An Interview with Shawn Carman

(1) First of all, for those few who don't know, what exactly> do you do? :)

Well that's a rather complicated question. I'm a special education teacher at an elementary school here in Athens, Tennessee. At night and on the weekends, I'm very fortunate to work for AEG. I'm a member of the L5R Story Team and the Series: Archer Fiction Team, and I get to freelance on both L5R and S:A RPG supplements.

Kakita Brent: He teaches AND puts up with the complaints of gamers...the man must have massive reserves of calmness...

Bayushi James: Either that, or he plays a lot of first person shooters.

(2) How did you end up here in Rokugan? Was this a cunning plan or the blessing of the Kami?

A little of both. I used to submit lots of proposals way back during the Wick Dynasty, but they weren't taking a lot of freelancers in those days. I eventually got involved in the Bounty Hunter program and got to know some of the folks at AEG that way. Then I turned in a proposal for an adventure module a little over two years ago that lead to my first job on Way of the Minor Clans. And I've been here ever since.

Kakita Brent: I wonder if they'd accept any freelancers now?

Bayushi James: You'll have to learn to run spellchecker first, you know...I don't think anyone would appreciate an Imperial Herald with thirty teh's in it.

(3) All writers have their secret, strange manners to seek out enlightenment...how do you get in the zone for writing your growing number of tales, especially since you have so many different characters and views to deal with?

That's the easy part. I'll usually play a video game or watch some TV while thinking up the plot of whatever it is I'm working on. Once I've got that ironed out, it's not too hard to get into character for the writing. A lot of these characters sort of take care of themselves. I didn't _plan_ on Mirumoto Junnosuke being such a nasty guy, he just came out that way.

Bayushi James: Ahhh, TV and video games...is there anything they can't do?

(4) Do you have a "typical" day? If so, what is it?

I come home from work, sit down and check my email. I usually jump into IRC to check with the rest of the team and see what's going on. Then, after dinner, I'll get to work on whatever it is that I've selected as my project for that evening. I get most of my work done for L5R between 6pm and midnight, I'd say.

Kakita Brent: It's official, folks...the man has a schedule.

Bayushi James: He's just saying that to sound professional...no one related to gaming possesses the ability to organize things so smoothly!

(5) What's the best part of your job? The worst?

The best part is getting to work with Rich Wulf and Seth Mason. They're great guys. The worst part is that we only actually see each other in person three or four times a year. That's the nature of working via remote access, I suppose.

Kakita Brent: Lucky stiff.

Bayushi James: Yeah, but he doesn't get the pleasure of hanging around with me all day, right?

Kakita Brent: VERY lucky stiff.

(6) What are you keeping busy with right now? <Gain 5 Honor for any secrets revealed> :)

I just finished up text on my part of _Way of the Samurai_ for the RPG a few hours ago. I'm taking the rest of the night off. Tomorrow I'll get started on the Friday fiction for this week, a Series: Archer piece I'm working on, and maybe lay some ground work for _Way of the Ninja_ that will be starting off before too long.

Kakita Brent: Interesting...but you gain no Honor.

Bayushi James: This question probably would have gone better if we had threatened him...but then our clans would mysteriously combust in the next expansion.

(7) If you could say something to the players, what would it be? Words of wisdom or sarcastic commentary?

Keep buying stuff so I'll have a job! 8D

Bayushi James (clasps hands together): Done and done.  Now, I just need to manage my account to buy Raw Deal, Warlord, Dragonball Z, and Legend of the Five Rings, while somehow still managing to pay for gas, school, and the occasional piece of food.  No problem...

(8) Do you have a nemesis?

Sure!

Kakita Brent: <blink, blink>

Bayushi James: Don't look at me...you told him to say as much or as little as he wanted.

(9) Finally...was Daidoji Hachi trained by the Daidoji or the Kakita School? This one has been bothering me (and others) since the Test of the Emerald Champion...

Hmm. We'll be translating all those Gold-era folks you see in Rokugan over to d10 eventually, and if I know Rich he'll definitely take Hachi for himself! If I had to guess, though, I would say he probably trained with the Daidoji but has a lot of dueling related advantages.

Bayushi James: To say nothing of a good Void Ring.

Kakita Brent: Balance...check.  Quick...check.  For the rest, we'll have to wait.

(10) Of all the characters, you are most like...?

Interesting question. I'd never really thought much about it, but just off the top of my head I'd be inclined to say Tsuruchi Okame. I've always had a soft spot for the Wasp and his personality seems very similar to mine. Or at least it does when I'm writing stuff about him, anyway! :)        - Shawn Carman

 

*    I'd like to thank Shawn for taking the time to do this; from the sound of things, he's pretty busy as it is.  It was a lot of fun, though I'm still hopeful to one day meet him, and be able to harass him in person. - Brent