SPACE MAGIC author David D. Levine

Today we welcome David D. Levine, who is celebrating the release of the ebook edition of his Endeavour Award-winning short story collection SPACE MAGIC (Wheatland Press, 2008) which is out today at Book View Café. The collection brings together 15 critically-acclaimed science fiction and fantasy stories (including the Hugo Award-winning “Tk’Tk’Tk’”), and represents David’s first foray into the wild and wooly world of indie publishing. Read all about it in today’s episode of Three Questions Make An Interview“.

1) So, as I mentioned in the intro, the ebook release of “Space Magic” represents your first foray into indie publishing. What do you think of this bold new paradigm so far?

It turns out that the conversion of the text into ebook format is the easiest part of the process. Dealing with the ebook stores (especially Apple) and finding effective ways of publicizing the release have been much harder. I’ve also found that my idea of also selling each of the short stories in the collection as a stand-alone ebook for 99¢ (I call it the “iTunes singles-and-album model”) is a lot more work than I’d anticipated — despite its much shorter length, each short story ebook is almost exactly as much work to produce and upload to the stores as a full-length novel. I’m not really sure the short stories will deliver enough revenue to justify the effort. The good news is that, with 16 titles in each store instead of just one, I have spread a wider net for readers, and I hope that even if the stories do not bring in very much money by themselves they will increase the chances of people finding me in the store.

Levine-SpaceMagic_600x900At this writing the books are available in all the ebook stores, and have sold a few copies, but have not yet been officially released. After the big publicity push of release day I’ll be able to tell you how satisfied I am with the results. I am trying to be conservative in my expectations, though, and am looking forward to slow but consistent sales. I hope to be proved wrong in this, in a positive way.

2) I know you’re also working on a new novel right now. Give us the elevator pitch!

I’m currently writing a YA Regency Interplanetary Airship Adventure. (Yes, another one of those. Sorry.) It takes place during the English Regency in a world in which the solar system is full of air and it’s possible to travel to Mars and Venus by airship. Naturally both of those planets are inhabited. My main character, Arabella Ashby, is a young woman who was born and raised on Mars but was recently hauled back to Earth by her mother, who didn’t want her youngest daughters growing up surrounded by aliens and turning out as wild as Arabella. Arabella, child of the frontier, is a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world; she’s stifled by England’s gravity, climate, and culture and dearly misses her father and brother, who remain on Mars. When her father dies and she learns her evil cousin plans to travel to Mars to kill her brother and inherit the family fortune, she disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of a fast merchant ship in hopes of beating him there. But pirates, mutiny, and rebellion intervene. Will she reach her brother in time?

This novel takes place in the same universe as my story “The Wreck of the Mars Adventure” in Old Mars, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, which will be published in October.

3) Back in 2010, you spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station. Would you consider putting your name in the hat for Mars One, even though it would be a one way trip?

Heck no. My adventure at MDRS was a blast, but I like the comforts of home too much to sign up for that for the rest of my life. I would miss good food, live theatre, and all of my friends too much. And air. I would definitely miss air a lot.

Not to mention the fact that if even if I signed up, and even if I were accepted, and even if the project sticks to its extremely aggressive schedule, the earliest I could land on Mars would be at age 62. Talk about an active retirement!

David D. Levine is the author of over fifty published science fiction and fantasy stories. His work has appeared in markets including Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, and Realms of Fantasy and has won or been nominated for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and Campbell. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Kate Yule, with whom he co-edits the fanzine Bento. His web page is http://www.daviddlevine.com.

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