Interview with Scott Seldon

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think authors have to be true to the stories that they are inspired to write. The stories in my head that wanted to come out don't match what agents or publishing houses are looking for right now. That doesn't really affect their marketability, just who is interested. By going it as an indie, I omit the agents and publishers and their attempts to find the next big thing. Instead, I market directly to readers. My Ven Zaran and Galactic Confederation stories are just the sort of thing I have always enjoyed reading - character driven science fiction like Brian Daley and A.C. Crispin's respective Han Solo Trilogies, C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories, Asimov's Foundation traders, etc. There is a market out there, it is all a matter of finding it. After I realized that my books that were getting good reviews from people who read them, but just weren't selling to agents or publishers (and figuring out why), going indie seemed natural. With the publishing industry in flux, this seems to be the best place to be.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest novel, Interlude of Pain, probably evolved out of several things. Tragedy changes us, sometimes for the better, some times for the worse. My protagonist, Ven Zaran, has a drug problem and people relying on him. What if one of the things he holds most dear, his family, is taken away? When tried like this, how will it reforge him? I had those questions in my mind and a note on his personal history that his wife died. I don't know why I wrote that. It was before I had even given him the drug problem. I felt it was something that shaped both him, and his descendants, so I kept it and used it. What resulted is a complex story of his personal journey as character driven science fiction.
When did you first start writing?
Writing runs in my family. I come from a long line of journalists and historians, but I can clearly recall that it was when my mother got the writing bug that it passed to me. She penned a sort of romantic SF story back in the early 80's and before I knew it, I had notebooks with stories started (but never finished). It took a while, and a move to Colorado, before I finished my first story, all of 9 pages. From there they just kept getting longer and better until I hit a roadblock and writing took a back seat for a while. I guess I was just waiting for a good idea, because when I got it, I started writing again and I haven't stopped.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
While It wasn't my first attempt, the first story I finished was all of 9 pages. I don't remember what sparked the idea of this Star Trek fanfic, but my science teacher let met turn it in as my term paper. Back in 1984, there was only one Star Trek, but I forged my own captain, ship, and epic mission. I still remember parts of it vividly. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I penned my first original story, but that fanfic is still vivid in my mind as the first story I ever finished.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The think what I enjoy most about writing is the journey I get to go on. I don't plan out every detail of my stories before I write, I just find a plot idea and a conclusion, then as I write, I find the path that takes me (and later my readers) through the story. It can be surprising and exciting. My hope is that my joy in finding the story comes through as an enjoyable read.
What are you working on next?
I always consider this the most loaded question to ask a writer. I have three projects in the works. First, editing and polishing my next Ven Zaran novel, Dust Between Stars. This is a more adventurous tale with more pieces of Ven's past. Then I plan on writing the following story; again more adventurous, but this time with hints as to what he will be doing in the future. The third project is more nebulous. I'm developing a one-off story in a much different setting. It will be a space fleet type war story in a completely different universe. I'm keeping the details under wraps at the moment, but the one unique thing is that there will not be a single human in the story. Mainly as it takes place about now, but on the far side of our galaxy. I have some other ideas brewing, but nothing I'm actively working on at the moment.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are why I write. Well, perhaps I should say they are why I publish. I write because I must, but I also do so with my readers in mind. Just writing for myself, who knows what rubbish I might churn out. With the thought of gaining and retaining loyal readers ever on my mind, it influences the stories I choose to tell. I can't say I will cave to reader demands if what they want to see is at odds with the story in my head, but I consider it my job, as a writer, to do my best to give them what they want.
Who are your favorite authors?
My number one favorite is Isaac Asimov. He had a great way with words, both in fiction and in interviews. I almost exclusively follow his advice on how to write. Not too far behind are Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Alan Dean Foster, A.C. Crispin, Andre Norton, Jack McDevitt, David Brin, David Weber, Tanya Huff, and C.L. Moore. I've probably missed some, but there are so many good writers to like.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I tend to like series, so instead of individual books, I'll list five of my favorite series. While Isaac Asimov started them as three separate series, he ended up merging them so I have to rank the full Robot/Empire/Foundation series as my all-time favorite. I love the first three Dune books, by Frank Herbert. The political intrigue and mysticism is fascinating. Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series is my current must read series. I love archaeology and the mix of future and past keeps me riveted, not to mention the good characters. Although small, Brian Daley's Han Solo trilogy ranks up there. He brought Han Solo to life when there was just one film. Also on my list is Tanya Huff's Confederation/Valor series. I love how she handles her characters, especially the non-human ones. Now, if I'd just listed my five favorite books, it probably would have been limited to Asimov and Heinlein, but this way you get a more rounded picture of what I like.
What is your writing process?
It all starts with the plot, setting, and characters. I have to have all three before I can start writing. For the Ven Zaran stories, the characters came first, then the setting, then the plot. The reason I keep writing in that series is that most of the work is done. I have my SF universe and the characters to fill it, I just need to find a good plot and secondary characters and I'm good to go. On any individual story, I need decide three things about the story before I write. I need to know where it starts, where it ends, and have some indication of how my characters are going to navigate through it. Usually I can come up with that in a few paragraphs. It sets the story in my head and then I jump in and write, focused on getting my characters to the end. There are plenty of surprises along the way. In Pirates of I'ab, I had a different fate planed for Dehofka, but when the time came, the story called for her death. It adds some surprises, but I like it that way.
Describe your desk
My desk has little to do with my writing. I use my computer for many things, but the one constant is that it is buried in paper. I tend to collect clutter, but I almost always know where to find what I want. I tend to keep my writing notes and files organized in their own folder on the machine I'm using. That organization doesn't extend to my desk, unfortunately. It drives the people around me nuts, but it works for me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own a Nook Glowlight. I love the limited e-ink technology. I have an iPad if I want to go online or read something in color, but it is too distracting. I like that the Nook is limited to reading and that with the glowlight, I can read comfortably at night, or just about anywhere.
Published 2013-09-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

One Corner of the Sky (Zaran Journals, Book 5)
Series: Zaran Journals · Galactic Confederation. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 115,150. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Ven Zaran contracts for a cargo that takes him to one of the few non-Confederation worlds. It is a danger he thinks he is ready for, but his ship is seized and half his crew arrested on minor charges. With corruption at everwhere, Ven has to resort to more drastic measures to free his ship and crew. He’s fought gangsters, pirates, but taking on a corrupt planet might be more than he bargained for.
Dust Between Stars (Zaran Journals, Book 4)
Series: Zaran Journals · Galactic Confederation, Book 6. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 115,520. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Ven Zaran is wanted for an act of piracy he did not commit. He knows it, but all the evidence points to him. He goes on the run with the best inspector in the galaxy on his heels only to have a ghost from his past find him. He has to balance keeping secrets from this person from his past with his search for the real pirates while staying ahead of the inspector.
Not Past Redemption
Series: Galactic Confederation, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,710. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Fired from her last starship piloting job, Seriala’s career seems over. In desperation she signs on with Crazy Mags on a mission to recover the logs of a derelict starship. It seems easy until they encounter salvagers looking to recover the same ship. Seriala must use every piloting trick she knows if they are going to get the job done and succeed.
Edge of Hyperspace
Series: Galactic Confederation, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 97,360. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
Set amid a galaxy spanning society comprising multiple species, this collection of stories sparks with the adventures of space traders, customs agents, and those they associate with. Meet veteran trader captains Tramp Darvon, Hazdon Brenker, and Alluren Beldaras; adventure with customs agents Stormus Rolfel and Jimmed Albanis; and meet Ven Zaran, pilot, captain, and war hero.