Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Star Gazing at the Cafe with Science Fiction Author, Joe Pranaitis

Today I’d like to introduce science fiction author and producer, Joe Pranaitis. It’s great to have you here, Joe. I believe you are my first sci-fi author. Welcome to my Creekside Café.

Joe: Hello Sherri, thank you for having me.

Sherri: My husband and sons are all Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Star Wars fans. Your parents first introduced you to science fiction? The books or the movies, what came first for you?

Joe: The films can first and it’s all thanks to one night when I was a kid and my parents took me to the drive-in to see the original Star Wars, but on the screen behind us they were showing Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Sherri: What is it about sci-fi that has kept your interest over the years?

Joe: It’s the fact that anything is possible, and those possibilities are infinite. That’s what keeps me reading, watching, and writing.

Sherri: Who are your favorite authors? Have they influenced your own writing?

Joe: My favorite authors are Diane Carey, Carissa Ann Lynch, M.D. Cooper, Carrie Vaughn. And how they’ve influenced me begins with Diane Carey, she wrote Star Trek: Final Frontier which deals with the launch of the original Enterprise under her first Captain, Robert April and it still holds up for me whenever I write about the launch of a starship for the first time. Carissa Lynch is a great friend of mine and I love her work, M.D. Cooper came about because I was looking for a military science fiction series and his fit the bill. While Carrie Vaughn, I came across her Kitty series and have dipped into her other work and have been hooked since then. And all of them in have influenced me. 

Sherri: What I find interesting about science fiction is that what may start out as fiction too often becomes real, as in the watch phones from 1960s science fiction is now a reality. What inspires your writing?

Joe: What inspires my writing is the fact that I get to explore and create the technology that I need to when the story needs it.

Sherri: Where do your ideas come from? Are you interested in technology, space, etc?

Joe: Where my ideas come from is from everything that I’ve experienced or want to experience. Yes, I am interested in technology and space exploration, for me it’s the future of humanity and it’s something that we as a species need to focus on more.

Sherri: Tell me about your books. Are they all sci-fi suspense?

How many have you written? Are they part of a series or are they stand alone?

Joe: My current published books are part of a series. I’m currently working on my 20th novel and it’s the sixth book in my Infinite Stars: Chronicles Series. While the short stories are connected to another universe that I created.

Sherri: You are producing a movie? Is this a screenplay of one of your books? Which one? Have you started marketing it or is it available for viewing?

Joe: My business partner and I have written several screenplays but no they’re not based on my books even though one of my goals is to have an animated Netflix show based on an alternate version of my Infinite Stars: Chronicles Seriesof which I have already written the series bible.

Sherri: You have been included in several anthologies, do you find shorter stories or full-length novels more difficult to write?

Joe: Yes, and I’ve created a universe that I can roam around in for anthologies. But I find both short and long fiction just as easy since I began by writing short fiction first.

Sherri: Building a world for a science fiction/space opera must be time consuming, do you plan every detail before you start writing? What is your world building process?

Joe: That it is and my original universe, that I created for my Infinite Stars: Chronicles series, bloomed over the years after I wrote the original trilogy wanting to fill in the gaps and grow the characters and the technology while I was at it.   

Sherri: Do you have any techniques or advice to new writers who wish to write sci fi?

Joe: No, I just sit down at my computer and write.

Sherri: What are you working on now?

Joe: As I’ve said before I’m working on the sixth book in my Infinite Stars: Chronicles series and it spawned an idea that will be this series’ first supplemental stories.  

Sherri: For me there is a love hate relationship with my writing. What is the most difficult thing for you about being a writer?

Joe: I love the process but the main thing that is difficult is making sure that I have the funds to get the next book produced.

Sherri: Joe, thank you for stopping by my virtual café. I wish you much success.



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Posted in Book Review, Thoughts, writing inspiration

Not a Commercial for Audible The Letty Dobesh Chronicles

I have often talked about how much I love audio books. When I am busy and have little time to read I enjoy putting on an audio book and letting the narrator read to me. In college I listened to records or cassettes of lectures, reenactments of historical events and books. I found audio books again when our local library started offering books on cassette and later, on disk. I have bought audio books from used books stores, chain stores and even truck stops but the latest and easiest I have found is being a member of Audible. I can order books online and have them delivered to my phone. I can listen to them anywhere I bring my phone.

Being a member of audible, I receive one “free” book a month (of my choosing) but I can also purchase books cheaply through their daily deals. Here is where I’ve discovered new authors I’ve never read, some of whom I’ve never heard of. Recently I purchased Good Behavior by Blake Crouch. Some of you may have seen his television series by that name. I had never heard of Blake nor his series but I loved the description of his main character so I purchased the books.

The Letty Dobesh Chronicles, which the television series Good Behavior is modeled after, is about a woman who is on the edge. Recently released from prison, Letty is fighting drug addiction, low self-esteem and her own desires to be good. The stories are fabulous, giving us a look into the human condition. Here is a woman who should have given up hope and become one of the nation’s lost people, instead she keeps finding new reasons to keep going, new hope, new purpose.

While the stories I listened to through Audible were truly enjoyable. Letty is one of the best written characters I’ve ever met. The part I enjoyed the most was Blake Crouch’s commentary. At the beginning, he told how the idea for Letty came about. This wasn’t a short process, it was something that simmered on the back burner for years until something flipped the switch and made him look at the idea differently. As an author, hearing his process was fun and enlightening, and even encouraging.

Blake Crouch is a North Carolina author with two television series under his belt. The idea for Good Behavior is from a series of short stories about Letty, The Letty Dobesh Chronicles. While the series doesn’t follow Blake’s original stories verbatim, he is okay with that. Crouch tells about the process, the work on the series and how it is different and similar to the stories he wrote. It is unusual for the author of the stories to work on the screen play for television or movies but Blake Crouch has been able to separate the two processes and enjoys seeing where the television series will go.

While the original stories are all his individual work, Mr. Crouch explains how with the television show, it’s not about his vision but he culmination of all who work on the show from the set and costume designers, to the actors and directors and also his fellow writers.

Listening to Blake Crouch talk about writing in different aspects from the first kernel of an idea to seeing the show on television is something I felt needed to be shared. If you are an author and wish to see your work in different venues, listen to this audio book.  I would love to have Mr. Crouch come speak to my writer’s group. He is interesting and inspiring.  I will definitely be checking out more of his books, I hope you do as well.