Welcome to a new series on Another Hartman Author! I decided it was time to pay it forward but didn’t know how. I don’t have any free books to give away. Nor do I have editing skills someone would covet. So The Five Question Interview was born! Its mission: to give back to the writing community one interview at a time. Without further adieu, let’s learn a little bit about
Why do you write science fiction?
Why not history?
Or romance? Or military epics? Or…
First let me say thank you for allowing me to participate in your author reviews! I feel honored!
I’ve always had a fondness for science fiction. Ever since I was young I was always drawn to the possibility of what could be, rather than what is. I often say I should have been born about a hundred years in the future. I’m fascinated by what the human race can achieve and always wonder what would happen if we stopped fighting among ourselves and pooled our collective energy into our society. Imagine the world we could live in.
While I enjoy reading other genres, I don’t find them compelling enough to write in. I don’t feel the passion that I do for science fiction, the drive that I would need to sustain me through more than one or two books. However, I do enjoy suspense, thrillers and mystery and write some (unpublished) thriller books on the side.
Is there a television series or film that inspires your writing?
The easy answer is Star Trek. I grew up on the original movies, The Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager, when Star Trek was in its heyday. I remember watching the 30th anniversary show live on TV. And throughout my formative years it had a significant impact. To this day I’ll watch Star Trek at least once a week if not more. In fact it had more than a passing influence on the Sovereign Coalition which I created in my most recent series.
Is writing a life-long love or a recent development?
I’ve always loved writing. It was the one thing I could do well that I didn’t need to practice as much as everything else. Though I love all kinds of art, but a sculptor, painter or musician I am not. I began writing my first stories back in elementary school, stringing together short stories into books for fun. My love of stories also inspired me to write sequels to some of my favorite books (read Jurassic Park, lol) back before official sequels ever came out.
But then real life got in the way and I had to declare a major and get a job. I never considered writing as a viable career until I was in my thirties because I just didn’t have the luxury. I needed to be able to make money immediately for all kinds of bills and it took me a good ten or fifteen years before I realized I might actually be able to make a living at this.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have initial goals or let the story flow?
Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
It has evolved over the years. I spent the first few years of my career learning how to craft story, structure plots, build interesting characters, connect their arcs and pull it all off in under 80,000 words (I don’t like really long books). Today I will take about a week or two to build a very detailed outline—usually at least 15k words—before I commit one word of the actual manuscript to paper. This has the benefit of allowing me to work out all the kinks of the story before the book has even started and saves a ton of time.
After that I’m usually able to write about 5k words per day every weekday for three weeks or until the manuscript is finished. Once it’s done I go back over for a polish before sending it off to my editor. When it comes back it goes through another quality check and any last-minute changes before being formatted, uploaded and available to read. I pride myself on putting out quality work quickly and can typically finish a book in about a month if I stay on track. Sometimes life gets in the way but so far I’ve managed to write nine books this way in the past year.
What are some of your favorite books?
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh boy. Here we go:
WIZARD AND GLASS: DARK TOWER 4 by Stephen King
THE BONE CLOCKS by David Mitchell
YOU by Caroline Kepnes
THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR by Shari LaPena
JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton
11/22/63 by Stephen King
THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET by Becki Chambers
There are a ton more but those are the big ones. You’ll notice they’re kind of all over the place in terms of genre, but I think that’s important. I don’t limit my reading to sci-fi, even if that’s all I write.
Writing is the true window to the soul. Writers pour themselves onto the page and I’m no different. But a wise instructor of mine once said that the reader comes first. I always try to remember that when crafting a story. These aren’t vanity projects for me; they are meant to entertain, delight and enthrall. I only hope I’m lucky enough that my work resonates with readers.