Today's interview: Adam David Collings
Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
- I was born and bred in Tasmania. I've lived all my life in the beautiful city of Launceston, in the north of the state. Launceston was settled by Europeans in 1806, making it one of the oldest cities in Australia. We have the oldest underground sewers in the country (1860) and the third oldest in the world. Launny was also the location of the first medical operation under anaesthesia in Australia (1847)
- I make my living as a software developer for an engineering company. When I'm not writing code, I'm writing sci-fi and fantasy stories, or scripting videos. There's actually a lot of commonality between my day job and my writing. In both worlds I create videos, and crafting a story is surprisingly similar to crafting a piece of software.
- I imported my wife from New South Wales, who I met online, before the days of social media. We have two kids. Our daughter is heading in to high school this year, and our son has a superhuman ability to recall dates.
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?I write speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, superhero, and anything else weird. Some of my stories are written for the Christian market, others for the general market. My primary focus at the moment is a space opera series called Jewel of The Stars. This is a long-term series of novellas structured like a TV series. I wrote book 1 very much as a "pilot episode". It follows the adventures of the passengers and crew of a cruise ship in space on the run from an alien armada after Earth is invaded.
I also have a superhero project in the works. This one will be set in Australia. After all, why do all superheroes have to be American?
Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?Who has read my work? Well, not many people yet, to be honest. Although, my work has generally been received very well by those who have read it. I haven't done any hard marketing pushes yet. I just don't have enough published content in the world to make it worthwhile. Baby steps. As for who I'd like to read it? Maybe some big name celebrity in the geek world, who will subsequently sing its praises for all to hear. Seriously, I would like my work to be read by those who love fantastical stories. I hope my work entertains them as well as makes them think a little.
Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?I'm a heavy plotter, so a lot of "writing" takes place before I actually begin the first draft. First, I spend time thinking about the story, and "dreaming it out". This is a great thing to do while walking. Then I produce a detailed outline, drawing on the principles of story structure and scene structure. Then I flesh each scene out into a first draft. After that, I'll read through and do the first-pass edit myself, before passing it along to my editor.
The biggest challenges I face at the moment are time and finance. It takes a lot of both to produce a book, and they're often in short supply. I've found the best time for me to fit in writing time is to do it before work. That way all my energy hasn't been sapped away by the day job. Working from home can be helpful in this, as the time usually spent traveling becomes writing time. I'm moving house next month (no wonder I'm busy) and the new house will have a dedicated "office" for me in the garage. Having a space where you can go to be free from distractions is a big plus, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that will help.
As for finance. Well, there's no easy answer to that one. It just comes down to prioritising, and putting aside something for writing expenses when you have it.
Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?I'm a huge fan of Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland. The concept of story structure (which I first learned about in another excellent book - Story Engineering by Larry Brooks) revolutionised my world. It really made the story-telling process come alive for me. K.M. Weiland's book delves into the nuts and bolts of how stories are structured, even down to the scene level.
Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?I'd like to give a shout-out to my editor Iola Goulton. Without her, I wouldn't have my work out there in the world. I'll also shout out Charis Joy Jackson. She recently finished a book called The Rose of Admirias, which will be released as part of the On The Horizon boxset. I read a little bit of an early version, and am looking forward to seeing how the final product turned out.
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?At this stage, I aim to publish episode two of Jewel of The Stars during 2018. I also want to publish my superhero project. There's not a lot I can achieve toward these goals until I move house in February. After that, it's dedicated slow and steady work.
Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?My faith impacts everything I write, mostly on a thematic level, regardless of what market I am writing for. My stories deal with issues that I am thinking through at the time, or facing in my life. For example, in my superhero short story Chronostream's Father I explored some of the challenges I was facing in my parenting, and how my faith imformed how I'd approach it all. In Jewel of The Stars episode 1, I deal with the theme of risk. When is it appropriate to take risk? This lead to me thinking about the links between risk and faith.
Adam is a great lover of stories, enjoying them in books, movies, scripted TV and computer games. Adam discusses these on his own youTube show – Stories with Adam Collings.
Find him at adamdavidcollings.com or sign up to his email list for a short story.