Jason: All of us who have read Monster Hunter International are eagerly waiting for the release of the sequel, Monster Hunter Vendetta, coming out this September from Baen Books and is also available at for pre-order right now at Amazon. The electronic Advance Reader’s Copy (i.e., pre-released word crack) is available now at Webscriptions for only a pittance. Monster Hunter International is an amazing book. I mean, come on, it’s a great story with lots of action, a love story (for the female readers out there) , gun pron (for the gun fans), and B-movie horror creatures straight out of Blackula (for those of us who just love zombie-ninja-Nazi bad guys). Well, I might have stretched the truth on that last bit. Sort of. So Larry, I have to ask, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, how in the hell did you come up with Owen Z. Pitt? Is it your biography of those wild years in Singapore?
Larry Correia: I get asked a lot if Owen is me. Not really. He’s way cooler. I was more comfortable writing in the 1st person with MHI, and since it was my first novel, I stuck with the rule about writing what you know. It keeps Owen’s voice fun and easy to write. So we’ve got a lot in common, background wise, with being gun-nut accountants who have to shop at the XL Casual Male Outlet. Much of his background is strangely like mine, and we share the same opinion on most issues. However he is braver, smarter, and in a lot better shape.
Jason: So we’ve had B-movie demons, chupacabras, vampires, ghouls, zombies and countless of other creatures. Do you have a library in your house full of info on such creatures, or has the internet been your loyal and faithful friend? It’s okay to lie, by the way, if you actually have a massive B-movie collection in your garage. Nobody judges here…
Larry Correia: I am a B-movie geek. I love them. Seriously. If it has monsters in it, I’ve probably seen it. I don’t care for slashers, or the Saws or Hostels or anything like that, but dude in a rubber suit and a cast that was paid in beer? I’m so there. Honestly, I’ve watched hundreds of low budget monster flicks. I’ve always had a soft spot for monsters and one of my favorite thing about writing Monster Hunter is messing around with all the various monster tropes.
Jason: You are one of the few tremendously successful self-published authors out there. Given the current publishing environment in the industry, do you feel that the traditional “agent-publisher” route is going the way of the dodo? Why or why not?
Larry Correia: I’m not smart enough to figure out what is going to happen yet. The e-book revolution is changing publishing and it is making publishers very nervous. You’ve got publishers out there trying to keep the price of their e-books on par with a hard cover, and that’s just absurd. I’m lucky in that Baen is a forward thinking publishing house in this respect, and prices their e-books at $6 and without all that stupid DRM. (Digital Rights Management)
For most authors, we really need publishers because it lends us legitimacy over self publishing, as in it gets us on bookstore shelves. The real change is for authors that have lots of entrenched loyal fans already. I know of several that are asking themselves “what has my publisher done for me lately?” Authors like this can just cut their publisher out entirely, post their book to the I-Book store, sell to their hardcore fans, and keep 70% of the money, instead of the 8-10% they are getting now.
The thing that I’m wondering about is if the I-Pad will do to books what the I-Pod did to music.
Jason: I follow your blog at Monster Hunter Nation and have read your “Ask Correia” columns with interest. Can I cut to the front of the line and ask something? Why, after reading and experiencing just how hard it is to co-author, do authors like us continue to do so? Is it really that rewarding?
Larry Correia: As you are well aware, co-authoring is a lot more work than just writing. However, in my particular case, I started playing around in a world created by someone else. Back before I was published, Mike Kupari was writing an online serial that I was really enjoying. I thought it would be fun to do a stand-alone scene from one of the villains perspectives. He agreed. I posted it, and the fans loved it. So we kept going, my POV character got his own arc, and the serial turned out great.
Now we’ve taken that serial, tripled it in size and complexity, and have written a thriller called Dead Six. It isn’t sold yet, but it came out really well. In this particular case, Mike and I were able to turn out something entirely different than something that either one of us would have created on our own. So that makes it worth it.
Jason: Let’s say we met at a convention and I wanted to get you a beer for writing such a kick-ass novel in Monster Hunter International. How do I pronounce your name? Is it like the country?
Larry Correia: Yep. Just say Korea. Once my family hit Ellis Island you no longer had to roll the Rs. That’s why I get to say Sonya Soto-Meyer. None of that Sotomeeeyyooooooorrr crap for me.
Jason: Last question before I stop bugging you. I read the seven sample chapters of The Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic you posted up on Monster Hunter Nation and I thought it was the coolest new world building I’ve seen in years. I know how you came up with it, but where did the varying magical talents come from? And how many more of the Grimnoir Chronicles do you have written or planned in your head?
Larry Correia: I wanted to write epic fantasy with a magic system that had rules. I don’t like fantasy where the wizards can just whip out a spell to do whatever the plot requires them to do at any point in time. So I made it so that each individual with magic was only able to manipulate one very specific area of reality. I divided the magic users into groups, and then gave each group a 20-30’s style slang pulp name. That’s why your gravity manipulators are “Heavies” and the guy that can walk through solid objects is a “Fade”. You’ve got Travelers, Mouths, Movers, Brutes, Finders, and a tons more.
I can’t say where magic comes from, or what it really is. That’s way after the sample chapters, but I believe it worked out in a pretty interesting fashion. It got pretty complicated, but I also wanted to write something with a glossary… It even has pictures!
It worked out well, because then the characters had to get creative to solve problems, or in some cases, they had to work with someone else with a different type of magic to change the effect. My publisher looked at it and decided that it was kind of “super heroes” which I’m also okay with, because she’s the boss and writes the checks. The guys at Elitist Book Reviews got to see an early copy, really liked it (and they pull no punches) and they dubbed it “The League of Extraordinary X-Men meets Dick Tracy. I would agree, only mine also has ninjas.
I have several other Grimnoir novels planned. The next one takes place a year later. I’ve also got plans for one set in 1908 called Knights of New York and an untitled project set in the 1870s.
Thanks again, Larry, for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview. Be sure to catch the next stage in the Monster Hunter universe, Monster Hunter Vendetta, out this September from Baen Books.