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“I’m going to get straight to the point: A Star Named Vega is a vibrant, colorful Space Opera with sumptuous and beautiful world-building that is a joy to read. You really shouldn’t waste time with the rest of my dry, flavorless review and just grab a copy and read that instead.” – GM Nair

BWG: What do you think makes a good story?

All good stories have at least one major explosion. A Star Named Vega has three major explosions, which is why it made it to the Finals of the SPSFC.

BWG: How did you get into writing? Were there any catalysts in your life that set you on your path to loving the written word?

I used to fill notebooks with stories when I was very young. Then the summer of 2000 saw the release of The Goblet of Fire and The Amber Spyglass. That was the summer I started writing novels.


BWG: What comes first for you, the plot or the characters, and why?

I love it when everything ties up at the end with a big thematic payoff. You really need to plan that stuff ahead. Then I bully my characters into following my plan. If they step out of line, I cut them in the next draft. Your characters should fear you.


BWG: How was your first SPSFC? If you have other books, Do you think you will submit them to future contests?

Following the SPSFC on Twitter was great fun, and it was amazing to have my work read by so many passionate reviewers and bloggers. That said, spending an entire year wondering when you’ll get cut is pretty exhausting. I don’t know if I could do it again!


BWG: What was the best part of the SPSFC experience?

There was something special about making it to the Semi Finals. It was the highest “Total Buzz” of the competition, given the number of authors still in the running. And those 30 books really did represent the best of indie science fiction (more so than the finalists, in my opinion). Among my favourites were Mazarin Blues by Al Hess, and ARvekt by Craig Lea Gordon.

BWG: For readers unfamiliar with your work, can you tell us about your SPSFC entry?

Aster is a Martian teenager with spray-painting fingernails, and she’s moving to the Vega System with her dad. Rel is a genetically engineered supersoldier with organic insect armour and a liquid metal hammer, and he’s on a mission to intercept their voyage. Things escalate from there.

BWG: Where did you get the idea for your book?

I was a bit tired of all the gloomy dystopian stories that were so popular a decade ago. For me the future has always been shiny and awesome, with flying cars and cool robots and free cake. I wanted to write that future.

BWG: What was your most brutal scene to write, and why?

Rel has a handful of brutal scenes. Lots of horrific injuries and emotional torment. His suffering was meant to counterpoint Aster’s awesome life, but maybe I was a bit too tough on the guy. Sorry, Rel.

BWG: What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?

The story took me six years to complete, with too many drafts and rewrites to count. Almost everything has changed since that first draft, save for the image of a space pirate rescuing a girl on a ship.

BWG: There is usually research of some form when writing a Sci-fi novel. Were there any exciting bits of research or rabbit holes you went down writing the book?

The characters and themes are all based on the prophetic books of William Blake (try Googling “Fuzon”)

BWG: What do you have coming up in the future?

I’m not entirely sure, writing is difficult. I might try blacksmithing next.

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

Benjamin J. Roberts

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