Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

K.E.L.F. Interview


On August 1, 2007, author Geonn Cannon was kind enough to sit down for an interview with KELF’s afternoon disc jockey Nadine Butler. The following transcript has been kindly provided for those of you who missed it.

K.E.L.F. Interview with Geonn Cannon (Transcript)

NADINE: “Thank you for staying with us this afternoon! That was Buffalo Springfield, and right now we’re going to take a break from the music for a little bit to spend some time with our very special in-studio guest. Geonn, how are you doing?”

GEONN: “Just fine.”

NADINE: “I’m saying your name correctly, right?”

GEONN: “Yeah, just like ‘John.'”

NADINE: “Well, all right! First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to be here.”

GEONN: “Oh, it’s my pleasure. Any excuse to get back to the island.”

NADINE: “We’re very happy to have you. As most of our listeners know, Geonn is an author whose first book was about… well, about me. You all remember the problems we had a little while back. We don’t want to get into all of that unpleasantness, but the book is called On the Air and it’s going to be available for purchase… any day now, right?”

GEONN: “Uh, yeah, any day now.”

NADINE: “Wonderful! We’ll all be keeping an eye out for that. Now, you tend to write fiction. Was my story your first foray into a non-fiction story?”

GEONN: “…yes.”

NADINE: “Do you mind if we get right into the audience’s questions?

GEONN: “Not at all.”

NADINE: “Okay, these are questions that were called in or sent in after we announced you’d be coming in for the interview. First question, from Ethan, is if you write your novels and stories out longhand or if it’s all done on computer?”

GEONN: “It’s all on computer. My brain works too fast for pencil and paper. By the time I get one sentence down, I’m two or three sentences ahead of the pen. Also, the computer makes it easier to edit. Just highlight and delete.”

NADINE: *laughs* “Well, I hope you don’t delete too much. Did you ever write on anything else?”

GEONN: “Well, yeah, in school, you know. I would write on whatever I could get my hands on. I had this old typewriter for a while that I would use to pound out stories for my friends.”

NADINE: “Is that how you got your start writing?”

GEONN: “Yeah. I traded stories with friends during my junior or senior year of high school. It started with me and this other guy exchanging stories, but after awhile he gave up and decided to just enjoy what I was writing.”

NADINE: “Your first fan!”

GEONN: “He really was! After that, I started sharing my stories a little more and a little more. I wrote a skit for one class and a girl I had a crush on read it and laughed in all the right places. So that’s when I knew I wanted to write for a living… when I realized I could use it to make girls notice me.”

NADINE: “Why any man does anything, right?”

GEONN: “And some women.”

NADINE: “Too true. Okay, our next question is from someone who labeled their question Tels? Okay, um… Do you ever find yourself dictating what characters do or do you just let the story flow?”

GEONN: “If I try to force my characters to do anything, they die really quickly right there on the page. The most thrilling part of writing is to get to a point when the characters are doing things you never planned for them to do. Like one character in a novel I’m working on now, towards the beginning of the book she pulls out a pack of cigarettes and starts smoking. I never planned for her to be a smoker, but it by the time I got to the end of the book, I realized how important it was for her to have a cigarette. Or, rather, a smoking break. So that’s a good example of how a character can force you to make changes. At the planning stage, I may have a handful of situations I know have to happen for the plot, but the rest of the time I just let things flow naturally.”

NADINE: “But it must also get a little spooky when the characters start doing things you didn’t expect.”

GEONN: “But a good kind of spooky.”

NADINE: *laughs* “Okay, to the next question… was there a point where you put down your toys and decided ‘I’m going to write lesbians for a living?'”

GEONN: “Not lesbians specifically, no.” *laughs* “My main plan, the first novel idea that I came up with, had a male lead character. The two women he worked with were both straight, but there was a lesbian character in a handful of scenes.”

NADINE: “What made you shift focus?”

GEONN: “The audience. Somehow, with my fan fiction for Stargate SG-1, I managed to amass a pretty good-sized audience that devoured lesbian fiction. After a couple of years, I realized I wasn’t that bad at it. I liked writing for strong female characters like yourself…”

NADINE: “Thank you.”

GEONN: “…so it just kind of all came together. I’m just glad real women seem to accept my views of these characters.”

NADINE: “That brings up a question from Angela. She asks seeing as you just get gay girls so much, would your ideal partner be, in fact, a lesbian?”

GEONN: *laughs* “No, actually. As a straight man, my ideal woman would have to like men. Kind of a deal-breaker. Not to sound like a politician, but some of my best friends are lesbians. I’m not your typical guy, you know… I don’t drink beer, I don’t get football, cars confuse the hell out of me once you start getting under the hood. So I don’t really have much in common with a lot of guys I know. I’m a lot more comfortable around women, and when you take away the romantic angle – you know, the ‘do I have a shot with her?’ – it’s even more comfortable.”

NADINE: “Well, that makes sense. Okay, moving to the next question… when do you tend to write? Day or night?”

GEONN: “Generally in the afternoon. When I’m really going strong, I can get down a good four or five thousand words a day. The rest of the time I’m either reading or catching up on my DVD collection.”

NADINE: “What’s the last movie you watched?”

GEONN: “Hot Fuzz. Is that part of the interview?”

NADINE: “No, just curious.”

GEONN: *laughs*

NADINE: “The next question… Are there any drugs you use for writing? Coffee or chocolate…?”

GEONN: “Actually, not really. For a while, I relied solely on Dr Pepper to keep me awake long into the night. But then I kind of adjusted my schedule and started writing earlier in the evening. I cut my daily caffeine intake down from a couple of bottles to two or three cans per day.”

NADINE: “That’s wonderful! I need my java or I’m useless.”

GEONN: “That’s why I’m not cutting down any more. I mean, I could cut out caffeine altogether, I suppose, but I think a couple of cans a day isn’t too bad.”

NADINE: “Not at all. Okay, this question is also from Angela…”

GEONN: “Wow, go Angie.”

NADINE: *laughs* “She gave us quite a few, actually.”

GEONN: “Nice to hear from you.”

NADINE: “Angela asks who your greatest influence was. In your writing and in life. Authors, family members, fans…”

GEONN: “Oh, wow. Well, first off, the fans. If the fans weren’t out there, authors would shrivel up and die. We’d still write, it would just be on floorboards with little bits of charcoal. But it wouldn’t be the same. As for authors… I really love Dennis Lehane’s books. Audrey Niffenegger had a brilliant novel called The Time-Traveler’s Wife that just grips me and doesn’t let me go. I try to reread that one at least once a year. I just started a book called The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen that is just so gripping. The cliché and the truth of it is that I learn from every single book I read. Whether it’s how to say something, how to describe something or what not to do, I read everything I can get my hands on because every page is a study guide. It just helps if the story is good on top of that.”

NADINE: “Do you know what a Mary Sue is?”

GEONN: “Sure.”

NADINE: “For our listeners, a Mary Sue is a perfect character created to actually be the author. She saves the day, she gets the hero, she’s basically perfect in every way. I suppose in your case it would be a, what…”

GEONN: “Marty Stu.”

NADINE: *laughs* “That works! So are any of your characters a Marty Stu?”

GEONN: “I have on character that I based a lot on myself, but he’s made changes during the years. You’ll most likely be seeing him one of these days. Right now, he’s kind of a background character.”

NADINE: “Intriguing! Well, we’ll keep an eye out for him. Care to give us a clue? Maybe the man’s initials?”


NADINE: “We’ll keep our eyes out for him! Okay, the next question is who is your favorite character and why? You don’t have to say me.”

GEONN: “As a matter of fact, it is you. You were one of the first characters to really take on a life of her own, to become something I had never planned. You really surprised me.”

NADINE: “Well, I’m real, so that has to make a difference.”

GEONN: “…sure.”

NADINE: “This question is also from Tels. How often do you back your work up?”

GEONN: “Every day. I’ve had too many computers die on me, so in addition to the disc, I email myself a copy of whatever chapter I worked on that day. So no matter what happens, there will be an up-to-date version in my email inbox.”

NADINE: “Seems like a safe way to go.”

GEONN: “Yeah, unless you accidentally mark your own email as spam.”

NADINE: *laughs* “Did you do that?”

GEONN: “Next question, please.”

NADINE: “Actually, we’re running short on time. But before we go, I want to ask one personal question. What’s your favorite childhood memory?”

GEONN: “Oh, wow. Well… the first thing that pops to mind is the playground at my old elementary school. We had these big… I guess they were eighteen-wheeler tires? They were big enough for kindergarten kids to sit inside of them, anyway. I remember sitting in there and smelling that rubber smell and just talking with my friends. It had to be the cheapest toy on that playground, but I loved it. I still remember when I went back in… second grade and I couldn’t fit inside anymore. I was so devastated.”

NADINE: “Aw. Well, hopefully you’ve gotten over it. And I’m afraid that our time is up! Geonn, I want to thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us.”

GEONN: “It was my pleasure.”

NADINE: “And I want to thank everyone who called or wrote in with questions for Geonn. You really made my job a whole lot easier. We’re going to get back to the music now with Kansas and a couple of commercials and then we’ll get back to the all-request hour. We’ll be right back!”

Interview Ends

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