Interview with Beniot Lanteigne, author of scifi novel The Cyborg’s Crusade
How did it come to this? My life used to be so simple. Back then, I hated it; I found it boring. Let me tell you: boring’s good. Boring’s great! I should’ve been thankful…
It was supposed to be a date like any other for James Hunter, a simple convenience store clerk. Nothing more than watching a movie in the town of Moncton. A place as unknown and unimportant as he considered his own existence to be. And yet, while walking to a cinema, James teleports to another world. There, a hostile crowd surrounds him, including various mutants with strange deformities.
Before he can even gather his wits or make a dash for it, a lone ally presents herself in the form of a winged woman named Rose. An important cultural figure in the country where James appeared, she offers him both protection and a home.
Soon, James learns that this new world is divided by a cold war. On one side is Nirnivia, home to Rose. The other, Ostark, led by a mysterious cyborg. James is unaware that the cyborg has him in his crosshairs, thinking of him as the Deus Ex Machina that will end the war in his favor.
But, the cyborg is far from the only potential threat to James. Soon after his arrival, BRR, a terrorist organisation, kidnaps him.
What would a rogue group out for revenge seeking to turn the cold war hot want with someone like James? Is there anyone also aware of this other world who will try to find him? Or is he on his own? If so, how is he supposed to escape? If that’s even an option…
Excerpt from The Cyborg’s Crusade
The second that James saw the deformed statue, he deemed it painful to look at. The sculpture depicted a man, but not one of normal proportions. The arms were far too long, paired with short legs, and the right eye appeared thrice the size of the left—nothing compared to the elongated spike forming the nose, or the mouth contorted in a grimace. Now that he sat leaning against the grotesque shape, the figurative ache turned literal as the sharp stone dug into his back.
Even with the intense heat, James shivered. The recent revelations chilled his blood, and no matter how hard it tried, the sun couldn’t warm him again. He rubbed his chin, pondering all he had learned. His hand brushed against his stubble, and he scowled at the itching sensation. Usually he shaved every day, a habit his unplanned trip had broken. Then again, next to his companion, a bit of extra hair was nothing…The freak still stood a few feet behind, laughing to his heart’s content. What a horrendous chortle. How James yearned to shut him up via his fist. “Gwa ha ah aha ha! Ha ha aha! Ha ha! Come on, why do you take things so seriously? You still don’t get it, do you? Gwha ha ha ha ha! You should laugh more; it’ll do ya good! Gwha ha ha ha ha! Wha ha ha ha! Gwa ha ha!”
Interview with Benoit Lanteigne
-Have you ever had an imaginary friend?
I did, but I remember nothing about them.
-Do you have any phobias?
I have a fear of drowning. Despite that, I still go to the beach and the pool, but I don’t go deep. Often, I have nightmares about driving a car over a bridge and drowning.
-Do you listen to music when you’re writing?
Usually, I find music distracts me, so I mostly don’t. However, once in a while I get to a scene I’m having problems with, and in such cases, a bit of music can be just what I need to become inspired.
-Do you ever read your stories out loud?
Yes, it happens. Sometimes I use a text-to-speech synthesizer to read it too. It can be a good way to pick up on grammar and spelling errors you’d otherwise overlook.
-Tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her.
This is a little tricky because of the episodic structure. Different episodes can have different main characters. I think most people would consider James the main character since the story starts with him. Instead, I’ll pick Rose Ricdeau, a winged woman. A lot of the story revolved around her, and she was the character that inspired me to write The Cyborg’s Crusade.
Rose is a red-headed woman who always seems to wear the same white dress. Well, actually, she owns several copies and only wears something else when in private. More shocking than her clothing, however, are her wings.
In appearance, Rose is a gentle woman who puts great care into considering others’ feelings. She speaks with a soft yet enchanting voice and easily offers a smile, but looking into her eyes, one would see a deep sorrow… Because of her wings, people believe her to be the reincarnation of a winged prophet from long ago. Through the years, Rose came to doubt her holy lineage, instead assuming her wings came from a mutation. After all, since the old war covered the world in radiation, mutants are common. Still, despite her denial, people keep believing her to be a prophet, to her chagrin. Because of this, Rose is shown great reverence by the population, maybe even to the point of bordering on fear. Rose considers herself unworthy of the respect she receives and seems to hate a single thing more than the unwarranted adulation: her wings.
As for who inspired her, the main one is a woman named Elehayym Van Houten, or Elly for short. There’s a good chance the name is unfamiliar to you, dear reader, and that’s understandable. Elly isn’t famous or even real. She’s a character from a video game named Xenogears that came out in North America on the PlayStation way back in 1998, eight years before the initial spark for The Cyborg’s Crusade came to me.
About Benoit Lanteigne
So, my name is Benoit Lanteigne and I’m a French Canadian (outside of Quebec) who’s trying to write in English. That can be tricky. I’m a computer programmer and I enjoy it. I see many inspiring writers who hate their jobs and hope to quit someday, but that’s not my case. Mostly, I’ve worked on websites and web applications.
Back in school, I enjoyed writing and according to my teachers and classmates; I had a talent for it. Well, not so much for grammar and spelling, but they liked my stories. Once I went to university, I dropped writing as a hobby. There were other things I wanted to focus on, such as my career. Then, in the early 2000s, around 2006 I’d say, I had a flash of inspiration. At first, it was a single character: a winged woman with red hair. I didn’t even know who she was, but the image stuck with me. From there, I began figuring out details about her origins and her world, but I only started writing for real in 2009.
It’s been roughly 10 years now, and it’s not yet finished. That’s in part because I write in my spare time, and in part because the scope of the project is huge. Maybe too much so. Still, I’m getting close to the point where I could release something. The question is what’s next? Self-publishing? Attempt traditional publishing? Nothing? I don’t know the answer yet, I’m trying to figure it out. Frankly, sharing my writing is difficult for me, and whatever I end up doing, as long as I make it available to people I consider the experience a victory no matter what comes out of it.
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