Character Spotlight – Olivia Kramer a.k.a. Black Widow
The young lady who joins me for this sunday’s spotlight, is a secondary character in one of my upcoming post-apocalyptic genre Sci-Fi adventures, SpeedBreaker. Miss Olivia Kramer is the daughter of a reknown psychologist and neuropath that comes from a future about 60 years from now. Besides being a very dystopian future, it’s also a bleak one, filled with many elements of sci-fi, including the I, Robot/Surrogates Bios. So without too much fanfare let’s see what she has to say to us 40 years before she is born.
JAK: Liv, I understand that like my guest last week, you find my foray into my mind slightly disjointed sometimes.
Kramer: You could say that. But you have created a facinating world where after the humans have died off, the robots have taken over, if nothing more than just to survive. And some of the survivors have installed cryo-chambers into big trucks. Before we get started, what kind of truck is SpeedBreaker?
JAK: He built an RV camper from a 1968 Oshkosh six wheel drive snow plow frame, and it kind of skyrocketed from there, I picked it because of the long hood for looking stock while hiding the slider trays for the 14 foot long Avenger cannons. The original Matchbox car was a Faun Four wheel drive snow plow.
While we are on this, Kramer’s OverDrive is an Oshkosh as well, only he picked the 1981 M12 airport crash truck (pictured, thanks to John MacDonald over at Old Car and Truck Pictures for the pic I have for reference to these awesome old trucks, this particular one belonging to Mr. Boniface of Los Angeles and was used at the Phoenix International Airport) I have a feeling you are going to make this post an interview of me, rather than the other way around, so first could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kramer: Oh the “favorite’s” questions? Okay. Favorite car is an Audi TT. My favorite color is, of course, red. But then I understand I need a like of the color black. [laughs] I’m a tom-boy still, so this thing that I understand started with you playing with Matchbox cars when you were a kid, kind of exploded into something that I am very glad to be part of.
JAK: What do you think about the element of adding the children to the story. Shelby seemed to think, or so I gathered, that I tend to have too much of an ‘Ender’s Game‘ flair to my stories sometimes. Do Kelsey and her tribe feel subscribed to that?
Kramer: Yes and no. I think, and I assume Unshadow is the same way, that you try to create more vibrant characters. You worked the jealousy angle very well, and fit Eve’s part into that. I also feel that it should be foreshadowing that in subplot a bit more subtly than you have been in previous edits.
JAK: [laughs] Yeah that is being worked on. What are your thoughts on losing the Ferarri?
Kramer: I think it was symbolic; a foreshadowing of what will happen. Much like Fierra losing her Bio-dog. Again I think you should push the emotions harder as far as the loss, but I’m sure your are already thinking of that. Fierra’s reaction was more like what I would have done, if were able to do what she does, that is. So what were you thinking when you built this story and how long have you been working on it, all together?
JAK: Well, this story has been dumped, or spilled all over the back burner for nearly 20 years. Originally it was just something that my brother and I used to play with our Hot Wheels on the floor of our bedroom. Many of the characters are kind of lost, because originally it was a man that transplanted his brain into a computerized truck. OverDrive was a faction. BlackWidow was a faction. There was no Evan Weir or Evan’s Monster. There was no Zver, and definitely no Bios. In fact, in the original interation, it was only cars, and for some dumb reason we called it Car Wars [laughs] The graphic novel of SpeedBreaker was an idea of mine, long before I ever decided to write a novel. I wasn’t sure if a novel was possible, but as I started plotting and creating supporting characters like you, then the story actually started making sense, well on a superficial, completely science fiction sort of way.
Kramer: When did the kids come into play?
JAK: Several years ago. I realized that Doctor Randal Reeve had to have some sort of mystery to solve, and that the best mystery in a world where he wakes up as a survivor of a virus that has destroyed the majority of the human race, then finds a group of twelve year olds who learned from their Bio mentor, Mother, how to survive — He had to find that appealing. Of course his connection to Kelsey was simply because he missed his own kids, who are in cryo-stasis in the camper, but also because she had never known any parents. I could have focused on Michael or Derek or Shannon or Lydia or Ember or Amanda or Derek’s twin sister Holly. But I needed a back bone character that was completely out of her element with being loved by someone. And as you know, her story arc in SpeedBreaker is one of loss on several levels, and she is probably the most likely to be the leader of the kids.
Kramer: So close did you end up being to the actual RPG Board Game “Car Wars”?
JAK: The basic premise of Car Wars published originally in 1980, was that there was a limited nuclear war between US and USSR. There was a famine and that started a very Mad Max situation in the ‘free oil states’ of the US. The only real similarity, even though the story started out very similar (in fact we probably would have had a lot of fun playing Car Wars during those sessions), was the post-apocalyptic theme and the fact that there are cars involved. But as you know, the boys favor the helicopters that Mother taught them to fly and maintain. SpeedBreaker’s story originally didn’t come about until the mid eighties so the board game predates it, as for other dystopian ideas, I was in front of several main stream movies and books, like Surrogates and such, but I’m not even similar to those.
Kramer: I think you have an original story, but then I would think so. I’m one of the main characters.
JAK: Well, I think we are at our 1000 word limit that I have imposed on these interviews, and we didn’t get into asking many questions of you, I’ll have to have you back.
Kramer: I’d be happy too!
Olivia Kramer, the daughter of OverDrive; Doctor Dawson Kramer, and later the subject of a drastic series based on her called BlackWidow (a storyline for the graphic novel only). Speaking of which, that project will be getting underway soon as well. I will be looking for artists who would like to break out and do a project of semi-professional quality. If not, I’ll do it myself, as usual.
Come back next time we have one of these Character Spotlights when I introduce you to one of the five children from Neighbor’s Basement, Kennedy Dart-Lawdé. I also plan on starting a series of self helps, that I have adapted into what I do, from software tutorials on the programs I use for my writing and artwork, to the idea development and the processes I use to get from point A to point B. I have also thought about highlighting some of the bands that play in rotation on the computer while I write, my novel’s sound track so to speak, especially important with the Stage series.
So come on back!