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5 Questions


Mark L. Van Name

1. How much more do you have planned for the Slanted Jack Series? What do you see in the future for Jon & Lobo?


            My current thinking is that the story arc of the Jon and Lobo series will run fifteen to eighteen books, but what I actually write will depend on a lot of things.

            The most important one is whether I’m still having fun with the series and think the stories are good. I’m not going to write books I don’t enjoy. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem, though, because I’m having fun with these novels.

            Of course, the other huge factor is whether people continue to want to read them. So far, so good—but I never take that for granted. When you do, bad things happen. I’m always grateful that people are buying the books.

            Though I am writing a multi-book future history, it’s very important to me that each book stands on its own. You can start with any of the three books already in print—One Jump Ahead, Slanted Jack, or Overthrowing Heaven—or with the fourth one, Children No More, which is due in August, or with any future volume. You can read them in any order. No matter what you do, each book should work.

            Take them as a whole, though, and you get more.


2. Do you feel that the accessibility of the author to today’s audience has impacted how authors work/write? Specifically, do you find yourself pressured to consider more “extra” content than many authors have available?


            Sure, everybody wants you to do more than just write the books. Tours, conventions, your Web site, your blog, FaceBook, Twitter—the ways you can spend your time are many and varied.

            What you choose to do, though, is just that: your choice. I have a Web site, and I blog every day. I go to a few conventions a year. Oh, yeah: I have a more than full-time day job. That combination is working for me so far and still leaves me time to write the novels.

            What matters most to me, though, is the work: as writers, our first and foremost obligation must be to write the best possible books and stories that we can. Everything else is secondary at best.


3. Given your technology background and Baen Books’ position regarding e-books, what is your opinion on the recent flap between Amazon and MacMillan?


          Short form: Amazon made a dick move and paid for it. I gave a much longer answer on my blog at:


4. I was fortunate enough to be see the Science, Magic, Sex tour last year. Do you plan on doing something like that again (for anyone that missed out)?


          You should have come up and said hi! I’m glad you liked the show.

            Yes, I’ll be doing a new tour that I’ll debut at Balticon 2010 this coming Memorial Day. The show is called Wake Up Horny, Wake Up Angry. As with the previous one, I’ll be selling tour shirts and donating all the profits from them to Reading Is Fundamental, Balticon’s favorite charity.


5. Obligatory oddball question: If you could have one super power, what would it be?


          That is a rough one, because I never want only one power. So, I’m going to create my own multi-faceted power: The ability of your body to stay at its peak age and peak muscular condition without ever aging or gaining weight—no matter how fatty food I eat!


<Eric Hardenbrook , interviewer>


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