How much research did the author have to do while writing this book? How developed are the characters before he begins writing a book? What kind of books does the author like to read?
How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book?
I already had a first class honours degree in artificial intelligence and an A-level in psychology, so that helped out considerably with the Information Cloud aspects of the book. I also have a strong interest in science in general so have been reading around the subject for many years and have a good overall science background.
I did some research into weapons for this book, and also various obscure details for tiny details that probably nobody will ever notice.
In the sequel I am researching more new areas, trying to make every tiny detail correct and interesting.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
Some came to me on the spur of the moment. Some I left blank until much of the book was written and a name came to me that would fit them well. For some smaller characters I occasionally hit random keys on the keyboard to get ideas of syllables and then combine them in different ways until I get a name that sounds realistic and fits the character. I try to keep names easy to pronounce and not too crazy, but also interesting. It's also a good idea to make sure all characters have names that are not too similar. A book with names like John, James, Jim, Jimmy and Johnny might get a bit confusing for the reader.
How completely do you develop your characters before beginning to write?
Some I develop in my mind for weeks and months. Others I develop as I write. I need to spend more time on character development, and I intend to do so on future projects. It is something I am working on currently.
What new doors has your writing opened up for you? Have any new and exciting opportunities come your way because of your writing?
Self-publishing opens many doors, but although those doors may be ajar now, it could be years before they fly open. Being a writer requires patience on a geological timescale. I've had some good feedback on Information Cloud, but this is just the beginning of the series, so time will tell where it all leads in the end.
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
I don't generally get bored with what I'm writing. If it gets to that point then the readers will most likely be bored too. It has to be interesting to write if it is going to be interesting to read.
With smaller projects I have sometimes thought that the subject was not very interesting, and in that case I would take it as a strong indication that the story should either be shelved in favour of something better, or that it needs a complete revamp by mixing in plenty of new and exciting elements, and maybe throwing some characters out, if they are dragging the story down and being dull.
Writing every day can be hard work, especially if you have many other commitments to attend to also. It's important to do something fun as well and to keep yourself fresh so that you can do justice to your writing.
What is your favorite genre in which to write?
Science fiction. I wrote a thriller but I found it a little constraining not to be able to bend the rules of reality at all. I wrote a little horror in short story form and enjoyed that also, but when it comes to spending my days and nights writing for many years, I thought that for me, sanity would be better preserved if I was writing science fiction or fantasy, rather than horror.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I try to vary my reading to learn new things and find good stories wherever they are. I read science fiction, fantasy, some horror, and some general fiction. I like thrillers in film form but haven't yet transferred to the book form. I probably will read some when I have time. I also read books on the craft, marketing, and science in general.
The interview concludes in Conclusion of Interview with Peter J. West