Interview with Edwin Downward

Edwin vortex-2I am a Christian, a Husband, a Father, and a writer of Science Fiction Adventures

We live as far away from his work near the centre of Vancouver BC as a reasonable commute will allow in a small house guarded by a crack squad of Vorpal Bunnies supported by a duo of Karate Kitties.

Synergy of Hopes is my first manuscript crafted for the express purpose of publication, and has reached the place where I must decide, find a Publisher or Self Publish.
1. How many Vorpal Bunnies would it take to defeat The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?

Impossible to say, the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog is the Grand Master of their discipline. Those who have dared challenge her never returned.

Edwin rosybun 002-2

2. Do your kitties have ninja training, or do they study Karate exclusively?

There’s an N in the word Kitten, which has led them to believe that Ninja training would be a step backwards.

Edwin cat-on-shoulder 009

3. Have you always considered yourself to be a writer, or was there a time in your life when you decided that is what you were?

I’m one of those people who cannot remember a time I didn’t want to write.

4. When did you get serious about writing and why?

That would be in the late nineties. I’ve also been a computer buff from the moment I first encountered one in highschool. Work and home meant I had limited time for other things. The day came when I knew I had to make a choice as to which was more important to me, computers or writing. I chose writing.

5. Many writers go through a stage when they hate what they’re writing. Do you ever feel this way?

Hate is too strong a word. One issue I struggle with daily is a fear that what I’ve written isn’t strong enough, worthy enough, to put it out there for other people to read.

6. What do your kids think about your writing habit?

My daughter is writing her own stories, though her direction is more fantasy along the lines we see in Japanese Manga/Anime.

7. Has anyone ever challenged “SciFi writers can’t be Christians! In the future there will be no religion.”?

This question has held me back over the years. I have had at least one critiquer comment on it in a “I don’t care for this kind of thing” way. My greatest inspiration for going forward is found in the Babylon 5 universe. In my opinion, J. Michael Straczynski bent over backwards when it came to giving us an honest depiction of the various religious themes he explored, including Christianity, and didn’t get pilloried for it.

8. If Synergy of Hopes is your first manuscript crafted for the purpose of publication, how many other stories have there been?

Two that had novel potential, the second of which morphed into Synergy after a great deal of thought and prayer. I’ve also written a few dozen shorts. Some with a fantasy flair from the days I played AD&D, some to explore backstory for Synergy, and a few in response to writing challenges I’ve been given over the years. Before I reached the ‘I must get serious about my writing’ point, I lived in a world of false starts where I’d keep going back to tweak one more thing rather than continue forward to complete the story. Many of these have been lost due to being pre-computer or unable to transfer from my original Apple II+ to MS-DOS.

9. Do you plan for the book to be part of a series?

I am about 40% of the way through the first draft of a sequel. Whether this leads me into a third book is still open to question.

10. On your path towards publication what appeals to you most about self-publishing?

The combination of artistic and professional freedom.

11. What is the least appealing aspect of self-publication?

Getting my name out there so people will try my book. Actually, this is where things get complicated. From what I can tell, as a newbie writer, I will get little in the way of support from even the biggest distributers. Hence, the bulk of any marketting efforts are sure to fall on my shoulders whichever way I go.

12. How long did you spend writing and editing Synergy of Hopes?

I have to point back to that moment in the late nineties when I got serious about putting writing above computer work. So, in the simplest of terms, the answer is 14 years, though there have been too many bumps over the years.

13. What is your revision process? Do you use beta readers and critique partners?

I had a second draft of Synergy written before I felt ready to let anyone else see my work. By then I’d learnt enough about the writing process to know I needed to find people willing to give me an honest critique. Between my odd schedule at the time, and my continued interest in computers, I chose to look online where I eventually found the site I didn’t even hear the term beta readers until after the entirety of my original manuscript had been passed through the Science Fiction queue on CC.

For the second book, I did put the opening chapters up for comment on CC, but I won’t be looking for actual critiques until I’ve got a completed draft to work with.

14. What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?

Hardware or software? I have a laptop for the big jobs, a digital voice recorder that allows me to compose on the fly (microphone plus two button operation when I’m driving), and a micro-android-tablet that fits in my pocket so that I can draft or minor edit anywhere I find a few minutes.

My core software tool is a text editor called Notepad++. It doesn’t walk all over what I’m trying to do with it’s idea of proper formatting etc, plus, I don’t need a second tool for when I am doing computer work. Text is also the simplest format to use when syncing with my tablet. Finally, text is the format you arrive at after using the nuclear option many guides to formatting for ebooks suggest you use to get rid of all those hidden artifacts Word inserts into your document.

As for keeping track of background material, names, etc, I have yet to find any advantage in using a tool over using appropriately named files.

15. What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?

While I am apt to use my tablet for composing directly to file, I still carry a pen and paper with me wherever I go.

16. What is the most persistent distraction from writing?

Much as I hate to admit it, that would be twitter. My tablet has the ability to connect to the internet via Wi_Fi, meaning any open hotspot can become a call to log in and check what’s been happening.

17. What is your ideal writing environment? Have you ever been able to create it?

I do most of my drafting on the move. My ideal writing environment is a long walk in a park like setting. I have access to a lake surrounded by trails from my home, but little enough time to take advantage of it.

As for editting, I prefer any place where I can sit and read through my manuscript. I guess the ideal example of this would be in a comfy chair next to a window, weather happening outside, and a fire crackling away. Unfortunately, our living room doesn’t allow for the correct placement of that chair, and we don’t have a fireplace.

18. What social media do you use? Do you use them solely for promotion, or do you have fun?

I mentioned the site above. Though I am between having material to submit to it’s critique queues, I make an effort to keep my name alive by critiquing other peoples works and following interesting forum threads.

My facebook account is almost exclusively for maintaining contact with family, though I have not dismissed the idea of starting a writing page in the future.

I signed up for Goodreads a little over a year ago, and have rated every book read since. Haven’t been very active on the forum side of things though.

I have yet to see a compelling reason to add yet one more complication by signing onto Google+, though, again, I haven’t dismissed the possibility of going there in the future.

The social media site that’s grabbed me the most is twitter. I much prefer the free flow of it’s timeline over the more structured environments I’ve found elsewhere.

From my perspective, the whole idea of Social Media is to be social. Promotion is part of my plan for Synergy, but my primary purpose is connect with other people and have some fun.

19. Do you have plans for your long-neglected blog?

At some point the blog will need to become the centre point of all my marketting efforts. The one point I have ultimate control over. I had a personal website hosted my by ISP, but came to realise how much trouble it would be to switch things over if I ever decided to try a different provider. Moving everything to wordpress made sense, and added the missing ability to accept comments.

20. Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

Han shot first. End of story.

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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1 Response to Interview with Edwin Downward

  1. Pingback: IT’S TIME « Eds Lapdesk

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