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Q&A with sci-fi author Ian E. Slatter


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Today, I have an extensive Q&A with science-fiction author Ian E. Slatter. I'm pleased to run across another plotter unafraid to advise novice writers to plan their stories before writing rough drafts. In my humble opinion, editing the rough draft more than you think you need to is also excellent advice.


Mr. Slatter also has a new release, Forever Human, with an intriguing cover of his own design. Read on to learn about the author and his novel, and enter a giveaway if that's your jam.


 


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Q&A


Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I grew up in South Wales in the UK but I’ve lived in England for most of the last 30 years. I started writing a few things, just for fun, when I was at school and university, then in the mid 00s I saw that a satirical news website called Newsbiscuit was being launched. It had a “writers room” where wannabe writers could post stories that, if selected, would feature on the site. I started submitting and was soon having my work selected, and I even won writer of the month a few times.

 

Soon after that I wrote some comedy sketches that were used on shows on the BBC and ITV channels here in the UK, but what I really wanted to do was write books. I started with a couple of non-fiction books about sport (one of my passions), then wrote a few middle-grade novels. I’ve always been a fan of science fiction though, so I’ve now starting to write sci-fi novellas and short stories.


What is something unique/quirky about you?

I love a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Whenever I’m planning something, whether it’s a holiday or getting new insurance quotes, I like to record it all on a spreadsheet so I can compare my options. I even use it when I’m writing. It’s perfect for plotting as I can change things and move things around to my heart’s content.


What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I’m a big fan of crime writer Agatha Christie, and a few years ago I visited the house that was her home for many years. It’s also the setting for a couple of her books, so it was fun reading those after I’d been there and recognizing the places in the house and the grounds where the scenes took place.



What inspired you to write this book?

I’d had the idea of “what would happen to a group of space travellers if they’d only been told certain things about their home planet then suddenly found out that what they’d been told wasn’t necessarily all true” a while ago. I’d considered a few potential ways that the story could play out but it took a while for this plot to develop. I loved the possibilities that it presented though, in terms of character development and for what it said about issues affecting us all right now, let alone thousands of years in the future, so it was always something I was going to get around to writing at some point.


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Forever Human?

Maya, the protagonist, just wants to do the right thing. She’s often unsure what that is though. As the story develops she finds an inner strength that isn’t apparent at first. She doesn’t want to upset people but she’s also driven by the truth – that’s her dilemma. Ash is much more sure of himself and his views. For him, the mission comes first and nothing should be allowed to get in its way. On the one hand that’s pretty straightforward, but he’s very adaptable, and if one tactic doesn’t seem to be working he’s more than happy to turn to more extreme measures.


Where did you come up with the names in the story?

Maya, the protagonist, just wants to do the right thing. She’s often unsure what that is though. As the story develops she finds an inner strength that isn’t apparent at first. She doesn’t want to upset people but she’s also driven by the truth – that’s her dilemma. Ash is much more sure of himself and his views. For him, the mission comes first and nothing should be allowed to get in its way. On the one hand that’s pretty straightforward, but he’s very adaptable, and if one tactic doesn’t seem to be working he’s more than happy to turn to more extreme measures.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Because it was based on an idea I’d been playing around with in my head for a couple of years it was just nice to start putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) and seeing it develop into a fully-fledged story. A lot of it was as I imagined it but a few times the story took off in ways I hadn’t expected as I was writing, so that was exciting too.


Who designed your book covers?

I design them myself. I enjoy creating them as much as I enjoy writing the stories themselves. I’m not a great artist myself but I am a fan of art, and I take a keen interest in the covers that other authors are using for their books in various genres. A lot has been written on the subject, and you can spend a load of money getting covers designed by professional designers, but I think if you’ve got a reasonable eye for design and you pay attention to how successful books similar to yours look you can do it yourself with the help some good software.


Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

Good question! I’m just about disciplined enough now to write one at a time, but I do have a tendency to think of other ideas whilst I’m in the middle of a book and have to rein myself in so I don’t neglect the story I’ve started. It’s great to have lots of ideas, but you have to be careful not to lose focus.


What advice would you give new authors?

Two things. Number one – be a plotter. Create a really good plan for your story before you start writing it. You can change it as you go, but I really think it helps to know how each chapter is going to help tell your story and how the story arc is going to progress over the course of your book. And number two – write it. Don’t worry if you don’t think one chapter or scene doesn’t work, or even if you miss out a scene or two. Keep writing and get to the end, then you can go back and add bits and change bits. Just get that first draft written.


What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first?

I do a lot of planning before I begin to write. I like to have a clear plan for each phase of the story (I generally work to a 7 phase structure with a number of game-changing moments throughout), then for each chapter – what’s going to be in it and how it’s going to progress the story. I also structure character development phase-by-phase and chapter-by-chapter.


How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That kind of depends on how you measure it. I might be playing around with an idea in my head on and off for a couple of years before I start writing anything, but once I do start writing it probably takes me about six months to create my outline, write it then edit it.


 

About Forever Human


Does the past really matter when you hold humanity's future in your hands?

Forever Human cover

Forever Human

Humanity’s Last Chance

by Ian E. Slatter

Genre: Science Fiction


Does the past really matter when you hold humanity's future in your hands?


With just days of its thousand year journey remaining, the starship Renaissance 3 is on course to deliver its precious cargo - the last living humans - to its new planetary home. But a message from beyond the grave challenges everything that pilot Maya has been taught about her kind, and threatens the future of the entire mission.


As life aboard the Renaissance descends into chaos, Maya soon finds herself facing the decision of a lifetime.


**Only .99cents!**


 

Giveaway

$20 Amazon

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!



 


About the Author

the auth

I started writing for satirical news website Newsbiscuit before going on to help edit the site. I also wrote some comedy sketches for BBC radio and ITV, then published my first two books - non-fiction works about sport.


My first fiction books were three humorous middle-grade novels, one of which won a Purple Dragonfly award, and I am now focusing on writing science-fiction.


I live in Somerset in the UK with my wife, two children and two black cats.


Check out my website (ianeslatter.com) to see some of the sci-fi works that inspired me."


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