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F Stephan, Galaxy of Authors

F Stephan, Galaxy of Authors

F. Stephan

‘Only augmented pilots can cross space. But at what cost?’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

It had been a dream dormant for many years. The day my mother had a severe health problem, the time came to face this envy and begin writing. It was also a way to work with my father, an illustrator.

And when I began, my friends said “At last, we told you so …”

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Recently, I’ve read a lot from L.E. ModesittJr and I love both the coherence of his worlds and the philosophy behind. I’ve also read a lot of the classics (P Anderson, R Heinlein, J Vance, …).

Tell me about your book / series.

Six student fly to a distant planet to become starpilots, the first from Earth, charged to help their planet surviving from ecological collapse. Do they have what it takes to succeed?

In one hundred years, Earth is falling into an ecological collapse, looking for a way, any way, out. When an alien Star Federation offers assistance, the planet jumps on it. There’s only one catch. This Federation desperately needs Star Pilots, and very few individuals can sustain the nanorobots required to perform this job. Earth will receive all the help it requires, provided its inhabitants can prove future pilots. Six are chosen to go. This is their story.

In Human Starpilot, they will face the first stage of the training on distant Adheek and learn to manage their nanorobots.

In Interstellar Starpilot, two students go on to the Core Worlds of the Federation to further their training and face new dangers.

In Space Station Acheron, the other four return to Earth to build and run the first station to link Earth and the stars.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Interstellar Starpilot is just out of structural assessment and will be a month in copy editing. It should be live in June or July.

Space Station Acheron is 50 000 words strong and fully outlined. It could be released in late fall.

The next one is only at outline level with a thousand words of intrigue.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

Books shouldn’t be banned. It’ll always remember Usher II from Ray Bradbury in Martian Chronicles. If you haven’t read it, well, you don’t know what is in for you.

But at the same time, some books aren’t meant for all and some warning should be given to readers either when content can be offensive to certain belief or dangerous to certain age, or common readers. As a reader, I would appreciate it. I believe this transparency is important to keep book from being banned.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Brian has chosen his life, got a degree and is suddenly thrown into another career, as space pilot, sent to another planet and injected with nanorobots which can destroy him. He isn’t a super hero, someone normal thrown into an abnormal situation and trying to survive the adventure. He’s also thrown out of his universe into another one and trying to find his place in it.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie.

I’m learning the trade and there’s only one way to it: write, write and face readers. Listen to what they like or don’t like and work, again and again.

I have no issue with traditional publishing and would be delighted to enjoy this type of support.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

100% aligned. I have been a ferocious reader for years in many fields. I began with a lot of classic books both in French and English, then I went into different styles and type, from mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, and many other.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The best, first, is to be able to share your dreams and ideas with others, and not just play with them in your head. And, meeting others, talking with them about your books is an incredible experience.

The worst is when someone, after reading twenty-five pages, tells you your book is crap because he wants murder and gore first and then explanations. This is very hard after so much effort into a book.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

Plotter, absolutely. I would love to be a pantser but it doesn’t work for me right now. I can focus on the scene I write once I know where it starts and where it leads, not before. But it goes beyond that. Some sci-fi books are ever expanding. The universe keeps growing as the author adds features after features and it has often left me disappointed. I want a tighter story.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Not really, there are clues into the next books, but they aren’t secrets per se.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I’m part of the theater amateur group, with a focus on improvisation. This is shared creativity, beginnings, ends, small snapshots of stories. I love the gifts of stories and emotions that come out in these sessions.

What are you writing at the moment?

Right now, I’m revising my second book. The pure writing is on the third one. How do you build a station on a planet under global warming where resources and popular support are scarce? How do you come back to your birth place after seeing a wide universe and find your place again?These are fantastic themes to explore!

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

Editing is a real art and very expensive. I once delivered a book of a quality that shamed me, not running a second editing after the initial assessment. This was a mistake. I learned that lesson the hard way.

But on that same occasion, I also found a good team to help and support me on editing. It’s hard because as Indie you don’t “know” the process, the right steps. I have had the chance to find people who suggested a more professional approach, more cost effective. It remains a huge investment for me now on each book, making this writing endeavor absolutely not profitable. But if you do something, do it right!

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

For now, I love to write science fiction for the freedom it gives in the world building activity. I want to travel to foreign places when I read, and this is what I want to provide my readers.

This may change over time, naturally.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

I’d want to travel in the Federation’s worlds and especially its center, which is the focus of Interstellar Starpilots. First, because it boasts the last working star elevator in the Federation and I’d love to ride it, second because this is a beautiful place from where you can travel anyplace.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

There are so many lessons learned in that career, so much advice I wished I had had or understood sooner. The only give I would is: Go. Do it. Write, publish, you’re going to love it.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I listen to all sort of contemporary music, played at random. Some scenes have a musical theme in my mind when I write. But, I don’t often listen to it while I write, maybe just before.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Characters have a life of their own which is, nearly, out of the author’s control. You set up a character initially for a scene. Then, you need someone in another situation and you bring him or her back. And suddenly, someone is there, facing you, with its own motives and desires, and will move on his own course from now on. You may not call the character again or another scene may lead to an intervention.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I was born in the USA and raised in France, and I love both countries.

I’ve worked and lived in many countries, been part of a student organisation whose aim was to reconnect Eastern and Western Europe and went even Down Under in Australia on a job.

I was in West Berlin 2 month before the Wall fell.

Fabrice, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

C Rene Astle, Galaxy of Authors

C Rene Astle, Galaxy of Authors

C. Rene Astle

‘It’s hard to heal when your head has been severed from your body.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I can’t say I actually decided to start writing. I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I have a box full of story ideas that go back to when I was growing up. I have so many stories waiting to be written that I haven’t opened the box in a long time; I’m not sure I want to.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Probably every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way, but not the answer you’re looking for 😊. Certainly, books like The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia had a big impact. My mom (also an author) read those to us when we were kids, and that gave me a lifelong love of fantasy. On the other side, my dad had a telescope and we spent some cold night star-gazing, and I remember reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan, which is non-fiction, when I was still fairly young. I didn’t read a lot of science fiction until I was an adult, but I think that love of Space and a childhood watching ‘Star Trek’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’, led to reading and then writing it.

Tell me about your book / series.

Mina’s dying for life to get back to normal.

After the sudden death of her mother, all she wants is to get back to art school and work at the tattoo shop. Unfortunately, her roommate convinces her she needs a night of dance, drink and debauchery. When she wakes up, she finds that she’s not only a vampire but has been recruited into an eternal fight to protect the humans from the things that go bump in the night. And now an ancient terror awakes. 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Hmm, what counts as half finished? Let’s say more than 50% done. Four, I think? Maybe five. I used to be really good at starting books but not so good at finishing them. Luckily I’ve become much better at finishing books, but I still have a few from that phase where the characters are waiting in limbo for their tales to be wrapped up. But now I have so many scraps of paper with new story ideas to get to.

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

As a general rule, I don’t agree with it. For most books, I’d rather see open discussion – why are people upset about the book or the subject matter or the author. This helps us develop our ability to think critically and learn discernment.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie. Like A.M. Rycroft, I didn’t have the patience to wait for submission, rejection, submission, revision, submission. At the time, I was also hearing from fellow writers that they were being asked for marketing plans and what not…and that’s the part I hate. So if I have to do a lot of the marketing stuff anyway, I might at well just do it all.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

Yes. I absolutely agree with this. I don’t understand when I hear writers say they don’t read. Besides loving books, I think it’s critical to honing my craft, and one of the best ways to make the mechanics second nature. Reading deeply in my chosen genres is important but reading broadly is also valuable. I find it hard to read critically (as in discerning), because I get lost in the story, but it’s important for me to understand what I like and don’t like and what works for me as a reader and why.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

I don’t know that there is a worst, other than not being able to make a living at it…yet. I love entertaining people and being able to connect with people from around the world over a shared interest. I love bringing characters to life and then living vicariously through them.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I used to be a pantser. My first novel took at least five years…I needed to be a more efficient writer to be able to get all these stories rambling around my brain on paper. So I started a journey to becoming more of a plotter. For me personally, I don’t think it stifles creativity; in fact, I think it gives me more space to be creative because I don’t have to worry about the framework – it’s already there.

As for the other approach, I don’t think anything. People need to find what works for them to get their stories written.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I have what’s called an allotment or community garden plot. It doesn’t take a lot of work in winter, since my particular plot tends to flood. But during the summer, I’m out there a lot, getting my hands dirty, listening to the birds, talking to the bees and the earthworms. It’s very different from the stories I write.

What are you writing at the moment?

Right now, I’m wrapping up book 3 of my Bloodborne Pathogens series. Then I can get back to work on the first book in a space opera series – one of those unpublished books from question 4.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I talk to bees and earthworms…I’ve already mentioned that.

I think octopuses are phenomenal creatures.

I love watching British mysteries…who knew those quaint towns were so deadly.

C. Rene, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

M J Stoddard, Galaxy of Authors

M J Stoddard, Galaxy of Authors

M. J. Stoddard

‘The calling of an author is more than just to entertain, but also to share one’s experiences with the world.’ ~M. J. Stoddard

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

I just love to create, in elementary school I wrote TMNT fan-fiction and during my freshman year in high school, I wrote a Christmas themed sci-fi short-short story. My sophomore year, I knew I wanted to be a full-time author, I knew I had a gift, being a major sci-fi/fantasy buff in all aspects from movies to video games, I wanted to take my writing to the next level and create an original epic sci-fi/fantasy.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Yes, Frank Herbert, J. R. R. Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, Stan Lee and more.

Tell me about your book / series.

A jaded mercenary…a corrupt military official…and an ancient  artifact known as…The Sixth Eye.

The fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance as tensions escalate between the United Terran Confederacy and the Independence Mining Corporation.

An elite pilot and mercenary known as Blain Ross confronts a formidable enemy ahead, so must he confront the enemy within himself and thwart his former Commanding Officer’s hellbent agenda to obtain an ancient artifact with dark, mystical powers that would bring total anhillation across the galaxy and the universe. The artifact is known throughout the galaxy as…The Sixth Eye.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have several, two of which are series: Gemini Continuum and the Shadowbane Chronicles. The others I’ve started are stand-alone stories, but still have a connection with the Twilight Legacies multi-verse.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

My principal character goes by the name ‘Blain Ross’, who is an expert marksman, martial artist and star pilot. What makes Blain Ross memorable is his quick wit, intelligent and his innate knowledge of an ancient magic.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie, because as an author, I keep all my rights and royalties are descent.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I agree and not necessarily in the genre that you are writing. I know during my times of liesure, I read a bit here and there; historical fiction, adventure, besides sci-fi and fantasy. I also read books that are more academic in nature – primarily for research for the series I am working on.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

The worst aspect of being an author is not having enough time in the day to finish the next chapter. This is discouraging, especially when working a full-time job to provide for the family and pay the bills. The best aspects of being an author is creating, designing and moreover, the payoff of such an investment; which can take a lifetime before coming to fruition.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I am both a plotter and a pantser.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Absolutely, I have so many woven into the plot.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

I love to spend time with my family, I am a martial arts instructor and co-founder of Bastress Stoddard Hogosha Samurai Karate Jutsu and I love to design starships, logos and book covers. I’m also a musician – I play the electric guitar.

What are you writing at the moment?

Currently, I am working on Book 2 of The Twilight Legacies, entitled Crimson Vortex, Gemini Continuum: Empire of the Gods and Shadowbane Chronicles: Prophecy.

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

I don’t believe that’s the case, that is a stereotype. I have read some traditionally published books that have a few grammatical errors or typos, but it doesn’t take away from the quality of the story.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

I love to write sci-fi/fantasy because there are no limitations on how the stories evolve and so much can be expounded upon from a single premis or idea.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

Yes, because I’d love to travel the stars and explore the universe.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

The one piece of advice I would give myself is not all publishers are as they seem – Do more research.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Yes, most of the time. I prefer game tunes, like AVP, Dark Star One, Freelancer, classical music every now and again.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

One of the most surprising things I learned in creating The Twilight Legacies: The Sixth Eye Special Edition is a new way of storytelling.

M. J., thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Jane Jago, Galaxy of Authors

Jane Jago, Galaxy of Authors

Jane Jago

‘Never underestimate the ability of the human race to be disgusted.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

There was no conscious decision. I have just always written. It’s as natural as breathing.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

Many. Too many to list. I think every time you read a well-written book it leaves a bit of itself inside you.

Tell me about your book / series.

I have chosen to talk about the Joss and Ben books: Ghosts, lies, and gourmet cooking.

Joss and Ben Beckett run a pub and live a happy fulfilled life. They wouldn’t be at all upset if stuff stopped happening. But at ‘The Fair Maid and Falcon’  very little is as straightforward as it seems.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

A lot. I’m not prepared to divulge numbers…

What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?

It’s pretty pointless. Mind you, writing a banned book seems rather a lucrative ploy.

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Let’s run with Joss Beckett. She’s a Michelin starred chef who doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Or at least that’s where we start. She is mostly memorable for her warmth, and the occasional outbreak of potty mouth.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

Indie. Because it allows me to make my own choices.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

No brainer. Read and read, and learn and learn

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

Bad. The times when nobody seems to want to buy your books. Good. Everything else. Except editing, which sucks. And promo, which is a black art.

Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?

I’m actually neither. I usually have a beginning and an end set. The middle is a bit more fluid. And as to what I think of how anybody else writes, basically I don’t. That’s their bag.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Maybe. But if I told you I would have to kill  you.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

Cooking. I love cooking. Also eating. Hence the pot belly. But. Cake. I need no more excuse than that.

What are you writing at the moment?

Right now I’m answering some questions. *Giggles* Also the eighth Dai and Julia novel with my lovely co-conspirator E.M. Swift-Hook, some short stories, one sequel, a crime novel, and probably something else too…

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

That’s such a stupid generalisation. There is good and dross in every field.

What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

Short fiction. I love the constraints of word count. It makes for taut sparely complex prose and when I get it right I feel so good.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?

No. I’m far too old to move from my armchair. Anyway, Dog wouldn’t let me.

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Maybe publish earlier in life. Maybe not.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

I listen to anything that is going on around me. I’m one who cannot write in silence. I am a fan of heavy metal, Gilbert and Sullivan, Dire Straits, and seventies pop, among other bits and pieces. I can never sit still if ‘Born to be Wild’ is playing.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I can concentrate enough to properly format books.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I can swear in at least seven languages.

I once won a prize for being a cute baby.

I am allergic to fish.

Jane, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Mike van Horn, Galaxy of Authors

Mike van Horn, Galaxy of Authors

Mike Van Horn

‘“Sci fi with a sound track” because I created music for the songs my heroine sings in the stories.’

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What is your favourite genre to write, and why?

I write science fiction—stories about Earth people traveling to the stars and interacting with aliens. Why? Because I want them to be true. I want to overcome the impossibilities, so I can go to those places myself.

Also, when I read sci-fi, I often argue with the authors. I disagree with a premise of their story, so I have to write stories that redress these errors. For example, “There’s one and only one hero who can save the universe.” Yuck! I dislike that premise. My heroes are bumbling, and only succeed through working with others—often very different others.

Tell me about your book / series.

It’s a trilogy.

Book 1, Aliens Crashed in My Back Yard, was just published. Singer Selena M rescues a very non-human alien from a crashed spaceship and nurses it back to health. She is surprised to discover that it communicates through song, and they help each other rekindle their passion for singing. But the government wants that spaceship and comes to take it from Selena.
How did this young alien escape her home world and make a taboo trip to Earth? What was she running from? How long before the Elders come after her?

My Spaceship Calls Out to Me, Book 2, will be out shortly. If Selena is recommitted to her music, how can she be pulled into an adventure in space? She sings “Let Me Lead You Astray” and “Rocket Girl,” a tribute to Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”

Space Girl Yearning, Book 3, out later this year. Will Selena escape the implacable forces pursuing her from world to world and get back home? The plaintive song she sings is “Forever to Infinity.”

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Besides Selena and Breadbox, “Wanda the Magic Wand” is an AI device Selena obtained from Breadbox. It’s a metallic cylinder about a foot long and 2.5 inches in diameter. (30x8 cm.)

The alien crew used it for navigation, communication, monitoring instruments, controlling their spaceship, language translation. The alien name translated to “personal multi-function device”–kind of clunky.

Selena used it for much more ambitious things. She trained it to develop a personality till it became a companion to her, despite being a cylinder she had to carry around. They argued about whether it had preferences and free will.

It could also repair the spaceship, plus any other item for which it had a pattern–including the human body. Selena called it “she” because she’d named it Wanda–a girl’s name.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes! I give my secondary characters names that represent some quality they have. For example, the shrink is named Dr. Pryer. The man who’s against using the alien technology is Senator Ludlum. (Pretty obscure. Remember the Luddites?) Many others. Maybe I’ll offer a prize to the person who can find the most of them.

If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created?

Yes I would! My trilogy takes place today-ish in California. Well, that’s where I DO live. But my heroine has a star-leaping spaceship, and she ends up exploring new worlds, escaping the bad guys and finding allies. Dang right I’d love to ride along with her!

If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

“Don’t wait 30 years, you idiot!” I started writing sci-fi in the 1980s, but it got back-burnered by consulting and writing business books. Not until a couple of years ago did I decide to take it seriously. So, I have over a dozen biz books out there, but the sci-fi is so much more fun.

Are there any authors or artists who influence you?

Among fiction authors: Ursula LeGuin, David Brin, Tolkien.

I love LeGuin’s poetic language, character development, and the sophistication of her plots. For both her sci-fi and fantasy. She doesn’t write shoot ‘em up stories, and neither do I. Brin is a master of portraying how very different alien races behave and work together. That’s a big part of my stories. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, I love his poetry written from the perspective of different kinds of beings. I do a lot of that also, including song lyrics.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Late the other night, I put on my headset, put my feet up, and watched Stevie Nicks perform “Gold Dust Woman” on YouTube. This just took me away. I fantasized this buglike species that insisted on being called birds. But they’d lost the ability to fly because they’d trimmed their wings to be more stylish. It was humiliating to ride these flying platforms instead of soaring on the breezes.

See, this is dangerous! A whole new story is roiling up wanting to be told, and I’ve got to finish the one I’m working on. So I write in silence.

-How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Ha! Look on my website. I have 8 books with cover images and descriptions. Only one is published so far. (Two more coming soon.) But these vaporware books make it more real for me. It’s kind of a promise to myself.

And that’s just the fiction books. I probably have another ten semi-written non-fiction books on various topics. Enough for a couple of lifetimes. Wonder if I’ll get any of them done?

Are you a plotter, or a pantser?

I’m more of a dancer. My stories start with an idea, a fantasy, a scene—likely in the middle of the story. I never know the ending till later. Once I have chunks of the story, I become a plotter to link them together. I use Scapple for this, which lets me move around little blocks of text to get small pieces in the right order. I export that to Word and I have an outline. So I dance, then pants, then plot.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

My first two books were traditionally published, which meant they got into libraries and book clubs. I could never have accomplished that. But when I wanted to do a second edition, the publisher wasn’t interested, so I was stuck. Since then I’ve self-published. With my small business books, I wanted spin-off products—programs, workbooks, e-books—that a publisher might have denied. Or at least controlled. So I had to self-publish.

With my science fiction, I want to get things out quickly once they’re written, and not wait a year or more.

Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.

How about designing tee-shirts? Here’s one I just designed for myself that I can wear to the gym. (I sketched it then my cover artist Shane Colclough drew it.)

Besides this, it’s travel. My wife and I have been to every continent except Antarctica.

Tell me three unique things about you.

I’m a lyricist! I giggle even to say that. I can’t sing, but the lyrics I wrote for my MC to perform have become songs.

In a former lifetime, I ran away from the city and worked as a hippie potter in the woods near Mendocino CA. That lasted about a year.

I married a woman who wrestled a bear. Okay, my wife wrestled the bear—that was the unique thing. She did this at a fair. I strongly doubt they allow such things any more. 

What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?

It’s disheartening to read a book by one of our authors and find a couple of glitches per page. Can they just not afford a copy editor/proofer? Or do they not think it’s important?

Mike, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

Chris Morton, Galaxy of authors

Chris Morton, Galaxy of authors

Chris Morton

‘Temba, his arms wide.’

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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?

Way back when… I don’t even remember. Art? Expression? Creation? Immortality? One day I woke up and I’d written ten books.

Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?

There are many, yes. Too many to mention. Bradby, obviously. His writing is pretty inspirational. Bukowski and Chandler are big influences too. I recently read a book by Clarice Lispector that had an effect on my writing. I like authors who use a limited framework yet manage to say a lot, and I aspire to do the same.

Tell me about your book / series.

Hard-boiled Wonderland is my latest novel – a fun sci-fi adventure.

It’s a journey you take through the protagonist’s eyes, experiencing the ride he takes you on. Living on a space station, making friends and solving tasks. Then when the mission is revealed, you get to fly off through the solar system on a series of escapades. It’s written in the first person, but the main character is an avatar of sorts (although I guess a lot of books are like that, if not all).

Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?

Well, even though I say it’s more about the journey the reader is taken on, the main protagonist is quite fun and full of life. He’s kind of a hard-boiled angry man who’s wasted half his life in meaningless jobs – but he has a youthful spirit about him too, as well as a naivete that means you cannot always rely on his judgment.

Indie, or traditionally published – and why?

I’d go for traditionally when possible, for sure. They sell more and that’s what it’s all about; getting your book out there and read.

Nevertheless, indie does have a few advantages. You can change things whenever you want for one thing. I rewrote my novella, Paradox 2.0, a few months after it had been published, making the book temporarily unavailable while doing so. Also, my sci-fi anthology Adventures in Sci-fi originally had ten stories but later on I decided it felt too cluttered and took four of the stories out. It’s a lot shorter but much sweeter and more digestible now. And I still have those stories for a possible part II.

A couple of years ago I wrote a weird little novella called The Caravan. It’s about as far from the mainstream as you’re going to get, and artistic freedom was intrinsic to its creation.

It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?

I think it helps, all that reading. You learn a lot, consciously and subconsciously. But like any art, it’s a nature / nurture thing.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?

Just for background and because I like music, I often do, yes.

However, for a couple of my short stories it was much more than that. There’s a war story I wrote last year called The Nothing – recently published in the Cannon Publishing Military Sci-FI Anthology – for which I decided to listen to some quite heavy, angry music whilst writing. The idea was for it to influence my mood, or rather, the mood of the character, his emotions, etc. I chose the last three albums of a band called The Fall. Check them out, they’re pretty intense.

Also, for Human which is the opening story in my Adventures in Sci-fi collection, I chose Joy Division and early New Order to surround myself in a dark, urban, electronic type world. Human is a rather bleak, atmospheric cyberpunk and the music very much influenced the mood of the prose.

Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.

Being in a virtual world is fun, but not too healthy.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Sure. And I hide a few in interviews too.

What are you writing at the moment?

I’ve a few ideas for novels floating around. I’ve even had an offer from a publisher to write a military sci-fi. But no, I’m truly in need of a break for now. Six sci-fi books in three years and I’m exhausted. It’s either, ‘Hasta la vista’ or ‘I’ll be back.’ We’ll see. But if you check out my Amazon/Goodreads page, you’ll see there’s plenty to keep any new readers going.

Chris, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!

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