Frequently Asked Questions
When did you start writing?
Iíve always written. Itís just something Iíve enjoyed doing since I was a child. I used to love getting story writing assignments at school. I seemed to have a vivid imagination even back then.
As I got older I wrote different things. At University I used to write sports articles and film reviews for the University newspaper and then when I went out to work, my first job was writing abstracts (short summaries) from technical and scientific patent documents.
It was during this time that I went back to creative writing.
Did you always want to be an author?
To be honest, Iíd never really thought about it. A lot of people have dreams of writing a book and I was the same way. I just wanted to write a book and prove to myself that I could do it. Authorís always seemed to be ďother people.Ē
At the time I wrote Project U.L.F., it was more just something I did for my own gratification. I knew the publishing business was difficult to break in to so I didnít really expect to make it into print. I was lucky though and Silver Leaf Books liked the story enough to take me on Ė so obviously Iím thrilled that the book has been published. Iím still getting used to the idea that Iím an author!
How did you get the idea for Project U.L.F.?
I was tired of seeing the same old alien encounter story where some vastly superior alien race invades earth and destroys mankind. I wanted to flip that on its head and I got to thinking about whether mans deep space probes would ever encounter life in the universe and if they did, what would that life be like. Itís extremely likely that any alien life form encountered will be relatively simple life.
Faced with that, my next thought was, how would we treat such extra-terrestrial life if we found it?
I work for a large Natural History film maker so Iím constantly being reminded of how we treat our fellow inhabitants of planet earth. We capture it, we dissect it, we tag it and track it, we exhibit it in zoos. It didnít seem too much of a leap of faith to me that we would probably be doing the same kind of thing in five hundred years time. Itís just in our nature. Weíre a curious race.
Once Iíd got the idea of a futuristic zoo, it was just a matter of building a story around that.
What made you decide to write Project U.L.F.?
Shortly after finishing University, I enrolled in a ďScriptwriting for Film and TelevisionĒ course. The very last class of that course, our instructor told us to come up with an idea for a screenplay and pitch it to the rest of the class. The idea that I came up with was essentially Project U.L.F. and it was met with such enthusiasm that I thought I might be on to something so I went away and wrote it and it ended up being a novel instead of a screenplay.
Will there be other stories in the Project U.L.F. Universe?
I certainly hope so. Iím currently working on a second book so as long as my publisher likes it, there will be a second installment on its way soon.
Are there other stories you want to write?
Yes! Loads! Iím constantly having ideas for stories but there are a couple of projects that Iím excited about. Iím also currently working on a feature length screenplay which is almost complete.
Who are your influences?
Thereís a number of authors whose work I really enjoy and admire and they are scattered across many genres. Firstly, Craig Thomas, whose descriptive writing is excellent. Thomas is excellent at setting the scene and really making you feel like you are there. Thomas writes a lot of cold war thrillers. Probably his most famous work to date is Firefox.
Secondly Terry Brooks. Brooks first Shannara trilogy was my first introduction to fantasy and I thought it was amazing. Three great books.
Staying in the fantasy realm, Tad Williams is another author who I really enjoy. His Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series was outstanding. I particularly liked the way Williams departed from the usual fantasy fare and created whole new races.
Finally, Iíve just started reading John Connollyís books. Connolly writes supernatural thrillers. I find his writing style to be so easy to read and his characters are always interesting.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Believe in yourself. Believe in your work. Be Persistent.
Every author has a pile of rejection letters somewhere. You just need to get a lucky break and the only way to do that is to keep putting your work out there.