Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Blog Tour

So the idea of this is that I answer these four questions, posed to the other writers on this tour.  And then, I pass on the torch to another two people. Thanks to Dave L. Clements, for tagging me; he is currently Disturbing The Universe with his answers.  

1. What am I working on?

I'm currently just romping towards the end of the first draft of my third SF novel, tentatively titled 'The Machine Song Cycle'.  There are some aliens, machines and lots of weird plants. One of the latter, 'Creeping Heartskin', had its own post on my blog before it pollinated and spilled out into the real world, causing an environmental catastrophe in a few small countries. Sorry about that.

I've also been putting finishing touches to a few short stories, some of which are about to be published. Firstly there is The New Galvinism which will be appearing in Albedo One. And I've just had another story Words of War accepted by Fiction Vortex. The latter was one which made it through the whole Milford critting process. Both stories feature graves I have visited.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre? 

My first (still unpublished) novels were a kind of throwback to the 70's golden age of SF. You know, the thin paperbacks with a spaceship on the front you see in second hand bookshops. I like the idea of a short novel - doorstops aren't the kind of thing I write; while it can be fun getting lost in them as a reader, I'm not sure I have the patience to write one...

With the new one, I've taken some old tropes in SF (think Aldiss' Hothouse, Harrison's Deathworld) and moved things on a bit, throwing tech into the mix. I've drawn on more recent work as well - Faber's Under the Skin informed some of the alien lifeforms, or maybe I was just thinking about Scarlett Johansson.

I suppose being a medic has an advantage when it comes to writing about blood and guts stuff. When I started my training, an anatomy teacher once told me that the terminology we had to learn in five years was the equivalent of learning a new language. That's a lot of words, and some of them get used.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write because I have to. It is that simple. If I don't find time to write a few hundred words a day, the world just isn't a fun place to be. And the ideas start constipating my mind, cloying my thoughts until I have to purge somehow. Honestly, you don't want to know... it is disgusting.

4. How does my writing process work?

I sit in a room at the top of the house, put on some electronic bleepy future music, read through what I wrote last and dive in. I generally have some kind of idea about what I'm going to be writing, where it is going. As I write, other stuff often crops up though and takes me in new directions; this can be fun initially but then a pain later as you realise you have just destroyed/destoryed your manuscript (I nicked that from @jeffnoon). Sometimes the cat bothers me at a crucial moment - it has a fascination with paper and likes to be the first to read printouts of my stories, before eating them.
The next victims: 

....are currently languishing in a dungeon with Tyrion Lannister, awaiting their fate...