Brater: One of the aspects of your writing that I really enjoy is how you expertly weave together several different genres: sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, police procedural, noir fiction…how much of this is planned and how much happens organically as you work through your stories?
Paduano: The majority of my writing is trial and error. When it comes to series development there is a lot of planning. I fill notebooks with plot-centric ideas (i.e. myths and legends in the fictional city of Portents, or what if there was a lawyer who represented the dead) and build from there. The mash-up of genres grows organically from that point on.
The Greystone series was built around the Loren/Soriya relationship. At the beginning I was more interested in the real world aspects so the police procedural element played more heavily into the narrative. As the series went on, Soriya’s part grew into the dominant role. There is a definite uptick in the action as the series progresses, and that felt more natural to me. It was also what the audience wanted, which helps when building the next installment.
DSA comes from my love of science fiction. I developed the series to be episodic and worked for months in figuring out how to build the first season’s narrative over six books. I looked at what I loved to read, or watch, to see what cool take I could do in the world of the Department of Special Assignments that leaned on the science of the real world but twisted it ever so slightly to show the darker side of abusing that science. Cloning, biological agents, genetic augmentation, ghosts, and more fit nicely around the conspiratorial aspects of the series.
Each world comes with rules, and working within those rules helps strengthen the overall narrative, as well as see clearly which ideas don’t fit with what has come before.
Brater: We can read your bio on the Brater website to get the major overview of your works and writing life, but what is NOT in your bio that you’d like to share?
Paduano: Sharing has never been my strong suit. However, if I had to say one thing about myself it would be that since I started writing it’s grown from a love to a life imperative. I literally cannot function without getting words on the page. I don’t know if they are well written words or a bunch of ramblings, I don’t know if anyone even cares to read them or not, but I absolutely love building story on a daily basis and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Brater: If I’m new to your work, what novel would you recommend as a good introductory piece?
Paduano: Signs of Portents welcomes readers to the world of Greystone. It remains my pride and joy being the first book I ever published—warts and all.
Brater: If I’m a Lou Paduano fan (and I am), what’s on the horizon?
Paduano: So much is coming your way. DSA Season Two launches late 2023. All six books are written, and they push each and every character in new and fun ways. I think the narrative is even tighter than the first season.
I have a 12-part serial set in the world of Greystone called Army in the Obelisk launching in 2023 as well. Each month will see the release of a new eight chapter part in the story, all to build up to the release of Book Six of the main series, Alpha and Omega, which kicks off the second—and final—half of the Greystone series.
Brater: OK, you’ve been granted the ability to invite four people — living or dead — to join you for a fabulous dinner. No relatives allowed. Who would you invite?
Paduano: Give me Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Martin Goodman—but from 1961. These four men, along with a few others to be sure, are responsible for 90% of our pop culture when it comes to comic books. Under Martin’s publishing company, and brilliant business-sense, they built an entire world that still exists to this day, and probably always will. I would love to be in that room with them to pick their brains and see what spills out.
That level of universe-building is what I’ve tried to employ in things like the DSA. When Cal Cooper shows up in Spectral Advocate, readers know there is more to his story, and my hope is it spills into a nice spin-off down the line. The same holds true for another character in the upcoming second season of DSA.
Brater: Of the five of you who is most likely to say or do something they’ll regret.
Paduano: You know Stan is going to say something out of line. His ego (I almost listed it as a separate person instead of inviting Martin Goodman) would eventually push the rest of us out, but who cares. I’ll gladly collaborate with Steve and Jack at the peak of their creativity. Cripes, what imaginations… absolutely astonishing.
Brater: Finally, if you were to start anew a personal library, what are the first three books you would purchase?