C.A. Lang: My Name is C. A. Lang. Sometimes known as Clayton. Other times far worse things.
My schtick is being a complicated person with a sense of humor. I'm a guitarist, personal trainer, runner, and I've somehow gotten a novel published.
I love everything from James Joyce to epic fantasy to military science fiction. You can never back me into a categorical corner. I'm argumentative and snotty and extremely sentimental. I'm full of contradictions and cryptic games. And sarcasm.
I often forget when I'm being serious and when I'm being sarcastic. And that's okay.
My life is music, writing, and keeping fit. And laughing at inappropriate times.
BW: Blightcross is a heavy mix of many different genres, what are the two main ones that you would tell a reader your book is most like? And why?
CL: I'd say fantasy and dieselpunk. Partly to keep it simple, because it's difficult to explain these things without confusing a potential reader and turning them off. I think it's important to emphasize that this is still a fantasy novel, because if people are expecting a
science-centric, almost childlike fascination with technology, they will be surprised by my novel. Obviously technology is a big part of it, but I've kept a lot of fantasy elements.
That's partly why I wrote this novel--to explore the tension between the those elements. Straight steampunk thrills me, but I like to complicate things. In Blightcross, I'm undermining the certainty steampunk often places in technology and logical positivism. We're never sure if the oil-based technology is going to be viable, if it's really replacing magic, or if magic is secretly the ultimate power behind it anyway.
BW: Who was your favorite character while writing Blightcross?
CL: Great Leader Till Sevari. He's so messed up and traumatized and adorable in a lot of ways. And in the end it's just those weaknesses that allowed him to become a figurehead for an entire nation's post- global-war insanity. He could just as easily have been someone else. He's just a person with borderline personality disorder who unfortunately was also in a position to be in power.
He was my favorite to write in a lot of ways. But of course my main character, Capra Jorassian, is always going to win the favoritism battle.
BW: Did you ever have a hard time writing a certain scene for Blightcross, one that made you wish you could change it?
CL: If I submit something, I'm either totally happy with it or I don't submit at all. This is just one novel--I have eight others that will never see the light of day. With the other novels I'd have an answer to this question, but this novel was so much in tune with what I truly wanted to write that I can't think of anything I'd change about it whatsoever.
BW: When you're in a writing jam, is there a particular author you look to for inspiration? One that makes you ask, "What would ‘insert author's name here’ do?"
CL: Michael Moorcock is a major source of inspiration. If I'm feeling more playful I might ask myself what Milan Kundera would do to make a joke out of the situation, but Moorcock is generally it for me.
BW: What are some of your favorite books?
CL: Ulysses. Finnegans Wake. Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Moorcock's The Jerry Cornelius Chronicles and The Black Corridor. As a kid I read Dragonlance and loved those as well. I also learned French just so I could read Largo Winch untranslated.
BW: What books would you recommend to readers that are looking to read your book?
CL: Definitely Perdido Street Station, and anything by China Mieville. Moorcock's The Warlord of the Air. The upcoming novelization of Rush's Clockwork Angels, by Kevin J. Anderson.
BW: What projects are you currently working on? Can readers anticipate more books to accompany Blightcross?
CL: I'm still outlining the follow-up to Blightcross. It's going to take quite a different direction and I can't wait to get started on writing it! I also have some more lit-fic ideas kicking around, and I need to get some music done as well.
BW: Even though this is outside your writing genre, between a vampire love interest and a werewolf love interest which do you prefer? (What team are you on? Team Vampire or Team Werewolf.)
CL: Vampire. Who doesn't like to crack open a cold one now and then?
BW: Go wild! Let us know something funny about you, share something that's on your mind, or anything else that's important
CL: This isn't a good idea when I'm around! I have lots on my mind, and
my list of important things is unending.
I think it's important for consumers of any cultural product, be it music or writing or visual art, to be critical and open to being challenged. I have paid good money for things I was afraid I'd
disagree with, and probably ended up still disagreeing with after I finished listening or reading. But sometimes poking at your comfort zone is worth the risk.
BW: Big thank you to C.A. Lang for the wonderful interview.
Blightcross by C.A. Lang
In a world rebuilding after global mechanized war, chaos and ethnic tensions rule.
City-states like Blightcross prosper under dictatorships built upon oil production. Refugees flock to the city-state to find work in the massive oil refineries. The black blood of Blightcross is replacing vihs-draaf, the magic of the Ehzeri people, but magic hasn’t entirely disappeared…yet.
For fugitive soldier and thief Capra Jorassian, Blightcross is an opportunity to earn enough moneyfor her freedom. Stealing an enchanted painting from the dictator’s collection is nothing new. But the
simple heist gets complicated quickly when Capra’s childhood friend shows up, bent on bringing her back for court martial. Then her eccentric employer, the creator of the painting, is kidnapped, throwing Capra into a struggle for the survival of Blightcross, with only her enemies as allies.
Till Sevari, the mad dictator of Blightcross, wants the secrets of the painting, and he’ll do anything toget them. But when the deadly forces within the painting spiral out of his control, Capra is the only one who can defeat them – by finding a power just as deadly, hidden beneath the lies of her own culture…
Blightcross breaks the boundaries of steampunk, using fantasy to explore the world of post-colonialism and the greed of oil dependent cultures.
C. A. Lang is a product of Nelson, British Columbia, and it shows. Growing up around Victorian architecture likely had something to do with his appreciation of steampunk, although we’re not quite sure why he felt the need to ditch the steam engines and go all internal-combustion on the genre. He has settled in Kelowna, B.C., where sometimes he can be found abusing a gigantic jazz guitar in public,hanging around certain wineries, and running obscene distance (http://petropunk.wordpress.com)