Author, soldier and yakuza of the written word
Keith: When, how and why did you start writing?
Weston: When I turned thirty, I decided I’d been on the planet far too long without writing. So with 100% narcissistic contempt at the universe and logic, I figured that writing wouldn’t be so hard. After all, there were plenty of bad books out there. I proceeded to write a novel. It was going to be awesome. I imagined myself on the NY Times Bestseller list. Book tours. Interviews on day time talk shows. The whole works. In six months I had a hundred pages. I submitted the partial manuscript to Tor and sat back. Days passed. Weeks. Then after three months I received the manuscript back – WTF – with a note that said they didn’t like it. Who the hell were they? As it turns out, they were right. I’d written drivel… worse, it was bad drivel…. not even good drivel, if there is such a thing. So I turned to short stories, because I’d read somewhere that to perfect the craft one has to perfect the short story. Since then, I’ve had more than 120 short stories published and almost 30 books.
Keith: Wow! You don't muck around, that is a lot of written in a short period of time. How would you describe yours books to someone who hasn't read your work?
Weston: As the best damn books they’ve never read. In fact, they’ve been excluded from a very special club where people talk about my work and get new insights into the universe. Frankly, I feel a bit sorry for them.
Keith: What do you find most challenging writing a book?
Weston: Distraction. Hell, let me put it right out there. Facebook. That frigging thing… Gah!
Keith: What do you find enjoyable writing a book?
Weston: When the lizard brain kicks in. See, there are times when you write a sentence in chapter one and five and ten and twelve and you aren’t sure why you’re writing that sentence, but you trust your craft. Then in chapter thirty, right during the climax, your lizard brain unveils its grand design and somehow ties all those sentences together. It’s hard to explain, but the lizard brain is my favorite part.
Keith: If you did it all over again, would you change anything in your latest novel?
Weston: No. That’s like asking a mother, what would you change in your baby. If it has ten fingers and toes and is healthy, the answer would be nothing, followed probably by hands on hips and a downward nose look that makes you feel kind of pitiful for even asking.
Keith: Fair enough! :)
Keith: Which authors have influenced your writing?
Weston: Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury are my greatest influences. I’ve tried to capture Heinleins humanism with Bradbury’s sense of wonder. Both of them created magical narratives that have long survived their passing.
Keith: Which literary character is most like you?
Weston: If we could combine equal parts of Lord Byron, Bartelby the Scrivener, Jim Hawkins and Encylopedia Brown, that would be me.
Keith: What’s your opinion regarding eBooks vs paperbacks?
Weston: They’re just different means of reading. Fifteen years ago they were asking what’s our opinion about print on demand books and regular published books. They were just different. What POD books and eBooks share, however, is the democratization of publishing. Now everyone who has an Amazon account can call themselves an author – for good and bad. This makes it harder on the reader to find good work. Previously, readers felt that the mass market publisher filter system gave them the best chance at a good read. If the work was published by a big publisher with all the competition to be published, then it had to be good. Of course, that didn’t account for certain editorial tastes. Now a new author can avoid that competition and just throw a work out there, for sometimes terrible results.
Keith: Any tips for aspiring writers?
Weston: Never listen to that voice in your head. It only knows what you know about writing, which is basically nothing.
Keith: What do you like reading in your spare time?
Weston: I read all over the place like my writing. I read horror, thrillers, literary fiction, YA novels, you name it. I just like good writing. I also feel that by reading outside my genres, I breathe fresh air into my writing every time I write.
Keith: Which books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
Weston: That’s too hard to say, man. I write thrillers, horror, YA, science fiction, and literary fiction. For good or bad, I haven’t allowed myself to be cornered.
Keith: What are you working on at the moment?
Weston: I’m working on a new novel from Solaris Books (UK) called Burning Sky. t's about an O.S.T. or Operational Support Team. OST is the movement security detail for VIPs within Afghanistan. Comprised of active duty military, civilians, and contractors, all veterans of military police, security services, special operations units, and other combat agencies, these men and women spend seasons in hell to, not only try and fix what’s broken in each of them, but also to make enough bank to change their futures. They are stress junkies and the world is better for it. But seven months after their last mission, safely back on American soil, Land of the Big PX, they feel like they've left something undone... like maybe even they've left something or someone behind. And the feeling is driving them crazy. One by one they come together, and discover that they've all been having the same dream... a dream of a woman, a goat, and a sky that won't stop burning.
Keith: Sounds intriguing! Looking forward to that one. Weston thanks again for taking the time to join us, it's much appreciated. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, mate.
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