I’m excited to welcome James Murdo, author of ‘Siouca Remembers‘ to my blog today.
Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…
- Where do you call home?
London, UK. Brought up mostly in Highgate but I’ve lived all around. I’ve also just received Irish citizenship (very topical).
- What is your family like?
Brilliant, argumentative (at times) and understanding. I’m fortunate to have a great family and we’re all very close.
- If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
We moved from a flat to a house when I was 5. I remember the flat being enormous with the biggest garden imaginable. Turns out, it was tiny. The house we moved to was great – near parks, good transport, and more importantly, my siblings and I had our own bedrooms (finally!). Only thing that bothered me was the central heating. I can assure you it never ever worked.
- Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
Exercise, rock climbing, increasingly healthy eating (intermittently punctuated by periods of regression), comedy…
- What is your greatest dream?
To go to space. I’m ambivalent about going to another planet in comparison with living in space itself. I wish I’d studied Asteroid Mining.
- What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
- What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I became enamoured with reading during a family holiday when I was very young. Everyone else was out in the sun, but I was captivated. I devoured anything, although I had an affinity for ghost stories. My older sibling bought me “The Algebraist” (Iain M Banks, my favourite author who I often bang on about) from a local bookshop for an early birthday, precipitating my love of sci-fi, my degree (Physics), and a significant part of my mindset.
- Who is your role model?
A lot of people, but – apologies for the cliché – my parents.
- What is your greatest fear?
- Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
Used to prefer paperbacks (or hardbacks), tried e-books and found my reading experience unchanged. I understand some people are averse to them, but for me, they work. I like volume and instant reading gratification; I don’t like waiting for books to arrive. I am still waiting to be fully converted to audio-books, I love the good ol’ radio too much.
- What is your opinion of novellas?
I prefer lengthier books as I like to become completely immersed for as long as possible, and I read very fast. Some say I skim, and that would be fair.
- Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
- What is your favorite film based on a book?
LOTR. Looking forward to more.
- What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
- What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. My mother recommended it. Paperback actually!
- If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Not to cop out, but there would be so many, and this would depend on what second of the day I thought about it, the weather, the news, so much. Sorry. Da Vinci definitely, though. He’d make it every time. Probably a Neanderthal too, although fame-wise, not sure…
Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.
- What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
‘Siouca Remembers’: A cerebral part-space opera, part-epic fantasy spanning time and space. A first contact story twisted and on steroids.
- Is the above book part of a series?
Short answer, no. It’s part of the ‘Wanderer Universe’, of which there are currently 6 books. There’s the ‘Wanderers series’ (currently consisting of 3 sequential books: Gil’s World, Searching the Void, Infinite Eyes), and 3 independent/standalone books (Long Paradise, Fractured Carapace, Siouca Remembers).
- Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
Lots that happen to appear on the radio, some that I reserve when trying to write chapters in a certain style, and often silence.
- How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
I thought about it for a long time, solicited the opinions of family and beta readers. Siouca is an important character.
- In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
I have a few, some AI, some biological, and some in between. My style of writing is mosaic-like which can take some getting used to, but everything always comes together in a satisfying conclusion (I hope). That’s why I like to caveat that it’s “cerebral sci-fi” – not to toot my own horn, but to emphasise the multiple storylines. I sometimes also say “hard sci-fi”, although I’ve found that term can be a little ambiguous and not too well known amongst readers.
- What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
For Siouca – respect for life.
- Will readers like or dislike this character?
- What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
Lots of different things inspired me. Irodiel (one of the characters) was part-conceived following a dream.
Let’s talk now about your writing process.
- What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
It varies, but I only have the vaguest plots. Anything more is a waste of time for me, as I constantly alter and re-write them when I have new exciting ideas. I like to keep most of the plotting in my head – which somehow works out alright.
- Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
The writing itself – it comes in clumps and I need to be inspired (internally). I’m envious of writers who talk about aiming for 1,000 or 10,000 words a day. For me, the story comes when it comes.
- Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
- If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
A few factors, but for simplicity: time and expedience.
- What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Write more, worry about promotion less. I still need to follow that advice.
- What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?
Don’t think, just do.
- Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.
My website: www.jamesmurdo.com (you can subscribe to my newsletter)
Amazon Author Central: https://smile.amazon.com/James-Murdo/e/B079P23SXS/
Twitter: @JamMurdo (I use)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesMurdoOfficial/ (I rarely use)