If you're here, that probably means you listened to this evening's edition of the Super Awesome Geek Show. And if you did that, you probably know I'm doing another giveaway! *Kermit flail* Want a signed copy of Serengeti? YOU KNOW YOU DO! And I'm giving one away. So, if you want a chance to win it, enter here!
How? Oh, right. I didn't tell you that. Well, I'm gonna make it easy on ya. Just hit the little Rafflecopter links below and BAM! You're in!
The giveaway closes at on June 3rd, 2016 and I'll announce the winner at noon on on June 4th!
Good luck, and thanks for listening!
Congratulations to Lillian Vulcano--winner of the SERENGETI giveaway!
Super Awesome Geek Show Giveaway!
Sometimes you get the opportunity to interview someone you think is flat out cool. Well, that's Colin. He's probably laughing his ass off just reading this but honestly Colin Sinclair is that: 100% cool. Colin's a friend and fellow Inkblot, and writes some of the most beautiful and simultaneously creepy stories I've ever read. Off combination, I know, but somehow he pulls it off. If you haven't read any of his stuff, find it and devour it. Your brain will thank you. So, without further ado, Colin Sinclair...
They call him Mr. Sinclair...
Colin Sinclair is a writer and roleplaying game creator from Northern Ireland. He's written a lot of stuff over the years but most of it is boxed up and chained down and buried deep where it can't cause you any
trouble. When he's not forced to work in a dull office job he's writing or reading, and when he's not doing that he's baking bread and thinking "I should be writing". He buys too many books; his house has been described as "a library with some beds in it".
Along with his Abaddon Books e-novella "Midnight in the Garden Centre of Good and Evil", Colin has also written short stories for some of the Fox Spirit Books 'Fox Pockets' anthologies and a post-apocalyptic tale in their "Girl at the End of the World Book 2" collection. He provided settings, background material and short fiction for "Broken Rooms", an alternate-worlds tabletop roleplaying game that features thirteen flavours of catastrophe.
Colin very rarely blogs at http://devilsjunkshop.com/, and lives by the sea with his wife, some children, probably a cat.
Social Media Links:
Colin blogs about his writing process:
Colin blogs about not writing about zombies:
How to be a published author in three easy steps!
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B015RL38T6
Amazon US: https://amzn.com/B015RL38T6
What was the inspiration for your book?
A childhood where my weekends were mostly divided between visiting garden centres and watching pulp sci-fi marathons on fuzzy black-and-white television.
What if I combined the two, I thought. What if…
Your book is sci-fi with other speculative fiction elements. Is that your preferred genre do you/would you consider writing in another genre?
I'm happy writing in any genre. Yes, it's fair to say that much of my published work has been solidly in the sci-fi zone, but I've dabbled in other things. Then again, perhaps the fact a lot of those dabblings don't get very far suggests I'm better suited to the sci-fi realm. I still have ideas for straight crime novels, political thrillers, or whatever. That's the beauty of speculative fiction though, isn't it? It can be a thriller with spaceships, a romance novel with added elves. A noirish detective thing with giant alien spiders, maybe.
There’s a lot of debate about the merits of ‘hard’ versus ’soft’ sci-fi. What are your feelings on the division and do you have a preference for one type over another. In which camp would you place your book and why?
In terms of the hard/soft designation I'd have to class my book as 'vague'. There is some science there, but I don't get too specific about any of it. I can show my workings out if anyone asks but my handwriting is a little scrappy so it may be unreadable to the untrained eye. In general I'd veer towards the soft end of science, but either works. I mean, stories aren't textbooks. Great if the author can explain complex technologies or theories with easy grace and keep a narrative barreling along, but I'm more interested in the social or character consequences of whatever high technology device or awesome notion is on display. A story about the impact of the automobile on early 20th century society doesn't have to include long passages about internal combustion; it's about what it does to people and places.
What do you want your readers to know about this book?
Someone called it 'the written equivalent of watching a Simon Pegg movie', and I can't think of a better description.
Also, it's cheap.
What’s your favorite scene and why?
I like the opening. I think it sets the tone from the first line. Also there's a lot of character interaction stuff that I'm pretty pleased with. Every scene. Every scene is my favourite, can I say that?
Is there a sequel in the works? If so, any idea when readers can expect to get their hot little hands on it?
I have a vague notion for a follow-up. More of a spiritual sequel; similar aliens, different setting. Nothing definite yet.
Writing includes editing. Lots and lots of editing. Are there are scenes, details, characters, etc. that were sacrificed to the editing gods that you regret deleting or wish you could have shared with readers?
I think maybe it could have done with more spiders.
Writing Process Questions:
Tell us a bit about your current work in progress.
I'm doing a second/third draft of noirish detective thing that features giant alien spiders.
Who or what has inspired your writing?
Growing up in a house full of books where people were always reading; that's pretty much where it started. It's a short step from reading stories to wanting to write your own. (And then a way longer step to getting something published.)
Also, I grew up during a time when classic Doctor Who and Blake's 7 were on television, Star Wars was in the cinema, and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was the go-to roleplaying game.
I'm not sure there was any way for me to escape becoming a science fiction writer.
What is your biggest goal with your writing? Do you currently write full time or are you a place to the day job dreaming of freedom?
I'd like the writing to be my day job. Not quite there yet.
When and where do you like to write? What is the weirdest location where you’ve ever written?
I write when I can, wherever I can. If I don't have access to a computer I can still scribble some notes in my commonplace book, or use Evernote on my 'phone to remind myself of things to work on later.
[no answer for the 'weird location' part of the question … all very dull]
How much research was involved in your latest piece and how did you tackle it?
I visited a lot of garden centres. In some cases I went back to the boarded up abandoned ruins of garden centres I'd been to as a child.
Looking back I think a lot of my writing involves stringing together snippets of things I've learned over the years, and then wrapping them all up in a bundle that seems like it might be sort of true.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Tell us a little about your writing method, what works and what doesn’t work for you.
My method varies, but it tends to go like this:
I have a vague idea, maybe a snippet of dialogue, or a final scene, or a general what if?
I write that down and ignore while I work on other things and then, at some point, it bubbles up to the surface of my brain again, perhaps because that dialogue connects well with a character I've just thought of, or one idea for a story links into another to create something new and different.
I sometimes plan things out in detail, once I finally decided 'this is the story I'm writing', other times I just wing it. In most cases the finished product never ends up quite like I expected, but I think it's good to have a vague direction in mind.
What has been your biggest learning experience so far in your career? What are some of the memorable high and low points?
The biggest thing I've learned is that notion that you can't edit a blank page. You just have to get the words down, and worry about tidy up and straightening out afterwards. I'm not quite suggesting 'write drunk, edit sober', but I do try to spend less time worrying about the weight of individual words when I haven't even got the characters out of the first scene or figured out how the book might end.
The high point so far was launching "Midnight in the Garden Centre of Good & Evil" at the Abaddon X event in London last year. Obviously, getting signed up to write the thing was pretty cool in itself, but standing up in front of a bunch of folks and talking about the book was amazing/nerve-wracking.
What do you like best about writing in general, and speculative fiction specifically?
I like making stuff up. I enjoy writing/running tabletop roleplaying games as well as this 'sci-fi author' thing, and it's all part of the same kick: create worlds, have characters walk/run/fight through them. Make an impression on people with your words. The speculative fiction angle just makes the canvas bigger. Limitless, even.
When it comes to writing and the writing process, what’s your greatest strength and your greatest weakness or area needing improvement?
In terms of actual physical getting-words-on-paper, I suspect my main weakness is a tendency to occasionally fall back on the 'write thousands of words in random bursts' process rather than managing to maintain the less hectic 'writing as habit' technique for which I continually strive.
When did you start to actually feel like an author?
The first time I got a review that wasn't from someone I know/ a family member/ my mum.
What one thing in your writer’s toolkit has been most valuable to your writing?
Notebooks. You can never have too many notebooks for jotting down ideas, characters, scenes. I swear by them. I sometimes swear at them if I can't find the right one, but still…buy notebooks.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I have a new short story out from Fox Spirit Books, included in their "Piercing the Vale" Fox Pocket anthology, which also contains incredible stories by Jen Williams, Paul Starkey, Chloe Yates and many more. It's a long list and excellent anthology. Buy it now :)
Fox Spirit Books Piercing the Vale release day: http://www.foxspirit.co.uk/release-day-piercing-vale/
Amazon US (print version) : http://amzn.com/1909348899
Amazon UK (print version) : http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1909348899
Randomly Added Question: Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly or Battlestar Galactica?
I like all of these things. Without them I suspect I'd be leading a very different life.
Little Wins, Big Wins
So that was my big win for the week. My little win makes me just about as happy. Like most writers I know, I don't just write novels. Every now and then--especially when I'm in between novels--I like to sit down and write a short story just to change things up a bit. The short story market is tough, though, and just writing a story doesn't mean it'll get published. Or that you'll get paid to have it published. Or the anyone will read it. This past week I sold Clockwork Hearts--a little steampunk story I wrote about an unlikely friendship between a boy in a wheelchair and a clockwork Golem he meets while feeding ducks, of all things. I love this story--it's probably one of the best pieces I've written and I'm so excited that the awesomely Australian SQ Mag felt the same. You can read it for free here. Drop me a comment when you get a moment and let me know what you think.
J.B. Rockwell grew up reading fairy tales, folklore and mythology, as well as anything and everything about ancient cultures and their history, and never lost her taste for any of it. She currently lives in West Virginia with her husband and four (yes, four) cats, all of whom provide inspiration for her stories, whether they know it or not.