Conversations Between Writers

photo by Folly Blaine
photo by Folly Blaine

Randy Henderson

This week I’m delighted to bring you a conversation with Randy Henderson whose first novel FINN FANCY NECROMANCY comes out from Tor on February 10th. I’ve heard him read from it a couple times and one time I even got a pack of vintage Goonies trading cards from him that is still unopened because I promised he could watch me eat the gum. In my defense this was before I knew just how bad vintage trading card gum tastes…

Anyway, check out his website, follow him on Twitter, and preorder his book!

Minerva Zimmerman: hello

Randy Henderson: Greetings, program.

MZ: Man, I can’t remember the right Tron response to that. I am ashamed.

RH: To the MCP with you.

MZ: 😛 How are you holding up with all of the pending publication stuff?

RH: Using pillars. And a table with a book under one leg.

It’s good problems to have, but the publishing cycle is a tough one. I have to turn in book 2 while promoting book 1 and then jump right into writing book 3.

MZ: That’s really rough.

RH: I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, except doing it without having to work full time and deal with life stuff. And by doing it, I mean writing. And by writing, I mean crying a lot and eating lots of junk food and then pouring out words and chuckling at my own cleverness before realizing I’m a complete impostor.

MZ: How far apart are the books coming out?

RH: One year apart. So I have to write a book a year.

MZ: …and promote, and not go nuts, and like, feed and bathe yourself etc.

RH: Which isn’t so bad, if you pace yourself right, and life stuff doesn’t throw you off too much.

Wait, I’m supposed to bathe? Myself?

MZ: fraid so, didn’t you get the memo?

RH: About the TPS reports?

MZ: No no, this was the one about how sponge baths will no longer be provided because of The Incident.

RH: Oh. That. Look, I’d had a lot of cocoa and was a bit high on sugar. I’m sure the bite marks will fade. And with the fur, you can’t even see them on the rabbit anyway. Have you ever been bathed with a live rabbit? So decadent. But I’ve said too much.

MZ: So for people who don’t know, you’ve got a book coming out about a Necromancer who has just been returned home after spending 25? years in Faerie and is kind of well, stuck in the 80s.

RH: Do I? Holy crap, that’s awesome!

MZ: You do!

RH: I mean, yes, yes I do.

MZ: and when he gets back… things are not as they are supposed to be and… hilarity and horror ensue. Is that a pretty good introduction?

RH: That about sums it up, yep 🙂 I keep being surprised it sold. I keep thinking, I had too much fun writing it, it can’t be good. And it certainly isn’t going to win any awards or anything, but the reviews thus far have all been largely “this is a fun, fast read.” So, phew.

MZ: I’m super glad it sold I’ve been waiting to read the rest for awhile 🙂

RH: Thanks! I’m moderately pleased as well 😉 It’s weird to talk about Finn Fancy when I’ve been immersed in writing the next book for the last 6 months.

MZ: Also, I’d say that your style at least on this book is pretty similar to how I write urban fantasy, so I’m glad it’s marketable 😀

RH: That’s why I did it. I was like, I shall be the Sugarhill Gang to Minerva’s LL Cool J. Or more accurately, I’m like the Joy Division to your Depeche Mode. Or Television to your Strokes? Anyway …

MZ: As long as Love Doesn’t Tear Us Apart and People are People… we should be fine (ugh ok, that was pretty forced and terrible)

RH: Pretty damn good on the fly!

You’re like my own personal Jesus.

MZ: 😀

RH: And right about now, the readers are like, “I’m feeling more Enjoy the Silence” …

MZ: Probably true… Anyway people, if you’ve liked any of my urban fantasy stuff you’re going to love Randy’s Finn Fancy

RH: Aww, thanks. And if you like my peanut butter, you’ll like … no, that doesn’t sound right. But I do think we will likely end up on many panels and book tours together in the years to come.

MZ: I hope so, we shall create much gleeful chaos.

RH: I did finally put a vampire in book 2. Not to spoil anything. I think people will assume from the Necromancy part there will be lots of zombies and vamps and stuff, but I kind of went a different direction for the most part. Left, mostly, and then rapidly downhill.

MZ: with no brakes! I mean, brakes didn’t seem important at the top of the hill…

RH: And a banana cream pie. What could go wrong? So I know you’ve got a sekret project. Anything you can share about it? And I don’t mean that container in the back of the fridge. Or the moans coming from your basement.

MZ: Not too much yet, hopefully the cat will be out of the bag before too much longer. And no we won’t talk about that container. That is staying put. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the moans… which I just am not going to talk about because THEY might be listening.

Let’s just say I’m a huge fan of fun fast reads and will have something later in the year.

RH: Suh-Weet!

MZ: What else has been burning up your brain in between the pending publication and your responsibilities fighting the forces of inky darkness?

RH: The unfairness of only having egg nog in stores during the holidays. I’ve been thinking about starting a kickstarter, and a campaign, maybe trying to get Bono involved. Because I can think of no more pressing issue in our time than inconsistent access to egg nog.

MZ: Ooo sign me up. Especially if you add non-dairy egg nog

RH: Really, I’ve been seriously consumed with the book stuff these past months. I feel really boring when I talk to anyone, because I’m barely aware of anything outside the little world I created in my brain. Which some would say is the story of my life, but it is even worse right now.

MZ: I had some horded in the fridge but it expired while I was on vacation and I can’t bring myself to throw it away or risk drinking it.

RH: That’s the worst. Undrunk egg nog. Mocking you from the fridge. Shaming you.

MZ: I was going to make chia pudding out of it and pretend it was healthy


MZ: and not slowly killing me with its deliciousness

RH: Yeah. Slow, creamy, delicious death. Mmmmm.

MZ: I mean they probably ration it so we aren’t easily invaded. I bet having year round egg nog would be a pretty good invasion strategy

RH: For elves?

MZ: but you’d have to convince the invaders not to take the offered egg nog when they get there…

RH: I don’t trust elves. Shifty.

MZ: hmmm there is a serious problem with my cunning plan. Maybe pod people would be able to refuse egg nog. Pretty sure elves just want any excuse to party. Also, to buy shoes.

RH: The first short story I wrote, back when I had to walk uphill through the snow both ways to my electric typewriter, involved inoculating the populace using He-Man Slime Pit refill slime so that when the aliens tried to slime us and take over our brains we were immune.

My writing got silly after that. I can’t believe I never published that one. Sigh.

MZ: It’d be a weird thing to have to build a time machine to go back and get to save the Earth… but it JUST MIGHT WORK.

RH: Well, there is the Star Trek reboot. They’ve done Kahn. Now they can skip Search for Spock and just go right to IV, only instead of whales, they have to go back and get Egg Nog! Or He-Man Slime! Or Elves! Okay, I think I’ve kind of lost track of what the heck we’re talking about here. 😛

MZ: It’s Ok, that’s kind of a feature. My first sort of serious short story I wrote was about sentient potato chip bag glue.You know those writing exercises where they ask you to fill in a bunch of questions?

RH: Ooooo. I hear MIT is working on that. You’re a visionary you are. Is that a writing exercise? Your question?

MZ: There was one that was “I wonder why _______?” and I put “potato chip bags are so hard to open”

RH: Wow. You must be able to write really small. Because those words are, like, five times as long as the blank 😉

MZ: teeny tiny fingers. It helps.

RH: And fountain pens with fine nibs.

MZ: Indeed. Well, is there anything else you want to make sure we talk about?

RH: I’m bummed about missing Rainforest Writing Retreat this year. All my friends from far away magical lands are going to be there (at least the ones who don’t already live in my head) while I’m visiting their far away magical lands on my book tour. But I will be guest-teaching at Cascade Writers again, I do believe. And I’m planning a series of free workshop on writing genre fiction to go with my book tour, trying to pay it back a bit and connect with folks on a real level in person.

MZ: Are you going to make it to WorldCon in August?

RH: Yup! Sasquan! My book has sasquatches, so seemed appropriate. 🙂

MZ: Sweet! I just registered this morning. I’ll get to see you there if we don’t meet up before that.

RH: Yay-ness!

MZ: Well, I suppose we should go do that thing where we sit in a room and make words appear and giggle quietly to ourselves. Manly giggles. Very manly.

RH: Oh, was that me giggling? Phew. I was getting worried, since there was nobody else in the room…

MZ: And when is the official launch of Finn Fancy?

RH: February 10, 2015 from Tor in North America. And it is also being released by Titan in the UK on February 13th. And I’ll be touring the US West Coast to support the launch.

Sadly I shan’t be touring the UK. Yet.

MZ: Sweet! I will have to try and get to Powells when you hit there.

RH: Do. Because if you wait until afterwards, you will find only rubble. And dead elves. And a crying clown. And that is all. Except a banana cream pie. But that is it. So don’t miss it. Because the pie will be past its expiration. But still look mostly edible. But it isn’t. Because it’s expired. The pie. Not the clown. Why would you eat a clown?

MZ: not because of the dead elf in the pie?

RH: Damn it Minerva, you spoiled the whole prank. Sigh.

(UPDATE: You can now read the first 3 chapters of FINN FANCY NECROMANCY )