A bit of history
So, way back in January of this year, I commented on a post on Steve Savage’s blog, Fan-to-pro. This particular post, written by his friend, Bonnie, was about how romance is the ultimate geek genre. Then, Steve contacted me for an interview, because, I fall into the category of “fan turned pro” being that I’m a reader and blogger and huge book fan turned author.
And then we had this interesting exchange about urban fantasy genre’s debt to Star Trek: Next Generation, specifically when it comes to UF heroines, and I proclaimed I wanted to interview him, too. So we proclaimed we would interview each other. Back in February.
The most postponed interview exchange in the history of blogland takes place. OMG!
Carolyn: Steve, did you fall out of your chair when you got these questions? Can you believe I’m finally sending some?
Steve: Not at all. Trust me I understand how busy things get!
Carolyn: So, where the heck are my interview questions you’re supposed to send me?
Steve: Will you accept "very soon" as an answer?
Carolyn: LOL. That’s a joke - I’m more guilty than Steve of procrastinating at this point.
Steve: Well when this interview goes up, I’ll interview you. With our schedules I think we only have time for one interview at a time!
Carolyn: Steve, I really love your blog. I love the mix of geekiness and inspiration. You’re not afraid to throw a post like “Visualize Massive Success” (a post I actually really loved) up along with stuff about the Kin-yoobi gamer con and interesting tech news and career insights. How do you describe Fan-to-pro to people?
| Steve's book for making geek interests|
(STNG anyone?) into a career.
Steve: I call them "Geek 2.0" - the people that turn their interests, hobbies, and meekness into careers. I meet the most amazing people out there at conventions, online, at book-signings, and so on. There's an incredible amount of talent in the "Geek" crowd.
A lot of people I meet out there are very creative, very motivated, and just looking for a little insight or a boost or a useful tool to help them really combine their geekery and their professions. The goal of the blog is to help them find that.
That's my hobby, my geekery - helping people realize their dreams and abilities.
Carolyn: I love that. So, doing this blog, have you been witness to any interesting Geek to pro transformations?
Steve: Yes actually – in fact they’re all over if you look for them or talk to people. Most recently someone I was coaching had a profound realization of how their interests and career came together, in a very geek way, and it’s providing a foundation for their next career steps.
Carolyn: And now you have a book out, too. With a kickass retro cover. How has that been going?
Steve: I've gotten good response on the book so far, I'm just working to promote it now. I've had a few sales, but am always looking to do more. The book now is available in PDF and ePub format and I'm working to get it on the iBookstore, though that is proving to have challenges of it's own – I hope to iron that out in September.
I'm also glad you liked the cover - I wanted to try something retro, and was inspired by some of the more abstract covers that were influenced by art deco, 50's, and 70's styles. Finally I hit on the idea of simplicity, prime colors, and on having the image give a sense of "connection." Also frankly the black was easy to work with.
The reaction to the cover has actually been mixed, and I’m learning a lot from the feedback I get. Making book covers these days is actually hard because people have seen it all, because there are various trends to be aware of, and the book cover has to look good online. My next book, which is the best of my first year writings at www.fantopro.com, will have a completely different look - more modern-business simple.
Carolyn: So, in the course of our exchange regarding my interview and your friend’s post, you brought out the point that Star Trek: The Next Generation helped “throw the floodgates open” for strong female characters and relationship storylines in the SFF genre.
Steve: I feel it was definitely an influence. Star Trek: The Next Generation gave us Doctor Crusher, Deanna Troi, and Lwaxana Troi. Each played by a talented actress, each a strong character, and each also had plots involving relationships. I feel Star Trek: The Next Generation still suffered from some sexism, but these characters were an incredible leap forward.
Consider Doctor Crusher, coping with everything from medical crises to raising son to unresolved relationship issues - and at one point a relationship with a body-changing alien.
There's Deanna, who tried to grow as a person in command. Finally, Lwaxana was an absolute delight, totally in charge, totally outrageous, while still showing love, affection, and loneliness. I still recall the scene where Lwaxanna talks to Alexander about loneliness, with a mixture of strength and sadness that was tear jerking.
I also liked the fact that Lwaxana was a mature woman who was open about her sexuality and her interest in men – and men’s interest in her. It was a contrast to the at-times sterile STNG universe, and I think added to her sense of strength.
Indeed, the roots of Star Trek: The Next Generation led, I believe, to Captain Janeway. There was a strong female character and one with complex and interesting relationships!
Carolyn: I love that you bring up Lwaxana, because she didn’t throw her femininity under a train to become a really powerful character. And to a certain extent, Deanna and Dr. Crusher were negotiating the same thing. Were you surprised by Deanna’s relationship with Worf?
Steve: As I understand it Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn are good friends, so with that natural chemistry (as little as we saw), no. But character wise, I actually see it making sense – both are very loyal people of deep emotions. I wish we’d seen more of the relationship, quite frankly, I think it could have been profound – and amusing.
Besides imagine the children – I want to see Worf raising a daughter! There’d be so much to explore of the character in that situation, as he seems to be extremely respectful of women and views them as equals, yet also I imagine he’s got a protective streak a mile wide.
Carolyn: I think of Star Trek—the original and the classic—in everyday life a lot. Either it provides lessons for me, or life reminds me of certain episodes. And, of course, as my husband loves to point out, the early cell phones were totally modeled on communicators. And this gender thing—great models, for me as a woman, and as a writer for sure. Do you think there is anything aspiring Fan to Pros, and in particular, aspiring writers, can take from it?
Steve: Yes. Fiction, media, games, what have you does not just sit there. It has a serious effect on us – from titillation to relaxation to education. You can inspire someone or shoot them down, you can give them a harmless time-killer or open their mind to pleasant or unpleasant truths.
Creators of media should be aware of this – we have an effect. You just want to make sure it’s one you want. Creators should also remember how important they are. We don’t just live in the world of Archimedes, of Albert Einstein and Bill Gates. We live in the world of Homer, J.R.R. Tolkein, Gene Roddenberry, and Joss Whedon. Those after us will not just live in the world we invent, they will make a world we inspire them to build with our writing and our poems and our games.
This to me is part of progeekery – taking our passions as far as possible. When we do that, we build the world, and inspire the future.