First of all, thanks for Cathy for having me today. I love her blog, and am thrilled to be here! I guess the second order of business is “Who am I?” Well, I'm Red Tash, and I'm a novelist, the author of This Brilliant Darkness and a few other books that are coming out soon. Recently, I read one of Cathy's reviews about a Star Trek novel. I'm a member of StarTrek.com, and I've secretly read Kirk/Spock slash on the down-low, for years. It's a guilty pleasure, because I grew up with Star Trek as part of my Sunday morning ritual—it's almost holy to me! My perennially feuding parents could never keep it civilized long enough to actually attend church on Sunday mornings, so my peaceful, easy feelings from on high came via the holy trinity of doughnuts, CBS Sunday morning, and Star Trek reruns. Can I get an “amen?”
Yes, I am old enough that during my childhood, the only Star Trek reruns available were from the original series. And what a series it was! Who didn't fall in love with the stoic Mr. Spock? Who didn't admire the fiery Scotty? And when this image began circling the net a few years ago, I did indeed agree with Shatner's portrayal of Kirk as Capt. of All that is Awesome:
In addition to being a Trekker, I've always been a voracious reader. Fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, you name it. Lots and lots of science, thanks to Mr. Asimov. I'm still more likely to check out a non-fiction book from the library than anything else, because I love to learn. I think it makes life way more interesting to have an active mind than a dull, boring one.
One of my most “mind-activating” activities was writing my first publishable book. (I say publishable because most authors write a few awful books before they put together anything worth reading.) About eight years ago when I finally got over my enormous fear and negative self-talk about writing a novel, I began the manuscript that would eventually become This Brilliant Darkness. As you might expect, I had years of useless knowledge built up, ready to spill out into something.
And what kind of book did I want this to be? That was a question I didn't even dare tackle until after the first 150,000 words were on the page. Yes, 150k! When all was said and done, I had to sit back and go “Hmm. Now, what?” I had monsters, aliens, time travelers, angels, reincarnated saints, and this quirky little town that made Northern Exposure's Cicely, Alaska look bland in comparison. So. Much. Stuff.
I put on my editor's hat and started cutting. Cutting and cutting and cutting.
There were some things that refused to leave, though. I'd included a Star Trek parody subplot that I couldn't sacrifice. In This Brilliant Darkness, the fictionalized City of Bloomington has an annual Star Trails parade, and our protagonist attempts to attend it on the night she is hunted by an ancient monster. There's also subplot involving Captain Kurt, played by Bill Shackler, sending messages to Christine via videocassette, from the past.
I knew when I finished This Brilliant Darkness that it was only half the full story, and that I needed Captain Kurt in book two like my body needs both a right arm as well as a left. There would be no cutting Captain Kurt, no sir! So he stayed, and, honestly, whenever I think of him and his role in book two, I think of how busy he is being awesome, just like William Shatner's Captain Kirk. (That's all I can tell you about book two for now, because it's still a work in progress and I don't want to jinx it.)
I can tell you, though, that very soon, a short story based in the world of the Star Trails parade in Bloomington will be published in an anthology called The Corner Cafe. The common thread between all the stories is that they mention a place called The Corner Cafe, so when someone suggested I submit a story, of course the light bulb went off in my head. You see, it just so happens that there's a scene in This Brilliant Darkness where our heroine, Christine, stops by a place called The Corner to grab a coffee, and ends up giving The Finger to some FullCons (or maybe it was originally KlingOffs, I can't recall). The Finger, of course, is the sign for “Live Well and Tidily” in the Star Trails mythos.
It was a serendipitous delight to write a short story from the perspective of the aliens in the Corner Cafe who interact with Christine. It was a hoot, being back at the Star Trails parade. While I'll always love ST and all its iterations (I personally can't wait to see Benedict Cumberbatch in the new ST movie!), I have a lot of fun writing parade sequences with hip-hopping Red Shirts and green girls on unicycles.
I guess it's sort of like having a holodeck, you know? Remember how the writers of Next Generation abused that plot device? Well, I call it abuse, but it was a lot of fun watching Picard in a fedora playing Private Dick, or seeing Worf walk the plank of a British fleet vessel. The holodeck of ST:TNG is a bit too futuristic for the world of This Brilliant Darkness and its upcoming sequel, but who knows? I see potential, don't you?
Sometimes, making fun isn't about being mean. Sometimes it is about manufacturing fun, for the sake of having it. Good, clean, fun. And Star Trek is full of great fun, just waiting to be had. I hope you'll enjoy that aspect of This Brilliant Darkness, and of my story in the forthcoming Corner Cafe collection!
Red Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, and the author of the Top-rated best-selling Dark Contemporary Fantasy, This Brilliant Darkness, as well as The Wizard Tales, a light contemporary horror fantasy short story series. Coming in 2012 from Red Tash: Troll Or Derby, a YA fantasy of trolls, fairies, and roller derby, oh my! Also, Joan of the A.R.C., a YA action/adventure story co-written with author Axel Howerton. And much, much more! Subscribe to Red Tash on the web at RedTash.com. She loves chatting with readers at Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, so do get in touch.