Simon Thurtle is a sci-fi and fantasy writer originally from the UK, but now puzzling his way through living in the Netherlands. Simon is also the chair of the Judging Panel for The Blank Page Short Story Challenge. He has two novels in progress as well as regular releases of short stories and blogs on his site, so there’s rarely a dull moment in his world.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
I am an English writer, now living in the Netherlands. Presently, I have two novels in progress, one is the first of a sci-fi series and the second is best described as fantasy but that doesn’t quite cut it.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
I am a console gamer, table top war gamer, I love movies, books, music and spending time with my two dogs. So, yeah, I am pretty busy!
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Hmmmmmmmmm, probably Truckers by Terry Pratchett.
KR: What are you reading now?
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and The Greek Myths by Robert Graves. Both are research for one of my books, but I am loving Mr Gaiman’s work!
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Giving the option, I would always have music on around me, so, yes, music is a huge part of my process. In fact, one of my novels came in to existence due to a single line from a song. Choosing a single album is damn near impossible but, at the moment, I can’t get enough of Rock is Dead by Dorothy.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Margaret Weis and Terry Pratchett. Both authors showed me new worlds whilst giving me new perspective on my own. They are also very considered in their writing, not drowning the reader in detail, just igniting imagination. I aspire to that lightness of touch.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
Some and some. I find that I get a first blast of inspiration which gets me through a short story fine, but for a novel, I’ll need to sit back and map out the broad strokes. Nothing too detailed at this point.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For my sci-fi book, I research as I need it. So, for example, I needed to know the speed at which the International Space Station orbited the Earth at one point. I didn’t know I would need to know until I did, so research was done that point. Conversely, my fantasy novel requires me to draw in a lot of mythology and ideas to a single point, so I am currently researching Norse, Greek, Celtic, Biblical and beyond stories. Until I have all of that done, I need to delay writing the book!
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
I still have a day job, so that dictates much of my day. But, I will typically start the day with a browse through social media. See what’s going on and pick up any new short stories which have appeared overnight with a cup of tea. On my rare free days, I then try to get a blog written in the morning, before a light lunch and hitting novel work in the afternoon.
Given the chance, I would work solely overnight, I love writing at night. Alas, I need to sleep and actually see other humans, so I am trying to work in the day.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
Yes, I think Hunter is my favourite so far. It’s set in the world of my fantasy novel and was a testbed for certain ideas I wanted to play with. One of the core characters in the piece had been clawing to get out for some time too, so it was good to let her out to play.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Nope, as I don’t yet have any! But when I do? I think I probably will, yes. Being an author is very isolating, so you can disappear in between your own ears. Reviews, lovely or acidic, all give you an outside perspective of what you’re doing. Yes, there are trolls. Yes, there will be criticism. But, even with the former, there are things to learn.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Don’t wait. If you want to feel like a “real” author or think that this “isn’t the right time”, well, my friend, you never will be, and it never will be. Put butt to seat and word to screen. Until you’ve done that? No, you’re no real author. But when you have? Yes, you are. Keep at it. Realise you have much to learn. Stick with it. You’ll get there.
KR: What scares you?
I am, of course, joking. Mostly.
In the context of writing, I think I am mostly scared of not finishing a book. It’s why I wrote some short stories and put them on my blog. That way I had finished something. If I can do short, then I can do long. But the thought of never quite finishing does concern me.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
For me, it depends. If it’s a book I love, paperback, it’s going to be read a lot, so lighter is better. If it’s a treasured work, hardback. I have yet to embrace the digital revolution, but a kindle is on my “to buy” list.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
Sunday Morning is a short story on my blog which was born from a nightmare. I don’t recall the nightmare, but I recall the feeling of loss and hopelessness it left behind. An almost nihilistic funk which wouldn’t dissipate with waking. Working through those feelings, I felt the tug of a new idea forming which became this short. It’s not what I thought I would write, but it came out well, I think. I am really pleased I could purge the negativity into something more beautiful.
KR: What are you working on now?
I have three more short stories in development now plus two novels. I am hoping to see one of the novels completed and edit before summer 2018, so wish me luck! The short stories should be out in the coming weeks.
KR: Fast forward ten years! Where do you see yourself?
Ideally working full-time sharing the stories I have in my head with the world. Still in the Netherlands and writing some of my books in Dutch as well. Aside from that? Happy, healthy and, with luck, a little thinner!
KR: Thank you very much Simon.
You can follow Simon on Twitter
To find out more about Simon and read some of his work please visit www.sthurtleauthor.wordpress.com
You can also catch up with Simon on Facebook
Simon is also on the judging panel for The Blank Page Challenge writing competition, for more information please visit The Blank Page Challenge
Simon’s current work in progress is the Earth Reforged series of sci-fi novels…
For over forty-years, a fleet of spacecraft has orbited Earth in secret, the Exoterran fleet hangs, unseen above present day Earth.
Designed and built by Ethan Reid, a native of Scotland, the Exoterran fleet has a hand-picked crew taken from Earth. Each crew member given the choice to explore the universe for the price of leaving Earth, never to return or communicate with loved ones again. Self sufficient and covert, this huge fleet has seen more than anyone on Earth can dream of.
So many years into the safe and peaceful exploration of the stars, events will unfold beyond Fleet Admiral Reid’s control, driving the Exoterrans, and humanity as a whole, in to a war which none may survive…