(2001-02-23)Q: How did you come up with the idea for Fear Infinity?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] The initial attack sequence on Pluto is based on a vivid dream that started the whole process. This novel poured out of me, but it was built around that dream.
Q: What plans do you have for the future?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] I'd love to make more time to write. I have a second novel in progress, but many irons in the fire. Hopefully I can focus more on writing in the future.
Q: What has been your major inspiration sources?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] As for Sci-Fi authors in particular: Clarke, Dick, and Lem are high on my list. The space program and the many new images and discoveries we are continually making have always fueled my interest in what will be.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] I kept a journal for some time, but it was made clear when Fear Infinity broke out of my consciousness (see below). It had to be done. I see this basic idea repeated everywhere: writers write--they don't have any choice.
Q: How has your background as a scientist affected your writing style and/or habits?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] My thesis advisors would continually chide me for using language that was too colorful for technical and professional manuscripts. Fiction allows me to go with my instincts. It's too bad the jargon of scientific literature is so bland--many historical scientists wrote wonderfully. But I understand the desire for simplicity and clarity. That probably also affects my fiction style: dense and to the point.
Fear Infinity in particular is the result of my personal path from the son of a Mennonite pastor into a career in neuroscience and perception. There were a lot of discrepancies I had to work out for myself spiritually. Writing Fear Infinity scratched that itch. I'm comfortable with my place now.
Q: What do you see as the most challenging aspects of writing a novel?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] Giving it that sense of reality or feasibility. I hate reading stories with transparent plots, where the author is leading you by the hand along some formula. I want to have the experience of discovery and chance in the stories I read. There should always be an element of mystery; things never explained.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
[Kaufman, Galen D.] A back-door for getting my work on paper. I came close to an agreement with a few editors, but it hasn't quite happened. The 1stbooks program allowed me to get my first novel in a convenient format (paperback) to begin spreading it around.