Interview with Best Selling Author, Christopher G Nuttall…

To celebrate the imminent launch of Christopher G Nuttall’s first hardback book in the Ark Royal series which will have a rather splendid full dust-jacket (see pic). I had the chance to interview him about his writing.

It was fascinating to talk to him and it is true he does 9000 words per day which as any writer will tell you – it’s pretty damn hard to do that day after day.

So all 10 books will come out as a dust-jacketed, signed, limited edition and the spines of all 10 books will build into one almighty space battle. This will only be available for this website and the Tickety Boo shop. These books come under our Space Dock Legends imprint and there is a very selective selection process to qualify as a “Legend.”

Each of the ten books will have a new cover but I intend to pay homage to the original which I think I’ve done pretty well on book one.

Buy Ark Royal here.

Only 300 hardbacks will be printed (per book) and the number allocated (1 to 300) will be on first come, first served basis. So enough of me let’s get on with the interview!

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Can you remember the day you thought I am going to write a book?

There was a day when I finished reading a book – I won’t mention the title – and thought to myself … I can do better than that.  It wasn’t that it was a bad book, per se; it was that the premise was completely wasted and the bad guys lost through sheer dumb luck, when they should have won.  I started coming up with my first plot shortly afterwards.

Once you’d finished it did your first book get published and what’s it called?

I’m afraid not, nor did the next ten or so manuscripts.  The Gunpowder Plot – basically, a story about a coup in Britain and its aftermath – had all the usual problems of a first manuscript from a writer who had only just started to learn the ropes.  I don’t blame publishers for taking one look and then discarding it completely.  I occasionally think about revising it – more likely, rewriting from scratch – but I never really sat down and plotted it out.

But I learned a lot from writing it.

So from a very early stage as a writer – you were a plotter?

Not really, sadly – it took me quite a few manuscripts to learn the value of plotting out the major details (at least) in advance.  There were some books I wrote – none of them will see the light of day – where the plot went all over the place because I didn’t write out the points in advance.  Obviously, there are some kinds of books where you can get away with that and some that you can’t – if the butler did it, you need to hide clues within the text for alert readers to notice.  Or it just looks as though you’re pulling stuff out of your rectum.  <grin>

I generally try to balance the two extremes – plot in advance, but alter the plot as I go along if I get a better idea.

Had you been a reader up till then and what sort of books did you read?

Yes.  Honestly, I don’t think you can be a writer without being a reader.  Seeing how other writers do it – what you like, what you hate – is helpful in itself, but having a background in reading history and suchlike also helps.  It also helps to understand some of the older books – Sherlock Holmes, for example, is much more rewarding if you know the background.  The same could easily be said for the early Heinlein novels.

Really, I started young; science-fiction and fantasy, thrillers and detective novels.  I was reading Tom Clancy at nine.  Some books didn’t grab me until later – I didn’t like Starship Trooper until I was in my twenties and I never liked Stranger in a Strange Land – but others have stayed with me my entire life.  

Are you an inspirational writer and let the characters drive the story or do you plot it out in detail?

Both.  What I do – now – is write out a short outline, then let the story flow.  Sometimes – quite often, really – I add pieces or change elements as the story developed.  I often find that the flow of words goes in different directions, once you actually get into the story.  For example, in Infinite Regress, there’s a scene where Emily blasts a teacher.  In the plot, one teacher gets it; in the story, it’s a different one.  By the time I reached that point, it made more sense to go in that direction.

If you are a plotter, do you have the whole story on paper or do you prepare the night before for the next day? 

I generally write out brief notes for the next three chapters – sometimes just a line or two, sometimes a paragraph.  Really, it’s just something to get back into the grove each morning.

So you try to have chapters about 3K each?

More or less – I try to keep it fairly constant. 

How many books have you published so far?

Umm … pass.

Well, I have 83 novels: 29 of which were published through traditional publishers and the remainder were self-published.  A growing number are also available in audio and paperback formats.  I’ve also got a small collection of manuscripts that don’t quite reach the point where I feel I can charge for them.  Some of them are on my site <grin>.  The remainder will never see the light of day.

So you are a hybrid author, do you prefer having a publisher or do you prefer self-publishing?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, really.  A decent publisher is worth his or her worth in gold, even today; they take a lot of the non-writing work off the author’s shoulder.  On the other hand, the larger publishing houses like contracts that rarely work in the author’s favour.

Self-publishing – you get all the money, but you also get all of the work (or at least you have to hire artists, editors, etc.)

Do you check Amazon every hour to see how sales are doing?

I used to, but not now – it’s a good way to torment yourself.  <grin>.  Generally, the bigger picture – how much you sell in the month – is more important than daily sales.

Does being in the top 25 on Amazon.com author rank make you feel proud?

Yep!

Although I do have to keep reminding myself not to take it too seriously.  It’s all relative, based on sales.  Someone new who scores a major hit might shoot past me, but in the long run I may sell more books.  Or vice versa.  Like I said above, long term is more important than a brief period at the top.

What do your parents think of your success?

I think they’re very proud.

Do you know how many eBooks you have sold across all of them? 

Lots.  I couldn’t really be more specific.

Which has been the most successful?

In terms of sheer numbers, Ark Royal and its immediate sequels were amongst the most popular.  Schooled In Magic, Bookworm and The Invasion of 1950 are runners-up.

Space Dock is currently preparing the Ark Royal series to be published in 2 hardbacks: one a case hardback which will be available on Amazon and the other a very exclusive signed, limited, dust-jacketed hardback only available through our website and so our award winning editor is currently reading/editing the first book, Ark Royal. She is very impressed with the story so far. How did Ark Royal come about? First thought is the British aircraft carrier except you took her into space and created a series around her.

Long story <grin>.

The short version is that I was reading about the late-WW2 British carriers and how they stacked up against American designs of the same period.  The British carriers deployed fewer aircraft than their American counterparts, which limited their striking power, but at the same time their armoured decks made them tougher – they shrugged off strikes that would have disabled or sunk the American ships.  And that gave me the idea that would eventually become Ark Royal.

I sketched out the universe, then the technological base – Ark was outdated by the standards of the pre-war universe (like a battleship from WW2), but she stacks up much better against an alien foe that designed its weapons to deal with modern ships.  (Without Ark, the Human-Tadpole War would be about as one-sided as the Earth-Minbari War.)  And then I sketched out the crew …

I wasn’t sure if there would be a sequel, so I tried to conclude most of the early character-based plot threads in the first book.  Thankfully, that left room for others in the next two books. 

Do you have any military background?

None.  I get asked that a lot, though.  I think that’s a good sign.

Which is your favourite book you have written?

I think the Schooled In Magic series is probably my favourite, although Ark Royal comes a close second.  Schooled In Magic is designed to be a long-runner, which allows me to build up the overarching plot piece by piece while (at the same time) keeping most of the books as stand-alone volumes.

Someone said to me you write 9000 words per day – is this true?

More or less.

On the first day of a new book, I normally write the prologue(s) and then the first chapter, then set things up with the beta-readers, post samples to blogs, etc.  Then I try to write three or so chapters per day until I complete the first draft.

Point is, writing is a job.  It’s how I earn money.  I can no more get away from my writing than a person with a more normal job can get away from theirs.  I can swap my days around a little, thankfully, but I can’t abandon it entirely.

How many Beta’s do you have?

I have a list of about twenty – I normally have between six and ten readers for any given book.

Can you name any? 

No.

Could you talk me through your typical day?

It tends to vary.

The alarm goes off at 7am.  I stumble downstairs and drink coffee while checking email for anything that needs immediate attention, then try to write out the first chapter before my two-year-old son wakes and demands breakfast.  When he wakes, I get coffee for my wife and then feed us before going back to work.  Then I keep working until I finish the remaining chapters.

What time do you start – 8AM?

Ideally, I want to be working by 9am.  But it doesn’t work so well in real life.

Do you lock yourself away from your family and only come out when 9K done or do you make frequent trips to the kettle?

I generally get a new cup of tea between chapters.

So talk me through 3 chapters, say Ark Royal. You did prologue and chapter one yesterday – what did your notes say for 2-4 – are they extensive?

They just tend to be a basic set of notes.  ‘starfighters arrive, briefing, etc.’

So you have an idea for a book. Do you list out 1-30 and then fill in with key story arcs of key scenes, then as you have said – fill in the blanks?

No.  I write out a summary of the plot, then write out the chapters notes as I go along. 

Do you listen to music when you are writing? If so, what do you listen to? 

No.  I’ve always found it a distraction.  Others disagree. 

Do you take weekends off?

Sunday is my kid’s swimming class, so I normally take it off.  I sometimes take another day off within the week – if there’s something we need to do in particular – but that day varies.

Who is your favourite science fiction writer?

That’s an impossible question to answer, to be honest.  I’m a great fan of Peter F. Hamilton, David Weber, Iain M. Banks, John Ringo, Mike Williamson and so on.  Exactly who is my personal number one tends to vary, depending on whom I’m reading at the moment.

Who is your favourite fantasy writer? 

Brandon Sanderson.  There are a few others I admire, but he’s definitely on top.

To have written the amount of books you have written, you must have a very active imagination. Where do all your ideas come from?

Everywhere.

Well, that’s not quite accurate.  I read a lot of history and that sometimes ends up flowing into my mind and inspiring stories.  Many of my works came out of historical situations or concepts that I updated.  Others – The Empire’s Corps series in particular – drew on modern-day situations.  Sometimes, ideas were born by asking what if …?

The seed of one particular idea – the Twilight of the Gods series – came from long-term speculation about the future of Nazi Germany.  Realistically (insofar as such a word can be used when alternate history is involved), the Reich could have taken most of Europe – at least as far as the Urals – but what then?  Did the Reich have a hope in hell of keeping that territory?  How would it evolve if it had to cope with peacetime?  I thought it would start a slow decline that would eventually end in civil war, which was the subject of the trilogy.

Others came from my own life.  Some of my readers will probably be surprised to hear that I loathe boarding schools – I had to endure one myself when I was twelve to sixteen.  Many of the darker moments of The Zero Blessing drew on my experience of being an outcast in a place that might as well have been a prison.  The heroine isn’t me and her world isn’t mine, but she faced many of the same problems as I.

When do you find time to read and do you prefer ebook, hardcopy or audio?

Less than I want to, these days – I work and I have a family.  I get quite a bit of reading done in the train or on the airplane.

I prefer eBooks for fiction, hardbacks for non-fiction.

What do you have planned in the next few months?

Quite a bit <grin>.

I’m planning to write Book 14 in The Empire’s Corps, followed by a one-shot set in the Angel in the Whirlwind universe.  It’s a little different from the other books in the series, but I hope it will add some much-needed depth to the universe.  After that, I have a one-shot in the Ark Royal universe, the start of the Bookworm successor series and probably either Book 13 of Schooled In Magic or Book 2 of The Zero Enigma. 

I’m also messing around with plots for more stories on a larger scale, but they tend to run into problems when they expand.  I don’t like endless series where each book just advances the overall plot a few steps, at least without being reasonably stand alone.  On the other hand, the more the story concept expands, the more I realise that Game of Thrones and suchlike is the only realistic way to do it.

What did you do when you left school, did you go to University and if so, what did you study.

I studied librarianship in Manchester.  It was a waste of time.  I liked the job well enough, but everything I did when I was in employment was something I could have mastered without spending three years at university.

But then, living alone was better than being trapped in boarding school.

Before you became a full time writer what was your job?

I was an academic librarian.  It was interesting – and the seeds of a few books were sowed there – but I wouldn’t recommend it as a long-term career.

Do you ever get writers block?

I did at first, when I was starting.  I then learned how to cope <grin>.

How long have you been a full time writer? 

Since 2012, I think.  That’s when it really took off.

Do you see yourself writing until you are old and grey?

I’m not sure, to be honest.

I’ve noticed that many writers tend to get their best work done between 30-50, then suffer a slow decline.  (Obviously, good editors and constant feedback can slow this process.)  I sometimes think I’ll retire at 50, then I think of all the story ideas I haven’t done anything with yet because they’re whole new universes.  On one hand, I would like to keep going; on the other, part of me thinks that I’ll decline too and it would be better to retire before that happens.

Tom Tinney has joined Space Dock

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1st December 2016 | Worldwide

Visit www.space-dock.co.uk or email gary.compton@ticketyboopress.co.uk for contact details, review copies, submission-calls, and more.

author-picSpace Dock acquisitions editor has raised a pint of Guinness in celebration of  the acquisition of digital, print and audio rights to Tom Tinney’s,  ManaTech Series: the 1 st Book “ManaTech: Mages”, the 2nd book “ManaTech: Oathstone” and an as yet untitled 3rd book.

Tom Tinney is a Biker (The v-twin powered kind…not a fan of peddling) that happens to enjoy writing Science Fiction and Fantasy.

He’s edited and contributed to Motorcycle Magazines, Blogs and short story sites about the Biker lifestyle. Tom covered events, interviewed famous custom bike-builders and artists, as well as writing hundreds of articles.

Tom Tinney was encouraged by “fans” to write novels as well. So he did, just not the ones they thought he would. His favourite books are from authors like Jim Butcher and Frank Herbert, Modessit and Feist, Asimov and Gibson, Weber and Jordan. So he went with his second great love for subject matter (SciFi), instead of his first (motorcycles).

Tom has numerous project in the works, including more SciFi and even a fictional account about the Biker lifestyle.

Tom’s political leanings, as well as his Biker credo, have seeped into his writing and that is why he believes free enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurs will advance us to the stars.

Tom currently resides in Wisconsin (which sucks 6 months out of the year for riding) with his wife and two dogs.

Ride safe, Ride often.

“On a dare from Edison, Nikola Tesla opens a portal to another realm in the alternate history FantaSci novel ‘ManaTech: Mages’. The inhabitants of the other realm are creatures of fantasy. And they have an abundance of Mana, the powerful essence that surrounds all life. What would twelve great minds from 1908 do with the sudden infusion of Mana-based powers? They can think things into existence. They can bring about great change, but the Earth is mana poor, so much will remain the same as the brilliant people, and their egos, re-shape the post-Victorian era. They cannot stop a world progressing toward war, so will their new allies and split loyalties change the outcome or is the result already written? Find out in ManaTech: Mages.”

 

M D Thalman joins Space Dock…

author-image15th November 2016 | Worldwide

Visit www.space-dock.co.uk or email gary.compton@ticketyboopress.co.uk for contact details, review copies, submission-calls, and more.

Space Dock acquisitions editor is said to be delighted in acquiring digital, print and audio rights to M D Thalman’s, the 13 Lives of a Television Repair Man.

“Arthur is all alone now, he killed the world. He had it all, but that wasn’t enough, so he went and ruined everything. God left in a hurry when the atomic bombs went off, and forgot to take poor Arthur with him. Now he lives in a sealed bunker under an irradiated wasteland once known as Florida, and watches the worlds he missed, the possibilities he prevented, in his ingenious, insidious creation: The Alternate Reality Generator. He only had one friend left in the world, a floppy eared Labrador, but he’s dead now, too. That’s probably Arthur’s fault as well. Now all he has is time and regret… and a machine that lets him live all kinds of lives, in another dimension…”

M.D. (Michael Dirk) Thalmann, a novelist and freelance journalist specializing in satire and science fiction, lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, children, and ornery cats, reads too much and sleeps too little. He has a couple dogs, too, but doesn’t like to mention them due to the slippers one of them ate in 2009, which neither has yet fessed up to. He is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas and has been living in the desert since 2004 when he took the novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas entirely too serious, and moved on a lark. He has been into journalism in one fashion or another and writing fiction and so on since he was ten years old or so and has gotten at least 20% better since that time. Today M.D. writes freelance and does columns for a few magazines here and there while working on his various novels and cursing his cats.

M.D. Thalmann is influenced by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Philip K. Dick, Carl Hiaasen, and (obviously) Hunter S. Thompson. His debut novel, The 13 Lives of a Television Repair Man, is available through Space Dock publishing, and his next, Static-Redux, a satirical science fiction/ space-opera, is slotted for release in early 2017. Find his work at www.mdthalmann.com

vON kRAEMER Joins Space Dock…

author-picFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24th October 2016 | Worldwide

Visit www.space-dock.co.uk or email gary.compton@ticketyboopress.co.uk for contact details, review copies, submission-calls, and more.

Space Dock acquisitions editor is literally dancing in his office after the deal was done with vON kRAEMER, acquiring his SF novel, “the Hyphae Strain” and potentially some of his other works.

There was a buzz in the Space Dock editors rest room (Yes, they are allowed to recharge their batteries). Dave de Burgh said, excitedly. “I’ve yet to read something so savagely – and yet joyously written; this is a blast, and will blow you away! Fans of edgy, no-holds-barred SF will love this book, and I won’t be surprised if Von Kramer gains a cult following; this is a coup for Tickety Boo Press and Space Dock!”

The cover for this fantastic novel will be done by the legendary sci-fi artist, Jim Burns.

vON kRAEMER’S bio

Speculative fiction has always been a part of the author’s life. Son of design engineer and futurist, Mitchell Bobrick, a science fiction book was more-often in the author’s hands than not. Hard Sci-Fi authors like, Niven, Benford, Baxter, and Haldeman, forged Von’s “High Science” interest – most often used in his literature. Horror also plays a key role, as most of his works are elementary future dysfunction. When not behind the computer keyboard, the author spent the greater part of his life working behind camera for Hollywood. The author owns and operates RAD sets and effects, and currently runs Galactic Pig Productions – a small Sci-Fi production company. He also owns Go Robotics FX, a company dedicated to invention and 3-D printing. He can be found on occasion about LA playing the bass guitar and pounding a few brews. He looks forward to unleashing the rest of what has patiently sat in his data vaults – upon the general public – for better or worse. Write the author: von@galacticpig.com, and he will get back to you, and likely invite you for a beer. The author lives in North Hollywood, California

Alex Laybourne joins Space Dock…

alex-laybourneFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

19th October 2016 | Worldwide

Visit www.ticketyboopress.co.uk/ or www.space-dock.co.uk for contact details, review copies, submission-calls, and more.

Space Dock acquisitions editor is said to be delighted at his second acquisition as editor of Space Dock. Alex Laybourne has signed a 3-book deal which starts with Lost and Found and will be published early 2017

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Alex’s novel follows Glenn Hawke’s tragic past which forged him into a fearsome bounty hunter, but when a job takes him to the edge of the free systems, Glenn is forced to into a confrontation with the man who changed his life, so long ago.

He’s about to learn that sometimes when you start chasing ghosts, they don’t hide – they lie waiting…

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Alex is the author of thirteen novels. He was born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that he became a horror writer.

From an early age Alex was sent to schools which were at least 30 minutes’ drive away and so spent most of his free time alone, as the friends he did have lived too far away for him to be able to hang out with them in the weekends or holidays.

He’s been a writer as long as he can remember and has always had a vivid imagination. To this very day he finds it all too easy to just drift away into his own mind and explore the world he creates; where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue.

Alex is married and has five wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh, Damon and Riley. Alex’s biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

For people who buy Alex’s work, he hopes that they enjoy what they read and that he can create something that takes them away from reality for a short time. For Alex, the greatest compliment he can receive is not based on rankings but by knowing that people enjoy what he produces, that they buy his work with pleasure and never once feel as though their money would have been better spent elsewhere.

www.alexlaybourne.wordpress.com

Space Dock’s new Editor signs first author…

 

author-picFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11th October 2016 | Worldwide

Visit www.space-dock.co.uk/ for contact details, review copies, submission-calls, and more.

SF Edwards Joins Space Dock– Author of ‘the Spiral War trilogy.’ 

We are delighted to announce the first author for Gary Compton as acquiring editor of Tickety Boo Press’ flagship imprint. He is said to be delighted at the news. “I am happy to announce the first author to join the Space Dock family. SF Edwards is a writer  of cutting edge science fiction that will keep you reading and wanting more.”

Dave de Burgh, Tickety Boo acquisitions editor mused. “Spiral War is the start of something special and exciting; battles in space, advanced technology, and an interesting quantum-spiritual exploration combine to make this a fresh, new celebration of Military SF. Very proud to welcome SF Edwards to Tickety Boo Press and Space Dock!”

The first book, “On Daggers Wings,” and prequel, “On The Cusp,” will be going to editors soon, artists will be instructed and the prequel and book 1 will be out early 2017.