Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Patrick Tomlinson?
Author, comic, provocateur, husband, kind of an ass.
Your new novel, Gate Crashers, was just published by Tor Books. It looks rather fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?
First Contact meets Armageddon and hilarity ensues.
Is it part of a series?
It’s part of a universe at the very least. Tor’s bought three books at a minimum, although I have ideas for half a dozen or more. The sequel, Starship Repo, is already written and turned in. Each book will have commonality with the events of the larger universe, which we’re calling The Breach, but the intention is to have each book be a new jumping off point for readers and stand-alone to a large degree. Think Terry Prachett’s Discworld books. Like that.
What inspired you to write the novel and series? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
Honestly? This started out as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fanfic back in 2009 after I finished reading the omnibus and hated where all the characters ended up. So I wrote the first few chapters of a sequel onto to learn And Another Thing… was coming out. Instead of throwing it in the bin, I stripped everything out what I’d written that had any connection to HHG, leaving me with a set of unconnected jokes. Then I started over with a fresh plot, new characters, and connected the dots.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Timothy Zahn wrote Heir to the Empire, and I was hooked. That led to Michael A. Stackpole, which led to Michael Crichton, and then things got really out of hand.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
Best job I’ve ever had. I sincerely hope I never have to do anything else ever again. Being paid good money to just wander around inside my own creative process is an unbelievably satisfying way to live.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
Read widely and diversely. Try not to write sober if you can help it. Write when you don’t feel like it or you’ll never learn how to make deadlines. Don’t get bogged down in numbers because then some reader smarter than you will run the math and take you to the mat for it. Buy a pet koala to silently judge you.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
Well, Gate Crashers was my first foray into writing. It’s the first novel I ever wrote, just took a little longer than the others to get published. But it landed me a three-book deal with Tor. So, yeah, I’m pretty fond of it.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
I think the genre is stronger and more innovative than it’s ever been. The explosion of new, diverse voices and the critical recognition of their viewpoints has invigorated the field in a way I’ve never seen. I hope my work nestles nicely into the long-neglected sci-fi humor niche along with people like Scalzi, Becky Chambers, and Cat Valente and give the fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Discworld, Futurama, Rick & Morty, and Guardians of the Galaxy new worlds and characters to explore and enjoy.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
I’ve actually just broken ground on the second book in a more serious military sci-fi/corporate espionage series, the first of which I wrote last year in between other projects. It’s killer. I’ve long been a fan of milspec works, especially David Weber’s Honorverse series, and wanted to take a crack at it myself. I’m also dabbling in writing screenplays, with an adaptation of my debut novel The Ark and a second secret original work that my writing partner and I drafted up that I’m quite excited about. Both of them have been finished and turned over to some Hollywood types. We’ll see.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
If you could recommend only one novel to someone, what would it be?
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I am exactly like I am in real life as I am online.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
Voting in a Democratic congress so we can impeach the Sippy Cup Caligula and get our god damned country back from the Russians, then start throwing traitors in prison.
Also on CR: Guest Post on “Intro to Genre”
Author Pic Credit: Jason Hillman