Video Games, Space and Journalism: My Interview With Paul Tassi of Unreality
What have you accomplished by twenty-five years old? If you are Paul Tassi, Editor-in-Chief for Unreality Magazine, you have a wildly successful blog under your belt, you write for Forbes, and you just self-published your first book in a trilogy, The Last Exodus. Let me put that is simpler terms, this guy has accomplished more before THIRTY than most of us would dare dream. And though he is humble about it, he is my boss and mentor, so I tied him up in a chair in my basement and made him talk about his amazing new book, The Last Exodus, and some of his other accomplishments. Not so much an interview as an organic exchange between friends, here it is, sloppily transcribed for your reading pleasure.
First off, for this to all resonate, I need you guys to go buy his book. The price is unbeatable (we are ALL telling him to charge more, but the price tag stands as a testimony to just how genuine of a person he is). He doesn’t intend to get rich (yet) but finds great pleasure in knowing people are just reading it. Sorry for the plugging and promotion, but it is a stellar read, even for non-science-fiction fans. There are themes present in this story that supersede any one genre and you owe it to yourself to pick it up. Good luck putting it down.
This is the look Paul gives right before he summons on of his elementals to attack on his behalf.
Remy: Alright Paul, you have like seventy jobs, how the Hell did you find the time to write a book?
Paul: I can fashion my hours the way I want to, and have been able to carve out time to work on it. This isn’t the case with all jobs, so I suppose I’m in a unique position that way. But you have to just make it a priority. I have to get X amount of posts out every day. Like, I have to, no way around it. I put writing my book in that category as well so I’d say I have to write 1,000 words today, no matter what. Usually, more often than not, that would work. Instead of watching a TV show or dicking around on the internet, you write. And if you like your book, it will be fun.
Remy: So it really is just a matter of work ethic? And passion, I suppose. Did the scope of it all ever scare you? In other words, how lofty was it to think of The Last Exodus in scope of a trilogy? Did you have that in mind from the get go, or did the characters sort of evolve and story find legs the more you wrote it? Was this a story that you had in your mind for a long time? In other words, do you have short story versions of it written out somewhere, or did it just sort of grow organically?
Paul: The initial idea was just a guy who finds a spaceship after the earth is destroyed and uses it to fly away somehow. The rest fell around that. When I really started writing, I realized that I couldn’t fit everything into one book. I formed a loose plan for books 2 and 3, and crafted the first story to fit into that. I had about 15,000 words of the story written for a long time, along with pieces of a few other stories and screenplays I’ve worked on. But last Christmas when my cousin announced he had finished a 400 page book and put it on amazon, that was motivation to really start writing. I wanted it online by this Christmas, and I did it!
Remy: Well done, sir. I was wondering, certain scenes read like full-on Hollywood action scenes. Was there one section or scene in The Last Exodus that was particularly fun to write? And on the other extreme, were there any aspects of the book you found tougher to put together?
When your books are this good, they defy the laws of physics.
Remy: Well first and foremost, congratulations on how far you have come. And I can second that, working for Unreality is about as close to a dream gig as I could ever imagine. How did it feel to hold your book in your hand the first time? Also, how did you get such a great cover? Did you seek out an artist with a concept, or did someone come to you? Must have been surreal first time you saw the finished copy. Also, what lead you to writing? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do, and how did you get your first break? I ask because you gave me mine, and I know how many doors that opened for me (changed my life, through and through), so who gave you your first big break? And what is the next big goal for Paul Tassi? You write for Forbes, you have an incredibly popular website, and now you have a book under your belt. I heard you mention something about screenplays on occasion, is that the next medium you intend to conquer?
Wow, that was seventy questions. Sorry about that.
Paul: No worries, Rem, I am used to your ADHD-fueled insanity at this point. I will do my best to answer them all. Yeah, when I first downloaded The Last Exodus to the Kindle, that was pretty surreal. No matter how many copies I sold after that, at least I’d gotten it online.Regarding the cover, I actually designed the cover myself in Photoshop. I had a concept in mind and just ran with it. I learned I needed to make the central text a lot bigger and more noticeable when I started looking at other popular covers, but I think it turned out well in the end.
The user-submitted banners have been pretty remarkable.