When Nate Maddox arrives on a strange and distant moon for a long overdue holiday, he is given the opportunity of a lifetime; experience his past memories as physical re-creations. He is soon amazed to find himself exploring moments of his history thought long forgotten, such as playing in the park as a small boy, or times working for his father aboard his giant asteroid mining ship. But exciting as that may be for Nate, his visit is going to be anything but relaxing. When a mysterious intruder arrives with murderous intent, Nate is caught well and truly in the middle.
A holiday in the stars turns deadly in the pages of ‘Transitory’, a sci-fi mystery penned by Ian Williams, who has been kind enough to join me today to chat about this novel. Ian, thanks for giving me a little time to gossip about your work. Where did the seeds of this work develop?
I came up with the idea when watching an episode of Star Trek. In that episode Captain Picard visited a pleasure planet, called Risa. I began to think; if I could go anywhere in the galaxy for a vacation and meet any alien race I wanted, where would I go? From that I decided I would love to revisit my past, perhaps even explore my own memories.
And did you take this chance to explore that your own memories while writing?
Nate’s childhood, as seen inside the Rift, was roughly based on my memories playing with friends in the park near my home. I often look back on those days, and it’s always sunny, like summer went on for years at a time. The same goes for Nate too, at least until he remembers times during his later years.
Did you personally find the opportunity to look back on the simplicity of childhood the most pleasing part of writing? Or did some other creative element strike you deeper?
Having fun describing the planet and its moon, and the alien races that visited the holiday planet in this book too. I could let my mind run wild.
How did your wild mind encounter your characters? And how did they unfold?
The two characters I had in my mind before I began writing this book were Nate and L’Armin. These two characters are polar opposites, but through a series of events are forced to work together. I wanted Nate to be a bit of a smart-arse when readers first met him. He’s not the most likable of people. Over the course of the story, however, I hope readers will warm to him and even come to like him. And as for L’Armin, he is a spiritual person who sees the good in all things.
Would you like to catch up with this contrasting duo and the rest of the cast if they could come to life?
Absolutely. I think I would enjoy listening to L’Armin’s stories. He has seen so much in his lifetime. On the other hand, I would instantly dislike Stuart, like most people would I suspect. Stuart would ruin any party he attended.
*Laughs* Maybe the party could still be salvaged despite his best efforts. Your writing does seem to include some thematic elements, was this an intended effort on your part, or did they unfold as you wrote?
I don’t set out to include themes, but sometimes I find one while writing and run with it. For Transitory, the theme of corporate greed and natural resource mining was there from the very beginning. From the perspective of one of the alien characters, asteroid mining is a devastating and highly destructive process, which he struggles to understand. To him humanity appears to be a dangerous race.
What is the central message that you wanted to share with the audience and was it taken from these outside character perspectives?
Big business should never come at the expense of natural resources. The main character, Nate, works for an asteroid mining company and he often forgets that his job could be seen as a bad thing for those who do not share the same desire for profit.
Overall looking back on the journey of ‘Transitory’ what did you feel was the most satisfying aspect of seeing this book come to life?
This was my first ever attempt at writing a novel, so the most rewarding thing for me was that I found it so easy to finish. I’ve heard others say that their story seemed to write itself, and I would say that was how it felt for me with this book. It ignited my love for writing.
Now that your passion for the written word has been ignited, I’m guessing you’ve already started working on your next writing project. What can you tell us about it?
I am currently working on a new project with another author (and a great friend too). We are creating an entire brand around one very simple but powerful concept. The plan is to launch this new project by the end of the year. It will be an amazing opportunity and a huge amount of fun as well, for both of us and for readers too.
Creating a brand and book together sounds like a blast! What keeps you coming back to explore the world through writing?
It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing. I have an overactive imagination and I often find myself having to write ideas down so I have room for more. Writing stories is a hobby I will never give up either, I just couldn’t imagine ever stopping.
As you don’t ever imagine stopping, I’m curious to know how you start a new work. Are you a bigger planner or do you let it unfold when you turn up at the keyboard?
Most of the time I have a rough idea of how the book will end, but that can – and often does – change by the time I reach that point. I won’t force an ending on a story that doesn’t match, even if I had it planned out in advance. I like to allow stories to develop naturally.
How do you guide the stories through editing to ensure that what you’ve written isn’t lost and the central points are improved?
After an initial three to four months to write the first draft of a book, I will then spend the same amount of time on editing alone. During the writing process I may find a theme I like or come across what I call the Eureka! Moments (when everything starts to click together, like finding that one missing piece of a giant jigsaw), and I will spend many hours just on that one element.
How to you get the best out of yourself to make sure those jigsaw pieces are slotting together?
The main technique I use is with time management. I like to break tasks up into smaller chunks so it is easier to handle. I will know how many thousands of words I need to write each month, week, even day to get the book finished. I won’t stop until I’ve got the first draft done either. Any changes I want to make will be kept in note form until the second draft.
As you’ve now moved your own book from the second draft to the completed novel stage, do you have advice for other authors looking to do the same?
I would say, keep yourself surrounded by like-minded people, those who are writing too. Some of the best advice I’ve received while writing have come from other authors. Don’t be afraid to ask for others’ opinions on writing styles and voices. And of course, keep reading. Learn from the best writers out there.
What is the best advice that you’ve heard from the best writers out there?
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” – Stephen King
As we’ve taken on the advice of Stephen King and taken the time and tools to read and write, I’d like to take some time to play around a little with language through the fantastic and fabulous quick fire question round. First we’ll go with: Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Only one, really: be nice!
Effective and simple. What more could you want from a life philosophy? Now I wonder is your favourite quote in the same vein? What is your favourite quote?
“Isn’t it sad when bad things happen to good sentences?” Taken from the TV show Frasier.
*Laughs* I’m impressed you only managed to pick one quote from Frasier. There’s so many great lines to pick from! What is your zodiac sign?
Does your day job influence you writing?
I spent seven years working for the UK Court Service. Working somewhere like that has taught me to be pragmatic in all things. No problem is too big if you can take the time to look at it from all angles and deal with it in a sensible manner.
Viewing all angels is great advice for authors to remember. Now let’s move away from questions dealing with sensible manners. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature, what would they be?
An octopus and a cat – octopussy cat
*Laughs* That sounds so cute and weird. I want one! Can you stand on your hands unassisted?
No, my wheelchair would get in the way :)
Those pesky wheelchairs preventing you from showing your gymnastic prowess! What is your favourite word?
And finally, can you leave myself and the audience with a line from your novel that you feel will entice us to explore the pages of ‘Transitory’?
“Your memories are the glass pieces” L’Armin continued. “We can put the pieces back together and witness its full form again. You must let the Beings of the Rings guide you in piecing your memories back together.”
Ian, thanks for piecing your memories from the development to the distribution of your novel together with the interview questions to create a wonderful exploration of ‘Transitory’. And I hope that you continue to explore the final frontier within your writing career.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Transitory ( ASIN: B00LACOVU2 )‘.