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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Author intervew Shane Scott/ Book review Faith

 


Author interview: 

I’m delighted to introduce my second author to Tweetables, Shane Scott, who writes stories featuring Gods, Devils, Dragons, Werewolves, Demons, Titans, Vampires and Mortals. He released his first novel, God of Nothing in 2021 and his novella, Faith, in February 2022. Both books are set in the same ALL world and his writing genres are Fantasy, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian.

Shane Scott didn’t start his working life as a writer, instead he was a lifeguard, a flight instructor, and a bartender. He then spent thirty years repairing computers and writing code. Nowadays he lives in Maine with his cat, KooKooNut (and I love that name!).

I asked him what inspired him to write Faith and he says, ‘I started thinking about my story in the early 1990s. I first tried to write in 2008/2009 and then spent 10 years learning how to write a book. I wrote Faith, a stand-alone novella when I started to have problems making progress in my second novella, God of Everything.’ He aims to publish the latter at the end of this year.

He continues, ‘I wrote Faith last summer/fall when I kept finding myself working on books way up in the ALL series (God of Fire, God of Blood, God of Evil) and not the next one, God of Everything. I wrote Faith because my wife always asks if I planned to apocalypse the earth...and so, I did.’

I couldn’t believe it had taken him over ten years to complete his first book and he explained, ‘My first draft wasn't good. My house burned down and I lost all of it.  I then spent the next ten years not only thinking about (and it kept getting bigger) but also trying to write it. I invested a lot of time in how to write, the rules, formats, etc.

I also wrote God of Nothing 4 different times in that period with 1st person POV, radical changes, and I even hired a ghostwriter to help me.  None of those efforts produced the book I wanted. I then took a dozen college classes over a couple years, hired beta readers and an editor. That worked and I was able to rewrite the entire story in 10 months, based 95% on the first draft I ever did. Same characters, storyline, etc.  I owe so much to my editor Isabella.’

I was intrigued by how an editor could help so much and he explained, ‘The biggest issue in writing is good writing vs bad writing, Show vs Tell. That took me a long time to understand fully and Isabella hammered it into my head.  The same with adverbs. I fought her every step of the way but she eventually made me a convert. Adverbs add no meaning. For example, "Suddenly, I heard a noise and quickly stood up and instantly went directly to the window and saw zombies."

Everything that ends in LY in that sentence can get removed and the sentence does not lose meaning. "I heard a noise and went to the window."  But Isabella would make me rewrite anything like that to read, "Thunder boomed and I jumped to my feet. I hustled to the window and peered out and gawked at the zombie horde"

Isabella made me read a bunch of how-to books and gave me line by line edits. I could never have finished God of Nothing or Faith without her.’

She sounds a wonderful inspiration to him and what fantastic advice for all of us writers.

Faith has some impressive-sounding technobabble, feeding the futuristic feel, and I wondered whether this was something he’d studied academically and he says, ‘I don't have a science background. I wrote code and flew airplanes for my most of my life. I love science though, but I lack whatever gene controls the ability to do the higher mathematics. From an early age the "double slit experiment" fascinated me. I've set it up and done. It kinda proves nothing is real unless observed by a conscious observer. You can google it.’

I did, and I’m still not sure I understand!

He continues, ‘However all my concepts are grounded in basic scientific fact. I obviously take some leeway here and there (Thedium, my pretend element is made from spent emotions, dealt with in God of Nothing). So the short answer is I made it all up and based it on scientific principles. Quarks and Anti-Tau neutrinos are all part of the standard model of physics.’

It sounds very realistic to me but in addition to the science, his ALL universe is complex, with a huge history and all sorts of technology. I asked him how he manages all that information and he says, ‘It is all in my head. I never once wrote an outline or spreadsheet. I am a panster.’ I take my hat off to him!

So creating his universe has taken three decades and I asked him what he would tell his younger self, and his answer was short and sweet, ‘Start sooner!’

I then asked how he creates his character names and he says, ‘First names come to me, I don’t give it much thought. Last names are a problem and I have to read over lists of last names until I find one that is right.’

When asked what he enjoys the most about writing, he says, ‘Writing is hard work, thankless work. Finishing a full novel and having it published is one of the best feelings a person can have.’

And what about the hardest part? He admits, ‘Marketing is the biggest problem facing an indie author. I struggle to sell books and get reviews.’

Receiving reviews seems to be one of the biggest problems faced by authors trying to get their names out there, please see my featured post on this issue, so I asked what Shane Scott whether he reads his reviews and what he feels about them. He says, ‘I do read the reviews for my books. I’ve had 2 or 3 revenge reviews, one star type of thing from someone who had an axe to grind. Those are part of publishing I guess. In general, I’ve had 4 and 5 star reviews and always read them to see what the reader thought. I want to know what my readers think.’

So, as readers, we have the power to feed back to the authors, as well as let other readers know how much we love their work. Shane Scott confirms this in his message to you, saying, ‘If you read my books, please, I beg you, leave a review.’ So could you do that for him? I’m certainly going to and if you’re unsure how to start, please read my featured post by clicking here.

I ended the interview asking if he had a favourite novel and if so, why does he like it? He replies, ‘One of my favourite novels is Amor, by John Steakley. The main character, Felix, has no redeeming qualities yet at the end, you feel like you lost a friend.’

 

Book review

So now to the book review of Faith. I asked Shane Scott for a tweetable synopsis of Faith (press to tweet)

The world burns and humanity teeters on the edge of annihilation.

Heather fights for survival. After she rescues 8 year old Sarah, everything changes A dystopian, postapocalyptic novella.

#IARTG #BookRecommendations

This sounds intriguing but for me, when I first got the novella, the opening line was enough to hook me, ‘Bodies. Dead bodies. Everywhere.’ Yikes! So something had radically changed to the Earth in the 1200 years until 3221!

It’s set in New England, or Masschester as it’s now known, after a nuclear and an intergalactic war and ‘Brain Rot’ is now prevalent. Some humans also suffer from the ‘brain-blast mutation’ which makes their heads explode – nice! But the main outcome of his horrible disease is, ‘putrefaction and death or bat-shit insanity after thirty-one days, four hours and eight seconds. Needless to say, those who are not infected battle to stay away from the Rotters or Veiners and this novella follows one of these stories.

Heather, our protagonist, is foul-mouthed (bad language alert!) but big hearted, and is world-weary, having little time for her religious preaching work partner, Walter. Heather’s life changes forever when she meets a young girl, Sarah, who is infected. Heather’s quick actions save her from death and we then follow their story. Heather has her work cut out, battling to protect her young charge whilst training her and looking for somewhere safe to live. 

The ALL universe is extremely well thought-out and I love the AI Kompter - who wouldn't want a computer that could heal you whilst talking to you telepathically at the speed of 'ten to the eighteen computations every second'?

Shane Scott had me laughing at the way language has been handed down over the generations and has become (unknowingly but quite humorously) misinterpreted. There is a lot of technical language used to convey the story, highlighting how much backstory there is still to be told (no wonder it’s a series). I found the book absorbing, fast paced and a fun ride. I finished it wanting to read more, so God of Nothing is now on my TBR list, but Faith is truly a standalone book - I didn’t feel like I was missing any pertinent information.

I would recommend Faith to anyone who enjoys a pacy plot with scifi/dystopian/ fantasy themes with a good sprinkling of humour. I loved it!

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11 comments:

  1. Great article, looks my sort of book.

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    1. Thanks Pete, I hope you enjoy reading it (and let us know if you leave a review too!)

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  2. Really enjoyed this post, thanks Tweetables. Put Faith on my TBR now. Cheers.

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    1. Thank you so much Harry and I hope you enjoy Faith!

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  3. Thanks Jane, this is another great interview. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    1. Aww, you're so sweet, thanks Penny.
      I thoroughly enjoy writing them and the authors are fascinating. I just hope that comes across and I do them justice :)

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    2. I think that's what I enjoy Jane, your enthusiasm is contagious and you make me want to read the books you review.

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    3. And now I'm blushing!! But thank you Penny, you're very kind :)

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  4. Have just bought this book on your recommendation and I'm looking forward to reading now. Thanks for the post.

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  5. Enjoyed this post too. Nice blog with great interviews. Another book to buy now šŸ˜ Need new bookshelf šŸ¤£šŸ¤£

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    1. Thanks again Sam and sorry, I can't help with the bookshelf problem, but I'm sure I can help you fill it some more!!

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