Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Tell us something about yourself!
Troy Loy: Thank you for the invitation to this interview, Sharmishtha. This is a great honor, and it’s not very often I get a chance to open up like this. I’m an American student, and a big fan of lifelong learning. It’s how I keep myself active, constantly trying to expand my horizons and not wasting time and opportunity by fooling myself into thinking I’ll ever complete it. I’m currently a resident of the state of Virginia where I live with my family, my parents and my cats; my boy Eccleston and his fluffy playmate Ricky. My ultimate interest is a lifetime quest to acquire ever more true knowledge claims to accept over false ones, not even considering my ignorance but correcting that as well. But to me it is neither the conclusions nor my beliefs that matter, so much as path by which one reaches them. As long as the process is valid, the content of the outcome will follow from that process. And that outcome is always provisional, always subject to updating with newer and better information. To this end, I’m a huge science nerd, and this influences my choice of hobbies, including making fractals, which are rooted in a lot of interesting maths and computer science often reflected in patterns found in nature.
Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: Do you blog?
Troy Loy: I currently blog at http://troythulu.blogspot.com.
Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: a bit about your kittie roomies? they always hog your blog’s limelight!
Troy Loy: My cats take up much of my time not spent on other things, but they’re like little kids with fur and claws, full of energy and mischief. My boy Eccleston was initially found as a baby, mewing his head off next to a bin across the street from our house, starving and frightened, apparently having gotten away from the protection of his ma. We brought him indoors, and within two weeks of caring for him decided to keep him. We had two other cats living with us, Old Gumbyman, a survivor of hurricane Katrina found in a kennel in New Orleans whom we adopted and cared for well into his old age, and our late female, Misty, whose death from cancer was a big blow. Eccleston is sort of a mongrel tuxedo cat named after the actor Christopher Eccleston, who played the Ninth Doctor in the 2005 season of Doctor Who. We call him Mr. Eccles for short, and given his tendency to leap up to my room’s display case, the insane bionic ninja cat. He even has his own Twitter account at @Mister_Eccles, though I’ve seldom used it. Our large male, Ricky, is a Maine Coon, and about Eccleston’s age, but as timid as he is big, mostly hiding out in places like my bedroom storage closet, but sometimes coming out to feed, play with Eccles, and get brushed. He is very insistent on brushing! We have a female who formerly ran with a pack of strays, named Gorgeous, who will only stay in my ma’s room, refusing to venture out of it. She’s affectionate, but shy, and not very active. We sometimes give her playdates with Eccles that she doesn’t mind much until he starts acting out.
Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: We want to know the secrets of your fractals- your divine fractals.
Troy Loy: My fractals, what to say? I first started making them in 2010 when I sought ways to create copyright-free art for my old blog at http://kestalusrealm.wordpress.com, and fractals were a perfect fit as I’d already developed an interest from the art of others. On my old blog, there are early posts using fractals from other sources, either images released into the public domain or those whose creators licensed them for free use. But once I started with my first app, the old Fractal Domains, I began experimenting with what I could do, and most of my early pieces were explorations of exactly what could be done. Many of those were quite awful, and never got published. Once I got the hang of things, I tried out other apps as well, like a program called Mandelbulber, which sadly won’t work on my current system, so I now use Mandelbulb 3D, Ultra Fractal, XaoS, and a handful of other programs to create images. I like fractals because I’m a big math nerd as well, though I’m still learning the formulas and ways to modify them for newer images. Fractals intrigue me because they use very simple math and yet have the same complexity at all scales; no matter how much you magnify a fractal, it always shows the same level of detail, though the structure you see at a given magnification may radically change, depending on the math you use and the region of the fractal you magnify. They show nicely the beauty and structure of math, and suggest ways of using it as a tool for understanding the complexity of the world, making connections in new ways.
Sharmishtha Basu@ Agnishatdal: What is the name of your first book? Tell us a little about it. From where can we get it?
Troy Loy: The first book I’d published, Dirge, with others soon to be if not finished by now, is a speculative fiction short story about my protagonist; the Mirus, and some of my most dangerous villains who oddly enough don’t do evil out of mere spite or malice. They have the best of intentions toward their victims. Its how they express those intentions makes them dangerous. I had a blast writing it.
Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: You are a big lover of India, you as far as I know are learning Tamil and Bengali, ahem, my mother tongue! What is the mystery behind this love?
Troy Loy: On India: I find India, the entire subcontinent, endlessly fascinating. I’ve taken on the task of learning in the time I have all I can of it; its peoples, cultures, accomplishments, history, geography, current events, and so on. As a math nerd, there’s much to love, especially given that the base-10 number system, and the concept of zero used in modern mathematics, where invented there. The diversity of ethnicities and cultures of India is mind-boggling to me, and I’ve taken up the study of three of its major languages; Bengali, Tamil, and Hindi, and the cultures of those who speak them. I find beauty in the architecture of the region, in the people, their art, styles of dress, in the languages, and in the graceful scripts those languages use. When did I fall in love with India? I’m unsure, though it was likely influenced by the original Cosmos series with the late Carl Sagan, who was filmed in Southern India, possibly Tamil Nadu, during a segment in which he spoke of the South Indian festival of Pongal, and of the contributions of ancient India to modern science. I was hooked, and have been ever since. So it may have stated from my interest in science, and as often happens, one thing led to another!
Sharmishtha Basu@Agnishatdal: from where do you get those amazing ideas behind your stories? do you study a lot for them?
Troy Loy: As for my stories, I read a lot when I’ve time to, there is my gaming hobby, and there is study as well, with a series of mental chain-links leading from what I’ve learned to new ideas for fiction. I believe that while you cannot use a rigid template to teach creativity where none exists, it is possible to learn techniques to foster its growth and strengthen its use. These techniques I’ve found both useful and effective, and have almost certainly contributed to my writing. There are mindfulness techniques I use, from which ideas can spontaneously arise in moments of stillness, and in those moments it’s a good idea to have pen and paper or my tablet on hand to capture them!
When did all this begin? It really took off during my personal awakening in late 2006, when after reading a book by writer Harlan Ellison, I resolved to, no matter the cost, be as honest to myself as is humanly possible so as to be likewise to others. At about this time, events triggered the urge to write, with ideas coming in a flurry at odd moments, beginning as my early poetry, essays about my aliens, and in time bringing them on more reliably long before I started blogging on a now-deleted site as of January 15, 2008. And I’ve been writing ever since, with time taken for rest and recuperation to keep an edge.
Thanks again, Sharmishtha, for the honor of this interview, and I bid you and the readers a wonderful time in what remains of the year!