I would never want to disappoint my amazing readers and followers, so since today is Monday, guess what we get to do? Yep, it's time to meet another indie author, and this week's feature spotlight is on Chris Ward, author of The Tube Riders series. This talented man has a lot to say, so let's take a few minutes to get to know him!
DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!
Chris: Hello Ashley, thanks for having me here. I’m from Cornwall, UK, but I currently live and work in Nagano City, Japan. I’m 33 years old. I’m married and I have a cat. I like hiking, snowboarding, writing (of course) and playing guitar in my band, Steampunk Unicorn. I’ve been writing since I was seven or eight years old, and in primary school I won a prize for best story in the class. It was a picture book copy of Black Beauty, and I still have it somewhere. I wrote my first novel at 18, published my first short story at 26, and my first professional short story at 28.
DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?
Chris: I wanted to write a sci-fi epic. For me, each book has to be different, I can’t just churn out the same formulaic crap over and over like a lot of writers can. If I’m not interested I can’t do it. While I’d been writing and selling sci-fi short stories for many years, I’d never written a novel in that genre before. I went back through my short stories, found one with a cool idea, and added a bunch of unstoppable half-human, half-dog cyborg type creatures. And it went from there.
DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc?
Chris: I like to be alone, or at least undisturbed. Silence is good, I hate TV at the best of times and I can’t really concentrate while I’m listening to music, even though I love music very much. I can be in a room with other people, as long as they don’t disturb me. I quite often write in the teachers’ room at the school I work in, if I have a free period and no preparation to do (though that’s a secret).
DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?
Chris: In this book it would have to be Marta Banks, the leader of the Tube Riders. She’s awesome, kind of grungy, kind of hot, yet totally down to earth and willing to do anything to help her friends. She has a frailty under her hard exterior yet she steps up to the plate when necessary, so to speak. She’s kind of like my second sister.
The character I had most trouble with was John Reeder. I wanted him to provide a bit of light relief without being too clowny. I changed his name and mannerisms a bunch of times and I’m happy with him now. Some people have said that his entrance is a bit of a deus ex machina but Tube Riders is such a relentlessly paced book that I felt the reader needed a bit of a breather. Plus, the fact that he lives on a barge fits with the transportation theme of the book.
DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?
Chris: For a book, I always have a vague idea of what’s going on a few chapters in advance. Some, I’ve plotted the whole thing, others I’ve done with no plan at all. This one was generally brainstormed a few chapters ahead. I had no idea, for example, about what the Tube Riders would find behind the fence in Cornwall until they got there. I did, however, already roughly know the last chapter.
DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?
Chris: I’m working on book two now and they’ll be at least one more because I’ve already got some of the major events in my head. Probably I’ll stop there. I don’t want this to drag out into seven or eight books as that will just bore me. I already have several other projects on the go and I’m not so attached to the characters that I can’t let go of them. They’ll likely all be dead by the end anyway J.