Interview with Francisco Figueira

What are you working on next?
Publishing Softweapons is taking most of my time at the moment. I'm also planning to release it in portuguese ("Armas Suaves") since that is my mother tongue. In the medium-term, I may write and publish Black Box 2, as I already have a prototype in my head. For the long-term, there is a big project I have been developing conceptually but that is not yet mature enough to start writing it and I'm not sure if I will ever do it. The main challenge is that it's not that short and juiced sci-fi I have been writing. It's a drama heavily involved into political philosophy that will demand full commitment from me and therefore it may only be possible if I become a fully dedicated writer.
Who are your favorite authors?
The answer is controversial, to say the least. My favourite authors are not writing books. They make movies, TV series, videogames and music. Those are also my main sources of inspiration. I find music lyrics more touching and original than conventional poetry. I find movies and TV series more artistic than books. And I find videogames more immersive than written stories.

To not let you in the dark, I will tell 5 examples of each one of them:
- Movies: RocknRolla, Gladiator, Inside Man, The Prestige, Elite Squad.
- TV Series: Prison Break, Blue Water High, Saint Seiya, Rurouni Kenshin, Death Note.
- Videogames: The Getaway, Total War, Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid, LA Noire.
- Music: Dido, Evanescence, The Rasmus, Sting, Enigma.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. I have been writing since school. On each test of my mother tongue's course, I had to write a small composition at the end, either from a given subject or totally free. I have also been writing a lot in forums, which makes me sometimes to write philosofical texts to myself. Some can eventually be the first step to create a book. Therefore, I have a lot of sketches and most of them will never be anything more than that, not to mention the compositions written in school and forever lost in there. Naturally, I don't remember which composition was the first and I don't even remember which sketch was the first.
How is your writing process?
My writing process is concept, concept, concept, and then writing. If the concept is not good enough, I don't even write it (and I have a vast "graveyard" of them). When I start to write, I already know how it will begin, evolve and end. Maybe that's why the content and ideas of my books are far better than the implementation and the writing that shapes them, and the ending is never disappointing.

How do I create and evolve the concepts? I capture small ideas from TV, cinema, videogames, music and even reality itself. I enjoy them, I breath them on a daily basis, I make them alternate realities to my life...and, all of a sudden, I find myself with a new story to write.

How do I write them? It's like making a puzzle. I start small and by the most important parts, regardless they are from the beginning or the end. I continue to fill in the blanks until it's complete. It doesn't matter how long it takes. I can only write new pieces when I'm ready to do so. Then I start reviewing and improving what I wrote. Finally, get something that I believe it's worth publishing.
How do you approach cover design?
I do it myself. I think it's easier because I control the outcome from start to finish and I change covers whenever I want to. No one understands my book better than me, so I should be the one to do the cover too. And if things go wrong, I only have me to blame, which is good because this way there are no regrets.

First I do a lot of benchmarking. I see dozens or hundreds of covers, what I like in them, what I don't like and why. I try to understand what makes a good cover in general and to the niche of my book. I try to understand what message do I want my cover to deliver and how that could be done. Then I begin to search for images, fonts and anything I could take advantage from to create the cover. The more time I spend here, the more I save later on when using all the raw material to get to the desired result. Then I experiment, I try new things, compare with each other, come to conclusions and finally make decisions.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm only starting, so I believe the most effective moves are free content to let people understand what I am able to deliver. I know my books are very different from any other ones and the greatest challenge for me is to find my niche. And I won't be able to get there unless I do honest marketing like "this is my product and you can try it for free, A is what I deliver, not B, not C, A, would you be interested in purchasing it?".
Describe your desk
Paper-free. Not one single paper. There's nothing more than PC/console hardware. I have everything in digital format.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I would rather tell about the collection of books I'm publishing at the moment, "Softweapons". It is inspired on several fiction and non-fiction works I can't tell, otherwise I would spoil the story. All I can tell is that the sources of inspiration are so many and so diverse that it took me years to get to a concept I could start writing about. Maybe the first source of inspiration was the knowledge I learned in high school in the Geology course. It gave me a very interesting perspective about the world and, crossed with other information and perspectives, I could develop an excellent theory to include in a sci-fi series.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The fact that I have total freedom to pursue my own way and that I'm only dependent on the readers, the final consumers of my products. Given the fact that my books are very different from any others in virtually any way, I would have no chance in the conventional value-chain. Being an indie author, I can also fully control every aspect of writing, publishing and promotion. Since I can directly interact to readers, I can even innovate in this whole process. Internet is powerful. We just need to know how to use it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you and what do your fans mean to you?
To share ideas. The thing I would like the most is to know the feedback of each and every person that read at least one of my stories. I would like to debate with them why the characters thought and behaved the way they did, which is neither necessarily right nor the way I do. The same applies to many other aspects like events, presented logics, etc.

For me, my fans are buddies. I'm only another one among them. They understand what I write and I understand their feedback. Basically, we understand each other and we share information and opinions.
Published 2014-03-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tudo O Que Se Passou
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 8. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 4,670. Language: Portuguese. Published: August 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
O que faz o fruto? Quem é que realmente veio de cima e porquê? Que conclusões poderemos retirar de tudo o que se passou?
Quem Mais Poderá Ser?
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,970. Language: Portuguese. Published: June 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Qual pensa ser a maior informação que a humanidade ainda não descobriu? Poderá haver algo mesmo em frente a nós e à espera de ser descoberto? Os elos em falta para uma conclusão fascinante.
A Ambição De Um Homem
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,800. Language: Portuguese. Published: May 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Qual é a maior ambição que um homem pode ter? Como provaria que não é alvo de qualquer conspiração ou que é livre da vontade de outros? O que faria se descobrisse algo com um potencial infinito?
All That Happened
Series: Softweapons, Book 8. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 4,790. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
What is the fruit’s effect? Who did really come from above and why? What conclusions can we take from all that happened?
Who Else Might Be?
Series: Softweapons, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,900. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
What do you think to be the greatest piece of knowledge yet to be discovered by humankind? Can there be something right in front of us waiting to be discovered? The missing links for a breathtaking conclusion.
O Julgamento
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,170. Language: Portuguese. Published: May 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Até agora, você foi apenas julgado por pessoas (incluindo você mesmo). Estará preparado para ser julgado por algo diferente? Consegue responder pelas suas crenças? Que justiça acha que detém para julgar os outros?
O Que Veio De Cima
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,480. Language: Portuguese. Published: April 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Está preparado para ver algo mais evoluído do que tudo aquilo que o Homem é ou alguma vez criou? Consegue lutar contra algo que não compreende totalmente? Até onde estamos dispostos a ir para nos salvarmos a nós próprios?
The Ambition Of A Man
Series: Softweapons, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,750. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
What is the greatest ambition a man could have? How could you prove you are free from any conspiracy or the will of others? What would you do if you discovered something with endless possibilities?
The Judgment
Series: Softweapons, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,160. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
So far, you have been judged only by people (including yourself). Are you prepared to be judged by something else? Can you stand for your beliefs? How much justice do you think you hold to judge others?
What Came From Above
Series: Softweapons, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,470. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Are you prepared to see something more evolved than anything the Man is or has created so far? Can you fight something you do not totally understand? How far are we prepared to go to save ourselves?
ICA (Português)
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,600. Language: Portuguese. Published: April 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
A ferramenta que gostaria de ver mas que tem medo de alguma vez precisar. O ICA é mais assustador que qualquer monstro que possa imaginar e mais poderoso que qualquer máquina de guerra.
ICA (English)
Series: Softweapons, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,570. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
The tool you would like to see but are afraid of ever needing. The ICA is more frightening than any conceivable beast and more powerful than any war machine.
2029 (Português)
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,200. Language: Portuguese. Published: April 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Faz ideia do que é uma verdadeira crise? Como é que o mundo se ajustaria após do acontecimento menos expectável? 12 anos depois do que pode acontecer a qualquer momento.
O Medicamento
Series: Armas Suaves, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 1,690. Language: Portuguese. Published: March 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
Como pensa que o mundo reagiria se uma planta capaz de curar qualquer doença fosse encontrada? O que faria se apenas você soubesse da existência dela?
2029
Series: Softweapons, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,200. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Do you think you know what a real crisis is? How would the world shape itself after the most unexpected event? This story is set 12 years after what can happen at any time.
The Medicine
Series: Softweapons, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 1,790. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
(5.00)
How would the world react if a plant capable of curing any disease was found? What would you do if no one knew about it but you?
Black Box
Price: Free! Words: 730. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
(4.00)
Do not try to perceive the future in 1000 years. Even if someone shows it to you, you will not get it. Even if someone explains it to you, you will not get it. Black Box shows you why.