Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Interview with the Author



Ian Healy

Author of The Milkman and numerous online short stories, Ian Healy resides with his family and a ’71 Chevelle (that is older than he is) in the Denver, Colorado area.

Tabitha: What inspired you to write The Milkman? Why not a garbage man or an ice cream man?

Ian Healy: The character of the milkman with a samurai sword sprang from a role-playing game long ago where I created such a character for a throwaway horror game. He, like the titular character in the novel, was named Blake. Blake is, of course, a singular name like Cher. I originally planned something entirely different for my first outing with National Novel Writing Month, but then late on Halloween night scrapped that idea in favor of the sword-swinging milkman in a fit of madness.

Tabitha: Is there a particular, actual person or persons who inspired your lead characters?

Ian Healy: I’d like to think I have similar qualities to Blake – a certain acerbic wit, eccentricity, and, of course, the dashing good looks. Liza is an amalgam of my high school girlfriends. The Quiet Sons motorcycle gang was inspired by a local cycle gang called the Sons of Silence, but as to whether or not they have their own Big Al I can’t say.

Tabitha: When I read The Milkman, images of a science fiction spoof such as The Ice Pirates rummaged through my head. Have you envisioned what a movie version would look like?

Ian Healy: I have, and Robert Rodriguez (of Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn) would definitely direct it. It would be a fast-paced, exciting and funny adventure that would have all the qualities of a summer blockbuster. What’s the word the critics like to use? A romp.

Tabitha: The characters in your book come to life in my mind as I read their conversations. Have you envisioned certain actors playing the lead parts?

Ian Healy: Ideally, Blake would have been played by Bruce Campbell fifteen years ago. Blake is very similar in a lot of ways to his character Ash from Army of Darkness. As a tribute, I’d like him to do Bunky’s voice. After seeing their chemistry together in Down With Love, I could see Blake and Liza played by Ewan MacGregor and Renee Zelleweger. Big Al would have to be played by John Goodman. I’d have a bit part as one of the bikers.

Tabitha: There are no cover credits listed for the book. Tell us about the three people pictured on the cover of The Milkman. Are these people you know? How was the cover created?

Ian Healy: I first created a clip-art concept of the cover – three figures posing in front of the snowplow, then sent that idea off to iUniverse. They in turn took my idea and composed a cover based on that. I don’t know who the people on the cover are. The actual cover design went through a few iterations before we arrived at the final image.

Tabitha: Did you consider other publishers before you selected iUniverse?

Ian Healy: I did my homework. I researched several of the self-publishing houses, focusing especially on how they were rated by people who’d used them. iUniverse seemed like the best overall choice given the amount of pre- and post-publishing support they make available.

Tabitha: How satisfying has your experience with iUniverse been?

Ian Healy: Overall I am pleased with my experience.

Tabitha: What is the most significant thing you have learned as a POD author? Do you have any advice to offer to new or prospective POD authors?

Ian Healy: Edit, edit, edit. And have other people edit your work too. As an author you’re often too close to your own work to realize what needs to be excised and what needs to be expanded. The published version of The Milkman is a fifth draft, more or less. With POD, it’s all too easy to gloss over the dirty work because you’re so excited to hold a copy of your book in your hands, but you have to do your copy and line editing just like would be done by a conventional publisher. It’s a question of vanity versus professionalism, and even though I’m a writer and therefore in love with myself, I still try to take the high road and make my book as professional as possible in every way.

Tabitha: You have links to many short stories and other short novel projects on your website. Pardon the pun, but you seem to have a novel approach to the marketing of your work. Would you like to elaborate on this concept for us?

Ian Healy: My ultimate goal is, of course, to get an agent to sell one of my longer works (and subsequent projects) to a mainstream publisher. Choosing to self-publish The Milkman is a way of helping to build a base of readership and interest in my work. I use my blog (http://ianthealy.blogspot.com/) for much the same reason – to attract a fan base, a following, before I’m published. I’m not just marketing my book or my stories or my webcomic, I’m marketing myself as the product. I want people to associate me with solid, entertaining writing so that when they see my name on something, they will be interested in it (and, of course, buy several copies for themselves and their friends and family).

Tabitha: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What genres do you like to read?

Ian Healy: I’m a long-time comic book reader. I have a deep love for the DC Universe. Alan Moore’s Watchmen made me want to be a writer. George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series of novels made me believe I could write about superheroes. I also am a big fan of Alan Dean Foster and Mike Resnick. I’m also a fan of the Star Wars universe, and enjoy a lot of the authors who have worked on it. If anyone from LucasBooks is reading this, I’d love to write a SW novel…

Tabitha: What have you been reading lately?

Ian Healy: I’m trying to branch out to read a wider variety of books than my preferred science fiction (currently rereading Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash). I just read a wonderful book by William Kotzwinkle called The Bear Went Over The Mountain. I’m working through a Tony Hillerman mystery, and I have read some non-fiction recently – specifically Stephen King’s On Writing and Neal Peart’s Ghost Rider.

Tabitha: What sort of educational experience do you have, and is it relevant to your writing or the subject matter you have chosen?

Ian Healy: I have a liberal arts degree, which means I don’t know enough about anything to get a real job but know enough about everything to tick off my friends. Now that I’ve got all the liberal arts majors screaming for my head, I’ll say that if I did go back to school I’d probably get another liberal arts degree, either in English or History.

Tabitha: What about your work career? Has your choice of profession influenced your writing?

Ian Healy: Well, right now I drive a forklift. *laughs* I suppose it influenced me enough to write Propane Jockeys as my 2005 NaNoWriMo entry – a book about forklift rodeo racing, which I though I’d made up in my head until I Googled it and discovered there really is such a thing. For the most part, I consider writing my profession. Everything else is paying the bills until the writing income is sufficient.

Tabitha: What’s next for Ian Healy, the writer?

Ian Healy: I’m shopping my completed manuscript Deep Six: A Just Cause Novel around to literary agencies, and it has generated some interest. It’s about what happens when a brilliant psychopath engineers a breakout from a prison for people with superpowers and only two ordinary guards can do anything to stop it. I’m working on my next book, The Greatest Generation: A Just Cause Novel, about American super-powered commandos in World War II. And of course, NaNoWriMo 2007 is only a few months away, so I’m starting to think of ideas for what my next 30-day insanity will be.

Tabitha: What pithy, insightful thought would you like to leave with your readers?

Ian Healy: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t beg them to please go read my webcomic – it needs more readers! (The Adventures of the S-Teamhttp://ianthealy.comicgen.com/)

3 comments:

Unhinged said...

I'm here to show support for Ian. I know he's going to make it big one day, and I want to be one of the people who can say I knew him BEFORE the Healy/Rodriguez Just Cause trilogy.

Karmyn R said...

Great interview!!!

I too, would like to take this opportunity to say I loved The Milkman - very humorous...and that I knew Ian before he became a huge success!!!!

Eden said...

"Platform" even for fiction, Ian is building his in a creative way that matches his personality. This interview give a nice glimpse of it too. Mazel-Tov Ian!