Monday, 23 September 2019

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

... Eric Klein

1. Tell me about your book, The One: A Cruise Through the Solar System, and where you got your inspiration for it?

This story started as a combination of a vivid dream that was most of chapters one and two. As I started writing this novel, I discussed it with my family and they kept asking the hard questions.

Not hard as in difficult to answer, but hard as in they actually needed to be spelled out. So when my son Arbel asked, “How does a space economy support pirates? If they already have a ship and a base, doesn’t that mean they don’t need to be pirates?” he got me explaining how I envisioned the pirates as being similar to the Somali pirates who are acting off the east coast of Africa. They have fast ships and skilled crews, but are still taking cargo and holding ships for ransom to fund the rest of their operation. This idea was already in my head, but by asking the question he forced me to articulate it, and thus the concept is better defined in the story (and has led to the concept of a prequel story I am currently trying to find time to write).

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it?

Some scientists get paid and funded to test out the strangest things. In researching for The One, I found out that there was actually a study done on the proper gravity to make french fries. They actually funded a group to cook up and eat french-fried potatoes using a special made deep fryer and the centrifuges used to train European astronauts for space missions.

3. Which do you use more often, dictionary or thesaurus?

This is actually a trick question, I use spell checker quite often Mostly to fix typos, but will do a lot of looking up proper spelling. Less so the thesaurus as I usually know the word I want (even if I can’t spell it).

4. Mountains or the beach?

Another mixed question. I like the beach for reading or making sand castles. But to really relax it is a hike in the mountains or along a river/stream that refreshes my soul.

5. If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?

Past. Imagine where we would be if someone could have replaced that O-ring on the space shuttle. Instead of losing almost 20 years of space development we could have had cell phones and a Moon base in the ‘80s.

6. What motivates you to succeed as a writer?

The hope that I can inspire someone to make a better future. There is too much dark and depressing in the world and in fiction, something to inspire – like Star Trek did, would be wonderful.

7. Would you rather explore a new planet, or the deepest parts of the ocean? Why?

I would prefer another planet or moon. I am convinced that we need to be a multi-planet species as soon as possible. Both to push the science and technology, but also as an insurance plan. All the people I know live on the Earth, but what happens if something happens (and as a fiction author I have a long list of what ifs that are based on real science). We know that there was at least one cataclysmic event in the past, plus near misses in the past 100 years so why think we are safe?

8. What genre do you write in and what draws you into this genre?

Science fiction, mostly hard science fiction. I like to get the science right, and success of stories like The Martian show that there is an audience that wants realistic and accurate science. Also, this way I can sort of point at a path to make it real.

9. Have you ever considered collaborating with another writer? If Yes who, if no why not?

Actually, working on two collaborations right now. Book Two in my series is with my wife. She will keep me on track to make sure that the women are realistic. The other is with a new author (and my cousin) and will be the start of a series of more tongue in cheek exploits of support services.

10. Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes, I know that “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” but the reality of marketing is that it is the cover that gets someone to stop scrolling past to look inside. Thus, the cover needs to scream out the genre and a little about the book (without spoiling the last third) in order for someone to even notice it. This is true in a book store or on-line. But when selling on-line it is harder as you need to make the thumbnail compelling enough to click.

11. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

In general, any review is a good review, even if they are tearing your writing apart. It means you touched someone enough that they had to share and not every book is for every reader. That said, I have had one review that left me scratching my head. They posted 3 lines from someone else’s book and nothing more. That is not helpful to anyone.

12. Do you think giving away books for free works and why?

To some extent, but it depends on a number of factors.

Always good to give them to libraries, especially school ones. This gets you recognized and pays back to the community at large.

If you have one book, or only the first in a series, then freebie promotions should be limited to the first 50 – 60 pages (similar to what Amazon uses in their previews).

If you have multiple books in a series out, then giving away the first one can help to get people hooked on the series.

So, as you see, it is not cut and dry.

13. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

The harshest I have received was “that makes no sense.” If your reader loses that suspension of disbelief and falls out of your story because of a detail or the writing, then you have failed and need to go fix it.

The year is 2152. What started as a normal work day for BJ Armstrong (debugging the latest faulty AI), quickly turned to the adventure of a lifetime. Join Armstrong on his all-expenses-paid 30-day cruise through the solar system on board the maiden voyage of the latest pleasure ship (complete with a beauty pageant and scientific symposium), as he tries to unravel an assassination plot and foil the biggest heist in history.

The only question that remains, will BJ get the girl?


About Eric

Eric is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy reader but has always enjoyed stories that show how the science and technology can affect people’s lives. By day he works in hi-tech, lecturing and telecom hardware security. He is married to a wonderful (and tolerant) scientist and step father to two great children. Now a step grandfather, his grandson makes an appearance in his book.