Interview With Clifford Crane
(From the Red Wolf Pack March 24th Newsletter)
After years of asking, I finally got my MC, Clifford Crane, to agree to an interview. I tracked the legendary werewolf down to a small planetoid in the Nyx system, Stygian Sector. I cornered him just as he returned from testing a prototype fighter his team is working on.
Me: Hi, Clifford. Long time, no see.
Crane: You already? I thought I had some time before you got here. Another week at least.
Me: Nope. I have a newsletter I need to get out, and my readers are anxious to have some questions answered. Besides, you won't be here in another week.
Crane: I won't? Is that a spoiler?
Crane: Are we being attacked?
Me: I'm not at liberty to say.
Crane: That means you don't know yet, doesn't it? Jesus, Hundley, you need to plan these things a little better. Ever heard of outlining? It's what real authors do.
Me: Sounds like you might be having a bad day.
Crane: You think? I just got back from flying a space fighter. Werewolves don't fly, Hundley. We like to keep our feet on the ground. Ugh! I want to crawl out of my skin every time I climb into that thing.
Me: I know. It adds tension to the narrative. I think it makes for a good story.
Crane: Good story, huh? You know what makes a good story, Hundley? Happily, ever after. People love happily ever after. Why don't you write a romance?
Me: I don't want to.
Crane: Because you're a sadistic mother--
Me: Whoa, whoa. Watch the language. This is being recorded.
Crane: Whatever. Look, can we get on with this? I've got things to do, as you well know.
Me: Sure. I ... um ... think that's a good idea. So, I guess we might as well tackle the big question first. You've been the main protagonist in all my novels, up to this point. How does it feel to be retiring?
Crane: It's about damn time. What's this--the eighth book?
Me: And a boxed set.
Crane: Yeah, I love that--where I get to go through the same shit all over again.
Me: A lot of people like to binge read. I certainly do.
Crane: Good for you--and them. Look, this has taken over four centuries out of my life. I'm way past due for retirement. Of course, it would be nicer if I was on a beach somewhere, with palm tress and margaritas. Instead, I'm on an asteroid at the edge of nowhere, trying to persuade a bunch of pirates to risk their lives going up against the most powerful armada the galaxy has ever seen--
Me: That's a bit of an exaggeration.
Crane: It's in the book! Don't you even read what you write?
Me: Of course, I do. What I mean is, the characters in the book are exaggerating. Think about it. Who could really know if it's the most powerful armada the galaxy has ever seen? Galaxy's been around a long time, dude. And you won't have to retire here. I mean--not on this asteroid.
Crane: How about on Kier? They have nice beaches there. At least that's what the brochure said. I never got to see it firsthand, of course, since you had me chased away by an approaching armada. Can I go back there?
Me: I'm not sure about that.
Crane: You're going to kill me off, aren't you?
Me: What? How can you even think that?
Crane: Because it makes perfect sense. You're tired of writing about me, so you've put me in this impossible situation I can't get through alive. I swear, Hundley, you kill me off, I'll come back to haunt you.
Me: Take it easy, Clifford.
Crane: You're gonna do it, aren't you?
Me: I ... can't say. You know that. Spoilers, remember ?
Crane: You think this is all fun and games, don't you, Hundley? Sitting at your little laptop, typing away with your little fingers, sipping your little skinny vanilla latte with extra foam ...
Me: That's not how I drink my--
Crane: What if it's not a game, Hundley? What if it's real? What if you kill me off, but I don't die? What if I come for you--not in your dreams, like you think I will--but for real? I'm a werewolf, Hundley--a big ... RED ... WEREWOLF!
Me: Easy, Clifford. You're scaring me a little.
Crane: Yeah? Be afraid, then. Be very afraid.
Me: Those aren't my words. It's a line from an old--
Crane: Hey, you know what? This interview is over. Give me that.
Me: Let go. That's my phone. You can't--
Well, as you see, that didn't go as well as I had planned. Don't worry, though. I'll be here at Outpost One for another week at least. I'm sure one of the techs on the SS Huey can fix my phone, and I'll have a chance to talk to Clifford again, after he calms down.
Until next time ... Happy Reading!
-Red Wolf John