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Saturday, 5 August 2017


Today I will be interviewing Ross Harrison! Enjoy, and remember if you ever want to be interviewed Contact Me

First of all, tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m bald. Ish. ING! I began writing at some age or other, and I liked it. Other people also seemed to like it, but other people were family so they kind of had to. Other than something I wrote when I was about 6 or 7 that involved red, rain, and a hill – quite possibly with a house on it – the first thing I remember writing was an action game in ‘book’ form. Soldiers in the desert fighting Russians, naturally, and hiding behind crates. CRATES IN THE DESERT! The follow up was even more of a game in book form, in that it was a complete rip off of Metal Gear Solid 2 and literally stole, word for word, the opening of a review I had read of the game.

At some different point or other, it occurred to me that this probably wasn’t proper writing and that I should write my own thing entirely from my own head. So when I was about 12, I started to write about a space ship that was dispatched to find humanity a new home. In the midst of trying to work out a good Latin name for this vessel, it decided to turn into a ghost ship terrorising the galaxy and so I stuck with that. Roughly five years later, it was a fully fleshed out novel: Shadow of the Wraith. About eight years after that, I published it.

Somewhere in the middle (2001), I moved to Ireland where I learned the square root of 49. I have a car. It’s nice. I still have some hair, I just shave it.

I think that’s everything.

What inspired you to become an author? 

The desire to write stuff.

What was the main inspiration for your most recent book? 

I don’t know if I had inspiration exactly, but I knew I wanted to do more with the powerful characters that have been in the other two books of the series: Necurians. They are psionically skilled – which basically means they can throw things about with their minds – reclusive, and are feared by those in the galaxy who believe they exist.

So I wanted to do more with them, and I liked the idea of going backwards in time and using a secondary character from the first book as one of the two main characters in this one. The other main character is also going to be recognisable to anyone who has read that book (which isn’t necessary, because they are standalone), though he was never actually in it.

What is the kindest thing someone has ever said and or done for you?

‘I can imagine you on radio while I go to sleep.’ I chose to take that as a compliment. A weird compliment.

Do you have a favourite author? (Or name a few) 

Terry Pratchett, overall. And Douglas Adams – Dirk Gently, not Hitchhiker’s Guide. For sci-fi, either Ian M Banks or Peter F Hamilton. For thrillers, Lee Child. Although I’m also very much liking Rowling’s Cormoran Strike books, and Tolkien, Robin Hobb, apple crumble, Star Wars...what was the question?

What is the best writing advice you have ever received? 

Most advice new writers receive blurs into one blob of ‘Do this’ and ‘Don’t do that’. Usually one person’s ‘Do this’ is the next person’s ‘Don’t do that’. Everyone has a certain set of writing beliefs that they think everyone else should adhere to. Everyone has a different idea about how important the ‘rules’ are. Yet no one thinks to proclaim ‘This is just my opinion’. So in a sense the best ‘advice’ I’ve got is indirectly from the above authors, who put out one popular, successful book after the other, breaking half the ‘rules’ and contradicting each other’s ‘Don’t do that’s and basically showing new writers that the thing to do is just write. ‘Write the way you write’, they kind of told me.

Did you always want to be a writer and if not what did was the first thing you wanted to be or do? 

I started writing before I started considering what I wanted to be, but I do recall at some point thinking I wanted to a policeman, Superman, and/or join the RAF. I was at the cut-off age at that point for learning to fly though, with my underwear on the inside or out.

Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, who are your favourite artists? 

Sometimes I do, but sometimes it distracts or promotes something stereotypical or cliché. I listened to a lot of Queen and Evanescence particularly, when I wrote the first book. Lately, I’ve preferred listening to soundtracks. The Oblivion (Tom Cruise) soundtrack is extremely good, and works well with writing sci-fi. I have also put together a ‘noir/thrillers’ playlist though, which includes things like Dorothy (Missile/Get Up), Johnny Cash (Hurt), Jen Titus (O Death), Karen O (I Shall Rise), and Royal Deluxe (Dangerous)… To all of which, and more, scenes have arranged themselves.

I’ve recently discovered cyberpunk compilations on YouTube, too, which will come in handy if I decide to write any more thrillers with a sci-fi backdrop. They instantly transport you to neon-soaked sci-fi streets.

What helps you write when you're stuck and or have writer's block? 

I don’t know. I’ve only had writer’s block once and I didn’t write anything for about a year. Writing my thriller, Acts of Violence, was hard work and I found myself hard pressed to move forward most days, so I just took it a sentence at a time. If I wasn’t sure how he was going to get out of being shot, I’d just have him think that he didn’t know how he was going to get out of being shot. It was similar, I suppose, to the advice of writing something else to get your mind into the flow.

After a long day of writing etc, do you have a favourite TV show you like to watch? 

Not really. I watch a few things. I like Flash, Agents of SHIELD, Person of Interest, Justified, Archer, MST3K, Supernatural, The Expanse, a couple of sword-making YouTube channels... All over the place.

What are you working on currently? 

Two more books in the NEXUS series. One very similar to Blades of the Fallen, and one completely different. Shouldn’t be four and a half years between series entries this time! Well, unless that series is Kira...

When you're not writing, or working, what do you like to do? 

I like to play story-driven games like The Witcher, the original Mass Effect, the original Dragon Age, Heavy Rain, etc. Occasionally, I’ll shoot some rebels for the glory of the Empire in Battlefront.

What are some of your most favourite books of all time? 

Either of the Dirk Gently books, any Discworld novel with Granny Weatherwax or Sam Vimes, The Hobbit. The Magic Roundabout.

Which of your books are you most proud of? 

I don’t know, which of your children do you love the most? My first book was my first book and the first complete thing I’d written. The second proved that I could produce more than one thing, and I liked how much bigger and more sweeping it was, and also how much darker it was in places, even if the humour may have gone a touch overboard. Both parts of Kira (short stories) turned out a lot better than I expected, and I look forward to finally getting back to it. And then there’s the thriller, which is definitely the best thing I’ve written and something I never thought I would. And then this new one made a beta reader cry. Beta reader? That doesn’t sound right. Alpha...?

Which of your characters do you love the most and why? 

Again, which is your favourite child? I should probably say Travis Archer and Juni Lien from the first book, as the majority of the series is going to revolve around them. I have some plans – or bits of plans – for all them, but those two my mind keeps going back to over and over. I have a lot to write for them, some of which I’m afraid of coming to.

What is the title of the last book you read/was it good or bad? 

The last book I finished was Persuader, one of the Jack Reacher books that I’m working my way through. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the others so far, but it’s Lee Child/Jack Reacher, so it’s always good. The one I have nearly finished reading is Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb. It is very good, and I’m glad I started reading it. I have a fantasy series somewhere in the back of my mind, and the last thing I want is to be inspired to start writing it now, only three books into my space opera series, so I nearly didn’t.

Is there anything specific you'd like to try writing about in the future? 

As I said, I have a fantasy series slowly formulating in the back of my mind, so I will be doing that at some point, but I want to finish NEXUS first. I have no plans for how many books will be in NEXUS, though, so no idea how long that may be. As well as that, once I’ve got NEXUS back on track a bit (again, four and a half years between books 2 and 3), I intend to start a thriller series. I know who the protagonist will be, but otherwise I know nothing. I’ll decide when it comes to it whether it will be set within the NEXUS universe, as Acts of Violence is, or contemporary. Or something else.

What is an interesting or hidden talent you have? 

I can fly a helicopter, so long as someone else turns it on for me.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why would you choose it?

Would it be cheating to give myself the superpower of being able to give myself any superpower I want? Otherwise, I’d probably go for a strong energy manipulation of some kind, because that would take the place of several superpowers: flight, bulletproofity, super strength (kind of), super Jedi cosplay, etc. …I hadn’t really considered it.

Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know? 

The square root of 49 is 7. I was never taught what a square root was and when I moved school, I was made to stand up in front of everyone and tell them what the square root of 49 is. I did the thing of pretending it was just on the tip of my tongue, barely evading my grasp, right up until I realised the teacher had no intention of saving me, and I had to admit I didn’t know. Now I know. 7. Don’t forget.

Where can we find you on social media?

I’m most active on Twitter, complaining about things and sometimes Tweeting about my books. I’m trying to do more on Facebook, too. And there’s that Google one. That exists, I guess.

Don't forget to check out Ross's book, Blades of The Fallen!

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