Updated: Aug 2, 2019
This is a short extract from a Smashwords interview from Feb 2019...
Why are your ebooks free?
There’s a couple of reasons. Firstly, I want to build an audience, and using platforms like Smashwords is a great way to get work out, both directly and through channels. Making
ebooks free is double-edged, of course. Some readers might think the lack of a fee indicates poor quality, but that’s something I’m happy to deal with. Reviews over the years have been pretty positive.
Secondly, I’ve worked with a couple of small publishers and with Amazon, and my experience with these publishing channels has been poor. Its tough to put stuff out for free on Amazon, and in setting a fee to cover production you fall foul of their approach to licensing and copyright. Catch 22. We fell out and I decided that a free model using Creative Commons licensing was more important to me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not quite the first story. I remember finishing my first full length book but sadly not what it was about.
The first stories that really stuck were Shardik by Richard Adams, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. By then the door was fully open.
Interestingly I've just re-read Shardik after forty odd years... and fallen in love with the story and the storytelling all over again.
When did you first start writing?
Telling stories has just been one of those things that I do. I can still remember clearly a number of those primary school essays that we had to write on a Monday in English classes - 'What I did on the weekend...' - mine were usually full of submarines and Vikings and tigers - pure Walter Mitty escapades. Fiction was just always there. I sort of lost the plot a bit during my teenage years, apart from a bit of dodgy poetry writing, but the habitual fantasising turned into something more concrete once I found my adult feet.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first proper piece of fiction that I wrote was around 1997 and was called 'Bears'. The story was based on the premise that childhood teddies are brought to life by the unconditional love of their human playmates. There was a but, of course... those same teddies, given the experience they shared at the hands of their human playmates, dare not show the world that they are alive - A mash up of themes picked up in Toy Story and Ted, perhaps.
The story was set when a now grown up child announces to her partner that she is pregnant and is overheard by one of her fondly kept bedroom bears. Those bears still in one piece decide that they have to leave and the story follows their adventures as they try to make their way to a fabled teddy bear museum, which they believe must be a sort of stuffed animal heaven.
As a first attempt at a long piece of fiction goes... it was awful, but I learned a lot.
What are you working on next?
There is a sequel to A Solitude of Stars. The Apparat / Dirigiste stories are largely done, and I intend to expand on the Arkland themes, but I'm not likely to finish for a while.
Fireside Tales are progressing and I do expect to see a few more editions coming to light there.
And then there's a fantasy piece that's been bubbling for quite a while, and... and... and...
Oh, there's the day job too...