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My author for today's spotlight is the brilliant Tony Rand Scott...
Tony rand Scott, is a native Floridian and lives near Tampa, Florida with his family.
Ok let's have a nose at our interview...
Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym? A pseudonym Why?
I always wanted to be a published writer. I have always written in spiral notebooks, I have about 20 of them from the last two or three decades full of stories, notes, poems etc., but I was always too self-conscious to try to publish anything. I was also kind of lazy, not really putting forth the effort to put a complete story together and seeing it through. Thankfully, old age as helped with that. I guess the answer is two part; one reason is I am still very self-conscious and this allows me a little comforting anonymity. The second is that I feel if I was going to publish under my real name, I should have done it years ago. Basically, as weird as it may sound, my real name is the albatross around my neck, and publishing under the pseudonym is me throwing it off the ship.
What made you want to be a published author?
I was a peculiar child, shy and not very outgoing. I was reading the small, illustrated books they used to publish of the classics; at 5 I was reading telltale heart, Fall of the House of Usher, Cask of Amontillado, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Moby Dick. By age 8 or 9, I was reading Tolkein, the Xanth series and Stephen King, so I guess I was twisted early on. I wouldn’t say I was more intelligent, but just mature intellictually at an early age. I had few friends, so I read constantly. I always had a very active imagination, so I guess that kindled my creativity with the desire to create my own stories.
What genre do you write in and why?
My current book series is science fiction with Steampunk elements, but I am also working with some ideas for Asian and anime inspired fantasy series and a standalone physiological horror book. I actually have read very few science fiction books; I always gravitated towards fantasy and horror. I always got my science fiction fix from movies and T.V. like Star Wars, Dr. Who, and Star Trek. I just write what I enjoy reading or watching.
If you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?
Stop sneaking Dad’s Playboys and write more. Just kidding, but at 12, I was actual in a pretty good place, at least emotionally. It is the 17, 18 year older me that needs talking to. I should have paid more attention in school and actually focused on my writing more seriously.
Have any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?
Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, PC Hodgell, Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, Dean Koontz. Also many poems from Poe, Blake, and Coleridge. There are probably several others but those come to mind first.
If you are a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your experience (good or bad)?
As mentioned before have almost no self-confidence. I have gotten to a point where I can be thick skinned enough to publish it, but not patient or brave enough to try to go through the traditional route.
How would you rate your writing?
I think it is good, but like I said I lack self-confidence, so it is hard for me to honestly say, “yeah this is the greatest book ever written”, even if I felt it was. I think there are many cool ideas in my writings, they have stayed with me my whole life, so obviously they resonated with me to last that long. Maybe they just need to ferment, and now like a wine, it is their time.
How do you react to poor reviews of your book?
If it is constructive criticism, I normally consider it as a chance to improve. I know that not everyone is going to like something, no matter how polished, so I take most with a grain of salt.
What influences your choice of book covers?
I like covers that grab your attention, even if it is not immediately obvious what the book is about. If a cover makes you pick up a book or scroll down to read the description it had done its job.
How do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?
Unfortunately, my writing suffers sometimes. My kids are all in their teens and ready to go out on their own, so there is a lot going on with them and my job is demanding. I would like to get to point where I could write full time but I realize that will take time, and also some success publishing the books I am writing now.
Do your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?
Both. I always create a very basic plot from start to finish but I have tweaked or altered parts to fit the characters as they mature and became more developed in my mind.
My parents divorced when I was 4, and my mother raised me by herself for many years before remarrying, so I tend to write female characters very strong but put them in difficult situations, because I have witnessed firsthand the strength of a women. My male characters are always strong has well, but I tend to give them fundamental flaws because they mirror the males in my life growing up.
I also try to have a diverse character pool, racially and sexually. I am a white, heterosexual male but at least in my life experience, I have to interact and coexist with all people of different races, cultures, religions and sexually orientations. I have always had an eclectic tastes in music, movies etc. I don’t necessarily have to understand something to appreciate its value. I don’t have any tattoos, but I am fascinated by tattoos and I love the suicide girl look. The same with the Gothic look; if you saw me you would think I was more suited to listening to John Denver than My Chemical Romance (one of my favorites), so I don’t feel I need to participate in a culture to appreciate it and to think it is beautiful. And I don’t think I have to be black or gay as two examples, to be able to portray them as an integral and important character in my stories.
Do you ever write what you dream?
To my knowledge no.
Do you market yourself or pay a professional?
I am marketing myself, with the help of some Facebook friends who have blogs etc. and help Indie authors, Nerd Girl and Budget Books to name two. I am considering using some of the pay services in the near future.
What are your tips for editing?
I self-edit in conjunction to having 5 or 6 friends read and edit the material. Even after all that, I have found mistakes that all of us missed the first time. I plan on continuing that method, but if I have enough success to afford a professional copy edit, I will. If you can afford it, get a professional copy edit.
What inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?
I actually wrote and published a Kindle novel called Amidst the Slumber of Dreaming Gods. (It is currently unpublished, a lot of the material is going to be refined and repurposed for my current series.) I tried creating a story about multiple worlds with a hastily and weak crafted premise. One of the worlds was a Steampunk style world of dragons and flying ships. After reading my edit copy, a friend, who is also a Steampunk/cosplay photographer advised I should write a Steampunk novel. That was all it took, I remembered an old idea I had about a steam driven city of automatons that was shaped like a giant gear and everything started clicking into place.
I also like to allude to real world issues if pertinent to the story. Gyre, the world of my story, is very rigid and draconian, what you would expect from a world run by machines and populated by robots. But as some of the citizens revolt to be more human, I make allusions to same sex marriage, racism, sexual bias and other core issues that America and the world is struggling with.
Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series?
I have no real preference, it depends on the idea, though most of my ideas are usually suited for series. Why? Probably because I become attached to characters and want to write about them across multiple books.
If you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?
The only real issue I had is there are some sites that require certain amount of reviews or sales to feature or promote Indie author. If you are a struggling Indie author this seems to exclude you from some of these resources, but I guess with the quantity of self-publishers, and for the sake of quality control, it is a necessary evil.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Just write and publish. No matter if you self-publish or submit to establish publishing house, just do it. Rejection will be better than regret, and no one will ever want to read your writing if you don’t take a chance and put it out there. From recent experience I know people are a lot more supportive and interested in helping you than you think, so don’t listen to all the reasons you give yourself no to do it.
Share a favourite quote from your book.
One of the story arcs is that over time the Gyrelins have successfully petitioned for male/ female sex designation. There is a character Mica, who has been constructed with the ability to be both, to choose what sex it is. Leonor, who is Mica’s mentor, kind of the Gandalf of the story, tells Mica “Never be afraid to be what you were programmed to be!” To me this touches on being comfortable with your own sexuality despite what society thinks. On a minor note, it also touches on my own fears of publishing
I have to admit i've never read Steampunk but I will soon as i've just downloaded it...lets see what they're all about...
"The Chronologies of Gyre: The Gregorian Part 1: Industrian Revolution" is an intensely written nightmarish vision of a steam-powered world inhabited by automatons. Tony Rand Scott paints a detailed and convincing alien universe and successfully transports the reader to a new reality. Gyre is a meticulously constructed alien society run by robots with as much personality and sensibility as individual human beings. It reminded me of the 'Matrix' movies in its devotion to verisimilitude. This is a must read for any fan of hard sci-fi. A lot of authors attempt world building but very few pull it off. I can't wait to read the next installment set in this dark, disturbing dystopia."
"Truly an inventive story of an alternate reality in which humanity is but a cog in a steam-driven universe, leaving the reader riveted to the Machiavellian designs of a mastermind in a robot-driven world. Tony Rand Scott captures the imagination and leaves us hungering for the next installment of this creative new series!"