Author Spotlight: Keith DeCandido

  • a prolific and award-winning author of fantasy novels and media tie-ins

Readers! Let’s give a good hearty welcome to Keith DeCandido

Keith DeCandido's profile picture. He's a white male with wavy shoulder-length brown hair, with a neatly trimmed beard and moustache, wearing a red shirt and rectangular glasses.

Keith R.A. DeCandido is celebrating the silver anniversary of his fiction writing career, having sold his first short story in 1994. He has written extensively in the world of media tie-in fiction, having penned tales in the worlds of TV shows (Star Trek, Doctor Who, Farscape, Supernatural), movies (Alien, Cars, Kung Fu Panda, Resident Evil), comic books (Spider-Man, Thor, the X-Men, the Hulk), and games (World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, StarCraft, Summoner’s War).

His original works take place in the fictional cities of Cliff’s End (Dragon Precinct and its sequels) and Super City (The Case of the Claw and several shorter works), as well as the somewhat real locales of Key West (his various tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet) and New York City (his new urban fantasy series which debuted this year with A Furnace Sealed).

Keith is also a critic, writing regularly for the pop-culture site Tor.com, as well as for his own Patreon; a martial artist, having achieved his third-degree black belt in 2017; an editor, having worked for clients both corporate and personal; and a musician, currently playing percussion for the parody band Boogie Knights.

Keith, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

A small dragon, kinda like Lockheed in the X-Men comics.

Classic. Most writers of fantasy prefer dragons, you clearly have good taste.

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries, with a bit of horror thrown in. I got started, actually, as an editor. I was one of the SF/F editors for the late Byron Preiss from 1993-1998. During that time, I got lots of writing opportunities, and I took advantage, pitching stories to Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Magic: The Gathering, and Doctor Who anthologies.

Wow! So you learned the market and what to look out for. What a great way to learn the business. And it’s definitely worked out for you.

What do you like to read?

I wish I had more time to read. On those rare occasions when that happens, I tend toward mysteries and books about baseball.

I hear you on the lack of time to read! I can see the influence of the mysteries in your procedurals. And I’ve talked to you for more than five minutes, so I’m REALLY not surprised about the baseball.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

If you are struggling with a scene, skip to the next one and fill the current one in later.

I simply cannot work like that. My first draft has to be linear. There have been times when I’ve realized that a scene needs to be inserted later on, but that’s different—when I’m going through on the draft, I can’t skip ahead, I have to stay on the track I’m on. It’s maddening.

I work the same way. I can do little vignettes that help me world and character build, but I’m not sure how I’m going to get where I’m going and I have to just write through.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

The first draft is allowed to suck.

Just power through and finish it, then you can go back and make it better when it’s a completed work.

If it weren’t for this guidance, I don’t think I’d’ve ever finished a draft. It’s so freeing.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

I have three new novels and five new short stories out in 2019:

A Furnace Sealed, launching my new urban fantasy series set in my home borough of the Bronx, came out in February.

A Furnace Sealed: The Adventures of Bram Gold Book 1 by [DeCandido, Keith R.A.]

Bram Gold is a Courser, a hunter-for-hire who deals with supernatural creatures, mystical happenings, and things that go booga-booga in the night. Under the supervision of the Wardein—his childhood friend Miriam Zerelli, who is in charge of all magical activity in the Bronx, New York—he’s who you hire if you need a crazed unicorn wrangled, some werewolves guarded while they gallivant around under the full moon, or an ill-advised attempt to bind a god stopped.

The Bronx is the home to several immortals, who are notoriously hard to kill—so it comes as rather a surprise when one of them turns up murdered, seemingly by a vampire. In addition, binding spells all across town are either coming undone, failing to work, or are difficult to restore. As Bram investigates, more immortals turn up dead, and a strange woman keeps appearing long enough to give cryptic advice and then disappear. Soon, he uncovers a nasty sequence of events that could lead to the destruction of New York!

The first in a new series of urban fantasy thrillers taking place in the Boogie-Down Bronx from best-selling, award-winning author Keith R.A. DeCandido.

Mermaid Precinct by [DeCandido, Keith R.A.]

And Mermaid Precinct, the latest in my fantasy/police procedural series, came out in June.

Humans and elves, dwarves and gnomes, wizards and warriors all live and do business in the thriving, overcrowded port city of Cliff’s End, to say nothing of the tourists and travelers who arrive by land and sea, passing through the metropolis on matters of business or pleasure—or on quests. The hard-working, under-appreciated officers of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard work day and night to maintain law and order as best they can.

My Alien novel Isolation will be out in July, and is available for preorder. And I’ve got stories in the anthologies Footprints in the Stars, Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals & Gizmos, Unearthed, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, and Release the Virgins!

You can find me online at www.DeCandido.net, which is a handy guide to all my online homes, including my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus links to my Patreon, ordering links for my most recent books, and links to my work for Tor.com.

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