Fri
Feb 13 2009 2:22pm

Introductions At the End of the Analog Age

Howdy folks! Ken Scholes here. I’m going to be dropping by Tor.com over the month of February to spend some time with you. I wanted to introduce myself for those of you who aren’t familiar with me or my work.

I blog under the handle Trailer Boy over at Discombobulated Pensivity in the Double Wide of Life. And if you follow that blog, you’ll already know it’s rather scarce. Blogging isn’t a natural strength of mine.

My short stories have been showing up in various venues for nearly a decade now. My first collection, Long Walks, Last Flights and Other Strange Journeys, recently sailed out into the world under Fairwood Press colors just ahead of the release of my first novel, Lamentation, book one in a five volume series from Tor. Folks have said a lot of nice things about both books; I’m grateful for that. And Lamentation hits shelves on February 17, which is an interesting date for it. We’ll come back to that in a minute.

Over the month of February we’ll have an opportunity to get to know one another a bit better. I don’t really have anything fancy or earth-shattering to say; I’m just glad to be here. I’ll post a few times a week. You’ll get to see (and hear my ubertalented pal Mary Robinette Kowal read) my novelette, “A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon.” And Tor.com is working with Fairwood Press to bring you a free e-copy of my first stand alone project, Last Flight of the Goddess, a D&D love story I wrote for my wife that later became a limited edition hardcover and the Last Flights portion of my collection’s title.

So just to get things going, here’s a bit about me by way of introduction.

I just turned forty-one earlier this month. I’m frantically working to wrap Antiphon, volume three in The Psalms of Isaak. And I’m nearly there. Then, I plunge madly into Requiem.

I’m married to the fierce, fair and formidable Jen West Scholes and we live with a couple of cats amid a mountain of books in the small town of Saint Helens, Oregon. We both have day jobs in Portland to keep those cats fed. And we’ve just recently announced our Great Collaboration—twins! We’re delighted and daunted. They’ll be showing up in August and I'm hoping to Cthulhu that they have their mother’s looks, brains and fashion sense.

When I’m not writing, I’m playing guitar or reading a book or watching a movie or—alas, rarely these days due to rampant busyness—playing my Xbox 360. I’m an introvert who loves people and needs solid doses of solitude.

I grew up in a trailer near the foot of Mount Rainier on the outskirts of a small logging town. We were rednecks, right down to the tires and batteries in the yard. (This explains the Trailer Boy bit.) And it seems I’ve wanted to be a writer for a goodly while. I was stapling my own self-illustrated prose together into books from First Grade on. In the Second Grade, I fell into Jack Williamson and Lester Del Rey—they were my gateway into the genre. I moved from there into Bradbury, Burroughs, Heinlein and stretched quickly into Tolkien, Susan Cooper, L’Engle. By Fourth Grade, it was Stephen King. Howard, Moorcock and Leiber by Fifth Grade, alongside L’Amour and Fleming. I’ve had a passionate love affair with Story for as long as I can remember and when I discovered books, we were inseparable. I plowed through the genres—mystery, western, science fiction and fantasy. I could not get enough Story, even with a steady diet of comic books, TV and movies mixed in with the books.

I was born at the right time. In the late seventies and early eighties a new kind of Story immersion swept me away. Games like Dungeons and Dragons, Top Secret, Gamma World, and Boot Hill captivated my imagination and led to many sleepless nights filled with dice rolls of varying luck and misfortune. It also coincided with my reading of Ray Bradbury’s essay “How to Keep and Feed a Muse,” which cemented my need to be a writer. I started dabbling in Stories of my own, started slinging them out into the world at an early age, started experiencing editorial rejection at about the same time that it showed up in my dating life as a young primate.

After running away to join the Navy, the Army and the ministry, I eventually found my way back to Story and here I am.

Remember I said I’d come back to February 17 and the significance to me that Lamentation releases on that day? My buddy John and I were on the phone last night and he pointed out to me that it’s also the day they pull the plug on analog television broadcasts and go digital.

I intend to pause for a moment of silence on that day with a tip of the hat to the past. Because even though I got my traction through books, my seduction by Story happened in the flickering light of those four stations we picked up. Batman and Speed Racer were the first to ambush me. UFO, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Land of the Lost all showed up in due time. I fed voraciously there until Williamson and Del Rey landed in my lap. Then, I divided my focus between television and books, imminently pleased to discover a Portable Story Transmitter that didn’t require a plug in or carting around a wooden box the size of a Volkswagen.

Well, that’s enough to get started. If there are things you’d like me to talk about or questions you’d like me to answer I’d be happy to tackle that. Just leave word for me in the comments and we’ll see what I can come up with.

Meanwhile, I’ll also plan to talk a bit about the series and about the pieces releasing here on Tor.com.

I’m happy to be here and glad to tackle any topics that tickle your fancy so don’t be shy. And if you don’t have any topics for me, why not share two or three of the analog broadcasts that led you into your love affair with Story?

4 comments
a fan!
1. a fan!
hi ken! i haven't read your works. but i plan on it! you have the coolest titles i've ever seen.
a fan!
2. tony allen
welcome aboard ken! it's a great, looking forward to your posts :)
a fan!
3. tony allen
great "site." sorry :)
a fan!
4. rob gervais
ken - i've read several of your short stories and i just picked-up one of your signed copies of "lamentation" at my favorite indie bookstore (mystery books - in san diego). first of all - let me say that you're a breath of fresh air sir.

i too have a love affair with Story and i can't wait to read more of your work.

also, let me say one thing - i'm also a scribe (as my e-mail address suggests) and your writing has re-energized my outlook in our industry.

keep up the great work!

ps - i'd like to know one thing - are you excited about the new additions to your family? (i'm sure it's a rhetorical question)

pps - if i were to ask a bold question - what are you reading during your non-existent free time?

cheers!

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