‘Science fiction is no more written for scientists, than ghost stories are written for ghosts’ ~Brian Aldiss
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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?
I’ve lived in Brazil for ten years and had been going through a particularly bad time. What happened to me actually sounded like something that might happen in a book, so I started to write the book (as a form of self-therapy, I suppose). It didn’t help, so I abandoned it, but I did discover that I enjoyed writing. I started writing my first book Virtual Messiah (a contemporary thriller) which I wrote under my real name, mainly to see if I could actually write a book. (I’m about to re-edit it and publish it under my pen name Greg Krojac). Once satisfied that I did have the stamina to write a novel, I settled on concentrating on my favourite genre – science fiction
Tell me about your book.
Reality Sandwich, a post-apocalyptic romance, has been described as being ‘juicy, crispy, and sinfully good.
Reality Sandwich is set in the 23rd century, after an apocalyptic event that all but destroyed humanity, and tells the story of a survivor who has never seen another human being in real life, until one day he finds an intruder in his apartment. I think it wouldn’t be out of place as an episode of the TV series ‘Black Mirror’.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
The Schrödinger Enigma released on 1st January 2018, and the next book is still inside my head. I can’t tell you much about it, but it may develop into a series or perhaps a collection of stories under one umbrella. I don’t know yet. However, I can promise it’ll be completely different from my other stories – although, to be honest, they are all very different from each other. I have another story with six chapters written that starts off with a delivery drone being attacked by a gang of thieves. It’s on the back burner at the moment; I may go back to it after my next project is finished.
Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?
That’s a tough question. I suppose one of the most memorable is the main antagonist of The Recarn Chronicles. He reincarnates into another body after each death so he is four different people at different times, and he develops from being a cruel vengeful creature to a ruthless narcissistic Machiavellian character. He goes from a ten-year old boy who remembers his past-lives and settles a grudge from a former life, to becoming the all-powerful leader of the Illuminati. He really is a nasty piece of work.
Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?
I admire those who plan everything out ahead (I’m sure it can make life easier) but there’s no way that I could do that. I’m solidly in the ‘pantser’ camp or, to put it another way, I write organically. Of course I don’t go into a book completely blind – I have a concept and a general direction that I want the book to go in – but I don’t plot everything out beforehand. Part of the reason that I enjoy writing my books is because, like the reader, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. The advantage of this is that characters can take you off in a completely different direction, leading you into interesting subplots and sometimes solving a plot problem for you. For example, in Revelation (the first book in the Recarn Chronicles series), I was at a loss as to why the antagonist was in such a hurry to perfect human cloning until he revealed that he was suffering from a muscle wasting disease. But, of course, there comes a point (usually around the final third of the book) when I have to take the reins again, and tie everything together.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Anyone who is a supporter of the Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur may find a few Easter Eggs. One of the main characters of the Recarn Chronicles trilogy is a Spurs fan, but there are a few hidden references too.
What are you writing at the moment?
I’m coming to the end of writing the first draft of The Schrödinger Enigma, a story that delves into the realms of Quantum Mechanics, something I didn’t really know anything about before I started researching the book. Now I have a basic understanding of ‘superposition’ and ‘entanglement’, and can explain the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment with the best of them. All are integral elements of the story, though I must add that you don’t have to be a Quantum physicist to understand and enjoy the story; if you did, then there’s no way that I could have written it. And there’s a lot more to the story than just the mystery of how the Voyager 1 space probe can be in two places at the same time – the ‘why’ involves biological warfare and extra-terrestrials.
What is your favourite genre to write, and why?
I’ve always been a sucker for science fiction. Ever since the mid-sixties, when I used to go to my friend’s house to watch Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, et al. in Star Trek (his mum had a colour TV and we only had a black and white set) or watch William Hartnell as Doctor Who fighting aliens – especially the Daleks – I have loved the genre.
I not only love watching science fiction (my favourite sci-fi film is Bladerunner) but I love reading it too, whether it be classics such as George Orwell’s ‘1984’, or Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ or something more bizarre such as Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’.
Of course it was only natural that I should decide to write science fiction novels. There is so much scope for inventiveness and if your character has a problem to solve, well, as astronaut Mark Watney says in the movie of Andy Weir’s novel THE MARTIAN, you have to ‘science the shit out of it’. Magic is not an option.. That really appeals to me.
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?
Unfortunately my writing environment is far from perfect. Brazilian neighbourhoods can be very noisy places – music, shouting, and fireworks when the local football team scores. But I’m kind of immune to it now and don’t let it bother me. I do listen to music sometimes when I write and, when I do, it’s usually the music of my adolescence. I grew up in what I consider to be the golden age of ‘modern’ music so my mood music usually consists of prog rock – Pink Floyd, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Camel, and the like.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
One of the most surprising things is how much fun the research stage can be. I‘ve really enjoyed learning about Quantum Mechanics – which is surprising because I was terrible at Physics at school. I’ve learned about pandemics and quarantine/isolation procedures and the Voyager 1 mission. I’ve learned about what it’s like to have a heart attack (courtesy of an article by Rick Parfitt of Status Quo). I’ve learned about cloning. The list could go on and on.
Greg, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!