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Interview: Scott Meyer

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After reading (and loving!) the three published entries in the comedic fantasy/sci-fi series Magic 2.0, I had to ask the author, Scott Meyer for a chat about his past and upcoming work - and he was kind enough to oblige.


Hi Scott, thanks for talking to us! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


I currently live in Florida with my wife. I write humorous science fiction novels. I’ve written three installments of my Magic 2.0 series, and my first book in a different science fiction universe comes out in July. It’s called Master of Formalities. I also have a comic strip called Basic Instructions. Before the writing and comic work started paying the bills I was a Walt Disney World cast member, and an office manager. I made my living as a stand-up comic for over a decade, and I briefly worked in radio.


Before we get onto Magic 2.0 - would you like to tell us a bit about Basic Instructions?


It’s probably the most text-heavy, art-light comic in the history of the medium. I started it around a decade ago. It was originally meant to draw people to my website in hopes of getting them to hire me as a comedian, but then I burned out on comedy and Basic Instructions became my primary creative outlet.


Where did the initial inspiration for the Magic 2.0 series come from?


If you read or watch any substantial amount of science fiction you will eventually come across the idea that reality is a computer program. I got to thinking about what kind of things I could do if I found the bit of code that defined me. Then I thought about the repercussions of those changes. Then I thought about how I would deal with those repercussions. The rough idea for Off to Be the Wizard took shape from there.


What is your writing process for each book? Do you have a complete series planned out or are you taking it one book at a time?


I need to plan things out in advance. I think about what kind of story I want to write. Off to Be the Wizard was kind of a coming of age story, Spell or High Water was sort of a mystery, you get the idea. Then I work up an outline of the major events in the story. Once I’m happy with the outline, I write the first draft, writing every day for a set amount of time, or until I reach a certain number of words.

I have very specific ideas for where the series will go long-term, but I have no solid plan beyond the book I’m currently writing.


What have been the most challenging and most fun aspects of writing the series?


The most fun part is coming up with ideas and figuring out how to make them work on the page. The most challenging part is also coming up with ideas and figuring out how to make them work on the page. That may seem like a cop out answer, but I’m in the happy position where the fun part of my job is challenging, and the challenging part is fun … most days. There are days when it’s not working, every sentence is a slog, and I’m sure I’ll never write a usable word again.


Which character and which book are your respective favourites in the series, and why?


Off to Be the Wizard will always be special, because it was the first one I completed and got published. I’m also pretty darned proud of my next book out, Master of Formalities.

I think my favorite character is Brit the Younger/Brit the Elder, who I introduced in Spell or High Water.  They are the same person, caught in a time loop in such a way that her older and younger versions are together in one place at the same time and have to deal with each other. There’s a lot of fun to be had with that idea.


If you discovered the source code of the universe, what's the first thing you think you would do?


Almost exactly what my character Martin did, but more slowly and carefully.


The 8-bit style cover art is really attention-grabbing and wonderfully unique - where did those designs come from?


My publisher, 47North, hired a series of designers who came up with those. I wish I could claim credit for them. They’re much better than the original self-published edition’s cover, which I did create myself.


So you've started work on the fourth installment in the series - can you reveal anything about what it has in store for Magic 2.0 fans? (And, whether there might be a fifth?!)


I do plan to write more Magic 2.0 books after the one I’m currently working on, but I don’t have any specific plans that I’m ready to talk about at this time. The fourth book involves the wizards’ attempts to create dragons from scratch.


Do you have any interest in branching out from Magic 2.0 and writing other, unrelated novels, perhaps in a different genre?


Master of Formalities, (which, again, comes out in July) is sort of a distant future epic science fiction humorous soap opera. I like to describe it as being “like Downton Abby, if it was set in the Dune universe.” I’m also putting the finishing touches on a modern day mystery story. We’ll see what happens with that.


Thanks again to Scott for talking to us.

Find out more about Magic 2.0 here, Basic Instructions here, or follow Scott on Twitter @binstructions.

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I'm looking forward to both book 4, and to Master of Formalities. I love the Magic 2.0 books, but I'll also enjoy reading a novel by him in a different setting too, I think. Glad you enjoyed it!

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