Interview with Vivian Unger

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
What are you working on next?
I was sporadically working on a story about a den of squirrels, but then National Novel Writing Month started, and while my initial plan was to continue the squirrel story, I found I just couldn't do it. I had no enthusiasm for the task. So I started a new novel, which I am now working on. It's set in a future, after our civilization has collapsed and left behind a degraded environment. The people who scrabble for a living in this world view their ancestors (at least the white ones) as demons.
When did you first start writing?
We were assigned compositions in elementary school. I loved doing them, especially when I could make up my own story. Eventually I wrote stories without waiting for someone to tell me to.
What are your favourite novels?
I love Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, which I think is even more brilliant than his better-known Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. When I was growing up, I treasured Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, as well as her lesser-known book The Long Secret, which is about Harriet's shy friend, Beth Ellen. And the greatest Utopia story ever written, to my knowledge, is The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You by Dorothy Bryant.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I was a teenager, I would get rejections saying, "This shows promise, but...." As I got older, the rejections shifted to, "This is a good story, but...." It looked like I was on the right track and would soon get an acceptance. Only that's not what happened. Twenty years later (yes, twenty!), thanks to grim and joyless determination, I had at last achieved a few acceptances by a few obscure publications. Then, due to my apparent inability to write suitably diplomatic, walking-on-eggs emails to editors (one does build up some resentment over twenty years), one editor threatened to drop my story from his anthology, and another actually did. At that point it hit me: "This is SO not worth it!" In that moment, I became an indie author.

I don't like my story. I'd rather have Jim Monroe's story. He got his first novel published with HarperCollins, decided he found it "frustrating and dispiriting" to work with a big publishing company, and started his own publishing house, No Media Kings. His story has two things mine doesn't: success and integrity. But Jim is Jim and I'm me, and there ain't much I can do about that, is there?

Oh, and the anthology that didn't drop me? Every year or so, I receive the same statement from the publishing company: "Royalties earned: $0." I think there's a metaphor in there.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I'm writing a first draft and I feel myself entering that world and watching what the characters say and do, and getting it all down. It's a time of discovery and flow.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The original Kobo. It's a bit slow, but I like the button. I find it a bit sad that Kobo only makes touch-screen devices now.
Published 2013-11-15.
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Books by This Author

The Healer: a Novelette of Online Gaming
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,260. Language: Canadian English. Published: March 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Can a computer game change you? Simon says so. A somewhat satirical and somewhat serious look at online gaming, as well as a cautionary tale on the importance of reading the manual.
Flashing It: A Tiny Collection of Tiny Stories
Price: Free! Words: 13,690. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
An unusual audition that changes the course of Hollywood movie-making. An unusual cookbook. Boltzmann brains! And more in this brief collection of flash fiction, in which not everyone has bothered to put on a pair of briefs. (And some can't, because they have no bodies.)
The Belongers
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,070. Language: Canadian English. Published: July 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk
Louanne's popular cousin invites her to ring in the new year/decade/century 2100. But her first-ever New Year's party is a disappointment, and Louanne is fed up. She's tried so hard all her life to make friends, and nothing works. What is she lacking? Charm? Self-confidence? The answer turns out to be much simpler, as she uncovers a conspiracy from a tumultuous period of history: the Green Wars.