Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Well, I'm in my forties and have been writing on and off since I was 10. Usually science fiction, though I have dabbled in other areas under a variety of pseudonyms. It's best to keep genres separated under different names so as not to confuse the search engines!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I'm working on my latest novel due out in just a few weeks called Stellar Flash: Alien Frequency. It was inspired by a huge number of sources, and I couldn't possibly name them all. The goal was to tell a much more upbeat, fun, positive science fiction story to attempt to offset the depressing works that seem to be popular nowadays. Unfortunately I've just discovered that many of my characters, situations and plot ideas are being reflected in the new TV series The Orville. Even a few of the characters are similar! So, I guess that The Orville writers have tapped into the same vein that I have, which is the desperation for more positive and fun sci fi.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Drinking wine while writing, drinking coffee while editing! Also, I need absolute quiet to write so noisy cafes or pubs are out. It means it might take me a few months before I can find a great place to drink and write.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Greg Bear, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Clifford D Simak, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein, Stephen Baxter, Piers Anthony, Cixin Liu, Paul Cornell and many others. I've read thousands of books so I couldn't specifically name one or two. I've also been influenced by Sci Fi TV like Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Blake's 7, Moonbase 1999 and others, gravitating towards the more positive episodes of them.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a number of projects. I edit the series Alien Dimensions. Every second month I aim to bring out a new Alien Characters book for kids. I'm thinking about new stories for my Science Fiction Weekly series next year as well as putting together a new book to submit to Tor at some point. I've also got a number of other projects that I flit between including Youtube channels, various websites and more. I'm not away from my computer that often!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I used to think that Amazon was the best way, but I've recently found that there are all these wonderful companies out there that can promote your book for you. I'd recommend using discernment and choosing the one most relevant to the genre you're promoting. I would say avoid Facebook promotion, as even if the FB page says they've got a million subscribers, FB algorithms mean only about 1000 might see your ad. I'd definitely give MyBookPlace.net a try!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
1. Go to as many parties as possible. Meet and talk with as many people as possible. You need dialogue skills. You need emotion. If you don't go out there and hear conversations, see reactions, feel emotions, then you're going to struggle to write about it in a convincing way.
2. If you're stuck as to how to start, don't wait for the muse to appear. The muse is waiting for you to start. Even if your first line is 'afga;jgae#%^&)(*ouageh', the muse is going to come in at that point with an OMG he/she is writing, here are some ideas! Then keep writing, even if it is crap. Just slam those keys until something comes out. It's like a circuit. Until you start, you haven't completed the circuit, so the power hasn't started flowing yet.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
One of the oldest things in many languages.
"Don't give up."
I like to add for extra confidence –
"The universe has got your back"
What are you reading now?
Actually, I'm not. It's very easy for me to channel a writing style so I need to avoid reading others' works while I work on my own, otherwise my writing style will change. When I finish Stellar Flash: Alien Frequency, I'll get back to reading Timelike Infinity, and IQ84.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Promoting my books to become debt free and be able to travel again!
What is your favorite book of all time?
Unfortunately I don't have one. My favorite book is what I'm enjoying at the moment.