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Friday, May 06, 2016

Author Interview : Richard Abbott, author of ‘Far from the Spaceports' (Part 2)

Richard Abbott
Read up, the second part of Richard Abbott's Interview, with regard to 'Far from the Spaceports.' In this, he tells us, what the most challenging part of writing the book was, and which the most fulfilling part, which characters he felt most close to, and also gives us information on the next book, he has planned. He also tells us what he's reading currently, among others, Folks...

What was the most challenging part about writing ‘Far from the Spaceports’? 

Knowing how much geeky detail to put in. I wanted enough in there that it would be credible, especially to people who have got some familiarity with the worlds of computer programming and finance, but not so much that it was overwhelming. I hope I got the balance right.

What are the most fulfilling parts in your book? 

I was really happy with the mix of human and AI characters, and the way they interact. In your review, you mentioned 'You forget that [Slate] is an AI' – a couple of people have mentioned similar things, and I felt really pleased that my intentions had worked out in this way.

Also, just getting the various parts of the imagined solar system clear in my head was great, and this is definitely something that I expand on in the follow-up book. There’s a lot of exploration to be done!

Which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?

I always identify with secondary characters rather than lead ones, so I feel closer to Parvati and Chandrika, or Finn and Eibhlin, than I do to Slate and Mitnash.

Talking of characters, I do want to mention a bit about names of
Tower Bridge, London- Wikimedia
people. Today’s United Kingdom is very culturally mixed, especially London where I live, so you can find somebody from just about any country of origin. 

I wanted to catch something of that in my futuristic Scilly Isles. So, you get traditional British Isles names like Finn and Eibhlin (from Ireland), or Selif and Dafyd (from Wales), but also Indian names like Parvati, Eastern European names like Boris, and a whole mix of others.

I prefer using older names rather than inventing completely new ones, and I suspect that if and when we colonise other planets we will want to remember our roots as well as reaching forward into the future.

The personas tend to be named after things to do with stones or rocks – Slate is a kind of rock, Carreg is the Welsh word for stone, Lia Fail is a traditional stone monument in Ireland where the kings of old were crowned, and so on.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?

My family have been immensely supportive in many ways. But through the internet I have discovered other friends who have given encouragement and companionship on what can sometimes be a frustrating and difficult journey.

When will you next book be out?

Hopefully, later this summer. I am currently about three quarters through, and it is going well. Mitnash and Slate are in action in a rather different situation, and they get to spend some time on the planet Mars and one of its moons. I think the title will be 'Timing', but this is not 100% certain yet.

Which book are you currently reading?

Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey. I first read it years ago and picked it up recently second hand in order to enjoy it all over again! 

It’s a fantasy book about dragons (obviously) but also spends a lot of time exploring human friendships and rivalries.

Who are your favourite authors and why?

Ursula K Le Guin
Ursula K LeGuin, for sure, for both science fiction and fantasy. When I first discovered her books, back in my teenage years, I was totally grabbed by her imagination and ability with words.

But as a rule I tend to prefer particular books rather than particular authors, and there are some, which I go back to again and again.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

Well, I work in IT in the financial world here in London, though not as a programmer and not specifically tackling fraud. I can imagine myself working with Mitnash and Slate as colleagues, though I’d be a bit more strict with them at tidying up their work properly!

Outside work, I like walking in the wilder places of the United
Richard Abbott
Kingdom, especially the Lake District in the north west of the country, and (of course) the Scilly Isles off the south-west peninsula. I had a very happy trip just over a year ago to the Delhi NCR area, and hope one day to get back to India

What advice do you have for the writers, who are starting out today?

I would say to persevere at converting your ideas and imagination into the written word. But there’s a lot of hard work in writing – going over and over to ensure that you are saying what you mean, doing your own editing as well as engaging whatever other help you feel necessary, and so on.

You need to be constantly challenging yourself rather than being satisfied too quickly. But there is a wealth of technology out there today to support your author activities, and a lot of author support groups for encouragement and help if you get stuck or demoralised.

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