SF and comics author Steven H. Wilson is one of our presenters at this year’s conference and we are excited to have him. In addition to teaching a session “Character Development as World-Building” he is also teaching how to produce an audio version of your work with “Steps to Recording an Audio Book & Podcasting.” Please enjoy all the good information in his interview with our conference chair, Phil Giunta.
by Phil Giunta
Tell us how Prometheus Radio Theatre and The Arbiter Chronicles began and your personal fascination for the medium of audio. What other audio material can be heard on Prometheus Radio Theatre?
Steven H. Wilson: Prometheus began, unnamed, because I was in charge of programming for the Farpoint convention back in October, 2000. There was an hour free on the main stage, and we wanted to do something different. A couple years earlier, my friend John Vengrouskie, an amazing audio engineer, had mounted a half-hour radio Western at the same con, and I’d played the lead. It was great fun, and it showed me the potential for live radio theatre. (I still call it “radio theatre.” That offends modern purists. They’re welcome to sneer at me. I’ve been at this since before most of them could shave. In those days there was no podcasting!) Adding to my inspiration, the Christmas prior, Bill Pullman and an all-star cast had performed “Merry Christmas George Bailey” as a radio play live at the Kennedy Center. I was particularly taken by the fact that a script had been dropped–pages everywhere!–and the cast had kept going while they held back tearful laughter. So this live radio theatre thing sounded fun.
I turned to John V. and said, “How do we do this?” He muttered something about not being able to teach me a lifetime craft in the space of a week, but we did it anyway. I dusted off an old novel proposal that had never sold, and created the characters and situations which would later be christened The Arbiter Chronicles. The audience loved it, and, when asked, “Do you want more?” applauded loudly. And here we are. I’ve written two dozen adventures of the Arbiters, as well as quite a number of ghost stories for audio. In 2005, I was invited to start podcasting with the Radio Nostalgia Network. Our podcast has also hosted author readings of the books published by Firebringer Press, including my own works.
What began my personal fascination for audio? Well, my youngest uncle was (and still is) an avid collector of 1940s nostalgia. He introduced me to both comic books and Old Time Radio–“Lights Out!”, “Dimension X”, “The Shadow” and “Amos and Andy.” After that, Nimoy, Shatner, Clarke and Asimov began recording abridged books and stories for Caedmon Audio. Long before Audible and Books-on-Tape, I was an audio addict. I even recorded episodes of Star Trek, Lost in Space, and Space:1999 in the days when a home video recorder was a luxury only for the rich.