Author Interview #20, with science fiction author, Joseph Robert Lewis!
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Hi Joseph! Describe yourself in 5 words:
Obsessive, disciplined, inquisitive, busy, anosmic.
Share a blurb of your work (10-100 words):
Heirs of Mars — The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there.
To save New Troy from falling birth rates, Asher Radescu secretly clones people in the back of his old truck. To save New Troy from despair, Claudia Cruz hosts the most popular racing show on two worlds. And to save the city from destruction, they’ll rally persecuted cloners, resurrected colonists, and racing celebrities to fight homicidal AIs. HEIRS OF MARS follows the lives of six men and women through the final days of the first war on Mars, a war between humans, machines, and the resurrected souls who aren’t truly one or the other. But even if they survive the war, there is no escape from the red planet.
Visit my site for two free short stories set before Heirs of Mars (19 years and 24 hours, respectively): http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/books/heirs-of-mars/
Share a list of your favorite author’s novels that influenced your new book:
Accelerando, by Charles Stross
A Song of Ice and Fire (series), by George RR Martin
The Wreck of the River of Stars, by Michael Flynn
Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:
Writing is work. (Fun, cool, exciting work, but work nonetheless.) Heirs of Mars took a total of 250 hours of research, writing, revising, editing, and polishing. I believe a book has to be perfect — every word, every idea. If you expect someone to pay for your work, then they deserve the best work possible. Never settle for “good enough”! But with practice and experience, I’ve found a process and a rhythm for completing an entire novel in 3-4 months and while it is still work, it is work I really enjoy.
In sharp contrast, publishing is easy. It took me less than an hour to properly format and upload the book itself. And then a handful of hours to update my website and blog and to post announcements on the various ebook forums and review sites, as well as my fellow indie authors’ blogs. The best part is that I can simply reuse the same text and images and links for most of those announcements. And at that point, it’s pretty much up to the world to either take an interest or pass. As for me, I’m off to write another book!
What is your definition of “good writing”?
There’s no such thing. Good writing is whatever an audience enjoys. (Seriously, we’re all people and we all have different tastes.) It can be over-written purple prose, like Tolkien, and it can be under-written dots and dashes, like Hemingway. Any abundance or lack of description, dialog, action, and exposition can be “good.” All you have to do is find your audience.
(But if you can’t find an audience, well, then you’re writing may not be good. Or you may have forgotten to get published. Check your royalties if you’re not sure which.)
Please share your #1 tip for writers:
Have a goal. I don’t mean as an author: “I want to be rich and famous.” But as a writer trying to write a book, have a goal. Don’t just try to tell a story. Try to accomplish something, whether it’s as simple as making your readers laugh or as ambitious as inspiring them to lead a revolution.
Do you want to be funny, or scary, or erotic? Do you want to fight social injustice by creating heroes for a certain type of reader? Do you want to expose people to exciting new ideas in science or fascinating facts from history? Once you have a goal, hold on to it. As you write your book, keep asking yourself whether you’re moving closer to reaching your goal. If the answer is no, then start reaching for your Backspace key.
Heirs of Mars is available on —
Much thanks to Mr. Lewis for the chat!