‘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!