Why Authonomy, aren’t there more conventional routes to getting a book published?
Getting a publishing deal is bloody hard and you usually need an agent. Most publishers won't look at you without it. I was offered a deal in February this year by a London publisher (pretty big and well known) except it turned out to be a Vanguard contract where I had to pay £4,600 over 10 months and they would publish it. Not having that sort of money I said no, so they came back and offered to drop it to £4,000 over 15 months but again I said no. I would have been tempted if I had that sort of money but to be honest, if I'm doing all the work, sitting to all hours of the morning to write this, then no way am I paying someone else for my work.So my agent Bill Jeffrey told me to put it on Authonomy and literally, put it to the public vote so here we are, just over 3 months and I'm on the verge of the 100's.
You wrote your first novel when you were just 16, what inspired that? What was the novel about? Any snippets from it you’d want to share?
I was desperate to write for Dr Who so hand wrote a complete story, designed a cover and everything and sent it off, expecting it to be snapped up but they didn't read handwritten scripts so sent me a lovely letter along with the manuscript back.I was so affronted at this complete lack of acceptance i decided to create my own series of people to protect the Earth. How simple was I? It became the origin story of the Time Warriors called Wail of the Banshee and it told of how they all came together. It involved an alien entity trying to reassert a foothold back in our reality, an unfortunate side effect being the universe itself began to fall apart. With Varran being the only man in creation that has looked into the heart of the universe, he races to stop the creature before it completes its mission. Set in the Ireland of past and present, the battlefield would have been Ireland during the potato famine.The book on Authonomy is actually books 2 and 3 of the series because when I came to write Banshee, I found that although I knew the characters, I didn't really KNOW them at all so began to write The Time Warriors in a set of 17 stories that could be read as standalone but as a whole form a complete story rather like how they do shows these days like Dr Who, Primeval and Merlin.
Was there what might be called a defining moment when you realised you had to pull the finger out and get a book written and published?
Yes, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumour 5 years ago and died in exactly 16 weeks. It was a devastating time and had a profound effect on me, so although the story had been sitting in my head for years, that's when I decided this was the time.I am determined for this to happen and it will be dedicated to him.
You’re extremely passionate about pushing for a publishing deal are you as passionate and dedicated during the writing process?
Yes, it's a bit like going to the gym, it's just getting yourself in the frame of mind to do it but once you're in, you're flying. My poor wife has had to go to bed many a night alone because I'm writing. Problem is it's not something you can switch on or off, you just have to be in the mood and right mind set to do it. I have seen myself tossing and turning and having to get up in the middle of the night just to write one page and once it's done, I fall right to sleep.
Have you had a lifetime interest in science fiction or has it developed the older you get?
Oh definitely lifetime. I credit my mother for getting me into it because I remember running upstairs in terror to my room the second I heard the Jon Pertwee era theme music and my punishment for being naughty was being sent to bed before Star Trek came on. Like all things there's good and bad but when it's good, it's good.
Do you think that science fiction writers aren’t taken seriously enough by people in Northern Ireland?
Unless you're Eoin Colfer, damn right. What I have found is there is no support network or forum for Irish writers. Even the BBC have no submissions dept here, it all goes over the water which is no good for us. Bill Jeffrey was the only literary agent in Nr Ireland and I found him by chance. There are pockets of groups and sci-fi events but no real sounding board to let everyone know what is going on or what new authors are out there. We are the land of saints and scholars but have been swamped by others who have the workshops and support networks we don't. So where are the focal points to get us noticed? Although thanks to the likes of Dr Who, the sci-fi profile has jumped ten fold and unlike my day, it's cool to be a sci-fi fan. Merlin, Robin Hood, primeval and ashes to Ashes are all off the back of the high profile of Dr Who. They have a Welsh, Scottish and English voice but I'm not hearing any Irish voice in the mix. I intend to change that.
How do science fiction writers get inspired, could it be looking at everyday life from a different angle or are there other forces at work in your mind?
I personally am fed up watching crap that any monkey can write. My ideas just come to me or I'll read something and think that would make a good story. If you start reading history, a lot of weird things have happened to people especially historical figures, events that would be deemed supernatural. So we have a rich background to use and besides, it's educational.
A comment about your writing on Authonomy read…Wow. The comments about your book are almost as riveting as the book itself! The fact that so many people have taken a lot of time to write their comments tells me that they have found something good in your book and something worth commenting on. I'm not sure I'm qualified to assess the merits of your writing but I am impressed that your story has touched so many people.
I’ve seen other comments which might be described as constructive criticism, do you take on board what has been said? Do you edit your work that’s already up on Authonmomy or is it that the final draft?
It's always a work in progress. I'm constantly re jiggling or rewriting things because I'm never entirely happy and want the plot points closed. Sometimes you get too close and you need a fresh pair of eyes. You can tell constructive criticism from people who want to help out from those just out to bitch and tear you down.
What makes you and your writing unique? Why out of the hundreds of authors on Authonomy should we vote for you?
Because it's bloody brilliant! LOL. Seriously, I'm an Irishman on a mission to put us back on the market which is why Jacke is black, female and from Belfast. I have a slew of stories that will take pace in Irish history, people forget how diverse we are. I have given my characters solid self journey arcs and that's why I tagged the book sci-fi with a heart. Anyone can write aliens and monster ass kicking but unless you make your characters lovable and relatable, forget it, it's just pulp. That's why my book deals with bullying, unrequited love, losing loved ones and your virginity, victimisation, loneliness, conspiracy, revenge,self worth and friendships in unlikely places. If your story hasn't got heart, it's just a story.Plus I did a few test subjects, people who don't go near scifi, I had several moved to the point of tears and the rest liked it, they saw what I saw in my head, so something must work in its favour. Remember £4.600 stopped it being printed this year. Damn poverty!
Is it easy to vote for you on Authonomy?
Yes, google Authonomy and register as a new reader. Then search for me or the Time Warriors. Once there click on BACK THE BOOK. If in doubt check your bookshelf or contact me on my facebook or via David Todd. Come on guys, let's get the Irish back on the map!
On you’re Authonomy page you write… It's bloody hard to get a publishing deal! If a deal doesn’t materialise through Harper Colins what next?
I keep going until it's published, I will knock on every door until I make this happen. It's in my blood and there's nothing I can do to change that. But have no doubt, The Time Warriors are coming!
Lets help make it happen and make way for the Time Warriors, it's as simple as 1,2,3...
- Register (simple) on http://www.authonomy.com
- Search for 'THE TIME WARRIORS' and click on it
- Then click on 'Back the book'