Name Edmund Lester (admittedly a pen name)
Where are you from
- Originally from Solihull, now living in Leicestershire
- Studied Mathematics and Astrophysics at University
- Very tall
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
- Since restarting writing early in 2015 have written four novels, three novellas and a number of short stories
- Two of the short stories have sold, one was published in American small press magazine the Literary Hatchet
- Received an offer of publication for my horror novel Mr. Stinky
- Unfortunately had to decline as could not agree terms
- Currently finishing first draft of a YA Supernatural novel
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I am a lifelong reader and collector of science fiction, fantasy and horror. I spent a number of years running a, now defunct, fansite/online magazine called the Eternal Night which featured book reviews, articles and short fiction Most of the reviews and articles were mine. I edited the fiction side of the site.
Ideas for stories and novels have always occurred to me; as have alternate ways to end other people’s tales. After listening to my wife say “Well, why don’t you write it better” a few dozen times I finally decided to give it a try. That was six years ago.
I wrote only short stories, articles and book/film reviews at first and sold a number of them (more than fifty, less than a hundred). And then it ended. I had the opportunity to start up a sideline business alongside my day job and time for writing evaporated.
Having sold that business at the end of 2014 I returned to writing early last year and have been hooked ever since. The difference this time is the ideas I have had have suited a longer length than before – novella and novel length much more than short stories – although I have written a handful of shorter stories.
This has made sales a little scarcer than my first foray into writing but the process of writing novels, and exploring the characters and scenarios in greater detail, has been far more rewarding personally.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose the first time I finished a story, leant back in my chair and thought, “I’ve done it”.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have a large collection of books. The desk where I write (and where I am typing these answers) is in the middle of my library. The thought of one day holding a book with my (pen) name on the cover is incredible.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My favorite author when I was younger was Isaac Asimov. He is still one of my favorite authors and I re-read his books periodically. I remember reading something he said about writing style. It can be summarised simply as “Don’t let the writing get in the way of the story”.
That’s my aim. Try not to be too verbose; tell the story and don’t overelaborate. I repeat it to myself whenever I start writing. Of course, I can’t claim to always be successful at it. Hopefully I can find and correct any that get through my internal editor when I revise.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles are strange things. Occasionally phrases that would make good book titles pop into my head. I have a notebook I write them down in. One of the novels and two of the novellas I have written have come out of a title
Other stories have changed titles multiple times before they have reached the end of first draft. As I write my way through the plot (always outlined before starting) I can become disillusioned with the title and an alternative will pop up that I find irresistible.
In a nutshell, they just turn up. Hopefully they always will.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It’s a little bit mixed. The first novel I wrote (or at least the first I will allow to see the light of day) is a horror novel meant purely to entertain. I don’t think there is a message in it.
The second is a political science fiction novel set on an alternate Earth. It does feature some themes I feel strongly about. The threads include prejudice, corruption and complacency.
My third novel, a YA Fantasy, also has prejudice (in this case sexism) core to the plot.
Novel four is a bawdy science fiction comedy with absolutely no message other than how gross can I make my euphemisms.
My current WiP is another YA novel, supernatural this time. It’s something of a coming of age story with ghosts and warlocks; no real message.
I will be flipping back to a message laden story next. I’ve invented a future world and created a new cult/religion to fill it. I guess you could say I am writing a warning of following a cult.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The current book is set in and around the town where I live, Ashby de la Zouch. I’ve tried to be as accurate to Ashby as I could, barring the creation of a couple of places necessary to the plot. I can’t say the ghosts and warlocks are particularly realistic though.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything I write comes from someone I know, somewhere I’ve been, something I’ve done, read or watched.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The author that inspired me most in life was Isaac Asimov. I first read his fiction when I was nine and he hooked me on science fiction and science.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Alan Bennett – the Lady in the Van
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
The most recent author that went from the interesting to the “I need to read everything this author’s written” was Max Barry.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
YA Supernatural novel called the Stairs Lead Down. The next one on the stocks is a science fiction novel called the Church… I’m deliberately keeping the full title a secret. It’s one of those where the title came first. As soon as I had it the story just dropped into place.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Twitter. I have had a number of wonderful twitter chats with very supportive people. They keep me going.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I think I could only classify that as a pipe dream
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably a hundred things.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Out of reading.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding enough time to concentrate
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It’s a toss up between the following
- Isaac Asimov (wonderfully easy to read)
- Robert Charles Wilson (amazing ides)
- Mike Resnick (great sense of adventure)
- Max Barry (I love his slant on the world)
- Clifford D. Simak (again it’s the ideas)
- Edmund Cooper (never fails to entertain)
- Stephen King (no one does characters better)
- Zoran Živković (beautiful prose, surreal situations)
- Michael Moorcock (read Behold the Man, you’ll know the answer)
- Shakespeare (all the best stories)
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
As yet none of my novels/novellas are published
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Letting go of them enough to submit them to agents and publishers
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
From my first two attempts (my writing prequels) I learned how to focus stories. From the others it’s been the power of the internet. Researching now is so much easier than when I was doing it for my degree
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read as much as you can
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope, if you read one of my stories, you will finish it feeling you have been entertained. If not, you have my apologies
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably Dr. Seuss. They are certainly the first I know of. In terms of novels it would be Roald Dahl. In terms of science fiction it was Isaac Asimov, Through a Glass Darkly
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh – I love comedians like Robin Williams, Billy Connelly, Bill Bailey.
Cry – Richard Curtis films
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Meeting your heroes is dangerous. No one can live up to the pedestal you have built.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
He will be missed
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Collecting; mainly books but also pottery and outmoded technology
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
- Star Trek
- Richard Curtis Films
- Groundhog Day
- Doctor Who
- Monty Python
- Shakespeare Films
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food – Italian (Pasta/Pizza)
Colour – Green
- The Who
- Dream Theater
- King Crimson
- Bruce Springsteen
- Tom Waits
- Bob Dylan
- Frank Zappa
- Neal Morse/Spock’s Beard/Transatlantic
- Kate Bush
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?