Interview with Till Noever

What's the story behind your latest book?
Tomorrow's Yesterdays...
It started as a screenplay, which was meant to be a homage to Robert Heinlein's 'The Door into Summer'. The screenplay kind-of followed a similar plot, but was updated to be more contemporary and aligned with things that interest me. I submitted the screenplay to several comps. It got...well, nowhere close to where I wanted it.
But I liked the story! So I reverted to a tactic used with another novel, Seladienna (also available from Smashwords). Make the screenplay into a novel.
Tomorrow's Yesterdays became a repeat experience of Seladienna, which also had screenplay origins. The story started kind-of the same way. Indeed, in this case it started with verbatim dialogue copies from the screenplay. But by the time the first 2000 words were written it was clear that that just wouldn't work. So, off on a tangent it went. Like seriously. And what finally came out of it was so completely unlike the original screenplay that the coincidence of titles is mostly a result of the story's history. If I had started it as a novel, the title may have been quite different. But I like it as it is, because it's actually very much on the mark.
Along the way, as usual, I managed to get insert a gazillion things that had been gathering in my mind over the last few years without having written a new novel. The result is a tale that's partially an exposition, with significant artistic license, of David Deutsch's version of the 'multiverse', and a direct follow-up, though not actually a 'sequel' to thought I had had when I wrote Continuity Slip over a decade ago. It's also a love story, and a story about 'family'; and there's a lot in that, and also about identity, personhood
I found the story's 'about' one day when I chanced upon a quote by the physicist Arthur Eddington. When I read it, it was like "Got it!". The quote probably relates more to physics but I think it is just as applicable to what it means to be human in a physical multiverse, with all the attendant consequences its structure has for us.
"We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about 'and' ".
What are you working on next?
I *thought* I was continuing the Tethys series, and after my latest novel, Tomorrow's Yesterdays, I think I'm actually ready to do it. The theme, apart from the adventure wrapper, will probably be the nature of memory. How to bring that into my style of story--instead of going off into technicality-territory? Well, it so happens that there's a ready-made context here, and I'm going to use that. So, yes, Aslam, is probably going to be the thing coming up next--once I have completed the slog-work of paper and Kindle publishing the edited Tethys series on Amazon.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'm a compulsive storyteller. If I don't tell stories (novels or screenplays) I get antsy and neurotic. I also develop very close attachments with my characters. It's not so much about 'writing' then, but about storytelling. Writing for the likes of me is like a drug. I don't even really care if these stories sell. I'd love it if they did, but that's not why I'm doing it.

Bottom line: It's not about 'joy' but about 'need'!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I published my first novel ('Keaen') with a Canadian publishing house. The experience was—well, let's call it "educational". I was eager to have something published and prepared to do everything I could to get this done. It took five years to get there, and then it was with a mangled story. It also was a publishing flop. Surprised I was not, but it was a letdown anyway.

I wrote the first sequel ('Finister') and decided to restore Keaen to the 'director's cut' as well. Then came three more sequels ('Tergan', 'Fontaine' and 'Tethys') plus a couple of others ('Seladiënna', 'Continuity Slip'), and there was lulu.com with their brilliant and irresistible (for me) business model for POD books. So, no more grief with editors and publishers. Mind you, also no help with promotion—and I suck at promotion. But nothing comes without a price tag.

And then, in 2013 I discovered Smashwords...

How cool is that?

An extended version of my author-odyssey can be found here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/362103 ('The Long Path to Tethys')
Who are your favorite authors?
The late Jack Vance is and has always been my guiding light when it comes to the art of story-craft and the use of the English language. He probably would not be overly impressed by my abilities, but he's my hero anyway. The world may never see the likes of him again.

There are others, of course. Most of them are from an older generation. Heinlein, Farmer, Saberhagen, Perry, and so on. But there's also quite a few non-SF&F authors like Carl Hiassen, Nora Roberts, James Hall.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life. Love. Liberty.

Seriously!

I love being alive. Without it there's nothing, so how can anybody (unless they're in truly awful conditions) think otherwise?

I love love. Best thing, next to life. Without it everything's shit.

Liberty? Yeah, definitely. I'm a rabid free-speech advocate, and I hate the creeping way in which our liberties are being gradually eroded. Freezing frogs.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day-job. I also have a family, who are the most important things in my life. I love reading and watching movies and good TV serials. Eclectic tastes. And for exercise I practice Samurai swordcraft.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Random process. Nowadays, if I want to read a book, but it may not be one I'll want to keep on a shelf, I first check if it's available as a eBook.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Too many to remember. Some of them were written in my original tongue: German. Long time and a lot of stories, and especially a lot of long stories (i.e. novels) ago.

Some stayed with me. Like check out 'Finnegan's Wake' (yeah, I know...don't say it!) in my eBook 'The Long Way to Tethys', which is freely available from Smashwords.
What is your writing process?
Based on a series of questions:
What's the story all about? (The 'deep' all about. The 'why'; not the 'how' or 'what'.)
Who are the characters? (Some will be there in the beginning, though in my stories unexpected characters have a habit of walking in on the story and some of them stick around for good.)
What's the inciting incident that gets the story going?
What are the milestones the story has to hit? (The basic ones. There may be more as the story unfolds, but the basic ones remain.)
What's the ending?

And I start spinning my yarn. It's not that hard, once you get used to the 'process'. It's actually very cool, because it's like reading a novel, where you're peeked into the story here are there and there and at the end; but otherwise you haven't got a clue of what's happening until you write it.
How do you approach cover design?
It's got to relate directly to the story. I wish I was better at visual arts. Better and faster. I can draw and am pretty good at combining multi-media into a decent cover, but it takes time that I'd rather spend writing. I need a million dollars, so I can ditch my day-job I guess.

Yeah, I know. You're probably familiar with the sentiment.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Jack Vance's 'Lyonesse' trilogy. (That's 3.) Best fantasy tale ever. If there's a cult set of books, it should be this one; not Lord of the Rings!

My other favorites (excuse the vanity element here, please!) are some of my own. I've just re-read (for proofing) the Tethys series (still finding errors, but very few). Decided that 'Fontaine' and 'Tethys' may be among my personal favorite novels. I love the characters and find myself occasionally surprised by what I discover about them as I read—as opposed to write—the stories.
What do you read for pleasure?
'Fables' comics.
I re-read Jack Vance on a regular basis.
Books that make me think. Recent ones include: Aping Mankind, In Defence of Wonder, The Betrayal of Arthur, Thinking Fast and Slow, The Great Cholesterol Con, The Diet Delusion, Start with Why, The Power of Habit, Sex at Dawn, Free Will, The Moral Landscape, The Gift of Fear.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPhone. Not 'choice' but it's the best option for me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Grew up in Germany, plus a total of maybe 3 years in Spain. Didn't influence me much—I think. I might be wrong. Then I emigrated to Australia, and also spent time in South America, New Zealand (lots of time there), Japan, UK and US. All of these left their imprint on my stories.
When did you first start writing?
I was about 20. I think. Wrote in German then. Didn't much like it. Switched to English and liked that much better, though it took a while to get the hang of it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Surprisingly I seem to have a few 'fans', a fact which I find both surprising and gratifying. Discerning people, all of them, of course. How would it be any different?

As to what they 'mean' to me... Well, they're the people I tell my stories TO. Every storyteller needs an audience of some sort. If it's just him/herself, the whole thing ultimately becomes a soliloquy or monologue, which seems like a silly exercise—unless of course you regard storytelling as therapy of some kind; which, by the way, it is for me as well! So maybe I could continue without any audience, but it still smacks of narcissism.

One's audience, especially those who appreciate one's writing, also help with 'validation', which again is a selfish motive, but I'm not apologizing for it. Thing is, everybody loves, and possibly needs, validation. I know I do. No man's an island, and no matter how well grounded and centered you are, ultimately humans are social creatures; that's the way we evolved, and hermits are aberrations from the, very broad, norm.
Describe your desk
A Macbook Pro, a 23" monitor, mouse, a few miscellaneous bits and pieces (constantly changing). Messiness, on a scale 0-9: about 3.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I grew up on fairy tales. Since I started reading by myself sometime around the age of seven , it's kind of hard to remember. Some unexpurgated Grimm's fairy tale probably. Or maybe Hans Christian Andersen.
What apart from writing would you consider a 'passion'?
Life, I guess...

Seriously though, and leaving out my family, which is #1, there's photography, which is a different kind of story telling, but I've been doing it, occasionally semi-professionally since my mid teens.
Published 2017-12-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tomorrow's Yesterdays
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 102,920. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
An asteroid strike prompts physicist Ben Shore and his collaborators to try to create a new physical theory to solve the problems of current space flight technology. Their work has serious unexpected consequences. On the verge of success, an action from a former associate brings visitors from the future into the present, intent on ensuring that the future Ben wanted to create can actually exist.
The Long Path to Tethys
Series: Tethys, Author Profile ยท Tethys Prequels, Author Profile. Price: Free! Words: 16,200. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2013. Categories: Essay » Author profile
Why invent a world and then revisit it again and again? What relationship does an author have to his or her characters? And where it 'Tethys' anyway? I know: who cares? Well, if you do, read on. It's free.
Continuity Slip
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,840. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
When the world isn't what you remember it to be, does that mean you're insane, or that there's actually something wrong with it?
Seladiënna
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 164,980. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
When they found a sword in a stone, it was like "WTF! Where's King Arthur?" Good damn question!
Coralia
Series: Tethys Prequels, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 102,420. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
A century after the dawn of the interstellar age. A millennium before the rediscovery of Tethys. ** The second prequel to the Tethys series. **
System Crash
Series: Tethys Prequels, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 116,030. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
At the dawn of the interstellar age. Over a millennium before the rediscovery of Tethys. ** The first prequel to the Tethys series. **
Tethys
Series: Tethys, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 135,490. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
** The fifth novel of Tethys ** The existence of Tethys is no longer a secret. So, what can Mac and his allies do to secure its future and prevent it from falling under the rule of the Authority?
Fontaine
Series: Tethys, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 132,470. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
** The fourth novel of Tethys ** Agents of the Authority, who have rediscovered Tethys, become embroiled in the battle for the fate of its people.
Tergan
Series: Tethys, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 120,890. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
** The third novel of Tethys ** Intrigues, power-play and murders at the court of Tergan; while in Keaen, Armist tries to avoid an uprising and the disintegration of his kingdom.
Finister
Series: Tethys, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 128,290. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
** The second novel of Tethys ** A thief and a rich merchant's daughter. A warrior bearing the scars of a terrible tragedy. Together they hunt...
Keaen
Series: Tethys, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 145,700. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.00)
Once upon a time, more than a thousand years hence, on a distant world called ‘Tethys’, in the kingdom of Keaen... ** The first novel of Tethys **