Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hank Quense: Fool's Gold

Hank Quense, author of Fool's Gold, is my guest today. Welcome, Hank.

Can you give us a brief bio?
I was born late in the last millennium and wrote some stuff. A bit of the stuff was published;most wasn't.

When did the writing bug bite and in what genre(s)?
I recall writing what is now called humorous flash fiction in high school. I wrote them during boring classes and sent them around the classroom. I got a lot of my friends in trouble because laughing in class isn't a smart thing to do in a Jesuit Prep School.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you wanted readers to grasp?
I decided not to write serious fiction. There is enough of that in the newspapers. The world needs more laughter and my goal is to provide a measure of it.

Briefly tell us about books.
Fool's Gold is a retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth from Northern Germany. I set it in the future and replaced the fantasy creatures with aliens.

Tunnel Vision is a collection of twenty short stories that had been previously published. The common thread in all the stories is that many of the characters suffer from extreme cases of tunnel vision.

Why are your main characters always fantasy creatures or aliens?
I write comedy and satire and that will always bring out the political-correctness police for insulting one group or another. I avoid that problem by using non-human characters. For instance, in my latest stories, elves are larcenous. Many of them are thugs and criminals who band together in large gangs. I'm pretty confident the elves won't hire a lawyer and sue me for disparagement.

Who's the most unusual or most likable character?
I have a few. Ida is an undead woman who struggles to survive in Manhattan. Vatsik is a knight-accountant. Burga is a warrior-cook. Finally, there is an alien race called Zaftans. They think treachery and assassination are social skills and list successful murders on their resumes.

What are your current projects?
I recently sent a novel to an agent. It's book one of a trilogy about the Zaftans I just mentioned. It's a blend (mishmash?) of scifi and fantasy. Book two is finished and I'm collecting notes on book 3. I'm currently writing the first book in another trilogy. This one is straight fantasy and involves the knight-accountant, the warrior-cook, the thuggish elves and many more bizarre characters.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
On my website: or my blog:

Favorite books?
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is my all-time favorite. I love it way begins 90 percent humor and 10 percent horror and gradually changes until, at the end, it's 90 percent horror and 10 percent humor. The Vertical Smile by Richard Condon is probably the funniest book I've ever read. For SF, it's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Fantasy, Lord of the Rings.

Favorite authors?