Interview with C M Weller

When did you first start writing?
That's a tricky one. As a child, I lived for Creative Writing assignments in English classes. I always had an idea bubbling away that seemed to fit the assignment before I got it.

I was at a loss for what to do when I got to Uni and Creative Writing wasn't a subject any more [I took IT, FYI] so I started writing some fanfic. They're lurking around on the internet somewhere, I have no doubt.

And when fanfic wasn't enough... and when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine got cancelled... I began crafting my own universe.

So... um... roughly anywhere between seven and twenty-one? Or, if you count by my published works, then thirty-nine.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the flavour of words. When the narrative is flowing and I lose track of time, of myself, of everything but the feel of the scene and the facets of my characters...

It's glorious. I love those moments.

And I also love it when my readers react to something I've written. If I can make them feel, just with rearrangements of letters, then I've done a very good job.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sir Terry Pratchett and Lois McMaster Bujold.

I've loved Pterry ever since I got my hands on a copy of _Mort_. The way he encapsulated human nature and made you laugh at the nastiest parts of us. And the horrible, horrible puns. Just woven into narrative that was utterly ridiculous and so, so very relate-able.

I found Lois in a copy of Analog Magazine. _Labyrinth_ was my first encounter with Miles Vorkosigan. I've looked for her in the local bookshops, ever since. Sadly, she's not often there. It's rather unfair that Sci-Fi is still a niche market. She's a fantastic author. More people should read her works.
What is your writing process?
I have a queue of good ideas and a separate file of interesting snippets and strange ur-words. They're my fodder.

I start with the queue. I ponder the next title/idea and start writing a skeleton file containing the basic plot. Then I let it stew in the back of my head for a couple of days before I start writing.

It's important for me to have three-dimensional characters. Real personalities, real reactions. At some point they're going to take off with the story on their own and at that moment, all I have to do is make sure the entire book isn't one long conversation.

And if I'm really stuck on my daily quota of words [five hundred words a day, six days a week] I'll describe something of interest. That usually gets me to the next thing I'll want to write.

I never edit unless I hit a wall, or I actually finish. First pass - obvious typos. Second pass, continuity. Third pass - making sure all the details line up. Then I surrender it to my beta readers and the fun really starts.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Greenbank, which was very rural in the 1970's. We didn't have a paved road until I was about four. We kept some animals for food and I had no illusions about where things came from.

I suppose I tend to have a variety of self-sufficient heroes as a result. My insular upbringing lead to an insular mind-set. We have to look after our own, and ourselves... that sort of thing.

I am learning the importance of teamwork, so I will probably be exploring that in later works.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Oh, there's so many things. I have a day job at an e-magazine and I'm not allowed to mix business with pleasure. Alas.

I'm primary parental for two children, and we all have varying ASD issues, so that's a different kind of fun.

When I relax - it's either fanfic or games or Tumblr. I'm never far from an electronic device. Even when I'm watching television.

As for hobbies... when I'm really inspired/financed, I like to work on cosplay or jewellery. Yes. I am a massive nerd. I've been told.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I write because I can't not write. I tried the pro route of going to writers clubs and listening to other authors tear my work apart. They're vicious, at times.

My anxiety issues couldn't handle that, so I retreated from that scene. Going indie was the only other way to even try to make money at what I seemed destined to do. Better this than having my works found posthumously and dealt with according to the finder's values.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Short answer: Significantly.

Long answer: It's given me a platform in which to display my works and house them in an area without the abundance of predators that exist solely to suck every penny out of perspiring new author's pockets. Smashwords is a very fair marketplace. When you look at all the other self-publishers out there, demanding money up front, Smashwords is a safe haven by comparison.

I'm not successful enough to live off my sales. Yet. But Smashwords has a vested interest in seeing that I do. The more money I make - the more they get!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My first story was something by Dr Seuss. I can't remember it. I do recall that my childhood favourite was _One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish_. Seuss has had me loving utter nonse since the get-go.

The first novel that I read voluntarily was Michael Ende's _Neverending Story_. The book that existed before the movies came along. I had a special edition in red and green ink and the entire novel was magic. I read the covers off it. Literally. Ende solidified the notion that great characters and solid world-building are the core precepts behind any really good read.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I do like curling up with my iPad. Everything's adjustable and it will turn itself off if I slip away into slumberland.
Describe your desk
Short answer: organised chaos.

Long answer:
When it comes to desks, I'm rather like a goldfish. My packrattus will expand to fit the available space. There's the essential computer, of course. I've become very accustomed to having two monitors, lately. It gathers monitor guardians and post-it notes according to what I need to remember or play with at the time.

I keep my wrist bracers and gamer headset nearby in case of rheumatism emergencies. And I keep a large tumbler off to the right for a drink when I need one.

Other essentials are my vitamin supplements and a box of tissues. Everything else comes and goes according to need or laziness.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first independant one or otherwise?

My first story... as a Creative Writing assignment... was in grade two. I was six or seven and wrote a story from the perspective of being a book. I drew a picture that made my parents laugh.

My first story without school behind it... was a fanfic called _The Collection_. It's still lurking in the shadows of the internet. A very basic two-characters-in-search-of-an-exit kind of deal. But it was the first non-parody DS9 fanfiction out there, so I guess it wins some kind of prize.

My first actual indie fiction has to be R.T.F.M. I've since retired it from Smashwords in an effort to try getting it in a SciFi magazine. The heartwarming tale of what happens when the humans using a technology with a mind of its own actually treat it in a sympathetic manner.

As you might be able to tell, my muse takes me in strange and interesting directions, sometimes.
Published 2015-06-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Well Rendered
Price: Free! Words: 1,930. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
Gelatine can solve so many problems if you're creative about it.
One Year of Instants (2017)
Series: Years of Instants. You set the price! Words: 193,510. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Throughout the year of 2017, author C. M. Weller took prompts from readers and turned them into flash fictions. One a day, for every day of the year except Christmas. Some are funny. Some are sad. Some are horrifying. Some... are not winners. But there is one for every day of the year. One of them is bound to tickle your fancy. Take a walk inside the mind of the internet's weirdest author.
Comes Around
Price: Free! Words: 4,150. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(2.00 from 1 review)
Harold Outterrige has forgotten the golden rule, "treat others as you would treat yourself" and now believes that the downtrodden exist for him to trample. He's about to get a solid lesson in exactly how his beliefs hurt others. Up close. And very, very personal.
Kung Fu Zombies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,350. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Meet Aiden. He loves movies so much that he's convinced that his life has become one. In the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse, this means that he is destined to be the hero that saves the world and wins the love of the girl who has no interest in him whatsoever. Aiden has to learn how to deal with the inevitable disappointment, as well as how to survive in a world with... Kung Fu Zombies.
One Leap Year of Instants (2016)
Series: Years of Instants. You set the price! Words: 160,070. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Throughout 2016, C. M. Weller took prompts from hir readers and turned them into a daily flash fiction for the free enjoyment of any who cared to read it. Collected here are one leap year's worth of instant stories.
I Wish, I Wish
Price: Free! Words: 2,000. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Urban, Fiction » Horror » Occult
(3.00 from 1 review)
They always say, "be careful what you wish for", and Shannon knew that better than anyone. Yet, when the need is great, temptation looms. What would you do, if you had the chance for one wish to come true?
One Year of Instants (2015)
Series: Years of Instants. You set the price! Words: 158,070. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
Throughout the year of 2015, C.M. Weller wrote one story a day for every day of the year. Each tale is based on a prompt given to hir by hir readers. Subject matter ranges, and viewer discretion is advised.
Better
Price: Free! Words: 1,160. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Feminist, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
(4.50 from 4 reviews)
Self-improvements should have limits. If you want to be perfect, you must first define what perfect is. And for one woman, the goal is always moving.
One Leap Year of Instants
Series: Years of Instants. You set the price! Words: 134,150. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
Three hundred and sixty-six stories a day, saved here in easy-accessformat - plus an extra bonus story! No need to go trawling through the author's blog for the originals. Every spelling error and factual mistake has been corrected for your convenience. One year of hard work, and you decide the price!
The Amity Incident
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 119,440. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Exiled from her home colony into a hostile land of venomous, poisonous, and otherwise dangerous things, T'reka the Mad, humble scientist, must forge an unlikely peace with the most dangerous creatures in the known universe - HUMANS! [We're mostly harmless, we swear.]
Interview Inside a Terrarium
Price: Free! Words: 1,410. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
You're trapped in this town. You're the only one who knows it or even wants to get out. And your only hope of trying to get out is to enlist the help of the strangers who terrify you. Can you make them listen? Will they care? Or are you the only person who knows that anything is wrong?
Hevun's Gate
Series: Hevun's Child, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,960. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Sahra Johnston started as the lowest class of slave. Then she accidentally joined a rebellion, gave her new allies some nefarious ideas, turned five systems on their heads and faced down people who could literally eat her alive. Now she's toe-to-toe against the united forces of the Galactic Alliance. Hevun help THEM.
One Year of Instants
Series: Years of Instants. You set the price! Words: 167,250. Language: English. Published: February 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Throughout the year of 2013, Author C. M. Weller asked readers to send in prompts for relatively brief stories. At the rate of one a day, these stories came out on their blog. Some stories are serious, some are not. Some are sad. Some are happy. Some are just plain ridiculous. We would like to think that they are all worth your your time.
Hevun's Ambassador
Series: Hevun's Child, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 60,060. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
The Majestrix is right to preen. A thorn in her side is missing, presumed dead and the Rebellion is left destitute. Will a coded message from a hidden space station prove to be her undoing? Hevun only knows.
It Happened One Wednesday
Price: Free! Words: 1,560. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
For your consideration, an ordinary girl on a hot, summer's day. But watch out for the door she's about to enter, for it leads straight to the past... which is, indeed, another country.
Hevun's Rebel
Series: Hevun's Child, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 60,460. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Sahra was on the opposite side of the station to Ore Processing when it blew up. She already had enough troubles with an overcrowded home, never enough food, the constant threat of death… and the whole being a slave thing. The humans need a saviour, rebels keep exploding the wrong places, and she needs a better source of income to feed her family. She's humanity's best hope. Hevun help them all.
Scavenger
Price: Free! Words: 2,400. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(3.00 from 1 review)
Alex's job is to search derelicts for anything that may be valuable. The problem is, 'valuable' is relative, but danger is not...
Blowing Bubbles
Price: Free! Words: 2,700. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
They say that if you're tired of VR, you're tired of life... and Marv has been getting very tired of the daily grind. Will the Next New Thing prove to be his salvation? Or will it be his demise?
Good Boy
Price: Free! Words: 2,360. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Being a cop was interesting enough before the wave of genetech arrived to make Lyr's life even more complicated than it had to be. Now she has to deal with Rael, an engineered life form, the genetic engineer that makes his life hell, and now there's a lost dog who only knows his owner as 'Master'.
Nor Gloom of Night
Price: Free! Words: 4,150. Language: English. Published: August 9, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Paul has been called a "glorified mailman" by his peers, but he sees it as a sacred duty. Now, with the "little problem" of a big rock through half his vessel, he has to do everything he can -including the unthinkable- to deliver. The mail must get through.
R.T.F.M.
Price: Free! Words: 9,960. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Beta-testing genetic technology can be creepy. Really creepy. Especially when you discover the illegal secret to its success.