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Chat: Keith R. A. DeCandido

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Chat: Keith R. A. DeCandido

Subject(s): Keith R. A. DeCandido, Novelization Author
Dated: July 23, 2001
Source: SciFi.com


KRAD: Prepare to be moderated!
KRAD: Oooooh, quiet!!!!

Moderator: Hello, everyone, and welcome to tonight's chat with author Keith R. A. De Candido. I'm Glenn Becker, your moderator for SCIFI.COM.
Moderator: Keith R. A. De Candido is the author of Farscape: House of Cards, the first novel based in the universe of the popular SCI FI show, as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Xander Years, Volume 1, Spider-Man: Venom's Wrath, and several Star Trek books and comics. Farscape: House of Cards has been garnering rave reviews -- and not solely from Farscape fans.
Moderator: We need to mention here that we're running a week-long sweepstakes in connection with Keith's novel: go to
Moderator: http://www.scifi.com/farscape/sweepstakes
Moderator: Keith, can you type to the screen?

KRAD: <Keith types to the screen>
KRAD: Yeah, I'd say so. <grin>

Moderator: Whoa.
Moderator: Well, shall we start with some audience questions?
Moderator: *i* krad- when comming up w a concept...are your works plot or character dirven?

KRAD: Does that mean I can question the audience?
KRAD: <chortle>
KRAD: The facetious answer to that question is, "Yes."

Moderator: ::mebbe later we'll letcha loose on 'em::

KRAD: Generally, though, I tend to think more in terms of character than plot, but I try to consider both.
KRAD: But to my mind, character's the more important element, with plot just being the vehicle by which we learn more about the characters. <grin>

Moderator: *Kieriahn* Hello, Keith!!! In "House of Cards" you have Crichton working on a computer. How did you visualize this scene? Was he able to read text or was it more a "VR" experience for him?

KRAD: Heya Kieriahn!
KRAD: I figure that scene was something with a physical interface of some sort, but with a "monitor" that was more like the holographic displays that you sometimes get on Moya.
KRAD: And probably a voice-recognition system of some kind, too. And a place to stick the data chips.
KRAD: Definitely a 3D display, though. I mean, why not? I don't have an FX budget.....

Moderator: *Kieriahn* And...can you please sing "Viva Las Vegas" for those of us who don't know the frelling song and are being driven crazy by it? <eg>


Moderator: oops
Moderator: cut n paste boo boo!
Moderator: :)
Moderator: *SunAeryn* Hey KRAD, enjoyed the book, why did you think (whatever) Aeryn could only be funny drunk?

KRAD: BTW, for those of you who care, Shane Spencer just hit a home run and the Yankees are winning 7-2.

* Moderator cares *

KRAD: To answer Kieriahn's second question, there's a URL in the acknowledgments of HOUSE OF CARDS -- not the Charlie Parker one, the other one. It's got the lyrics to "Viva Las Vegas."
KRAD: I don't think Aeryn can =only= be funny drunk.
KRAD: And I wasn't trying for her to be a funny drunk -- though Crichton would, for obvious reasons, think it hilarious -- but more of a melancholy drunk.

Moderator: *XakliaAery HI! With the recent events of season 3, will u hav to adjust ur storylines or can u set them wheneva u want?

KRAD: Heh.
KRAD: I wrote HOUSE OF CARDS to take place specifically between the two episodes it took place between precisely so I wouldn't have to deal with that kind of thing.
KRAD: I wanted it to take place at a time when there weren't any major arc-type stories happening, where I could reasonably plug in a novel-sized adventure.
KRAD: I figured right before "The Locket" when Stark showed up and set them on their find-Jothee quest that took them through the end of season 2 was the best place for it.
KRAD: My short story in the first issue of the magazine takes place in that same spot, BTW.
KRAD: The story I just finished for the third issue of the magazine takes place in the third season between "...Different Destinations" and "Eat Me."
KRAD: Just to =really= confuse the issue, the next two novels to come out take place in the early second season and the mid-first season, respectively.
KRAD: Basically what you do with a storyline as ever-changing as FARSCAPE is pick two episodes it takes place between and pray. <grin>

Moderator: *Starcrosse how much background work with the creators and actors went into the writing of your book?

KRAD: None whatsoever.
KRAD: Since the book came out, I've been in touch with Rockne O'Bannon, whom I got to meet at the launch party Henson and Tor threw for the book in April.
KRAD: Rockne was a big help with the Crais story I wrote for #2 of the magazine.
KRAD: And, should I do more novels, I plan to stay in touch with him and query him mercilessly. <grin>
KRAD: Unlike most TV producers, Rockne cares about the novels and is encouraging to us novelists.
KRAD: But I had no consultation with the producers or cast when I was writing HOC, no.
KRAD: <grin>

Moderator: OK this is a tad unusual ... Bouncer doesn't usually pose questions but we understand he is something of a fan ...
Moderator: *Bouncer* Hi Keith. If you were to write a character based on yourself in the Farscape universe, what kind of scoundrel would he/she be?

Bouncer: Thanks Mod.

KRAD: <makes note to sock Marlon in the jaw when next he sees him>
KRAD: Actually, if I put myself into a FARSCAPE story, he'd probably be some fast-talking type with no survival skills who talks his way out of things.
KRAD: Y'know, like Rygel. <grin>
KRAD: (Yes, my friends call me "Sparky," why do you ask?)
KRAD: But I try to avoid that kind of Mary-Sue-ing.
KRAD: My girlfriend just pointed out that I'm a lot like Rygel: "Fast-talking, eats a lot, thinks he runs everything...."
KRAD: You guys are learning =way= too much about me here..... <snerk>
KRAD: GA -- please!

Moderator: *babymoya* What do you plan on doing with the characters in the next novels, that you did not get a chance to do in this novel?

KRAD: Well, since I'm not signed up for more novels yet, it's hard to answer that.
KRAD: Like I said, there are two more novels after mine that are by other folks.
KRAD: DARK SIDE OF THE SUN by Andrew Dymond in September and SHIP OF GHOSTS by David Bischoff in January.
KRAD: Right now, Henson is in the midst of negotiating with Tor and Boxtree to extend the license.
KRAD: =IF= that happens, I'm likely to do more novels.
KRAD: And two things I would get to do (probably) are write Jool and Stark.
KRAD: Beyond that, I'm not sure yet.

Moderator: *cloisterth ok, which characters was it harder to write for, Farscape's and other TV shows or the comic character that already have thirty plus years of history?

KRAD: Oooh, that is tough.
KRAD: Honestly, the lengthy history of Spider-Man helped make it easier to write him in VENOM'S WRATH -- OTOH, I also had little difficulty with the two-year-old FARSCAPE characters. Good characters are good characters.
KRAD: FARSCAPE is conveniently loaded with them.
KRAD: So's STAR TREK, mostly, and so's the Marvel Universe, mostly.
KRAD: I'm not sure if that answered your question or not....

Moderator: Two folks asked this question - *i* who do you get the biggest kick out of writing?

KRAD: Aeryn and Rygel.
KRAD: The story I just finished for the magazine -- "Orujna Harvest" for the third issue -- is an Aeryn and Rygel story and it was =FUN=.
KRAD: Aeryn because I have a fondness for kickass female characters with troubled pasts. (SEE ALSO: Kira Nerys, Xena, Susan Ivanova)
KRAD: Rygel because he's so gleefully self-centered and blunt that he's just a joy to put words in the mouth of.
KRAD: Rygel's also much more clever than he's given credit for and I like playing that up.

Moderator: This from cloisterth: thanks, i would have figured the older character the harder, because the fan wouldnt be as accepting of changes brough to into the status quo
Moderator: Here's another question ....

KRAD: Well, us tie-in novelists don't get to change the status quo.

Moderator: *babymoya* Hi Keith. What was Rockne. S. O'Bannon's reaction when he first spoke with you about the novel? Did he feel it lived up to the Farscape theme?

KRAD: So we just root around in the characters' psyches instead.
KRAD: In one of the greatest moments of my career as a tie-in novelist, Rockne looked at me, made a bowing gesture, and said, "You =get= it!"
KRAD: I've been insufferably pleased with myself ever since.
KRAD: (My girlfriend is nodding in a kind of long-suffering manner right now.)

Moderator: *Kieriahn* Keith, do you ever feel pressured to get your FS stories and future novels in before the series storyline changes too much?

KRAD: Like I said before, it's just a question of picking a spot for the story to take place in. I found it for HOC and the short stories, and I'll find it again if I have to.
KRAD: Besides, the series storyline hasn't really changed =that= much in three years. The details have changed, certainly, but the basics have remained intact.
KRAD: And the evolution has been fairly natural.
KRAD: And I lucked out in anticipating at least one thing.
KRAD: I figured that the Moya gang would start getting a reputation for all the things they'd been doing in the Uncharteds over the two cycles they'd been out there. So I made minor use of that in HOUSE OF CARDS.
KRAD: That has become a running theme of the third season, so I feel kinda good about that. <grin>

Moderator: *BaddBoy* If you had to write a FarScape episode, what would you do differently than the current writers?

KRAD: Nothing specific springs to mind, except maybe having Crichton make use of his scientific skills a bit more.
KRAD: But the current writers are doing a pretty good job right now. I'd just want to live up to their standards. <grin>
KRAD: Not that it'll happen any time soon, thanks to Australian guild rules. <sigh>

Moderator: *ronjIII* What was the most important thing you learned about each character while writing this novel? Please take your time with each character if you may.

KRAD: Crichton: he has a remarkable strength of character, in that he is =COMPLETELY= cut off from =everything= that one would take for granted, yet has managed to not only survive, but thrive.
KRAD: Aeryn: a teeming mass of contradictions, as she's is in a constant battle between who she was raised to be and who she really wants to be.
KRAD: And no matter how far she comes, she's not there yet. The battle between Officer Sun and Aeryn is continually being fought.
KRAD: Rygel: he's smarter than anyone gives him credit for.
KRAD: I don't know that I =learned= anything about the others.

Moderator: *bgvoodoodo Keith> good evening and welcome back. I know you're unable to attend scapercon. Were they any messages you wished relayed to the fans there?

KRAD: Just that I hope they continue to enjoy my fiction, and to keep sending me e-mail and posting to the boards -- both with compliments and criticisms.
KRAD: I live for feedback.
KRAD: And also that I'm sorry I can't make it, and I hope that at least some folks will be at WorldCon, the Creation show in New York, and at other conventions I show up at.
KRAD: I show up at many. <grin>

Moderator: *babymoya* It seems as though Rygel is your favorite character, if that is the politically correct thing to say. But, if you had the chance to stick your hand up his butt, what kinds of things would you have him say and do?

KRAD: Uh, pretty much what I had him say and do in HOUSE OF CARDS. <shrug>

Moderator: *XakliaAery hiya again! :) I'm very talkative! do you know if any of the cast or crew are lurkers on the bboard, a bit like you, but you post more often! :D

KRAD: I have no idea. I've had no interactions with any of the cast and crew beyond Rockne, aside from briefly meeting Virginia Hey at I-Con in April.

Moderator: *Dabee* Hey, Keith...this may have been asked before, but have you ever done any script writing? Or does that even interest you?

KRAD: Oh one thing -- I know that both Anthony Simcoe and Claudia Black have posted to the BBoard in the past.
KRAD: On to Dabee....
KRAD: The only scriptwriting I've done has been for comic books, specifically the STAR TREK comic I did, PERCHANCE TO DREAM.
KRAD: Years ago I did a spec script or three for TNG, DS9, and QUANTUM LEAP, but none of them went anywhere.
KRAD: It's not a format I'm as comfortable with as prose, honestly.
KRAD: I don't rule it out as a possibility, but it's not something I'm going to knock myself out to start doing, either.
KRAD: Though if those Australian guild rules change and I get a chance to pitch for FARSCAPE, I'm gonna take it. <grin>

Moderator: *Kieriahn* Would you be interested in writing for the forthcoming Farscape comic by Wildstorm?

KRAD: Yes, and the editor at WildStorm has been duly informed of this fact. <grin>
KRAD: First they're going to see how the initial release does.

Moderator: *ronj* If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 books would you want by your side? (I'm trying to get a true sense of the man they call "DeCandido.")


Moderator: ::A man, a plan, De Candido::

KRAD: Pretty much any random Jeeves book by P.G. Wodehouse.

Moderator: *CodeBreake First off, I have to admit, I haven't read "House of Cards", but I have read the "Many a Mile To Freedom" short story you did for "Farscape" magazine (and I admit I enjoyed it). My question is, if you were given the choice (even if it was one time), would you ever write a "Farscape" episode?

KRAD: I'd love to pitch stories to the show, yeah.
KRAD: Right now, I can't.
KRAD: Australian rules are such that only staff writers and native-born Australians can write for the show. I am neither one of those things.
KRAD: And I'm glad you enjoyed "Many a Mile..." <grin>
KRAD: Just to shamlessly plug for a minute, I've got stories in the second and third issues of the mag, too -- "Brotherly Love," a Crais story, in #2 and "Orujna Harvest," an Aeryn-and-Rygel story, in #3.
KRAD: I'd type GA, but Glenn already gave me the next question. <chuckle>

Moderator: ... I did? :S

KRAD: Whoops -- no, you didn't.
KRAD: Never mind.
KRAD: Someone sent me a question directly, and I thought it was posted pubicly.
KRAD: My bad.

* Moderator turns pockets inside out *

Moderator: ANYhoo ...

KRAD: My mistake.

Moderator: *XakliaAery And again! Do you like writing J/A shippyness/full-on-romance in ur stories, or do you just like angst?

KRAD: I just like angst. <grin>
KRAD: The John/Aeryn dynamic is a fascinating one because they're perfect for each other, yet completely screwed up.
KRAD: Basically, Aeryn is underequipped for this kind of relationship and John is overequipped.
KRAD: Certainly keeps things interesting.
KRAD: At least we know the sex is good.... <grin>

Moderator: KRAD, you shouldn't do that to Marlon.
Moderator: *CyberWolf* what other, if any, tv series/movies would you to write about? Or single characters like you mentioned. Ivonava, Xena, Kira or Max from Dark Angel?

KRAD: I've written Xena and Kira -- the former in a short story that will be in THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS in September, the latter in an upcoming DEEP SPACE NINE novel called DEMONS OF AIR AND DARKNESS, also due out in September, as well as a novella called "Horn and Ivory" that will be in STAR TREK: WHAT LAY BEYOND in November.
KRAD: I'd love to write Ivanova, but if that does happen, it'll be =waaaaay= down the road.
KRAD: My interest in DARK ANGEL is pretty slim, honestly.
KRAD: (For a full list of what I've done and what I'm doing, you can go to my web site at DeCandido.net.)
KRAD: (I also have a fan club run by our own PKSkipper at www.kradfanclub.com.)
KRAD: (End shameless self-promotion.)

Moderator: Also: Remember to enter the Farscape sweepstakes at http://www.scifi.com/farscape/sweepstakes for a chance to win galley copies of Keith's novel signed by Keith and series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon!
Moderator: I've been remiss with the announcements. Got thrown off by our little friend.

KRAD: Understandable.

Moderator: A final few questions and then we'll throw the floor open

KRAD: Our little friend is a big fat stinky.

Moderator: *MannyCalav Hey KRAD!!! I apologize if this was asked before...I just managed to enter a little while back. Are we able to read "Many a Mile to Freedom" at any websites if we don't have the Farscape magazine?

KRAD: You have to buy the magazine to read it.
KRAD: It's a good magazine, and is available at larger bookstores and at comic shops.
KRAD: There's also a toll-free number to subscribe to it, but I don't have it handy.

Moderator: *XakliaAery Me again! :) How long did it take u to write the novel, and how long 4 the magazine stories?

KRAD: The novel took about six weeks (yes, I write fast), the short stories have varied.

Moderator: Any pressin' questions, folks, send em!
Moderator: *Kieriahn* Keith, got any surprises up your sleeves for the NY Creation Convention? ;)

KRAD: If I told you that, they wouldn't be surprises, would they?

Moderator: Keith, thanks - you've been a fantastic guest. Thanks for putting up with our ... uh, malcontents. Any final words of DeCandidean wisdom?

KRAD: Enter the sweepstakes! Go to my web site! Buy my books! Join my fan club! Eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we have to get up in the morning!
KRAD: Oh, and I particuarly want to hear from the Crais fans when the second issue of the magazine comes out.
KRAD: Web site is at DeCandido.net.
KRAD: Fan club at www.kradfanclub.com
KRAD: E-mail at keith@decandido.net
KRAD: Sweepstakes at www.scifi.com/farscape/sweepstakes (right, Glenn?)

Moderator: And make sure to enter the sweepstakes at http://www.scifi.com/farscape/sweepstakes!!!
Moderator: here we go UNmoderated ...

KRAD: (I got it right!)
KRAD: (Yay me!)