Margret A. Treiber

‘I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you, and I wish to go on hurting you.’ – Khan

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I don’t know.  I just started as a kid and that was that.  There was no decision one way or another.  It just kind of happened.  I read a lot, so that must have been what started it.  I did stop for years, before trying again.  I’ve been serious about it for a decade now.  I still have no idea what motivates me.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Douglas Adams.  I fell in love with SF books from reading Hitchhiker’s Guide as a teenager.  My mother thought I’d dig it and provided me the fuel.  Since then, I loved SF humor.

Tell me about your book / series.

I have two fairly recent books out.  One is Sleepy Time for Captain Eris.  Eris is pretty much a disgruntled powered individual with a crap attitude and a tendency to get killed a lot.

The second one is Japanese Robots Love to Dance, which is a collection of shorts about Gary Legal, attorney to the robots.  Despite how that sounds, it’s not that glamorous.  However, he does have a certain swagger and some interesting clients.  One of the main characters from Sleepy Time for Captain Eris has his origin in this collection, along with a couple of minor characters.  So it is kind of a prequel.

If you want something crude and irreverent, read my shit.

Maybe I shouldn’t describe my work with the word shit.  Maybe:  If you hate people as much as I do, you may want to read my books.

Eh, that may attract the wrong crowd.

Perhaps:  Yeah, fuckers, I got issues; read my dysfunction.

Because they really show up in my writing.  Some of my short stories really bleed.

Sleepy Time for Captain Eris: Captain Eris, AKA Death Engine, former military DNA tweak and mercenary, is unexpectedly pulled out of her retirement in Champion Acres and dragged back into the shit by an idiot in a mech suit.

Feeling pissed off and miserable about losing her retirement lifestyle and subsequently, her chances of dying of old age, she searches for the reasons why she was reactivated. With the help of her old friend Al, an incognito artificial intelligence; and Om, a twenty-something emo tweak-girl, she discovers a plot that goes a lot deeper than losing her death. And in doing so, she finds a reason to survive.

Japanese Robots Love to Dance: It’s tough being a robot – unrealistic expectations from humans, long hours, lack of social interaction. And what do you do when unscrupulous owners break the law? Humans have attorneys and so should you. Sometimes you just need a good lawyer to do what a robot can’t. I am that lawyer. Gary Legal, attorney at law.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Two.  I have a really serious one about the horrors of commercialism and technology.  I keep trying to get back to it.  But then, I start writing some crazy thing here or a short story there.  I never get back to it.  I also wrote an entire book that I hate.  I’m about to start re-crafting it into something irreverent and crude.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

I want my books banned so I can get more readers.  Oh yeah, forbidden fruit.  I want to be that evil tainted thing that mustn’t be read.  Bwa-ha-ha.  Maybe I should write more cell phone porn.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Wow.  I think most of my characters are me on one level or another so it’s hard to choose.  Although, I’m kind of partial to Al the Robot.  Everyone and everything around him is complete chaos, yet he remains chilled out.  And it’s not because he is a robot, instead, it’s because of his strength of character which was given to him by good upbringing.  His father is a flawed man but still managed to give Al a strong moral compass and faith in humanity.  Al does have some self-worth issues, but who doesn’t from time to time?

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Oh.  Oh, that’s hard.  I would love to be traditionally published, but the waiting and the begging are so hard.  As much as I try, my skin is not as thick as it should be for a writer.  I have been traditionally published by a very small market and there were perks and some pain.  I’m not going to bitch about anything, but I think I’d like a market to publish me that will do some serious editing instead of leaving the typos in.

I’m not so great at marketing and editing to self-publish well.  I don’t really have the cash to pay for a good editor and cover.  So I’d have to do it all myself.  Then again, I could set my own prices and have giveaways, so it’s possible.  Maybe for my next book…

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

Yes and no.  I try not to read too much while I’m writing so I don’t accidentally copy someone else’s ideas.  However, I do read for magazines, so that keeps me sharp.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

It sucks.  I’m miserable when I write.  I’m more miserable when I don’t.  I hate the rejection and wait on pins and needles whenever I submit.  I never felt more anxiety as I do waiting for a submission to be accepted or rejected.  I never felt more self-loathing than I do when I get a bad review.

However, if I could, I would do it full time and live inside my head.  Because I prefer my realities to the one I’m stuck in.  And no, I don’t want any meds.

Being judged by strangers sucks when you can’t even get out of the starting gate.  But being judged by strangers rocks when you have a book out and everyone is reading it.

I guess the worst is losing and the best is winning – like anything else.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I’m a pantser with some plotter tendencies.  I start with a  spark for wherever ideas come from, start going and then form an outline and notes.  I think how you write is a personal thing, like how you organize your closet.  Nobody can make you conform to their neatness.  You just have to go with what feels right.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I sometimes make references to things my friends would find funny. Like I’ve named characters after friends as a shout out.  I don’t put things in that a stranger wouldn’t get.  But I do put things in that some people will think “Oh crap, I remember that!”.  In fact, I have an entire short story that would probably make some people cringe if they read it, remembering some of the events within.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

Pooping.  I am an excellent pooper.

What are you writing at the moment?

A rewrite of a serious story into humor.  It will be called Space Assholes.  Please, nobody steal the title.  I love it.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

My last two “traditionally” published novels were very badly edited.  That’s what I have to say about that.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

I love to write snarky, dark superhero stuff.  I write serious SF but there is nothing more satisfying to me than writing a dysfunctional asshole with superpowers.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

It depends on which one.  I kind of decimated the entire universe in one of my short stories, wouldn’t want to live there.  Maybe I’d dig one of my superpowered universes.  I mean, superpowers.  Yeah!

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Try a writing career first, then if you fail, get a shitty cheese job.  Don’t screw up and do it backward.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I should, but I don’t.  Mostly because I have to write when I can find free time to do it.  So I don’t really plan my space so well.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I’m a very angry person and it all just flows out when I write.  Yup, angry.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I’m not the extrovert everyone thinks I am.  In fact, I prefer solitude to people these days.

One of my birds calls me by name.

I fear blue cheese.

Margret, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!