DS: In the past you've been critical of the two big comic book companies out there right now. Do you have any plans to turn your work into a comic series? Would you turn down an offer if one of them approached you?
PC: I had an idea for an Ex-Heroes miniseries that I think could be kind of fun. I've mentioned it to a friend of a friend. Something may happen with that, but I wouldn't know for a while.
If one of the big two approached me to do something... man, I don't know. It was a dream for decades to write for Marvel. It'd be really tough to turn that down. I'd love to do a limited series about the Lizard, one of Spider-Man's old villains.
On the other hand, Marvel's a very different company today, writing different stories for a different audience. I just don't think they'd have any interest in the stories I'd want to tell. It wouldn't be a good fit, much as I wish it was.
DS: It's been said that your book 14 draws comparisons to the television show LOST? Do you think that's accurate? If so, in what ways are they similar? Did the show influence the story you came up with in your opinion?
PC: It's a fair comparison. I just had the advantage that there wasn't someone leaning over my shoulder going "could you maybe stretch it out over one more book? Okay, maybe one more book after that...?"
One of the things I liked about LOST was how so many of these things that seemed to bizzare and baffling up front made perfect sense when you found out the story behind them. A lot of them were actually kind of dull and mundane. That was a key thing for me with 14-just like any mystery, start from the end and work forward. Once I knew the answer, all the history, it was easy to drop clues that would seem very confusing out of context.
DS: Many authors dream of being able to write full time for a living. What advice would you give them?
PC: I think it's a very tough thing to do. Many people have this glamorous image of "being a full time writer" and the truth is very far from that. I was poverty-line poor for three years. Every month was stress over rent and jacked-up credit card bills and taking rolls of pennies to the bank to keep checks from bouncing. I didn't have cable or health insurance for ten years (still don't have cable). Heck, a few years back Shane Black invited me to grab a coffee for an interview and I had to turn him down because I couldn't scrape up enough money for coffee or the gas to get there. I made up some piss-poor excuse about not wanting to waste his time and did a phone interview with him instead. I can't imagine going through all that with kids or a mortgage or even just car payments. I was talking with a friend who admitted he was finally making more off his writing than his day job, but he couldn't bring himself to quit and give up a steady check and benefits. And I don't really blame him.
The biggest advice I could give is... be honest. Do I want to be a full-time writer, or do I just want to live that fun, casual writer lifestyle I see on television and in movies? What am I willing to give up? Cable? WiFi? Going out on weekends? Name-brand groceries? Vacations? Holidays? I gave up all of that to be a full time writer. If someone isn't willing to give any of that up, well... I doubt their commitment to Sparkle Motion, let's just say that.
DS: Actor Nathan Fillion got known for his work in Joss Whedon's underrated television series Firefly. Since then he's become famous for playing Richard Castle, a crime fiction novelist who teams up with the NYPD to solve murders. Recently he gave you a big shout out on Twitter for your Ex-Heroes series. What did that feel like? Did you know him before and if not have the two of you become friends since?
PC: He's actually tweeted about the books two or three times now. It was kind of mind-blowing every time, yeah.
I wouldn't say we're friends, but I've met him since then. I wanted to send him an autographed copy of Ex-Patriots-which he has sort of a cameo in-and his assistant just invited me down to the Castle set to hang out. We sat at Beckett's desk and talked about zombies and getting to do what you love for a living.
DS: What's next for you?
PC: I'm just finishing up a book set in the 14 universe. It's not a sequel or anything, but there are a few threads between the two. I think that should be out next spring. Right after the San Diego Comic Con I'll be starting Ex-Isle, the fifth Ex book, and I think (but don't quote me) the goal is to have that out in time for next year's New York Comic Con. And then after that I've got two stand-alone projects in mind.
So, yeah, my life's mapped out until late 2016 or so...
DS: Anything else you want to promote that we didn't cover or anything else you'd like to share with us?
PC: This has kind of been a year of anthologies for me. I have a short story in the Kaiju Rising anthology ("Banner of the Bent Cross"), and another one in Bless Your Mechanical Heart ("The Apocrypha of Gamma-202"). And I think this fall there's going to be a re-release of Power Corrupts, a dark superhero anthology, and I'm going to have a story in the re-release.
Plus Permuted's doing a big re-release of 14 in a few weeks. It's a new edition with some new art, a cleaner layout, and some other small tweaks. It looks really nice.
You can read more about Peter Clines and pick up his books by visiting his official website, http://peterclines.com -