B56 Mini Interviews with Vincent O’Neil, Cindy Pon & Paul Jeter

Welcome back to the B56 Mini Interviews! Join us today as we talk with with Vincent O’Neil, Cindy Pon, and Paul Jeter, to find out who their favorite literary characters of all-time are, and what some of their favorite fan interaction have been!

Vincent O’Neil

Vincent H. O’Neil is the Malice Award-winning author of the Exile murder mystery series, as well as the theater-themed mystery Death Troupe. He’s also written two horror novels called Interlands and Denizens, featuring the historian Angela “Ree” Morse. Writing as Henry V. O’Neil, he recently published the fifth and final novel in his military science fiction Sim War series with HarperCollins. The books in that series are Glory Main, Orphan Brigade, Dire Steps, CHOP Line, and Live Echoes. A native of Massachusetts, Vincent is a graduate of West Point and holds a master’s degree in international business from The Fletcher School.

Visit Vincent on his Facebook and Website!

In 10 words or less, how would you recommend Boskone to a friend or fan?

Fun, interesting activities from early morning to late at night!

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

One of my favorite science fiction movies is 1997’s Gattaca. The story takes place in a not-distant future where all physical “imperfections” can be corrected in the womb. This creates an upper echelon that is physically superior to everyone born before them, and the main character is one of the people on the wrong side of that date line. He wants a career in space exploration, and has absolutely no chance unless he can pass himself off as a member of the genetically altered elite. He does this by conspiring with one of those superior specimens, impersonating him in the space program at a corporation called Gattaca.

Everything goes smoothly until there’s a murder at Gattaca, which brings a police investigation that threatens to expose him. I won’t go into any more detail than that, because if you haven’t seen Gattaca, it’s an excellent movie. The tricks and ploys used by the main character and his co-conspirator(s) are fascinating, and there are some highly suspenseful moments as the police narrow down their list of suspects. The cast is excellent (Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, and a host of other faces you’ll probably recognize) and the storytelling is top-notch.

What I’d like to experience again for the first time is the story itself, because it’s so poignant and relatable. It’s the underdog tale writ large, and so much more. There are twists and turns I never saw coming, and it would be nice to feel those surprises again. If you do see it, don’t take any of the characters at face value – which, oddly enough, is probably the central message of the movie.

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

In this case, I’m the fan and the convention was my very first Boskone. I was checking into the hotel, and happened to glance around the lobby while waiting in line. George R.R. Martin was one of the featured guests that year, and he was sitting in the lobby chatting with some people.

For some bizarre reason, my mind said, “Oh look. There’s a George R.R. Martin impersonator.”

Thankfully I didn’t utter those words to anyone, or approach him in any way. I soon realized it was actually him, and later that weekend got to attend his live reading from one of his Song of Ice and Fire books. It was great.

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now? Do you have releases in 2019 that readers should look for?

In 2017 I completed my five-novel mil sci-fi “Sim War” series with HarperCollins, writing as Henry V. O’Neil. I switched gears after that, to short stories and novellas. I’ve always alternated between book-length works and shorter efforts, because there’s a discipline to a maximum word count that I deeply enjoy.

I’ve got several of those shorter pieces submitted in various places, and I’m pleased to announce that one will be released in the April, 2019 (Volume 8, Issue1) edition of Hypnos Magazine. The story is called “Elsie’s Whiskers” and it’s about a part-human huntress who prowls the deepest tunnels beneath New York City to keep a variety of monsters at bay. Elsie knows little about her origin or her creators, and an unexpected encounter in the cold darkness threatens to permanently alter her reality.

I also adapted one of my crime short stories into a TV pilot that I’m currently shopping around. It’s called Handler Hank, and it features an ex-cop who leads a double life helping police undercovers secretly communicate with their handlers and finds himself on both sides of the law. I’m currently fleshing out the details for the whole series, and it’s been quite fun juggling all these characters on such a long timeline.

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

My favorite book of all time is Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Although I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “good” organized crime gang, this is a great read with some legendary characters. My favorite of those is the Godfather himself, Don Corleone. His memorable quotations have become part of our cultural lexicon (“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”) but for me his best line was the question “How did things ever get so far?”

That question is his opening line to a gathering of Mafia leaders. They’ve come together to end the long, destructive war between the Corleones and New York City’s other crime families, and Don Corleone starts by asking just how things got so out of hand. I feel he’s actually using that question to make a very broad observation: Violence begets violence, wars often take on lives of their own, and events can quickly spin out of control once the fighting starts.

For someone who based so much of his power on the threat and use of violence, this is quite a comment. I wonder if this was something that Don Corleone always secretly knew, or if it was something he learned (to his dismay) when his eldest son was killed in the fighting. To me, the Godfather is trying to share this costly insight with the others by beginning his address with this question – and that’s one reason I like that character so much.

Cindy Pon

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA; Serpentine and Sacrifice (Month9Books), which were both Junior Library Guild selections and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus, respectively; and WANT (Simon Pulse), also a Junior Library Guild selection, is a near-future thriller set in Taipei. The sequel, RUSE, is slated to release March 2019. She is the cofounder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush-painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art at http://cindypon.com.

Visit Cindy on her Facebook, Twitter, and Website!

In 10 words or less, how would you recommend Boskone to a friend or fan?

A wonderful array of invited guests that will surely provide interesting dialogues, located in an amazing city!

They say you can find hints of creators in their work. Looking back at your work, which character, piece of art, song, poem, article, etc. most closely resembles you? Why?

I would say that Ai Ling, who is the heroine in my first novel and debut Silver Phoenix, has some similar traits to me. She is stubborn, and loves to eat, but also is a student of brush painting. In that way, I was able to use artistic references in the novel because we shared this background. She would notice the color of the bamboo stalks and leaves, because she painted them, and other flora, as they are common subjects in Chinese painting. It made it easier to write from her perspective as she was often seeing through my own artist eyes.

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

I am lucky enough to be a young adult author, so many of my best interactions are with teen fans. I was at a Texas teen books convention a few years back, and this one is huge. They invite some of the most popular young adult authors and have thousands of students bussed in. After one particular panel, I had a teen girl walk with me as we were leaving the hall, and she told me how much she loved my stories, how when she read each novel, she was going through some major change in her life. She ended with: No one writes like Cindy Pon. I mean, to have a reader love your work in the exact way you hoped as a writer?there is no greater gift!

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

I’ll have to say Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series! Because he is such an exasperating rogue and liar, yet still, you cannot help but love him. And wonder what his next mishap or adventure might be!

Paul Jeter

Paul is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in prose, comics, and painting. His work thrives on the font of his ideas. He is inspired by the innermost self and the greatest reaches of the unknown. He wants to discuss hard to grasp concepts, cave paintings, love, and dreams. At the moment, he is probably scribbling something down, concentrating on a piece, or doing some moderate yoga. Paul is a mashup of Geordi La Forge and Donatello. He has varied life experiences including college, struggle, deep meditation, surviving tragedy, and world travel. Show this hastily written paragraph at his table for a special gift.

Visit Paul on his Twitter and Website!

With many conventions to choose from and limited time in your schedule, what attracts you to Boskone?

I’m interested in meeting more friends and fans in New England.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

It would be very interesting to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey again for the first time. I was a teenager and was much more interested at the time in my female company than the film. I was struck by the ending which lead me to read the complete series by Arthur C Clarke and absorb the film many times.

They say you can find hints of creators in their work. Looking back at your work, which character, piece of art, song, poem, article, etc. most closely resembles you? Why?

Every sympathetic character of mine is a version of me. My villains are my enemies. The heroes are who I wish I could be.
My theme is heavy in each piece I write. You’ll recognize it when you read my stories.

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now? Do you have releases in 2019 that readers should look for?

In 2019, my projects will include continuing my painting series, finishing a screenplay and completing another graphic novel that I will write and draw myself..

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

Owen Meany
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, 1989
He is morally righteous though tragic and a hero.


Register for Boskone 56 today!

About DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

DJ is a year 3 medical student in his clinical rotations, who in his spare time, loves to interview authors about all the books that he has no time to read :)
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