I am excited to welcome John Campbell Rees to the blog today as part of the blog tour for Summertime Blue.
Welcome, John. Tell us a little bit about you…
I have always wanted to be an author. I have been trying for years to write a novel, but I never got around to finishing any of them. Either real life got in the way or I did not have a strong enough idea to carry the project. My previous novel, Winter Squad, was the first long writing project I have completed. Having found my voice, I had to continue. So after two years work, Summertime Blue has hit the shelves.
I have loved books for as long as I can remember. My love of books and reading is so strong, I chose to make a career in Libraries.
Your inspiration for Summertime Blue?
Summertime Blue grew out of a need to know what happened next to the characters I had created in Winter Squad. I also wanted to further explore the world I had created for Winter Squad. While I am currently taking a break from the Existentialist Appletree, and work on a book set in the future, I know that Autumn Harvest and Spring Sunshine are bubbling away on the ideas cooker.
What’s the best thing about writing science fiction?
Freedom. You can stretch the limits of reality to breaking point. You can introduce technologies that work in your universe but not in reality. Although good storytelling demands that everything is consistent within your novel. The Greek Deus ex Machina, where the gods deliver a wonderful machine, from nowhere, that solves all the problems in the last act is never satisfying. The wonderful machine has to grow from the foundations laid throughout the story.
Where and when do you write?
Most of my writing is done on the PC on the desk in my study at home. I feel most comfortable writing at night, between 10pm and 2am, when everything is quiet, apart from the gentle hum of my computer. Although I can quite happily write anywhere I can use my netbook PC. I use Dropbox to synchronise my desktop PC with the Netbook PC I take everywhere.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
Definitely a planner. Good storytelling needs to be structured. It is no good throwing together ideas and hoping they gell. I always start by writing some sort of brief outline before producing a structured outline. Having said that, there is no point trying to stick rigidly to the outline. Things change in the course of writing, but if you have a plan, you see how the changes will effect the rest of the story, so you know what needs to be altered further on.
Do you do any research? If so, any sites or sources you care to share?
I have always been a trivia magnet. I can remember facts and their context easily. However, like Wikipedia, my memory is far from perfect, containing to quote Douglas Adams “…much that is apocryphal and things that are downright wrong.” Research from multiple sources is therefore vital. Artifice and invention works best if it starts of looking like something genuine. Also, throwing in the genuine adds to the invention, and in those cases, the genuine has to be spot on.
Do you read inside your genre or out when writing?
I will admit my first love is Science Fiction, which is why I chose to write in that genre, but to be perfectly honest, I read everything. From Chic-Lit to Westerns, from new writers to the Classics of Literature. Why limit yourself to one genre, when there are so many good books out there. There are also many bad books out there, but if you don’t open the oyster and eat the gelatinous squidgy bit you will never find the pearl.
Your author heroes?
* Douglas Adams: A copy of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy sits on my desk always. Douglas Adams never really wanted to be a novelist, his ambition was to be a script writer, but when he did write novels, they were damn near perfect.
* Terry Pratchett: The consumate story teller. His plots were well constructed with everything coming together by the end to make a satisfying whole, not a messy hole.
* Lois McMaster Bujold: The Curse of Chalion is the best novel I have ever read. The use of language is incredible, painting pictures with words. All her novels contain effortless world-building and exposition that does not interrupt the flow of the story, in this novel it is flawless.
Thank you, John, for joining us today.