1. What do all your books have in common?
All my books are science fiction and fantasy. As you’d expect, they are all set in exotic settings, which are, at first glance, far removed from current reality. There are times when I like to add in allegorical messages to my main characters’ thoughts regarding how they perceive friends, enemies, or their environment. I sometimes like to include highly unusual characters as the main protagonists because they can represent something unique, bringing traits and struggles to the existing status quo that not only changes relations between characters, but move the rules and the known fictional universe forward.
2. Why have you written in many subgenres of science fiction and fantasy?
When writing I’ve followed my instincts, feeling into new subgenres and exploring them because they are new to me. It has also reflected my reading tastes over time, and my existing knowledge of science fiction and fantasy.
3. What defines you as a writer?
I wouldn’t say I’m a worldly writer; I don’t travel much for inspiration. I’m more of an otherworldly writer. I read regularly, absorbing the humanity and essence of other authors’ characters and places. In my own writing I add my own thoughts, experiences, and curiosity. Writing is an exercise in stretching the soul, and it can be a relief.
These days I like to plan my characters and plots more because they can be a helpful template before diving into the writing.
The self-editing and feedback processes are entirely different challenges.
4. Why did you self-publish?
I wanted to build an author platform and reach readers directly. You can’t know what being an author is like until you step into the role, and you can learn through trial and error.
The other main alternative in getting a literary agent didn’t appeal to me, after a while. I felt, with all the hundreds of submissions they get daily, that it was an exercise in futility. This is more so the case when somebody meets a literary agent at an event and fast-tracks the process towards getting published. Back in the day, this would have been less of a problem, but there are many more writers now. However, in saying this I am in no way discouraging other authors who research their intended readers, develop professionally, plan well, write well, and get feedback with the aim of getting a literary agent. Persistence can, and does, pay off for many authors.
Small press? I saw what I had written, and what they published, and I didn’t see a match.
5. What are you working on next?
It’s a secret! No, it’s basically a sword-and-sorcery story called The Prince’s Mantle: Origins. I want to develop the idea of innocence versus barbarism by introducing innocent not-quite-alien Marcellus into a world where he is different, special, and must strike up alliances and learn the rules to survive.
6. Why aren’t you a millionaire author?
Do I have to be a millionaire author to be taken seriously? I don’t think so. I can imagine there would be a lot of pressure for a millionaire author, and I’d prefer to relax and put the hard work into the writing.
7. Is writing your job or your hobby?
It’s a hobby. In truth, I haven’t always known, but I recognise if it were a job I’d be doing it full-time, which I’m not, and it’d require doing a lot of business and marketing activities that are involved with being an author and which would make writing … different. I respect those who can work as writers, but I write and author around because I find it enjoyable. I don’t feel any less professional because I enjoy writing and being an author; on the contrary, the passion has fuelled my efforts.
8. Did you get your books copy edited or proofread?
I didn’t, but I may do in the future before publishing again. I didn’t even know it was best practice before I had already published three, however, I now recognise the value copy editing and proofreading can bring in making writing ready for publishing. Indeed, both copy editing and proofreading have helped me improve my own writing and develop new skills.
9. Are your books any good? What do the reviews say?
Readers have said in reviews that they like my originality and the emotions the main characters go through. They don’t like … well, each to their own.
10. Who are your main readers?
Young couples, young adults, geeks, people with or who know about Asperger Syndrome, married couples, old widows, students.
11. Should I become a writer or author?
If you like writing and you’re prepared to improve the quality of your writing before publishing, then yes to both.
12. What are your main inspiration sources for writing?
Books in my favourite genres, mainly. Reading books can ignite inspiration and passion in the written word, like an inspirational flame in your head. Personal experiences such as social problems or disagreements with others can be good sources of inspiration: you need to get these out of your system and understand them and writing can help see things from new points of view. Anything you’re struggling with in life – use it!
13. Where do you hope to be, as an author? How successful, and in what way?
Not necessarily just to sit on a hefty sum of author royalties and to have an esteemed reputation, though I don’t think many authors would say no to those things.
I’d like to sell my excess paperbacks, of The Antpod Faction and Roc Isle: The Descent. Rebranding my author platform so that my intended readers know exactly what I offer.
I’d like to publish more books, and develop some of the older ones.
Get more reviews, and touch more readers’ lives with my books – a review saying as much can make all the difference.
Make more writer, reader, author friends because they can be so supportive.
Reach more readers and become more recognisable among them.
Earn more author royalties.
Get a bit more publicity or use my platform to help people and groups.
14. Would you ever consider a writing partnership, or submitting to a literary agent/publisher?
I’d consider it. It’s as much as can be said. Always read or learn about exactly what you’re stepping into, and then consider the gut feeling.
15. Do you know any other great writers?
I know many great writers and all with varying sizes of readership, royalties, and reputation, but don’t ask them about those things! None of them are ‘famous authors’ as the media understands the term, but they’re good people who are passionate about writing and they’re always moving forward, becoming more successful.