What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished the sequel to Helix, entitle Helix Wars, set two hundred years after Helix closes. For people who haven’t read Helix, the Helix is a vast alien construct comprising some ten thousand worlds, and seas, strung in a spiral around a G-type sun. The Builders constructed it as a refuge for all manner of alien races around the galaxy in danger of self-annihilation. The human race on the Helix have the unenviable task of attempting to maintain peace between the six thousand alien race who inhabit worlds on the Helix.
Next up is a novella with Keith Brooke, a couple of short stories, and then The Serene Invasion, my next book for Solaris. It’s about the peaceful invasion of Earth by aliens who arrive and banish our ability to do violence to each other.
What’s recently or soon out?
Just out is a collection from infinity plus books: Ghostwriting collects all eight of my ghost/horror/supernatural tales, and I’d like to think it contains some of my best writing. I don’t write many stories in this genre – the introduction to the collections suggests why – but I enjoy writing them on the infrequent occasions as strange idea comes to me.
Due out in June is The Devil’s Nebula, a space opera adventure set in the world of Weird Space, a future history I developed for Abaddon Books, and which will be featured in novels by other writers. Weird aliens, a little like Lovecraft’s monsters, are breaking through from another realm, infesting human with mind-parasites, and enslaving the race…
Describe your typical writing day.
I try to be very conscientious when I’m working on a novel, short story etc. I begin work around nine and work till midday, then have lunch and begin again around twelve-thirty and knock off for the day at three, when I pick up my daughter from school. I try to write four thousand words a day on a novel, two or three if I’m doing a short story. I try to get the first draft of a novel written in a month or two, and then spend a month re-writing.
When you’re not writing, what do you do?
Read. I’m always reading, and day-dreaming – an important part of a writer’s life. And I love cooking, especially curries. Playing football with my daughter on the beach at Dunbar, to where we’ve just moved.
What would you draw attention to from your back-list?
I think my best books are The Kings of Eternity, Kethani, the Starship novellas, and perhaps the Bengal Station trilogy. They’re all about, principally, human beings, and their emotions, rather than about big SF ideas. I think my other PS Publishing novellas, too, are among my best work – Gilbert and Edgar on Mars, A Writer’s Life, etc.
Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?
I’m a big fan of Michael Coney, a sadly neglected Brit SF writer resident for a long time in Canada before his death. His best work is character-driven and lyrical. I’d recommend Hello Summer, Goodbye; and The Girl with a Symphony in her Fingers. Contemporary writers in the genre I enjoy are Chris Wooding and James Lovegrove.
If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?
Never give in. Start writing on the next project before the last one is rejected. Read a lot and write a lot. Don’t believe in writer’s block!
So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?
Good god… if I had the answers! Make a living? You’ve got to be joking. Those days are long gone. Scrape a living, maybe… E-books are the coming thing, for good or bad. As for what people will be reading. Good fiction, I hope.
Born some time in the last century, Eric Brown is older than he likes to believe, though physical degeneration is making him reassess this situation. He’s published knocking on for forty-five books – almost totalling the same number as his age, but he didn’t start publishing until he was twenty-seven. He follows Leeds United football club and consumes too many curries. His website can be found at: www.ericbrown.co.uk
Eric is the author of Ghostwriting, newly out in paperback and ebook formats from infinity plus.