Bjorn Munson

Tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I’m a fairly average American Gen-Xer who grew up with sci-fi and mythology and probably too much TV.

I wanted to be a writer from an early age, but had that drummed out of me in school. So I chose to focus on science: first biology, then anthropology. I was able to slip in a theater degree and acting training as well. So, naturally, my dayjob doesn’t involve either of those things. However, I do have a production company that does audio theater, which is the current outlet for most of my writing.

Briefly describe your writing day.

Since I have dayjob, I can’t put in a full day writing… or even four hours. My kids let me know if they haven’t seen me in too long and I actually like to do stuff with them. I also haven’t cracked the “write for hours early or hours late” method many use. But I do try and keep writing 20 minutes a day every day 7 days a week (I sometimes will take a day off). This averages out to about 1 page a day if you count the days where I manage only a half a page or the days I almost get 3 pages.

Since what I’m mainly writing now are scripts for Jabberwocky Audio Theater, I do occasionally need to ramp up the amount of time I spend writing (e.g. a week of writing an hour every day) and I often set aside a weekend morning or afternoon to do revisions.

Occasionally, I do marathon day-long sessions as well to break out a first draft or, again, for a deadline.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I think I’m fairly boring in terms of my writing process. I try and work in as many oblique references to other sci-fi works as I can get away with in scripts. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?

I am a passable cook and baker, though by no means about to pursue that as a career.  I learned how to make cookies in grade school and supplied the bake sales from then on (which seemed to be a relief for my mom). When I moved away from home, I took the Kitchenaid mixer.

In your view, who are the best science fiction writers?

There’s many! I feel different readers respond to different writers. My favorite science fiction works are the ones that not only give me a rich world, but make me ask no end of “what if?” questions. That’s what I find exciting. So, I grew up with Asimov and Bradbury and Clarke and I think they still have so much to offer today. From that era, I especially like Alfred Bester and would highly recommend both “The Demolished Man” and “The Stars My Destination.” There’s characterizations that have not aged as well, but overall, the worldbuilding and execution of the story within those worlds (e.g. how to commit murder in a world of telepaths?) are exhilarating.

More recently, I’ve enjoyed some of Iain Banks’ Culture novels, especially “The Player of Games” as well as Dan Simmons’ Hyperion novels. And, sad to say, I’ve only read Ursula K. LeGuin recently and her work should be on everyone’s reading list. “The Dispossessed” has become not only one of my favorite sci-fi novels, but one of my favorite novels, period. When you have the world-building and what-ifs along with great characters and motivations that resonate with what you’ve seen in the world? That’s what makes science fiction great for me.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

An ergonomic office chair. It’s not a fancy name-brand model, but it was well-reviewed and adjustable to the nth degree and I can sit in it for hours and not ache.

This also helps for hours and hours of audio editing.

What was your hardest scene to write?

In the second season of Rogue Tyger, I have a scene where the crew needs to interrogate a robot and many of my colleagues at the time were like, “How do you interrogate a robot?”

It took me almost of week of writing sessions starting and stopping, but eventually I came up with a solution that helped build out some of the backstory of robots in that universe and one of the major character’s suspicion of them, so it was hard, but great to write.

Do you frequent any conventions? What is your favorite or home convention?

I only have a chance to do local cons in the DC area. I helped out at the first three editions of Escape Velocity which is the science expo/pop culture convention put on by the Museum of Science Fiction: so, perfect for space opera.

Like last year, Jabberwocky Audio Theater will be doing a live performance that weekend (Memorial Day weekend).

Trek or Wars?

Star Trek by a warp factor of 9. With all the series and the movies, it’s a rich, rich collection of stories. I love the ideas, the humanity, and the humor.

They’ll always be a special place in my heart Star Wars, though. My dad was concerned that the original movie, being rated PG, might be too intense for us younglings. So he went to see it… and took all three of us brothers the next day! It may have been the first film I saw in the theater.

How long have you been writing?

Off and on since high school, starting with short films and comedy pieces, then plays, much of it perfectly awful.

I remember Ray Bradbury saying in an interview that he became a better writer after age 30 because he’d lived that much more of his life and that, coupled with childhood memories and ideas that had incubated for a while were the genesis for many of his stories. I have to say, now I understand. I have ideas and observations and long-since-abandoned assumptions that have been turning around in my head for decades now. I hope it makes me a better writer.

What do you love about space opera? Did you start in this genre or just find yourself in it?

I’ve always loved space opera because it so often combines science fiction with adventure stories — and there’s a whole range of stories and ideas you can explore within that realm.

When I tried to think of a show to kick off Jabberwocky Audio Theater, I knew I wanted something that I would be absolutely excited to write, so that meant space opera – and specifically, the lone ship off on adventures (think Farscape or Firefly or Dark Matter).

Tell us about your latest release?

It’s going to be Rogue Tyger, season two: 15 episodes which start broadcasting in late April.

This is the space opera I mentioned earlier. Season two picks up right where season one left off – at a bit of a cliffhanger. And I won’t go too many details there if people want to catch up, but their adventures will take them out further beyond the Frontier and back into the Core Systems. There’s intrigue, romance,   and some massive space battles. It was great fun to write and record and I’m hoping listeners enjoy some payoff from season one.

Last What are you dying to tell me or talk about?

I have a personal blog/website (bjornmunson.com) where I re-assess and rank my 50 favorite movies every year. Later this year, I’ll be doing a ranking of every single Star Trek episode from every Star Trek series… including the animated one. That’s been fun and hopefully start some conversations (I’ll have downloadable files so people can come up with their own rankings should they so desire).

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