Sean Cummings is a comic book geek, superhero junkie, zombie fan and a total nerd. (He's also a bastion of completely useless information about films made prior to 1960. Don't get him started on "Arsenic and Old Lace" because he won't shut up about it.) He's been writing since 1978 (as a means of liberating his "inner nerd") He's a huge fan of the television series Being Human and believes that if urban fantasy happened in the real world, Being Human is as close to real as you can get. His interests include science fiction, the borg, cats with extra toes, east Indian cuisine and quality sci-fi movies/television.
He lives in Saskatoon, Canada.
BAK: What motivated you to become an author in the first place?
Sean – I’ve been writing all my life. (I know, authors always say that.) I’m a life-long reader and when I was in my early twenties, I decided to see if I could actually learn this craft and somehow get a book published. It was a hard, hard slog. During the past twenty years I’ve had to work, raise children, get divorced, rebuild and you always have your personal life impact the goal of getting published. Half the time it was a question of finding the time – but I slogged on and now I have three books out with a respectable independent publisher and last fall I finally landed an agent.
Sharon: If you could pick a theme song to play every time you walked into a room, what would it be?
Sean – Actually it wouldn’t be music. It would be the sound of the Tardis.
Sharon: okay, you just earned 10 cool points with that answer
BAK: Your novels deal primarily in the occult and other supernatural events. Do you have an affinity for such things or is it just a fun subject to write about?
Sean – I love the idea that supernatural beings lurk about the shadows or hide in plain sight. I think that’s sort of what makes urban fantasy really fun because let’s face it, modern life is really predictable. We live in cities (most of us) we get up, we go to work, we come home, we eat and watch TV and go to bed. That’s how we spend thirty to forty years of our lives – almost as if we’re just cogs in some big machine that grinds out human existence. I’d like to think that by dwelling on dark places and inexplicable creatures with amazing abilities, that would contrast the general dreariness of our daily lives.
BAK: It certainly is fun to wonder if there are creatures just waiting out of sight.
Sharon: as long as it is a smexy shifter, or in Katie’s case a vamp ;) (sorry BAK, had to go there)
Sharon: When do you do your most productive writing? What type of writing environment/atmosphere do you prefer?
Sean – I write best first thing in the morning when it’s absolutely quiet. I envy writers who come home after a day job and find the creative energy to pound out two thousands words every night. I find that after a hard day at work, I just don’t have the juices flowing, so it’s morning for me.
Sharon: So many authors talk listening to music while writing and I just can’t imagine. I need total silence just to write a review
BAK: That is a bold-faced lie, Sharon. I know for a fact you go to bed around eleven. If you were a real late-nighter you wouldn't go to bed until three AM. At the earliest!
Sharon: Hey, when you get to be my age, 11:00 PM is late night! Sorry about that Sean, ask you next question B.A.K.
BAK: Valerie Steven's job title -could- be State Alchemist. Did you get any inspiration from Fullmetal Alchemist at all?
Sean - Actually, no I didn’t. I didn’t want her to be a pure sorceress because I wanted her to have some other abilities that are different from a lot of female protagonists in urban fantasy. Her job with “Government Services and Infrastructure Canada” is a play on all the super secret “paranormal” departments of the FBI, CIA , etc that we see in so much urban fantasy with a strong female lead. I wanted Val to work for a mundane agency in a benign sounding government department that is in charge of things like potholes, seaways and of course, the world unseen.
Sharon: The Itsy Bitsy Spider walked up the water spout. He got washed out, but he went up again…is this perseverance or a short term memory problem?
Sean – I think human beings are all pre-programmed to carry out the same drudgery every day. The very act of getting up for thirty years and going to a job you hate could be the human version of Itsy Bitsy Spider.
BAK: All right, I have been warned but the temptation is too great. I have seen Aresenic and Old Lace as well. Great movie, right?
Sean – It is the epitome of mad-dash, slap stick comedy. It’s very film noir, too, when you consider it’s a Frank Capra movie and all his movies are about hope and aspiring to be something greater than what you are. Cary Grant’s performance as Mortimer Brewster is, as far as I’m concerned, the gold-standard performance for a male lead in a comedy. There isn’t one bad performance from anyone in that flick. From fellow Canadian, the late Raymond Massey as Mortimer’s evil brother, to Peter Lorre and Josephine Hull (who won an Oscar for Harvey, another of my favorite movies), it’s a dark and deliciously funny movie. So many colorful characters – just a wonderful, wonderful movie.
BAK: It's also got a guy who thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt. You just can't lose.
Sharon: After reading some excerpts, I am very excited about your WIP Tim Reaper. Can you tell us a little about him and his world?
Sean – TIM REAPER is a spinoff character from my novel FUNERAL PALLOR. He’s a death spirit who was kicked out of his order for starting the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 that killed 5% of the world’s population. He’s amoral, meaning he will pretty much work for anyone, but he’s got a heart of gold. He tries to right wrongs, but he will also walk away from most things we’d call the cops over because they don’t impact him directly. He has an affinity for cats. He dislikes serial killers immensely and makes it a hobby to whack them – which brings me to the plot: there’s a serial killer on the loose and he’s killing angels. The Catholic Church has hired TIM REAPER to find and stop the killer before “end of days” scenarios begin to play out. Through the book, Reaper discovers his humanity and purpose. He will be given a stark choice by the end of the book because he will discover that love is a binding force and that despite his many failings, he is capable of receiving, and more importantly, giving love to others.
BAK: I have a theory that Canada's only polite because they export their rude people to the United States. How close to the truth am I?
Sean – We’re not that polite. You need only look at the riot in Vancouver after game seven of the Stanley Cup Final this year. Canada is a great country, but a strange one. We’re very regional instead of national. People who live on the prairie refer to themselves as Western Canadians, people on the east coast call themselves “maritimers”. We have a habit of knocking down successful Canadians a few pegs because “they’re getting’ uppity” and we do a terrible job of celebrating our success stories. It’s almost like we relish the wallflower nature of our national being – Canada is a country of so many contrasts, but it’s home and I still love it, despite its failings.
Sharon: What made you start a FB and web page to Save Publishing?http://www.savepublishing.org/
Sean – Mostly a knee-jerk reaction to the upheaval in the industry right now. There are so many forces that are reshaping the book world. Independent book stores are closing every single day. Digitization is creating new markets and destroying old ones. Fewer and fewer people are actually reading books – I probably picked the worst time in human history to become a published author, actually. But I wanted to do something to at least generate discussion about the future of books. It’s a fart in the breeze, my little Facebook project, but it’s something.
BAK: Okay, and now for our much-favored rapid-fire round of either-or questions. Wow, that was a lot of hyphens. I normally don't use hyphens so that's kind of, oh right right, moving on. Sean will be barraged with a collection of questions which may or may not reveal everyone who works here is utterly insane. I mean brilliant. Yes. Brilliant. Moving on!
BAK: I guess we'll please Katie with the traditional Coke or Pepsi
Sean – Dr. Pepper
Sharon: Katie won't be pleased...
Sharon: Polar bears or Grizzly bears
Sean - Yaks. We don’t appreciate them enough and that’s a crime, frankly.
Sharon: I will have to take your word on that one, but I got to admit the word Yak is pretty awesome.
BAK: Pancakes or Waffles
Sean – Pancakes. Always pancakes. And fresh coffee.
BAK: Finally someone who also appreciates the greatness that is pancakes.
Sharon: I *love all breakfast foods, especially for dinner
Sharon: City mouse or country mouse
Sean – Time travelling mouse.
Sharon: BAM! 10 more coolness points for you!
BAK: Arcane or Divine magic
Sean – Good question. They both have different qualities and are equally devastating if written properly. I think I’d lean toward arcane because it’s dark and terrible, and dark, terrible things make for a good read.
Sharon: Dang BAK, that was a good one, might have to steal that one ;)
Sharon: Alien invasion or zombie invasion
Sean - Zombies. They’re stupid. Aliens, not so much.
BAK: Classical or Rock and Roll
Sean – Rock. Heavy metal, thank you very much.
BAK: Mushroom Kingdom or Old Hyrule
Sean – Old. Definitely old.
BAK: It's a Nintendo thing, don't worry too much about it.
Sharon: you mean it is a Nerd thing...
BAK: Covered in bees or huge beard
Sean – Huge beard. I want to be able to write full time so I can grow a Moses beard. It’s one of my dreams. ;)
BAK: Just don't get it caught in a burning bush.
Well, that wraps up our visit with Sean Cummings. Thanks for dealing with our sometimes snarky (points at BAK), but always inter-dimensionally important questions. You guys really need to check him out. He even has a serial Paranormal Romance called Broken Saviour under the pen name Caitlin Welch. I’ve read the first part and it is nice and dark, the way I like them ;)
Check out Sean's website for more info on his books.
You can also find him blogging at Dark Central Station (this is a super cool blog by the way)Sean is offering a copy of Unseen World to one commenter.
1. Leave your name and email address, followers get an extra entry cause being part of the Flock is where it is at!
2. Tell me how many coolness points Sean earned!