The evolution of computers and subsequent internet explosion was an exciting time in which to grow up, especially for the Ray Valentine, the central character in the internet coming of age novel "Circuits of the Wind: A Legend of the Net Age" by Michael Stutz. In my interview with Stutz we examined the novel and what went into creating it.

Q: Computers are such a big part of Ray’s life, even before the
internet. Do you think that in this technological era, people in
general, are in danger of letting computers take over their lives?

A: If your life is liable to takeover then computers pretty much make it
easy. And it's common. It's easier to partake in a world where the
physical, time and space, is no longer a factor---and the computer
environment is a perfect demonstration of the means of addiction,
submission and control.

We can talk about the magnificent wonder of these big tools of
change, and it's definitely so, but in so many of the important ways
people, generally speaking, are becoming utterly boring and the
same---like in their attitudes and behavior and the way that they
think and the things they produce. If you look around, you'll see
that there's little genuine variation in so many of the things that
matter, and there's no getting around that. There was an opinion
piece in not long ago that described this as people going
about their lives almost like zombies, with no future, trapped inside
a nihilistic fantasy of their own desires, hooked on childish
technology---a world of hollow men and white noise. It's kind of like
that. Computers help make it easy.

Q: What inspired you to write CIRCUITS OF THE WIND?

A: It was something that had been building up for quite a while, but in
the end what really inspired and set it off was actually a song, a
recording by the late great Sarah Vaughan---and recently I had a
chance to talk about that with Roz Morris at href="
Undercover Soundtrack. That's the whole story right there, that's
what inspired it.

Q: To what extent, if at all, do you identify with your central character Ray?

A: I know how he feels.

Q: When you’re writing a book, do you feel like you are in charge, or
your characters?

A: It's a lot of work. I'd love to give it all over to them. It would
make things so much easier, and free me up with more time for reading
or other pursuits. The characters are real, that's for sure---if
they're any good they are---but there's no denying that you're in
charge of all the hard labor and heavy lifting. They might show you
what's happening and lead you into places but you've got to be the
one to get in there and sweat it out and then come back and put it
all down. And believe me I've tried to get out of this. I mean, I've
experimented with dictation and every other trick you can think of
and there's just no escaping it. There's no escaping anything,
really. This is it.

Q: How much planning goes into your books before you begin the
actual writing process?

A: Probably a lot. You can't have a big storm without the requisite
conditions and buildup, and all of that goes on beforehand. Then, at
the right moment, bam! Let it rain, let it all come down and soak the

Q: Are you planning a fourth volume of CIRCUITS OF THE WIND?

A: That's a seriously interesting question, because it's one that I
don't think anyone would normally ask. I mean, it's done, it ended
right there, the book's over---but does that mean that nothing else
can ever touch that world, go into it, or even reference it?

I will say this: I know that all of my books, including those yet to
be written, are somehow connected, if only lightly and in passing;
that seems to be the way. It's a single world of connected books. So
even if CIRCUITS OF THE WIND is over, and even if there's no more Ray
after this, that's not to say that something else might somehow
touch. We're not going to know for sure until at least a couple of
years, I think. Tell you the truth I sometimes wonder how Ray's
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Published on January 25, 2013 18:35 • 408 views • Tags: coming-of-age, computers, internet

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Authors' Musings

Jennifer K. Lafferty
Jennifer K. Lafferty, author of Movie Dynasty Princesses, reviews a wide range of books and discusses various aspects of contemporary and classic literature.

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