Why don’t we start off by you telling us a little about yourself?
Mars: Actually, Mars Dumont is not a real person, it’s two people.
Venus: Hi, I’m Venus Dumont. We think of ourselves as a band. Originally we tried to think of a band name like “Liquid Mars” but it sounded too goofy so we came up with a nome de plume using his first name and my last name.
What do you like to do for fun?
Mars: Pick mushrooms. My family is Slavic. We have a place in the woods and we learned to pick mushrooms from my mother.
Venus: We used to be big bike riders but when we got our dog we started to walk instead. We walk for miles and miles.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Mars: I’ve always loved to read and write.
Venus: When we first started this book my contribution was like a stream of consciousness, I really couldn’t write at all. I’m more of a storyteller. But when I look into the things my mother saved from my childhood there are tons of books that I wrote and illustrated. So, I guess my love for writing was always there waiting to come out.
What does your family think of your writing?
Mars: I’ve lost most of my immediate family, but one cousin in particular has been very involved with the book. My close group of friends are my family and they were very instrumental in reading and critiquing.
Venus: Amen about the friends, but not everyone likes to read sci-fi. My sister in law was amazing. She read the book four times and made assiduous notes. She caught many, many inconsistencies. I don’t know what we would have done without her. My younger brother is a respected journalist but I think we are a bit too low-brow for him. He read the book anyway and claims he enjoyed it. My oldest half brother and his wife are great deepFreak enthusiasts. My parents are both gone.
What do you think makes a good story?
Mars: Great characters.
Venus: It has to be more than just the plot. It’s all the little goings on that weave together and entertain as the plot develops.
Is there a subject you would never write about as author? If so what is it?
Venus: As in taboo? Not necessarily, but I have to know something about what I write and be interested in it.
Do you create an outline before writing?
Mars: We try but the story evolves as we get into it so it’s important to be flexible.
How much research do you have to do before writing a novel?
Venus: Mars is constantly doing research. He’s a machine. He insists we have to figure out what the economics and the politics and the technology would be in the world we are imagining. We also collect imagery so we can paint a better picture of what we’re trying to describe.
Any advice for getting through the dreaded writers block?
Mars: That’s when it comes in handy to have two people. I had my first seriously debilitating bout of block halfway through the first draft and I think that’s the moment when Venus turned into a writer. She came up with this opening line describing a concert that’s taking place in simulation reality: “Gravity is convention in SIM, otherwise you’d puke. Distance? That’s optional.” I just took the ball and ran with it. We always look to each other for momentum.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors, like myself?
Mars: Write. And don’t get too partial. If it isn’t working you have to let go of it, even if you think it’s good.
How is the publishing process? Any advice?
Venus: When you finish writing you think your work is over but your new job has just begun. Luckily, there are tremendous services on line for finding agents, but don’t pay anything. If they ask for money it’s a scam. Getting published is a full time job and it’s all about the pitch. The pitch and the first chapter. These people get sixty e-mails a day. When you’ve written a novel it’s really hard to condense it into a one-sentence hook, but that’s what you have to do. Send out the queries ten at a time, if you didn’t hear back tweak your pitch. Agent to publishing can be a three year odyssey. An editor may pick up your book and move to a new publishing house halfway through the process. You can find yourself with an editor who isn’t as crazy about your book as the one who originally took you on. If you aren’t already famous there are a million pitfalls along the way.
Mars: A friend of ours who was a famous Marvel Comics Editor told us that if you don’t find an agent and a publisher as excited about the book as you are, you’re better off self-publishing.
What’s next for the two of you?
Mars: Book two.
Okay now for some lighter questions.
Coffee or Tea?
Venus: We love coffee but tea loves us better. Coffee can be very essential when we are writing.
Mars: Actually I love proper strong English tea. It has to be made right; a tea bag in luke-warm water won’t do.
Do you write more in the morning, afternoon or at night?
Mars: We write in the day and read what we’ve written out loud to each other after dinner.
Are you an early bird or night owl?
Mars: I’m a night owl.
Venus: Mornings can be very productive for me but not before 7:00.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Venus: I prefer books that work cross genre and I’m not particular as long as it’s good. But we both share an interest in history.
Mars: I read sci-fi, literature, spy novels, history. Almost anything as long as it’s well written.
Is there a book that you wish you could have written?
Venus: A Hundred Years of Solitude.
What is your favorite book at the moment?
Venus: Of all time? Pride and Prejudice. That I’ve read in the past few months? Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume.
Mars: Kerouac, On The Road.
Is there anything else you would like for your readers to know?
Mars: Life is hard but deepFreak is fun.
Thank you for chatting with me, Mars and Venus. It’s always fun getting to talk to authors and I look forward to reading deepFreak.