Today is Spotlight Saturday, and I am honoured to be joined today by Russell Proctor, author of Days of Iron. I had the pleasure of reading Russell's science-fiction novel, and I posted my review earlier this week which you can read HERE.
Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Russell! Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 54 year old Australian man. I am presently a high school teacher. I say "presently" because I have also been a lawyer, actor, health promotion officer, medical software tutor and pizza delivery boy. What I will be in ten years time is a total unknown. I live in Brisbane, Australia and enjoy travelling, reading, astronomy and bushwalking.
Do you recall when your interest in writing originated?
I have always been interested in writing. I wanted to write the sort of books that I would like to read. My love of reading inspired my desire to write.
Do you have a specific writing style? Any quirks or superstitious routines you stick to?
I find the style as I go. I can't start writing until I know the "tone" of the story and the sort of style it should have. This means that I often don't start out with a particular plan of how the story will go. The style must suit the story being told. At the same time, I put a lot of myself into the way I tell the story. There are no particular quirks or routines I adopt. I have to be in the mood for writing. I am not one of those writers who forces themselves to write so many words a day or for so much time a day. I write when I feel like it. If I don't feel like it, I can't write, and no amount of forcing myself will produce any worthwhile result.
What inspired you to write Days of Iron?
I started writing this book when I was a teenager. Back then it was called "The Mercy Killers" and dealt not with different species of humans, but about a human woman and two different aliens (one from Sirius, one from Beta Centauri), in a repressive future society which kept everyone under control through constant surveillance. It was really bad and I put it aside. Then about 10 years ago I looked at it again (I keep everything) and thought it had more potential if I made it about terrorism. I guess I was inspired by 9/11 and the increasing problem of terrorism in the world. I wanted to work out what motivated terrorists to do the things they do. I was also fascinated by the idea of my characters stealing a very valuable diamond. That scene in the book has been in my mind for a long time and was one of the first detailed incidents I wrote.
What was the hardest part of writing Days of Iron?
The hardest part was plotting Part Three, "Lizard". Splitting my characters up and trying to co-ordinate where everyone was at what time and when things were happening was a major task. I also found getting the science "right" involved a lot of research. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible.
Are any of the characters based on someone you know?
Agnes Lawson is a combination of two people I know in real life. I'm not saying who she is based on, though, because her real-life inspirations might read this.
Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
I guess it would be to see things and people from more than one point of view. One person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter.
I am thrilled to learn that you are writing a sequel, “Shepherd Moon”. Could you please tell us a little about it?
"Shepherd Moon" (a working title - I am very bad with titles) will be a sort of prequel and sequel at the same time. It starts off with the missile attack on the "Endeavour" nine years before the events of "Days of Iron" and reveals why the attack took place. It then jumps forward to explore what happens to the major characters after the incidents of the first book. Maddy seeks for answers to her father's death (which she now suspects was actually murder). Agnes learns of an assassination attempt on a representative of the Syndicate and tries to enlist Dorac's help to prevent it. And a new character is introduced, a lawyer who is caught up in the violence and intrigue that ensues when Agnes joins forces with Maddy and Dorac. We will have a return of the Marchioness and find out the real plans of Lady Kris and that so-far unseen manipulator of all things, Admiral Stone. Who is really in charge of the Syndicate? And what is contained in the sealed cylinder that Maddy finds hidden in her father's belongings back on the "Endeavour"? Does it really hold the power to re-shape civilization?
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I enjoy astronomy (I have two telescopes), and bushwalking (otherwise known as hiking or tramping). In 2006 I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and have also walked the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
Who is your favourite author and what really strikes you about their work?
I have no favourite author. It depends on my mood. There are so many good ones out there, and I have so many books it is hard to decide. Perhaps a couple that stick in my mind more than others are Roger Zelazny and Mervyn Peake. These writers appeal to me for their quirkiness and imaginative scope. Zelazny had a particularly lean writing style that appeals to me, and a wonderful gift for dialogue. Peake's visual sense (he was an artist as well) was bizarre, along with his willingness to take risks with subject matter.
What book are you reading now?
I have just finished "The Disappearing Spoon" by Sam Kean. It is a description of the role and significance of certain chemical elements in the history of the world. I read non-fiction more than fiction, mostly science, biography and history.
Snappy questions and answers:
Favourite colour? None.
Dog-lover or cat-lover? Cats.
Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Why not both?
Beer or wine? Beer in summer, wine in winter.
Secluded mountain cabin or five-star hotel? Cabin.
If I could take an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, I would go to... Antarctica.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Russell! It was so much fun getting to know you better, and I look forward to reading Shepherd Moon!
I hope everyone enjoyed the interview!
And now for the giveaway! Russell has generously offered three copies of Days of Iron to my lucky readers! This giveaway is open to everyone, International included.
- You may enter only once!
- You must be 13 years of age or older.
- You must be a follower of Darlene's Book Nook on Google Friend Connect (see widget on the left sidebar).
- The giveaway will end on July 22nd at 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time.
- The winners will be chosen using Random.org.
- The winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim the prize.
- If the prize is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected using Random.org.
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Good luck, everyone! Thanks again, Russell, for the giveaway!
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