Today I’d like to welcome Stewart Bint, paranormal & sci-fi author of In Shadows Waiting, Timeshaft, and others.
Can you give us your quickest description of your books?
My new novel, Timeshaft, follows the fortunes of two sets of time travellers , rocking along to the past and future with twists and paradoxes galore. Critics say it is a perfectly synchronized time travel saga.
I love playing with time travel in writing. How much research did you do on the topic – reading similar stories, studying scientific theories, etc.? Or did you wing it and play freely?
My description of the astro-temporal physics of the Timeshaft and how it connects with ley lines comes entirely from my own imagination, as that is pure fiction.
And while the description of utilising solar wind to create a new form of energy in the opening chapter is also pure fiction, I did need to undertake extensive research into solar wind itself – what it is, and what it can do – to ensure that at least that aspect of my description is absolutely accurate.
My somewhat tongue-in-cheek portrayal of teleports, aircars and holographic entertainment in the year 2345 came from reading too many pulp sci-fi novels in my childhood, and watching TV series like Lost In Space, Star Trek, and The Jetsons!
The historical scenes also called for accurate research – in particular about William Shakespeare, how Margaret Hughes became the first woman to be allowed by law to perform on stage, the way King Charles 1’s subjects perceived him shortly after his ascension to the English throne, a little of the history of a manor house on the edge of London, and how Thomas Coryate introduced forks into England in 1611.
That sounds like a wonderful mix! […Adds book to Amazon cart…] What are you working on currently?
Two novels. I’m in the final stages of updating my 2012 novel The Jigsaw And The Fan for my current publisher, Booktrope, who are bringing out a new, completely re-edited edition later this year. It’s a satirical ghost story about a dead trades unionist who can’t get into heaven or hell because of a strike in the afterlife.
And I’m working on a brand new novel for publication in 2017 called To Rise Again. It is set on Jersey with chapters alternating between the 1980s and the German occupation of the island during the Second World War. It was inspired by my visit to the famous underground hospital there while I was on my honeymoon there in 1982.
Both sound really interesting but also quite different from each other. Do you like writing in different styles/genres, and do you find writing a range of stories helps you grow as a writer?
Absolutely love writing in different genres, as it allows me to explore a variety of personalities and character traits, and explore how people react in a veritable cornucopia of totally diverse situations. So, yes, I believe that helps me to grow and mature as a writer.
I also have a collection of short stories out, called Thunderlands, containing tales across many genres – sci-fi, crime, humour and horror.
Couple all of that with the fact that I have my own magazine column, and the day job is a Public Relations writer for the world’s biggest Computer Aided Manufacturing software developer, and you’ll see that my writing covers a multitude of styles, themes and subjects.
What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?
Never give up on your hope of becoming published. During my twenties my ambition was to become a published novelist by the time I was 30. Hhmmm…I was only 26 years too late for that – my first novel came out in 2012 when I was 56. Now I have five novels, a collection of short stories, a compilation of my early magazine columns, and short stories in three independent anthologies.
Congrats on all your hard work paying off! What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of writing with more life experience than you had at, say, 30?
The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages.
I have more knowledge of who I am as a person now than I did all those years ago – in fact, 30 is half my lifetime ago! In those days I was too career-driven, too motivated by corporate success and too eager to please everyone.
That all changed during my recovery from a prolonged period of mental illness (stress, depression and psychosis). I still have the inferiority complex which drives me to succeed, but I no longer have that burning desire to please everyone, and I don’t really care what the world thinks of me nowadays. I’m very much my own person, much more spiritual and caring, being closer to nature and the planet that supports us all, choosing to go barefoot almost all the time.
And I feel that reflects in my writing.
The disadvantages: The brain is slower to get into gear, and physical aches and pains mean I need to take more breaks from the computer – and they’re always at the wrong time, just when I’m in full flow with my characters. Which is all extremely frustrating, as I’m working harder and longer hours than ever before.
But from an overall practical point of view, as my family are now grown up there are fewer distractions and demands on my time.
What a well-thought-out answer! Thank you. What is one question about your books that you wish more people would ask?
Where can I buy them?
Every author’s favorite thing to hear. 🙂 So where do you like people to buy them? Amazon?
Yes, Amazon. They’re available there as paperback and Kindle format. And with Kindle having an app for almost every type of device nowadays, you don’t have to own a Kindle itself. For example, I have a Samsung Galaxy android tablet, with a Kindle app installed.
In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?
Without a doubt, Donald Sutherland to play Ashday’s Child. At 80, he’s seven years older than the character, but I think you’ll agree that with a little makeup he could readily transform into how I describe Ashday’s Child the first time we meet him:
Bradman stared at the tramp’s old, lined face, noting with distaste the small weasel eyes set too close together, the lank grey hair desperately in need of a wash, and the narrow tapering chin desperately in need of a shave.
The wonderful Jenna Coleman would be absolutely perfect for the role of his young assistant and shuttle pilot Caitlin Lang. And, of course, she has considerable experience of time travel, having played the companion for Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s 11th and 12th incarnations of Doctor Who.
Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps best known for The Hunger Games, could be Nadia Reeder.
And I’d pick the relatively unknown English actor Jack O’Connell for the part of Phillip Oatridge. He was actually born in a suburb of Derby, around five miles from where I spent the early part of my life. He’s appeared in numerous TV shows and films, and his upcoming film is Money Monster, with George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
I was going to say something about Jenna Coleman having experience with time travel, but you beat me to it. Ha! I had to look up Jack O’Connell on IMDB, but obviously Sutherland and Lawrence are great actors to pick. Do you picture certain people/actors in your head when you write these characters, or more your own constructs of faces and personalities?
Definitely my own constructs of both. In terms of personality I work out a few traits (and if I think it’ll add a bit more drama, some foibles as well), depending on what the characters are called upon to do as the story unfolds. For instance, in Timeshaft there’s an early scene where we learn that a character has a phobia of spiders. This is to add more dramatic tension as that character is cocooned in webs spun by thousands of spiders in a later scene.
Physical descriptions – although I can see every character perfectly in my mind’s eye, I only give a partial description, preferring to leave something to the reader’s imagination as to how they view them.
Thanks, Stewart, for sharing!