I loved creative writing in school and always tried to push the boundary with violence, horror and particularly plot twists at the end. I loved to try and cram as much as I could into the 200-300 words we were allotted during exams. The word limits were a challenge then; now I’m just too happy to be able to write something much, much longer.
Although I read plenty Stephen King and Dean Koontz in my high school days, I was mostly into action/spy thrillers then. In terms of plotting and action, Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy probably influenced me the most, right up to today. I think some of the content in PAWNS OF HEAVEN proves it, and it’s quite remarkable, considering I’ve only recently taken up writing again after almost 20 years. My reading tastes have, however, changed significantly over the years. Raymond E. Feist got me into fantasy when I was in university mid-to-late 90’s, and I think it’s just fantastic how his RIFTWAR CYCLE has evolved and expanded over two decades. Currently, however, I’m probably inspired most by the galactic sprawl of Peter F. Hamilton’s writing. His NIGHT’S DAWN trilogy is just so epic in scope, and such a fine example of speculative fiction. Ultimately, my reading experiences resulted in me writing PAWNS OF HEAVEN (now available as an omnibus of a trilogy I self-published in 2013), which is a thriller at heart, but set in a speculative universe with secret agents, mutants, Dyson Spheres, distant worlds, mental constructs – all in one story!
My latest (yet unreleased) novel is a horror novel, and there’s certainly some Stephen King in there. He is and always has been my favourite – and his son Joe Hill has also completely won me over!
I often dot down ideas. Once I have a really solid idea I think I can work with, I just dive in. That normally gets the brain juices flowing, and then I start making a rough outline of certain things I think will happen in the story; perhaps even a possible ending. It helps me to move from set-piece to set-piece, but it’s never set in stone though. I happily change plans as I go along. Once I’m into a story, I try to follow a strict writing regimen so I can ensure I write at least 1,000 words a day. I sit at my laptop at a fixed spot in the house.
I’m a huge fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who (and Babylon 5, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica . . .) but Marvel was my first love! I read comics in the early 80’s before I got into books, television and movies. My favourite speculative movie has to be Aliens – the first movie I ever saw in a cinema. I absolutely blew me away as an 11-year old. Spaceships, action, horror, thrills! And aliens! You watch it on Blu-ray today, and it certainly withstood the test of time. I never tire of it.
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