Since the first two interviews I posted on the site were well received, I’ve decided to continue and speak with some other great independent authors. W. A. Patterson recently sent me his novel, Future Useless, and it caught my eye, so I asked him a few questions about it. Here’s what he had to say:
MW: Tell us about your novel, Future Useless.
WAP: Future Useless is the story of Carl Gussman- hospital Janitor from the 20th century- stranded in the 30th century and beyond. He’s an “artifact,” and phobic about the nanotechnology needed for an everyday life in the future. He lacks the education, money, family and friends needed to survive on his own in the future. In effect he is useless in the future.
Instead of accepting this and moving to a colony where religious beliefs make it easier to live a simple life, Carl spends years working to make the universe work for him.
Carl eventually disappears, but after a century, Lissa- the historian that revived him – gets access to his secret journals and starts to find out more about man she thought she knew, and discovers some scary things about him.
Once she’s finished, Lissa fights between feeling pushed to find Carl, and her fear of just what he’s been out doing in the universe for over a century.
Tell us a bit about your main character, Carl.
Carl Gussman is mostly my father and a bit of a few other older men I know who grew up in the 30’s and 40’s. They represent and part and mind-set of the American identity that has been lost in the last few decades. Carl is a man that grew up in a world where a man had no limits, except those he set for himself. These men (and women, of course) never ran into a problem they would not overcome because they were raised to expect problems to be overcome and not road blocks to all progress. Carl mirrors this and is kind of the savant of his generation. He’s got this lifetime of experience and the patience and duplicity to use it as he sees fit.
On the flipside of that, Carl is also part of what I wanted to say about over-specialization that seems to kill this type of individual in the last few decades. I didn’t understand my father half-as-much until Carl came to mind and I modeled him after my Dad. After that it’s been hard to keep notes on all the things Carl wants to do in my writing!
Your novel is written through the journal entries of the main character. Did this style offer any benefits or advantages for you or the story?
The Journal entries were planned since the story first came to me a long time ago. The idea was always that Lissa, and the reader, would get access to parts of Carl’s thinking that no one discovered before. There are also clues and hints of things in the journals that play out in the novel, and will continue to resonate as I write more about Carl and his adventures. The benefit of the journals was that I could just fully channel Carl and it really helped me define and build up this man as a real person to me.
What authors/films/books inspired this story or your writing in general?
A lot of my inspiration came from the old school of Science-Fiction authors such as Clarke, Heinlein, and Asimov, but the story telling aspect really came out of H. Beam Piper’s Fuzzy series – where he takes a complex futuristic worlds and boils it down to the basic parts so they don’t get in the way of the story.
What themes did you want to rub off on your readers?
Individuality, tenacity, and self-reliance are the only themes I can think of in all this. Carl is a model of that just like my father was to me and it’s served me well over the years.
You mentioned your father a few times. Can you give us an example as to why he was such an inspiration to you?
My father was a career Army man, then retired when I was young. During that time my Dad taught himself carpentry, cooking, sewing, to fixing old clocks and tin toys that hadn’t worked in 50 years. Anything he could think of, there was no stopping him from teaching himself what he wanted to know. He taught me so much in that time that it took me the better part of 30 years to even begin to figure out how much I learned while we were working on all these things.
What do you have in the works?
I am writing the follow up books to Future Useless. There are at least two more and other stories have been growing for some time. Right now I am writing “Omega Age” a book about a team of people looking to alternate universes to escape their dying world, but their technology is based on a specific type of magic and it complicates things greatly for them.
Where can people find you online?
I’m at Smashwords at: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/wapatterson
And my own website is at: http://www.wapatterson.net/ Both of those have links to whatever social networks I’m using and insights into what I’m working on next.
Thank you for sitting down with me. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to you and to all your readers who help support indie publishing and writing circles.
Also, when you read an indie book you like, please post a review – even if it’s two words of “good read!” To an author like me, the review is the best part of the process as it rewards us in so many ways for all our hard work.