I’ve always disliked these kinds of biographies, especially those of authors. Usually written in the third person, they always feel cold, distant. They reduce a writer’s life to a laundry list of common items. I’m sure you don’t really care if I’m married (I’m single), where I live, (the UK for now), what pets I belong to (a black cat called Monty), or what my hobbies are (reading, writing, and building robots).
I’ve been writing seriously since 1996, attended the London School of Journalism to study creative short story writing, and studied for an English degree with the Open University. I’m a member of the BSFA and SFWA and consider myself a ‘hybrid’ author: one who runs their own publishing company (Binary Books Ltd) and writes for traditional publishing houses/imprints.
– Ten self-published novels, of which four are co-written
– 2 novels sold to Amazon’s 47N SF&F imprint (Salt and Soil
– A dozen short story sales to various anthologies and small presses
– A horror novella published with Dark Fuse
What do I write?
All my work is tech-based to a degree. I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and thrillers and enjoy observing the world of science and technology. As a child of the 70s, I’m part of the last generation to have been before the Internet. I’ve seen this new change unfold from the very first days of BBS and dial-up. Science and tech is moving at a rapid rate, and writing about where we’re going, were we are, and what that means dominates my work.
I like to write characters who aren’t the stereotypical hero. I prefer to populate my books with a diverse range of people to bring richness to my worlds. My characters don’t follow formula or stock characteristics where possible. Writing multi-facted, morally ambiguous, and human characters retains my interest a great deal more than whiter-than-white good guys, and overtly bad, bad-guys, though I do like to subvert, or at least have a cheeky wink at those types now and then.
Where do I get my ideas from?
Although I get asked this a great deal, many people aren’t impressed when I say, “My mind.” But it’s true. I’m not really one to search through the newspapers or watch the news on the TV—especially as I don’t own one—to get my ideas. Most often they come after reading an interesting blog post, chatting with someone on Twitter or Skype, and sometimes when reading other writers’ work. It can take just a small seed of something in another story to generate an entirely different idea. I often leave ideas in the back of my mind to percolate over a year, sometimes longer. I find letting it ‘brew’ like this helps to really flesh it out so that by the time I come to commit it to paper, my mind has already worked out the key ideas, themes, and characters.
Who are my favourite authors?
I started out paying more attention to authors while reading horror in my early teens until my mid twenties. Authors from that time that captured my attention were: Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, Brian Lumley, Stephen King, Clive Barker, and James Herbert.
As for science fiction, I love: William Gibson (My main influence), Ray Bradbury, Margret Atwood, Michael Crichton, Iain M. Banks, Alasdair Reynolds, and Phillip K. Dick.
My reading tastes are generally varied and I enjoy literary fiction now and then from people such as: Lev Grossman, Douglas Coupland, Octavia Butler, Jeff VanderMeer, and Kate Mosse. I’m sure I’m forgetting some others.
Last, but not least, these indie authors are notable and worth checking out: K.T. Davies, Krista Walsh, Ren Warom, Anne Michaud, Annie Bellet, and Darren Wearmouth (with whom I co-write with under ‘Wearmouth & Barnes.’).