Name : Scott Seldon
Where are you from: Colorado. Not a native, but I’ve been here most of my life.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc : Well, the hightlights first. Married with a son. Bachelor’s degree in something totally unrelated to my IT job. I learned computers hands on and can do amazing things with data.
My mother’s family has a lot of journalists and my grandmother was a historian so I come by writing naturally. I loved to create stories as a kid, naming and creating personalities and relationships for various toys. It was no surprise I started writing them down. I started out obsessed wtih Star Wars and then moved on to Doctor Who and Star Trek. My first complete stories were all Star Trek related. I think my life experiences have really broaded my mind and given me a huge base to write from.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Scott: My fifth book is due out mid November. It should be available for pre-order sometime before that. It is called One Corner of the Sky.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Scott: I had stories to tell. A lot of writers begin by writing fan fiction about the main characters. I always had my own characters that I wanted to have interact and be the protagonist with the established characters in guest starring roles.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Scott: Well, that took a while. I’d have to say the point was somewhere when I was writing my second novel, Pirates of I’ab. I got serious about it and decided it wasn’t just a hobby.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Scott: I had a job where I was taking a lot of deliveries and so I got to know the drivers pretty well. A scene came to me of space trader, the science fiction equivalent of a delivery driver, and I had to write it down. That scene became a chapter then a book. Not a good one, but it was a finished book with a chohesive story. I really have to credit those guys.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Scott: Sparse. I think I was way too inspired by Isaac Asimov. That and I had my eyes initially on being a screen writer. Both are somewhat sparse on florishes and concentrate carrying the story forward. I’d rather let the reader imagine most of those things for themselves.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Scott: That can be the hardest thing. I have five books and 11 shorter works that I’ve put titles to. The first two books were easy. Well of Dreams came to me during a line of dialog. Pirates of I’ab is very descriptive of the antagonists. I’d have to say I am very influenced by Star Trek episode titles and science fiction from before I was born. Some of those titles are so poetic. I do try to make it applicable to the story at hand, but simple doesn’t work for me. Dust Between Stars has the protagonist as a fugitive and I thought that title really nailed the parts of being on the run in a galactic civilization that the story focuses on. One Corner of the Sky takes place mostly on a single planet. It was supposed to be a temp title during the editing and book design phase, but it stuck.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Scott: That nothing you face should stand in your way. I have put my character of Ven Zaran through several kinds of hell in five novels (and two short stories), but he keeps going. His methods are not always legal, but he keeps moving forward.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Scott: That’s a loaded question to ask a science fiction writer. I have spent time researching how an intelligent alien species might evolve and how we might interact with them and then stuck with the Hollywood way of humanoids who can talk. I have some other settings in my head, but having a setting does not mean I have a story to write. As far as the planets and travel between them, not much is proven, but pretty much everything has a chance to be real on a theoretical basis.
But when it comes to my characters, independent of the setting, I keep it very realistic. I love the wild settings of the grand space operas, but I want my characters to feel real, alive, like people you might know. Without solid characters, science fiction is just a show piece for the imagination. I’d rather tell stories that people can relate to.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Scott: No. There are things I throw in from time to time that come from my personal expereinces, but most is from research and other great works of fiction. I’ve lost jobs, lost my temper, had family members die, but we each face these problems differently and I like to extend myself as a writer by tackling characters who are at least partly different from myself. I’m sure there is a piece of me in each of my characters, but I try to make each character thier own individual. It’s what I enjoy reading so that is what I try to write.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Scott: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Robert Heinlein’s The Door into Summer, and Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures. And I can’t forget Hyperspace by Michio Kaku. Not fiction, but very influential. I used to read a lot of mysteries as a kid and I think those show in some of my plots.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Scott: Isaac Asimov. His essays on writing in Gold are priceless. I try to follow his advice and keep the ending of the story in mind and avoid anything that strays too far from that goal. I also try to capture the final story in the first draft and then polish it. I’ve read many books with advice on how to write, but his really hit home and has worked for me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Scott: The Han Solo Adventures. I’ve been taking the summer to read some old favorites again, sort of to recharge and I always intended to finish the summer with these three stories.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Scott: Not exactly new, but I really like Jack McDevitt’s work. Especially his Alex Benedict novels. But I read the sample of Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie and it jumped to near the top of my reading list (after I write the rough draft of my next book).
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Scott: I have one edit pass left on One Corner of the Sky, then I have some characters I’ve been ignoring so they are going to get some short stories in September. October and November I will be working on my sixth novel. I have the basic premise, but the full plot is not nailed down and I haven’t even found a working title beyond calling it Book Six.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Scott: I like that word, entity. That makes it easy to answer. The wonderful body of writers over at Agent Query Connect. I have met many wonderful people who have read my work, given me feedback, and helped me get better. A wonderfully supportive community that is quite different from others I’ve interacted with online.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Scott: Definitely. I have a day job, one that will give me a retirement, but I look to writing to be what I do long term. I have many stories to tell and I already may not get to all of them in my life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Scott: My latest book? No, nothing. The only book I really have anything that I would chagne was Well of Dreams. But by the time I had improved enought to see the issues, I had written book 3, Interlude of Pain. So I just edited it to the best of my ability and I think it works, it just could be better.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Scott: It is my mother’s fault. I’m not sure what inspired her, but she wrote this science fiction novel. I loved it and started thinking that if my mother could write (and my grandmother who wrote history), that I would try. It took a while before I tried very hard and started completing things on a regular basis. But I trace the origins back to that story my mother wrote.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Scott: I’m telling the story of Ven Zaran and his crew. It covers six books and ends with a game changer. Part of this come from how this series came about. My very first novel (my previous stories weren’t long enough to call novels) featured Ven’s great grandson, Mishka Zaran. I created this wonderful back story and I felt compelled to delve into it. One of the things I did was write Ven’s bio data. It’s kind of an outline of his life. I inserted a small civil war in his life and becaue of his actions his life won’t quite be the same again. I already wrote one small story that I included in Edge of Hyperspace called A Captain at War. Ven, under an alias, is going to become a war hero and it is going to impact his trader career. But first, I have to pen Book Six.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Scott: Ideas for stories. That’s why I’ve stuck with Ven for six books straight. I have other universes in my head, but finding stories that I both want to tell and that I think others might like to read, is challenging. But inspiration often hits in enexpected ways at unexpected times.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Scott: Isaac Asimov. I love how a dry scientist can create characters and situations that really drag me in. He admits many of his characters are very cardbaord, but the main ones, the ones he wanted the reader to focus on, are rich with character and live, at least for me, on the page. And if you have listened to any of his interviews, he can hold your attention the same way.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Scott: No. I’m pretty stuck to home by my day job. It is hard to get away when there are things you have to do just about every day. Some things, thanks to modern technology, I can do remotely, but for most I need to be in the office.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Scott: Well, I do a basic mockup and then pass that off to a wonderful artist. Yotsuya (as he goes by online) has a way with composition and color. He does amazing things.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Scott: Editing. I hate editing. It is almost impossible to catch every single mistake, even when you have other people do it. I got one book back after having someone edit it and I did a final pass to make sure I’d entered their edits right and I found things they missed.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Scott: Get it out there. Books do no good just sitting there. They need to be out in the public. I don’t care you do what I did, self-publishing my books, or if you just hand it off to friends and family. Stories are meant to be told to others, not kept to yourself.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Scott: Follow Heinleins rules of writing. Specifically, write, finish, and then repeat. I would advise new writers to write at least three unconnected novels, edit them, polish them, learn what you are doing, then write a fourth and try to sell it. Don’t stop trying until you sell it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Scott: The true test of the quality of a writer is how much people enjoy their work. If you enjoy my work, tell your friends about it, write a review, rate it, etc. That applies to any writer you like. Reviews from the site you bought the book from are very appreciated.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Scott: No. The earlist ones I remember are Dr. Suess.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Scott: I love music and movies. Especially classic movies. I could watch TCM all day.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Scott: Well, the list is not surprising. The Star Wars saga, Doctor Who (classic and new), Star Trek (the original series and the Next Generation), Babylon 5, Airwolf, Big Bang Theory, M*A*S*H, and Battlestar Galactica (original 1978 series).
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Scott: Foods – pasta, pizza, encheladas, smothered burritos, hot dogs. Colors – black mixed with bright colors. Music – Jazz. Keiko Matsui and Vanglis (yes, his style is jazz even if he is classified as New Age most of the time).
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Scott: My dream was to be an aeronautical engineer. I wanted to build and fly space planes. Writing about it is almost as good.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Scott: My website and blog are linked. I normally just point everyone to the main page – https://sites.google.com/site/scottrseldon