Interview with Scott Andrews

What inspired you to write your debut novel 'Existence Is Futile'?
First of all I must point out that although it is my first published novel, it is not the first novel that I have ever written.

I was editing my first novel when I decided that I needed a break. I don't remember exactly where but I read an article about NANOWRIMO. For those that don't know NANOWRIMO is an annual, creative writing project which takes place every November. The main aim being to challenge the participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, as well as raising money for various literacy projects. I decided to take on the challenge.

In the last few days of October I was watching different videos on YouTube and I stumbled across a clip of Richard Dawkins participating in a panel debate on religion. A member of the audience stood up and asked him a question somewhat similar to the question that my main character, Henry Tomlinson, receives in 'Existence'. In the video Dawkins gives the most incredible answer and gets a rousing ovation. I couldn't get that image out of my head. My brain started playing it's silly games and soon enough I had the basis for my book entirely based on a man like Professor Dawkins saying precisely the wrong thing in the very same scenario.
So is existence really futile?
Haha, mine personally? Not right now, no.
Why ninjas?
Because they are everywhere. Just because you have never seen them, doesn't mean that they aren't there.
Is 'The Story of Albert Ross' a spin off from 'Existence Is Futile'?
No not really as I actually published Albert Ross first.

The reason I chose to use a character from 'Existence' is that I like the idea of writer's characters popping up in different stories. In actual fact the name Henry Tomlinson pops up in my first (unpublished) novel as a minor character. They aren't very similar aside from the fact that both characters share the same name and have a deep rooted connection with existence.
Which do you most enjoy writing - novels or short stories?
They are very different disciplines. Short stories have to be much more precise and clinical. I prefer to use short stories to take aim at a single thought whereas a novel allows me to take a reader on a journey. My score stands at two novels and two short stories so I can say hand on heart that I don't favor one over the other. Although if I am honest I can admit that short stories are more fun to write and novels are more satisfying to finish.
Why did you choose to give 'All Hallows' Eve' away for free?
'All Hallows' Eve' was an old idea I found in a file on my computer. I had been in an editing rut for an ice age and decided that I desperately needed to write something, as, well... I hadn't for a year. When I had finished it I was debating what to do with it and realised how lucky I am. Despite not having an agent or any real marketing budget to speak of, I have somehow collected a pleasing set of rather lovely reviews. It felt as if I had to some degree impacted people through my writing. That thought sealed it. The idea was to give it away as a thank you to all of those people, strangers and friends alike who had done their best to spread my work. I decided that the best way to distribute it was exclusively through Smashwords as it is the only recognised distributor that allows you to publish your work for free.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read but I do really remember a clash I had with a teacher at Primary School. I was around 6 or 7 years old when our teacher told us we could bring any book from home to read in quiet time in our classes. The book I chose was Bob Geldof's autobiography entitled 'Who gives a f**k' for the simple reason that it had a swearword in the title. My teacher was not best pleased by this. Despite her reservations and her refusal to allow me to read it in class, I persevered in my own time and discovered the word virginity.

The teacher decided that I should try a young adult book instead and gave me a book called 'David' to try. I have no idea who wrote it. It told the story of a young boy escaping for the horrors of Auschwitz and walking for miles through snow. It was bleak, depressing and quite harrowing.

The irony was that at that age I thought my teacher was sick for giving someone my age a book like that to read whereas 'Who Gives a F**K' was clearly a literary masterpiece because an adult told me I wasn't allowed to read it. It actually set in motion a fascination with banned books which lasted well into my early twenties.
What do you look for in a novel nowadays?
I hope that my own writing answers that question. I like a story to both entertain me and provoke me into thought. I don't think it is something we do enough. All forms of entertainment have been over-saturated by mindless soulless nonsense that discourages intelligent thought. I want a book to make me feel something, I want a book which invades my brain until I am forced to share it and most of all I want it to make me reflect on my own life. If a writer can do those things to me, then he or she is truly wonderful. If a writer can do those things to me and make me laugh, then he or she is a genius.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
'Sympathy For The Devi'l by Kent Anderson - Whenever I have read books about war I have always felt an isolated detachment. I think Anderson nails the psychology of the soldier perfectly. As well as being psychologically disturbing, it is extremely funny at times.

'Catch 22' by Joseph Heller - The madness of war. The madness of bureaucracy. The madness of man. Quite simply brilliant.

'Seeing' by Jose Saramago - An under-appreciated gem. Saramago's knack of identifying social behaviors and placing them into contexts which both exaggerate them and underscore them is nothing short of genius.

'The Yellow Arrow' by Victor Pelevin - The book is simple, poignant, and alarmingly honest. Due to the fact that it is so short it is often disregarded in favour of Pelevin's longer works. It shouldn't be.

'Shantaram' by Gregory Robertson - One of two books in my life that ever made me cry. For a semi-autobiographical tale it is somewhat unbelievable that it was a debut novel.

Honourable mentions: 'The Big Sleep', 'The Naked Lunch', 'Yes Man', 'Dice Man', 'Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade', 'The Birdman Cycle', 'The Frighteners'.
When you're not reading or writing, how do you spend your time?
Mostly scheming to take over the world. If not that then I sometimes do that thing which most people refer to as work, which in my case refers to teaching English. As for free time I try to go for at least one long walk a day with my Scottish Terrier, and sometimes my fiancee. Unless Arsenal are playing on the television. Then football wins every time.
What are you working on next?
Presently I am finishing the first draft of my third novel. I suspect that when I finally finish I will put it to one side for a while and leap into my editing pile which already contains my other novel and a collection of short stories for kids.
Published 2013-09-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mia
By
Price: Free! Words: 8,340. Language: British English. Published: March 15, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Mia, a troubled young woman is tired of the way her life is. In the blink of an eye she is swept into a moment which changes the course of her life and has serious implications for her future. If only someone would come to her rescue. Unluckily for her, Nobody did.
All Hallows' Eve
By
Price: Free! Words: 11,530. Language: British English. Published: July 5, 2013. Category: Fiction » Holiday » Halloween
In a trendy London bar, three friends meet up at a fancy-dress party, in appropriately silly clothes for such an occasion. Each of them content to hide their true selves behind their costumes. The trouble is there are some things you can't hide from. Like fate.
Existence Is Futile
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 52,470. Language: British English. Published: August 18, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
There are three things which can irrevocably change a man's life - the death of a loved one, a moment of revelation and saying the wrong thing at precisely the wrong time. Unfortunately for Professor Henry Tomlinson, he has recently experienced all three. And it's those experiences which threaten to push him over the edge.
The Story of Albert Ross
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,020. Language: British English. Published: July 9, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
'The Story of Albert Ross' tells the tale of a simple man who spends the vast majority of his time in front of his TV. It is delightfully dark, occasionally witty, oddly enchanting and brings new meaning to the term 'the power of television'. It's hard to say much more without spoiling the fun of reading it, so just get on with it and download it right now.