Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.
This week I welcome Alan Zendell
Alan Zendell spent more than forty years as a scientist, aerospace engineer, software consultant, database developer, and government analyst, writing really boring stuff like proposals, technical papers, reports, business letters, and policy memoranda. But trapped inside him all that time were stories that needed telling and ideas that needed expression, so with encouragement and cajoling from a loving baby sister he plunged into fiction.
Since then, he has written mostly science and extrapolative fiction, the genre he loved since he was nine. But his stories are about more than aliens and technical marvels. He creates strong, three-dimensional characters a reader can care about, because it’s people and the way they live and love that are important. It’s the things they believe in and how much they’re willing to invest to preserve them that make a story worth telling. It’s convincing interactions and well-researched credible plots that make a story worth reading.
And, of course, like any writer, Alan loves having an audience.
Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?
Alan: A dog, because everyone would love me, and I really love to be loved.
Wolf: What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Alan: Ginger marinated chicken feet.
Wolf: What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Alan: Having lost lose lover find each after years of searching.
Wolf: What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?
Alan: Making those long-lost lovers believe they’d never be together again.
Wolf: You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.
Alan: I’m a giant redwood tree. But since I hate being stuck in one spot, I’ve been given the ability to relocate.
Wolf: Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?
Alan: A dog person.
Wolf: While walking in the woods you come across…
Alan: … a metal hatch leading to a World War 2 bunker filled with hundreds of things that were believed lost in the war.
Wolf: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Alan: The power to read minds and influence what other people think and do.
Wolf: There is a door at the end of dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?
Alan: Check my phone to see if there’s signal. Call for backup and use my laser rifle to bore a peep hole.
Wolf: The world is about to end. What is the first thing you do?
Alan: Call someone I inadvertently hurt to make things right.
Wolf: Which is of your characters is your favorite?
Alan: Harry Middleton. He’s noble, a baseball star, and never compromises his love.
Wolf: Describe a meal you would be served while visiting another world.
Alan: Am I staying at the Marriott? If not, I’d love to sample all the local fruit I could. If that didn’t kill me I’d move on to fish and a sumptuous dessert.
Wolf: What story are you working on now?
Alan: I’m chronicling the worst month of my life (this one). Assuming I survive it, I will sanitize it some, because a story about your body suddenly betraying you at every opportunity might turn people off.
Wolf: What’s the most important thing you want for the rest of your life?
Alan: Good health for me and my family, and the ability to influence the world for the better. (It’s not about money because I have more than I need.)
Facebook: Alan Zendell