Author Interview: Meet Scott Spotson
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to author Scott Spotson. He is one of the great author’s on Goodreads, which is where we met. Scott has written three books: Life II, a time travel novel; Seeking Dr. Magic, a novel that imagines what happens when a powerful wizard comes of age as a young man, and wreaks his havoc on the world, which is yet unaware of his existence; and You Know You’re Thin When…, a humor book using large single panel cartoons. He also has a great blog and website that I highly recommend you check out! I love unique sites and this one certainly ranks up there as one you’ll remember.
Scott is also Canadian, which I only mention because I think that is cool and I’m frankly envious. Canada is awesome. And Canadian writers…well, I haven’t met one that I didn’t like! So check out Scott’s interview and then take a look at his books!
And now, introducing author Scott Spotson:
1. When did you first start writing?
I first started writing since elementary school. I would write out, by hand, short stories, sometimes for classes, sometimes for myself. But nothing like novels. I did enter a short story contest when I was about ten years old, in my small town, and I won. I wrote my first novel when I was 20, and it was based upon a love triangle that two young male roommates at university have when a new university young woman walks into their lives. Also, one guy was more bookish while the other guy was more of a James Dean type, and of course, the latter one gets the girl in the end. (It was a clean young adult piece!) I sent it to one or two publishers, but nothing came of it. This was way before the time of the Internet, so I put it on the shelf and didn’t write again for several more years.
I started writing again a year ago and was amazed at how much everything had changed. Remembering the old paradigm, I even sent my new manuscript to a few publishers, but again nothing came of it. But now that we have easy and relatively cost-free self-publishing, I decided to self-publish this time, and I love it. My first book to be published was “Life II,” a time-travel novel.
2. What brought you to the crazy endeavor that is writing and self-publishing?
I honestly didn’t know about the ease of self-publishing nowadays. I thought I would once again have to go through mainstream publishing companies. That’s how dedicated I was. I was relieved afterwards, to find out that one can indeed self-publish without having to pay for dozens of books that no one ever reads. I found out through a local newspaper article about a new local author, and I contacted her by email, and she in turn told me about Createspace. The rest is history.
3. What are your hopes as a writer?
Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hope to become famous as an author, and to have my works turned into Hollywood blockbusters and then retire rich! But my expectations today are modest: to have as many readers enjoy my books as much as possible, and to truly have them choose to enjoy my books, rather than trying to prove myself or do it “for myself.” I think the moment authors start realizing that their books are not “in demand” is the moment they should try to improve, or find new stories to tell, or leave the market to writers who can do better. Happily, I am finding that my books do have an authentic market who enjoys them.
4. You have three books published. How long did they take you to write? What is your favorite genre?
My favourite genre will always be science fiction, due to the future-looking implications, and the possibility that the unlimited can happen. Life II took about three months to write, after about one month of plotting, then about two more months of editing. Seeking Dr. Magic took about two weeks of plotting, two months to write, and one month of editing. You Know You’re Thin When… is different, because I actually didn’t do most of the book. I wrote the blurbs, but it took a while (naturally) for the artists to draw the cartoons. They’re great!
5. Tell me a little bout your books and what you enjoyed and liked the least about writing them.
Well, Life II is very personal to me, because it re-imagines life if you lived it over again, changing what you can. I also loved the science fiction that intrudes upon an ordinary life, such as watching the Time Weaver and then that weird but incredible incident when Max sits in a cafe with Lucinda (read the book to find out more). A few reviewers have offered their opinion that they didn’t want that much science fiction in Life II, but I just couldn’t imagine just having Max shuttle into his new life without an explanation. Also, I just couldn’t imagine finishing off Max’s new life without a bit of a bang that ties back to the Time Weaver. To me, the science fiction elements are what makes Life II deliciously fun to read.
As for Seeking Dr. Magic, I think what is important is that I made the book fun to read, and I tried to set off two super egos that both needed to be cut down and adapt to reality. A lot of people told me they loved both characters, it’s like a “cat-and-mouse” game, and they found themselves rooting for one character in one chapter, then the other in the next chapter, and back and forth. That’s exactly what I tried to do. It’s an epic battle without the tired truism that they must fight to the death.
As for what I liked the least about writing my books, I think the only thing is my impatience. I have the stories in my head, I want the books to come out the same day. I find it hard to wait to write and edit, and get the covers and get them published. I honestly don’t know how the traditional writers would wait eighteen months or two years to get their books published through the traditional publishing firms. Wow.
6. How do you develop story ideas? Are you a plotter or do you write on-the-fly?
I’m definitely a plotter. I carry a journal around with me, and I jot down notes whenever I can. When outside and exercising over a distance, whether it be swimming, cycling, or jogging, is the best. One time I was on a four hour cycle trip with my family close to home and it was really hard, because I had developed about twenty scenes for the same one book in my head and had to try to memorize them all so I could write them all down later when I got home.
I don’t start writing until I have a coherent plot. I may not have every chapter plotted out ahead of time, but I do have all the scenes plotted out.
7. Do you have a work-in-progress? If so, tell me a bit more about it.
I have two underway.
One is a love triangle, with young adults (but comfortably in their late 20’s, so more like an adult book) where one of the two women in the triangle is actually a witch, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at her. I don’t want to give away too much, but basically this witch leans toward the evil, with bouts of conscience in between, and uses her magic powers to gradually get rid of her competition without the other woman knowing about the magic. It’ll be a clean read, of course. “Delusional” should be published by August or September 2013
The other is where four wizards arrogantly, but in the belief they are benevolent gods who can vastly improve society, take over power in our current Earth. They bring their spirit of advanced knowledge and love of games and competition with them, so it’s an interesting study in culture clash. We see what happens when the “mortals,” through a Supreme Liaison named Amanda, herself one of the humans, react to their new laws and economic reforms. “The Four Kings” should be published by October or November 2013.
8. I met you through a Goodreads review group, so I’m guessing you like to read too. What genres do you read?
Really, I have an eclectic reading preference, it’s not unusual for me to read four books at the same time, skipping from one to another depending on my interest that day. However, I do not like horror or consistently dystopian novels where there is nothing to cheer for in the book. I also do not like preachy books where the author seems more interested in sending a message, rather than entertaining. Certainly, books can impart lessons, but if the author can do so through hooking your interest, that’s a good book.
9. Every Indie author always seems to looking to connect with and attract readers, so I have to ask: where do you go to find something new to read?
It’s impossible not to these days, so many books just begging to be read. Through many fellow authors on Goodreads, I can find new indie books to read. I think the problem nowadays is too much choice, rather than too little. And that’s a good thing.
10. What impacts your decision on what to buy to read? Cover, book blurb, other reviews, sales/price? Which is most important to you?
I would say the story. If there is speculative fiction taking place in the real world, I think that would grab my interest. Some people call it magic realism, but I like it at the personal level. If it’s something that happens to me as I go about my boring life, and it’s certainly impossible, and it’s in a book, I would love to read it. That’s why I loved writing Life II. The main character finds himself living through his life again, and it’s his choice. In Seeking Dr. Magic, a detective finds himself using his wits on something that has never happened in his world before – seeking a magical being who just appears out of nowhere. That’s why I loved Back to the Future – a teenage boy finds himself going back into time to meet his parents being the same age as him – what a concept!
Fellow authors, you have have an extraordinary event happening to an ordinary citizen in the real world, and there is magic or science fiction involved, and there’s an element of (happy) wonder conveyed, send it to me – I’ll review it for you!
Wow, that is an offer! I’m sure there will be a few people taking Scott up on that.
Thanks so much for your time, Scott. It has been great getting to know you and your novels sound great! For anyone who wants to go check them out, you can follow the links to find Life II and Dr. Magic