James W. Bodden is the author of the Red Light Princess and Coffin Riders. He's down some dank Cold War bunker, helmet on, and braced for impact.
My Interview with the Author:
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I’ve always liked getting lost in a good story. As a kid, I used to reimagine myself into the plots of books and movies, and made myself part of the action.
What inspires you to write?
A steady stream of media. Reading, movies, television, music, and even some IRL situations; every one of them can act as the trigger for an idea, a setting, or a scene that gets a story going.
How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The Red Light Princess takes place in a violent, urban slum known as the No Go Zone. It was mainly inspired by the Walled City of Kowloon, an ungoverned territory squeezed between British controlled Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. This wild, densely populated ghetto became a den for drug lords, triads, unlicensed surgeons, and other ghosts that did not want to be found.
The buildings were said to be so closely packed together that no natural light hit street level. An independent society developed under the darkness, building continued, pedestrian traffic turned to the rooftops, and an informal, criminal economy flourished. It was this sense of an anarchic, pirate no man’s land that attracted me to the Walled City and was the spark that started the story of Red Light Princess.
I come from a poor and underdeveloped country where slum life is the reality for the majority of the population that survive in an environment of rampant crime, poor sanitary conditions, and intermittent public services.
This same reality is experienced in most urban spaces in the underdeveloped world, as rural populations migrate to the cities. Slum life is the shared, common experience of our world. The Red Light Princess’s story comes from that same human experience.
What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
The Mecha Beast Wars! No doubt. Those scenes were a whole lot of fun to write. The No Go Zone holds an annual Battle Royale pitting the slum’s most dangerous cyborg beasts against each other in a brutal fight to the death. Crock the Ripper versus Otto the Shock Bear was one of my favorites.
Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
It happened sort of organically. The first person narration made me filter through into some of the characters, especially Kai.
What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Loads of caffeine. Empty cups of coffee pile up around me.
Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
The Red Light Princess is heavily influenced by William Gibson’s great body of work, particularly Neuromancer and the Bridge Trilogy.
Kameron Hurley is my favorite sin. I devour her writing with no self-control.
She is a master world builder, creating rich, immersive settings inhabited by exotic and well-developed characters that challenge the traditional tropes of fantasy writing. Her Bel Dame Apocrypha and the new Worldbreaker Saga both got me hooked.
Richard K. Morgan is another must read for fans of speculative fiction. His A Land Fit for Heroes series and the Takeshi Kovacs novels are exhilarating, action packed stories that keep you on the edge of your seat.
What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Deep question. This sounds fun!
The Red Light Princess starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Kai, Eiza Gonzales as Mercury, Lena Heady as Sonya, Rutger Hauer as the preacher, Rinko Kikuchi as the Red Light Princess, and introducing a feral, untrained grizzly as Otto the Shock Bear.
If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A knife; double use as a tool or to stay trouble. Tanning oil; this is an island after all. A fully charged kindle that I can also use as a blunt weapon.
Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
One of my all-time favorite movie is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. I have a fondness for reading about dictators. And I own two dogs; both are trouble.
What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m working on a new project; a dark, Sci-Fi fantasy set in dead world. More news to come!
About the Book:
Everything goes on the Night of the Clean Hands. There are only three rules: Old debts are forgotten. Payback is forbidden. Killing is outlawed. But rules are meant to be broken.
Kai, a member of the dreaded 25’s, a local enforcement gang, Kai jumps from the rooftops and glides over the streets to keep the population inside the slums under constant surveillance.
When a string of copycat murders disrupt the festivities of the Night of the Clean Hands, it falls to Kai to uncover the mystery behind the killings. Kai's journey into the underbelly of this urban jungle forces him to explore a lost city with unspoken rules, and unravel the secrets behind its devotion for the Red Light Princess.
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