Q. Tell us about yourself as a person.
I live in a rural town in Australia, 500km north of Sydney. Wife & 4 kids, working full time as an accountant for a local company. I studied a bachelor of arts at university, majoring in ancient history.
Q. How did you get into writing?
I’d read a ton of star wars books and a heap of my father’s older classics, then moved onto some harder sci-fi. The more I read the more I thought ‘that’s not how I would do it.’ I wanted to start telling stories my way, pulling ideas from all my ancient history studies and from reading science articles and hard sci-fi, then blending it all together.
Q. What kind of fiction do you write?
Haha, I did get carried away didn’t I?
I write mostly futuristic science fiction short stories, set in different sub-genres such as time travel, space opera, hard sci-fi exploration etc., always trying to put a unique and/or humorous spin on things without seeming too strange. I also dabble in fantasy (modern demon invasions, weird fridges).
Q. Who are some of your favorite well-known authors?
Alistair Reynolds – his worlds and ideas are fantastic
Iain M Banks – the Culture novels are some crazy fun
Stephen Baxter – great hard sci-fi ideas
Peter F Hamilton – I somehow managed to read his Night’s Dawn trilogy/giant door stoppers 3 times over 3 years.
Q. Any indie authors you especially like?
Apart from yourself? I honestly haven’t read a lot of indie books yet (I don’t have a lot of time at all to read anymore ) but A Ritual of Bone by Lee C. Conley stands out to me so far.
Q. Traditional vs indie: which do you think is better? (Edit: I clarified the question to mean traditional vs. self-publishing)
Indie, definitely. As long as authors know what they’re getting themselves into – i.e. Indie costs money, Trad costs control, I love having control over my stories and books. The ability to change prices, covers and set promotional strategies is almost as fun as writing the books themselves but a lot of work.
Sometimes I wonder if Trad would be better to save time/money and let the publisher do the promotions and editing but then even Trad books fail and often don’t promote effectively to their readers.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
Lost Embers was supposed to be ‘Star Wars with shotguns,’ using semi-realistic technologies I pulled from Michio Kaku’s ‘Physics of the Impossible’ book.
I hated The Hunger Games movie and thought I could do better and at the time the Olympics was on. I combined those with my love of total war and homeworld pc games to come up with ‘Wargames of the Shellworld.
‘Astronaut’s Teeth’ was my attempt at an answer on a question on Quora – ‘what would you do if you were sent into the past and stuck there but could live forever.’ The answer? I’d have to be an insane, bored drunkard keen on pulling pranks on famous people throughout history.
Q. What helps you write? Music, doodling, etc? What about tools like Word, dictionaries, etc?
What helps me write? Music, definitely, without lyrics. I’ve been enjoying a lot of ‘soothing’ dubstep and like some classical or a blend of both.
I used to draw some of the vehicles in my stories for a bit of inspiration but havn’t done that for a while now.
I do all of my writing in word online and store it in One drive and on my home pc. Then, before doing a final edit I run it through the free version of grammarly to catch any of the more obvious errors and send it out to my Beta Readers/editors for a closer look, when they’re available…
Q. Do you follow traditional guidelines when it comes to writing, or is there anything in particular you do different?
Seriously though, some of my stories use a three or five act arc but I have a bad habit of just writing whatever I want and then trying to edit it to make it seem as though it’s normal. Case in point, ‘Hand Crank Starship,’ where I had a fun idea I just had to write, wrote it, and, basically, kind of, forgot to add a proper ending. (I THINK that’s fixed now…)
Q. What do you bring to the table that’s different from other authors?
I like to think I bring bizarre, absurd, funny ideas set against deadly, sometimes apocalyptic situations at a fast, entertaining pace.
Q. What would you advise newbie indie authors to do different?
If they have the time, write as much as they can and start making connections with other writers and readers as early as you can before publishing anything.
Q. Final moment to give a shout out to anyone in particular and tell us how we can follow you and your work.
Shout out to my Dad and my brother Brendan for getting me started on this journey and helping with ideas and editing, to my mate Michael and my mother for supporting me with each book and especially my wife, Sarah, for putting up with my current writing obsession.
If anyone wants to follow me on this journey they can visit me at my facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/Andrew-McGregors-Author-Page-609945319448643/
join my newsletter that I rarely do (oops) https://mailchi.mp/bb117aa584f2/andrewmcgregorsciencefictiontales
Or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org