To celebrate the release of John-Paul Cleary’s second book ‘Eleven Town’, I asked if he would like to do an interview with me.  After reading Convergent Space, I was anxiously awaiting a new book by this author.  He has style and story coming out of him in spades.  His first novel was a great read, and the next one is very high on my TBR list.

Here’s a brief synposis of Eleven Town to whet you appetites.

It’s all about a dystopian future where society is threatened by a terrible disease from which no one is immune.

In Eleven Town the end is approaching.

For 200 years the town has grown at the expense of people’s happiness, with young families ruthlessly torn apart by the State to maximise fertility. No one likes the rules but everyone conforms. The only consolations are the hedonistic lifestyle of the Blues and the drugs that keep everyone young.

But now everything is changing. A terrifying disease is decimating the population of Eleven Town and no one is immune.

Deni is part of the team working on a way to evacuate the town. He finds himself exposed to a political underworld intent on controlling the future at any cost.

As time runs out, Deni discovers the real purpose of Eleven Town. But his only chance of escape is under threat. Can he and the others possibly survive?

This sounds great.  Anyway, on to the interview with John-Paul.

What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?

Probably a mainstream novel. I have tried in the past but the books never hold my attention long enough to finish them. Science Fiction is the opposite. I enjoy almost every minute of writing it and I never get bored. Maybe one day I’ll feel the same about writing in other genres but at the moment sci-fi is what inspires me.

Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?

The original inspiration for a story usually comes out of a feeling or a situation. It’s a weird sensation and I wish I could turn it on and off when I need it but I can’t. The basic story usually pops right in then I spend a few weeks expanding it into something bigger.

When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Does that trigger the story?

Not for me. I usually have a working title but that may change a number of times while I’m writing.

Do you see the future of fantasy and science fiction as bright? If so, which authors are driving it?

The future has never been brighter. Science Fiction used to be a notoriously difficult genre to get published in. I’ve no idea why when so many people love to read it. Now e-publishing has opened the door to anyone who wants to write. How can that not be good? If you ask me every artistic work has some merit, regardless of what critics and publishers and reviewers may say. Quality is subjective.

Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?

Ebooks are the future, along with all other electronic communications.

Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to? How much impact can they have on the whole story?

Just my girffriend Elaine. Sometimes I’ll discuss one or two things with her that I can’t get right but there isn’t much unsolicited influence. What you get is basically what’s in my head.

Do you set yourself a word limit for each book?

Not if I can help it – the story is what the story is. But I’m currently writing the second book in the Convergent Space series. The first book was around 130,000 words so the next one will need to be of similar length because that’s what people will expect.

Do you have a target each day?

The target is always 1000 words a day but I rarely meet it. I could do it easily but I just run out of time. I write at 6am in the morning before I go to work so my writing time has a limit on it. When I can finally give up the day job and write full-time I think my target will be 2000 words a day. I’m pretty sure I could do that if I had a full day.

Do you have characters running around your head? Do they dictate events and their histories to you?

I used to have a problem with that but I’m a lot stricter with my characters now. They know who is boss and do as I say (usually).

What is your biggest (self-imposed) time waster?

None. I used to be all over the place and could never sit still but now I’m very focused. I also gave up caffeine a little while ago and that helped me focus even more.

Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?

Just seeing my first book, Convergent Space, published on Amazon for the first time was a big thrill. But the real emotion came when Convergent Space went to number one in both the Sci-fi Space Opera and High Tech charts in the UK and stayed there for weeks. It was a life’s ambition realised. Finally.

Do you read other people’s writing?

I tend not to read fiction when I’m writing because I’m too easily influenced by other people’s styles. Once I have finished writing the two books I’m currently working on I’ll take some time off and catch up on my reading. In the meantime I stick to non-fiction. Recently I have been reading a series of books about the Greco-Persian wars of 100 BC. What happened that long ago is so far removed from how will live now it’s a bit like science fiction anyway.

Would you read mine?

Your book definitely looks interesting Stephen so when I’m in my next pause from writing I’ll look it up. But if you write a factual account of wars in Ancient Greece I’ll read that now.

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