Exclusive Interview with
Let’s start with your Career as a writer!
When did you start writing?
Writing began for me in the third grade. I wrote poetry about chess and Norse mythology. With no writers in my life, I have no idea what inspired this. My first submission was an article for “Dragon” magazine. They rejected it of course. But I was on my way! …sort of.
What makes writing your passion?
In high school, my senior year creative writing project was an Ann Rice clone. While reading weekly chapters to the class, no one seemed to be listening. But late in the school year, the novel reached a scene where two vampires were sentenced to death by sunlight. As a door opened to reveal their sun-bleached bones, someone yelled, “Hey! Why did you kill them? They never did anything wrong.” I was surprised and flattered. And hooked. I want to create that sort of experience again and again.
How long have you been writing?
I wanted to be a writer since at least High School. It wasn’t until 2006 that I was finally published by Nth Degree Magazine. It was story about a psychic computer hacker. What’s that mean? Read it from my published stories page.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
I reverse engineered the characters to fit their role in the story. I knew the setting and the plot and then fit the character into their places. Along the way, my planned characters grew within their rolls, and other characters seemed to just appear, like Katie. She's a little girl who pops in and out of the later part of the story. Katie appears shy at first but, as she opens up, she becomes a delightful character with some wonderful lines.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I actually wrote a paper on getting over writer's block. It is available on the "On Writing" page of ScottCoonSciFi.com. I get past writer's block the same way I get past the fear of tackling a massive programming challenge: by taking it on a little bit at a time.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
It's recent advice, actually, and I've heard it in other forms, but I found this one profound. It's from Bojack Horseman and it applies to so many things: "It gets easier, but you have to do it every day."
Also: Learn. Learn the art. Learn the business. Then assume that everything changed while you weren't looking and learn it all again. Modern readers are different from just twenty years ago. Learn what publishers and readers want now, both in content and presentation. But not in trends.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I read all my book reviews if I find them. So far, there have not been any bad ones. I have received nothing but good reviews with very little critique within. I do take those critiques to heart. If I get a bad review, I will try to learn from it and apply that knowledge to what I write next. More than anything, I want to entertain my audience, leave them with an experience worthy of the time they took to read my book.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All sorts of real life experiences are in my work, even though they are science fiction. DJ experiences many things that I experienced, although my experiences were in a different setting. Just like me, DJ has to deal with bullies, bureaucrats, a fear of public speaking, and an interstellar conspiracy to cover up a corporate war of industrial sabotage. Well, maybe not that last one.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The book cover is important to convey the general idea of what the book is. It is the first thing that people will judge it by, as the cliché says. After that initial glance, they might read the summary, but that glance starts the interaction. I feel Dancing Lemur did a wonderful job. The cover features DJ with his stringless guitar. He is in a domed farm ship, which had been converted from interstellar multi-generational colony ship. The ships brought the first colonists to this part of our galaxy. Since then, the cities were removed, and dirt brought in. In the time of LOST HELIX, they grow the food that feeds the miners of Stone River.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I am a Kurt Vonnegut fan. My favorite is Hocus Pocus but Cat's Cradle and Galapagos have always stuck with me. I am also an Ann Rice fan and Stephen King is an amazing author, especially when he writes something like The Long Walk.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
What would you say to your readers?
I hope you enjoyed the experience I created for you in this book.
Thank you for sharing! Let’s talk about your Personal Life!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I was born in Los Angeles, but my family moved back to Pennsylvania when I was still an infant. I grew up on the east coast. Then I traveled the world for the Army and traveled America for software companies. Now, years later, I am back in Los Angeles, where I was born but had never lived until now. I share my life with my cats Hank, Logan, and Princess.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am a computer programmer for a major national bank. My work is often influenced by my career as a computer programmer and also by my six years as intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army. Both played a role in Lost Helix.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I like to hike, play video games, and watch cartoons. When I was a kid liked fishing but then I realized I didn't like the fishing part of fishing...so now I am a hiker.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
LOST HELIX is my debut novel but not my only novel. There are a few that will never see the light of day. Those helped me to build the skills to write LOST HELILX.
I also have three other novels being edited with my writing partners. The one ready for submission is BALANCE OF CRIMSON, set on am affluent colony beyond Earth's control, where crowdsourced assassinations run rampant and one killer tries to balance his soul by passing judgement on those who hire him.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
We need to bring the arts, civics, home economics, shop, and critical thinking skills back to the classroom. Many schools still have these, but many do not or never had them in the first place.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
I love all sorts of music. To play my iTunes library from end to end would take almost two weeks. I have music from every major genre and also from every decade back to the beginning over the recording industry...and some stuff older than that, like Mozart and Bach. I can't say I can narrow it down to one favorite type of music. Maybe three: Swing, Classical, and Punk.
Share a secret with us 🙂