When the Praecants have decided that you're working for them or else, you don't have a lot of choice in the matter. It could be worse. I got beaten into way better shape, learned a lot about tracking and killing magical creatures, and finally made a genuine friend who shares my interest in magical technology. Of course, Babd is still running around spreading her own kind of adorable chaos. All of this stuff -- the other worlds, the proximity to magic, maybe even Babd herself -- is starting to get inside my head. And what's with all the magical creatures that have started popping up?
I’m still a nerd at heart, but things are changing...
Follow Lincoln, Babd, Fox, Gwen, and some new friends as they try to secure a summit of the world's most powerful Praecants, in Pittsburgh of course. None of them trust each other, so holding it in a place where magic barely works is the only way to get them all in the same room. Will Lincoln stop being so nerdy? Will Fox find a sentient holster and settle down? Will Babd ever eat her kibble?!
Download it now!
Warnings: language and violence
Q&A with the Author
LFBD had a strong set of themes. What are the themes for "A Walk In The Park..."?
LFBD's over-riding theme was the cycle of "behavior drives biology drives behavior," and I crafted a lot of the arcs to specifically show how that cycle can lead one in different directions, both good and bad. "Walk" takes on something a little bit -- but not entirely -- different, which is what happens when our own psychology and minds collide with and are influenced by those of others around us. And what if those around us aren't merely humans, but magic users, creatures from different planes of existence, and even demigods? I guess the full theme is "How we defend the Self against the influences the Other, and maybe we don't always want to." It's not nearly as succinct as LFBD, but it worked.
This book has a lot more magical creatures. How did you come up with them?
Well, there's a part of the book where Gwen is telling Lincoln that he's become a "[monster] hunter," and she uses a very specific word instead of "monster". I thought it would be fun to take creatures from that other well known mythology as the descriptive basis for the morphs in "Walk." They aren't actually that, but it was certainly the inspiration. You'll have to get to that part of the book to see exactly what I'm talking about.
Some parts of "Walk" touch on the Holocaust. That's a sensitive topic. How did you handle it?
From the time I had the idea of how that was going to weave into the story, I wanted to make sure that it did so in a respectful manner. I specifically included some friends from the Jewish community with family ties to that awful point in history in the beta reading group, and asked for their frank feedback. I was prepared to cut or alter the manuscript if it hit them with any level of offense. I'm glad to say that it did not, so that part of the story stayed intact.
How do you keep the longer-running action sequences clear and coherent?
For the big "set pieces" I usually have a vague idea of how they should flow. To get the details, I drag out action figures and stuffed animals, and then "play" the sequence out physically. Things occur to you when you do it that way that I find hard to hold entirely in my head. It's like "Oh, this person has no idea that other person is there -- how would that change their reaction?" I feel like it lends physical grounding to the scenes, because they are physically grounded. It's solid in my head, and that comes through in the prose.
I would still like to buy a Babd.
Babd is still not for sale.
D. Roland Hess has written five technical/arts books, one of which won the American Publishers Association PROSE Award for Best Book in Art Technique in 2011. "Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog" marked his return to genre fiction after a long hiatus. He honed his craft in the Creative Writing program at UPenn, but gave up the potential glory of starving-artistdom for a career in production art and software development. He currently works in Machine Learning in the Google's Ads organization.