Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Percival Constantine: A Lot of Art Goes In

Percival Constantine say in his online bio: "Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, I grew up on a fairly consistent diet of superhero comics, action movies, video games, and TV shows. At the age of ten, I first began writing and I’ve never really stopped."

And he's gotten really, really good at it. But you don't have to take my word for it. Let's talk to him about it.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

At the moment, I’m in the middle of the release schedule for season one of Vanguard. It’s a superhero serial featuring a world in which a small percentage of Earth’s population mysteriously acquired superhuman powers. Due to the potential threats the powers of these specials could pose, the President secretly forms a response team to deal with any rogue elements. The first season consists of five episode, each one a self-contained story with a different threat all leading up to the fifth episode. There’s also a special Episode #0 which as a prequel to the series and it’s available for free to subscribers of my mailing list.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

That’s a good question. Thinking back to the things I’ve written, I think there’s a lot of stuff in there about redemption or escaping the past.

What would be your dream project?

Writing the X-Men for Marvel Comics. I grew up with the X-Men, my very first piece of writing was X-Men fanfiction, so that would be a childhood dream come true for me.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

Chasing The Dragon, my second book. There are a lot of things I would change with that. For one, I’d go back and rewrite it so it’s in third person instead of second person perspective. Two, I would probably completely throw out the second half. Three, I think I’d use it as the beginning of a serial. And four, I would definitely redesign the cover. I’ve actually already unpublished this book because these are things I’m contemplating doing at some point in the future.

What inspires you to write?

I write because I like making stuff up. If you’re talking about what inspires my ideas, that can be just about anything.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Elmore Leonard is a definite influence on my technique and to a lesser extent, so is Kurt Vonnegut. Other major influences are comic book writers like Chris Claremont, Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison, or screenwriters like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Where would you rank writing on the “Is it an art or is it a science” continuum? Why?

I’d say it falls somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of art that goes into writing, but it has more to do with characterization, description, word choice, and story execution. But there are a lot of technical aspects that go into it as well, such as grammar, spelling, sentence and paragraph construction at one level and on a larger level, story structure. Whether a writer thinks about it, I’d say they’re being influenced by story structure on some level, be it consciously or subconsciously. We’ve all been bombarded with so many stories pretty much since birth that it’d be impossible for us to not internalize some kind of story structure, and that structure is a technical aspect to writing.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Absolutely! This is a big release year for me and I’m shooting for monthly releases. All five episodes of the first season of Vanguard will be available by May. June will see the release of my third Myth Hunter book, Curse of the Necronomicon. And if all goes well, July will be the release of the third Infernum book, Gentleman Rogue. The third Luther Cross story for Pro Se Press, Bloodlust, will also be somewhere in there. I’ve also got some stories in the queue at both Pro Se and Airship 27, but I’ll leave Tommy and Ron to make those announcements.

I’m still working out what I’ll release in the second half of 2015. In the meantime, readers can head over to PercivalConstantine.com to keep up with my plans.