The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Greg van Eekhout

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Greg van Eekhout, author of the fantasy-heist novel California Bones, available now from Tor Books. Learn more about California Bones here, and read an excerpt on Tor.com. Greg is also the author of Norse Code, as well as two middle-grade SF novels, Kid Vs. Squid and The Boy at the End of the World (a finalist for the Andre Norton Award). He lives in San Diego, California.

Join us to learn about Greg’s criminal past!

Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.

In high school I stole a six-foot submarine sandwich from a banquet room in front of several hundred people. I did it because I was in marching band and we were promised food if we played and they broke their promise. It was my first and only heist, motivated by justice and hunger.

Describe your favorite place to write.

There’s an outdoor cafe along the Pacific Beach boardwalk in San Diego where you can set up your laptop on a counter facing the ocean and type away while you sip your latte and watch the waves. It’s so pleasant that even if you only manage a few dozen words it feels like a great feat of focus and discipline. I hardly every write there because I lack focus and discipline.

California Bones Greg van EekhoutCast the main characters of your new/upcoming novel (in other words, choose your dream cast for a Hollywood adaptation of your book).

Right now I’m totally obsessed with Orphan Black, so for Daniel Blackland, the protagonist of California Bones, I’m going with Jordan Gavaris. Daniel is very different from the character Gavaris plays on Orphan Black, but he’s a terrific actor, and I think he can manage Daniel’s blend of resignation and scrappiness. Natalie Morales from The Middleman would be great as Daniel’s main partner-in-crime, Cassandra. And Dwayne Johnson has got to be Moth, the muscle with a heart of gold.

Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

Bigfoot. This is text so you can’t hear how decisively I blurted that out. But I used to be terrified of Bigfoot, because I saw some docudramas about him and I knew he could be violent and I knew he was a real dude. Now I sympathize with him, padding through the woods, trying to find another Bigfoot to pick nits off him in a shrinking habitat.

What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?

Superhero comics, which are a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and crime genres, and a lot of stuff on TV, like Star Trek reruns and The Twilight Zone. So that’s crazy superpowers, idealistic sexy space adventure, and devastating American mid-century irony.

List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.

  1. In everything I write, I’m always striving to hit the right mix of light and darkness, humor and pain, fun and seriousness.
  2. More than working toward the book’s climax, I work toward the denouement. As a reader and a writer, that’s where I find the real satisfaction.
  3. I feel lucky that my career so far has included books for adults and books for kids. They’re equally important to me, and I hope I get to continue writing both.

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