Here’s the interview.
Tell me about yourself, and how you got into writing.
I’m a father, a geek, and a former game designer. After leaving the game industry I needed a hobby to fill the creative void in my life, and decided to try writing because it seemed like something I could do entirely on my own. This of course turned out to be untrue, there’s a huge team of people involved, but at least at the beginning I was able to scratch my creative itch and work at my own pace.
I love the backstory behind The Darwin Elevator – aliens leave us both a space elevator and a plague. How did you come up with it?
The core of the idea came from my reaction to the standard argument against building a space elevator: it would be too hard to construct. I thought, “who says we’re the ones to build it?” That’s the moment that everything started to click into place.
The sequels to The Darwin Elevator come out in the next few months, so I assume you’re done writing them. What are you working on now?
Most of my time right now is going into interviews like this, plus guest blog posts and that sort of thing. I’m also working on some pitches for new books, which will hopefully turn into a contract soon. I’m anxious to get started on another novel!
This is my standard question for all genre authors – how do you come up with a plausible and interesting world?
All the usual answers probably apply, but one I thing I did that I came up with on my own is this: For each character I wrote up an activity log of what they did the day before the book starts. This helped me flesh out the characters, but also had a surprising bounty of ideas for the world as well. Mundane things like what people wear, how/when/where they shower or eat, these things really help answer basic questions about the world, and having those kinds of details to sprinkle into the story go a long way toward making it interesting.
Which writers are you most influenced by?
Some of my favorites, in no particular order: Guy Gavriel Kay, Richard K. Morgan, Stephen King, Ian Fleming, John Scalzi, George R. R. Martin.
What is your daily writing process like? What are the easiest and hardest parts?
I usually get up early (before 6) and find a coffee shop. This is mostly to get away from the distractions of home, where I have two young boys who want nothing but to constantly play with Papa. While there I’ll write for an hour, then take a break and do my authorly business: tweet, do interviews like this, read science news, etc.
The easiest part for me is writing action sequences. They flow like nothing else! Hardest part? When a small change is having a ripple effect throughout the story, and each fix is causing it’s own ripple. It makes me wish I had an AI I could assign the problem to.
If Skyler could have a sidekick from any other fictional universe, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough one! I’ll go with John “Black Jack” Geary from Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, for good leadership advice.
What books are you reading right now?
I just finished Nexus by Ramez Naam, which was fantastic. Now I’m reading The Thousand Names by Django Wexler.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Since you asked, I’d love to also recommend a few other books: The Daedelus Incident by Michael J. Martinez, and Bad Glass by Richard Gropp.
Enter the giveaway below:
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for arranging this interview and giveaway!
- “New Earth” by Ben Bova
- “Transcendental” by James Gunn