Readers' Blog

An Interview With David M. Kelly

One of the best bits about working with AFWB is all the amazing authors I get to meet and work with. One of our awesome authors, David M. Kelly is one of those seriously talented individuals. He joined AFWB towards the end of last year. We wanted you to get to know him a bit better so we've asked him a couple of questions.

  1. What inspired you to write your (most recent) book?

Right now, I’m working on edits for Perimeter, book 2 of the Mathematics Of Eternity series. This one is largely set in space and has more of a darker, mystery feel than book one, but it’s still a fast-paced thriller with great characters and plenty of acerbic humor. The series was inspired by many of the things we see happening in the world today, such as climate change, genetic research, technology developments in materials and space access, then playing “what if?” games inside my head.

  1. Who is your favourite character from your book(s)?

I think my personal favourite would be the lead character in Three Lives Of Mary. Mary is very tough and a survivor who faces up to everything thrown at her and yet still retains her human vulnerability, despite being a cyborg. Her toughness is in her resilience. She doesn’t go around killing people or fighting like many female sci-fi figures we see but has an inner strength and determination that carry her through her ordeals.

  1. Is there an underlying theme?

I think one of the themes that runs through much of my work is that no matter how bleak things are, there’s always hope. Another common element in my writing is an often darkly humorous look at life and the situations my characters find themselves in. I also like stories where people are smart and solve their problems using their minds and not just with violence.

  1. What motivated you to become an author?

I was a very early and prolific reader and the idea of writing has always been inside me. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a very natural “story-teller” (to put it politely!). The push to actually start writing came when I was faced with an extremely long commute by train. I wanted something to fill the time and thought I’d give my long held dream a go. To my surprise I ended up writing a novel. It wasn’t a very good one and it’s never been published, but nevertheless I was hooked and have been writing ever since.

  1. What inspires you to to get out of bed each day?

After surviving a life-threatening illness a few years ago I feel grateful to still be here. That episode was also the push to finally go for my dream in publishing my writing. I love the process of writing and so getting up and “going to work” is usually very easy for me--especially as it means I spend a lot of time daydreaming about space! So there’s that, coffee, and my wife giving me a gentle kick

  1. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Hmm – editing, designing book covers and trailers, web design... Most of my time, especially in the long Northern Ontario winters, is spent on writing-related activities and I have no complaints about that! In summer, when I’m not writing I like to catch up with science news, hike and swim and drive around in my own personal starship – a vintage Corvette ZR-1.

  1. How do you discover the ebooks you read?

A lot of what I read now comes from other independent authors that I know online. I also subscribe to several book newsletters that keep me in touch with new releases and what’s popular.

  1. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

The first one I remember clearly was writing a series of stories about the adventures of a ninja squirrel who was unexpectedly called on a heroic saga to save his nuts. It was very tongue-in-cheek and full of ribald humor.

  1. What is your writing process?

Coffee. Chair. Word processor.

  1. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

I read the usual Janet and John stories when I was very young, but the ones I remember most clearly from my youngest experiences were the Moomin books by Tove Jansson. They made such fun reading and had a crazily rich assortment of characters in them, something I try to bring to my own work.

  1. Describe your desk.

My work area is made up of 2 ex-government desks that I acquired from a liquidation store. They are fantastic quality, but so heavy I’ll never be able to move them again! I have two large monitors—which helps a lot with my graphics and web work—so I need lots of space. As to the state of the surface of the desks, let’s just say it defies description

  1. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in a large West Yorkshire town in the UK. The area where I lived wasn’t the best and it didn’t pay to be too smart at school. That and a general lack of encouragement from teachers when it came to any writing that was remotely creative, meant I never pursued the idea when I was young. I did, however, read—lots—and fell in love with science fiction early on.

  1. When did you first start writing?

I started writing “seriously” in 2002. It took a long time before I had any of my work published and even longer before I really felt like I was a “real” author. There’s been a lot of learning through that time as I worked to improve my technique and skills, but it’s all worth it the day you hold your first book in your hands!

  1. What else have you got planned?

See question 22

  1. What’s the story behind your latest book?

My very latest project is a novelette called “A Place In The Sun” and it presents a science fiction twist on a classic tale inspired by my love of old movies.

  1. Do you have any bizarre writing habits?

I’ve been known to dream up entire plots and then frantically write everything down when I wake up to make sure I don’t forget it. I’m curious to know if this happens to other writers.  I suspect it might. I also like to have silence when I write, or at least nothing more than ambient noise. If I can make things out such as music or words, I get too drawn out of what I’m working on.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

For my novel “Mathematics Of Eternity” the most difficult thing was researching the scientific aspects and this was especially time consuming in the sequel. The vast majority of this research never sees light of day in the books themselves but gives me the framework in which to work in so that when I include a detail (which often is only in passing) I know it’s right.

  1. What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your genre?

A lot of people are completely turned off when they hear the phrase “science fiction.” They associate it with long, boring, highly technical stories with dull characters and no action. My books are definitely not like that! I want them to be accessible to anyone who loves a good story. So I aim for compelling characters, a concise style, action and twists, and often a healthy dose of acerbic humour in there too.

  1. What is your reading format of choice?

I have a huge collection of SF paperbacks, and there’s nothing like the thrill of receiving the print copy of your own novel in the mail and holding it in your hands. All that said, these days I find it most convenient to read ebooks on my tablet. I either download them through Amazon or through my local library.

  1. How do you make time to write?

I’m lucky enough to write full-time—having escaped the IT world a few years back after some serious health issues. But I could still use more time and often wish I didn’t have to sleep! Self-discipline is really important for my productivity—there are all too many distractions online. So I always try and start the day with a writing stint. Then whatever happens, at least I’ve made progress on my word count that day.

  1. What do you like to read?

I started reading very early and very heavily – it was almost an addiction. As a result I’ve read so much that it’s hard to pin down individuals. That said, I loved the works of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and read as much of theirs as I could get my hands on and although their styles are very different, I still appreciate them to this day. I’ve also read a lot of Rudyard Kipling and was hooked on Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories very early on. For present day authors, I’d recommend Christina McMullen who writes classy SF with a touch of humor, some of it slanted more towards a YA audience. Other new authors that are turning out good stories are Jay Norry, who has written a large collection of zombie books, and also fantasy authors Richard H. Stephens and C.L Schneider. Beyond that I like to read histories, especially about scientific figures and also the work of science popularizers such as Brian Greene.

  1. Any ideas for future projects?

Book 3 of MOE is already under way and I also have another—very different--novel in progress, but still SF. I have a bunch of short stories to edit and publish and many ideas for more. I’m not going to run out of projects any time soon!

Check Out David On Amazon 

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