Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been reading science fiction since forever. And I’ve been writing work-related stuff for years, which helped hone the craft of structure and story-telling. I’ve finally started writing novels, with “Guardian” my first and only to date. Writing is time consuming and solitary, though very satisfying when you’re finally done.
They say everyone has a novel in them, I can visualize at least three more in the Egan Universe. Let’s see how that goes.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
It’s book one of a trilogy, but I started writing the concluding novel first. Then I realized that one of the pivotal events, which happens in that novels past, was actually a solid story in itself.
That percolated for a while as the overall arc of the trilogy developed, and then it just made sense to write the first book instead of finish the third.
So now I have the first novel and part of the third, with the middle chapter yet to be fleshed out.
Of the two, I found the Guardian character easier to write than the cast of the third – unnamed as yet – novel. He starts as a cocky, know-it-all and as his world tips upside down, he gains a degree of maturity and humility. Also, Guardian is violent and that was fun. Despite the violence and military-style, I was not looking for unrelenting action and ludicrous adventure. I wanted something more mature, where readers have time to get into the minds of the characters. I also applaud authors who kill main characters, so I wanted to see what that’s like. Turns out, it’s harder than it seems when you’re reading the novel.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
No, but ‘habit’ is the right word. Making time to write when it is not your day job is the main challenge to being an author. I find dialogue the hardest part to get right, as I find novels where characters speak strangely really off-putting. Interestingly, speech is where my grammar checkers go berserk. Very few of us speak strictly correct grammar, and if you write it thus, it sounds stilted and jars you from the story.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
E. E. Doc Smith, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke…I would save up paper round money for the latest paperbacks I could find when I was a kid. They set me up for hard sci-fi, packed with technology, generally optimistic, but often underpinned by conflict or war.
Over the last two decades Hamilton, Reynolds, Morgan and Banks have been my ‘go to’ authors. I also like Egan, though a lot of his quantum physics-related stories go over my head, and Gary Gibson.
And outside sci-fi, John D. MacDonald and George MacDonald Frasier were huge influences. I grabbed the outsider ethos of Travis McGee, and Flashman is such a cad and bounder that you just can’t help but love him.
What are you working on now?
It’s the second installment in the Egan Universe, and picks up immediately after “Guardian” ends. You can read “Guardian” standalone, the novel does conclude, but hopefully readers will be invested in the story and want to find out what transpires.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m too new at this to have that covered, but when I find it out, I’ll let you know.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write. Write. Write.
Then, get as many people as possible to proof read.
I put “Guardian” up on Amazon, after proofing, after being checked by Grammarly, after being checked by Word’s inbuilt tools…and immediately I proudly popped up the “Look Inside”, I found three errors! Mortifying!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Being honest is not permission to hurt peoples feelings.
What are you reading now?
“Iron Gods” by Andrew Bannister.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Finding time to write. My job is full on, our house needs renovation and there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
“Altered Carbon” by Richard Morgan and three Iain M. Banks ‘Culture’ novels, not sure which ones but it really does not matter, they are all awesome.
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