Friday Spotlight with Edward Medina
This week we shine the spotlight on über talented author Edward Medina. Edward Medina is a native New Yorker now living in Orlando, Florida by way of Atlanta, Georgia and London, England. He was raised by his mother and grandmother to believe that life is an adventure best lived to the fullest. To that end Edward has lived his life on the edge of creative possibility. Over time, he has been a radio and voice over artist. He built a significant career as a producer, director and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off-Off Broadway stages. He also had the honour and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson. He then went on to become a theme park designer. For fun, he became a steam train engineer and since childhood, a sometime magician. Although, at this point in his life the magic he creates is for the page. Oh yes, and he also happens to be one of my fave twitter peeps!
Q. So Edward, tell us about your latest news!
A. The latest news is that I’m here with you and loving every minute of it. You’re one of my twitter best friends and partners in crime. I’ve been looking forward to going more than one hundred and forty characters with you. So, many thanks for the time to do just that.
On the writing front, the work continues. Shortly after you post this I’ll be releasing my next story, A Murder of Crows. This piece is a prologue to X Pirates: Nightthorn’s Revenge, a swashbuckling pirate adventure I’m publishing in 2012. I’m very excited about this one. It’s a very different twist on a classic genre, and I think most people will find it quite surprising.
That. Sounds Awesome.
Q. Do you have a specific writing style?
A. The books and stories I create come in various genres. Some of them have people. Some have very smart animals. Some have imaginary creatures. Some have all of the above. Overall, my work tends to be dark, epic, fantasy with a very healthy dose of steampunk.
I believe that artists, in whatever form, have a responsibility to shine a light on the world we see. I hope that my work as a writer does that for my readers and that whatever the style I choose, it opens a door in their minds to amazing possibilities.
Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A. In the case of the Mathias Bootmaker and the Keepers of the Sandbox I wrote a grand fable about us. Us, as in Americans, and citizens of the world. I wanted to reflect what we’ve been and what we can become again.
I truly feel we’re losing ourselves as a great people. We once reached for the stars, but we have lost a great deal of that passion. We’re bickering amongst ourselves. Lines have been drawn in the sand, and they’re getting deeper. We’re forgetting that we once fought, long and hard for acceptance of our individualities and to protect the needs of those amongst us that have been pushed down.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being preachy and neither is the book. This book is an entertainment. It’s a dystopian tale but it is filled with a great deal of hope. Hope that we can get passed this time in our history.
Q. What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
A. Reading was a big thing in my house. Growing up as a child I was exposed to a lot of different kinds of books. Early on it was Dr. Seuss. Oodles and oodles of Seuss. Drove my mother nuts. Then came E.B. White’s Stuart Little, a series of books called The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald and the works of Hans Christian Andersen. I was introduced to these marvels in the sixth grade by Sister Elizabeth. For an hour every day after lunch she would read to her students. We were required to do nothing but listen. My body was trapped in the South Bronx, but for an hour each and every day my mind was elsewhere. No one should ever underestimate the power of a good teacher.
My mother read a lot of romance novels, bestsellers and what she called ‘racy’ books. So along came Erica Jong, Jackie Collins and James A. Michener. On my own I discovered, Alexander Dumas, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and Sherlock Holmes. Then came all the great science fiction writers. Followed closely by Orwell, Huxley and Vonnegut. All these books, and a few more I’m sure, became the foundations of my literary mind. Every book that came after these were just more icing on the cake.
Q. What book are you reading now?
A. Last week UPS was gracious enough to drop off a package from the other place where my money lives, Amazon Books. In it was my current stack of reading. Yeah, I’m a multiple reader.
The new Steve Jobs bio was in there because, hey, it’s Steve Jobs. We should all read his book. Stephen King’s new one was in there too, 11/22/63. Weighs a ton. I like my King by the pound. So much so that there were two more of his in the box that I hadn’t read in a while. The Eyes of the Dragon is his little known children’s book. He created it from a story he would tell his daughter Naomi. And last, but certainly not least, Christine. Best killer car book ever.
I’ve read a lot of authors but King is by far my favourite, and I’ve got a lot of heavy hitters on my best list. His pace, his timing, his ability to draw the reader in and trap them in his worlds, until he’s done with you, is something I greatly admire.
Q. Are there any new authors that have captured your interest?
Since becoming an indie publisher I’ve discovered that finding new writers is an awesome perk.
A. If Fran Lebowitz and Ian Fleming had blessed the world with a love child it would have been author J. Fields Jr. He has a sharp, stinging wit and a clever cloak and dagger mind. Edward A. Grainger resides in the world of the western, and in that world he is king. His work is the very definition of true grit. If you like your stories big, mysterious and clue driven then go visit Gary F. Vanucci and Glenn Starkey. Seriously, go. And as far as forensic paranormal thrillers go, Ian MacGregger is the man.
The ladies that have caught my attention include Jamie DeBree, a wonderful romance writer with a very sexy edge. Shannon Bailey delivers mysteries with great frights. If poetic prose tickles your fancy then Jo VonBargen and Lucinda Rose are your elegant muses of choice. My steampunk queens are A.L. Davroe and Calista Taylor. These two women are incomparable writers and early in their careers. Become fans now. Lisa Vaughn is very funny and deeply poignant and Heidi Sutherlin is my favourite new comer.
All these writers are extremely talented and really good people to know. They believe in their work and they believe in other writers. I could list more gifted folks but we’d be here for a while. Here’s my suggestion, follow me on twitter, raid my lists.
Q. Of every work you have written, which is your favourite and why?
A. In my quest to explore all things creative I took a class in storytelling using Tarot decks. The object of the game was to pick a card from the deck and create a short story from it. I had a beautiful gothic deck that was gifted to me by a splendid wiccan I was in love with at the time. I gave it a good shuffle, spread the cards out face down and chose. That moment marked the birth of The Emperor’s Nocturne. The dark, sensuous and sensual poem that spilled onto the page surprised me and quickly became my favourite little piece of mine.
I put it away and let it rest. Earlier this year I pulled it out, gave it a few tweeks and put it out there for the world to see. It caught the eye of Dr. Alex Scully and the good folks at AS Publications. They selected it for their anthology of dark fiction, Enter at Your Own Risk: Old Masters, New Voices. I’m very proud that my work is in this book, and that everyone in it has been well reviewed, and the book itself has been well received. I encourage your followers to take a look. http://amzn.to/eanth
Switching gears, let’s get to the deep and thought provoking portion of the Q & A.
Q. Who is your favourite cartoon character?
A. Have to go with Kermit the Frog here. I know he’s a puppet, but his career included an animated series and cartoon strips.
Of course everyone knows him from The Muppet Show, and that’s where his character really shined. Kermit is the one character of the Muppet bunch that has his head in the clouds but both flippers firmly planted on the ground. He manages the mayhem, supports his friends no matter how nutty they get and accepts everyone for who they are. He remains a classic song and dance frog in a modern world, does shtick as good as Bob Hope and rides a bicycle like nobody’s business. But his most endearing charm for me is the fact that he’s a romantic. He loves a pig with all his heart and does everything in his power to keep her happy. That alone deserves high praise.
I have to admit that I am biased here. I worked for Jim Henson and The Muppets for several years before Jim’s passing. Every once in a while our lives deliver us true magic. It’s important to recognize that when it arrives because those moments can be few and far between. Working for Mr. H. was magical and that magic has been with me for a very long time. Miss you, boss.
(As I am sure you intended, I read your line “…Kermit the Frog here.” in Kermit’s voice. Clever monkey)
Q. Straying from The Muppets, Dr. Seuss or Disney?
A. Well I have a bias here but it goes the other way.
I worked for the Mouse at the Magic Kingdom for five years. I was an engineer on the Walt Disney World Railroad. Driving a genuine antique steam locomotive around the Kingdom was very cool. My second most magical job ever.
Cast Member’s are opinionated, especially when it comes to Disney history and legacy. My take is that while Walt was alive the messages he put out into the world were genuine. They came from his heart and he wrapped them beautifully with his craft and the creative blood, sweat and tears of the people he surrounded himself with and nurtured. Then he passed, and things changed. Don’t get me wrong, the messages the company puts out are valid. The message just feels glossy.
If you want honest truth go visit the good doctor. This was a man with things to say, and he did it by himself with just a piece of paper and pen in hand. He didn’t write to us as adults. He wrote to the child inside us. The part of us that sadly fades away as we grow older. The part of us that believes in endless possibilities. We discover him as children, but we delight in his work as adults, because in just a word or a phrase we remember that spark inside each and every one of us that believes a big, blue elephant can save a world.
Dr. Seuss fills me with faith and hope for mankind.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your fans?
A. Thank you. Thank you for your follows and tweets and likes. Thank you for the support. I’m sending you all much love and best wishes with everything you desire. Listen to the child inside you. There’s much wisdom in youth, once you’ve aged. Now go invite more friends to the party. There are frogs and chickens and bears here already. The more the merrier.
Q. Last question for you. Who, exactly, should I include in my next Threesome Thursday?
A. Scarlett Johansson, Christina Hendricks and Sophia Vergara.
I will also require a very comfortable chair with a complete and unobstructed view of the bed.
I am on it, Edward, and thank you so much for stopping by. Now, before you go, where can we stalk you?
Like most of us, everywhere.
On twitter you can find me @loboed13
Facebook fans can find me at http://on.fb.me/mbkeepers
If you’d like to say hello firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you want to explore the world of Mathias Bootmaker begin at http://amzn.to/mbksbook
You heard him, folks! Commence stalking…..Now.