Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Simon A Forward Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

That does depend a lot on the nature of the material I’m writing – some moodier pieces are best suited to cold winter evenings, for instance – but currently I find mornings, usually spent in my favourite harbourside café, the most productive part of a day. And on the occasions it isn’t working, well, I always have the nice view.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

Mostly I write on computer, but there’s something more liberating about scribbling away  in a fresh new notebook – it allows me to be more rough and spontaneous, to just write and not have my inner critic judging the quality so often. So I’ll sometimes go for the primitive approach.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Everything. Again, depends on the nature of the project, but for example, I live in Cornwall in the UK and the scenery only has to undergo minor changes in the imagination to translate to a good fantasy setting. And I know a lot of my own childhood has been a source for most of my fiction for younger readers – although rarely in any direct way. But for Evil UnLtd, well, the obvious answer would be the Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy – a huge influence on me in my teens – but it owes as much to more serious sci-fi, from book and screen. Both because I think SF Comedy needs to take itself seriously in order to get the better laughs and because I always found shows like Star Trek to be a bit too po-faced and I was really driven to write the antithesis of that.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I used to, but I’ve recently changed my habits and now it’s more a case of ‘okay, you’ll write for an hour or two and see what happens’. So the focus is on time rather than word count, and I’ve found that puts less pressure on me to write just any old thing. Although that approach is great for NaNoWriMo, I find my current way more relaxing and it tends to benefit the quality of the writing.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

I’m both, I guess. In that, I’ve been a published author in the licensed fiction world – from Doctor Who novels to novelizations for the BBC’s Merlin series. But Evil UnLtd is my first venture into the realm of self-publishing.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

Basically my head is full of stories and I need to share them. With as many people as possible. It’s more a case of who I am than what I wanted to be.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I recently – about a month ago – bought my first  ever e-reader – a Kindle. And before that I was averse to the whole concept, being a really traditional book-lover. I never thought I’d be so easily converted to the idea. It’s not a substitute for the feel of a good book in your hand, but so far I’ve been really impressed with the Kindle reading experience. The display is very easy on the eye and not at all like reading off a computer screen.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

I always have a hard time narrowing the favourites down to ‘some’, but in SF I’d have to say people like Larry Niven, Alastair Reynolds and Peter F Hamilton. Ray Bradbury and Tanith Lee for their descriptive powers and fantastic imaginations. Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy. Tolstoy. George Elliot. Jane Austen. The list goes on. The most recent book I read was Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. I don’t know what’s next on my reading list, but whatever it is, it’ll be nothing like whatever I’m working on. I always avoid anything that might be similar to whatever I’m writing at the time.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I’m in two minds about them. Other authors advised me to make one, so I did – and it’s up there on YouTube for the world to see. But readers I’ve spoken to have generally said that they’re a waste of time and they’d much rather see a blurb or read an excerpt. If it raises the book’s profile at all, I’m all for it, and if making mine was a waste of time, well, at least it was a fun one.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

Pardon the cliché, but it genuinely came to me in a flash. Evil UnLtd suggested itself right away from the premise. Then the sub-heading for this one, The Root Of All Evil, grew (pun unintended) just as naturally from the plot. Which had all evolved fairly organically in any case. As some villains might be apt to say, “I love it when a plan comes together!” And that’s really what it felt like, writing this one.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

Without giving anything away, my main project right now is developing a new YA fiction series, which I think has a lot of promise. It’s in the very early stages, but sometimes you know, when the writing and the characters are starting to click, you could be onto something special… In the meantime, since I love the variety, I’m also writing Evil UnLtd Vol 2, which I hope to have polished and ready for the Kindle by October of next year. Time will tell.

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