One Thousand Worlds is delighted to welcome back Raymond Bolton, who featured here last month with the first 1000 words of Awakening.
About Raymond Bolton:
My goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. I've written poetry, for which I've received some recognition, and four novels. Two are explorations in science fiction: Awakening, an epic, released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure, part of a planned trilogy and prequel to the epic.
In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the
U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe and in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest. Australia
Tell us about your latest book.
I assume by this you mean my most recently published book, which would be my debut novel, Awakening. This was the first book I ever wrote, and when I finished it for the first time, it read like it. Even now, I have a hard time rereading the original draft, a meandering 174,000 word behemoth my wife rightly termed verbose. Over the course of several more years spent honing my craft by studying accomplished authors and writing other books, I kept returning to it, tightening the language, strengthening the plot, eliminating unnecessary subplots. You see, despite my inadequacies as a writer, I always believed in its underlying story.
Today, the recognition it is winning, like being one of eight finalists among nearly one thousand entries in a major literary competition, and the stellar reviews it has earned, tell me the efforts were worth it.
How many books have you written?
I have completed four novels. Two, including Awakening, are science fiction explorations. Two others are political thrillers. While I enjoy basing my stories in the real world, the amount of research it takes to produce compelling, credible work draws out production time to two years or more per book. In order to maintain a readership, I believe I would need three or four completed novels at the ready, while working on another, to be able to publish a series at the rate today’s readers demand. Consequently, I will probably stick to the sort of other-world sci-fi stories I can produce annually.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am developing Awakening’s prequel trilogy. Currently, I am engaged in the second rewrite of Thought Gazer, the trilogy’s first volume and have already completed seven chapters of Foreteller, the volume to follow.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
You mean aside from caffeine? Hah! I, for one, need to keep in touch with other people, not only through the social networks, but face to face, skin to skin. Fortunately, my day job as a high-end hairdresser working in two cities 1,100 miles apart helps incredibly. The people in my chair, as well as those in the seat next to me as I fly, have stories to tell that keep me in touch with my humanity. And, eventually, these stories turn into characters.
How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
Like many, I was bullied as a child. I was always the nerdy one. Fortunately for me, instead of allowing my tormentors to claim victory by beating me into docile submission, I fought back—not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally. The sensitivity I developed manifests as multi-dimensional characters.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
That life’s greatest lessons are not learned in school.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
I suppose I would like to meet Pithien Dur—a telepathic outlaw with an attitude.
Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?
No. I love them all. I hope that shows when people read about them.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
You mean “if.” Although running businesses in both Portland, Oregon and Santa Fe, New Mexico requires a great deal of maturity and responsibility, I would hate to lose the child-like imagination that spawns my stories.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
There was a time when I could have named someone. Not any more. After years trying to get to the heart of me, to work out who I am, I am finally content with whom I have become. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
You can purchase Awakening from Amazon:
In paperback at US
Connect with Raymond Bolten:
Twitter at @RaymondBolton