Our next author is a seasoned veteran when it comes to writing novels, with over fifty written. He does both original fiction and media tie-in books for several well-known franchises, including Star Trek. His newest novel, Yeti Left Home, is currently funding through our eSpec Books Fantastic Novels campaign.
eSpec Books interviews Aaron Rosenberg, author of Yeti Left Home
eSB: You have been at this for some time. Nearly four dozen novels and who knows how many stories. But my questions is, where did you get the idea for such a unique mash-up?
AR: I always like turning things on their ear a bit, in terms of genre expectations and what-not. And one day I just had this random thought, what if you had this character who’s a big and scary monster type and everyone assumes is ferocious but really just wants to be left alone? But not “live in a cave” left alone, more like “enjoy beer and watching sports on TV from his recliner” alone? I really liked the idea of taking this solitary, mythic creature that’s only seen in glimpses and known for both its violence and its wildness and making him both peaceful and oddly domestic and a regular, if odd, fixture in a small town. And then taking him out of his comfort zone and throwing him into the big city, forcing him to meet people and build relationships and sort of get a life. That led to thinking about the “why”, of course, and I came up with the idea of him being accused of exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from the myth of him, and him having to prove it WASN’T him at all.
eSB: There is quite a complex combination of myth and legend and pop culture in this novel. What resources did you draw on and how did you transform the source material into something so unique and compelling?
AR: I’ve got several books on things like monsters and legends and fairy tales and world mythology, so those were really useful starting points, plus there are all sorts of websites listing different legends and myths from different cultures. For the pop culture, I hit up places like Yelp and TimeOut a lot. And the Twin Cities’ own websites were extremely useful. One of my favorite things to do with anything I write is to find those little details that’re tucked away but that can be really intriguing, like some of the foods unique to an area or the local sports teams (every one of Wylie’s caps is from an actual team, most of them in Minnesota!). I always feel it’s stuff like that which brings a story to life.
eSB: No one likes to admit it, but everyone has a favorite among their babies. In this book, which one is yours and why?
AR: I love Wylie (the main character), of course. He’s just so earnest! And Knox cracks me up. But I think my favorites are probably the Kobold sisters, Jeannie and Swift—their interactions are just so much fun, their rapport but also the differences between them, and the way they affect everyone else.
eSB: One of the things I particularly loved was the way you interwove technology and the supernatural in this book. Did you have any particular inspiration for that? What challenges did you find in creating this, what some might consider, counterintuitive approach?
AR: That’s half the fun of an urban fantasy, figuring out how to bridge the gap between supernatural—which tends to be ancient, instinctual, barely understood, often in the shadows—and modern tech—which is upfront, ubiquitous, and exhaustively explained. And I particularly like thinking about things like “how would a thousand-year-old vampire deal with having to drive a car for the first time?” or “what is the ancient Egyptian mummy going to think about seat warmers and climate-controlled cabins?” But it’s not just about a character’s age, obviously. It’s their background, and also whatever limitations they might have due to their own nature. Like the fact that Wylie can barely fit in most bathroom stalls, is built to withstand the cold but can’t handle heat, and has hands that aren’t exactly made for fine detail work. That’s the kind of stuff I try to keep in mind when I write things like this, both how the character would see something and what kind of mental and physical adjustments their own upbringing/form/abilities would require.
eSB: It is no secret you are a foodie. Given the opportunity, what whirlwind food tour would you take Wylie the Yeti on, with time, distance and cost no issue?
AR: Ha, well, Wylie’s not big on fancy food, he likes filling, stick-to-your-ribs stuff, so I think we’d have to go Southern, probably hit New Orleans, where I grew up—he’s already tried jambalaya but he needs to check out etouffee, gumbo, and of course Po-boys. Also, some proper fried chicken and a good muffaletta!
eSB: This isn’t your first time writing cryptid fiction. Can you tell us about your other works in the genre?
AR: I did a novel last year called Gone to Ground, which is a period murder mystery set in the 1920s and featuring a cryptid called the Wunk. That was a ton of fun, both because I love murder mysteries and because of the time period—the whole story is very The Great Gatsby. Plus, the Wunk is just an odd, odd creature, and that really intrigued me. But I also did a book called Time of the Phoenix about, you guessed it, the Phoenix, set in various time periods—and that’s actually based on a roleplaying game called Chosen that I designed and wrote years earlier, which was also where I did a lot of my earlier research on mythic creatures. Plus, two of my occult thrillers from the O.C.L.T. series I do with David Niall Wilson, Incursion and Digging Deep, involved creatures that could be considered cryptids.
eSB: You have made no secret that this is not the end of the road for Wylie and his gang. Can you share with us any of your plans for continued adventures?
AR: Without giving too much away about the end of Yeti Left Home, Wylie finds himself with some new responsibilities he never expected, so I definitely plan to explore that as he tries to make that work. There are also some relationships developing among him and his friends, some secrets that will eventually come to light, and there are various power plays taking place in the Twin Cities’ supernatural population that they’re going to run afoul of, as well.
eSB: If you had to compile a Wylie Kang cookbook, what recipes would appear inside and why?
AR: Like I said, Wylie’s not a fancy sort. Any cookbook he used—or compiled—would have mostly what’s considered “comfort food”, stuff like fried chicken, mac and cheese, potatoes au gratin. How to do a really good burger or a proper steak. And, if he was looking to stretch himself, how to bake a good pie. Probably pumpkin.
eSB: Has this novel inspired you to explore more in the cryptid realm, and if so, which cryptids intrigue you?
AR: Oh, absolutely! In addition to Wylie himself, I’ve already got Kobolds, Redcaps, Banshees, Goblins, and some other, far less known cryptids from all over the world (like the Kishi, which are fascinating)! As he settles in, he’s going to meet still others, and I’m particularly enjoying adapting them to modern life, like with Knox and his cap.
eSB: Could you tell us about one of your most amusing experiences promoting your books?
AR: Okay, I’m not the best at self-promotion (that’s an understatement, folks). What’s funny is, the lead character in my sci-fi comedy series, the Adventures of DuckBob Spinowitz (which starts with No Small Bills), is sort of my opposite there—he’s gregarious to the extreme, no filter, no shame, talk your ear off. So when I launched No Small Bills, I set up a Twitter account for DuckBob himself. And a blog. He’s more likely to blog, honestly, because he can just blather at length there, but he did have fun Tweeting from time to time. And I enlisted a few friends to help with that, which meant sometimes DuckBob would reply to something and I’d be the one surprised by it!
eSB: What is one thing you would share that would surprise your readers?
AR: I always have a moment of “what if I suck at this?” terror every time I start a book. Every. Time. Even after over fifty books (a few aren’t out yet). But, and I say this when I do panels on writing, I think that’s actually a good thing. The day I DON’T have that worry is the day I’m in trouble, because until then I’m always trying to prove myself, to show that I CAN do this, to make each book the best it can be.
eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?
AR: I’ve got a few other series either finished or ongoing. There’s the DuckBob books, four of them and that’s it, which are completely ridiculous, silly fun. The OCLT novels are all occult thrillers, dark and fast-paced. Then there’s the Relicant Chronicles, my Anime-esque epic fantasy series (starting with Bones of Empire) and the Areyat Islands books (starting with Deadly Fortune), which are fantasy pirate mysteries. Plus others.
eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?
AR: I’m working on my second Areyat Islands book, Weather Gap, right now, and after that I have the fifth and final book in the Relicant Chronicles. Then comes my second Sherlock Holmes collection, More Cases by Candlelight, with fellow authors Christopher D. Abbott, Michael Jan Friedman, and this time Keith R.A. DeCandido. I’m about due to write another OCLT novel, I think—my most recent one, Focal Point, came out this past February. And I’m adapting a pair of short stories into the start of a novel about a Regency-era female pirate, sort of Jane Austen meets Pirates of the Caribbean (no magic, though).
eSB: How can readers find out more about you?
AR: I post on Facebook regularly (at least on my personal page), and on Twitter and Instagram when I remember. Updates for my various series appear on my site and on their respective publishers’ sites, like Crazy 8 Press, Crossroad Press, Falstaff Books, and Eldros Legacy. I’m also at several cons each year, including Shore Leave, Farpoint, PhilCon, Origins, and GenCon.
Aaron Rosenberg is the author of the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Relicant Chronicles epic fantasy series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and—with David Niall Wilson—the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. Aaron’s tie-in work contains novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Shadowrun, Eureka, Mutants & Masterminds, and more. He has written children’s books (including the original series STEM Squad and Pete and Penny’s Pizza Puzzles, the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel, and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story), educational books on a variety of topics, and over seventy roleplaying games (such as the original games Asylum, Spookshow, and Chosen, work for White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight, Pinnacle, and many others, and both the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets and the Gold ENnie-winning Lure of the Lich Lord). He is the co-creator of the ReDeus series, and a founding member of Crazy 8 Press. Aaron lives in New York with his family.
Find out more about him at:
Website – Amazon – BookBub – Wikipedia – GoodReads
And follow him on social media at:
Twitter – Facebook (Personal): and Facebook (Author) – Instagram