Continuing with my series highlighting local Kansas City creators, I’d like to introduce you to Bryan Thomas Schmidt. With work on The Martian, X-Files, and Predator, he is a pillar of the Kansas City writing (and editing) community, and frequent guest of multiple cons. Read on to find out about the real-life experience and inspiration for his latest novel.
Please introduce yourself.
I am a national bestselling author and editor and Hugo-nominee most known perhaps for being the first editor of Andy Weir’s international phenomenon The Martian as well as official entries in Predator and The X-Files for Fox. My first novel, The Worker Prince, made Barnes and Noble Book Club’s Year’s Best Science Fiction list in 2011.
My latest novel, Simon Says, a procedural thriller set in Kansas City took four years of extensive research, including location scouting and riding along with the KCPD all night long in the Prospect corridor to get it right. It is the first in my new John Simon Thriller series and I’m quite excited at the reception it’s been receiving.
When did you first become interested in writing?
I have been writing since I could lift a crayon really. My mother says I never played with a toy the same way twice, such was my constant desire to act out new stories. So when I was in grade school, a friend and I wrote fanfic of The Littles series of children’s books about little people with tails who lived in the walls of human houses. I helped write a class play in 5th grade that we actually performed. And it just went on from there.
What do you love about writing?
I love the chance to guide people to feel something, ask important questions, and think about them. I also treasure when that puts a smile on their face and makes them a little happier, a little more enthusiastic as they go out into the world and face their day.
Tell us about your John Simon Thrillers novel series, and its inspiration.
I conceived this story back in the 90s as a screenplay about a tough Miami detective forced to team with an HIV positive snitch to solve his partner’s murder. When I came back to it, after finishing my Davi Rhii trilogy, I decided the HIV angle might come off homophobic in this day and age and that I should rethink the concept. I decided a technophobic/luddite cop forced to deal with a humanoid android would be a fun angle to explore.
I want to keep it as close to contemporary as possible while advancing the technology a little bit into the future based on what’s possible, almost possible, and in development, so I set it 10 years in the future, reset it to Kansas City, and started researching Kansas City Police department policy and regulations and sought ride alongs and consultations to help me capture as much realism as I could. And here I am.
Inspiration came from Bosch, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, the humor of 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, and Asimov’s laws of robotics. It’s a noir mix of all of these and more with my own take.
Tell us about some particularly memorable moments in your writing career.
Well, I would say co-writing a story with Jonathan Maberry, one of my favorite thriller writers, was pretty cool. We also edited an anthology together, too, both set in his bestselling Joe Ledger universe. Also writing official tie-ins for The X-Files that Chris Carter declared canon.
What are you working on now, and what future plans lay ahead for you?
Just finished the second John Simon book, The Sideman, which will come out early next year and am now working on book 3: Common Source due out next summer. I will then release a book I sold film rights to next fall and another John Simon book will return in early 2021, and we’ll see what happens from there.
How long have you lived in Kansas City, and what’s something you love about living here?
I’ve lived in this area twice. From 1996-2000, I lived in Olathe and travelled as a musician, ultimately seeking a masters in town. Then I transferred to St. Louis and worked and lived there for nine years, went to El Paso for two more, before coming back and have been in the area again since 2011. I like the historical homes and buildings, I like the museums, and I like the low level of traffic by comparison to other places I’ve lived like Los Angeles, even St. Louis.
Where can someone find more information about your work?
- Website: http://www.bryanthomasschmidt.net
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bryanthomass
- Twitter: @bryanthomass
- Instagram: @bryanthomasschmidt
- Amazon author page: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
- Goodreads author page: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
You can get Bryan’s books via IndieBound, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble or order it on any bookstore.