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?
My name is Derek Selby, and I just turned 24.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Mexico.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was homeschooled/self-taught and never went to high school. I’ve been living in San Diego for about three years now. I work for a local conservation corps, helping out with recycling programs. We raise awareness of the environmental hazards of old electronics and collect them for free before they can go to landfills. I’m single with no kids. I used to have a lot of cats though!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just published a 91-page novella, The Men In Plum, on Amazon. It’s a humorous sci-fi story.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My stepdad Mike compulsively collected a lot of books on religion and mythology, which I more or less took away from him and started to study. When I was about twelve I began writing down my thoughts about them, planning to publish them later.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the spring of 2012, I wrote the first draft for Cold War. After this point I considered myself a writer, albeit unpublished.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Mike had Neo-Nazi leanings that he kept secret for a long time. After they became apparent, I recorded a lot of sad-but-funny anecdotes about him that I wanted to make use of somehow. So I moved my focus from folklore to novel writing for a few months.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title is a play on words. By sabotaging the climate so that Russia freezes, Balfour thinks he will win the “Cold War” in the most literal way possible.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My inspirations while I wrote the first draft were P.G. Wodehouse (my favorite author at the time) and Dan Brown. My narrative style makes use of the most absurdly mundane metaphor possible for a really profound-sounding event, whatever I feel will make the reader really come back and look again at what’s happening and realize that it’s being blown way out of proportion by the characters. Perfecting this process is probably the most challenging part of writing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
While I never had the excitement of someone trying to tip over the world, Balfour is based on the last two years with Mike.Cold War involved a very intense process for me of trying to imagine the schizophrenic mind-set from the inside using the information I had gathered, so that I could fill out the gaps in the manuscript.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I had a definite budget when it came time to prepare my manuscript for publication, so I collected all of the Google Earth data, tourist photos, blogs, etc., that I could find about each place and made a map of where each scene took place so I could pick out the details I needed for an accurate narrative. While most of the people may be made-up, the plants and buildings that they find were actually there in summer of 2015.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed the covers myself. The paperback version uses a photo I took in the Baja desert.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to realize what kind of psychological state generates the hate that we see all around us in the media and what truly ridiculous thoughts and behaviors go hand-in-hand with it on the individual level. When we address the hate by itself as a separate issue instead of looking at where it came from and what help those people might need, we lose this context.
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?
I don’t like calling favorites when there are so many books that I haven’t had the time to read, but I would probably say John Grisham. He’s a very sophisticated author.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Probably the most support I’ve received for my book is from the conservation corps where I work. The staff members are very proud of it.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see myself in two years as part-time author, part-time project supervisor. Royalty money dries up eventually unless you’re Tom Clancy.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I feel strongly that my works represented the best I had to offer when I wrote them. Any improvements in my writing techniques will be reflected in my future projects.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
It was kind of surprising when the ceramic pistol that I included in the book’s first draft in 2012—impossible to make with the technology available at the time—actually became possible by July 2018 when my final edits were made.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sam Claflin comes close to playing Grant.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Patience is your greatest ally if you hope to publish. I waited six years.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Show the book to your friends!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I recently finished The Hit by David Baldacci.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. The first book I remember reading is Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I like watching Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and James Corden when they aren’t copying each other’s jokes.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I still study folklore and mythology and how it morphed into popular culture. The most hardened skeptics enjoy watching or reading something that was inspired by the myths that they debunk.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Legends of Tomorrow and most things Marvel (except the Netflix spinoffs), the A-Team movie, GoldenEye. On a lighter side—Inside Out, Overboard, Rise of the Guardians, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Secret Life of Pets.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite food used to be pickles but they don’t make good pickles anymore. Nowadays I don’t really care about food beyond staying healthy. Dark blue and black look best on me. Favorite music: Def Leppard, AC-DC, Aerosmith, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga, Joan Jett, Elvis, Toby Keith.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would probably concentrate on expanding the corps’ recycling projects.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Probably watching Agents of SHIELD reruns.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Made in China
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Me: Amazon Author Central: www.amazon.com/author/derekselby