Hey there everyone, I hope you are all having an excellent week.
I’m flipping things around tonight and will be working on my Day Two entry for NanoPoblano later, so for all you poetry fans, stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, it’s back to our regular scheduled programming.
Tonight in the Author Interview series we have Sci-Fi/Fantasy author Paul Arvidson, who is taking the time to enlighten us about his thrilling debut novel, his writing motivations and his own classic nuggets of writing advice.
I can’t wait to get chatting to him, so happy reading and enjoy the show, here we go!
Hi there Paul, wonderful to have you here as our guest today, we’re really looking forward to hearing more about your book and the creative force behind it.
Hi David, thanks for having me!
Let’s start with your debut novel called “Dark”, a labour of love that you have produced after tirelessly working on it over several years. It is a Science Fiction/Fantasy book set on the inside of an abandoned colony planet that’s completely in the dark. You mention that it is going to be part of a trilogy, which is always exciting when it comes to Fantasy books, as we get to indulge ourselves and spend even more quality time with the characters. Please keep us in the dark no longer and give us some more background information regarding how your saga plays out, what our heroes are up against and the directions we can expect your epic tale to take?
OK, big question. So the premise of the tale kind of grew out of an idea of a hero who lived in a world totally in the Dark. But once that idea stuck, I had to decide what that world might be like and how it got there and what the hero and his friends might be like.
I couldn’t escape from the idea of small mammal-like creatures exploring and living in a world of pipes and rooms that weren’t build by them. Then that ballooned out into the idea of an abandoned, human colony world, where our protagonists were animals, originally brought as food or pets, but when the humans disappeared, they carried on evolving and adapting and learned to live in the dark with some native plants and lots of mysterious ‘found-tech’ that they don’t know how to use or what to do with.
Then when I got into the writing process (I write ‘seat of the pants’ style, i.e. I create the world set up and the characters and then let them explore it), I knew I wanted readers to feel comfortable with the characters, for them to be fun to hang out with, even if the world was weird. In a way, so the reader can explore the world as the characters do.
When we first meet our heroes, Dun (a young innocent pup from a ‘hick’ village) has started to have bad dreams, that may be more than they seem. He enlists the help of his sarcastic, more worldly friend Padg, and a novice alchemist with something to prove, called Tali. Forces seem at work to upset a balance that has been stable for years and set the tribes against each other. When the three get sent on a dangerous diplomatic mission following a map left by Dun’s missing father and led by the mysterious Myrch, they realise that they might be collecting the only puzzle pieces that are going to save the world.
If your novel was to be made into a film, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Now this is a tricky one. Since the whole thing is set in total darkness, could it even be made into a film? I don’t know. And the main protagonists aren’t really human, but I’ve always imagined them having human voices. I’ve never really pinned this down but let’s give it a go.
For Dun, I guess I imagine someone young sounding but not – like Martin Freeman maybe? For Padg someone who ‘sarky’ comes naturally to, mmm maybe James Corden. For Tali I guess I’d have someone who presents themselves as flawless but could imply that’s just a cover, intelligence, would do long suffering well. Hmm, Emilia Fox? Tara Fitzgerald? Or maybe Miranda Hart? Then the other big casting part is Myrch. Again needs a voice to die for, but someone who can carry off that ‘seen it all, done it all, world weariness’ but with a touch of lightness. A Harrison Ford type person I guess? Or I’d always thought a voice like Idris Elba or Paterson Joseph (Peepshow & Survivors guy) would carry that competence/weariness/mystery combo.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
Let’s do easiest first – I enjoy characters (I’ve got a degree in Theatre Studies, so that figures). People come into my head and then I experiment with them chatting and see where that gets us.
Most difficult – probably editing. The biggest challenge with writing as a ‘pantser’ is that in order to edit and tighten stuff you’ve got to do a massive amount of unpicking. In particular with this book though, writing in a universe where the characters don’t even know what light is, you can’t use any visual metaphors. And it’s really hard to remember as we’re so used to using them that we don’t even notice. No ‘I see what you means.’ or ‘I don’t see it that way’. etc. Very tricksy
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
Have always enjoyed Neil Gaiman, in book and graphic novel form. His weird-feeling worlds thing that he got into turn from Dianna Wynne Jones has always felt like a natural place for me to be! I’ve always loved ‘Old school SF/F’ writers – like Frank Herbert, Ursula Le Guin, Phil K Dick, but when I met my wife, she introduced me to a load more: Vernor Vinge, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brian Aldiss,
Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Gerry Pournelle. And I guess the thread there is that huge, world spanning space operas can be fun and accessible too.
Recent stuff, I’d have to pick are folk who seem to have made their impact online or virally first. The likes of Jodi Taylor’s ‘St.Mary’s’ crazy time travelling stuff and the brilliantly creepy/funny Rivers of London stuff by Ben Aaronovitch.
Obviously also FD Lee’s Orwellian Fairies in ‘The Fairy’s Tale’. I like funny and weird.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
Well for this time, I’ve researched – Eco-systems around black-smokers in the midnight zone of the ocean, Speed of light travel and time-dilation, and Cavies. I thought that if you wrote in a world where you were making it all up you could skip the research bit. Turns out not.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I think I ‘had’ to, to stop me going bonkers. When I had to give up my first career as a Stage Lighting Designer, in order to share more of the load that comes with being a full time carer for my daughter, I didn’t realise that I ‘needed’ a creative job or just an outlet until I started to go a bit stir crazy. During that time in career number one, I did get to hang out with loads of cool creative folk (writers, certainly but also artists, musicians, actors and designers too) and that was massively inspirational.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
It’s weird really. Because of coming up against ‘life-block’, in my crazy life the ideas kind of get squeezed out of me. In our crazy life, it’s more of a challenge staying awake long enough to get it all down on paper. I drink lots of coffee.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
See above comments about coffee! I also like old school pen and paper role-playing (Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, Turtles that kind of thing). I’m a member of a great group in Taunton, we meet most Mondays in a pub basement. All way more fun than reality.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t stress it’ll all work out. Always go on your first instinct.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
Well, I reckon Dark is a trilogy. But again, as a pantser, until I’m writing book 3, I won’t be able to tell! Could be more, could be a way for it to be a series. I’m pretty confident on how book 2 will pan out and the plan is to release that late on
Another thing I’ve got on the back burner is fleshing out an idea I’ve got for a thriller series. Again an unusual protagonist, but I want to see if it works first, before I release any details.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Hmm…I guess my two cents would be. Just put one word in front of the other, then go back and fix it in the edit. Find a way to motivate a regular writing habit: something like the Cult of the Magic Spreadsheet. (look it up!) or Nano-Wri-Mo. Oh and one easy thing, when you’re finishing writing for the day, never leave yourself a blank page for tomorrow. When you’ve gotten to the end of the chapter, write a sentence for tomorrow. Allows you to pick up again easier, like folding the end on your sticky tape! And last but not least, get one thing (book, project, whatever) finished. The mental payoff for that is amazing.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you spending some quality time with us.
Been a pleasure!
Paul Arvidson is a forty-something ex-lighting designer who lives in rural Somerset. He juggles his non-author time bringing up his children and fighting against being sucked in to his wife’s chicken breeding business. Dark is his first novel.
You can connect with Paul on the following Social Media channels:-
You can buy his book here:-
Still want more? Well, Paul’s book is set entirely in the dark and that particular concept to me is very spooky and chilling when we are so used to having access to light at the flick of a switch when it is dark. For more articles on the theme of ‘Eerie’ then check out the links below:-
1. Other form of Eerie – Stanley’s Weblog
2. Finding Ethan (III) – just a little magic
3. Science Traveler – The Bats and the Birds of Carlsbad Caverns
4. Cultural Shock – A Serious One – passiondesignerblog
5. Michael J. Fite – How Can You Learn To Deal With What Makes You Eerie?
6. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – EERIE
7. My favorite eerie novel – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
8. Unwelcome Visitors. A frightening experience and a clear message. – byindiablue
9. Spiderman needs separated pants and shirt – Settle in El Paso
10. Night Visions – Jesus’ Footprints
11. Letitia Page – An Eerie Time in US Politics
12. Happy Halloween 2016 – Sup, Nerds!
13. BodynSoil – Halloween Night in This Old House
14. The lingering – Leaking Ink
15. Bittersweet Sensations – the lady kept her mouth shut
16. Fall Favorites – Unique Lovely Gifts
17. Gabrielle by Sarah Janks – New York Bridal – Sarah Janks
18. Sasha’s Writings – Halloween
19. Killer Halloween Costumes for 2016 – Custom Shoes Blog
20. Eerie (No Rest For) – Philip Craddock Writing Portfolio
21. tuckedintoacorner – creep + race + eerie
22. Boat cruise Dubai marina – Killing Coffee Spots in Dubai – Yacht in Dubai
23. Eerie tales of a conventee. – Ananya, The Verbal Seduction.
24. Killing Machine Authentic Sigelei 66 TC Box Mod – Vape Style Blog
25. Success Inspirers’ World – Shadows on the Wall
26. Scared – Sana Thoughts..
27. Le Drake Noir – Eerie reminders of Halloween
28. Rendezvous – Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)
29. Aren’t we all Fake? – Why This? Why That?
30. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Mr. and Mrs. Bones: Eerily Irresistible
31. speaking up for myself – A Spectral Visitant
32. Pity Yourself – xanthia rose
33. Lost Property Repository – Someone kill the poet!!!
34. The House with Nobody In It – English Lit Geek
35. Eerie – WORDS from SONOBE
36. a bliss of birds – Title: Check. Summary: Check. Courage: Check.
37. Solo adventure, day 2 – Serendipitous Web Life
38. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Eeriest of Them All? – Le Happyone
39. EERIE CEMETERY – MY WALL
40. My Sweet Sister In Law P2. – Rexine Rawhead
41. helen meikle’s scribblefest – Daily prompt: The day the nation stops
42. Eerie – thatgirljorge
43. What I Gotta Say About It – The Eeriest Halloween Costume
44. inspiration in progress – Eerie Light
45. Happy Halloween – Mac’s World
46. MY ENDURING BONES – One Night
47. The Unfaithful Earl – HemmingPlay
48. Eerie – Ann WJ White
49. Eerie Shadows – Ward Clever
50. Life Is Like That – The Great Pumpkins
51. Halloween this morning – So Many Hats (or Veils)
52. Life Out of Tunes… – A Halloween tale: a lamp, a banshee and a nightmare
53. Day O – Banana Boat Song – KL Beats Boulevard
54. The Labyrinths of the Mind – Freed to Exceed
55. Halloween – The Chicken Grandma
56. thinkinkadia – Teeneerie
57. Making it write – Foul Frederick
58. Autism in Our Nest – Halloween Fun!
59. Margret’s Life Journey! – Eerie
60. HAPPY HALLOWE’EN! – Inner Whispers
61. Stutter-Stepping Heart – Eerie Sleep
62. Fluffy Pool – Dead Bolts
63. to you – mistspell
64. Happy Halloween! – thepathtocreativity
65. juantetcts – Eerie
66. Cage Dunn: Writer and Author – The Other Side . . .
67. Flat Tires and Zombies – Rexine Rawhead
68. Occasional Dreams – The Room
69. ghosts, marriage and other eerie things ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
70. This is Another Story – A Spooky Halloween Story
71. Eerie – The Inkwell
72. Toortsie, Kameel en Bokbaaivygie se blog – Eerie
73. A Bump in the Night. – The Lively Soul
74. Veils Lifts – Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
75. Your Biggest Fear – mokita dreams
76. Eerie – The Bag Lady
77. Halloween transmogrification – Backpack full of questions
78. Murtagh’s Meadow – Oiche Samhain
79. Steps Times Two – Hope
80. XingfuMama – My little pumpkins don’t do scary
81. Happy Halloween… – Image & Word
82. Beyond Desire – Halloween! – Amongst All Else
83. Eerie, part 2 – Postcard from a Pigeon
84. Daily Post Prompt: Eerie – The Happy Wordcrafter
85. Eerie – Writer2011
86. You should write a book… – Five Ways Offspring are Eerie
87. eerie – Postcard from a Pigeon
88. Attuned Photography – Different perceptions
89. Let Me Love You – Kiana Donae
90. Zombie Flamingos – Happy Hallowe’en!!
91. Black and White Smokers at the Airport – mokita dreams
92. Eerie ~ On a Dare – Word Adventures
93. thejasminegate – Boris redux
94. thechangingpalette – Eerie
95. Alison Leigh Lilly – Can Clowns Save Our Souls?
96. An Eerie Look Back – Life With Grace and Beauty
97. wordsareallihavesite – It was a
98. Eerie – whodoesshethinksheisblog
99. Theo Herbots TV, Video nieuwe categorien // New video categories – Theo Herbots TV
100. I Have Pretty Strong Convictions, I Guess – Apotropaic
101. Simple Joys – The Forest
102. Flowers and Breezes – Eerie
103. momaste – A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Cemetery
104. The Moon Light – Photography an Amazing Art
105. The Lost & Found Spirit 3 – Ms Skyfall
106. Shapeshifter – The Light & Simplicity Project
107. all hollows’ eve – clunkyshoe
108. Prescription For Bento – Ghost Car
109. Eerie Eerie – Monkebus
110. Eerie! Its Halloween! Muh! Ah! Ah! – Micks Blog
111. Fight or Flight – Views From Around the Corner
112. Wide Eyed In Wonder – Eerie Haiku
113. Qua Madrigal’s Creative Bend – Dance Over the Thames
114. What it’s like – Daily prompt: Eerie
115. Daily Prompt – Eerie – Bob’s Blog
116. a [FaILed?] aTTemPt @ sTReaM oF ConSCIouSneSs pOEtrY – Time
117. There Are More Poets than Stars in the Firmament – animal totems enact sacrifice
118. Deja Vu – Life By Linds
119. takingupchristianity – Our silence has become eerie…
120. Betcha didn’t know! – Eerie
121. Miss Pelican’s Perch – Over the Hill with Grandpa
122. Qua Madrigal’s Creative Bend – Pyrophobia
123. Write Here: Write Now – Ghost Train
124. Daily Post Prompt: The Eerie Silence of Her Longing – Sumyanna Writes
125. Pale White Eyes – Dreamer’s Paradise
126. ExplorewithMafaza – Eerie
127. Life Less Ordinary – e-e-r-i-e
128. Boo!! – jessicasblog45
129. the scribbling writer – Happy Halloween! Celebrate with this short short!
130. Happy Halloween! – Sunken Thought
131. Musings of a Random Mind – Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie
132. Eerie Riding – ARMY OF THE FALLEN BIKERS
133. ISN’T IT EERIE? – rhymeagination
134. The Well-Informed Namer – Boo! Scary and Sweet Names for Halloween
135. My two cents… – Real eerie.
136. My Dia de los Muertos in a Hollywood Cemetery – psychologistmimi
137. An Open Letter toTeamsters President James P. Hoffa – sudden thoughts & second thoughts
138. Eerie – Covert Novelist
139. loving you – Love it Now
140. When Should You Stop Trick or Treating? – Ellies Little Adventure
141. Strange And Frightening – emotionsoflife2016
142. In a Dark Hour – The Jolly Beggar
143. Martha L Shaw – ALL HALLOWS EVE
144. The Room across the universe sits on my wall – ink and toast
145. Why Do Americans Hate Welfare? – Zone of Non-being
146. s1ngal – An Eerie House
147. Vanity – YUDITH’S Journal
148. LadyLebz – THE INTERNET HAS DISAPPEARED
149. Eerie – Mark Rotondi
150. LadyLebz – THE GHOST NAMED PINKY PINKY
151. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: The Eerie Felines
152. Lamont and Dude Long for Old Times – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
153. The Well-Informed Namer – Below the Top 1000, Part 24 (Boys)
154. Fort Indiantown Gap & Veterans Memorial – WeDiscover USA
155. Shadows on the Walls – atrangizindagieksafar
156. Laurel Grove loves… – Spooky moments: the school dance
157. “There’s Nobody There!” – Ghostly Flash Fiction for Halloween – Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink
158. Phobia – A lot from Lydia
159. The happy Quitter! – The Story of Jack-o’-Lantern
160. DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society – Witch-ever Way You Look at it, it’s Halloween!
161. Foggy Morn – My Second Act, Scene One
162. A Piece of Advice (To Angela, From Angela) – Angela Montijo
163. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Unexpectedly Eerie
164. Punishment – Angela Montijo
165. Deprive – Angela Montijo
166. No Man’s Land – Angela Montijo
167. The Forbidden Forest – Leigha Robbins
168. kStan(ly) kSays – he should have been in school
169. Grave of Inspiration – Debbie Gravett
170. LIFE – Sweet Life
171. Eerie – Monday Moments – eddaz
172. SERENDIPITY – EERIE AIRY AERIE
173. Dont be afraid – True to myself
174. EERIE ENDINGS – thepunkpenblog
175. Eerie no more – Oh, border!
176. The Origins of Halloween – ONE MORE SHOT PLEASE
177. juantetcts – Daily Post:Eerie
178. Take my hand and I will lead you there – Elaine’s Bloggers Paradise
179. Shroud – indisputably inconclusive
180. Doctor’s Orders – By the Wayside
181. Take my hand. – True to myself
182. simply.cindy – Happy Hallowe’en
183. juantetcts – Daily Post
184. Eerie Salem Mass Awaits! – Cahla’s Tawkin’
185. Strange Feeling – life’s journey
186. Eerie Thrillz – “Live Free & Love On Purpose!!”
187. Eerie – nursingandknitting
188. Strange Feeling – Speak Your Mind
189. The World Before Social Media – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
190. Little Eerie Moth – lovelyricism
191. And then there was one – Demons and Ghosts
192. witchlike – Have a Blessed Samhain
193. Facing my Inner Runner – Sneakers on Pavement
194. Eerie – Scribbled by M
195. Pixelesque – Eerie Ennerdale Water
196. Madeline Scribes – people talk
197. sonja benskin mesher – .. eerie..
198. the15thday – i could do without the creepy clown. well, sort of…
199. Life Memoirs blog – A childhood moment
200. 3am – Spectres & Stardust
201. Random Quotes From A 4-Year-Old – The Life of Jan
202. Devil Doll Musings – Broken
203. thelonerose – Halloween
204. Lost Property Repository – Eerie Eerie and more Eerie
205. Because it’s Halloween, here’s a recipe for spicy curried pumpkin soup! – art of being fabulous
206. Southern By Design – The Mist
207. crazy clown – Justus Creek
208. La Tour Abolie – I’m a little weary of eerie
209. Linus VanPelt – My Hero – S. Thomas Summers
210. The Shadow Is Gone – Pete Gardner Psalms
211. Eerie – citySonnet
212. Autism in Our Nest – It’s Finally Halloween!
213. Eve’s Reflections – I wish the neighbours would fight
214. Great Lakes? – Bits of Poems
215. Festival of Lights – Random Thoughts and Musings
216. Frank Prem – Callignee butterflies
217. HOW TO BLOG WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START – Okoto Enigma
218. Travel Much? – Paranoia much?
219. The Pristine snow – Travel Crusade
220. Your weird/fear moments in life…. – Burshblog
221. The Wandering Poet – There’s nothing eerie in a peaceful morning 🙂
222. Helix Nebula acrylic painting – Josipa’S Art
223. Travel Much? – Haunt much?
224. Michel Montecrossa Blog – Today’s Art: drawing ‘Mutants Of Dark Earth Breaking News Triptych #2’ by Michel Montecrossa
225. Lost Property Repository – Horror has a new home
226. The Poetry Channel – Close Encounters of the Eerie Kind
227. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Come Up To The Attic
228. Halloween, of Course – Just Writing!
229. what is autonomic dysfunction?a day in the life – the life you gave me
230. Hot White Snow – Halloween Knock Down (Microfiction)
231. I’m with the band – Rexine Rawhead
232. Night Has Awaken! – Blog of Hammad Rais
233. We Geeks Feed at Walker Stalker Con with Carl from The Walking Dead – Geeks & Fiends
234. slideaways – The Master of Rituals
235. Designer Sophisticate – Does nothing for me.
236. I wrote a book. Now what? – Awkwardly awkward
237. Go Back – A lot from Lydia
238. Misterioso – apserranoblog
239. A Three Line Short Horror Story- Chapter 17 – Khayal
240. First Halloween Trick or Treatin’ – thethoughtskeeper
241. Today Is A Day One- These Suck – The Hope Filled Addict
242. ….on pets and prisoners….. – happy Halloween monday
243. Devil Doll Musings – Don’t Blink
244. The Gad About Town – Trick and/or Treat
245. Eerie… – Emotions that matter.
246. Lantern Words – Not Eerie