Today I am interviewing K Chess, author of the new science-fiction novel, Famous Men Who Never Lived.
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DJ: Hi K.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
K: Sure thing! I come from New England, where winters are cold and turn signals are optional. I write fiction and teach fiction — and work for a coffee company. I also drink a lot of coffee. If I give you a gift for your birthday, it will probably be coffee, because I get it for free.
DJ: What is Famous Men Who Never Lived about?
K: It’s about a woman who’s willing to do anything to recover the last copy of a book that was never even written in our world. Hel is a member of a group of New Yorkers from an alternate timeline who fled nuclear war and ended up in our version of the city, where the 20th century went completely differently. Unlike some other Universally Displaced Persons (UDPs) — like her partner Vikram — she is not interested in assimilating. She spends most of the book looking for Vikram’s paperback of the sci fi masterpiece The Pyronauts and getting into trouble.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Famous Men Who Never Lived?
K: The summer I began to write this book, I was reading Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber and The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi, as well as The Intuitionist and Zone One by Colson Whitehead. These are all books about doubles and lost worlds and the disconcerting nature of urban life. Continue reading