much different.
What are some interesting things about your writing life that may surprise people, old and new fans?
I don’t drink nearly as much as people probably think I do. Or should.
What is your favorite event story that you could share?
Well, there was the 1999 signing where =EVERYONE= had a nontraditional spelling of their name. There was the convention in 1997 when the hotel got flooded. There was the Dragon*Con in 2008 when I was discussing the Presidential election with George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Peter David. There was meeting Robert Meyer Burnett at San Diego in 2005, when I was geebling at him about FREE ENTERPRISE while he simultaneously geebled at me about ARTICLES OF THE FEDERATION. Hard to choose just one……
Best bet is to go to http://www.DeCandido.net, which is a gateway to my various online thingies — my blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter feed — to buy my books, to listen to my various podcasts (THE CHRONIC RIFT and DEAD KITCHEN RADIO) and audio dramas (THE DOME and the Parsec Award-winning HG WORLD), and tons more.
Again, thank you very much, Keith. We’re wicked excited to have you at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester!