Interview with Julian M. Miles

In no more than ten words, why did you become a writer?
A progression from storytelling that has been even more fun.
What motivated you to quit your day job?
I haven’t! I became unemployed in late 2010, suffered a few personal setbacks, then collated, revised and/or completed my early work for private publication while job hunting. As the climate for job hunting, especially in my career path, became very difficult, writing was, and remains, a way to do something while still searching. In early 2012, I sat down and had a good, long look at the publishing industry. In mid 2012, I decided to do the whole thing on my own, as far as I could. (Which means pretty much everything apart from volume distribution and a big marketing budget.) If all goes according to plan, I will have a ‘day job’ to support my writing, sooner or later. I consider the chance of my stories achieving a status where writing alone can support me to be slim. It would be a fine thing, but a certain cynicism/realism has to be applied.
How did you get your first proper opportunity?
A Canadian-based website specialising in science fiction, science fantasy and speculative flash fiction, 365 Tomorrows ( http://365tomorrows.com ) brought to my attention a specialised form of story making – flash fiction. I found a knack for it and became a staff writer for the site in late 2011. I have three stories a month published on the site – they publish a new story every day, either from the half-dozen staff writers or submissions from authors around the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My writing rarely produces material that would be considered mainstream. After spending a long while taking a good, hard look at the publishing industry, I decided that having gone as far as getting my own paperbacks printed in addition to ebooks via Smashwords, not going further would be silly. I became a UK registered publisher and now have seven books in print with many more in progress. At least two of them will be published in 2014.
My books. My way. Delivering my work, in a high quality format regardless of platform, to the people who enjoy it, and doing so at a reasonable price.
What’s the worst thing about self-publishing?
Apart from the derisory view that many people hold of books published by the author without the implicit ‘seal of approval’ gained by having a deal with a publisher, I have found that the doubts are the worst. From the quality of each story to the cover art, format, layout and design, every aspect may feel and look right, but the little doubts regarding worthiness persist.
What is the best thing about the 'career' path you have chosen?
For all the travails in my life, they have culminated in me being able to write. While I may have some regrets and several embarrassing memories I wish I hadn’t caused, I have nothing to complain about.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
On the writing front, I hope that is yet to come. Personally, it was helping a dear friend through some very difficult times. Details of said are not mine to divulge.
Can you share some of the ‘great works’ that have inspired you?
Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy is, to me, the finest piece of fantasy ever written. The sheer scope of the work, implicitly and explicitly, is staggering in its all-encompassing sweep. For science fiction, Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga of the Seven Suns stands as the most massive (seven volumes and a graphic novel prequel) work that delivers a satisfying story. Joel Shepherd’s first Cassandra Kresnov trilogy – Crossover, Breakaway and Killswitch is a beautiful example of science fiction thriller that addresses some deep concepts. In the graphic novel format, J. Michael Straczynski’s Midnight Nation is a masterpiece. Timeless classics for me are Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone and Robert W. Chamber’s King in Yellow. Finally, the early works of Andre Norton and any of Mick Farren’s fiction – I consider them to be the two writers that have had the greatest influence on my writing style.
What do you think is the secret to having a good writing career?
Keep writing. Never stop. Seek out people who will be honest about your writing, in grammar and in content. But never let anyone dictate to you about the stories you are telling. They can advise you, but it is your story. Tell it your way.
Do you agree that you must ‘write what you know’?
In part. Having a ‘working’ knowledge of a topic can lend technical depth and provide insights that the average reader is unaware of, but really, you should write what you want to and do it when the inspiration arrives. Get it down on ‘paper’, at least enough to capture the feel and idea. Even if it’s not fit for publication, it’s all good practice, keying your creativity to the outlet of writing. Imagination is designed to take you places where you haven’t been, after all. If that place happens to be an area where there are genuine experts available, do research and strike up a conversation with them after you have captured the core of the work. Insight from professionals can improve your work, but only you can create the story.
What are you goals for the future?
They are distressingly simple, really. A job to support me while I continue to write. I have many more stories to tell and I’d like to get to a point where I can take the time to work on the couple of really big writing projects I have had lying around in fragment and note forms for over 20 years.
Published 2014-01-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Six Degrees of Sky
Series: Visions of the Future short fiction anthologies. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,060. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
“Bringing you stories of intrigue, action, love, and adventure from near and far.” Every tomorrow leads to another, and the further they go from today, the stranger they could be. We cannot predict, but, we can imagine. From that simple inspiration, Julian M. Miles has spent the last year creating dozens of vistas of what could be, and in this anthology, he shares them with you.
Daughter of Eons
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,870. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
From dystopian tomorrows, through parallel worlds, to discoveries at the furthest edge of mankind’s colonisation of space, the stories in this book will take you far from the days and the ways that you know. Julian M. Miles has collected the best of the short stories from the first 5 years of his annual 'Visions of the Future' short & flash fiction anthologies into this spectacular collection.
Single White Male - An Exercise in Lovecraftian Realisation
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 22,620. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Fear the Tide. It washes everything away, or it brings lost things back: secrets, crimes, lies. Brannon's memory is like the tide; he can't control it, and he can't hold on to it. Detective Higgin has a problem that is turning into a nightmare, and Brannon is a part of it - or the cause. Under the waxing moon, something new is hunting. Out by the Tide Mills, something old has surfaced.
Gammafall
Series: Visions of the Future short fiction anthologies. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,750. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
Infinite possibility, infinite potential. We cannot predict our futures, but we can imagine what is to come. From that simple inspiration, Julian M. Miles has spent the last year creating dozens of vistas of what could be, and in this anthology, he brings you stories of intrigue, action and adventure from near and far.
A Place in the Dark: Second Edition
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,640. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
There are things out there you know nothing about, and would not believe even if you did. Luckily for you, most of these things are completely indifferent to your existence; the threats from their own kind are far greater than those posed by their prey. This is the tale of one nightwalker's dark journey amidst the patterns and intrigues that weave through centuries and countless lives.
Stars of Black
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 67,310. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
There is a tainted play written by a genius who killed himself when it was completed. Any who read it will experience epiphanies beyond endurance. For countless centuries, the play and the monarch it tells of have wrought ruination and salvation. Inspired by the weird horror of nineteenth century authors Robert W. Chambers and Ambrose Bierce; get to know the original King in Yellow.
Agents of Fate
Series: Visions of the Future short fiction anthologies, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 50,300. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
Within this book you will find over sixty views of futures near and far. Action, insight and emotion colour these tales of people on their journey through lives stranger than ours, and overcoming trials and malice along the way. Using the flash fiction format, interspersed with short fiction pieces, this collection will whisk you away to places and situations you’ve never dreamed of.
The Borsen Incursion
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 72,980. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
A centuries-spanning tale of space warfare told from major and minor viewpoints, using over fifty pieces of carefully-crafted short fiction: the victories and the tragedies, the decisions that make or break civilisations, the resilience of ordinary people striving to cope. Be there when heroes are made and villains fall. Understand the motives of an enemy that seeks to drive humanity to the brink.
Come Tomorrow
Series: Visions of the Future short fiction anthologies, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 50,340. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
The infinite possibilities for mankind’s future are as diverse as those contemplating them. While it seems that there are more predictions of ruin than utopia, the sheer adaptability and persistence of humanity has always been it’s greatest strength. Within this book you will find sixty views of where those strengths could take us, along with the foibles we have.
Tangents
Series: Visions of the Future short fiction anthologies, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 50,480. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction
There are as many possible futures for mankind as there are people and organisations prepared to spend anywhere from an evening to several years thinking about them. Seventy flash and short stories of where humanity and its inventiveness could go, what it could be, or how it could fail. This collection will take you as far from today as you care to go and entertain you wherever you journey to.
Fire In Mind
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 60,760. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
In a world that looks like the one you walk through every day, arcane encounters can change your life. Come and share some of those moments from the past and present of a world not as mundane as some would have you believe. From an age lost to history, discover wonders in a time when the magic around us did not always have to hide from man. 19 stories of dragons and magic for those who seek.
This Mortal Dance
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 10,180. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - single author
Poems on life, the nature of friendship and the various aspects of love and grief. Verses reflecting on my faith and interacting with the forces that share our world. Fantastical pieces on the nature of the unknown, thoughts on mankind's destructive nature and our impact on this planet. A book of hope reflected in verse ranging from humourous to solemn. Ninety-seven poems to help you on your way.