Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Perri Rhoades


Perri Rhoades is also known as Perri Prinz in the virtual world, Second Life.

If interviewing an author in real life is fascinating, just imagine what interviewing an author in a virtual world is like :-)

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Perri, when did you start writing?

I started creating original story concepts in the mid 1970’s. I made my first attempts at writing them in 1979.

What was your motivation to start writing?

At the time I was reading a lot of allegorical animal novels by such authors as Felix Salten, Richard Adams and Richard Bach.  I was interested in seeing if I could do something in that genre.

So, what were your early writings about?

My earliest writings were about intelligent animal characters attempting to achieve spiritual transcendence and gain understanding of the life that exists beyond the physical dimensions.

Wow! Quite a premise :-)
Give us a hint about your “writing habits”.

My usual mode of writing is to create a theater of the mind.  I set the scenes and select which characters will be in them.  I then turn the characters loose on stage and write down everything I see and hear. It’s all very spontaneous and often takes the story in directions I had not previously imagined.  And it’s also somewhat spiritual, as I’m not always sure if the characters are entirely drawn from aspects of myself, or if they may occasionally be open to the influence of one cosmic muse or another.

I like that, “one cosmic muse or another” :-)
When were you published?

I began self-publishing my serialized stories on the internet in 2003.

Why didn’t you go the normal publishing route?

I felt the standard novel format was too restrictive for my unusual writing concepts.  And I’ve always been one to experiment with new media possibilities.  Internet serialization seemed the perfect vehicle for my works, as too many important scenes would have to be chopped to get the stories down to novel length.  I like that you can now write stories with no restrictions at all, other than the limits of your own imagination.

Tell us about your stories…

My stories have evolved into multi-genre affairs that use Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Mystery and Fairytale elements to illustrate points of social allegory.  Whatever is going on around me at the moment, be it in the news or in one internet sub-culture or another, gets woven into the over-all mixture.  And what seems on the surface to be a cartoon soap opera for animal characters ultimately becomes a laboratory for analyzing the human condition.

Amazing and quite inspiring, Perri.
Would you tell us about some of your plots?

The serial I’m currently working on concerns a world of half-human animals who evolved as a result of genetic warfare.   They look back on the elder race of pure humans with a mixture of admiration and fear, attempting to emulate them in some ways, and totally reversing their society in other ways to avoid what they regard as fatal human folly.

One concept they decided to reverse was having males be the dominant gender, as it was thought that it was the aggressive nature of males with power that ultimately doomed the elder race.  Females are given all the power in this society, while males are for the most part oppressed.

This society also has an interesting take on religion.  It looks back on the history of some of the things worshiped by the elder race as having been ridiculous.  Thus they determined that common sense was not supposed to be a factor in religion, and they ended up building religions around things like black & white era TV shows, conceptual rock bands, gangster movies and various fantasy novels, such as The Wizard Of Oz.

The characters that live amidst all this craziness help us explore the details and consequences of these strange ideologies, as well as the politics and corruption that exists in the various towns that are the centers of as many as 50 theocratic governments.

Whew!! Complex-sounding but fascinating, Perri !!
Thanks, so much, for taking the time to let us have a peek at your writing life :-)

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You can visit Perri’s shop on Book Island in Second Life, check out her Gallery, and drop by her Web Site :-)
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