Thursday, September 10, 2009

[Interview: Part 5 of 5] John Miller, author of '2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah'

Speculative fiction author John Miller has talked about how he started writing and the people and experiences that have influenced him. He also discussed some of his concerns as a writer and shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the publication of his novella, 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah (Sonar4 Publications, 2009).

In the final part of this interview, John Miller talks about his achievements as a writer:

Which were the most difficult aspects of the work that you put into 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah?

The most difficult aspect of this book was tying in the main bad guy (the evil Mayan priest) with the worldwide calamities. Why did he need Cal’s psychic employees? For what ends did he need them? And what type of spirit did he employ in his evil and priestly powers?

For me the answers came after a couple days of writer’s block. It wasn’t a creativity problem; it was a problem with the plot—making it as realistic and viable as possible for the readers as well as myself. If I didn’t believe in it, then I knew the reader wouldn’t, either. And I had to create motivation with the evil Mayan priest, and give him the power to destroy the world in a believable manner. To do this, I had to create a new type of spirit called Dark Alux. An Alux is similar to a nature spirit known to Mayans; a Dark Alux is something I created. This made the transitions between scenes easier, brought motivation to the evil priest and a sense of realism. The destruction of the world was already going to happen; the evil priest figured out a way to make time slip, like seismic plates in the earth’s crust, and bring what awaited the world in 2012 to manifest in 2010.

So the most difficult aspect was the evil Mayan priest’s abilities to do this in a manner allowing readers to suspend their belief, and nail the priest’s motivation down: why would he wish to do this? I couldn’t figure it out on my own, and it took some false starts and rewriting until inspiration’s wow! moment came. And it was such a relief when it came, because I knew that I knew that it was right. After I wrote it into the story, I felt a sense of satisfaction and I knew the reader would feel it, too.

Which aspects did you enjoy most?

Two parts:
  1. the relationship between the two main characters, Calvin Thomas and Linda Orteganaldo, as they work side-by-side and grow, not only as characters, but into each other; and
  2. the ending in which both Calvin and Linda, at the conclusion of the story, climb hand-in-hand up an ancient pyramid in Mexico, and the secret carved in stone waiting for them at the top. The ending is triumphant, echoing the resiliency of humankind as well as supporting the mysticism behind the Mayan calendar.

What sets 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah apart from other things you've written?

This is the largest thing I’ve written that has been published. I have written other novellas, and there is a lot of potential in those works, but this is the longest published work I’ve written.

Apart from that, 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah touched on so many more emotions and affects the reader more powerfully than the other stories I’ve published in various anthologies and publications. The main character loses his friend and employee of longstanding, Psychic Gladys St.Clare, and the angst of that, coupled with the terror of worldwide calamities and being chased by blue zombies, creates a creepy sense of dread and grief. But the way it ends, on such a triumphant high-note, gives readers something I’ve never done in any other story: a dark fantasy of terror and epic proportions ends (hopefully) delivering a smile to the dear reader.

In what way is the novella similar to other things you've written?

It’s similar in that it takes dark fantasy threads and runs with them, pulling the reader along a (hopefully) fantastic ride and leaving them breathless.

It starts fast like all my stories, and it ends decisively with all questions answered. There is no ambiguity in 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah. The reader isn’t left to figure things out on their own. While I enjoy reading books like that, because of the complicated mythos of the Mayan People, I grab the reader by the hand and shout, “Go!” Then we jump in together for a crazy ride.

What will your next book be about?

I have two novellas I’m working on.

One is about the factions of the Frankenstein Family and the monstrosities they create. The other is about an environmental group in Alaska that becomes a pack of werewolves. Both center on human relationships and depth of character, detailing the evolutionary process of change as the characters muddle through fast-hitting plots.

I haven’t decided upon titles.

What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Liquid Imagination is my baby. I love it. Editor Kevin Wallis and Poetry Editor Chrissy Davis have really helped me shape it into something special, in my opinion. And it led my buddy and friend, Karl Rademacher, to start up Silver Blade. This led to my work as General Manager of 2M Magazine. These are significant accomplishments, I will admit. And watching young writers bud and grow, and knowing I have something to do with directing them, is tremendously satisfying. I love helping new writers.

Apart from that, I must say I am most proud of 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah. I tried to convey the growth and depth of Calvin Thomas as he frantically tries to save the world, to show his growing relationship with Linda Orteganaldo at his side, but it is the ending I am most proud. I feel when I ask the reader to walk with me into the darkest night, I should at least have the courtesy to lead them into the light at the journey’s end. I believe I have done this with 2012: Kin Bin Tin Nah.

Related resources:

Author’s page, Edit Red Writing Community
Author’s page, Sonar4 Publication

Interviews
Possibly related books:

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