Cyberpunk Author Interview : Brendan Butts

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The scene fades in to a busy set of producers and camera men among the multitude of staff rushing around to set up the stage. The lights buzz as they flare onto the center of the platform where a large oval table sits surrounded equally by six chairs. Sitting across from each other is your host Christiana Hohenrainer, and the author of Recombination, Brendan Butts. The set goes quiet as the camera man begins to count down and the lights on the stage brighten, lighting the backdrop of an abstract multicolored neon background.

Christiana levels her gaze on you, sitting across the old oak table with her fingers interlaced on the table before she clears her throat and pushes her glasses further up her nose. She flashes a smile and asks, “So, Mr. Butts, you have published your first book, and we..”, she gestures around the room at the intern reporters looking nervous as they hold their pen and pad close, she continues, “..would like to know what inspired you to begin working on this series?”

Brendan smiles at Christiana and the gathered reporters before leaning back in his chair a bit and drumming his fingers on the table in front of him, gathering his thoughts. After a few moments he responds, “It’s a long story but the short of it is that I’ve had these characters in my head for over a decade. I know how they’ll act in pretty much any situation. I know where their loyalties lie. I know what they’ve been up to way after the events of the first book. That stuff that they’re up too — that’s the good stuff. That’s what I want to be writing about. Recombination introduces you to some of the important characters of the Chronicles of Withmore City series — but not all of them. It’s just the beginning.”

Christiana wraps her fingers around her own pen and twiddles it between her thumb and middle finger, “What was your motivation to writing about this world that really isn’t that far in the future and not too unrealistic..if unrealistic at all?”

Brendan smiles and tilts his head to the side, bringing two fingers from his left hand up to scratch idly at his neck, “I see myself as a futurist. Recombination is a glimpse at what I believe the Future could, and perhaps will be like. Obviously we don’t have human cloning or the ability to download someones brain or their essence and store it. If we did though — well, I think this is what the world would be like. If you take cloning out of it you’ve got a pretty realistic look (in my opinion of course) of what is in store for us in the next 75 or so years. Recombination only touches on some of the themes that the series will touch on. It’s an introduction. A soft opening. It’s meant to whet the appetite and introduce some of the darker cyber themes to readers that are perhaps not already fans of the genre. It’s like an orientation.”

Christiana waits for you to respond before nodding softly and jotting down some scribble on her pad lazily, “What about your hobbies? Do they have influence on your work? And I don’t suppose you are just an author.. How do you find the free time to put this world of yours on paper?”

Brendan nods as Christiana speaks and when she finishes, he begins to speak, “Hobbies, well I play and develop a text based cyberpunk role playing game set in the same world as the Chronicles of Withmore City series. That takes up some of my time. I recently got into LARPing and have no idea why I waited so long to try it. It’s amazing. Anyone who hasn’t tried it — I recommend finding a good LARP and getting involved.”
Brendan places both hands on the table in front of him and smiles around the room before continuing, “I’m also a Web Developer. I run a web development company called Storm Code. I work from home mostly and my hours are my own. It gives me the flexibility to do what I want, when I want. That includes writing, of course.”

Christiana leans a little on the table and grins, eyes offering genuine curiosity as her words form, “Maybe even tell us how writing the book itself has influenced you to do more..”

Brendan laughs and says, “Well, Recombination is my first published book. I’ve written some short stories that take place in the same world as the Chronicles of Withmore City series. I also wrote about half a novel about Seven that takes place about 6 or 7 years after the events of Recombination — when Seven is actually -in- Withmore City. That was my first attempt at a novel — I wrote it before Recombination. While I was writing it I really felt like the reader wasn’t getting enough background information. I kept wanting to do flashbacks to earlier in his life. I decided that instead of doing a book that was half flashbacks I should just make the first book those events. Writing that first half a novel was a great learning experience for me.”

Christiana quirks a brow and leans back in her orange retro-styled chair with what looks like orange wool woven around imitation red oak, “Before we wrap this up to take a break, I have to know… What has brought about your interest in the cyberpunk and dystopian genre? How long has it been appealing to you, and what can fans look forward to in the future after this novel.. maybe you’re working on your next?”

Brendan drums his hands against the table as Christiana finishes speaking, his eyes alight with energy, “I liked the Cyberpunk and Dystopian genres well before I knew they were even genres. When I was 11 or 12 I started getting into movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Hackers. They really shaped my interests. Then the Matrix came along and blew me away. I back tracked from there. Found Gibson’s novels. Read them. Watched a ton of dystopian movies, read a ton of dystopian books. Found Sindome, the text based game I mentioned. That grabbed me and never let me go. It’s sort of spiraled from there.”

Christiana smiles to Brendan then over at the camera man and surrounding staff before twirling her forefinger in the air and pushing her chair back, saying, “We’ll be back soon with more about Brendan Butts and his book Recombination. We may even hear a bit about what can be expected in the books following Recombination that makeup the series, Chronicles of Withmore City!”

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