Today I’m welcoming Eric Lahti, another great writer whom I’ve met through our work for “You’re Not Alone”, an anthology in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care. This is part of a series of blog posts to introduce my colleagues in this endeavour. The anthology is available for pre-order and will be released on July 11.
Twenty-seven writers from around the world, including myself have entered an assortment of short stories for your pleasure, show your support by liking the new page on Facebook and expressing an interest in buying the book.
You’ll find the book on your Amazon for per-order via these links:
You’ll find the Facebook page here:
And here is the fund, in loving memory of Pamela Mary Winton
“The Henchmen” by Eric Lahti is a hugely enjoyable read. Lahti provides a cast of memorable and entertaining characters that could carry a series without the need for a plot. In the book they form an unlikely team of henchmen that provide excellent action, some fantasy/ supernatural elements and a very good, although somewhat ‘evil’ plot concerning the US Congress. The book is instantly likeable with its dark humour and the best ‘bad guys’ you could possibly read about. I hate to use the phrase in reviews, but I couldn’t put the book down once I had started and I read it in almost one sitting. His characters are watchable, memorable and have a presence, you can imagine them easily with the excellent details attributed to them.
The book is great fun, written in an accessible and enjoyable way in a fast pace that keeps you running along until the very end. Humour and thrillers don’t often blend well but here they truly do.
I’m a full-time programmer and database administrator for a small company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m married, got one son who loves to shoot me with Nerf darts. I like to put on my headphones and crank out code during the day and then kick back and write on the couch in the evenings and mornings.
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?
I’ve always made up stories in my head about little things I’d see here and there or something would pop into my head and it would expand into an elaborate story, but it never occurred to me to sit down and write it out. For instance, Henchmen was born about four years before I wrote the first lines. A couple years ago I was sitting on the couch playing Saints Row III for the umpteenth time and decided I should try to create something rather than just consuming things. I wrote up the first few pages, handed them to my wife and hid in my office while she read them.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
Not overly. I had an English teacher in high school who hated me. We had an assignment once to finish off the beginnings of a fantasy story of some sort or another. I took in the direction of a noir private eye. She called me into her office and explained why I flunked the assignment. She told me, “They didn’t have planes and guns then.” I replied, “Yeah, but they didn’t have mechanical unicorns, either.”
She still flunked me. I sometimes wonder if I keep writing just to prove her wrong.
When did you decide to write in your chosen genre(s) ?
It just sort of happened. I always liked urban fantasy, the idea that just beyond the real world is something magnificent going on.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
It started out as an exploration of what a super villain would do in a more nearly real-world setting, especially at the very early stages of his or her career in evil. From there I had to find something that would be horrible but something people could ultimately relate to. Trying to take over the world would be arduous at best and then you’re stuck with trying to rule the thing. At best, that seems like buying a pig in a poke. About the time I was writing Henchmen was when the US government shut down because they couldn’t reach an agreement and everyone was pretty upset with Congress. So the idea that Eve would set out to destroy Congress looked like a good idea, I just needed a reason. Henchmen didn’t really explore her reasoning – that’s covered in Arise and an upcoming short about her early life – but it showed how people tend to get wrapped around the axle about single issues to the point that doing something horrible starts to look like a good idea.
What is your life like outside of writing?
Pretty quiet. I program. I teach a kids Kenpo class which is always a good time. I’ve been studying Kenpo for over fifteen years now and teaching it to kids forces me to think more about what I’m doing and why it works like it does. I’m kind of a martial arts geek and will regularly pull in little things I’ve pick up here and there to add to the classes.
What makes you laugh?
Archer and Top Gear. Love those shows. I have that kind of sense of humor. Funny, I just noticed this document was expecting humour not humor. That’s kind of funny. I also love movies like Airplane and Top Secret.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
I’d love to meet Robert Heinlein. Unfortunately, he’s dead now. Charles Stross would be cool to meet, too, because he came from an I.T. background and weaves some of that into his books. Stross is actually kind of a hero to me.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
Tough question. Brother Dege’s Old Angel Midnight or Hard Road to Hoe would be good. Skip James’ Devil Got My Woman would be good. I think Gravity Kills’ Guilty fits with the mood pretty well, too.
What are you working on now?
I like to call it a collection of short stories, but it’s really shaping up to be one or two traditional short stories, a handful of novelettes and a novella. They all kind of explore bits of magic in the real world. Some link back to the events of Henchmen and Arise, others are complete standalones and a couple introduce a world called Aluna.
Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?
I’m just happy someone is enjoying them.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
If it’s valid criticism or someone takes the time to explain why they thought what they thought, I take their opinions to heart and try to use them to make a better product. After all, it’s the audience that counts. If criticism is just “it stank,” I tend to ignore it.