Interview with Nicholas Woode-Smith

When did you first start writing?
I only began truly writing in earnest in 2009 when the limitations of a quest creating expansion to the now almost forgotten game 'Spore' left me wanting. I decided to place the world I created in book form and began writing what was supposed to be a stand alone military sci-fi about an unlikely thief who becomes a military hero. The idea evolved from there until it became what is hopefully a realistic and dark, but intriguing view of our future and that of the galaxy.

Since then, I have begun writing more non-fiction - focusing on analysing current affairs and politics.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
While my personal life has been comfortable and my parents very supportive, South Africa is a very stressful place to live. Crime is rampant and government failure has created a breeding ground for dissidents. This is what initially led me into the Libertarian movement and what most probably influenced me to write mainly dystopian fiction.
What motivated you to become an author?
The freedom of the literary canvas. Writing itself is one of the true freedoms in life and being able to express the countless fictions in my head is a liberating experience. I've always liked to craft worlds, and usually used these as settings to entertain friends and children. Writing has given me the platform to show these worlds to a much larger audience, and in a much more concrete form.
Who are your favorite authors?
Raymond E. Fiest for introducing me to high fantasy and the complex ever changing worlds of Kelewan and Midkemia. Brandon Sanderson for his attention to even the slightest detail of his world, magic systems and characters. Robert Jordan simply for writing what I believe is the greatest fantasy series ever written. Alan Moore for the philosophical questions he poses and for writing what is most probably the greatest graphic novel ever - Watchmen.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read, play video games, watch anime and undertake the other necessities for basic survival. When I am reading, it is either at the computer in the form of political and philosophy articles or in bed where I will read my current novel, mostly high fantasy. Video game wise, I tend to enjoy most genres, with my favourite being roleplaying games but still holding a place in my heart for strategy, which I grew up with. Anime wise, my tastes vary from mostly tragic and depressing dramas to light hearted comedies, with more action orientated dramas and epics to break it all up.
Describe your desk
My desk generally ranges from extremely cluttered to impeccably organized. A PC dominates the centre, with other electronics finding their way from one side to the other according to the whims of multiple different types of paranormal apparitions. Decorating the table top are a myriad of gaming and anime figurines, which tend to stare scornfully at paperwork and the occasional unpacked Magic: The Gathering cards.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social Media and a loyal starting fan base. Before publishing Fall of Zona Nox, I spent close to a year allowing friends, family and total strangers access to previews and even the full book. This helped me not only to build up an already existing readership, but also inspired me to keep on writing and know what readers liked and did not. In science fiction and fantasy, a fandom is every authors dream, but sometimes that fandom needs to be created and edged on by the author. By crafting a non-essential lore and telling my testers about it, it helped create a sense of intrigue that encouraged them to read more and tell their friends.

Ultimately, this can only get you so far, and this is where social media has come in. The problem with social media initially is the slow start, but after you have gained a few fans, their shares and likes help get the ball rolling.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I am currently writing the sequel to my debut, Fall of Zona Nox. It follows on from the previous book, but not before introducing a new major character which takes up most of the start. The book takes a larger look at the galactic scene, shedding light on societies past that of Zona Nox and the frontier worlds. Even sworn enemies will get some time in the limelight, much like that of Leri's in Fall of Zona Nox. The book will still focus on James, however, and will further develop his place in the galaxy as Trooper, warrior, thief, rebel or God. You'll need to read to find out.
What further plans do you have to grow as an author?
I'll be continuing to write the Warpmancer Series, while promoting the books as I release them. As much as I would like to get my books traditionally published, I find it too much of a chore to try and too much of a danger to risk the loss of my freedom. I will probably finish the Warpmancer Series before approaching a publisher, unless I am approached first.

Short term goal-wise, I aim to release a few physical copies of my book at a gaming and anime convention in 2014. Hopefully they will sell and generate some new fans.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are those who share the love for a world I have created and nurtured. They are the so-called geeks and nerds who love to discuss the advantages of a Titan-2 Lancer VS. a Zerian Slider, or the probability of survival when placed in a Sylith nest with nothing but the clothes on your back. If my fans are engaged in what I have created, then I have accomplished all I need to.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating worlds. Fantasy and science fiction allow me to craft universes that defy even some imaginations with their creativity and awe-inspiring depth, or create a witty allegory which satirizes or highlights the darker side of our very real society. I have always created fantasy worlds, and currently hold close to 15 in the jumble which is my head. Writing allows me not only to place them down for the world to see, but also create a work of art.
Published 2016-06-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Gangs of Galis
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,140. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: March 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00)
Danny Marzio, crime boss and businessman, has a dream to turn crime-ridden Galis City into a paradise of vice, but as a gang war escalates, he realises that to build his business, he may have to become an emperor.
Cape Zero: The Fall
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,940. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: June 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(5.00)
Social recluse, Peter Swart, is thrown into a Cape Town gone mad as an epidemic turns people into bloodthirsty cannibals.