Pavarti K Tyler’s anthology, UnCommon Bodies , launches on Tuesday (but it’s available for pre-order on Amazon right now) and to celebrate I’m running a series of interviews with the authors from the book. Today I’m talking to Christopher Godsoe, author of The Zealot.
What attracted you to the UnCommon Bodies project?
I’m a huge fan of short story collections in general, having read several from authors like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, and I’ve long been a fan of the Future Chronicles anthologies by Samuel Peralta (featuring contributions from several of my favorite authors). Also, Karl Schroeder’s stories in the MetaTropolis audiobook series have heavily influenced my writing. I’ve always wanted to contribute stories to anthologies like UnCommon Bodies, so when Pavarti posted that she had begun accepting submissions, I immediately committed to writing something to send in.
Tell us about your lead character, what makes them UnCommon?
The main character in The Zealot is named Dru, and she is the new partner of Tobin Maldovan, the antagonist in my science fiction novel pre://d.o.mai.n. Dru and Tobin are both FBI Agents, with Tobin having transferred across the country following the events in pre://d.o.mai.n.
I don’t believe in good vs. evil, I believe in contrasting perspectives and/or motivations. Tobin, even in the first book, isn’t a “bad” guy, his motivations simply ran counter to my protagonist. Dru is much more straightforward, she wants to be a good cop, to help people, but there is evidence that she has a few frayed edges of her own. I wanted her to be a little broken, because she needed a way to relate to Tobin, who is very much a broken individual.
Tobin lost his eyes prior to the start of pre://d.o.mai.n, and now has cybernetic replacements that are a boon to his career, but a distraction in most social circles. They’ve both tried to do what they thought to be the right thing in life, and it has cost them personally. Some of those ways are subtle, cumulative ways, and others are more obvious.
Every story in the anthology has their own promotional image, what drew you to the image for your story?
I had a hard time finding an image that captured my image for what I wanted The Zealot to look like. I wanted the classically robed figure when viewed from a distance, but I wanted the figure to grow more vital and futuristic as you got a closer look at him. The robe needed to be hooded and of a neutral color, but the texture of the cloth needed to show that this story takes place in the future. I wanted it to look wrong, incongruous, like someone from the future was trying to cosplay as a monk, but the only fabric they could find was wrong for the look.
In the end, I ended up designing the figure and robe myself in Blender, and 3D modeling/design suite that I have a fair amount of experience with, and finished the composite in Photoshop with a few additionally layered images. I wanted the background to capture the destruction that The Zealot brings, but in an abstract way. A big part of the character is outthinking everyone in the room, keeping them off balance while he remains two steps ahead, and the large swings in influence in the image was my best attempt to capture that. If people look at it and have a hard time guessing the setting/timeframe/plot of the story, or that the artist just didn’t have the talent to pull off what they were going for, then they’ll be right where I want them as they start to read.
What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
The story is largely about misconceptions. Tobin is looked at as a monster by many people, but not because of the things done in third world nations as a United States Special Operative that he would just as soon forget. He is seen as a monster by his ocular prosthesis, because they look different. Dru is accepted by society, because she appears more normal, but there is a fair amount of overlap in the way they are wired, though they would never admit it. The Zealot uses the misconceptions of the media to his own ends, and I think the message I would hope that they take away is that reading books at face value, and the misconceptions that often arise from doing so, can sometimes be dangerous. Take the time to seek out your own answers, don’t just believe what people would have you believe.
What music should readers listen to when they read your story?
Sad Trance music. It has moments of high energy, but the overlying mood is of introspection, loss, and foreboding. Plus, the electronic-ness is a subtle reminder that this is all happening in the future, LOL.
Once readers have read your story, which of your books/stories should they read next?
This story takes place shortly after the events of pre://d.o.mai.n, which is the first novel in my d.o.mai.n series. If they are interested in this story, but haven’t read the first novel yet, I would suggest they start there, the only potential spoilers being that Tobin survives the first book. Also, these characters are already trying to survive the second novel in the series, Infinite Loop, which I am currently writing, so they can read it knowing that I have more in store for them in the future.
About Christopher Godsoe
Christopher Godsoe lives in Central Maine with his teenage son. Common themes in his stories include the perception of reality, the definition of self, the proliferation of a free and ungoverned internet, as well as corporate and governmental corruption. The majority of his characters appear in separate works, showing them from various perspectives and giving a more complete account of their lives. Regular updates on the entirety of his work can be found at http://www.christophergodsoe.com, and he can be followed on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cgwrite and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cgodsoe
Check back tomorrow for the next UnCommon Bodies interview. If you’d like to hang out and chat with the authors from the anthology, and maybe win some prizes, we’re having a Facebook launch party on Tuesday.
You can find out more about my upcoming releases, and get four FREE books by signing up for my newsletter here.[UnCommon Bodies Q&A: Christopher Godsoe by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 21st November 2015]