I like to do the basics of my own cover design with a camera, and a little tweaking in the computer photo-shop. However, I use a professional to do the final lettering and colour adjustment work. I look for the unusual in the usual. For example, in the short story series "Of Gods and Other Aliens" the cover photograph was the street outside our (then) home at night. The photo is essentially almost black with hardly anything recognisable of the street. The amber/yellow street lights, in the foreground, and receding into the distance, impart a UFO like scene, entirely appropriate, I think, to the title. I believe a bold colour cover, creates an impact at first glance, and attracts a reader to investigate further. Too much detail or design, detracts and confuses.
What do you read for pleasure?
My reading is a mixture of good fiction and non fiction. "Fiction wise", I often re-read the old classics from my youth and childhood, along with modern stories from some of the best writers alive today, such as Ian McEwan. I also enjoyed Ken Follet's latest trilogy on the twentieth century. John Fowles is an author I like to go back to from time to time. Science-fiction is another genre I enjoy, but I haven't read anything great of late. Non fiction is usually restricted to science - especially the physics of the universe. "From Eternity to Here" by Sean Carroll is one of my recent favourites. But history, too, features, which is why, I guess, I liked Ken Follet's latest. Bow shooting, fishing, and boating also figure in my reading for pleasure, as these are "sports" I enjoy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do remember some stories, which I wrote at high school. And I often think of trying to develop an adult short story version of a few of them.
But I did not begin writing my first novel until I was almost forty - a science-fiction novel, which I wrote during the long tropical nights when I was living in Apia, Western Samoa. I had a two year contract as an English teacher at the government high school, Samoa College. My wife and four children came with me on what is still the greatest adventure we shared as a family. One day, I may write about that, too.
I still have a copy of that story, and will look at rewriting it some time in the future. I believe it has merit.
What are you working on next?
I am currently reworking an earlier story - a science-fiction story - "The Sword and the PLough", which never got past the draft stage. Without wanting to give too much away, the story is set some hundred odd years into the future. The Earth has now become the ruling planet of the Earth Commonwealth of Planets - six planets at varying stages of development from sophisticated communities, rivalling the power of Earth, to pioneer planets whose inhabitants are still hacking a living out of the wilderness. The story begins on a pioneer planet, which comes under attack from one of its more developed neighbours. The battle lines soon spread...
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.