What inspired you to write The Razor?
Hi Emily, thanks for having me and talking about my book.
Oh man, all kinds of things. First off, I’ve always had a love of pulpy, B-movie type Sci-Fi. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. I’ve also always had an equal love of militaristic, gritty science fiction (like Starship Troopers), as well Sci-Fi Horror, so The Razor is kind of exploring and balancing all those sub-genres, hopefully in a way that’s cohesive.
Also, the book was a chance to have a narrative where pretty much all of the characters are villain or anti-hero archetypes (which I also dig a lot) and to try and find original takes on them.
How long did it take you to write your book?
This is my fourth novel, and it took me the longest of any of them, almost a year and a half. I’m not sure what to attribute that to, but this book also has the most POV characters I’ve ever had (six), so I think juggling all those different story lines was challenging.
How long have you been publishing your work?
My first novel came out in 2012.
What does your writing environment look like?
You know, I have a pretty cool office setup at my place, but, really, I tend to write out. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, hotel lounges. There’s something about having the buzz of people around that not only energizes me but focuses me as well. It’s like environmental Adderall.
Do you have any routines to help you write?
Many! I need them to not end up playing computer games all day.
I started as a screenwriter, and so I think very cinematically usually. One thing I do when starting a project is to create a movie trailer for it in my head. I have a giant playlist I keep adding to on iTunes for trailer music, and I find one that fits for the tone of the story, and then I start imagining a trailer, like you’d see at the movie coming attractions.
If you think about movie trailers, they do a lot of useful things. Give you the tone of the movie. Give you the main characters. Give you the gist of the story. Give you one or two surprises. So it’s a very useful exercise. You have to really know your story to make a good trailer.
Whenever I sit down to write, the first thing I do is put my headphones on and play that trailer in my head a few times. It gets me excited about the story all over again, but it also keeps me honest.
Watching that trailer in my mind is like taking the temperature of the project. Am I sticking to the vision? Am I hitting the beats the trailer promises? Am I delivering what I really want? It’s kind of like a compass for navigating the story building process.
About the Author
J. Barton Mitchell lives somewhere between Santa Fe, NM and Austin, TX. He’s developed properties for Warner Bros, Twenty First Century Fox, Valve Software, and Boom! Studios, and is a published author of four novels. His third novel, VALLEY OF FIRES was awarded Best Science Fiction Novel of 2015 by the RT Book Review, and his fourth novel, THE RAZOR, will be published by TOR Books this fall. Interact with him at .