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MoA&A Interview #20: Anton Strout

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features the fabulous Anton Strout! Anton is yet another friend I’ve had for years–all the way back to the days of that infamous ol’ book wholesaling job–but we’ve STILL never met in person! The day we finally do, the universe will probably implode. Or something. And we will both race to see who can write a book about it first. (With a heaping side dish of procrastination, of course.)

Anton recently hosted me on his Once and Future Podcast, and we had a great time. To get even In return, I decided to interview Anton here for our month-long celebration. Once again, we had a LOT of fun. Possibly too much. Enjoy! (Or be afraid. It’s entirely up to you.)

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Author or Artist?
I’M AN ARTIST WITH WOOOOORDS, DAMMIT! *cough* I guess we’ll say author.

Who are your professional role models?
I have to go with Stephen King here. He gets overlooked sometimes as a craftsman, despite the level of his sales, he gets stuck with almost a pop fiction label, but I find him so good at tapping into universal characters and scene building that anyone can get. That’s such a talent, and the weaving of many of his books together into part of the Dark Tower world is simply masterful.

But I really want to grow up to be Joss Whedon.. or at least steal his face and wear it like in Face/Off. Maybe I’ll catch up with him at San Diego Comic Con!

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
I do love cold and rain. When I’m depressed, I write better. When I’m happy, I’m too busy simply being happy, but a good melancholy day gets me going. That said, I have learned to write on command as the good weather is far more plentiful that the bad here in New Jersey and I DO have deadlines to make.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Jesus Jones singing Who? Where? Why? That’s what I get for grabbing all my old college music just to get to Right Here, Right Now. I don’t even remember this track!

If you could win any award, which would it be?
I would like to win Best Adapted Screenplay either for film or TV based on one of my book series, preferably TV. Preferably HBO. I should go write some more sex scenes, huh? Or maybe I should write in some Octo-werewolves and sell a series to SyFy.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
This is a tough one. I DO love space, but I think I have to go with magical powers as I think it would help in my day to day life. Space travel comes with that whole “leave earth for 30 days, come back, everyone you love aged a hundred years thing”… wait, that could happen with magic too.. hmmm.. I don’t know! Magic! I think that would help me eat more cookies and not gain weight.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The first fantasy book I kind of remember reading was The White Mountains by John Christopher and it stuck in my head, but probably my favoritest one evar was The Lord of the Rings, which I think I first read at ten after finding The Hobbit in my mom’s books. I still reread the whole thing every couple of years. Some people hate the dry atlas-y quality of the writing, but I dig it!

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Write more, and decide to do it professionally sooner instead of dabbling with that acting/music thing. Oh, and also don’t give all your Darth Vader carry case, all your action figures and Death Star playset to the kid next door as he grows up to be a drug dealer and YOU WILL MISS YOUR TOYS!

What’s your favorite constellation?
I’ve always liked Draco, because in one of those young reader record-and-book things Spidey had to fight the constellation when Draco came to life and fell to earth. I even acted it out for Show And Tell in Third Grade. I was pretty awesome as Spidey. *THWIP!*

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
I have to pick only one??? Hmmm… I have to go with Little Red Riding Hood, because a modern day variation of it was my first short story sale. I ran this poor NYU student all over a the city and Queens as the transformative powers of a red hoodie drew her into the fairy tale. I still love that story, good ole Lady In Red. A special shout out to anthologist Jean Rabe for giving me my first break.

What thing are you most proud of?
That although it took me until my early 30’s to realize what I wanted from life, I’ve gone forward and been able to share the stories in my mind’s eyes with others. It’s awesome that I get to do that. In particular, I had a reader who was going through a tough time with cancer, and before she passed, she had written to tell me how much my books had helped her while she was going through it. If I never wrote another word, that comfort given alone would have been worth it..

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
1. Have kids- I NEED to train the next generation of nerds…. IT IS MY DESTINY!
2. I would love to get myself to Italy and France for the architecture and museums… I remember falling in love with art history in college, and it tends to rear its head in my fantasy, but there are just a lot of works I MUST SEE in person
3. Write something lasting- with every book, I’d like to believe I’m getting better as a storyteller, and I’m excited to see how I can push myself further and further. I write what I call bubble gum pop fantasy, which I’m perfectly fine with as a label, but I know my best is yet to come and right now I’m enjoying the ride getting there.

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Anton Strout  is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series and Alchemystic, book one of the upcoming Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books.  He is also the host and curator of curious content of The Once & Future Podcast where he endeavors to bring authors and readers together through a weekly news show format.

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