Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Brett Irvine

Another round of The Same Six Questions! Today's guest is Brett Irvine! Welcome, Brett!


Thanks, Andy! I live in Cape Town, South Africa, with my wife in our tiny apartment. Cape Town is a great place, one of the best cities in the world! We’re also home to the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke winner, Lauren Beukes, which I am immensely proud of! By day, I am a software developer for a payments processing company based out of London. Part time, I am studying towards a BA Creative Writing degree, as well as doing my pilot’s licenses when I have the money available. As you can tell, I have great difficulty making up my mind, and still have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. Hell, I’m not sure if I want to grow up! I also enjoy a game of football/soccer, and am a huge Liverpool Football Club fan. I was also lucky enough to watch a few World Cup games here last year, and it was absolutely incredible.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes, I have published a book of short stories. It was my first experimental foray into the world of self-publishing. I put together a short (really short!) collection of short stories which all have a similar vein called Into the Rift. I have another short story coming out called The Magical Tree, which is a semi-autobiographical tale from a town I lived in when I was about 6 or 7. I am also working on a novel, the working title of which is The Christopher Dickens Story, and my first draft blog for that book can be found here. Finally, as with a lot of other writers, I am always working on some short story or other, and I regularly submit those to online magazines. Generally, if a story doesn’t make it through all those submissions, and I feel it’s worthy of being read, I will put it up for sale on Amazon and Smashwords. Again, check my author’s page or blog for details.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always enjoyed writing at school, but I never really had a yearning for it from a young age. I didn’t keep a note book, I wasn’t writing stories when I was a kid, and I didn’t always have this dream of becoming an author. When I left school, of course, I wasn’t writing anymore because I had no English teacher to please. It was around that time that I started writing for fun, just the odd little story here or there. I somehow stumbled across the Strange Horizons website, of which I’d never heard previously, and I realized that being paid to write wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. I then started churning out more and more stories, and as I’ve gotten better and better, the hobby of writing has now started to become more of a priority than a side-line.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

When I was about 21 I wrote a long, convoluted, horribly put together story that had a thick, leaky plot to do with time travel. In my ignorance, I submitted it to Clarkesworld magazine. Needless to say, the rejection came pretty quickly back. I still have the story somewhere, stashed in a folder on my PC, but I hide away from it, too embarrassed to acknowledge its existence.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

After the first few rejections, I began to take the art of writing a lot more seriously. I refined my work, edited it (I'd never edited it before beyond a first read), thought about the plot and tied up loose ends, started thinking about character development. I started reading blogs and sites on writing, started reading other amateur fiction, and of course kept writing throughout. One of my stories (which ended up in my collection) received a note from the editor, and although I had no clue at the time, this is always better than a form rejection, because generally it means your story is good, but not necessarily for that particular editor or magazine. Over a year later I stumbled across the rejection, and actually took in what it meant. From then on, I knew that with enough work, and with enough rejections, I could actually do this.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Interesting question. One of my characters is a gorgeous red head that knows a lot about magic, and likes to walk around naked. I guess she would be an interesting one to meet! I also wrote a character who guides people through a kind of purgatory in the after life, and tends to offer them a beer at opportune moments. I love him, and am hoping that when I die he's there to comfort me and hand me an ice cold one.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Have you ever seen a Parktown Prawn? Oh man...those things are invincible, and are pretty much the most terrifying beings in existence. What was the big guy thinking when he made them? I would tell you to Google it, but then you'd have nightmares. If you've seen District 9, I'm pretty sure the "prawns" in the film were a reference to these horrible beasties.

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Meh! I've seen worse. ;) (Wikipedia's Parktown Prawn page). Thanks for sharing, Brett! For more of Brett and his writing, be sure to check out his blog, Twitter page, Smashword's author page, and Amazon author page.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Come back on Monday, when my guest will be Holly Grant!