What other jobs have you had in your life? Besides writing and having a career as a geophysicist, I did a lot of waitressing both times that I was in college. It’s a great way to learn about people, and to hone your organization skills. I also worked for a couple of years as a technical editor for a research institute. I had no idea how useful that would be later in life for first pass editing of my own books.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? Astrophysics. That’s what I wanted to study so badly when I was in high school, and then I wanted to join the crew of the Starship Enterprise. My parents told me to find a realistic goal.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? New Zealand. I spent about a week there a few years ago and decided that it was the most beautiful place on earth. There are three good reasons I don’t live there. One, my real job is in Texas. Two, New Zealand is understandably picky about who gets to come live in their country. And three, there would be this daunting fifteen-plus hour flight between me and everyone else I love.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? Laptop on a rocker or really comfortable chair. I recently traded my old laptop in for an ultralight and it was a great decision. I spend so much time with that device on my lap that a few pounds less weight and double the battery life have made writing noticeably easier.
How much sleep do you need to be your best? I’d like it be something like four or five hours but I’m just not one of those kinds of people. I can never get myself to stop writing and go to bed, and then I have to get up in the morning and go to work. But if I don’t manage seven hours of sleep at least, I’m pretty grumpy.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? I can respect that for others it involves making a good living or achieving some fame. But for me, success right now is about having a more interesting life. It’s learning things I would never have looked into. It’s getting to share ideas and information with readers and fellow writers in a global community. It’s having copies of my three books in over thirty countries, with fans in many of them. So I’m already pleased beyond belief. Sure I’d like my books to be read more widely, and to build a solid group of people who like my stuff. But I already feel pretty successful given my goals.
Tell us about your new book? I’ve finished one more book after z2. My latest novel is called c3 and it is the fourth novel in the collection 46. Ascending. Each book tells the independent story of a different family member as a crisis forces her or him to develop a latent special power. In c3, the youngest member of the family, sixteen year old Teddie, discovers that the out of body experiences she has had since she was a toddler can be used to help her locate her missing friends.
How often do you write? And when do you write? Because I work almost fulltime I have to be fairly disciplined about writing. I have Thursday’s off, and I basically write all day Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It helps me right at the start of a novel to draw up a straw man schedule, and I’ve done it now all four times. I know that each book in 46. Ascending is going to be about 120,000 words and that I write about 4000 words of raw first draft in a day if I have the research done and can stay focused. I literally get out a calendar and plop the total expected word count on every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday between the end of my research phase and when the first draft of the book will be done, with a few days pulled out for travel and family events and with a couple of random “shit happens” breaks scheduled. I’m a pretty goal oriented person, and having this calendar to guide me gets me there.
Genre - Speculative Fiction
Rating – PG
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