Greg R. Fishbone
Short BioGreg R. Fishbone is the founder and author-in-residence at Mythoversal. He is an author of science fiction and mythic fantasy for young readers, whose works include a contemporary fantasy from Blooming Tree Press and the critically acclaimed Galaxy Games series from Lee & Low Books and Spellbound River Press.
From 2001 to 2018, Greg served as Assistant Regional Advisor for the New England regions of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He has presented workshops on a variety of craft and career development topics and has co-directed regional conferences for SCBWI in New England.
Greg was president of the groundbreaking “Class of 2k7” group of debut authors and mentored several follow-up author groups.
For more information, visit his website at http://gfishbone.com
InterviewHow did you first get interested in mythology? My whole life has been building to this, really. As a child of the 80's, I grew up watching Star Wars, reading about Hobbits, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. Only later did I realize that I was soaking in mythology all along. In developing Star Wars, George Lucas relied heavily on the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, who studied world cultures to derive a prototypical "hero's journey" from ancient times that is still being used in movies, tv, RPGs, and video games today. In developing Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkein used Germanic, Celtic, Finnish, Slavic, and Greek mythology and literature as a base for the places, people, and events of his fantasy world. Tolkein's work then inspired generations of authors and an entire genre of epic fantasy that I devoured. In developing Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax turned the epic fantasy genre into an immersive, player-controlled environment with proudly displayed mythological roots. Deities and Demigods, a gaming manual from AD&D First Edition, still sits on my shelf today. My halfling was a cleric of Athena. It was shocking to later realize that so much modern culture had its roots in traditional literature, and I knew I had to get closer to that source in order to create my own work. How did you get started with writing? In college, I wrote for and edited Event Horizon, the University of Pennsylvania’s speculative fiction magazine. My writing improved as I worked with talented staff members to review and edit student submissions and exclusive works by the likes of Buzz Aldrin and Isaac Asimov. During my tenure, we released a shared-world anthology called Starship Alethea, about a gigantic spaceship that was one part scientific research vessel, one part military flagship, and one part luxury cruise ship. My characters included an Amazon warrior from a Bronze Age planet, so even at that time I was thinking about recontextualizing mythological elements and making them my own. What other genres did you write? During law school and afterward, I participated in the legendary superhero parody project, Superguy. Among my stories was one that revolved around Sal the Garbageman, the absolute and uncontested ruler of the world and all-around nice guy. That story formed the basis of my debut novel, The Penguins of Doom. I also led a number of Superguy writers to publish an internationally-distributed print magazine called “Mythic Heroes,” which explored the superhero genre in contemporary and historic contexts. My thesis was that superhero stories are the myths of our time, providing commentary on modern culture and society. The subsequent development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has only made that case stronger. Tell us about your writing for young readers. I got active in the children’s literature community, serving from 2001 to 2018 as Webmaster and Assistant Regional Coordinator for the New England regions of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I served as co-director for the 2010 New England SCBWI regional conference, “Moments of Change,” and the 2011 conference, “Celebrating Milestones.” I have presented workshops at a number of conferences on a variety of craft and career development topics. In 2006, I founded the Class of 2k7 group of debut children’s and young adult authors and served as mentor for follow-up groups in several following years. I have long been a critique group advocate, and have been running my own in-person (and in 2020, on-Zoom) critique group since 2012. My experience is that writing for children is a lot more difficult than writing for adults, but also more rewarding. What do you do when you're not writing? As lawyer by day and website consultant by night, I fight a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and fun. My wife and I live in the Boston area with our two daughters and cats of varying temperaments.
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