Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Hey, all. I'm a slacky blogger lately, but even a slacker jumps at the chance to delve "behind the scenes" of a dynamic author. I'm happy to have Abner Senires here chatting about the influences that percolate in the KAT & MOUSE coffee pot of the mind.

I started reading KAT & MOUSE a few years ago as a subscriber to the serialized cyberpunk story, and I love it. The ladies had me hooked from the get-go. It's fun, it's funny, it's a leetle beet violent. (If you know me, you'll see the appeal)

Before I start, I'd like to thank Hillary for hosting me today for this stop on the KAT AND MOUSE SEASON TWO book blog tour. Hillary has been one of the biggest supporters of Kat and Mouse and their adventures so I'm honored to be here today.

Now, on to our topic...

Movies, TV, and Writing Fiction

I grew up watching TV and movies. From the Johnny Weismuller Tarzan movies, to the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials, to Thundarr and Thundercats and Robotech, to Robocop and Star Wars and Ghostbusters, from The A-Team to Star Trek to Next Gen to Xena and Buffy and Firefly, to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Aliens, to Terminator 2 and The Mummy and Jackson's Lord of the Rings, to Underworld and Resident Evil and Serenity and Pacific Rim.

And everything in between.

While a solid drama could be a good watch, what made my blood race was a well-done actioner. And if there were sci-fi and/or fantasy elements in the movie? Bonus.

Had I taken a different turn early on, I think I may have ended up in Los Angeles working in film and/or television.

But that's not the road I took.

I chose to go down the prose writing road.

And even on that road, TV and movies--sci-fi/fantasy action-adventure in particular--color the kinds of stories I come up with. Kat and Mouse owe a lot of their flavor to those sorts of movies and TV shows. Roller coaster rides in prose. Running gun battles with combatants twirling and twisting and leaping and wielding twin pistols. Walking away from an explosion in slow motion.

Fellow writer Joshua Roots describes my stories like this: "It's John Woo stuffed between two slices of Michael Bay and wrapped in hand grenade-flavored bacon."

Yeah. It's like that.

"But why movies?" you ask. "You're a fiction writer. The written word. Surely you're more influenced by fiction and other fiction writers rather than celluloid fantasies."

I probably should be, right? Influenced by fiction and other fiction writers?

Don't get me wrong. It was fiction that got me started on the writing road. Had I not read what I later learned was Fredric Brown's short story "Arena" or Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall," I would never have decided to try my hand at writing prose and fallen in love with it. Asimov was my gateway author to written science fiction. J.R.R. Tolkien was my gateway author to written fantasy.

But my favorite science fiction and fantasy writers were my favorites not so much for their writing but for what they had done with that writing. Asimov's prodigious output. Tolkien's massive worldbuilding. Heinlein's time-spanning future history. Howard's and Lovecraft's creations.

Oh, there are a couple of writers whose actual writing stick in my consciousness. David Eddings continually wows me with his character interactions, especially the group of main characters in his Belgariad and Mallorean series. It's one of the reasons those are my "go to" comfort books. And Robert B. Parker's minimalistic prose, particularly in his Spenser novels, always floors me with its understated punch. Raymond Chandler is another user of punchy prose although his always has a hint of lyricism that makes me smile.

But more often than not, when I'm writing about Kat and Mouse--or writing other stories for that matter--I inevitably think to myself "Oh, this part here is like the news reports in Robocop and Starship Troopers" or "She's very much like Xena" or "It's Buffy and Scooby Gang patter" or "Then they end up like Jack and Wang in the bowels of the Wing Kong Exchange."

Back to movies and TV.

Which brings us back to the question: "Why movies and TV?"

For me, I think it's two things.

First, the audio-visual aspect. Visuals mixed with music, voice, and sound that puts the viewer smack dab in the middle of the action, engages their senses, and stirs up their emotions. A vicarious thrill. 

Second, it's a story told within a defined and confined space. A TV episode is either 20 minutes long or 45 - 50 minutes long, not counting commercials. A feature film is between 90 minutes and 2 hours long. It's an immediate, exhilirating experience and then it's over. Like riding Space Mountain at Disneyland.

I try to add that audio-visual aspect into every story. It works out that way in my head. Yes, I realize it's probably missing the music and sound effects but I hope it translate to the written version to some degree.

That "story within a defined space" also speaks to the part of me that likes structure. And TV episodes and movies have an inherent structure. Whatever needs to be told, it has to be done in that space of real-time and it requires several underlying aspects for the whole thing to work.

So yes, I am a reader and I do read. Because that's one of the things writers do.

But I also am an avid TV and movie watcher. Sometimes, more so than reading.

Books may turn on the movie in your mind.

But sometimes the onscreen version is better.

One more thing: that "story within a defined space"? I really think that's why I tend to work short. Easily digested in a sitting. Even my two early trunked novels were on the shorter end of the word count scale. And the majority of my stories average between 8,000 and 12,000 words.

To me, it seems more natural to work shorter. Or as Gimli puts it in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: "We dwarves are natural sprinters! Very dangerous over short distances!"

See that?

Back to movies again.

Abner Senires writes sci-fi pulp adventure and probably drinks far too much coffee. He lives just outside Seattle, WA with his wife and a pair of rambunctious cats.
WEBSITE: www.AbnerSenires.com
BLOG: blog.AbnerSenires.com
TWITTER: @abnersenires

Things are heating up for near-future female mercenaries Kat and Mouse as they tackle even more hair-raising jobs for shadowy clients and run afoul of terrorists, freedom fighters, hired assassins, a Japanese crime syndicate, and warring punkergangs. And smack in the middle of this, an enemy from the past is back and wants revenge on the duo.

Now these two sassy sisters-in-arms must fight back and survive...and still get their jobs done.

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