Home > Blog Tours > My Interview with Marc Vun Kannon

My Interview with Marc Vun Kannon


So many fantasy writers have opted for bringing fantastical elements to the real world.  I have to ask, how long did it take you to create the world your books are set in?

MVK: No time at all, and it’s still in progress.  I’m a complete pantser when it comes to writing, so I don’t do any world-building beforehand.  Everything in the worlds I’ve created is discovered by me as I write it.

When dealing with a world created in your own imagination, what tools do you find helpful in keeping all the minute details of that world straight?

MVK: Fortunately for me I haven’t gotten into too many details just yet.  Previous books usually had the characters going off somewhere else for their adventures, so I could make it up as I went.  In my latest novel, Tales of Uncle, I’m presenting a great deal more detail about the life of ordinary people in one of the main recurring settings, the city of Querdishan.  I expect I’ll have more to say on this issue when I start on the book after that.

The excerpts I’ve read from the Flame in the Bowl series have convinced me to read much more.  What’s next for you?  Do you plan on continuing the series or are you moving on to other projects?

MVK: I am currently writing the third Tarkas novel, Tales of Uncle, which was conceived as a set of stories, told by Jasec, Tarkas nephew, to various people in his city, followed by a real-time adventure with Jasec teamed up with Tarkas again.  This idea lasted about 5 minutes, as the story decided to do something else, which has led me to write the fictional Scriptures of a fictional religion that I had no idea was going to happen when I started.  I also have a project currently in production, a completely unrelated novel about a werewolf attack on a lunar colony, called St. Martin’s Moon.  This is more in the futuristic/paranormal line than fantasy, with a large dose of romance thrown in.

Short stories are becoming more popular all the time as well as anthologies.  I’ve noticed you seem to have a penchant for writing them.  Which do you find easier to write, novels, novellas, or shorts?  In no way am I referring to the length in my question.  Which do you find easier as in terms of plot, character development, etc?

MVK: My technique for writing is mainly to start with some given characters, set them off in some basic setting, with some rudimentary plot, and then follow them around and see where they go.  Sometimes I have to add some new elements to the setting to give them more to work with.  This technique does not lend itself to short stories.  Occasionally I have a story where I know what I want to happen before I get there, and then I can keep the story in control and hit a certain target length.

I’ve noticed you don’t restrict yourself to a particular genre when writing short stories, is there any particular one (genre) you favor over others?

MVK: Most of my short stories tend to be in Fantasy, which is my favorite genre to read and write, with an occasional paranormal.  Unless you count humor as a genre.  Many of my early shorts were humorous either because I was asked to write that way or because it allowed me to sidestep certain development issues and get on with the story.

In one of your recent blog entries you wrote about the importance of humor, what it is, and what the limits should be of including it in an authors work.  Do you believe humor is essential in writing?

MVK: Not at all.  It has its uses, especially in allowing the use of a ‘broad brush’ to fill in character details that would otherwise bog down the story itself, but no story should depend on it.  All the good humorous stories I’ve read are solid stories told in a funny way.  In a slightly different sense, I do believe that stories should be fun to read.  Humor in that sense is essential, but it can take so many forms, or be subtle or spectacular, that there’s no way to say what it should look like beyond that.  In my case humor is essential because I tend to see things in a humorous way, so any story I write would do so too, in the form of bad puns, maybe some slapstick, or just the occasional wry observation about general foolishness.

I’ve asked this question to every author I’ve interviewed.  I’ll admit, the variety of answers surprised me.  What obstacle from the moment you started writing your first book until you held the most recently released copy in your hands was the most difficult?

MVK: For me the hardest problem is just describing the story, in a query-letter synopsis sort of way.   My last novel was created in such a disjointed fashion that there was no way for me to describe in a linear way.  The –opsis didn’t syn-, so to speak.  In general I never know what’s going to be happening in my stories, so it can take me quite a while to figure out what it’s really about.

I delved into your background a little before putting together this interview.  I noticed you have a very technical full time job, just like I do.  Do you have trouble balancing two careers?  What tricks or helpful advice can you pass along?

MVK: Doing computer programming is very disruptive to my writing life.  The two styles of thought are very dissimilar, and I used to get most of my writing done between semesters at school.  I had to force my way through the ending of St. Martin’s Moon just to get it done before school held it up for another few months, which was good, because once I had it done, my Bug-Hunter mentality was able to take it and see what was wrong and come up with a better resolution.  I’ll have to try the ‘Get it written, then fix it’ approach, which may work better for me.

I know when I’m at home and I sit down to work on my latest project things often have a tendency to blow up then.  I’m lucky, a lot of times at home my young ones and wife often give me the chance to work uninterrupted.  How did you find a balance?

MVK: I get up real early in the morning and write the page or so that I’ve come up with overnight.  As soon as other people around and distracting me I’m pretty much through.

Gifted authors are few and far between.  You have more than your fair share of talent and gifts in the field of writing.  Any plans or aspirations beyond being an author?

MVK: I got the husband and father thing done already, and I became a bookseller out of necessity.  I wouldn’t mind having some or all of my work made into feature films.  When life throws something in my way I’ll deal with it then, but I like where I am.  For now.

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  1. August 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Great interview, Marc. I know how that late night/early morning balance is, but I’m a total plotter. Always in awe of your pantsers!

    • authorguy
      August 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      I don’t think there is such a thing as a total pantser. I do some plotting, just not very far in advance. I have to have some text in front of me. Plotters alays seem like they have mysterious powers of some kind.

  2. August 28, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I love to see a guy put in a dose of romance. Does the cross-genre thing concern you? Will your regular readers take pause to learn that you have a romantic streak?

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