Keith R.A. DeCandido

International best-selling author Keith R.A. DeCandido was born, raised, educated, and still lives in the Bronx. DeCandido has published over thirty novels, most of them in the realm of media tie-ins. The majority of his work has appeared in the worlds of
Star Trek, including the Corps of Engineers eBook series which he co-developed. Several of his Trek novels have featured in the USA Today best-seller list, and received critical acclaim worldwide. DeCandido has also written in the worlds of Blizzard Games, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Command and Conquer, CSI, Doctor Who, Farscape, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Marvel Comics, Supernatural, Young Hercules, and many more. He is also a student of Kenshikai karate (an advanced green belt, as of August 2007), and an amateur actor and voice-over artist. Darren Rea recently caught up with DeCandido to find out what he's currently up to...

Darren Rea: What's the best and worst thing about being a writer today?

Keith R.A. DeCandido: The best thing is the simple fact that I love writing and I'm actually able to make a living off of it. The worst thing is that advances haven't really gotten better over the 15 years I've been doing this, even though the cost of living has gone up. It's gotten progressively harder to make ends meet.

DR: Can it be difficult working in a genre where some fans think they know everything and will tear you apart if you get something wrong?

KD: Not really. If anything, having that level of oversight keeps you on your toes.

DR: What's the best and worst thing you've read about one of your books?

KD: The best was probably a review of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel Blackout, where a reviewer said that the book made him care about the character of Nikki Wood so that when he watched Fool for Love again, the fight between her and Spike on the subway had much more poignance, because thanks to my book focusing on her, she was a person, instead of just some other Slayer Spike killed.

The worst was a review of my first Star Trek novel, Diplomatic Implausibility, in a magazine. The book was very Klingon-heavy, and the reviewer spent the entire review talking about how much he didn't like Klingons and thought Klingons were stupid. He barely talked about the book, focusing entirely on his dislike of the species as portrayed on screen, making me wonder why he was assigned to the book in the first place.

DR: Of all the tie-in books that you've written, which series do you most look forward to writing?

KD: Probably Star Trek, simply because that universe has been a part of my life since birth in some form or other.

DR: What's the average time you get to write a book, and how difficult is it to get started?

KD: I've had anywhere between six months and two weeks to write a book. And it's not that difficult to get started-this is my job, after all, and if I don't work, I don't get paid, and then creditors and landlords get cranky.

DR: Is there ever enough time? Or are you constantly pushing deadlines to their limits?

KD: I generally hit my deadlines. When I start, I figure out how many words per day I need to write in order to make the date, and shoot for that goal each day. It generally works.

DR: If in a hundred years from now one of your books was still being widely read, which one would you like it to be and why?

KD: Probably my Star Trek novel The Art of the Impossible, one of the books in the Lost Era miniseries. I think it's my most ambitious and strongest work to date.

DR: What do you read for pleasure?

KD: All kinds of things. Mostly genre stuff in the SF, fantasy, and mystery fields. I also read a bunch of baseball books. And I've got a pile of books about a historical figure that I want to write an original novel about when I have the time.

DR: If you could write a book about anything, what's the passion in your life that you'd like to commit to print?

KD: Honestly, I love writing stories about New York City. Some of the most fun I've had has been writing the novels I've done that take place in my hometown-Supernatural: Nevermore, Spider-Man: Down These Mean Streets, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Blackout, CSI: NY: Four Walls.

DR: If a movie were to be made about your life, who would play you and why?

KD: Probably Dennis Boutsikaris. He has the right hair, the right beard, and the right ability to delivery sarcasm.

DR: If money weren't a problem, what would you ideal job be?

KD: I'm doing it.

DR: What are you working on at the moment?

KD: A Star Trek short novel that's part of a series called Myriad Universes, which are basically "what if?" stories-alternate realities where (for example) the Borg won in The Best of Both Worlds or Spock wasn't resurrected in The Search for Spock, or something like that. It'll be out next summer. After that, I'm doing a second Supernatural book called Bone Key.

DR: Is there one book where you nailed it? Where you feel that it was perfect? Or are you never 100% happy with the finished result?

KD: I don't think any of them are perfect, but I'd say the aforementioned The Art of the Impossible more or less nailed it.

DR: Thank you for your time.

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