Last week I became a member of the Goodreads group Paranormal, Fantasy, Dystopia and Romance Readers, Writers and Reviewers, a group whose goals are to help promote writers, give reviews, get good books out to reviewers and readers, give advice, engender good book discussions and just generally support Indie authors any way possible.
It’s through this group that I met Andrew Lamb, a writer from across the pond, developing a sci-fi/fantasy series called The Dispatchers, described as “a dark new twist on Astral Projection.” [Admit it, I had you at “dark new twist”.]
Always looking for new ways to help promote my fellow Indie authors and put some good juju out into the universe for myself and The Sanctum, I contacted Andrew to see if he would sit down for an interview to discuss pretty much whatever nonsense I throw at him. Apparently he’s a good sport because he said yes and got right to answering each and every one of my questions.
This is Andrew – seems a good sport, non?
The following is our little tete-a-tete…check it out.
First off, tell us a little about who you are and what makes you tick.
Hi there and thanks for having me. During the day, I’m a structural engineer but at night I write supernatural and science fiction thrillers. I love the macabre and the unusual. I enjoy mashing my favorite genres together. Dispatchers, for instance, falls into both paranormal and science fiction.
When did you start writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did it come to you later in life? Have you reached a point with your writing where you actually call yourself a “writer”?
I’ve been seriously writing now for around 5 years but before that I had a habit of putting pen to paper and sketching out some craziness since I was at school. I actually released one of those shorts, Faulker Surprise, to introduce people to my writing style.
I would call myself an “Aspiring Author” in that I enjoy producing literature but am not making a living out of it; hopefully that will change in the future.
What was your inspiration for Vengeance of the Dark, the first book in the Dispatchers series? For Marcus Townsend?
Dispatchers had a difficult birth really. Initially, it started life as a short story where a mischievous young man called “Marcus” discovered that he had the ability to Astrally Project and used his skills to his own selfish ends. Then, years later, I returned to the concept and evolved it to include a secret society of Dispatchers, people who could Astrally Project, and built a whole back story with witch hunters. Marcus evolved from a self-centered crook into a moody teenager. The rest of the series will see him evolve further as he gets older.
Describe Marcus in six words.
Moody, creative, vengeful, angry, loyal, intelligent.
Vengeance of the Dark “puts a dark new twist on Astral Projection” – please elaborate because that sounds so freaking cool.
Astral Projection is typically viewed as an enlightened act, I’ve spoken to people who claim they can AP. Dispatchers is a different form of AP where they can unleash ferocious powers. As a result, there are Dispatchers who use their skills to terrorize. The added element of the PDK, a group of ruthless witch hunters, makes Astral Projection a very dangerous skill to have.
What’s next after Vengeance of the Dark?
Work is progressing on the follow up, Dispatchers: Infinity and Oblivion, which should be out this year. It is set three years after the events in Vengeance of the Dark where Marcus has developed his skills but alas things turn nasty when his is framed for murder. He finds himself targeted by a killer Dispatcher, a team of assassins and his friend Bax, who is the only one determined to bring him home in one piece.
In the meantime, I have another novel available. “Serpent of the Tyche” is set in the same universe as Dispatchers but is a separate saga. I drew upon my interest in Greek Mythology and mixed it with yet more Science Fiction in the form of genetic engineering. There is even a Were-Rhino in the opening chapter.
Writing is a very solitary process, but aspects of getting a book published involve others. Describe your support system – who has helped you along the way to getting Vengeance published?
I was incredibly fortunate in that I found someone who was happy to produce a cover for me; she’s done all three of my covers so far. I’ve managed to build up a network of indie authors over the years, they’ve have given me advice and helped out with things like my synopsis. Amazon, Goodreads and Facebook are great hunting grounds for help.
Now time to get away from the book stuff and delve a bit into the personal.
What is your favorite aspect of writing? Your least favorite?
I love the first draft and the first editing cycles. That’s when my story molds into the shape I want it.
I’m not overly fond of the final editorial cycles and the fine tuning. It’s at that point you start to seriously question your novel and vision.
Describe your perfect day
Bacon sandwich followed by about an hour or so of writing (either notepad concepts or actual typing), then an hour of Playstation to escape. Get back to writing in the afternoon followed by promotional work on my various sites. Chill out for the evening or more typing.
Favorite vacation spot? Place to write? Place to escape?
I love Cornwall. It has served for the inspiration for many of my short stories. An upcoming project of mine is set in Cornwall. We go every year near the end of Summer just a for a week away.
3 words to describe yourself.
Crazed, obsessed, unhinged.
[This plus your bacon sandwich…were we on the same side of the pond, we would be fast friends!]
The indie author game is both incredibly rewarding and insanely exhausting. I’ve found that meeting other writers and chatting about our experiences is so helpful and rewarding. Any tips for aspiring writers you would like to share?
The writing is only a small part of being a writer. It is fun to jot ideas down and develop them but after that the editing is where your love for your work is seriously tested. Get as many people to read your work as possible, after you protect it of course. As clearly as you may think you see your work, bear in mind that chances are you are too close to it and your vision may not necessarily be the best for your novel in terms of publication. So be prepared to take advice that makes sense.
Finally, be prepared for bad feedback, it comes with the territory – as Allius (a character in Serpent of the Tyche) says “What kind of warrior are you if you cannot survive a war of words?”
Anything else you’d like to say, Andrew – now’s your chance. Go for it.
Thanks very much. I run a website/blog site at http://twistedspace.weebly.com/ and can be followed on twitter @doc_lamb. If you are feeling adventurous, join in at www.facebook.com/dispatchersspectral and be sure to download a Phoenix – they look great as mobile phone backgrounds.
If you want to snag a copy of Vengeance of the Dark, you can do so by clicking here.
Thanks, Andrew, for taking the time to indulge my curiosity and answer my questions…Rock on!