Interview with Simon Rose

When did you first start writing?
My first novel, The Alchemist's Portrait, was published in 2003 and I began writing on a serious basis a few years before that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Shadowzone series involves the discovery of a grim dystopian version of Earth that’s ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship, the threat of a deadly virus, and a race against time to save the lives of millions. The three books in the series are Shadowzone, Into The Web, and Black Dawn.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has helped me to ensure that my books are available more widely on many different platforms, increasing the chances of more sales and better visibility for both my books and myself as an author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy many aspects of being a writer but I think the best thing might be seeing your ideas develop and a project coming to fruition. Writers usually have lots of ideas for stories but not all of them become fully developed or may not have that much potential. Once I’ve had the initial idea and started to think about the characters and the plot, there’s usually a stumbling block of some kind that threatens to derail the project. It’s a wonderful feeling when I suddenly resolve the problem and the ideas flow even faster than I can get them down on paper or onto the computer. That’s usually the moment when the project becomes very exciting and I know that writing the novel is going to be a great experience.
What are you working on next?
I always have a current project or two and right now I’m working on a historical fiction novel for young adults set in the turbulent era of the English Civil War in the 1640s. The novel’s about half finished, but I still have a lot of work to do. I’m also working on sequels to Future Imperfect, published in 2016, and The Sphere of Septimus, which first appeared in 2014.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not precisely, but my first novel, The Alchemist's Portrait, was one of my earliest ideas. However, other novels such as Flashback, the Shadowzone series, and The Sphere of Septimus were also among my earliest ideas for novels and just took longer to fully develop.
What is your writing process?
There are no set rules or routines, but for novels I usually create an outline before I start writing. I like to make sure that the plot works well before I begin work. The outline might certainly change during the writing process but it helps to keep me on track and to write the novel more quickly.
How do you approach cover design?
I look for something that not only appeals to me, but more importantly will appeal to the reader. This is a crucial aspect of ensuring that your ebooks get noticed among the millions of other ones online.
Describe your desk
Cluttered in some places, well organized in others, but I usually know where to find things :)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the UK and this has influenced some of my work, particularly my historical fiction novels and the early chapters of The Sphere of Septimus, but it's perhaps also inspired some of my other ones as well in subtle ways. I think any author's life experiences are always going to be part of their work in some way or another.
Is it a good idea for authors to write a series of books?
It can be, but only if you have enough material for multiple books. If readers are sufficiently interested in the story and the characters after completing the first installment, they’d usually like to read more. However, the story or theme has to be strong enough to warrant more adventures. It’s important to remember that the reader won’t appreciate any novel that’s overloaded with filler, just for the sake of creating a series, and might easily avoid any books by the same author in the future.
What motivates you to write books?
I think it’s because I have so many story ideas and really want them to come to life. Many of the first ideas I ever had for stories have become now novels but I still have plenty more yet that I’d like to work on.
Is there a story to share with us, of you becoming an author?
When my children were small, I starting reading children’s books again for the first time in many years. Some of the books were wonderful and I wished that I could write something similar. However, some of the books were very poor and I was surprised that they’d ever been published. This made me wonder if I could write stories of my own. I started thinking that I should write fairy tales and picture books for younger children but after reading the first three Harry Potter novels, I realized that I wanted to write for the age group that those books are aimed at. I wasn’t interested in writing about the same things, such as magic, wizards, and imaginary creatures, and instead focused on themes that I was interested in, such as science fiction, fantasy, time travel, history, comic books, ancient mysteries and civilizations, superheroes, other dimensions, and the paranormal.
Whenever you encounter a lack of ideas in writing, how do you overcome it?
I don’t really have writer’s block in terms of having ideas but do sometimes need motivation to work on a project and get it finished. If I’m having trouble getting started I simply work on something else, whether it’s a short story, some marketing work, planning a class, and so on, just to get me working at the computer. That helps me to get in the mood to get started on a creative writing project if I’ve been putting it off.
Is there a big mistake which a new author can make?
Many new authors decide not to listen to advice regarding their story and suggestions regarding how it might be improved or how to fix problems in the plot, believing that they know best. You don’t have to make those changes if you don’t agree with them, but as an author you at least need to consider them. Some new authors, especially those that self-publish their books, also often don’t do enough editing and checking of their work before they make their book available to readers and this should be one of the most important aspects of the process, no matter how a book is published.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
On a variety of places online if I'm looking for something specific. I'm also subscribed to a number of newsletters that offer suggestions regarding new ebooks.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember many of the first comic books I read while growing up and they had a big impact on me with regards to developing a love of science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, other dimensions, time travel and so on.
What do you read for pleasure?
Science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction, history, lots of things really.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've tried so many over the years, with varying degrees of success.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've been traditionally published until recently and I decided to give self-publishing a try in order to get more of my work out in the world more quickly.
What is your least favorite part about writing?
I don’t think that I have a least favourite part about writing. Perhaps the editing process toward the end, when you’ve already gone through the stories so many times, but editing and revision is a vital part of the writing process and always makes the story better.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans and readers are extremely important and perhaps the most important part of being a writer.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I don’t take a lot of time off since I do enjoy what I do, whether it’s crafting new plots and outlines, writing books, or doing all the marketing. Since it doesn’t really feel like work there’s isn’t as much motivation to get away from it, I guess. I do have two children that have kept me busy throughout the time that I’ve been writing and publishing books. My dog also insists on going out for walks on a daily basis, which pulls me away from the computer. Nevertheless I always seem to be thinking about stories while we’re out, but I guess a lot of writers appreciate those times when they can let their mind wander while appreciating the great outdoors. I also watch movies, keep up to date with current events, read a lot, and enjoy the company of friends whenever I can.
As an author of novels for children and young adults, what's the secret to getting your readers hooked on your books?
You need to have an interesting story of course, as well as a compelling title and cover, but the key is to grab the reader’s attention right away with a dramatic beginning. You then need to pace the story in such a way that you retain the reader’s interest and have cliffhanger endings for the chapters to really keep the reader hooked until the end.
What are your thoughts on publicity and the pressure that may come with it?
It can be a lot of work and sometimes I don’t feel like doing it, but promotion, publicity, marketing, promotion and book signings and other events have to be done if the books are going to sell. Like editing and revision, it’s an essential part of being an author so it has to be undertaken.
Published 2017-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Children's Writer's Guide 2
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,280. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Writing, Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
The Children’s Writer’s Guide 2 explores the writing process, examining topics such as developing memorable characters, creating effective dialogue, the importance of book covers, the value of blogging, age levels and appropriate content for books for children and young adults, networking, and the process of submitting your work to publishing houses.
Black Dawn
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 45,340. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
In a dark parallel world, attacks by its most determined opponents have forced the Ministry to change its plans. Yet the ruthless Director-General is prepared to sacrifice anyone to achieve an entirely new beginning, no matter what the cost. In a deadly race against time, as events spiral out of control, Ben and Charlie must risk their lives to save two worlds from destruction.
Into The Web
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 36,800. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
On a doomed version of Earth, the sinister schemes of the Ministry are moving closer to completion, with dire consequences for the inhabitants of two worlds. For Ben and Charlie, an unlikely alliance, unexpected reunions, and the mysterious prophecy of the Chosen One offer a glimmer of hope, with the ever-present prospect of betrayal, as they embark on an unpredictable journey into the unknown.
Shadowzone
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 38,110. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
While watching intense flashes of lightning during a violent storm, Ben experiences mysterious and disturbing visions of another world, one very different from his own. In the chain of events that follow, Ben encounters Charlie, a girl from a dark version of Earth, a planet doomed by the effects of environmental catastrophe, where the leaders will stop at nothing to complete their deadly mission.
The Time Traveler's Guide
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,200. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books
The Time Traveler’s Guide examines the writing of time travel stories and historical fiction, including the creation of time machines, historical research, creating characters, plot issues, time travel to the future, alternate history, and parallel universes. The Time Traveler’s Guide is an excellent resource for those writing time travel or historical fiction stories for both children and adults.
Future Imperfect
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,890. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2016 by Tyche Books Ltd.. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Alex and Stephanie embark on a terrifying journey in a desperate bid to save the future from the sinister Veronica Castlewood.
Where Do Ideas Come From?
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,220. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Study guides, Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
Where Do Ideas Come From? examines how novels can be used to create workshops and creative writing exercises. The book provides suggestions and recommendations for teachers developing classroom projects based on the books but might also serve as inspiration for aspiring writers of all ages.
Exploring the Fantasy Realm: Magic in Stories for Children and Young Adults
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,360. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Writing, Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
This book explores the many elements of the fantasy realm and examines the use of magic in stories for children and young adults. Topics include fairy tales, magical objects, secret languages, mysterious books, time travel, mythological creatures, and the roots of magic.
School & Library Visits for Authors & Illustrators
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,600. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Writing, Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Teaching
This book examines school and library visits for children’s authors and illustrators, including organizing school tours, maximizing book sales, and creating presentations, workshops, and residency programs.
The Social Media Writer’s Guide
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,790. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Business writing, Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
The Social Media Writer’s Guide examines the importance of engaging a professional writer to handle an organization’s website, social media, and business communications.
The Working Writer’s Guide
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,050. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Business writing
The Working Writer’s Guide examines the professional life of those who have chosen to pursue writing as a career. Most full-time writers have multiple sources of income. These include book sales, royalties, teaching, workshops, coaching, editing, public speaking, events, websites, social media, and business and technical writing.
The Children’s Writer’s Guide
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,990. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Writing, Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines working as an author for children and young adults. Topics include getting started as a writer, dealing with writer’s block, where ideas come from, choosing names for characters, the importance of revision, writing science fiction and fantasy, the use of magic in stories for children, author visits to schools and libraries, and marketing and promotion.
Flashback
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,990. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2015 by Tyche Books Ltd.. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Max investigates the unsolved murder of a teenaged boy, with the help of the boy’s ghost.