Today we have an interview with Nicholas McRae, author of Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band. Nicholas McRae's life revolves around fantasy and imagination. He studies music, takes clarinet lessons, builds stained-glass, and covers the walls of his home with his own carved fretwork designs. All of these skills and hobbies work to transform mundane life into something magical. Nicholas reaches out to share his sense of daily wonder through storytelling, and hopes to inspire others to look for inspiration in the world around them. His favorite place to write is in the upper balcony at symphony concerts, where the music most stirs his emotions and inspires him.
Michael K. Rose: What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?
Nicholas McRae: I think that it legitimizes our human instinct to ask, “what if?” It's so easy to get caught up in the belief that reality is something to be accepted without question—that speculation and wonder lead to discontentment and unrest. Works of speculative fiction remind us to daydream and indulge our intellectual curiosity. While each novel, podcast, or television show shares the writer's own ideas, these don't tell us what to think; they tell us that it's good to think.
MKR: Why do you write in this genre?
NM: I write fantasy. I especially like to project the world in which we live into worlds of fantasy—wondering how things would take this familiar shape in a magical universe. How do people travel? How do they cook? What sorts of cocktails do they make? What about medicine and health care in a world where magic is real? Most importantly, though, how familiar would this world be to us? Would it be too alien to survive in, or would we find it so similar to our own that we'd quickly acclimate?
NM: Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band began as a role-playing adventure that satirized “reality television” shows such as Project Runway and American Idol. During the story, players hunted for clues to find and stop the man responsible for a series of bloody attacks on contestants. They also listened to musical selections that represented each act, and voted for which ones to advance, and which to “boot off” the stage. I had so much fun telling the story, that I decided to novelize it for my first year participating in the National Novel Writing Month. For a twist, though, I wrote it from the perspective of one of the bands rather than that of the detectives.
MKR: What was your biggest challenge in writing it?
NM: The biggest challenge was definitely revising the story to make it more meaningful. When I finished the novel, I wanted it to be more than just a novelized role-playing game. I wanted to say something about the real world and give readers something to think about. I consulted a man who told me about his own life as a Little Person and shared great insight into the challenges that little people face in this world. I realized that I had a lot of work ahead of me, and ended up almost completely re-writing the whole novel after that.
MKR: What are you working on now?
NM: Right now I'm working with a couple of editors to get my next manuscript polished up and ready to send out to agents and publishers. This one is set in modern times and deals with alienation, isolation, and faith amid the breakdown of reality as we know it.