I am delighted to share an interview today from Tweep friend, Dean Smith-Richard, whose short story collection and novel are due for release shortly. Dean has set up a kickstarter project to help fund the publishing of his work. You can find more details here. Backers of the Kickstarter will get the books before they are released to the general public. Over to you Dean:
Without giving too much away, tell us about your new book?
This book is a collection of short stories, all set in the 3024AD universe. It is a sort of serial, with several stories following the main character, while the other stories follow minor characters from the main story arc, so everyone is connected.
Where do your ideas come from?
A comprehensive list would be a book unto itself. The 3024AD universe is primarily influenced by history. In it, man is colonizing other worlds and establishing trade routes between worlds, corporations and governments are expanding in new ways- there are a lot of parallels with periods of history that are fun to explore.
For specific stories, the most random things will inspire me. Maybe a line from a song, a sentence in a book or just something from everyday life. Ideas come from all over, I usually have a notebook with me and will jot them down.
Who is your most fascinating character, and why?
The main character in this collection is called Digger- he is a thief, educated as an archaeologist and has an obvious love of ancient artefacts. There are a lot of questions about his past, which he is clearly avoiding through the stories. He is obviously high-born, very gentlemanly but with a brash and roughish side. He is a lot of fun to write and has really resonated with readers.
Are any of your characters based on people you know or have met?
This is actually something I pretty studiously avoid. Aspects of characters are certainly influenced by people I know and have met, but in general, I avoid basing characters on real people. There is one character is this collection, however, that is an exception to this. They are based on someone I admire very much and they inspired the character. I’m not telling which one, though.
Which is your favourite chapter/scene, and why?
I’ll grab a short story for this one- ‘Worlds Away’ is right in the middle of the collection. It has characters I really like, has a lot of action and emotion, and sets up other stories in a way I really like. It is probably my favourite of the collection.
How do you plan to promote your novel?
In every way I can! There is currently a Kickstarter running to publish this collection and has built some good buzz for the release. Social media and blogs (like this!) have been huge. I plan to expand that reach as the book is released and reach out to bookstores for reading and signings.
What can readers expect from you next, and when can they expect it?
Two things: The first full 3024AD novel, which will be out early 2013 and Series Two of the short stories, which will be the same format, but with all new characters and in another part of the galaxy. I will start posting them at 3024AD.com in November, with the full collection to be released by mid-2013.
Describe your current work in progress in less than 15 words?
Science fiction- with the emphasis on science.
What is your writing routine and how do you balance your writing with your other commitments?
I try to write for a couple hours each night, I usually start around 9pm or so and go until I get tired. Balancing is always a tight-rope act, but setting aside a specific time, and sticking to it, has been invaluable in balancing it all.
Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Absolutely. This is probably the worst piece of writing advice ever, but I just do. It’s not easy, but I just start writing. Usually the first thing I write ends up getting deleted, but it gets the creative juices going. The other thing I try to do is avoid it entirely- I spend the last few minutes of my writing time planning what I will write next. I am in a flow, so to speak, so it ties it to what I wrote before and allows me to settle in easier the next day. That way I am usually excited to write, as I think about it throughout the day.
Name one of your favourite books and how it has influenced your life.
There are many to choose from. The biggest single influence would have to be Tom Sawyer- my grandfather, who was himself a huge influence, gave me a copy when I was very young, and I have read it every year since. It made me want to tell stories from a very young age. It is certainly not the type of story I write, but it helped me form my own.
What’s been the most memorable event in your life to date, and why?
The birth of my son. I don’t have words for it, but anyone who has been there knows.
Where would you choose as an ideal holiday destination, and why?
Anywhere with mountains and snow. I adore winter, and being in a quiet cabin in mountains surrounded by snow is pretty much my ideal place.
What secret will your readers will be surprised to hear about you?
I love ballet and figure skating.
First and last line of a novel you would love to write?
Opening lines I always struggle with. I have been sitting on “’I am going to live’”, and will appear soon.
Quick Fire Questions:
5 star hotel or backpack? I love to backpack, but hotel wins every time. I like good meals too much.
Espresso or latte? Generally, espresso, but I will take a really well made latte.
Plotter or panster? Plotter. I have detailed outlines for everything.
Drummer or lead singer? I play bass, which is the worst of both worlds in a band.
Favourite real person? Tough call. Can I pick two? I’m going to. Humphrey Bogart and Denys Finch-Hatton are two of my biggest heroes (that second one is a spoiler, by the way)
Favourite fictional character? Richard Blaine, Casablanca
Burger and chips or Michelin star? I am a food snob, I love class. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat a burger, though
Theatre or cinema? Cinema, but it has to be good. I would love to see more cinemas have more of a theatre experience, though. I really love both.
Sports car or campervan? Truck.
Safari or Cruise? Safari. Nothing in this world or any other would get me on a cruise ship.
Author bio: Writer. Reader. Engineer. Geek.
Actually, that last word may have been redundant. It’s evident pretty quickly, even without having a science fiction series to my name. I appreciate all things geeky, books, movies, games- you name it. I have a profound love for all flying things- birds, airplanes and spacecraft. Also known to geek out about football and baseball.
Thank you so much for sharing your world with us, Dean! Catch up with Dean and his work at 3024AD .