Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spotlight: Christopher Baldwin

As promised, we have another treat for you today -- fun, funny and talented author and comics creator Christopher Baldwin is in da house!

For those of you who may not know him, Chistopher writes and draws comics, novels, and plays. Published (self and otherwise) works include Bruno, Little Dee, Spacetrawler, and regular pieces for MAD Magazine. He's been written up in the Washington Post, Wired Magazine, IO9, Salon Magazine, UK Daily Telegraph, Newsbytes, and even appeared on NPR.

Catch all his webcomics Spacetrawler, on Mondays and Wednesdays; Little Dee M-Sat; and Bruno M-Sat; his joint foodie blog, Cookrookery; and his online store for regular doses of the funny.

GK: He is WAY FAMOUS, gang, so be good and pretend we behave ourselves on a regular basis, at least until it's your turn to ask questions. Then? Go for it. So, Christopher, it's great to have you here with us today. Let's roll right in. What prompted you to become a writer? Was it voices in your head, a burning desire to tell a story, or just too creative for your own bad self?
CB: The spark came from a love of reading and of humor. My mother read to my siblings and I, and we were often at the library getting books or audiobooks. Being a solitary child, I had lots of daydreaming hours to make up stories, and since I was bored in school, it gave me lots of free time to write and doodle them down.
Also, both my parents worked at a tofu factory. Not only did this instill in me a deep appreciation for dark humor, but also, like Dorothy on back in Kansas, I knew I needed to get the hell out of there.

GK: You know, a part of me really wants to believe that tofu factory story... So! What was the first book or piece that you wrote and why? Is it published, being shopped, on the shelf waiting for you to get back to it, or in a heap of ashes at the bottom of the fireplace?
CB: I started writing stories and comics in elementary school, but what I consider to be my first serious work was a full-length play in iambic-pentameter I wrote my senior year in high school. I knew then that my writing was sorely undeveloped, but that I could capture the emotion of being a teen -- then edit it when I was older, more skilled, and out of touch.
I may decide to invent a time machine and go back and strangle my younger self instead of doing this. Have you ever tried to line-edit iambic pentameter? Stupid teenagers. 

GK: I can honestly say that I never tried to get overly fancy with my early efforts and I would pass on that particular form of line editing. But I applaud your younger self for being slightly insane. Speaking of insane, give us a funny story about writing your latest release. It’s okay if your funny story involves a nervous breakdown as the deadline loomed, btw. I like to relate to my guests.
CB: My latest release was the book #2 of Spacetrawler. My online-store-order-fulfillment people didn't want to handle advance sales, but I chose to do it anyway. For about a week, my girlfriend would come home from work every day and sigh at me, hiding behind my carefully stacked skyscrapers of books, frantically stuffing padded envelopes.

GK: I know what massive amounts of swag I'm bringing with us to Tucson Festival of Books -- I can't make any comment about your Fulfillment Center. So, other than that, what’s your most and least favorite things about being an author?
CB: My most favorite is that I get to sit around and make things up, my other favorite thing is knowing I've brought some laughter and delight into people lives, my other favorite thing is meeting other writers and talking to them about writing, my other favorite thing is putting my characters through the ringer, and... um. Right. Least Favorite things. Hm. Figuring out my taxes maybe? Really, I can barely express how much I love my job. Want to know MORE favorite things?

GK: Let's not talk about taxes, let's talk about one of my favorite things -- you. What’s one fact about you that someone who didn’t know you well or hasn’t read this blog wouldn’t know? Make it juicy -- my readers expect.
CB: Do you want the name of the ailment or the ointment?
GK: Both, and suggested applications and treatment methods.
CB: Kidding. Okay, um, I'm always curious about experiences from people's lives that are different than my own. One was to wonder what SOME women go through regarding body hair, and so I shaved myself bald, both my pits and down there, when I was in college. I've had the deepest sympathy ever since, and also feel I can confidently describe the experience of stubble growing back -- that isn't on one's face.

GK: You're the man. Crazy, but the man. So, can we get an excerpt, then?
CB: Sure, This is from Spacetrawler Book 2.

GK: Awesome! Now, how's about a giveaway? 
CB: Absolutely! 
GK: Ask for anything, gang, he's totally agreeable!
CB: Actually, I'm agreeable to giving away a free copy of Spacetrawler #1, open internationally.  It's a sci-fi humorous serialized full-color comic, heavy on character, light on its feet, wide in its scope and thin when it's living off a diet of Limbic Fizzlers and Furryite Burgers. Premise: six humans are shanghaied to save the galaxy, probably the worst plan of action EVER. 
GK: It's hilarious. And one of you will win it! Just answer this question to be entered to win: If you were shanghaied to save the galaxy, who (up to 5 others) would you want with you and, if you're feeling chatty, why them? 

Contest will run through Wednesday, March 13th. Winner will be announced Thursday, March 14th. Winner will have until Monday, March 18th to respond via email to with full name and mailing address. If the winner does not reply by the 18th, the Gods of Random will snatch back the prize and demand a new sacrifice.

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Blogger Marcy said...

That shaving story might have been TMI, Chris. Just sayin.' ;)

Great, funny spotlight, Gini! You need to do this more often!

March 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All right. My galaxy-saving superteam would include:

-Stephen Hawking, who would actually know what the hell was going on;

-Ursula K. Le Guin, who I really just want to hang out with;

-M.K. Gandhi, who has experience bringing down oppressors against incredible odds;

-Patrick Stewart, who is the best Starfleet captain and come on, you have to have at least one;

-and John Boehner, who really just needs to not be able to cause trouble on Earth for a while.

March 6, 2013 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Root said...

Bah! Misclicked. Didn't mean to be anonymous there. The Hawking to Boehner superteam is me.

March 6, 2013 at 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Root said...

...And it didn't go through.

So here it is again.

-Stephen Hawking, who would know what the hell is going on,

-Ursula K. Le Guin, who I really just want to hang out with,

-Patrick Stewart, the best Starfleet captain,

-M.K. Gandhi, who has experience fighting oppression against incredible odds,

-and John Boehner, who just needs to be kept out of trouble on Earth for a while.

March 6, 2013 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I'd love to be stuck with:

Chris Hemsworth - For the eye candy, obviously

Mark Burnett - so I could convince him to have me on Survivor when we got back from saving the galaxy

sadly, that is all I can think of right now.

March 6, 2013 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Tasha B. said...

Is this like a League of Extraordinary Gentleman thing in space? Hm, I think I would go with Hans Solo and Chewy, Starbuck from BSG even though she would be a pain in the ass, and Rodney and Sheppard from SGA. Rodney because he's a scientist and Sheppard because I love him. Oh, and Kaylee from Firefly! Wait, did I go over my limit? Let's just get rid of Starbuck because I don't want to deal with that drama.

March 6, 2013 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

Oh...I like Tasha's answer much better. Can I add Rodney and Sheppard to my list along with Dr. Daniel Jackson and Col O'Neal from SG-1?

March 8, 2013 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger NoraA said...

I've been reading this comic (Mon & Wed)since it first came out. It's hilarious. I'd love to win a copy of the comic for my collection.

March 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My team? Hmmm.

Paris Hilton
Kim Kardashian
John Travolta
Kirstie Alley
Lindsay Lohan

Mostly because these are the silliest, most useless humans I can think of. And they all have huge sense of self-entitlement. Plus, Travolta and Alley would be terrified and would be doing insane Scientology stuff all the time. It'd be a hoot; I'd stay drunk or learn how to drive the ship.

March 9, 2013 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Doctroid said...

Can I use the frozen severed head of Richard Feynman?

Probably not. Okay then: David Tennant, because, no, he's not the Doctor, but he played the Doctor long enough that maybe he can think like him, and we can't use Matt Smith because, hello, someone's gotta make the TV show while we're saving the galaxy, right?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, in case the David Tennant Can Think Like the Doctor theory turns out to be wrong.

Elon Musk, because we're gonna need spaceships. Functioning ones.

Scarlett Johansson, because we're limited to five so need someone who can do her own stunts.

And Hillary Clinton. We're putting her in charge.

March 10, 2013 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Lilith said...

Behold, the splendid bastards I would shangai along with me :

- My husband, who could probably sell ice to an eskimo and charm an army of ditherkers

- My friend Laurent, the calm genius. Just in case we need to build another spaceship from scratch or hack into the top-secret enemy database.

- My friend Mike. Big Mike... in case Plan "making friend with ditherkers so they don't try to rip us to shreds" doesn't work out.

- My cousin Roxane, because she's a kind and peaceful person possessing both strong morals and an iron will. Extremely efficient, too.

- My grandmother. She's a 86-year-old english lady... You do NOT start shit with her.

March 11, 2013 at 6:04 AM  

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