Interview with Chris Ward

What are you working on next?
There are several things in the pipeline. Tube Riders: Revenge will be published in January, thus ending the main Tube Riders trilogy. However, there is a prequel in the works, focusing on the Governor's back story, plus a side novel (or two) set in London in the period of time between the Tube Riders fleeing the city and their return. It will feature mostly different characters but there will be one or two familiar faces, and expanded storylines for one or two bit characters. Don't expect to see more of Marta, Switch, Carl et al, as once a story is done, its done. I don't like to go back, and I don't like to shamelessly mine a character when I consider their story told. But you never know ...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The cat and the day job! Writing doesn't pay my bills or buy the cat's food, haha. I go to work every day, and sometimes I do other work in the evenings. I'm a busy man, but I find time for writing by never watching TV and barely having a social life. You have to make sacrifices ...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working and cleaning the house, mostly. I do have some hobbies. I play in a hard rock band called Steampunk Unicorn, who have a decent following in my city in Japan, Nagano. We have numerous videos on Youtube, although the older ones are a bit ropey! I also like to hike in the Japan Alps in the summer and snowboard down them in the winter. When I find time, of course, which these days is not often.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
It's rare that I have to go looking for books, because I have a back about three years long, plus I only read about 20 books a year. I rarely go on recommendations, but even a five minute search on a book retailer will come up with hundreds of books I'd like to read if given the time. I like to read literary and I like to read meaningful stuff. I'm not big on potboilers or series, believe it or not. I much prefer to read stand alone books.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a one-page thing on my dad's typewriter. I remember the title but not what happened. And it remains a secret! I was about eight years old and I've been writing ever since, twenty-six years and counting.
What is your writing process?
Think, sit down, write. In order not to "lose" so many manuscripts, I tend to plot four or five chapters ahead, but my outlines are no more than a couple of lines per paragraph.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was something like Roger Red Hat and the Village with Three Corners. I was like four. I imagine my reaction was something like, "ooh, that's a nice hat." The first book I remember thinking was better than the whole world was The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I read that before the first in the series, and was about twelve. At the time I thought that book was the bees. I don't dare read it again in case it shatters my illusions ...
How do you approach cover design?
I pay someone to do it for me. I usually have a few ideas, so I go to Google images and pick a few pictures that are close to what I'm seeing in my head, and then she goes to stock sites and comes back with her own ideas. We take it from there. Sometimes I have a clear idea than others. For example, on the cover of Head of Words I wanted a silhouette of a man suffering from mental anguish, with a bridge in the background and the title made up of a repeated line of the prologue. I got exactly what I wanted and I love it. I don't care whether the book has taken off or not (it hasn't) because the cover is exactly like my vision and fits the book perfectly. I decided to indie publish because I wanted things my way and that's what I've got. Readers will get to it eventually.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a mixture of authors and genres. I don't like reading two books by the same author in a row. I have my favorite authors but I like to try new things so I'm always looking for something different to read.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and its great. It's basic, the battery lasts forever, and I can read at night without having a lamp on.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm yet to find anything that works well. I'm a lower-midlister, but when I started out in January 2012 I set myself a seven-year goal to be writing full time. I'm just shy of two years and while I'm not making much money 2013 was a 400% improvement on 2012, so I'm pretty happy.
Describe your desk
When I write at home I usually sit on a floor chair with my legs under a Japanese heated table (I live in the Japan Alps), and the laptop on the table top. There is often a cat between me and the keyboard.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the side of a hill, on the edge of a forest, a mile from a rocky beach, in Cornwall, South-West England. It was everything I needed to let creativity into my mind. My books tend to have a mixture of countryside settings and urban-decay settings, the latter influenced from the six years I spent through university and beyond living in a pretty tatty part of Bristol.
When did you first start writing?
When I was about eight.
Published 2013-12-18.
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Books by This Author

Going Underground
Price: Free! Words: 7,640. Language: British English. Published: February 12, 2013 by AMMFA Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Rob knows the trains still run. He can hear them ... Going Underground is a 3000 word short story that formed the basis for the world used in Chris Ward's acclaimed Tube Riders trilogy. The Tube Riders part 1 is available now. Part 2, The Tube RIders: Exile, will be published in summer 2013.
The Cold Pools
Price: Free! Words: 3,220. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2012 by AMMFA Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Meet me at the end of the world ... As civilization comes to an end, Lewis and Karen take their last vacation to the only cold place left on Earth, the remote resort town of Cold Pools. There, they will say goodbye ... The Cold Pools - a short story of 3,000 words.
Fallen From the Train
Price: Free! Words: 10,580. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2012 by AMMFA Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Carl Weston finds a young man lying unconscious by the train tracks. Who is he? Where did he come from? Carl knows the man can't have got off the train because the trains don't stop anymore ...