Friday, 14 October 2011

Author Interview: Trent Jamieson


Death Most Definite
Managing Death
The Business of Death

> What can readers expect from the Death Works novels? 
 The Death Works books are about Steven de Selby, a guy who works for Death. He's a bit of a slacker to begin with but I like to think he grows up as the books progress. The books themselves are fast paced comedy-adventures: Urban Fantasy novels that deal with death, love and the apocalypse. They're set in Australia, in the hot and sultry - well hot and sweaty - city of Brisbane.
> And what's your science fiction novel, Roil, about? 
The world of Shale is dying. A vast, chaotic, monster-bearing storm known only as the Roil is expanding, consuming the land.

Where once there were twelve great cities, now only four remain, and their borders are being threatened by the growing cloud of darkness. The last humans are fighting back with ever more bizarre new machines. But one by one the defences are failing. And the Roil continues to grow.

With the land in turmoil, it’s up to a decadent wastrel, a four thousand year-old man, and a young woman intent on revenge to try to save their city – and the world.
> You've been writing the Death Works novels for Orbit and the Nightbound Land duology for Angry Robot Books. How do you find time to write two series at once?  And does it ever get confusing, working on two series at the same time?
The books are quite different tonally so I didn't find it all that confusing, and I guess I'm used to working on several things at once - I'm a bit crazy that way. I did have to be quite disciplined, but when you get into the habit of writing (and writing to a deadline) it gets easier. Though I do walk around talking to myself a lot!
>Do you find it easier to write urban fantasy or science fiction?
I think they have their own challenges, I can say that they're just as enjoyable to write, and it's been a lot of fun to switch between the two modes. I love making up worlds, but it's also been great writing about the city that I know so intimately and love. So both have their appeal.
> What's the story behind your 'Trent's Book Corner' videos?
It's a bit of a hobby and a bit of fun. I realised that my computer had a camera in it and then, well, I thought, why not? A lot of my friends do really cool podcasts, I was never going to compete with that so I thought I'd do these instead. They're meant to be silly, and, hopefully, fun.
> What made you want to be a writer?
I've written (and written Science Fiction and Fantasy in particular) since I was five. It was always something that I did to entertain myself, and help me make sense of the world. It's still my greatest source of comfort, and I think it always will be.
> In the books you’ve written, who is you favourite character and why?  
 In the Death Works books it's Lissa because I think she's very cool, and resilient, and she has a wicked sense of humour. In Roil it's probably the Aerokin pilot Kara Jade for very much the same reason. They both have a real loyalty to their friends as well, and I think that they're fundamentally good people.
I do love my villains, too. Particularly Stade and Morrigan!
> If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?
No, I put my characters through hell! I really wouldn't want to be any of them - though they do get to wear some rather nice clothes.
> What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?
It was a sword and sorcery novel called Stilloch of the Plains. I wrote it when I was in my early teens and it's AWFUL! But it was the first thing that I ever finished so I secretly love it as much as I hate it.
> Has your day job as a bookseller helped with your writing? (by meeting publishing people, knowing what sells, etc?)
I don't know if it has helped with my writing other than that I have a VERY understanding boss, when I say I am least available casual staff member I'm not joking. There's a lot of published writers at my bookshop, and we all encourage each other, and celebrate each other's successes. It's a very special place. So, I guess, yes, it has helped.
As for knowing what sells, sometimes I think trends change too quickly to chase them. You're always better off writing what you enjoy as well as you can.
> When and where do you write?
Everywhere, and whenever I can. I write on the bus to and from work, I've written in cafes, malls even pubs. Of course, most of my writing gets done at home, at my desk or the kitchen table. I write in the mornings, I write late at night. And, when I'm getting close to finishing a book, I write almost all the time (see how terrible I am as an employee?). Oh and there's usually coffee involved!
> What’s the best/worst thing about writing?
It's been part of my life for so long now, but I think the best and worst thing about writing is that it's endlessly challenging. You never stop learning things or risking failure. It keeps it interesting, and scary.
> What is something you didn’t know about the publishing industry before you had your first book published?
I really understand just how much hard work and love goes into a book from the cover design to editing and marketing. Books are produced through real passion. You sit alone writing, but once that book is shared with your publisher amazing things happen.
> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?
Write what you love. Write when you can, and honor that writing by enjoying it. And read, read, read, read.
> Any tips against writers block?
Don't panic if it happens. The worst thing you can do is get depressed about it: it just makes it harder to get back into the writing. Sometimes writers block is just life getting difficult, things will pick up again. Try and find something fun to write, or if it's a particular scene that is blocking you, write around it.
> How do you discipline yourself to write?
I try and make space to write every day, even if it's only a couple of sentences or a quick sketch.
> How many rejection letters did you get for your first novel or story?

I'm not sure, but it was a lot. I've a large concertina folder filled with them. Rejections are part of the job: it's good to learn that early. It makes the acceptances all the sweeter when they come - it also helps keeps things in perspective.

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