Monday, March 20, 2006

Pro-File: Kevin J. Anderson

Professional Bio


Since 1993, 32 of Kevin J. Anderson's novels have appeared on national bestseller lists; he has over 16 million books in print worldwide. His works have been translated into German, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, French, Romanian, Greek, Russian, Portuguese, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, Hungarian, Chinese, Indonesian, Hebrew, Korean, Slovenian, Estonian, Turkish, Croatian, and Polish.


Anderson recently signed the largest science fiction contract in publishing history, to write a prequel trilogy to Frank Herbert's classic SF novel DUNE, coauthored with Herbert's son Brian. Bantam Books paid over seven figures per book in this trilogy. For a book signing during the promotional tour for his comedy/adventure novel AI! PEDRITO!, Anderson broke the Guinness World Record for "Largest Single-Author Signing," passing the previous records set by Gen. Colin Powell and Howard Stern.


His STAR WARS JEDI ACADEMY trilogy became the three top-selling science fiction novels of 1994. He has also completed numerous other projects for Lucasfilm, including the 14-volumes in the New York Times bestselling YOUNG JEDI KNIGHTS series (cowritten with his wife Rebecca Moesta). His three original STAR WARS anthologies are the bestselling SF anthologies of all time.


Anderson is the author of three hardcover novels based on the X-FILES; all three became international bestsellers, the first of which reached #1 on the London Sunday Times. GROUND ZERO was voted "Best Science Fiction Novel of 1995" by the readers of SFX magazine. RUINS hit the New York Times bestseller list, the first X-FILES novel ever to do so, and was voted "Best Science Fiction Novel of 1996. "


Anderson's thriller IGNITION, written with DOUG BEASON, has sold to Universal Studios as a possible motion picture. ANDERSON and BEASON'S novels have been nominated for the Nebula Award and the American Physics Society's "Forum" award. Their other novels include VIRTUAL DESTRUCTION, FALLOUT, and ILL WIND, which has been optioned by ABC TV for a television movie or miniseries.


Anderson's solo work has garnered wide critical acclaim: CLIMBING OLYMPUS (voted the best paperback SF novel of 1995 by Locus magazine), RESURRECTION, INC. (nominated for the Bram Stoker Award), and his novel BLINDFOLD (1996 preliminary Nebula nominee). Anderson has written numerous bestselling comics, including STAR WARS and PREDATOR titles for Dark Horse, and X-FILES for Topps.


Anderson's research has taken him to the top of Mount Whitney and the bottom of the Grand Canyon, inside the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD complex, into the Andes Mountains and the Amazone River, inside a Minuteman III missile silo and its underground control bunker, onto the deck of the aircraft carrier Nimitz, inside NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral, onto the floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange, inside a plutonium plant at Los Alamos, and behind the scenes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and out on an Atlas-E rocket launchpad. He also, occasionally, stays home and writes.

Pro-File: Kevin J. Anderson




>>Tell us about your current novel. >>Can you give us a sense of what you're
working on now?

I like to keep several projects on the burner at the same time, at different
stages. I just delivered the tenth and final draft of HUNTERS OF DUNE,
written with Brian Herbert, 600 pages long. This is based on Frank
Herbert's final outline, which he left in a safe deposit box before he died
of pancreatic cancer. It's very exciting to be working on this, the grand
finale of Frank's Dune Chronicles.

I am also editing the manuscript of SLAN HUNTER, which I've just completed,
based upon the last unfinished manuscript by AE Van Vogt. His widow asked
me to finish it, and I consider it a great honor. I loved SLAN when I was
in college, and this is just the right kind of big science adventure.

And, for my own stuff, I have just started the big work on nailing down the
outline, 125 chapters, of the sixth volume in my massive "Saga of Seven
Suns," a big epic with a huge cast of characters.

>>3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

Making up stuff and getting paid for it! My stepson jokes that I "lie for a
living." I have learned how to write (dictate) while I hike, so I can do
the two things I love most. I can live vicariously the adventures of many
different characters in many different exotic locales and situations.

>>4. The greatest DIS-pleasure?
Doing a lot of travel and promotion. Oh, I'm good at it and I enjoy doing
book signings and meeting fans, but it becomes more than a full-time job. I
spend as much time promoting as I do writing, which is my real love. And I
can't remember the last time I took a trip that was at my own discretion!


>>5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Think outside the box. Each novel is different, with a different audience.
Too often publisher's marketing doesn't go beyond Generic Plan A, whether
the novel is a thriller, a fantasy, a poker puzzle caper. They don't THINK
about where they might catch a specific readership. For instance, the poker
puzzle caper might be advertized in a poker magazine. Do they think about
that? No! Early in my career I published a fantasy trilogy based entirely
on role-playing games. At the time the publisher had a Generic Plan A of
advertizing their #1 title in various genre magazines, including the
Dungeons & Dragons magazine, and the #2 title got no ads at all. Now, my
novel was *about* Dungeons and Dragons...but instead of thinking this might
be the best choice for an ad in a D&D magazine, they ran their standard ad
for the #1 title (a time-travel SF novel about Sherlock Holmes, I believe).

>>6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print
again?

I have always loved Martin Cruz Smith. GORKY PARK is one of the best novels
I've ever read. He wrote several mysteries before he hit it big with
NIGHTWING and GORKY PARK ("Gypsy in Amber" is one of them...I tracked it
down in a used book store). The others are out of print and I would love to
see them. That's all that come to mind.

>>7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that
moment.

I was working full time as a technical writer for a research lab, and I had
gone away for a business conference. I came back to the office and found a
message on my answering machine (one of those clunky beasts with a
full-sized cassette tape that automatically hummed and rewound after you
played the message.) On the answering machine tape was a call from my agent
saying, "Kevin, I just sold your first novel!" He rambled about the terms,
but I didn't hear many of them I was so excited. I ran down the hall to
yell to my coworkers. "I sold my book! I sold my book!" In the meantime,
another worker called my office with a completely mundane message -- I had
an order to pick up at the photo lab -- and recorded over my agent's
message! I sure wish I could have kept that tape.

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