Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello.My name is Paul B. Spence. I’m forty-five years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from a little town in Kentucky, although I live in New Mexico now.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have bachelor of science degrees in geology and cultural anthropology and a master of arts degree in archaeology. I have read thousands of books since I started reading at the age of nine. I am divorced, with no children. I do have cats, though.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, my latest novel,Project Brimstone, the first of a new series, just launched at the beginning of May. I am currently working on the fourth novel for The Awakeningseries, titled Star’s End.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Hmm. That is a hard question. I’ve always been a storyteller. I told myself stories at night long before I got past my dyslexia and learned to read. I wrote my first novella in seventh grade; it wasn’t very good, as you may imagine. It was a tired little story about a space fighter pilot ending up in the future to help fight a war. I wrote for the RPG industry for a while in my twenties. Then, after my divorce, I decided to get serious about writing my own stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when my first book starting selling, and I got positive feedback. People seem to identify with my characters, especially Hrothgar Tebrey,and that makes me feel good.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first two completed novels were never published. The idea for them came from the rather painful trials of my life. They were thrillers. Not sure I’d want anyone to know some of that stuff… As for my first published book, I created a character during a freeform gaming session with my brother Thomas. That character became Tebrey.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my first book? It was difficult. I went through several working titles. I settled on The Remnant because I felt it conveyed a slightly sinister tone to the work, which is very apropos. It also can be taken several different ways. I like the ambiguity.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m not sure. I write third person, single viewpoint within each scene, multiple viewpoint over with multiple plot threads for most of novels. Project Brimstone is a little different, since it has a tight focus on a single character, Major Harrison. That was challenging, as I was used to following different characters and showing different sides of the story through different eyes. I wrote Project Brimstone like this purposely to challenge myself. Can I write novel length from only one viewpoint? Yes, yes I can. As for the genre, science fiction requires a bit of work to pull off. You have to do a lot of research. I sometimes do pages of calculations for scenes with space travel. I want to get the science right. I’m happy to step into the realm of speculation, but I will not violate something we know to be science fact.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
This is harder to answer. Nothing I write now is really based on my life. I suppose that I write tall male characters to some degree because I myself am tall and male. I’m 6’4″ and a muscular 240lbs. I’ve studied martial arts. I have been in real fights. I’ve been hurt badly. I suppose some of that comes through in the stories. I don’t take it easy on my characters. It is hard to say, since I write science fiction set in space, and I haven’t been. Sadly.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, not really. I travel a bit as an archaeologist. I’ve been to a lot of interesting places in my life. I suppose that helps. As a part of the process? No.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did, actually.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not sure that I have a message, per se, in any of them. I’m just trying to write stories that people will enjoy. I daresay some people will get different things from different stories. Major Harrison, in Project Brimstone, is very introspective about his life and career in Special Operations. I suppose that is a message of sorts.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
New authors? Not sure. I read when I can, which is not as much as I used to. I barely make it through a couple dozen books a year now. I liked In Siege of Daylight, by Gregory S. Close, even though it is fantasy, which is not my favorite genre. I got to read part of his unpublished novel Greyspace, a science fantasy I’d buy in a heartbeat if he gets it published.
As for my favorite author, whew. Hard one. I suppose I would have to go with Roger Zelazny. I really love how he mixed mythic themes into his science fiction and fantasy. He also blurred (wiped out) the line between fantasy and science fiction in many of his stories. His magic felt like science, and his science felt like magic. His short work often has a haunting quality to it. I love it all.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Jane Lindskold. I met her at Bubonicon years ago, and she gave me some really great advice.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I like to. Best I can do. I don’t make enough from my writing at the moment to give up my career as an archaeologist. Not sure I’d want to give that up completely, to be honest. I love working on digs. It is hard physical labor, and mentally challenging. Discovery is a hard thrill to give up. I do think I would like a career as a writer, though. I have four novels out now, and hope to have a fifth out this year. I have plans for many more.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In Project Brimstone? No, I can’t think of anything. My beta readers gave me great feedback, and I tweaked a few things before it went to print. I’m very happy with the story as it stands now. I’m looking forward to writing the next book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Hard to say. I wrote most of Project Brimstone without needing to research anything. I do feel that the tight focus on a single viewpoint forced me to develop as a writer. I’ve gotten a good response from readers so far.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Gerard Butler, maybe? He is the right height and build. I think he could pull off the role of a world-weary Special Operations soldier.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t get caught up in too much planning. Just find your voice and start writing. I create a character, a situation, and write till I reach a goal in the plot.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you like The Awakening series, with Hrothgar Tebrey, sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a sneak peek this summer ofStar’s End, the next in that series.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading C.J. Cherryh’s novel Inheritor, the third Foreigner novel. I really like the anthropology and linguistics in the series. She really did her homework.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes. Podkayne of Mars, by Robert A. Heinlein.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Many things. In a story? I laugh at the jokes and references in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels. I cry when I re-read the discussion of courage in Oath of Gold, by Elizabeth Moon.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Just one? I suppose His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I’m not religious, but he seems like a great guy.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Oh, more than I should. I tabletop wargame, Warhammer 40k and Bolt Action, and I participate in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I also play too many video games on the PS4.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like most science fiction shows and movies. I also like crime dramas. I’m currently working my way through Vera, a BBC crime drama.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love curry, and/or just about anything with good meat in it. I am fond of wearing greens and browns. I like rock and roll, alternative, folk, Celtic, and classical, esp. Chopin and Mussorgsky.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Must I? I suppose I’d just be an archaeologist, then.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
You assume I want one. I don’t really care, to be honest. I’ll be dead and gone. I suppose if anyone does care enough to place I’d like it have something silly on it, like “look over your shoulder” or something.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do. I have a blog on webpage www.paulbspence.com. It is mirrored on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Amazon Author page USA https://www.amazon.com/Paul-B.-Spence/e/B001K7YZ7Q
The Remnant https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K8G4KFW
The Fallen https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LJN3GLM
The Madness Engine https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WLGX4TK
Project Brimstone https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XZW9XRG