Sunday, 23 December 2007

Author Interview - Joel Shepherd



In the books you've written, who is you favourite character and why?

>Very hard to pick a favorite, but since we're talking about the Cassandra Kresnov series here, I'll say Sandy (Cassandra) herself. She's possibly the least biased and most open minded person you'd be likely to meet on most matters -- a natural pragmatist who is simultaneously intrigued by non-pragmatic things precisely because they're unnecessary. She looks at everything as though it were new and fascinating, which as a writer forces me to do so too.

What character is most like you?

>I think they all have elements of me, but none of them are truly like me. If writers were that interesting, we wouldn't have to invent other people to populate our novels.

If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

>Hell no. My characters live dangerous lives.

If you could live in your fantasy/sf world, would you? Would you live in somebody else's?

>I think Tanusha would be a cool place to live sure. I actually think one of the coolest fantasy universes to live would be the Star Wars universe... which is not to say I like every tale in every medium set in that universe. But living in a place with countless inhabited worlds, where you can actually travel between them all, wouldn't get boring very quickly

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

>The ones that don't work are the hardest to write. Sad scenes (killing a major character) are usually quite easy, because emotion usually flows well onto the page for me. When a scene doesn't work, when it's boring, when it doesn't do what I want it to do, I usually have to figure out why, and where it's gone wrong, and if I truly need it anyway -- that's hard.

What is your university degree in?

>International Relations. My primary interest is human civilisation, all my books are about it in one way or another.

Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

>I find them about the same. Fantasy tends to be more lyrical, which is fun as a writer, because you can just let the words play with each other through the sentences. My SF tends to be a little more brutal and direct.

What is something you didn't know about the publishing industry before you had your fist book published?

>How long everything takes!

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?


Any tips against writers block?

>It's different for every author. But with me, if I'm stuck, or there's no inspiration flowing, it's usually because I've taken a wrong turn. So I retrace what I've written, find the last bit in the story where I was very confident I knew where I was going, and progress from there. Often I just cut what I've written from that point, and start again. If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.

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