Interview with Christian Exenberger

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have several methods. Most of what I read is for reference purposes, so I go looking for books on specific topics. I look for books recommended by friends and sometimes I just browse the catalogues to see what jumps out and grabs me
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Well, the first story I ever wrote which I enjoyed writing. It was my second year in primary school, the story was for English homework. But where thirty vaguely intelligible words would have sufficed, I wrote a five page, illustrated story about the adventures of a kite who escapes from his line and heads of into the wide blue yonder.
What is your writing process?
Aside from coming up with an idea for a story, there are two main steps I follow when writing. The first is to get the thoughts down on paper (virtual or otherwise). The trick with this is not to be critical of your work, not to worry about mistakes, typos, contradictions, spelling or any of the other things which might get in the way of getting the story down. Fixing all of these things is what the next, far harder step is for.
The first draft of the story is always terrible, with more errors that not. I have rewritten and even thrown out entire chapters. There are sections which have been rewritten several times to improve them. Commas which have been deleted, re-inserted before being deleted again... and again. It takes several rounds of editing to get something that I might be brave enough to share with other people, let alone charge money for.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover needs to convey a certain message, to give people a feeling for what to expect from the book. Because I am trying to write hard core science fiction, my current style is to try to be reminiscent of some of the early, hand illustrated covers of the eighteenth and nineteenth century science fiction works.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Ah, difficult. For one thing my memory never was what it used to be, but also because the person I am and what I want out of a book has changed a lot over the years. But here goes anyway. I would be hard put to pick the specific books of the top two authors, or indeed put them in a sequence of preference, but Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams have both shown me the advantage of not hanging on to your sanity too carefully when writing. Frank Herbert's Dune stands out because of the originality of its ideas, and the grandeur of the skyscapes it paints. Charles Darwin's Origin of species, has shown me how science can be more enthralling than fiction. A must read for any aspiring science fiction writer. And finally, for sheer entertainment value and for an opportunity to unhitch your brain and just go along for the ride, I need to throw in JK Rowling for her Harry potter series.
What do you read for pleasure?
Ha ha, seriously? Who has time to read for pleasure? I read to become a better writer, a better software developer, a better systems architect, to do research, to catch up on news, to study. But most of my reading is done while editing my own work. Damn, I need to get a life. Fortunately I love reading, even if it is for studying. I wish I had more time to read.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Galaxy Tab S
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Don't know yet. I haven't been marketing books for long enough to have a meaningful answer.
Describe your desk
I am currently using my wife's 1.2-meter desk extension as a desk. Permanent features on it are, my laptop for writing, a light for when it gets dark and a coaster for my coffee. It also usually features my coffee cup, pen, glasses, tablet and a variety of papers which are either scribble pads, or documents that I need to attend to, or file. Oh, and I also have a sea view through the window on my left.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I did most of my growing up in South Africa, Johannesburg and Vereeniging. I suppose the biggest influence is that I write in English rather than the German I would have written in if my parents hadn't immigrated and I had grown up in Austria. Other than that I don't know, I don't know how I would have been different if I hadn't grown up where I did.
When did you first start writing?
I have been an aspiring writer for as long as I can remember, but I started writing my --soon to be released-- novel about fifteen years ago.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Dianne, Bootstrap, is a short story about an artificially intelligent android who has no ability to store memories. She loses everything each time she gets shut down.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well so far, as I have mentioned, I haven't been around long enough to measure success per se. But I have known about smash words for some time, and it has been a great encouragement knowing that there will be an outlet for my work. So far, so good, my first foray into publishing on Smashwords has been sampled and downloaded, which I consider a great result, even if it was free.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I probably have to blame that on Mark Coker. But seriously, I like the idea of self-publishing better than having to run around kissing the behinds of publishers and literary agents so that I can help them become even more rich.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always been a dreamer, creating entire worlds in my imagination. The joy I find in writing, is that I get to share those worlds with others.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans, again haven't been around long enough to have any yet, but when I do eventually get some... well, without fans there isn't any point writing, is there? Fans make it all worthwhile. If you are a fan, drop me a line, I would love to hear from you. Tell you what, the first person who sends me a fan letter, with their full name and permission to do so, will become the main character of a raunchy, short, science fiction story.
What are you working on next?
I am working on a raunchy, hard core science fiction novel called "The Gantry", about an engineer who gives up his life on earth to join an interstellar space freighting company. The story explores the technology that might be employed to achieve early, sub light speed, interstellar space flight, as well as the psychological, sociological, political, ideological and economic factors which might be pertinent. It also has religious extremist terrorism and lots of sex.
Who are your favorite authors?
Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, JK Rowling, Charles Darwin, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Louis L'Amour and Richard Dawkins.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Ahh, life is beautiful. I love what I am doing and I love where I live at the moment. But most of all, my wife inspires me to get out of bed. Once she gets up, there really doesn't seem to be much point staying in bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a 4X4 and I live by the sea... what else do I need? But seriously, I have 4 children and step children and a wonderful wife. And while I have taken some time off to focus on writing, I am going to have to find a job pretty soon...So I am pretty busy. I also enjoy TV and reading.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Alas, No.
Published 2016-05-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Gantry
Price: Free! Words: 88,270. Language: British English. Published: November 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
Ian joins the crew of The Gantry freighting cargo to the stars. A world of solitude, where space and religious extremism try to kill him at every turn. Where human contact is scarce and advantage must be taken at each encounter. Where decades go by in hibernation and time is meaningless. Where medical advances strip the years from Ian, giving him a glimpse of immortality.
I (do Not!) Accept
Price: Free! Words: 3,060. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Computer literacy
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
How often do we skip over terms and conditions we see on websites, and accept them without a second look? Well that's fine, it's a choice we make, we trust the lawyers not to put anything funny in there. But sometimes the website lawyers try to take the choice away from us, try to force us to accept things we might not want to accept. This is a very fictitious story about very real T's and C's.
The Gantry
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,750. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Erotica » Sci-Fi Erotica
Ian joins the crew of The Gantry, freighting cargo to the stars. A world of solitude, where space and religious extremism try to kill him at every turn. Where human contact is scarce, and intimate advantage must be taken, at each opportunity. Where decades go by in hibernation and time is meaningless. Where medical advances strip the years from Ian, giving him a glimpse of immortality. 18+ SNVLP
Diane, Bootstrap
Price: Free! Words: 5,800. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
(2.50 from 2 reviews)
Diane is the guardian of the vessel E.S. Horizon, but things are not quite as they should be. There is a two century gap in her memory, her space suite seems to be optional and everyone is looking at her strangely. But she has a job to do, and she will do it no matter what.