Name Andrew Weston
Where are you from?
Birmingham, in the UK
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I’m sixth generation military. Although I carried on the tradition of my father’s family by joining the Royal Navy, I specialized and qualified for the Royal Marines. After almost 9 years service, I became a police officer until my medical retirement in 2009.
Over the intervening years, I married and became father to two great kids – who are now young adults – was an active sportsperson for various rugby, swimming and athletic teams, opened a number of martial art clubs specializing in Ju Jitsu, Aikido, and Taiho Jutsu, and basically, kept myself as active as possible.
On the intellectual side, I graduated in a number of disciplines; astronomy and criminal law included, and was an active member of MENSA. In my spare time, I now write educational blogs for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories, and also assist NASA on one of their remote research projects.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news obviously relates to a brand new release – as of January 26th – entitled “The IX”. It’s a historical science fiction action adventure that has become an international bestseller, tops a sheaf of Goodreads lists, and is attracting all sorts of favorable attention. I’m stunned, and literally pinch myself on a daily basis. The team at Perseid Press has been fantastic, and I’m really grateful for the support they have extended to this project.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was injured on duty in 2007 whilst serving as a police officer. In and out of hospital for a few years, I was told I’d never walk again, and ended up being medically retired. My wife and I moved to Greece, hoping the warmer weather would contribute to a recovery. It worked. Well – that and a positive attitude did. I can now run and train again, and while I no longer have the level of fitness I once enjoyed, I can nevertheless enjoy life once more.
Once we’d arrived here, my wife suggested I put all the ideas I’d built up over the years down in writing. After all, I had the time…so I thought, why not?
The rest is now history. I got my 1st contract in 2012, and haven’t looked back.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose I would say it was after securing that first contact. But it didn’t really sink in until I held a copy of my book in my hand. Then it was…woo-hoo!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not that I know of, I just write. Various reviewers have likened my style to Jerry Pournelle, and Robert A. Heinlen…A huge honor.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It kind of stuck from the idea that inspired the entire novel. I undertook the writing of The IX following an animated discussion during a Royal Marines veterans reunion dinner in the early part of 2013. Military history has always been a hobby of mine, and several ex-colleagues started a debate as to the true fate of the legendary lost 9th Legion of Rome. Five thousand men marched into the mists of Northern Caledonia (Scotland) around AD100 – 120 and were never seen again.
That conversation stayed with me for several months until I happened to catch an old movie on TV, Millennium. In that film, time travelers visit the present day and steal passengers from doomed aircraft with the intention of repopulating a barren world of the future.
I am an avid science fiction buff, and the conversation from the reunion dinner immediately sprang to mind. Obviously, I began to imagine what if?
What if they were taken? Not into our future…but somewhere and somewhen else entirely. And what might it be like if their antagonists were also snatched away with them?
I started to let that though roll, and came up with a nice twist. Would it be a good idea to include other groups of refugees from varying time periods, and throw them together into a nightmare scenario where they had to face death all over again?
It took a great deal of research and preparation, but I was very pleased with the resulting outline, as it provided a fresh approach to an exciting genre.
So there you go. As I say, the title sprang from my original concept. The IX (Roman symbols for 9) is simple and really eye-catching.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sometimes, we face hurdles in life that seem overwhelming. Then something bigger and nastier comes along that makes you realize, wow, my problems seem so small. In the IX, former enemies who hated each other with a vengeance are thrown into a situation where their choice is really simple. Forget your former animosities, and pull together against a greater enemy…or you simply won’t survive. Being a military veteran who has seen action in a number of theaters around the world, it’s a premise I pondered on for quite a while. You know…what would I do in a situation like this? Remembering some of the people I’ve had to fight against, would I really be able to put aside my feelings and concentrate on staying alive, especially if it was against a relentless, remorseless nemesis who wanted all life extinguished?
The survivor in me answered the question quite easily…Hell Yes!
As the tagline of the IX says, Fight or Die!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, it’s a work of fiction, but, ‘Facts’ are the foundation of any good story. If it’s believable, people will be able to relate to what they’re reading. If they relate to it, you capture their imagination. You suck them into your imaginary world and get them involving themselves. That’s exactly what you want. Yes, by all means – stretch the imagination – make it outlandish and ethereal if you want to. But ensure to base it in well researched ‘reality’. Remember, even if your characters live in a world of magic and wonder, unless you’ve done your homework, and established that magical system upon well founded ‘laws and precepts’ – ‘strengths and limitations’, it’s going to sound false and turn people off. You have to consider such things nowadays…or suffer the consequences.
With the IX, the 9th were a real Legion who existed and disappeared into the mists of Caledonia. The 5th cavalry company were based in a time of real civil unrest during American history. The Special Forces unit were based on real experiences from my life in the military. The fighting styles and methods of each faction involved are based on real elements and techniques. So yes, even though the IX is a science fiction novel, it’s as realistic as it can be.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of them are. Let’s just say, I’ve lived through some of those battle scenes in an earthly setting. The sights, sounds, smell and sensations never go away… J
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most?
I think the easiest way to answer that is to list what immediately comes into my head.
My first every astronomy book. It put me on a road I’ve never ceased to love.
The bible, it triggered an interest in spirituality, faith, and origins. It’s really fascinating to look into the differences – and similarities – between the various beliefs systems that saturate the world.
1984 & Animal Farm by George Orwell. I loved the allegorical messages they so cleverly portrayed about society from different poles.
And finally, Stephen Hawkins, A Brief History of Time. A great peek into the epic subjects of cosmology, physics, and black holes. Real – expand your mind – stuff.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I don’t get time to read much. I’m still a ‘part-time’ writer, so have to maintain a strict schedule to keep up to date with my projects. However, I intend to change that soon.
The last book I enjoyed was “The Reader of Acheron” by Walter Rhein.
A clever and entertaining peek into a dystopian future where higher forms of education are banned on pain of death. Try it, you’ll like it J
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on a future story set firmly within the IX concept, as well as a number of anthologies and related novels to a brand new series which will form part of Janet Morris’ “Heroes in Hell” universe. Busy, busy, busy.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Most certainly. One day soon, I’ll be writing full time. It won’t just be a career, it’ll be a vocation. And once I can devote all my energy to what I want to do, look out! THEN you’ll see something special. J
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the peace and quiet I need to concentrate. I like to write in silence, with just my thoughts and visualizations to keep me company. Even music is distracting. As you can imagine, that’s difficult to achieve while I still work and have a family at home to share my time with.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I would say it’s a tie between Stephen Donaldson & Raymond E. Feist. Donaldson is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent writers of our time. His work is deep, and wonderfully descriptive. Raymond Feist’s work is immense, and incredibly entertaining. Both writers have helped me while away the hours over many decades.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
You could say that. How does seventy five lightyears grab you? That’s over 442 trillion miles. But it is set on Arden, on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy. (Along the Scutum-Centaurus Arm. “Are we there yet?”
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Aha, the wonderful cover to the IX was created by Roy Mauritsen. He did an absolutely fantastic job, and it makes an instant impact the moment you lay eyes on it. J
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time for isolation. As I mentioned, I need to ensure my concentration doesn’t get interrupted by constant distractions. Writing deserves your best, and I won’t give anything but my best.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Simply this. Keep trying, keep working, and never stop applying yourself to the improvement of your craft. Develop your own unique style, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I could read before I started school. Because I had a deep fascination in the stars, my parents got me a small, simple book on basic astronomy. “The Night Sky” I think it was called…I loved it. (Needless to say, I had my first telescope not long after that).
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Being tickled. What can I say, I’m incredibly ticklish.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Ooooh, good one. I think it would be the grandfather I never met, Grandpa Fred Weston. I’ve only ever seen photographs of him, and from the stories I heard, he was a great guy, always laughing and joking. He served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and his escort ship was destroyed by marauding U-boats. One of the few survivors, he was taken aboard another frigate which was also torpedoed. Sadly, this time he didn’t make it. His loss affected the family deeply, and I don’t think my Grandmother ever fully recovered.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“The one that got away” – I think it’s obvious J
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I enjoy astronomy, running, and completing puzzles…And I still manage to teach martial arts & self defense, so my days are pretty full.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV Shows Past: Battlestar Galactica, (+ related spin-offs) Stargate, (all of them) Babylon Five, The Tomorrow People…(bit of a theme developing, eh?)
Laurel & Hardy, (they make me cry with laughter), Tom & Jerry, and Roadrunner.
TV Shows Present: Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy, The Americans, Walking Dead, and the National History Channel, (lest we forget),
Films: (I watch repeatedly) Wuthering heights, (Original) Cloud Atlas, (Great concept)
Aliens, (when the panic sets in), The Devil Wears Prada, (awesome), and finally, Forbidden Planet. (Who knew Leslie Neilsen could keep a straight face?)
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Music? I have an incredibly wide taste. Evanescence, Green Day, Pink, Rihanna, One Republic, Enya, Linda Thornton, Vivaldi, Camille Saint-Saëns, Mozart. Weird eh?
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
That’s easy. I always wanted to be an astronaut.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Author Page: