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Patrick Swenson

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Patrick Swenson, courtesy of the author; 220x330

Patrick Swenson

Patrick Swenson is a writer, publisher, editor, teacher, and retreat director. His first novel is entitled The Ultra Thin Man, from Tor Books. He runs a small book company, Fairwood Press, and edited small press magazine Talebones for 14 years. He teaches high school and lives in Washington State with his son Orion.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I discovered conventions before my debut novel was published, but for fourteen years I was also editing and publishing the small press magazine Talebones. I found the attention writers gave me for even a little magazine that didn't pay a lot quite invigorating.

As long as they didn't follow me into the restroom to hand their manuscripts to me over the bathroom stall, I was fine. I find I can't actually write while at a convention, though, due to all the stimulating interactions with writers, fans, and friends.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

I'm too new to have many fan letters (or hate mail?) yet, but I've already received some nice messages and lovely reviews that truly make me smile. Once, when Talebones was still going, a few months after our son Orion was born, I was stopped at the Canadian border because Orion's mom and I hadn't brought any identification with us for him. This was back in the days before needing passports, and the two of us had our drivers licenses, but we hadn't thought about our new arrival. We were saved by the "Baby Issue" of the magazine, which had plenty of pictures of us and Orion, and we were allowed to cross over.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Dune is the novel. Classic Star Trek or Firefly, the TV series. Blade Runner, the film.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

I'd happily be trapped with Keira Knightley, because it's a dream of mine to someday meet her. She's gorgeous, talented, and I could listen to her accent forever. She's a wisp of a thing, and I wouldn't feel claustrophobic. I can't imagine she eats very much. Just in case, you know, we ran short of food. A strong second choice, particularly if I was stuck on a spaceship, would be Joss Whedon, because he's my co-pilot and there would be no inevitable betrayal.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Gilbert Gottfried.

book cover, The Ultra Thin Man, by Patrick Swenson; 140x201

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Cases and cases of Diet Coke, and God help everyone if I ran out. If I didn't have room for much else, it would be my copy of Dune, or my Kindle, but otherwise, I'd take whatever books I could fit from my "to be read" shelf, which would keep me busy for a long time.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I'd like to get the chance to publish more books. Even if I don't, I've already achieved my greatest life-long dream.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Science fiction is a conversation. I'm happy to be contributing to it, and it thrills me to know that people I don't even know are reading it and -- hopefully -- enjoying it. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it is to have created something from my imagination and have it out there in the broader world.

submitted by Patrick Swenson

20 August 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Pullman, Washington, December 19, 1958.
Resides: Bonney Lake, Washington
The Ultra Thin Man, Tor Books, 2014
Co-edited Imagination Fully Dilated: SF
The Best of Talebones (ed)

Web site:
@patrick_swenson on Twitter


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