Updated: Mar 24
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
I am a 30 year old author from Scotland, having recently independently published my first novel. Writing is one of many hobbies I fit into my busy life between working as a naval architect and parenting two (soon to be three) children; I also restore classic cars and manage auto events.
What books do you have available? Can you give us a short description of them?
I currently have only one book for sale—my science fiction novel “The Lazarus Taxa.” It’s a tale of time travel and dinosaurs, but primarily the story is an examination of how people, imperfect as people are, would react to such a powerful new technology as time travel. There is corruption, deceit, temptation, and a lawlessness in the isolated distant past, but also opportunities for compassion and redemption.
The blurb reads as follows:
“68 million years in the past. Deep time—the true final frontier, but all is not as it seems. Which should be feared most—the dinosaurs… or the people?
The Lazarus Taxa follows the first scientific expedition through time to the Late Cretaceous.”
Do you stay in one genre when you write or do you find yourself veering toward others?
I very much “genre hop.” I find the stories I want to tell don’t always fall neatly in line with my previous genre or even necessarily with my previous writing style. I like to experiment. My current novel is sci-fi, my primary work in progress is fantasy, and I have plot outlines detailed for some horror. I haven’t found a pigeon-hole yet, but I’m not sure I want one.
Are you a panster, planner, or someone in between?
Somewhere in between, but, as new writer, I think I’m still finding my process. I certainly “pantsed” most of The Lazarus Taxa, but quite meticulously plotted my current work in progress. Of course, as I have written and redrafted said WIP, the original plan has altered—characters have a strange habit of refusing to bend to your will. I’d say going forward I’m more likely to lean on the side of being a plotter.
What is your writing routine like?
Broadly, I write whenever I find the time—that tends to be late at night when everyone else is asleep. I do wish I could dedicate more time to writing, but life is busy.
Tell me about your favorite character that you’ve created?
I have a few, but I think my favourite would have to be a character called Cyrus de Beers from The Lazarus Taxa. It’s difficult to say too much without spoiling the plot, but he is a complex man—even I can’t decide if I actually like him or not. He’s abrasive, confrontational and has done some truly terrible things, and yet he has moments of redemption and shows signs that he does have a heart.
Where do you get your ideas for world building?
There isn’t a whole lot of world building in The Lazarus Taxa, for the most part it’s fairly grounded in reality. However, my fantasy work in progress is a different matter. Inspiration for the kingdom of Pangaea has been taken from the world of paleontology—blending real places from Earth’s geological history into a cohesive fantasy realm. I also tend to look to history, particularly lesser known periods such as classical Persia or Mesoamerica—history which is often ignored by the western world.
Do you add romance to your writing? Is it steamy or clean?
I don’t tend to. Perhaps a time will come when I feel it adds something to the story, but I find plutonic relationships to be suitably effective for character development. Indeed, I think for the stories I have written so far romance would be a needless distraction. Certainly, were there to be a romantic plotline, I would likely write it cleanly.
What was your favorite scene to create?
There is a chapter in The Lazarus Taxa titled “The Ghosts of the Mountain”. This is where our main cast of characters are first introduced to the dangers of the Cretaceous. It’s set deep inside a cave and in near total darkness. The chapter borders on being horror and I really enjoyed the challenge of describing the events while being practically unable to use the character’s vision. I had to build the tension by employing sound, smell and touch. I think it’s probably the scariest part of the book.
Where do you get character inspiration?
My characters are all blends of real people—sometimes people I know personally and sometimes those who live/d in the public eye. For example, in The Lazarus Taxa, “Dian” is heavily based on the late conservationist Dian Fossey. She is obviously named after her, but she also shares much of Fossey’s defining moral code. However, in terms of personality, she is more closely based on a close friend.
What genre do you prefer to read?
Growing up, horror was always my go-to. Stephen King classics like Christine and Pet Sematary, Coraline by Neil Gaiman and Michael Crichton’s Congo spring to mind. In later life, I tended to prefer sci-fi and fantasy, but most of what I’ve read recently is actually non-fiction. As much as I love a novel, I also love to feel like I’m learning something.
Do you have any specific authors you follow and try to craft your work after?
Not really. I’m sure all of my favourite authors’ styles filter down into my work, but that’s mostly subconscious. I’ve been told my writing is Crichton-esque, but I feel that’s probably more related to the subject material than my actual writing style.
Do you have any recurring themes in your book?
It’s not so much a theme, but so far paleontology seems to be recurring as subject material. It’s a topic that fascinates me and is an endless source of inspiration.
In terms of actual themes, I definitely vary from book to book. The Lazarus Taxa is an exploration of human corruptness and greed, whereas my work in progress will be more of a tale of mental health and battling one’s inner demons.
What does your editing process look like?
I like to work through the story from start to finish with each draft, even the chapters I don’t think require a lot of work. I tell myself it’s to make sure the story remains cohesive, but, in truth, it’s probably just a case of being somewhat particular about doing things in order!
Do you have a preferred drink or snack that you eat/drink while writing?
Not really, when I’m writing is probably one of the few times I don’t feel the urge to snack. Though around Christmas time there was an abundance of cheese and cracker crumbs on my keyboard.
When is your favorite time of day to write and why?
Late at night. I’ve always been somewhat of a night owl, I just seem to be more productive at this time. Aside from that, it’s about the only time I have free to write. The Lazarus Taxa was written almost exclusively between the hours of 10pm and 2am.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
I don’t often like to visit the same place twice, part of the wonder of a vacation is exploring new places. I’ve enjoyed city breaks in Nice, Monaco and Lisbon—when COVID travel restrictions ease some more I’d love to visit Venice.
Marvel or DC? Do you have a favorite character?
Marvel! As a kid Venom was always my favourite. I liked that he wasn’t a typical villain, he was complex, he had redeeming qualities.
What hobbies do you have?
I’m a huge petrol head. I currently own a 1980 MG B-GT which I bought just over a year ago as a car which hadn’t been started in over 3 years. Now, it’s mechanically restored and is a fun little sports car for trips along the coast or to take to car shows. Going forward, she needs some aesthetic work such as paint and new bumpers.
Where can our readers find you?
I mostly communicate with my readers via Facebook. I have a page and also a group for more personal connections.